Thursday, November 23, 2017

Top 5 Takeaways from WWE Survivor Series 2017

Top 5 Takeaways from WWE Survivor Series 2017
By Anton Ware

Hello Geektified family! It's time for another monthly review as we cover the latest WWE offering, Survivor Series. The Toyota Center in Houston, TX played home to the event and is the 31st edition of the show. Last year’s event featured Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg and two RAW vs. Smackdown 5-on-5 elimination matches from the men and women’s division. This year’s show featured another pair of 5-on-5 elimination matches and Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles in a Champion vs. Champion match. Who rises to the top you ask? Well, let's get into it!

#5: The Hounds Decimate the Unicorns

In the opening contest, The Shield took on the New Day in a dream matchup to determine the best trio in WWE history. This event marks the 5th year that the Hounds of Justice have been in WWE. At Survivor Series 2012, Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns came through the crowd and interfered in the main event match on CM Punk’s behalf. Since then, they’ve have been running roughshod over WWE with title wins, Money in the Bank, and Royal Rumble victories. The New Day were also looking to leave their mark in history as well. Accomplished tag specialists in their own right, The New Day came into this as the underdog because they’ve had been criticized for being too “playful” and not having the aggression and intensity to match The Shield. New Day lost the SmackDown Tag Team Championship to The Usos inside Hell in a Cell last month and were out to prove that they can deliver in a big match setting.  The match itself was a damn fine contest. The match simply boiled down to who was the more cohesive unit.  Both teams showed signs of that throughout the match. The New Day would bust out some creative triple team moves while The Shield relied on their traditional offense of every member using their separate strengths for the better. In the end, it would be The Shield gaining the victory with a Super Triple Powerbomb from the second rope onto Kofi Kingston.

#4: No One Is Ready For Asuka

In the Traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series Women’s matchup for the Raw vs. Smackdown themed show, Asuka was the sole survivor of TEAM RAW as she eliminated Tamina and Natalya during the last five minutes of the match. The Empress of Tomorrow continues her dominance on the main roster. By picking up the win for her team and keeping her undefeated streak intact, one would think that a title opportunity is right around the corner. Stars like Bayley and Sasha Banks may take issue with her being next in line, but we shall see in the coming weeks what transpires.

#3: Less is more with Commentary

Throughout the show, we were treated with commentary from all five active members of the WWE announce team. What we also got was constant bickering over who works for the better brand and confusion as to who works for what brand. It really took away from the viewing experience because they were not on the same page when it came to storytelling which probably confused viewers throughout the show. WWE should’ve stuck with a three-man booth with alternating announcers for certain matches. Five men trying to speak and be the voice behind the in-ring action is too much and hopefully WWE will learn from this mistake come Royal Rumble time.

#2: Smackdown Dominates the Midcard While RAW Wins “The Big Ones”

The Young Lions of Smackdown put on a show by winning their respective matches for the blue brand. The Smackdown Women’s, United States, and Tag Title holders all prevailed in their Champion vs. Champion matches which painted RAW in a corner to turn up the volume against Shane McMahon and company and boy, did they ever. Brock Lesnar would go on defeat AJ Styles in a Champion vs. Champion match in a hard fought contest and Team Raw would defeat Team Smackdown in the main 5-on-5 elimination match which gave RAW bragging right for then night. Arguably the most star studded Survivor Series match in the event’s history, it featured the past, present, and future of the company being showcased in one monumental contest. The match wasn’t without controversy as Smackdown stars Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens attacked Shane McMahon to get revenge for not being put on the SD Live team. Owens and Zayn had been disgruntled over their position on the roster and wanted to make it clear they weren’t fans of not only Shane McMahon, but Smackdown in general. Speaking of the main event, that leads us to…

#1: The Ending

During the final moments of the main event, it came down to Shane McMahon (representing Smackdown) vs. Braun Strowman, HHH, and Kurt Angle (representing RAW) in a 3-on-1 situation. Each man wanted a piece of the Smackdown Commissioner by tagging one another to end the match once and for all. Kurt Angle won the tag game and put Shane in the Ankle Lock. As Shane was about to tap out, HHH broke the hold and dropped Angle with a Pedigree. HHH draped Shane over Angle for the pin as Strowman looked on in shock. Hunter signified his allegiance to Shane by helping him to his feet only to nail him with the Pedigree that clinched the win for Team Raw. Afterwards, HHH tried to get Strowman to celebrate, but he only infuriated the Monster of Among Men. Strowman accused Triple H of trying to betray him and delivered two Powerslams to HHH and walked up the ramp to end the show. The end of the show was flat and uneventful. Why did Triple H temporarily turn on his team by putting the screws to Kurt Angle for no apparent reason?  It cooled off the crowd as they were confused for the rest of the main event. What will the fallout be between Angle and HHH? Will there be any repercussions for Strowman’s attack on HHH? It all remains to be seen.

