Author: Jason Kelly (Page 1 of 2)

Smackdown Live Recap: Queen Becky Still Rules, Samoa Joe Makes a House Call.

After a 3-hour tooth extraction of a Monday Night RAW, it was refreshing to sit down on the couch tonight for an episode of Smackdown Live. With AJ Styles & Samoa Joe highlighting the show it was clear right off the bat that we were in for another entertaining Tuesday night.

The show opened up with the Miz TV set and Miz’s music, but it was R-Truth and Carmella that were standing in the ring. Truth and Carmella had essentially hijacked Miz’s show and used it as a way to interview Daniel Bryan about this match with the Miz at Super Showdown. This is where R-Truth is at his best. He’s a funny, charismatic guy who can elicit genuine laughter from the crowd without having to try too hard.

Oh, and the mandatory 7-second dance breaks? I’m into it.

This was a fun, light-hearted way to introduce the Bryan-Miz rivalry for this week. Miz would then take out his humiliation on R-Truth by taking him on in a singles match. Miz won the match, all the while taunting Daniel Bryan who was sitting at the commentary table. Miz is definitely gaining momentum heading towards WWE Super Showdown, but there’s still a ways to go. Don’t be surprised to see Daniel Bryan turn the tides in the coming weeks.

This was then followed up by a brief cut-scene featuring Charlotte Flair being attacked at a photo shoot by Becky Lynch. After the attack, Lynch demanded that the photographer take a picture of the champ.

I’ll say it again — All Hail Heel Becky.

Sheamus and Big-E had a singles match as the feud between The Bar and The New Day continues on the way to their Tag Team Championship match at Super Showdown. The match was pretty decent and was a nice back-and-forth between the two, but it was Sheamus who took the win after hitting the Brogue Kick on Big-E.

Rusev, accompanied by Lana, then came out to the ring to address Aiden English’s betrayal from the previous week. English came out and responded to Rusev by saying that everything was going well until Lana got involved. He also made an insinuation about, “that one night in Milwaukee” which drew a big reaction from the crowd.

I love that this seemingly scandalous night took place in Milwaukee, by the way. It doesn’t get more random than Milwaukee, Wisconsin for something like that to happen. We don’t know yet what English is hinting at but this certainly adds a new layer to his situation with Rusev. I’m still not sure what the endgame is here for either superstar, but I’m at least mildly intrigued so I guess I’ll just see where it goes from here.

We then got a women’s tag match featuring the team of Naomi & Asuka facing Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose. I still wish Asuka was in the title picture as she deserves to be, but pairing her with a legit talent like Naomi isn’t the worst thing either. I also still like Deville and Rose, but more as a tag team than anything else. I’m not sure how either would do as a singles competitor, but as a team, they have a strong dynamic.

Naomi & Asuka won without much trouble, as one would expect, but this served more to continue their feud with The Iconics who were on commentary during the match promoting the Super Showdown.

Shinsuke Nakamura took on Tye Dillinger, though that did nothing but provide the setting for a Randy Orton ambush. Orton interfered in the match and beat the hell out of Dillinger, who I guess he had targeted as the “next victim” that he alluded to last week.

Becky Lynch took on Lana in a singles match after the two of them had a brief exchange backstage following Lana & Rusev’s segment with Aiden English. The reasoning behind this match, despite their backstage exchange, was still a bit unclear. Corey Graves alluded to Lynch believing that Lana was, “bad for the Smackdown women’s division” but that was about it. Regardless, Lynch dominated the match and submitted Lana with the “Disarm Her” to pick up the victory.

This led to the show closer which featured the contract signing between AJ Styles and Samoa Joe for their match at WWE Super Showdown for the WWE Championship. Styles came out to the ring looking confident and ready to sign the contract. Samoa Joe? Nowehere to be found..

.. Until he appeared on the titantron. Joe revealed that he was at AJ Styles’ house. It felt like something like this was eventually going to happen. Joe had been hinting at going after Styles’ family for weeks now, and not only did he finally do that but he also showed the most sadistic side of him. He wanted AJ to feel helpless and enraged knowing there was nothing he could do to stop Joe from going to his house.

