WWE Wrap-Up

This week in WWE: SmackDown has a big edge as we look to Backlash on Sunday

Samoa Joe seems to be one of the biggest benefactors of the Shake Up. Photo by WWE.com

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


Roman Reigns opened Raw upset about his loss to Lesnar. He was ambushed by Mahal, Zayn and Owens. Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman came down for the save and set up the main event, a six man tag. Bobby Roode sustained a throat injury in his match against Elias. The Authors of Pain returned to Raw defeating an enhancement tag team.

Finn Balor stopped playing nice as he surprised Seth Rollins after the two handled Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel who tried to ambush them. Ruby Riott defeated Sasha Banks thanks to several distractions from The Riott Squad.

Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns defeated the team of Jinder Mahal, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens after a Running Power Slam from Strowman to Owens.  No Way Jose defeated Baron Corbin thanks to a distraction from Titus World Wide. Natalya, with Ronda Rousey in her corner, defeated Mickie James. Mia Jax tried surprising Alexa Bliss, who was in Mickie’s corner, but the former champion escaped through the crowd. Seth Rollins retained his Intercontinental Championship over Finn Balor in their best match of this rivalry.

SmackDown Live

Paige opened the show backstage announcing that the Styles vs Nakamura match this Sunday at BackLash will be a No DQ. The Miz tried to instigate a fight between Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton, instead, he and Shelton Benjamin were destroyed by the two. This, of course, led to a match which was won by Orton and Hardy. Orton celebrated by surprising Hardy, his opponent at BackLash, with an RKO. Cass mocked Daniel Bryan by welcoming, and attacking a little person dressed as Bryan. 

Nakamura demanded an apology from AJ Styles, who attacked him and forced a DQ in their match in Saudi Arabia. Styles awaited Nakamura in the ring. Instead, Samoa Joe came out and explained whoever has the title after BackLash will have to answer a call from him. Nakamura, then, surprised Styles with another low blow and knee to the face. Xavier Woods welcomed The Bar to SmackDown by upsetting Sheamus with a roll up. Absolution met up with Paige expecting a hand out from the new GM. Instead, they had to face the harsh reality from Paige: “Absolution is dead.” Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Asuka defeated Carmela, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce after Asuka submitted Royce with the Asuka Lock.

With that, we’ve reached Backlash. Technically, it is the first PPV of the year. Frankly, I want it to be done and over with already.

It is not that I am not excited for it, I simply think Raw drastically needs some mixing up. The show feels like a rehash from week to week. Lashley and Strowman will have tagged three times in three weeks against Owens and Zayn come Sunday. Though I suspect something will happen at Backlash, like Lashley turning, it has gotten pretty boring.

Taking a deeper dive into Backlash’s card, though, grants us a bit of an explanation. The card will feature four SmackDown Live matches, two cross branded matches, and two Raw matches. For this reason, we can probably give Raw the benefit of the doubt. The first shared PPV will have more of a focus on the blue brand.

This is one of the reasons the show has been so good, too. Heel Nakamura is everything he should be. Cass is as irritable as he needs to be for a baby face like Daniel Bryan. Carmella seems to be forming some sort of alliance. There are stories building to something on SmackDown Live.

The wild card is Samoa Joe. What will he be doing on SmackDown? There are more heels than baby faces on the top of the card, so it makes it hard to project what is next for him. I don’t see them going immediately to Styles or Bryan for him, so perhaps Jeff Hardy and the US title is next? Either way, Joe moving to SmackDown was the right call. There are so many options for him on the show.

I do not expect anything major from Backlash. If anything, maybe we see a heel turn from Lashley and a title change for a mid card title. What I do hope to see, though, is a push forward in the narratives on Raw. Specifically, something needs to happen with Reigns.

I am certain Sunday will be a fun show, but in order for the joint PPVs to really work, they need to have big impacts on both shows. If we are not surprised with something from the red side, we will not be starting on a good path.

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.


The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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