What did you guys think of the show? Was it a hit or miss? Let me know in the comments section. Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The SmackDown Files: WWE Presents - Revenge Of The Angry Unicorns (A New Day Story)

By: Keila Cash

Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. WWE’s four-night stand in H-Town comes to an end as SD Live eats a slice of humble pie because Raw beat them at Survivor Series in head-to-head competition by a narrow margin.

The blue brand didn’t get punked out, but their egos were bruised after Shane McMahon’s Guerrilla Warfare tactics backfired. Did Shane-O-Mac offer a mea culpa or did he have a taste for revenge instead? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s show in no particular order.

·        Daniel Bryan spared the careers of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, but he didn’t let the outcasts off the hook after they tried to screw over Team SmackDown at Survivor Series. Since the entire locker room hated their guts, Bryan booked Owens and Zayn against The New Day in a Lumberjack Match as the opening segment came to an end.

·        This was a fine way to start the show. Shane McMahon put over the SD Live roster for busting their asses on Sunday, but he singled out Owens and Zayn for being selfish megalomaniacs who only cared about their own self-interests. He was about to fire them when Daniel Bryan came out and gave them a reprieve before handing out their punishment.

·        Zayn being an over joyous asshole kept the segment afloat from an entertainment standpoint.  Outside of that, this was a blah way to start the show.

·        Shelton Benjamin defeated Jey Uso with Pay Dirt in a solid match. Chad Gable ran interference at ringside which enabled Benjamin to pick up the tainted win. The heel-babyface dynamic has been flipped as American Alpha 2.0 have used heelish tactics in order to outsmart The Usos in recent weeks. The role surprisingly suits them while Jimmy and Jey are getting over as badass babyfaces. Their eventual rematch for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles should be very good if both teams are given enough time to do their thing in the ring.

·        The NXT Invasion continued as Ruby Riot, Sarah Logan, and Liv Morgan attacked Naomi backstage. Becky Lynch tried to make the saved, but she got tripled teamed as well. This was an impressive debut for Riot, Logan, and Morgan as they’ve raised the stakes in the SD Live Women’s Division. It’s about damn time!

·        I think Shane McMahon is in for a rude awakening when he realizes that Daniel Bryan is not going to fire Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn after they are beaten to a pulp during the Lumberjack Match against The New Day later today. I smell a double-cross coming.

·        The Bludgeon Brothers defeated The Hype Bros when Harper and Rowan laid out Mojo Rawley with a Double Chokeslam for the win. This was a one-sided rout that showcased the twisted duo in the best possible way. This team has potential if they are booked properly.

·        The WWE Championship rematch between AJ Styles and Jinder Mahal will take place at the Clash of Champions PPV on December 17th. Here’s hoping this is the blow off match because Styles needs to hold the belt through WrestleMania. No offense to Mahal, but his title reign left a lot to be desired.

·        The Singh Brothers attacked Styles from behind, but The Phenomenal One made quick work of Singh One and Singh Two as he laid one of them out with the Styles Clash as the segment came to an end. This was a good way to build heat for their WWE title match next month despite Mahal cutting his promo from the Titantron.

·        The SmackDown Women’s Championship rematch between Charlotte and Natalya came to a halt when Ruby Riot, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan attacked Natalya at ringside which caused the referee to ring the bell. Once Natalya was taken out, the trio set their sights on Charlotte as they triple teamed her as well.

·        Prior to the DQ, Charlotte and Natalya were having a solid match. It was a mirror copy of what they did last week, but it made sense in the grand scheme of things.

·        Riot, Logan, and Morgan made an impactful debut while Daniel Bryan remained mum about their actions. Very interesting…

·        Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn defeated The New Day when Zayn pinned Kofi Kingston with a roll-up after the BBFs took advantage of the lumberjacks fighting each other down the stretch. The match was solid, but it was nothing special.

