Stomping Grounds Was Surprisingly Good, Super ShowDown Was Not, And A Bunch of Other Stuff Happened. It’s The Wrestling Notepad

Last Updated on: 26th June 2019, 03:32 pm

I’ve watched Kushida wrestle twice already in NXT, but I’m so behind on New Japan that I just finished watching his sendoff match against Hiroshi Tanahashi from the Road to the New Beginning. I loved it, and it’s a fine example of why I don’t plan on skipping any shows to catch up if I can help it.

I’m also enjoying the rise of heel Jay White. Even though some of the major happenings with him have been spoiled for me, I still want to watch the twists and turns that get us there.

I miss the days when I could write a sentence like that about WWE.

Speaking of things I like about New Japan, I enjoy the young lions matches that start most shows. A lot of those guys are surprisingly good considering how little experience they have, and watching them improve and add more complexity to their work over time really helps get me invested in them and keep me paying attention as they move up the card.

I don’t understand the point of TLC or Full Metal Mayhem matches where you don’t have to climb up one of the ladders in order to win. If you can just pin a guy, why do we need ladders? Why not rename it the somebody’s going to do something stupid from someplace high match? At least that would be accurate.

People really seem to hate WWE’s new 24/7 title. Personally I’m ok with it for now. Anything that’s going to maybe try to bring something a little different to a very stale product at least deserves a chance. My fear is that eventually they’re going to run out of creative ways to defend it and people with the right sort of talent to pull them off and it’s going to get old and flat just like everything else.

Also, they’ve never explained why anyone would want it beyond it being a title. Everyone wants to be a champion sure, but a champion that’s always on call? That sounds like an absolutely terrible life unless it comes with a very generous bonus compensation package.

Catching up on some Ring of Honor. Nick Aldis has a future in commentary if he wants it. Very well spoken and insightful.

I’ve never heard two ring announcers that sound as indistinguishably identical as Mike Rome and Greg Hamilton.

Since they already used the Super ShowDown name for that Australia show last year, I’m surprised they don’t have to call this Saudi one Super Dooper Megga Bestist ShowDown Ever In The Whole World Cross Our Heart Can We Have Our Money Now. At least they stopped describing it as perhaps bigger than Wrestlemania. That was stupid. It’s not worth selling out a brand name you’ve spent three and a half decades building for a few million dollars, especially in the name of a show that, even if it’s only half as awful as Crown Jewel, is still going to huff some significant butt.

Firefly Fun House has definitely made Bray Wyatt interesting again, but what happens when he has to progress beyond it and interact with people in the traditional, over-scripted acting environment that tends to suck anything good and different right out of just about everyone? What happens when he has to wrestle? How do you keep him from being just another guy?

Just try getting that song out of your head. I’ve been humming it for weeks.

I don’t know if it was intentional, but Impact putting The North and Moose together is kind of amusing.

He was ok by the end, but it’s clear after only a couple of TVs and a Takeover that Beth Phoenix is a pretty big upgrade from Percy Watson.

Is Io Shirai still supposed to be a babyface after Takeover? They’re playing it up on commentary as though she snapped because of what Shayna and company have been putting her through, but beating the stuffings out of somebody who just beat you fair and square in the middle of the ring comes off more like a heel turn to me.

That bit of confusion aside, it was yet another awesome Takeover. I think the match I enjoyed the most was Matt Riddle vs. Roderick Strong, but if you want to argue for something else I’m not going to put up a fight. That’s what I love about Takeovers. Nothing ever comes close to being bad or missable.

It sure feels to me like Johnny Gargano is headed for the main roster. I think he’s gone about as far as he can go in NXT. Maybe you can do a rubber match with Cole, but that’s about it. And if they do go that route, what kind of match is it going to be? Last Man Standing? That would make sense since now they can say they’ve each pinned the other twice (Gargano winning the 2 out of 3 falls match and Cole winning one fall there plus taking the match they just had).

I remember back in the day I would try to get out of literally anything so I could go watch wrestling. Now I’m trying to figure out how much more stuff I can do before I can no longer get out of watching Super ShowDown.

Ok, so I wrote that last paragraph on Saturday. It’s now the following Friday and I have since been reminded that the saying “be careful what you wish for” exists for a reason. I found more than enough to do, but I must say that plumbing issues and taking apart and then slowly putting back together a bunch of our apartment thanks to a building-wide roach infestation were not among the things I had in mind. But they did get me out of watching this mostly boring show for a while, so they’ve got that going for them.

