WWE Wrap-Up

This week in WWE: Seth Rollins shines bright in Raw’s Gauntlet Match

The Architect lasted over an hour on Raw’s big Gauntlet Match. Photo by WWE.com

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

Raw

Raw opened with a Gauntlet match featuring all seven competitors from the Men’s Elimination Chamber Match. Shield members, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, started the match. The two went for over 20 minutes until Rollins rolled up Reigns to eliminate Reigns. Rollins, then, faced John Cena for almost 40 minutes. Cena did all he could to put away an exhausted Rollins, but nothing worked. Rollins finally put Cena away with a Stomp. Elias rushed to the ring to attack an exhausted Rollins, and he was successful eliminating the man who was in the Gauntlet match for over an hour.

Finn Balor was the next competitor to enter the match. Elias looked to dominate the match, but a Coup De Grace to his injured ribs allowed Balor to pick up the win. The Mizterouge distracted Balor as Miz, Balor’s next opponent in the match, attacked him from behind. Balor looked to put Miz away with a Coup De Grace, but a pair of distractions from The Mizterouge helped the Miz pull Balor off the ropes and hit him with a Skull Crushing Finale to put him away. Unfortunately for Miz, the final entrant in the match was none other than Braun Strowman. Miz tried to run away, but Strowman was not having it as he chased him back to the ring. Miz did all he could, even hitting Strowman with a Skull Crushing Finale, but the Monster Among Men picked up the win after a Running Power Slam. The entire Gauntlet match took two hours, making it, according to Michael Cole, “The longest match in WWE history." 

The one, the only, Jeff Jarret was revealed as the latest member of this year’s WWE Hall of Fame class. Before her match on Raw, Asuka spoke about her match with Nia Jax at Elimination Chamber. Nia Jax tried to surprise her from behind, but Asuka was ready. Jax got the last laugh, though, hitting her with a Samoan Drop and a barrage of Leg Drops. Needless to say, Asuka’s match on Raw never happened. Titus Worldwide did it again, surprising The Bar with a win after Apollo rolled up Cesaro. A Six Women’s Tag Match saw Sasha Banks, Mickie James and Bayley defeat Alexa Bliss, Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose after Banks submitted Bliss with a Banks Statement. Absolution did not take too kindly to their loss and began attacking the winning team. When it looked like they were going to turn on Bliss, Mickie James came in from the outside to help out her former partner.

Smackdown Live

AJ Styles opened the show explaining how he’s beaten all four of his opponents at Fastlane individually, but a Fatal Fiveway will be a difficult challenge. Baron Corbin reminded him that it was him who defeated Styles for his United States Championship. Kevin Owens made his presence felt, too, when he came out to insult Corbin. Shane McMahon had enough of their childish banter and issued a pair of matches—Kevin Owens vs Dolph Ziggler and the main event, AJ Styles vs Baron Corbin. Dolph Ziggler was impressive the whole match, but a distraction from Sami Zayn allowed Owens to hit Ziggler with a monster Super Kick and win the match. Jinder Mahal and Bobby Roode exchanged words in the ring. Per usual, Mahal tried to instigate a fight between Roode and Randy Orton. It worked, as Orton came out and a brawl between the three ensued where Mahal got the last laugh.

Charlotte, Naomi and Becky Lynch tagged against The Riott Squad. Ruby Riott pinned Lynch after hitting her with a big kick. Sami Zayn “thanked” Kevin Owens backstage for getting him out of the rut he was in. He vowed to “lay down” for Kevin Owens at Fastlane so that he can become the WWE Champion. In a rematch from last week, The New Day defeated Benjamin and Gable. The Bludgeon Brothers did what they do every week—destroy whatever enhancement team gets in their way. The Champ that Runs the Camp, AJ Styles, defeated Baron Corbin in the main event after a Phenomenal Forearm. Owens and Zayn congratulated Styles by attacking him from behind. Corbin got the last laugh, though, as he hit both men with a pair of End of Days.

Just as I suspected, Raw blew this week out of the water with their go home show. The two hour Gauntlet Match totally paid off. Of course, the star of the match was Seth Rollins, the guy who is coming off of a bland tag team run. Rollins needed a boost, and boy, did he get it. I do not think he will win on Sunday, but this match did so much for him it should propel him to a great match come ‘Mania. Mickie James helping Bliss on Raw was interesting, but I totally expect her to turn on her on Sunday.

The Blue brand seems to be building to another multi man match at Fastlane, a Triple Threat for the US Championship. Frankly, I think that match sounds great. I cannot say I’m crazy about Orton or Mahal, but Roode defeating both men would be huge for him. Fastlane is still a few weeks away, but we already have some interesting matches on the card. I expect something big to happen within the next few weeks in the women’s division. Hopefully it is some sort of heel turn, the women deserve an awesome match for the SmackDown Live Women’s Championship.

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Houston's bats have a hot night

Astros clobber Rangers to win series opener

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

After dropping two of three in Seattle, the Astros entered the regular season's final series still waiting to clinch their playoff berth. Luckily their matchup favored them, with four games against the 19-37 Rangers, which they have done well against in recent years. Here are highlights from the opener:

Final Score: Astros 12, Rangers 4.

Record: 29-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Cristian Javier (5-2, 3.48 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance Lynn (6-3, 3.32 ERA).

Astros put up 10 on Lynn 

Houston had no trouble getting acquainted with the Rangers' new stadium, jumping out to an early lead in the top of the first inning. After a lengthy at-bat against Lance Lynn, Jose Altuve reached on a one-out single, then scored from first on a two-out RBI-triple by Alex Bregman. They'd double their lead in the next at-bat on an error, making it 2-0.

They extended that lead even more in the next inning, getting back-to-back singles to start the inning to set up a big three-run dinger by George Springer to straightaway center-field to make it 5-0. Bregman added two more RBI to his night in the top of the fifth, capitalizing on a leadoff single by Michael Brantley by hitting a two-run homer to make it a 7-0 lead. Altuve would push the total to double-digits in the top of the sixth, lifting a three-run home run of his own to make it a 10- lead.

Javier with a decent start, bullpen closes out the win

Meanwhile, Cristian Javier was doing well on the mound against the Rangers. He allowed just three baserunners through the first five innings, a double in the first, a hit batter in the second, and a single in the fifth. He would falter a bit in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a leadoff single then a two-run homer, then later in the inning a sac fly, making it 10-3 before Houston would turn to their bullpen. Javier's final line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 95 TP.

Luis Garcia would get the final out of the sixth then returned for the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff double that would score on a two-out RBI-double, making it a six-run game before Garcia finished the frame. Brooks Raley was the next reliever and notched two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth.

Josh Reddick gave Houston two more insurance runs, joining the home run barrage with a two-run homer in the top of the inning to make it 12-4 going to the bottom half. Brandon Bielak was given a low-leverage opportunity to throw in the bottom of the ninth. He erased a two-out double for a scoreless inning to wrap up the lopsided win, lowering Houston's magic number to 1.

Up Next: The second game of this four-game set between Houston and Texas will start Friday at 7:05 PM Central at Globe Life Field. The pitching battle will be Kyle Cody (1-1, 1.53 ERA) for the Rangers and Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.78 ERA) for the Astros.

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