·        Sensing that things were going downhill, Owens made a run for it while leaving his best friend behind. Rusev and Aiden English tried to intervene on Zayn’s behalf, but Kofi Kingston laid them out with a dive from the top rope onto the floor.

·        Xavier Woods threw Zayn back in the ring as the rest of The New Day pounced on him like a pack of angry unicorns. Kingston nailed Zayn with Trouble in Paradise before Woods and Big E finished him off with The Midnight Hour.

·        As The New Day celebrated in the ring, the camera cut backstage to Owens begging Daniel Bryan not to fire him. Bryan reassured Owens that he was never going to fire him. He recognized KO’s talent and decided to book him in a match against Randy Orton next week. Owens was about to pitch a fit, but he kept his cool as the show went off the air.

·        Shane McMahon’s reaction to Daniel Bryan’s decision not to fire Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn should be very interesting. Bryan is still salty that Shane invaded Raw without consulting him first. Hence the power struggle that has boiled over into tonight’s show. 

·        Can the brain trust of SD Live settle their differences before one of them decides to join the dark side of the force? Shane-O-Mac is susceptible to corruption based on his DNA alone. The same can’t be said for Bryan, but absolute power corrupts absolutely. Here’s hoping he can resist temptation because the blue brand doesn’t needed a bootleg version of The Authority wreaking havoc on Tuesday nights. 

·        Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was decent at best. The in-ring was fine, but it was nothing to write home about. The fallout from Survivor Series felt muted as everything went back to business as usual after Raw and SD Live went to war with nothing on the line except pride. That’s the major drawback when it comes to Brand Wars (Insert Year Here). 

·        WWE needs to explore ways to up the ante next year when it comes to trades, future draft picks, and Royal Rumble positioning. Having something tangible to fight for will enable fans to care about both shows which should always be the ultimate goal. If not, it’s another frivolous battle for brand supremacy that rings hollow if nothing is gained in victory except bragging rights. Minus the bullshit trophy, of course. 

·        Based on what happened during the Lumberjack Match, it appears that Baron Corbin and Bobby Roode will be feuding over the United States Championship. Roode’s transition to the main roster has been disappointing thus far. I don’t think a series of middling matches against Corbin is going to get him on the right track, but we shall see.

·        With three more live shows to go until Clash of Champions, the creative team has enough time to flesh out the PPV card. The major title bouts are seemingly locked in, but a lot can happen between now and then. Here’s hoping the Powers That Be can work their magic because the blue brand needs to end the year on a high note because the quality of the show has taken a nosedive Post-WrestleMania season. Fingers crossed!

On that note, this wraps up another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back next week with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. Happy Thanksgiving, boys and girls! 

Spoiler review of Justice League

By Jim Scroggs
JHScroggs on Twitter and Instagram
November 20, 2017

Edited by Katie Westbrooks

The DC Films franchise hasn’t had the best reputation overall, especially with what happened last year with BVS and Suicide Squad. Soon after those films release, there was a tonal shift within DC/WB to get the films on the right track. Wonder Woman surely started that upward momentum amongst the audience and now that the long-awaited Justice League is here, let’s see what happens when the league is finally united.

