Notes as good ol’ “Cowboy” watches WWE Stomping Grounds. Please note that I rate all matches with “Bobs“. They are like stars, but just very, uniquely different.
Tony Nese (C) vs Drew Gulak vs Akira Tozawa
- Full disclosure, I don’t watch 205 Live, so while I’m familiar with all 3 wrestlers, this is a tough sell on me.
- Entertaining flippy-flippy stuff as per usual
- Love the camera work on the surprise Tozawa pin-break from the top turnbuckle.
- Good Lord that reverse piledriver was shockingly violent for WWE. That was something I expect from a guy in New Japan that a geek on the internet pretends they know the life story of.
- I mean seriously, he definitely hit his head on the mat.
- Credit where it’s due. This is pretty good.
- Gulak wins, which is pretty surprising to me, as I haven’t heard much about him since he dropped the powerpoint gimmick.
- A fun little spotfest that was basically exactly what it should have been.
Becky Lynch (C) vs Lacey Evans
- Love that outfit from Lacey Evans. She just oozes starpower everytime she shows up on the screen.
- Great heel heat on Lacey, who is instantly over as always.
- Oh shit, they pulled out that “Heel gets their leg caught by the face and is hopping around begging them to put it down” spot. I haven’t seen that since 1992.
- This is a little botchy. I’ve seen that with these two before. They aren’t terrible together, but they have many miscommuncations.
- Man am I a sucker for that “Wiping off my sweat and sticking it in your mouth” spot. It’s so hilariously hypocritical of a “lady in class” which adds to her already terrific character.
- Finish is out of nowhere, and Becky wins, which is crushingly disappointing to “Cowboy” Bob.
- I am worried that Lacey cannot recover from this. There’s only so many losses you can take before you enter Bray Wyatt/Samoa Joe “Jobber To The Stars” territory.
New Day (Big E & Xavier) vs
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
- Enormous face pop for poor Kevin Owens, who continues to get wasted away.
- This is another tough sell, as the match has absolutely, positively no stakes.
- Speaking of people who lose way too much, Owens and Zayn DESPERATELY need this win.
- This is way too much shit for Xavier Woods to kick out of. Not even a Big E breaking up of the pin. A huge “Cowboy” pet peeve is any one star kicking out of tandem tag maneuvers.
- The Big E thrusting is very homoerotic, no? And when he does that abdominal stretch and spanks other men he goes into full 1996 Goldust territory.
- Everybody is trying very hard here, and good on the crowd for rewarding them with respect.
- That spear to the outside by Big E is always a winner.
- Thank the Lord above Owens and Zayn get a win of some kind. Now please move them on to something substantial. At least Owens.
- And there goes Owens with his gyrating at the top of the ramp which is hysterical. Makes me wish we saw where “Babyface Owens” could’ve gone.
Samoa Joe (C) vs Ricochet
- Ricochet’s entrance is slightly heelish, no? I don’t know. Comes off kinda pretentious. Like he knows he’s a big deal. Maybe it’s just me.
- Awesome powerbomb by Samoa Joe.
- Samoa Joe clearly botches and punches poor Ricochet right in the fucking head for real, and you know he messed up and hit him for real because we get the suuuuuper sloooooow-mo replay of poor Ricochet headed towards CTE.
- This is a fun big-vs-little match as expected.
- Ricochet wins, with his finisher that is so goddamn impressive. I mean, if he misses that rotation even SLIGHTLY, it’s all over. That’s an insane move.
- Has to be considered a pretty shocking win for Ricochet, as I thought Joe was in for a dominant reign (I mean, he has a new Joe-Joe-Joe-Joe) shirt, and the dude is so good. Seemed a bit too soon for Ricochet, but hey, he’s an excellent performer. Can’t complain.
Daniel Bryan & Erick Rowan (C) vs Heavy Machinery
- Heavy Machinery absolutely does not do it for me at all.
- Jesus Christ, I forgot this is in Washington State?! Daniel Bryan’s hometown?? And they sent Heavy Machinery out to die like this? They will get booed out of the building.
- If this is anything but a jobber squash, Heavy Machinery should walk out feeling somebody in the company likes them.
- That pass-off from one fattie to the other on Daniel Bryan on the suplex was pretty cool. Haven’t seen that before.
- Weird, weird location for an event to have the big fattie do the “hulk up” routine to Daniel Bryan’s kicks. Maybe anywhere else that might get a face pop of some kind, but not here. Strange choice.
- Heavy Machinery goes down via the cheap roll-up finish, which they should be absolutely fucking thrilled about.