The show ended with Samoa Joe ringing the doorbell to AJ’s home and saying, “Daddy’s home” just as the screen went to black. That is a cliff-hanging ending like you read about, and it was an awesome way to enhance this rivalry. Samoa Joe is really rounding into form as the top heel on Smackdown Live, and this gives us something intriguing to look forward to next week.

RAW Recap: Brie Goes Botch Mode, Concusses Liv Morgan

Did you watch Monday Night RAW this week? If so, did you watch it live? Commercials and all? If so, then God bless you. You must have the patience of a saint (or legitimately nothing else to do with your night).

I watched Monday Night RAW via my DVR recording, as I usually do because I would rather staple my ears to a horse than sit through 3+ hours on what RAW has to offer these days. Most weeks I usually end up fast-forwarding through roughly 1.5-2 hours of the show and only watching the worthwhile parts.

This week was a much different story. Do you want to know how much of it I fast-forwarded through this week? All of it except for the opening segment. I’m not joking, I did not watch a single part after the opening segment featuring The Shield and Strowman, Ziggler and McIntyre. That’s how bad this show was this week.

Despite the fact that Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were in the building it was still Baron Corbin who was in charge. He announced that the main event would be a 6-man tag match between The Shield and Corbin plus a mystery team, which made it painfully obvious that it was going to be AOP. This opening segment also showed Ziggler, Strowman, and McIntyre trying to sway Dean Ambrose over to their side, teasing a potential heel turn for Ambrose in the main event.

Spoiler: there was no heel turn, and the main event was as lame as one would expect. Go ahead and toss AOP in with the pile of soulless tag teams that occupy the RAW roster. Ever since they were stripped of their full name and Paul Ellering they have not been the same, and I doubt they will ever recover given WWE’s current pace of destroying talented tag teams.

Let’s see, what else did RAW offer this week? Well, we had Finn Balor against Jinder Mahal to promote the Mixed Match Challenge, because what’s the sense in putting Finn Balor in a real feud where he can showcase his awesome talents? Pffttt, who needs that? No, this is great, let’s just keep sticking Finn in these useless matches against bums like Corbin and Mahal. That’s what the WWE fans want!

You can’t see it but as I wrote that my eyes rolled so far into the back of my head I would make The Undertaker tremble.

It is usually at this point that we are treated to The Ronda Rousey Ass-Kissing Hour, but she was not on the show this week. Interesting, isn’t it? I guess Mrs. “I’m not just doing this for fun or part-time” couldn’t be bothered to show up this week.

But fear not! The WWE made up for Ronda’s absence with a truly scintillating 6-woman tag match featuring The Riott Squad vs. Natalya & The Bellas. Before I go any further let me just say this: I like The Riott Squad. I think all three of those women have potential and I despise the fact that they are forced to job out to talentless hacks like The frickin’ Bellas.

So let’s get to our little reality stars, shall we? Want to know what it feels like to watch The Bellas run around and imitate what they believe to be wrestling in the ring? Do this: take your hands, hold open both your eyelids and then have somebody spray Windex directly into them. That’s what it’s like. It’s painful, it’s damaging to your eyesight, and it will make you want to close your eyes for the rest of the night.

The worst part about The Bellas is that they are legitimately dangerous to their opponents in the ring. Luckily, Twitter was all over it last night when Brie botched her patented (actually stolen from her husband) YES kicks.

Brie went full “Botch Moooooooode!” on this one:

That’s right, she kicked Liv Morgan directly in the face. DIRECTLY in the face. And even worse was that she absolutely knocked Liv out by doing so. Liv Morgan was out cold in the middle of the ring thanks to Brie Bella and her incompetence.

Here’s my question: what do you suppose would happen if this was a mid-card superstar who didn’t have their own reality show on the E! network? The answer is simple: he would be god damn fired. The WWE has fired wrestlers for a lot less and knocking out an opponent due to an unsafe, horribly executed kick would absolutely be a fireable offense.

