WWE Wrap-Up

This week in WWE: Women’s title matches announced for MITB

Asuka crashed the Mellabration ahead of their match at MITB. Photo by WWE.com

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

Raw

Roman Reigns opened the show demanding Jinder Mahal come to the ring. Instead, GM Kurt Angle explained that he was not allowing Mahal out because management wanted them to avoid each other. Reigns did not back down, though, as he chased Mahal through the back in a vicious attack. Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens put on a spectacular match in Rollins’ IC title open challenge. Rollins retained the title after hitting Owens with a stomp. Nia explained how she has an obligatory championship match at MITB. She, then, challenged Ronda Rousey to face her.

Bobby Roode defeated No Way Jose and Baron Corbin to qualify for the MITB match. The B Team, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas, defeated Breezango. Natalya, Sasha Banks and Ember Moon defeated Riott Squad after Natalya submitted Liv Morgan with the Sharpshooter. The Tag Team Champions, Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt, defeated The Revival.

Alexa Bliss defeated Mickie James and Bayley to qualify for the MITB match after hitting Bayley with the Twisted Bliss. An injured Jinder Mahal attempted to make his way to the ring when he was, once again, attacked by Roman Reigns who speared him through a wall. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre defeated the unlikely team of Braun Strowman and Finn Balor. Thanks to Stephanie McMahon, Kevin Owens was granted another opportunity to be placed in the MITB match when he replaced an injured Jinder Mahal in the match against Bobby Lashley and Elias. Owens would win the match thanks to interference from Sami Zayn.

SmackDown Live

Daniel Bryan opened the show to an incredible ovation from the crowd. Big Cass came out to insult Bryan. The leader of the Yes movement had heard enough, though, as he viciously attacked Cass’ previously injured knee. The New Day took on The Bar with the stipulation that the winning team would have a member participating in the MITB match. The New Day sealed the win after an elbow drop from Xavier Woods. Paige explained to her former friends that they would have to face each other and Becky Lynch in a qualifier for the MITB match. Andrade “Cien” Almas finally made his debut on SDL defeating an enhancement talent.

Carmella insulted the fans of London for not praising her the way they should. Paige interrupted the “Mellabration” to announce that she will be defending her SDL Women’s title against Asuka. Becky Lynch qualified for the MITB match after submitting Rose with the Disarmer. Nakamura defeated AJ Styles in the main event of the show after pretending to have received a low blow and causing confusion with the referee. With the win, Nakamura will be allowed to pick the stipulation for their title match at MITB.

After this week, the MITB card is taking shape nicely.

It seems like we are going to get a nice grudge match between Jinder Mahal and Roman Reigns. I was on the fence with this match up, but after their interactions this week, I am all in. I do not know if this is a one-off or not, but I am genuinely excited about this match now. Reigns is a great wrestler, no matter how hard it is for some people to admit it. It is really refreshing to see him in another feud now.

Now, let’s talk about why we are really here. Let’s talk about why this week was so good, and why MITB will be so exciting.

Ronda Rousey will be challenging for the Raw Women’s title in only her second match in the WWE. The way they presented the challenge was interesting, but it will not change how the hardcore fans will perceive this match up if she is to win. Ultimately, this is what makes this match so exciting. I do not see Rousey winning the title already, but how will she lose, if she does in fact lose? Could her “friendship” with Natalya finally break? It is truly an intriguing match to follow next month.

Interestingly enough, something similar is happening on SDL. Asuka will be challenging Carmella for her SDL Women’s title. It seems like the WWE is all-in on Carmella’s title reign. So, how do they explain a matchup between her and Asuka? Personally, I feel like Carmella will have some sort of help. That, or, the winner of the MITB match will interrupt and cash in immediately.

Regardless of the outcomes, there are three more matches that were added this week. All of them are intriguing in their own way. WWE left a lot to be wanted with Backlash, hopefully that will not be the case in a few weeks with MITB.

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Rockets get another much-needed win. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets went on a redemption tour by beating the Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks. But the most pivotal win was against the Mavericks as the Rockets finally showed their true potential. John Wall finally made his return from his injury hiatus and played with a lot of energy. DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon combined for 61 points. It was great to see Stephan Silas crack a smile as he was able to beat his former team.

The Rockets clearly missed Wall during his eight-game absense. This season, the Rockets are a .500 team with Wall on the court. Wall is the Rockets' floor general that leads, constructs, and also pushes his teammates to become better.

Wall only played 21 minutes in the 133-108 win over the Mavericks but still had eight assists. Even though Wall only had 7 points, his presence was still felt by finding his teammates for open looks beyond the perimeter. Wall made sure Cousins and Gordon got a plethora of touches. He called multiple actions, so they got open looks from three, which was mainly Gordon. Gordon and Cousins' struggles have been similar but with Wall on the court, they were successful against the Mavericks. According to NBA Stats, Wall posted a 111 offensive rating with the starters versus the Mavericks, which included Gordon and Cousins.

"He's the engine to this team. He gets everybody going. He makes the game easy," Cousins told a reporter after the game. "The pressure that he constantly puts on the defense is a tough thing to deal with."

Gordon has struggled all season long with three-point shooting and relied on his slashing abilities. Saturday night, Gordon made six three pointers against the Mavericks, which was 66 percent from beyond the perimeter. Gordon increased his three-point percentage from 31 percent to 34.5 percent after Saturday night's game. Gordon's 33 points came from being able to attack the entire Mavericks' defense. Willy Cauley-Stein didn't stand a chance against Gordon as he was burned multiple times. Gordon's been a lifesaver for the Rockets in the last two games, and hopefully he maintains his play.

Cousins played fantastic against the Mavericks scoring 28 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. This is Cousins' first double-double with the Rockets this season. Cousins became the vintage player from the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings. It was extremely fun watching Cousins push the ball up the court and aggressively snatch rebounds. Boogie shot 50 percent from behind the arc by making four three-pointers. He was dominant inside the paint as Cousins went 7/8 from the restricted area versus the Mavericks. This was the game Cousins needed after having a poor performance against the Pistons Friday night.

"It was really, really good. He did it all. He's a physical presence on both ends of the floor," as Silas said on Cousins' performance.

David Nwaba and Mason Jones were big factors off the Rockets' bench by having a combined total of 34 points together. Nwaba has been great in transition for the Rockets the entire season. Keep in mind that Nwaba is returning from an Achilles injury he suffered with his former team, the Brooklyn Nets. Nwaba has became a great defender, slasher, and is averaging a career-high nine points per game with the Rockets. He finished with 18 points on Saturday night versus the Mavericks.

Mason Jones has become a fan favorite of the Rockets because of his confidence. Silas is loving the usage of Jones off the bench but wants to find more minutes for him. Jones had a breakout performance versus the San Antonio Spurs with 24 points off 66 percent shooting from the field. He continues to get better with his reads from the point guard position. Jones' knowledge of running the offense has helped his efficiency on the court. He is never afraid to take clutch shots in pivotal moments of the game.

"To have a young kid who can come in and not be afraid of the moment, that's big. That's a tough position to be in as an undrafted rookie. I trust him. It's a good problem to have," Silas mentioned after the game. "He's showing me he's ready. He's a confident kid, and he should be. That's why he's good. He's not afraid of the moment, at all. He can get us organized, run plays, and score the basketball."

Hopefully, the Rockets can sustain their level of play when Victor Oladipo returns against the Washington Wizards, Tuesday. It will be interesting to watch Oladipo and Wall play in the same backcourt.

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