Bayley (C) vs Alexa Bliss
- It’s just painfully obvious who the real star is here, but let’s go through with Bayley’s coronation. It’s exhausting that everyone assumes Bliss will win this, when her whole promo on Tuesday was specifically designed to attempt to put Bayley over when Bliss takes the loss tonight. I’ve written about my disdain for Bayley previously.
- Good Lord, should you really book Alexa to take that hard head-to-the-turnbuckle spot?
- Greatly enjoy the very heelish subtle push of Nikki to take the fall of Bayley’s Make-a-Wish dive to the outside.
- Love that sunset flip powerbomb from Bliss to Bayley on the outside.
- The predictable finish as Bayley somehow overcomes Nikki on the outside and defeats Alexa. And it’s Bayley who shows everyone who totally is the legitimate champ despite dressing like Rain Man walking out of K-Mart and unable to deliver a decent promo.
Roman Reigns vs Drew McIntyre
- Shane conducting the announcer like an orchestra is phenomenal heel work, as always.
- I don’t know if chopping a guy wearing riot gear over his chest is very effective. I’m pretty sure the only one I ever saw sell as if he got hurt was the invaluable Kevin Owens.
- Hey guys, how about MUH X-PAC HEAT as we now, once again have loud “ROMAN” chants throughout the crowd? Tell me Shane sucks. Tell me he’s 49 years old and gassed out and sweaty constantly. Tell me he makes you “change the channel” (you sure know a lot about the dude despite changing the channel so much. Weird!). But you can’t tell me he isn’t getting the EXACT reaction of out you that Vince McMahon wants. Bravo.
- The ref is definitely legit hurt here as Shane yanked the shit out of him to get him to the outside. You wouldn’t “sell” that much as a ref because you wouldn’t want to take the focus off the performers.
- Quick cutaway as Shane clearly didn’t make it all the way for that Coast to Coast.
- Roman wins, and probably should win. Like him or not, dude is the star of the show. Has to have decisive victories.
Kofi Kingston (C) vs Dolph Ziggler
- Again, “Cowboy” Bob fucking loathes steel cage matches. And as I watch this, I’m sorry, I just can’t ignore the fact that you can and should just run out of the fucking door. It’s this lynchpin of logic that makes both competitors look like morons and takes you out of the match.
- Also, it is death for the live crowd. You can’t see the performers. Even if you can see, this isn’t that great anyway. And for the audience at home, the camera trying to desperately crawl in between the chain links is annoying.
- The whole “I’m grabbing your leg so you can’t climb up” gets very tiresome very quickly.
- Cool ending as Kofi flat-out dives out, but we also had what seemed like 3 hours worth of rest hold submissions for nothing, as they don’t factor into the finish.
- Cole calls it “One of the gutsiest performances by a WWE champion in recent memory.” How recent? Within the last month? Okay, Cole.
- This really didn’t do it for me.
Seth Rollins (C) vs Baron Corbin
- So the guest referee is….the immortal Lacey Evans. Which gives me a few follow-up thoughts.
- As an unabashed Lacey mark, it shows the company is not going to job her out, as this is clearly keeping her in the fans’ minds as a top player. They are trusting her with a key role in a pay per view main event.
- For pure storyline logic, it makes a ton of sense that Corbin would choose a referee that Rollins can’t physically attack. Actually makes Baron Corbin’s character look intelligent. Even Rollins sells it like he didn’t see anything like this coming.
- Unfortunately, the end of the match is immediately foreshadowed. Of course, Becky Lynch is going to come down for the save at the end and help her boyfriend win. There is literally no other way this could go.
- Corey gets some fantastic lines in. After a hilariously slow count: “She’s from the South, Cole, they do things at a slower pace there!”
- Lacey’s “shoulder injury” that creeps up right before the 3 count is the stuff of heel legend.
- This is very funny, as usually in these situations the heel makes it a little subtle that they are biased, but Lacey is just blatantly changing the rules as we go.
- Lacey “not seeing” the chairshots. Good God, WWE, give this woman the belt.
- Here comes bland Stone Cold to give us the ending we all saw coming 30 minutes ago.
- Match was fun, mainly due to the heelish shenanigans of two of the best WWE has in Baron and Lacey.
- Have to hope this leads to an inter-gender match at Extreme Rules, leads to Lacey pinning Becky to become number one contender, and then finally starts the Lacey heel run we deserve and need at Summerslam.
FINAL “COWBOY” THOUGHTS
A fun little show that was better than it had any right to be. There were no classics, and probably nothing we will remember by Wednesday, but everything was entertaining in its own way besides Kofi vs Dolph, and it ended at a trim (by WWE standards) 3 hours, 15 minutes.
Mild THUMBS UP from “Cowboy” Bob.