What I liked

Considering we’ve only seen half of the league’s backstory, they did a good job of diving into (pun intended) Aquaman’s, Cyborg’s and Flash’s origin right off the bat considering this is a 2-hour long movie. There is a great exchange between Victor and Silas that shows the tension in how Victor was really created and it shows how talented they both are as actors. When Diana asked Victor to talk and get to know more about him, he wasn’t up for it at all. Eventually, he did come around when Silas was kidnapped by some Parademons trying to get to a Mother Box.
It was a nice touch to see two characters instead of just the one to be reluctant to join the team. That other character, is Arthur Curry. He’s a loner and doesn’t really know his place in this world. He is even confronted by Mera about this in Atlantis when Steppenwolf gets one of the three Mother Box's in Atlantis. He had a great moment in the Batcave. He started to somewhat wax poetic on some things but come to find out, he was actually sitting on the lasso of truth. So, I’m glad to see that Momoa can play with a sense of humor.
Flash really stole the show for me. Ezra Miller as Barry Allen was a fanboy who really didn’t know how he could use his powers. Once he figured it out, he was just fine in dealing with whatever was thrown at him. He had a great moment when he zipped around the Batcave exploring everything then ended up in the Batmobile – his eyes were so big and dart around with pure joy that he was there.
Wonder Woman was clearly the leader and I wouldn’t have put it any other way. Bruce and Diana had a little disagreement and Bruce decided to use Steve Trevor to put it back in Diana’s face. She immediately responded by shoving him about 3 feet. Diana is clearly the star of this ensemble and that’s saying a lot when you look at the whole roster. 
Batman was a lighter, more hopeful dark knight in this go around but Affleck still portrayed him like the Bruce Wayne we know and love. He took a backseat to Wonder Woman and even Superman at one point – I’m glad that he seems to be playing well with others as Commissioner Gordon would say. He really seemed to finally be open to being a part of a team. In a montage of all our hero's at the end, he joins Diana and Alfred in Wayne Manor and they discuss a large table with 6 chairs. Diana adds that there could be room for more so I really hope they pay off Green Lantern or even a Martian Manhunter joining the team. 
Superman’s return was a tad surprising – I’ll get into that later. When he was brought back to life, they used a Mother Box and a spark from Flash to kick start his heart, in a way. I was worried that he would come back angry, much like the tone of BVS or MOS, but he was confused about being alive – I would compare it to someone waking you when you are asleep. Nobody is happy if someone wakes them up so that’s the closest thing I can describe it as. The rest of the team tried to contain Superman and even Aquaman pointed out early that he wasn’t OK. Flash tried to get behind him but Superman noticed and started to turn his head as fast as Flash was running. Miller’s reaction was so perfect in that situation which made me like him that much more.
The amount of comical moments was less than I was anticipating. Including Superman carrying an entire building as a response to Flash helping a family in a truck, Cyborg and Flash had a funny moment with a fist bump that paid off later in the movie, and when Superman saw Batman for the first time. Superman referenced “Do you bleed,” and knocked Batman to the ground followed by Batman on the ground in pain saying “Yeah, something is definitely bleeding.”

The mid and end credit scenes were really good. The mid credit was pure fan service with Flash and Superman in a rural area talking about who’s faster. Some light chit chat follows then Barry lights a firecracker with his fingers and they start running. This is a nod to Superman 199 with the cover of Flash and Superman racing with the other members of the team cheering them on. I’m glad that a little piece of comics history was thrown in there. The post credit scene was something I wasn’t expecting, I’d heard that the Lex Luthor scenes were going to be left out so I didn’t think anything about him being in it. However, we finally got to see inside Arkham Asylum and someone with a bald head in a cell. Turns out, it wasn’t Lex  – he’s on a yacht somewhere waiting on someone. There’s a silhouette of someone with handles with tassels and I knew immediately that was Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke. He boards the yacht, instantly tells Lex that he better not be wasting his time and removes the mask to reveal a white haired Joe Manganiello. He looks perfect as Slade so I really hope this leads into The Batman (rumored title, of course). Lex monologues about God’s return and suggests that they should start a league of their own. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get the Legion of Doom as the villain but this is something that DC/WB can hang over Marvel Studios –  film with a team of heroes versus a team of villains. I really hope that we get the Legion of Doom or maybe The Injustice League.

I was OK with it

I would put these next points in an in between category. I don’t hate how Superman came back to the team but I wish there had been a little more fanfare to it. When Steppenwolf seems to have the team on the ropes, all we hear is Superman’s voice to get his attention. Maybe if he used a heat vision quick strike to stop Steppenwolf from attacking, see him levitate down and then start his lines, it might have been more effective.

The editing seemed tight but not as tight and somewhat disjointed as Suicide Squad. There really wasn’t much time to let things breathe and when it did, it was a bit of a surprise since it wasn’t a regular thing in this movie.

In the battle sequence between Steppenwolf and the combined forces of Amazon's, Atlanteans, and other forces in the universe (one of those other forces were the Lanterns), I’m glad that I got to see that part of the DC lore into this film but I wanted to see more. Maybe they aren't ready to tell that tale of John Stewart and Hal Jordan but I really hope we hear “In brightest day, In blackest night,” real soon.