But not if you’re Brie Bella. No, no, no. Not when you have a reality show on the E! Network that WWE gets to promote. Is it even a successful show, though? I mean, are people really watching that slime? The ratings can’t be that good if Brie & Nikki had to come crawling back to WWE so that they could leach off of the company’s marketing power.

I will, however, give credit where it’s due. Brie took to Twitter after the show and (sort of?) apologized to Liv Morgan for her carelessness.

Apology or not, the fact remains that Brie Bella does not belong inside of a WWE ring. Period. End of story. Send her, her sister, and their trash fire of a reality show away from the WWE for good, for all our sakes.

Anyway, I said it in the title of this recap and it’s true; nothing else particularly interesting happened on RAW. The Revival had a tag match against Ziggler & McIntyre for the RAW Tag Team Championships, which I would have watched had it not been for WWE systematically burying The Revival for the past several months on TV.

Spoiler: The Revival lost (shocking, I know).

Ho hum, another lame-ass Monday Night RAW with little-to-no action. But be sure to tune in next week! I’m sure Ronda will be back from vacation (maybe, she might be too busy) and she’ll team up with The Bellas in a “let’s see who Brie murders this week” match!

Report: It Looks Like Telltale is Shutting Down, and That Really

Per Game Informer:

A number of Telltale Games’ employees have posted on social media today indicating that they are looking for work, with many sharing both publicly and privately that Telltale has either closed its doors or is suffering its largest layoff so far.

We have reached out to Telltale for clarification, but did not receive anything back by the time of writing. It appears from the sheer number of developers that are seeking employment, however, that the company will have to make a public statement sooner rather than later.

This is such a bummer, and it really sheds light on how heartbreaking the gaming industry can be sometimes. Telltale has long been a polarizing studio based on the style of games that it produces. They are narrative-driven, graphically unimpressive stories that take the, “your decisions affect the outcome” concept to a whole new level.

Telltale games have received harsh criticism in the past for being ponderous and mentally taxing to get through. Their Game of Thrones series was a solid example of this. Personally, I played their Game of Thrones series and I can tell you that it leaves you feeling like no matter how carefully you make your decisions you will end up with a miserable, depressing, death-filled ending.

However, Telltale seemed to be on the comeback trail due to the success of their Batman series, which was released two years ago. Batman: The Telltale Series was a really enjoyable game and Telltale, I believe, did a fine job venturing into the Batman/DC universe and creating a unique, fun narrative to go along with it.

Unfortunately, it would appear that the last installment of The Walking Dead will serve as Telltale’s swan song to the gaming community. A skeleton crew of just 25 people is left to finish that project and after that, apparently, the doors will be closed for good at Telltale.

Hopefully, the 225 employees that were laid off this week will latch on somewhere else and continue to work in the industry that they love. Telltale wasn’t perfect by any means, but they still provided us with some fun, story-driven games that kept us entertained.

So long, Telltale, and thank you.

NXT Recap: Ricochet & Pete Dunne Put on a Dream Match

I tuned into NXT last night expecting to see the usual: an entertaining, hour-long show with a few high-quality matches and a hint of drama mixed in.

What I got was very different from that. Instead, I sat down and watched what felt like a New Japan Pro Wrestling main event, and I honestly never thought I’d say that about a WWE product ever in my life.

Before I get to the main event allow me to briefly touch on the women’s tag match that opened the show. It was Dakota Kai & Deonna Purrazzo vs. Aliyah and Lacy Evans. There was nothing overly spectacular about this match, but it did a nice job of showcasing NXT’s young, up-and-coming women’s division. Purrazzo and Aliyah are fairly new and look to be coming into their own as of late. It’s encouraging to see Purrazzo getting time on NXT while she’s still competing in the Mae Young Classic. Clearly, WWE is pretty high on her and she backs up the hype in the ring. Evans & Aliyah won the match despite Dakota Kai’s best effort to help her tag team partner. Kai’s massive babyface run continues with a hard-luck loss, and it’s becoming clear that she will likely become the top babyface of the NXT women’s division sooner rather than later.

