WWE Wrap-Up

This week in WWE: Samoa Joe, Absolution and Riott Squad mean business

Samoa Joe reminded Roman Reigns and the Raw roster what he’s capable of. Photo by WWE.com

This is a weekly look at the action in the WWE:

 

Raw

Roman Reigns opened Raw recounting his Intercontinental Championship win the week before. The Mizterouge explained that Reigns winning was an injustice, and that Elias would make things right by defeating Reigns for his Intercontinental Championship. Seth Rollins defeated Cesaro despite his hellish tactics. After the match, he announced that Ambrose and Rollins are “going to burn The Bar down” after they regain their Tag Team Championships next week. Kurt Angle announced two Fatal 4-Way matches to determine Enzo Amore’s next challenger to his Cruiserweight Championship. Titus O’Neil finally got his chance to take on Samoa Joe after his vicious attack a few weeks ago. O’Neil released his frustrations with some really hard blows, but a cheap shot from Joe allowed him to gain the upper hand and submit O’Neil. Apollo Crews tried to stand up for his manager, but ended up getting choked out by Joe as well.

A Six Woman Tag match was scheduled to start the second hour. Unfortunately for Sasha Banks, her partners, Bayley and Mickie James, never made it to the ring thanks to an attack from Absolution(Paige, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville). They surrounded Banks and asked her to join them. Banks chose against it and was attacked by Absolution. Matt Hardy broke down after his loss to Bray Wyatt. He began to yell his “Delete” chant that got him fame in his time outside of the WWE. Rich Swann, Akira Tozawa, Noam Dar, and Ariya Daivari faced off in the first of two Cruiserweight Fatal 4-Ways. With the four competitors in the match, it was obvious fans were in for a treat. Swann won the match with a breath taking Phoenix Splash. He will face the winner of next week’s Fatal 4-Way to determine the new number one contender to the Cruiserweight Championship.

Elias was assisted in his “concert” by The Mizterouge before his match with Roman Reigns. The Mizterouge did all they could to help Elias, but nothing was going to stop The Big Dog from retaining his Intercontinental Championship after Spear. Samoa Joe surprised Reigns from behind with a Coquina Clutch. The prize fighter made his point, he wants Reigns’ championship.  Asuka defeated Dana Brooke in seconds, literally, after submitting her with an Auska Lock as soon as the bell rang to start the match. Absolution pump faked Asuka after her match. They surrounded the ring, but, instead of attacking her, they allowed her to walk away without her turning her back to them. Jason Jordan made a desperate attempt to prove himself when he challenged Kane to a match. He, unfortunately, was unable to finish the match after losing via count out. That did not stop Kane from viciously attacking him, though. Finn Balor came to the defense of Jordan. The two faced off in a match, and just when Balor began gaining momentum, Kane used a chair as an equalizer. Braun Strowman raced to the ring to exact his revenge on Kane for his attack the week before. Raw closed with Kane crawling away from Strowman after The Monster Among Men jammed his throat with a chair twice.    

Highlight of the Night

Samoa Joe attacking Roman Reigns was an awesome moment. Joe was on a roll before his injury this past summer. Hopefully, him attacking Reigns is the start of a big program between the two.

 

SmackDown Live

Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan opened the show discussing their disagreement about whether they should fire Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. They, then, announced the Kevin Owens vs Randy Orton match will be a no disqualification match. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods took on Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable in the first match of the night. Woods absolutely stole the show, and The New Day went on to win the match. Charlotte, Naomi and Natalya set their differences aside backstage in preparation for their match against Riott, Morgan and Logan. The Bludgeon Brothers made quick work of The Hype Bros for the second week in a row. Mojo Rawley turned on Zack Ryder after the match attacking him from behind.

AJ Styles was attacked by Jinder Mahal before his Handicap Match against The Singh Brothers.  Styles got the last laugh, though, defeating them after a Styles Clash from the middle rope. Mahal let his frustrations out on The Singh Brothers by hitting them both with Khallas. The Riott Squad(Riott, Morgan and Logan)defeated Charlotte and Naomi after Natalya walked away from their match. Kevin Owens defeated Randy Orton in their No DQ Match in the main event. Despite being banned from ring side, Sami Zayn found a way to get involved in the match when Owens and Orton began brawling on stage.

Highlight of the Night

The middle rope Styles Clash was incredible. The move is risky as it is, seeing Styles do it from the second rope genuinely made me pop.

How do they compare?

This week paled in comparison to last week for both shows. There was a lot of repetition from last week. Quite frankly, this really felt like a filler week for both shows. Raw gets the edge for teasing the Reigns vs Joe feud. SmackDown fans shouldn’t fret, though. Clash of Champions is only three weeks away. As the card begins to take shape, the show should really heat up.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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