Not so much

Many jokes were made about how Henry Cavill’s re shoot's taking place with a mustache since he was also shooting the latest Mission:Impossible film but I thought that since there were very talented VFX artists in Hollywood, this could be pulled off. (I actually saw a screenshot on Twitter of his face 5 minutes before the trailers started so I kind of blame myself for that) Sadly, it wasn’t pulled off very well. The very first scene are kids shooting cellphone video of Superman helping at an accident scene and it’s clear that was a re shoot. I’ve never seen the uncanny valley on half a human's face but I can now cross that off the list. I’ll make the same criticism with this film as I did with Thor:Ragnarok – the CGI backgrounds weren’t the best all the time but that’s forgivable in my opinion with how heavy CG’d this movie is at times. Maybe the effects artists ran out of time or maybe the budget didn’t allow them to go further. Who knows? But I hope this doesn’t become a trend or consistent in the future, regardless of movie. Little side note: In order to bring Clark back from the dead, they took him to the same place that Doomsday was born and you can tell it’s a “dummy” of Cavill. I wish they had actually used him for that scene.

This has nothing to do with the movie in itself but rather the marketing for the film. I really, and I do mean really, wish that Warner Brothers or whoever is cutting the trailers for this universe will stop putting out 3 or 4 fairly long trailers. Almost every part that I laughed at or enjoyed seeing in the movie, I saw it in a trailer that was a large portion of an entire scene. For instance, 70-80 percent of the scene or sequence with Bruce and Barry when they meet was in one of the trailers. That shouldn’t happen at all when you are trying to promote a film and I don’t want to see fairly large sequences in trailers.

Final Verdict

            I’m glad we got the tonal change with this movie instead of continuing with the tone that Man of Steel, BVS and Suicide Squad set. This movie isn’t perfect by any means but I think this is a good start to what could come from here on out (with or without Ben Affleck). It’s fun, it’s got heart, and shows the value of teamwork. I know that sounds like the synopsis of a Justice League cartoon but in a way, it felt like an episode of Justice League Unlimited put on the big screen. I know the reviews and box office dollars aren’t saying much but I really think this movie should be given a chance and the same goes with the future of the DC Films universe. I would put it at number two in the DC Films slate above Man of Steel and below Wonder Woman.

Justice League is in theaters now

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Raw Exposé: Reclaiming Her House - A Paige Turner Production (11-20-2017)

By: Keila Cash 

·     Monday Night Raw kicked off with a twisted WWE dramatization of Family Ties as Stephane McMahon, Triple H, Kurt Angle, and Jason Jordan argued about who was going to kick HHH’s ass first. Stephanie claimed that her husband wasn’t afraid of anyone. Cue Braun Strowman as he made his way to the ring to confront The Game.

·        Strowman got in Hunter’s face as Steph quickly got out of the ring. Triple H followed suit as fans chanted “You’re a Coward.” Stephanie acknowledged the crowd’s bloodthirst and booked Strowman in a match against Jason Jordan as the opening segment came to an end.

·        Revenge by Proxy is the perfect way to sum up the opener. Stephanie McMahon is using Jordan as a human punching bag so he can take the hit that Triple H is afraid to take against Strowman. Plus, Angle has to watch his son suffer the worst beating of his professional career which screams Shakespearian Drama. Outside of that, this was a pretty uneventful way to start the show.

·        Samoa Joe defeated Finn Bálor when he made Bálor pass out to the Coquina Clutch in a good match. Joe dominated the action throughout, but Bálor overcame the onslaught when he rolled out of the Coquina Clutch and delivered a double foot stomp to Joe followed by a dropkick in the corner.

·        Bálor went for the Coup De Grace, but Joe pulled him off the top rope and locked in his submission hold for the win moments later. This was a nice showcase for both men, but this was all about getting Joe over as a monster heel. Bálor’s time will come soon enough.

·        Asuka defeated Dana Brooke with a stiff kick to the face in a quick match. After a rocky start, Asuka is finally being presented as an unstoppable monster who should be feared and revered. My concerns about WWE fucking things up has been quelled. For now…

·        The latest edition of Miz TV was highly entertaining as The Shield invited themselves on the show. Miz wanted a thank you for facilitating The Shield reunion. The fans shockingly agreed as they chanted “Thank You Miz” followed by “Miz Is Awesome” which took The Shield aback. The Miz refused to thank the Houston crowd as he made fun of The Shield for not having any championships while he had one despite losing to Baron Corbin last night.

·        Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins told Miz that they planned to win back the Raw Tag Team Titles from Sheamus and Cesaro. Roman Reigns felt left out, but Rollins reassured him that he could challenge Miz for the Intercontinental Championship.

