On this past week’s episode of Raw, new United States Champion Riddle took on John Morrison, the man he pinned in a Triple Threat match at the Elimination Chamber to win Bobby Lashley’s title.
The match on Raw was a lot of fun, but if you watched closely, you’ll have noticed that Morrison landed hard on his knee during an innovative dive to the outside. He could be seen limping for much of the rest of the match, and continued to do so after losing, despite Riddle not working his knee at all.
Dave Meltzer confirmed that Morrison had suffered an injury in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, and the man himself has since taken to Twitter to admit the move didn’t go quite to plan, showing us a comparison of the move he was trying to do, and the move he actually did.
He added the caption: “I saw stuff online about me botching a dive Monday- the landing didn’t go as I pictured but the dive was pretty close to exactly what I’ve been working on [smiling face with sunglasses emoji] as soon as you eliminate the human idea that you need to jump off ur feet to springboard a world of possibilities opens up.”
I guess landing on foam and landing on hard floor are a bit different. We don’t know how long Morrison will be out for, but here’s hoping he’s back in the ring soon.
Jon Moxley Shoots On Fans
In just over a week, we’ll be seeing Jon Moxley face AEW Champion Kenny Omega in an exploding barbed wire death match, and you’ll be surprised to hear that there may be a hint of blood and violence during the match.
Moxley was interviewed by Inside The Ropes’ Gary Cassidy, who asked Moxley what he thought of fans maybe thinking the match is going to be too violent.
Moxley responded by telling fans not to watch it if they aren’t into hardcore wrestling.
“I’d say you probably shouldn’t watch the pay-per-view then, or at least turn it off before that match happens. It’s the good thing about AEW, we’ve got a little something for everybody, but there’s really no way to sugarcoat an Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match, you know, so if you don’t want to see it, then don’t watch. If you think your kid is going to be a little bit too young to watch it, a little bit too violent for them, don’t watch it.”
Sound advice from Moxley there. Though if the response to it is anything like it is when we tell fans to not go on YouTube after a PPV to avoid spoilers for it, expect a lot of angry comments!
Tony Khan Wants To Speak To Zelina Vega
Wondering who will fill the former WWE star gap while Jon Moxley is gone? Well it might be Zelina Vega, as AEW president Tony Khan has admitted that he is interested in talking to her now her non-compete clause is over during an appearance on Wrestling Observer Radio.
“When we get through this tournament and through this pay-per-view, I’d be interested to see where she’s at.”
Vega was released by WWE in November 2020 over a dispute regarding the use of third party platforms such as Twitch, but hasn’t been in a wrestling capacity since.
WWE SmackDown Review
And now it’s time for a review of last night’s episode of SmackDown, in about 5 minutes!
It’s that time once again – it’s a SmackDown so Roman Reigns has got to open the show. After a very long recap of what happened at Elimination Chamber and Edge choosing Roman for WrestleMania, though I’d bet good money he’s not actually chosen him, isn’t that right Louis, Roman cut a promo on Edge, saying it’s not too late to back down from his challenge.
I thought this was a weird turn to take in the feud, because unless I’m horribly mistaken, everything leading up Edge’s decision was Roman trying to goad Edge into choosing him, saying there was only one choice for him to make if he wanted to main event WrestleMania – but now he’s actually chosen him…he doesn’t want him to do that anymore? It was a solid promo, I just don’t think it made all that much sense given the context of the feud so far.
But instead of Edge, out came Daniel Bryan, who told Roman that he was in Reigns’ first match in WWE way back at TLC 2012, so he knows how special he is. But he doesn’t want any excuses or caveats holding him back or putting a damper on his title reign, he wants a straight up one on one match for the Universal Title at Fastlane, and if Reigns wins he can truly call himself a champion going into WrestleMania.
Instead Jey Uso beats up Daniel Bryan, which I’m always here for. This set up the main event match of Uso vs Bryan, and if Bryan won, he would get the Universal Title match at Fastlane.
But this doesn’t sit well with everyone, as Edge went backstage to Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville and enquired about the fact that if Bryan won tonight, he would get a Universal Title match before Edge, despite Bryan being in the very same Rumble match that Edge won. That actually…makes some sort of sense. Though in fairness, winning the Rumble doesn’t mean you get the next shot, it means you get a title shot at WrestleMania – what do you expect them to just not have title matches at Elimination Chamber and Fastlane? This kinda made sense, I guess? But not really?
Up next was Dominik & Rey Mysterio vs Otis & Chad Gable, and this made me feel incredibly vindicated. So you know how last week I said that it was a really bad story, and they weren’t actually telling one and Otis wasn’t just being led along by Gable and he did actually know what he was doing and just turned heel for no reason?
Yeah so in this match, Otis was a full on heel. Like, complete change in demeanour, angry facial expressions, and yes Gable was coaching him, but Otis knew exactly what he was doing. If the story they’re trying to do is that Otis is a big dumb idiot and Gable is working him, then Otis would be the same, still trying to do the same offense and he wouldn’t be so bloody angry all the time. He’s a heel now, and straight up heel. And the story, still doesn’t make any sense.