How is Michael Cole so bad? I know having people constantly screaming in your ear ordering you to say dumb things doesn’t make life easy, but I don’t think any of those people told him to argue that the referees let Shane McMahon get away with too much rule breaking in his last match with the Miz and then quickly change the subject when Graves reminded him that it was a cage match.

If you’re going to use the Lucha House Party to get Lars Sullivan over as a monster, at least have them fight valiantly like the heros they’re supposed to be before they ultimately lose the 3-on-1 match rather than have them all get destroyed, realize they can’t win, get themselves disqualified, continue beating on Lars like a bunch of cowards only to have Lars completely shrug it off and kill all three of them again. Seriously, how is Lars not the babyface now?

The best part of this show by far is that WWE actually gave Mansoor the local guy the win in the 50 man battle royal. Everybody was so happy that it made me happy. They let it sink in and gave him time to talk, which made it even better. WWE can still get things right when they want to. Can they please want to more?

I don’t know if Goldberg knocked himself out when he hit the post and busted himself open or what, but something clearly went wrong and I’m glad nobody died. That was one ugly jackhammer he laid on Taker (I thought he might have broken his neck), and the tombstone he took wasn’t much better.

Alright, so Lucha House Party are scorched earth at this point. Sullivan just killed them all again. This time it was the three of them vs. him in an elimination match. He won easily, beating two of them in under a minute and only taking longer with the last one because he decided to pull him up during a pin twice and beat up his friends a little more. I’m old enough to remember when they used to bring in job guys for this.

I’ve probably said this before, but man, what a shame it is that 205 Live was botched so badly for so long out of the gate. It’s become honestly one of the better things WWE does, but it’s at such a point of not mattering that nobody watches it. The stories are simple and logical and the action is great, but when it comes time to draw the how much WWE can I watch in a week line, we’ve been conditioned that 205 is a good place to do so. All this to say that even if you don’t normally watch it you should maybe check out the show from June 11th, especially Chad Gable and Jack Gallagher.

Well, I guess the wildcard rule is dead. I counted seven Smackdown guys on Raw this week. Seven is more than four, in case anyone is confused.

Are they wasting all this TV time on Shane McMahon because they actually have serious plans for him to wrestle more or is it just because he’s a McMahon? Either way, it can stop any time.

I’m glad the PPVs don’t cost real money anymore. Who would ever want to order Stomping Grounds if they did? It’s a mix of stuff I didn’t care about two weeks ago when it was on Super ShowDown and other stuff I obviously don’t care about now since I can’t even remember what it is. And jimminy fucking Christmas are these boring ass Raws and Smackdowns ever not helping. Joe and Ricochet could be pretty good though if they can keep the booking out of the way and just let them wrestle.

I hate to get on this NXT is so much better jag again, but on Smackdown you’ve got whiny baby Dolph Ziggler yammering on and on about how “it should have been me” and sounding like he’s going to burst into tears any second, while over on NXT, Mia Yim has a women’s title match coming down the line so they give us a cool video about her life and accomplishments so you immediately feel more attached to her than you did, and then they cap it off with her telling Shayna that “I’m the hell and the high water.” What a great line that is, especially as part of a package that actually makes you want to see a match and care about who wins.

Alright, time for Stomping Grounds.

The Cruiserweight match was very good, as they often are. It’s too bad they’re relegated to the Kickoff show most of the time, but at least they’re a reason to bother with those things at all. Who sits there for an hour or better and actually watches them? Anyway, Drew Gulak won the title in the end. I’m a big fan of his work and I’m looking forward to some of the matches he’s hopefully going to have, but I was surprised Nese didn’t retain. It doesn’t feel like he got much of a run, although I can imagine a situation where the two of them have a feud over it and perhaps trade it back and forth a bit. I think I’d be ok with that.

First thing I notice about the main show when I start it is that it’s got a running time of 3 hours and 17 minutes. Already a thumbs up.

She has a long way to go and I’m pretty sure the crowd made it more enjoyable than it truly was, but I think the opener with Becky here is the best match I’ve seen Lacey Evans have. There’s something there I think, but she’s a definite work in progress.