·        Bo Dallas stood up to The Hounds of Justice and claimed that they had to go through him and Curtis Axel before going after Miz. Ambrose was more than happy to oblige as The Shield attacked the Miztourage.

·        Ambrose and Rollins double teamed Axel before joining Reigns to deliver a Triple Powerbomb as Miz looked on in horror.

·        All in all, this was a fun segment that made me laugh from start to finish. The Miz outdid Dr. Shelby by reuniting The Shield in the most unorthodox way possible. He deserves a cut of their residual checks, but I doubt that’s going happen. It’s the thought that counts, though.

·        Dean Ambrose defeated Sheamus with Dirty Deeds in a good match. The action was hard-hitting and physical throughout as Sheamus targeted Ambrose’s right arm early on. Cesaro tried to interfere on his partner’s behalf which led to a couple of near falls down the stretch.

·        Rollins came through in the clutch when he laid out Cesaro with a tope which led to the finish moments later. One can assume that Ambrose’s win will lead to a future Tag Title rematch against The Bar in the very near future.

·        The Fatal Four Way match featuring Mickie James, Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Alicia Fox came to a halt when PAIGE made her triumphant return to Monday Night Raw.

·        The fans gave her a great ovation as she announced to the world that she was back. However, The Scream Queen didn’t come alone as Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville attacked Sasha Banks and Mickie James from behind as Paige led the charge.

·        Alicia Fox made the right business decision by running away while the NXT upstarts pounced on the babyfaces.

·        Paige capped things off when she hit Bayley with the Ram Paige as the segment came to an end with the NXT upstarts and Paige standing tall in the ring.

·        What a crazy turn of events! I’m concerned that Deville and Rose are not quite ready for primetime, but we shall see how they fair on the main roster before making any snap judgments.

·        Alexa Bliss was also on the receiving end of an ass whopping as Paige, Deville, and Rose triple teamed her backstage. It appears that no one is safe which raises the stakes in the Women’s Division for the first time in months. Asuka’s debut was a game changer, but Paige and Company just flipped the script in the best possible way. Most importantly, there are fresh feuds to look forward to instead of the same three or four women vying for Bliss’ championship. Three cheers for parity!

·        Braun Strowman vs. Jordan Jason ended abruptly when Kane attacked Strowman from behind. Jordan ran backstage as The Big Red Machine hit Strowman with a steel chair as he continued his attack outside the ring. Kane slammed Strowman against the steel steps before smashing his throat against the chair as The Monster Among Men gasped for air.

·        Strowman did a great sell job as he did everything in his power to breathe as he refused medical attention from WWE officials.

·        Last week’s brawl between Kane and Strowman was a dud, but they made up for it this week as weapons were used to up the ante in terms of heat. Here’s hoping both men continue to develop in-ring chemistry because their previous encounters have left a lot to be desired thus far.

·        Cedric Alexander, Rich Swann, Akira Tozawa, and Mustafa Ali defeated Drew Gulak, Noam Dar, Tony Nese, and Ariya Daivari when Ali pinned Gulak with the Inverted 450 Splash in a decent match. Talent and work rate aside, the Cruiserweight Division is spinning in its wheels at the moment. There is no sense of momentum as Enzo’s reign as Cruiserweight Champion has turned the beleaguered purple brand into a parody of its former self. It’s sad to watch.

·        Roman Reigns defeated The Miz with the Spear to become the NEW Intercontinental Champion in a very good main event match. Miz had one of the better matches of his career as he went toe-to-toe with Reigns from start to finish.

·        Miz did a great job countering Reigns’ Superman Punch as he avoided it every turn down the stretch. However, he made a costly mistake by going up to the top rope as Reigns finally hit his target.

·        Reigns was about to hit the Spear when Sheamus and Cesaro came out to interfere. Reigns knocked them off the ring apron, but the distraction gave Miz enough time to hit the Skull Crushing Finale for a near fall.

·        Reigns had backup of his own as Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins made their way to ringside to attack Sheamus and Cesaro. Ambrose back dropped Cesaro on the floor while Rollins helped Ambrose clothesline Sheamus over the barricade which led to the aforementioned finish moments later. Raw went off the air with The Shield standing tall as the announcers noted that Reigns completed the grand slam by winning the Intercontinental Title. Congrats to the Big Dog for a job well done.

