WWE Wrap-Up

This week in WWE: Raw’s woes continue and SDL is reaping the benefits

The Mixed Tag match gave us the match of the week. Photo by WWE.com

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

Raw

Elias opened the show taking jabs at the Houston fans for the Rockets recent elimination in the WCF. He also mocked Seth Rollins after he attacked him the week before. Rollins raced down with a chair to get some retribution. Before he could get his hands on Elias, Jinder Mahal blindsided him. Reigns came down for the save. Of course, this lead to a tag match which Elias and Mahal won after Elias somehow got away with using a chair right in front of the referee. Kurt Hawkins tried to end his losing streak by facing an enhancement talent named James Harden. Baron Corbin spoiled it for Hawkins, though, attacking his opponent causing a DQ. Hawkins’ streak has now reached 200 losses. Natalya sustained an injury in her loss to Nia Jax. Ronda Rousey and a referee had to carry her to the back as she could not put pressure on her knee.

Braun Strowman took on Bobby Roode, or should I say, Strowman absolutely destroyed Roode with a Running Power Slam. A Tag Team Battle Royal was held to determine the number one contenders for the Raw Tag Titles. Surprisingly enough, the first team eliminated was Ziggler and McIntyre. The surprises continued, as The B Team, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, won the Battle Royal.

Sami Zayn continued to poke the bear that is Bobby Lashley. This week, he accused Lashley of never serving his country like he claims to have. Roman Reigns and Jinder Mahal had another backstage brawl this week. The Riott Squad took on Sasha Banks, Ember Moon, and Alexa Bliss. To no one’s surprise, Bliss eventually bailed on Banks and Moon. Bailey replaced Bliss, and picked up the win pinning Sarah Logan. Kurt Angle found the winning team backstage to inform them that their win did not count because he did not authorize Bayley joining the match. Finn Balor and Kevin Owens closed the show. Balor hit Owens with a Coup De Grace from the top a ladder, which Owens had brought into the ring earlier. For some reason, he did not pin him. Instead, he grabbed the display briefcase elevated over the ring. Ultimately, Raw just ended there. No decision on the match, just Balor celebrating with fans. Okay then…

SmackDown Live

Women’s Champion, Carmella, poked the bear that is Asuka. She reiterated that Asuka has not been the same since losing at ‘Mania. For some reason, Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose butted in. Paige, hearing the standoff from backstage, asked Asuka if she was interested in facing off against either Sonya or Mandy. Instead, Asuka chose to take on both in a Handicap Match. Asuka won after submitting Deville with an Asuka Lock. Carmella got the last laugh as she, with the help of Mandy Rose, attacked Asuka. In a preview to MITB, Karl Anderson took on Luke Gallows. To everyone’s surprise, Anderson won the match after rolling up Harper. Jimmy Uso and Naomi defeated Aiden English and Lana in an awesome Mixed Tag match.

Paige held a backstage contract signing with AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura for their MITB matchup. Best friends Becky Lynch and Charlotte faced off. Lynch psyched out the former champion defeating her after countering a Figure Four into a Disarmer. Andrade Cien Almas attacked his former friend and role model, Sin Cara, backstage. The New Day took on The Miz, Samoa Joe and Rusev in a Six Man Tag match. Bodies flew everywhere. The heels looked like they were going to steal the win, but Miz got greedy and decided to use the New Day’s pancakes against them. Instead, he accidentally hit Joe and Rusev with the pancakes and his partners bailed. One Midnight Hour later, the New Day pinned Miz to win the match.

What the hell is going on with Raw?

You mean to tell me, the show with undoubtedly the better roster and the assumed priority is struggling? Overall, I think the Houston crowd was treated to a fun show. But some of what occurred on Raw this week made no sense. Elias somehow uses a chair in front of the referee to no reaction. Finn Balor suddenly just stopping the match to grab the briefcase. These are just two major, head scratching, blunders.

I do not typically like to harp too much on what happens on a show-to-show basis. WWE has to write, produce, and televise more TV than damn near anyone else. That being said, it is starting to become a trend for Raw to leave the audience scratching their heads confused. Let us hope the winner of one, if not both, MITB matches is someone from the red brand. That would open the door for more possibilities and more surprises on a show that is lagging behind SDL.  

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Jae'Sean Tate had himself a night. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

No Christian Wood. No Kevin Porter Jr. No Jalen Green. No problem. Jae’ Sean Tate became a complete superhero for the Houston Rockets versus the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

He recorded 32 points, 10 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 5.0 blocks, and 2.0 steals and shot 73 percent from the field. With that stat line, he joined former Rocket Hakeem Olajuwon and other historic big men from the past, which Tim MacMahon reported.

Tate is known for his leadership and the ability to be humble. When a reporter asked Tate about the stat line, he said, “How many turnovers? Nah, 25 assists, that’s what sup! Can’t be mad at that.” An expression like that shows the importance of putting his teammates first before taking all the shine. Tate is providing more passion with communication and being the rock that the "Baby Rockets" can lean on.

Coach Silas' confidence in Tate is something built from last year and it shows. Those two have constant dialogue throughout the game, and it’s seen before the huddle or when Silas is standing on the sideline before he calls a play. Silas has run consistent sets for Tate, as he did that within the 15-game losing streak. He dialed up an out of bounds action with 33.4 seconds left, so Tate could make a clutch layup towards the rim.

“Long, long, long ago in his rookie year…we definitely have a bond and with those two guys out, we needed some scoring,” Silas said. “He was the guy who was playing the hardest from start to finish and down the stretch we ran that elbow iso for him. And he just went through his defender and finished. And he made some huge plays in the 4th quarter, which is what you need. Yeah, I trust him as much as anybody else, and he has earned that, and he deserves it.”

“That just shows the confidence Coach Silas, and my teammates have in me,” said Tate. “We lost some of our primary guys tonight. And not only me, but everybody also stepped up.”

His usage rating is slowly going up, which is posted at 18.9 percent per NBA stats. In isolation, Tate is averaging 1.00 points per possession, which puts him in the 75th percentile(!) per NBA stats. Tate is seeing more action out of the corner, so it can allow him to get to his left hand on offense. The elbow iso action is a play that Tate has run since high school, college, overseas, and in the NBA now. He mentioned that the set allows him to get comfortable when his number is called.

“That’s not my primary role and I think everyone knows that,” Tate said. “I am very confident [in] what I bring to the table offensively. Not only scoring wise but seeing the floor and being able to make [a] decision in space. And that kind of helps me when they overlook the scouting report.”

“[I've] been running that play since I was [in] high school. At Ohio St. I ran that. Even when I was overseas, Will Weaver, that was a play he put in. To have that called tonight, it felt familiar and it’s one of my strengths. And playing in the mid-post area and getting to my left hand.”

Tate was excellent for the Rockets on both sides of the ball, as he had a 116.9 offensive and 108.5 defensive rating with an 82.5 percent in true shooting versus the Thunder. Hopefully, Tate can be the leading catalyst again, as the Rockets face the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans, which are winnable games. It should become a six-game winning streak, as John Wall might play if his condition is right.

Up next: The Rockets face the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

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