Otis won with the second rope splash. See there’s not even a Caterpillar anymore. He just doesn’t do it. He’s a heel now.
And speaking of people who are heels now…
Apollo Crews came out to the ring next with brand new attire, and cut a really cool promo about how Big E told him to go back to catering, but instead he went back to his roots, with his new ring gear and entire presentation being centred around his Nigerian descent, which I really dig. I think he looks great, and the promo was really effective too.
He faced Shinsuke Nakamura in a rematch from last week, but this time Apollo won clean, using the Angle Slam as his finisher. I’m more than ok with this, I think it looked great. And after Big E comes back after his stretcher job from last week, I think these two could put on a great match for the Intercontinental Championship.
Liv Morgan vs Tamina came next in a nothing match that lasted two minutes with Tamina winning clean with the softest slam ever recorded. And adding to the list of things to feel vindicated about, I said that Natalya & Tamina’s ‘best friendship’ came out of nowhere, to which several people told me that I was dumb because they’ve both been around for ages so naturally they’re going to be really good friends. On commentary Michael Cole mentioned Tamina’s “newfound friendship with Natalya” – so are they best friends, or have they just become friends? Which one is it WWE?
While I’m talking about dumb stuff, Cole mentioned that Natalya’s catchphrase has now become “reliable to undeniable” – which is just what Cody said, but worse.
It’s finally time for Bianca Belair to make her choice for who she’s going to choose to face at WrestleMania. Why this week is suddenly more important I’m not sure, considering she’s been on the verge of announcing it for weeks before Reginald or someone gets involved.
But I wonder who she’s going to choose – Asuka, who she’s had no storyline progression with, or Sasha Banks, who she’s been verbally sparring with, teaming with, and been featured in segments alongside her since she won the Rumble? And she’s also on SmackDown? Who could it possibly be. It’s Sasha, obviously.
But it couldn’t be that simple, because we need a little bit of Reginald first – who said the same thing he’s been saying for weeks, that Sasha is great and if Bianca chooses her she’s gonna lose. Great, really added to the segment Reggie. Thanks. Bianca chose Sasha, pointed at the WrestleMania sign and made some fireworks happen. But I’d bet good money that it won’t be Bianca vs Sasha, isn’t that right Louis?
Backstage King Corbin voices the opinions of many a wrestling fan when he asks Sami Zayn why they’re tagging together now. Zayn revealed it was his idea, saying the pair could dominate and win tag gold, but Corbin doesn’t like Zayn’s documentary camera crew, so you’ll never guess what it’s time for. Yet another oddball tag team that can’t get along!
And sure enough, they had a match with the Street Profits after which ended with Corbin getting distracted by Zayn’s documentary people, allowing Dawkins to hit a neckbreaker on Zayn followed by a huge springboard Frog Splash from Ford for the win. Now the real question is…why doesn’t Corbin want to be filmed? You do know you’re on international TV right Corbin? There are cameras quite literally everywhere. Why are these cameras so much worse?
Seth Rollins came out next but before he could put a promo he was interrupted by Cesaro who just came out in jeans and looked super duper cool. Rollins cut an impassioned speech about him though, saying he could help him gain some killer instinct, side by side they could reach heights never before seen, but Cesaro just gave him possibly the best swing ever, where Rollins originally told Cesaro to drop him like he was talking to a dog, before being swung out of the jacket he was wearing. It was a great sell from Rollins, ending with an uppercut from Cesaro. I’m excited for a PPV match between them.
And finally the main event was Bryan vs Uso, and if Bryan won he’d get a Universal Title match at Fastlane. So interestingly, after a great match because of course it was a great match, Jey ensured it was a double count out. He worked over Bryan’s knee for the whole match and made sure he couldn’t get back in the ring. And after the match, Reigns came out to emphasise the point, hitting a spear and guillotine to stand tall.
I thought this was an interesting ending. Normally double count outs are super lame and a cop out, but I don’t think it was here. This made it look like Jey couldn’t put away Bryan normally, so he resorted to a double count out to make sure he couldn’t. The stipulation didn’t say anything about Jey winning, it was just if Bryan won, so Jey made sure he didn’t win. I quite liked this.
So that was the show, let me know what you thought in the comments, because I’ll be replying to people FROM OUTTA NOWHERE. And make sure to vote in our Community poll on a pole match, where 76% of you voted for Give Me More Rollins Taking Cesaro’s Swing, and I agree.
I thought this was a solid show. I liked the progression of Bryan and Reigns, with Edge’s inclusion, I’m very excited for Cesaro and Rollins, I really dig the new presentation of Apollo Crews, but the Zayn & Corbin stuff, the insistence of spotlighting Reginald, the Otis stuff and the throwaway Morgan & Tamina match didn’t add much to the episode. So overall I’d give this show a high ⅗, Smack Bang In The Middle.