·        This was a strong way to end the show. Reigns winning the IC Title should help elevate the belt to new heights. His reign (no pun intended) should be a short one because he has a presumed date with Lesnar at WrestleMania next year. Once Miz invokes his rematch clause, things should be clearer when it comes to future contenders. Based on his performance tonight, Samoa Joe could be next in line for a title shot. The Battle of Badass Samoans sounds good to me. Will WWE pull the trigger? We shall find out soon enough.

·        Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of Raw was decent at best. This didn’t feel like a hot post-PPV show considering everything that went down at Survivor Series last night. Things got better during the second hour with Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus and Paige’s return with Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose in tow.

·        The third hour was nondescript until the main event which saw Miz and Reigns deliver one the better television matches of the year. Therefore, the positives outweighed the fluff which made the show enjoyable to watch for the most.

·        Raw has plenty of downtime on their hands between now and the Royal Rumble. With the exception of the 25th Anniversary special taking place January 22nd, there is no major event on the docket. The creative team can try new things as the holiday season approaches. If they give fans a reason to tune in, everything should be fine. If not, bah humbug! Winter is coming, ladies and gentleman. Prepare accordingly.

On that note, this wraps up another edition of The Raw Exposé. I hope you enjoyed it and I will back tomorrow night with a brand new installment of The SmackDown Files. See you later, boys and girls! 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The SmackDown Files: The Raw Empire Strikes Back Edition (11-14-2017)

By: Keila Cash

Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. With this being the final live show before Survivor Series, one can only assume that Raw will carry out a counterattack on the blue brand after Shane McMahon put them under siege a few weeks ago. Did Kurt Angle and company unleash the fury of a thousand burning suns or did they make peace with their blue counterpart over a warm glass of milk instead? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s show in no particular order.

·        SD Live opened with the corniest pep rally in history. It was cheesier than a bowl of mac and cheese drenched with Velveeta on top.  

·        Fortunately, Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles salvaged things as Bryan did his best Paul Heyman impersonation as he hyped Styles vs. Brock Lesnar to the hilt. Bryan accused Lesnar of being a quitter when things got tough. He quit WWE in 2004 and left UFC when a weak ass knee bar forced him into retirement in 2011.

·        Lesnar was big and strong, but he was afraid to swim in the deep end. His thick head would keep him afloat for about ten minutes before he mentally checked out. Styles’ speed and athleticism would wear Lesnar down because he had the stamina to withstand The Beast’s onslaught.

·        Bryan stated that Lesnar will be beaten, victimized, and conquered mentally by Styles at Survivor Series because he is the best wrestler of this generation.

·        Styles thanked Bryan for speaking on his behalf, but he could speak for himself, unlike Lesnar who is nothing more than a puppet that Heyman props up time and time again.

·        Styles put Heyman on notice that Lesnar was about to star in an AJ Styles Production that will see the WWE Champion come out on top as the opening segment came to an end.

·        Bullshit pep rally aside, this was a good way to start the show. Bryan cut a passionate promo as he put over Styles’ unparalleled talent and tenacity while shading Lesnar’s tendency to quit under pressure. Here’s hoping the bout lives up to expectations because both men are capable of delivering a classic if they’re given enough time to do so.

·        Baron Corbin retained the United States Championship when he defeated Sin Cara with End of Days in a solid match. Sin Cara dictated the pace, but Corbin outsmarted him when he avoided Sin Cara’s Senton from the top rope which led to the finish moments later.

·        Corbin will face The Miz at Survivor Series in a United States Champion vs. Intercontinental Champion match that looks absolutely bland on paper. Heel vs. Heel matchups are usually a fail and I expect Miz to be the de facto babyface because he has more credibility in terms of experience and tenure. Try reading that with a straight face five years ago.

·        Despite Daniel Bryan bleeding blue through and through, he still has a bone to pick when it comes to Shane McMahon abusing his power. I guess Shane-O-Mac is heading to the principal’s office despite being the head honcho in charge…

·        Charlotte became a five-time Women’s Champion when she made Natalya tap out to the Figure Eight in a good match. Charlotte’s Drive for Five has come to an end as she will represent SD Live when she faces Alexa Bliss at Survivor Series on Sunday.

·        Charlotte and Natalya had one of their better matches since their epic battle at the first NXT Takeover in May 2014. It was hard-hitting and physical throughout. When both ladies are given time to put in that work, they always over deliver and tonight was no exception.

