WWE Wrap-Up

This week in WWE: The chase is on as the build to MITB continues

The Daniel Bryan vs Samoa Joe dream match happens next week on SDL. Photo by WWE.com

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

Raw

Kurt Angel opened the show but was quickly interrupted by Stephanie McMahon, opening the flood gates for interruptions. Roman interrupted Steph demanding answers for the way management has been screwing him. This lead to Kevin Owens interrupting Roman who interrupted Steph who interrupted Kurt. His sarcasm got him put into a match with Reigns. The theme of interruption continued as Jinder Mahal surprised Reigns with an attack. Seth Rollins raced to save his friend, and the match was restarted as a tag team match. Rollins hit Owens with a stomp to win the match for his team. Mahal got the last laugh, though, as he attacked both Reigns and Rollins with a chair.

Hour two opened with an atrocity of a segment with Sami Zayn and three men dressed up as women who were “Bobby Lashley’s sisters.” Credit should go to Sami Zayn, who tried his best to make the best out of one the worst segments of the year. Lashley came to the ring and handled Zayn and his “sisters.” Ember Moon continued her impressive run on Raw as she defeated the former champion, Alexa Bliss. The B team, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, defeated Breezango.

Stephanie instigated the contract signing between Women’s Champion, Nia Jax, and Ronda Rousey. Although it did not lead to blows, Jax explained to Rousey that she would never be able to put an ArmBar on her. Dolph Ziggler defeated Chad Gable with a Super Kick. Drew McIntyre attacked Gable after the match. Natalya, Dana Brooke, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan faced off in a qualifier for MITB. Natalya won the match after submitting Logan with a Sharpshooter. Bobby Roode’s gamble on the top rope did not pay off as Elias caught him up and pinned him for the win. The short-lived tag team of Braun Strowman and Finn Balor main-evented the show. No matter what Balor did to try to stop Braun, nothing worked. Strowman won the match hitting him with a Running Powerslam.  

SmackDown Live

Miz TV opened the show with the Miz’s exclusive sit down with The New Day. Miz’s intention was to get the scoop on which New Day member is going to represent the team at MITB. Of course, the New Day did not reveal to him who will represent the team. Instead, Big E challenged him to a match. Thanks to a distraction from The Bar, Miz defeated Big E with a Skull Crushing Finale. Lana upset Billie Kay to qualify for the Women’s MITB match. Andrade “Cien” Almas defeated, no, destroyed another enhancement talent pinning him with a Hammerlock DDT.

AJ Styles had enough, he no longer wanted to wait to find out what stipulation Nakamura would choose for their match at MITB. Nakamura refused to tell him, which lead to a brawl that Styles dominated until Nakamura used a chair as an equalizer. It was not until after he laid Styles out that he revealed their match at MITB will be a Last Man Standing match. Gallows and Anderson defeated The Usos to win number one contender-ship to the tag team tittles. Naomi defeated Sonya Deville to qualify for the Women’s MITB match. Daniel Bryan defeated Jeff Hardy for the opportunity to face Samoa Joe, the winner of the match qualifies to MITB.

Man oh man, what a week for the WWE.

In terms of preparing for MITB, we received another solid week of build. The interesting thing to me is where the company stands with Seth Rollins. Currently, he is the most relevant baby face on Raw. He has the best matches and gets the best reactions. He currently does not have a match announced for MITB, but I cannot imagine the biggest baby face on Raw not stealing the show on MITB.

As far as SmackDown is concerned, we are getting a Daniel Bryan vs Samoa Joe match next week. Boy, what a time to be a fan of WWE.

Of course, the biggest story of the week came from outside of the TV product. Fox and the WWE have reached an agreement for the rights of SmackDown Live. The deal is for over a Billion dollars. At a time when the blue show is at an edge over Raw, this is absolutely great news. There are many rumors on the direction the WWE will go with SmackDown, but one thing is for certain, the deal with FOX means more people will have access to SDL and the WWE Product. Growing up, we did not have cable television. The only reason I was able to watch wrestling was because SDL was on UPN or CW on Thursday or Friday nights. I am ecstatic for the brand and for fans who are in a similar situation as the one I was in.

In case you guys did not know, I produce a pretty good show with Patrick Creighton called Straight Heat. It airs Monday through Friday from 9 pm to Midnight on SB Nation Radio, locally on SportsMap 94.1. Earlier this week, the one, the only, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer joined the show to talk all about the WWE’s deal with FOX.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF O'BRIEN'S COACHING

Not my job: Texans no match for the Ravens

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Texans fell to the Ravens 33-16 in a game they had a shot at winning. Most of you reading this will probably think I'm crazy for saying that. I assure you, I meant what I said. One of the reasons they didn't was because Bill O'Brien made a few questionable decisions that cost this team.

The first was the 4th & 1 decision. Deciding to go for it was bad enough. They were down 3-0 near the end of the first quarter with the ball on their own 34-yard line. This is not a situation that calls for a gamble or statement play. The play call itself was okay I guess: a play action bootleg with two short options. It was read and played perfectly by the Ravens defense. Deshaun Watson had nowhere to go with the ball and had to throw it at Darren Fells' back before getting sacked. That led to a quick Ravens touchdown and an early 10-0 deficit. I seriously think he has PTSD after that playoff loss to the Chiefs when it comes to fourth down calls. Bumbling Bill strikes again!

When they got the ball back, they scored a touchdown thanks to more play action passes and pre-snap motion. It was as if Bumbling Bill realized his offensive line was outmatched by the front seven they're opposing. Sure Watson is mobile and looks like a magician escaping sacks, but misdirection helps throw the defense off and keeps Watson from breaking into 177,000,000 pieces. Oh, and the quick reads were a good idea as well. Too bad Bumbling Bill went away from that and opted for longer developing routes. Or will he blame it on Timid Tim Kelly? Or was Waiting Watson holding onto the ball too long? I blame all three.

Also, can we stop starting drives with the predictable run, run, pass combo please? First down should be play action rollout with Watson having the ability to choose to run if it's there. More run/pass/option plays need to be called as well. Incorporate more things that we saw when Watson was on his way to winning rookie of the year before his knee was sacrificed for the Astros.

Credit where it's due: the end of the first half to get a field goal with a minute and change left was good to see. Typically, these situations tend to make Bumbling Bill come out. I liked the quick slant to Cobb with no timeouts. They were able to spike the ball and get the field goal up.

The game was still within reach at 23-13 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. On a 4th & 1, they gave up a 30 yard touchdown run on a direct snap to Mark Ingram. I saw gaps on both sides of the defensive line pre-snap. Sure enough, Ingram got a lead block from the Ravens human plough of a fullback and that effectively put the nail in the coffin at 30-13. I know the tendency is to quarterback sneak or run up the middle, but don't leave gaps along the defensive line trying to stack the middle. First time defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver will take the L on this one.

Overall, I'll give O'Brien and his coaching staff a C- this game. Mistakes were made that could've cost them a legit shot at winning, but the Keke Coutee fumble return for a touchdown wasn't their fault. The play calling menu was brought to us this week by Craft Pita via the "What's Eric Eating" podcast. Tune in next week for another "Not my job!"

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