Show is off to a good start. Owens and Zayn vs. New Day was what it should have been and what I never expected it would be. Kevin and Sami have looked like losers far too often lately, and unlike normal WWE pattern, they actually reacted by adapting their normal strategy, taking the fight to New Day right out of the gate, hitting big moves, cutting off the ring like an honest to god tag team and wrestling a smart match. And also unlike normal WWE pattern, they didn’t lose quickly in the end after winning for like 99 percent of the time. And New Day got to look good and show off some cool stuff too. This shit is really not that hard to get right.

It took a little while to get going, but Samoa Joe and Ricochet turned into another pretty solid match by the end. Another surprising result, too. Didn’t expect Ricochet to get the win here. The way they had Joe beat up Mysterio when Rey had to give the belt back to him made it seem like Joe was going to go on a tear for a while. It’s too bad he isn’t, because both he and the U.S. Title could really use one.

Nice touch having a bunch of guys congratulate Ricochet as he came to the back. All your babyfaces don’t have to be such heels all the time.

Corey Graves with the line of the night so far. “Daniel Bryan is trying to save the planet, Otis is trying to look like it.”

I knew Daniel Bryan would be beloved since this is a Washington crowd, but I wasn’t expecting the “we recycle” chant.

Props to everyone here for not getting too rattled by the backwards crowd reactions. Rowan and Bryan are still mostly heels even though Bryan is wildly cheered. I like that.

And now a “drive a Prius” chant. “We recycle” was better, but this has been a very good crowd all night.

God, this match is so much fun. Otis is freaky strong (he picked Rowan out of the air and powerslammed him, for god’s sake), and I had no idea that Tucker could do moonsaults and fly around like that. Bryan and Rowan retain which I expected, but I want a rematch sometime and I would not be upset one bit if Heavy Machinery won. Easily match of the night so far.

Alexa and Bayley certainly wasn’t bad, but it was the first thing on the show that didn’t really do much for me. It felt like a match that was more about the Alexa and Nikki friendship manipulation thing than about the title. I suppose that’s probably the point and I do want to see where it goes so in that sense it was a success, but it felt a little out of place here.

Speaking of things not doing it for me, McIntyre and Reigns. Who could possibly care? I certainly didn’t going in, and this boring ass match filled with Shaneanigans didn’t help at all. Poor Drew tried, but there was no saving this. And what a geek he turned out to be. First he can’t beat Roman by himself at Mania, and now here he is with ridiculous amounts of assistance from the mighty Shane McMahon (who did beat Roman at Super ShowDown I should add) and he still can’t get it done. And now you have these announcers sitting here talking about how this is the final chapter in the rivalry and how Reigns has finally rid himself of McIntyre and McMahon. What? NO he hasn’t. The entire focus of the story has been on Shane with Drew as the secondary muscle. This is by far the most WWE thing I’ve seen today. That is not a compliment.

Kofi and Dolph in the cage was nothing special. It was just kind of there from an in-ring standpoint, and it didn’t help that not for one second did anyone alive think that Dolph was winning the belt.

So much for Roman being done with Drew and Shane. Shane announces himself and Drew vs. Roman for Raw. Not sure if Cole screwed something up earlier or if Vince literally changed his mind in the 20 minutes between then and now. Either one seems equally likely.

Main event time. My pick for Corbin’s special referee has been Brock, but since they openly showed Paul Heyman talking to him earlier I knew that was out the window. They’ve got me guessing, I’ll give them that.

By the way, why didn’t Rollins hunt Paul down and attack him with the chair like he did everyone else?

Ok, credit where it’s due. Lacey Evans was a creative twist. What do you do when Seth has been running around like a maniac killing just about every guy who so much as dares muse about being the referee with a chair? Pick a girl.

Unfortunately it kind of telegraphs the finish, because WWE has been mentioning that Seth and Becky are a couple. Connect the dots and you know where this is going.

Crowd is not feeling this. In the first few minutes I’ve heard chants for Daniel Bryan, C.M. Punk and somebody named Boring. I’m with you, guys. And somehow there are still more than 15 minutes left on the clock.

It took forever, but yes, it went where I knew it would go. Becky eventually ran out and beat the hell out of Lacey once the cheating got too out of hand and she made the mistake of making the match no DQ. Seth won when another ref arrived. They tried, but this was way too long.

And that’s the show. I wasn’t excited at all going in, but I was pleasantly surprised. Even though it started losing steam around Bayley and Alexa, it didn’t get to the point of dragging or overstaying its welcome. Give it a watch if you have some time.

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