We also got to see Jaxson Ryker in singles action this week against a youngster named Humberto Carillo. This was a squash match from the very beginning, but Ryker and Carillo actually had a pretty decent match. I’m unfamiliar with Ryker because I didn’t watch him when he went by the name, “Gunner” in Impact, but he looks like a promising heel character. His in-ring brutality reminds me of early-days Dave Bautista in that he’s a physically imposing force who hasn’t refined his craft just yet. There’s a lot that remains to be seen when it comes to Ryker and The Forgotten Sons, but so far they have me intrigued at the very least.

Okay, now on to the main event. Ricochet vs. Pete Dunne in a champion vs. champion match with both the North American and UK Championships on the line at the same time. On paper, this looked like a dream match, and these two absolutely delivered.

The match was constructed exactly like one would expect: Ricochet was going to lean on his high-flying moves and speed to counteract Dunne’s slower, methodical, bruising technique. For a majority of the match, it was Dunne who had the upper hand with his strategy, holding Ricochet down on the ground and working him over with some gruesome joint manipulation that would have made the likes of Marty Scurll and Zack Sabre Jr. very happy to see.

However, Ricochet did not stay down forever, and once he found his feet again he turned on the afterburners and used his speed to overwhelm The Bruiserweight. It’s unlikely that Dunne has ever faced an opponent as fast and mobile as Ricochet, and these two did a great job of showing that in this match.

Ultimately, we would be left without a definitive winner due to interference from The Undisputed Era, which made the crowd extremely unhappy.

I actually really liked that ending, and I’ll tell you why: the only logical conclusion to such a closely contested match between two champions like that is either a draw or a no contest. The interference keeps it up in the air as to who would ultimately win a match between those two, which means we will likely get another match-up in the future. Also, it keeps The Undisputed Era relevant as the top heel faction in the company right now. Oh, you guys are having a great time watching this match? Too bad. We’re the best faction here, and we run NXT, not you.

Hats off to Ricochet and Pete Dunne, they may very well have put on the match of the Summer last night, and I can’t wait to see the next one.

Shawn Michaels Reportedly Set to Return to In-Ring Action At WWE Crown Jewel

Per WrestlingNews.co

It looks like WWE Hall Of Famer Shawn Michaels has one last match left in him after all. “HBK” has been retired from in-ring competition for several years since losing to The Undertaker at WrestleMania 26 in Arizona.

According to a report from Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio, Michaels will return to team up with Triple H against Kane and The Undertaker at the WWE’s upcoming Saudi Arabia show “Crown Jewel” on November 2nd. This became obvious after Monday Night Raw when Undertaker said he would have Kane in his corner for the WWE Super Show-Down.

Well, ain’t that a kick in the ass! Shawn Michaels, perhaps the greatest in-ring showman in WWE history, will be coming back out of retirement to wrestle with Triple H in a tag team match in Saudi Arabia.

Guess who isn’t even the least bit excited about this?

Look, I love HBK as much as the rest of you, but part of the reason I loved him so much was the way he handled his retirement. He walked away from wrestling at exactly the time he should have. Now he’s going back on that for… a tag match? In frickin’ Saudi Arabia?

I have a massive problem with WWE’s hypocritical stance towards putting on these big-money shows in Saudi Arabia to begin with. Don’t preach to us about all the amazing strides you’ve made for women’s wrestling and then put on these massive shows in Saudi Arabia, the most gender-segregated nation in the world. WWE is only doing it because some Saudi Prince wants it so that he can show off to his friends, and he probably won’t even be paying attention to the show at any point.

Anyway, as it pertains to Shawn Michaels I just really can’t get excited about a guy who hasn’t competed in 8 years getting back into the ring. His back still sucks, his hair is gone, it’s just not the same HBK that we all know and love.

The only positive to spin out of this is that he’s coming back in a tag match on a mid-afternoon show, so if he looks extremely rusty then it won’t be as jarring as it would be if it were on the main card at Wrestlemania or something.

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