·        After the match was over, Renee Young interviewed Charlotte in the ring about her win. Charlotte thanked the hometown crowd and noted that she’s been gunning for the SmackDown Women’s Title since the Superstar Shakeup earlier this year. She looked forward to her match against Little Miss Bliss because The Queen wanted to put the Goddess in her place while representing Team Blue to the fullest.

·        Finally, Charlotte dedicated her win to Ric Flair. Her father couldn’t be there tonight, but she knew that he was watching from home which made the moment even sweeter.

·        As she was heading up the ramp, Flair’s music hit which meant only one thing…The Nature Boy appeared on WWE television for the first time since his health scare as he received a big pop in Flair Country.

·        Charlotte ran into her father’s arms as tears were shed by all. That was a nice moment to push her victory over the top.

·        Jimmy Uso defeated Chad Gable with a Superkick in a solid match. Gable has developed a mean streak in recent weeks which suits him perfectly. He is such a dynamic performer that he can get over as a heel or a babyface. If WWE commits to Gable and Shelton Benjamin long-term, they could be an elite tag team in 2018.

·        The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods) vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn came to an abrupt end when The Shield put SD Live under siege. I think the trio jumped the gun because the crowd sensed something was about to happen as they focused their attention on the middle aisle instead of the action unfolding in the ring. Sure enough, The Hounds of Justice were on the prowl and all hell was about to break loose.

·        Owens and Zayn stood side by side with The New Day, but they had no sense of brand loyalty as they left them high and dry in the ring. The Shield pounced which led to a full-on brawl.

·        The Usos ran out to make the save which led to an interesting standoff with their cousin Roman Reigns. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins quickly went on the attack as Reigns looked on remorsefully. His sense of family was short-lived as the ass-kicking commenced.

·        The camera cut backstage to the women from Team Raw barging inside the SD Live Women’s Locker Room as they kicked their asses from pillar to post. Even Lana wasn’t spared from the onslaught. Charlotte tried to stand up for her team, but she got decked by Alexa Bliss instead.

·        Back in the ring, Shane led his team into battle as they traded blows with The Shield. Cesaro, Sheamus, Finn Bálor, Samoa Joe, Apollo Crews, and Titus O’Neil joined the fight as they hit everything that moved.

·        Kurt Angle appeared on the main stage and brought out Braun Strowman to finish the job. From there, Shane was a sitting duck as The Shield made him watch the carnage unfold at ringside. Angle got in Shane’s face and vowed that he will finish him off at Survivor Series before giving The Shield the Thumbs Down to drop Shane-O-Mac with the Triple Powerbomb. Angle followed things up by laying him out with the Angle Slam for good measure.

·        The Shield dropped Shane with another Triple Powerbomb as SD Live went off the air with Team Raw standing tall while the blue brand was in retreat mode.

·        It should be noted that AJ Styles and Jinder Mahal were protected from the ass whopping. I guess they left the building early which was very smart on their part.

·        In all seriousness, this was a great way to end the show. Unlike Under Siege: Part I, the sequel was better in terms of execution and crowd heat. Shane McMahon fired the first shot and Kurt Angle delivered the final salvo five days before Survivor Series. Angle didn’t flash a smile or show compassion for his adversary because his job is on the line Sunday. Will both men harken back to their classic match at King of the Ring 16 years ago minus the Plexiglas from Hell spot? We shall find out soon enough.

·        Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was decent at best. The in-ring action was so-so with the exception of the SmackDown Women’s Championship Match between Charlotte and Natalya. The main event was nothing more than a segue to Under Siege II which has been teased on television over the past few weeks. It was worth the wait as Team Raw fed SD Live a big slice of humble pie with a side order of crow.

·        However, the red brand can’t claim victory just yet. The matches will tell the true story of Survivor Series as AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar and The Men’s Traditional 5-on-5 Elimination Match will determine which show reigns supreme. It’s like Bragging Rights 2009-2010 minus the fake ass Stanley Cup Trophy.

·        Raw vs. SmackDown is a tried and tired concept, but I commend WWE for making the November Classic feel special for the first time in years. It should be a great show if everything goes accordingly to plan. With NXT Takeover: War Games taking center stage the night before, the main roster better step their game up or they will be left in the dust by Triple H’s brainchild. Here’s hoping the E’s four-night stand in Houston is unforgettable for all the right reasons. Fingers crossed!

On that note, this wraps up another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back next week with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls!