Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Sunday, June 23, 2019

WWE Stomping Grounds Live Blog 6/23/19

ER: I don't know a ton about this card, only know the early online "WWE is dying and putting on terrible cards!" vulture chat. I write up all these damn things, and usually it's these kind of under the radar cards that end up delivering, whether its because of the low expectations of me the viewer or the wrestlers themselves knowing there are low expectations. Either way, let's hope for some good wrestling to kill time with until I gotta watch Meryl Streep's weird ass fake teeth.

Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak vs. Tony Nese

ER: This definitely starts out as Gulak and Tozawa working a Tony Nese match, which I understand that's how this was likely to go. Nese is the champ, you work the champ's stupid match. I'd much rather see them just running a Tozawa/Gulak match, or Nese vs. Gulak, or Nese vs. Tozawa, but we get the worst option and it's fine. Gulak and Tozawa are GOOD at working a Tony Nese match, so it works. Nese even wears 205 Live colored gear which...feels like I hate Tony Nese. But after they got the early dance party out of their system, this settled into a really exciting 3 way. Pretty much from the moment Tozawa hit his great high impact cannonball off the apron into Gulak, I was on board. It was very "I hit this guy into that guy and that guy winds up suplexing me into the first guy" but I thought they were mostly good at avoiding dumb waiting around set-ups. This got into some pure fire territory when Gulak sunk in a nasty dragon sleeper on Nese, with his ankles locked tight in a rough body vice. Nese kept breaking out in various ways forcing Gulak to adjust the hold as his own limbs would break free, totally great way to advance drama throughout one submission. And then, with the absolutely best exclamation point, Tozawa flew from out of nowhere with a heavy ass hell senton off the top, right into Nese, with Gulak underneath. Great involvement of all three guys. Tozawa was really fun here, and really he always is. He's a guy I hope lingers under the radar on the roster for a decade, like Funaki. He's already almost 3 years in! His solo stuff with Gulak is fun, loved his exchange with Nese that ended with him popping Nese in the jaw with a right, he took a cool backwards bump falling off the apron, just a great guy to put in matches like this. I wish they let Gulak tee off on Nese a little more, but I'm too genuinely excited for Drew Gulak: Cruiserweight Champion to much care. Gulak has been nothing but great during his WWE run, and I'm so happy that it will presumably start paying off with more feature matches. This match got better the longer it went, I thought, as we started feeling like a 6 minute rush job and we instead got a fun 12 minute fireworks show.

Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans

ER: This was messy, but in a way that I think benefitted the match. Lacey doesn't have great application on everything, but the story of her just attacking Lynch's stomach was more than enough, as Lacey was really good on every single shot she threw to the stomach. When a match has a ton of someone punching and kicking at someone's stomach, that's a cool thing I'm going to enjoy. I think it was also a really smart way to get around having Lacey do more complicated offense, just have her able to cut off Lynch with a low punch to the gut or wrapping her around a ringpost or jamming her boot in Lynch's ribs. I liked Lacey fighting to get out of the Disarm-her, and like how Lynch would throw her around (although Lynch did a few of her really dumb extended Woody Allen reactions after an Evans kickout, sitting there and doing this stupid stammering "Um well, yes, I guess, um, well, you see, I thought that would, gulp, thought that would get the, heh, you see, the pin" face. It's awful). They really push the pace in this too, and so the kind of messy moments combined with the fast pace gave this a cool runaway train vibe. I wish Lynch would have paid more lip service to her worked over stomach, but I liked this.

Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens vs. Big E/Xavier Woods

ER: They're keeping everything on this show at 10-12 minutes so far, and I think that benefits everyone. No guarantee we keep it that way, but three matches in and it's turned this into a fun, quick moving card. We get a long FIP segment from Woods, with both Zayn and Owens being really fun in their roles of taunting Big E on the apron. Owens especially would stomp on Woods' face, then look over at E holding his face and mocking him. But I also like how Owens and Zayn went for quick pinfalls right out of the gate, throwing out superkicks and sentons and cannonballs and a big Owens top rope splash. Obviously the Big E hot tag was going to be great, he's always been awesome and running through people in quick order, with Zayn right in the line of belly to belly suplex fire. Nothing on this show has hit next level, but it has made the show highly watchable, and that's really all I care about in the end.

Ricochet vs. Samoa Joe

ER: We've hardly seen any Joe vs. Ricochet, almost all of their matches have been on house shows, so this has a cool fresh feeling to it. This match really felt like they gave people the match they would want to see. It got tons of time, and both guys did their cool stuff against a new opponent, and Ricochet got a big ol' clean win! This is all crowd pleasing stuff! And, perhaps not surprisingly, the crowd has been making genuine noise all damn night. That's a good sign! They also threw in a bunch of slo mo replays, so it gave parts of the match a "AJPW 1995 Comm Tape" feel to it that I will always love. Ricochet taking a uranage on his shoulders? Great. Seeing an All Japan sweat flying off bodies slo mo replay? Impossibly better. Joe hitting a hard elbow? Awesome. All Japan slo mo of floppy haired Joe channelling floppy haired Misawa and crushing Ricochet with an elbow while sweat flies off? Impossibly better. This was what I assume everyone wanted. Joe hitting all of his classic Joe offense in classic fashion (really loved him hitting a big German suplex and turning around and laying him out with a lariat), Ricochet landing his flying moves where they were supposed to land (though he kind of whiffed on a springboard elbow). I do think they really front-loaded the Joe offense as Ricochet felt a little bit too Superman coming back after all of this beating. I wish they could have kept him a little more in this over the length of the match.

Heavy Machinery vs. Daniel Bryan/Erick Rowan

ER: Fans going nuts for home state boy Bryan is fun to see, and continues the trend of the crowd starting loud for this show and getting louder. I am far more excited for this match than I should be, as Bryan vs. Otis is a match-up I can't help but get excited for. Otis is someone I'm really happy is on the roster, the type of shape that just hasn't been around enough lately (I mean his shape is plenty around, but you know what I mean). Otis' arms are shaped exactly like his legs, he has cool strength, and he seems like a great unique partner for Bryan. And I'm not wrong, as the Otis/Bryan moments are incredibly fun. The whole match is incredibly fun! This is another fresh match and it leads to a ton of new cool stuff. I could watch Bryan kick away at Otis's pork barrel chest all damn day, and Bryan throws more kicks on Otis in this match than any match this year, and Otis hits a big damn press slam, big powerslam on Rowan, big capture suplex on Bryan, the big high angle sitout powerbomb on Bryan was awesome, he passes off a vertical suplex to Tucker, and  - even though the fans are booing Heavy Machinery the whole match (and I loved that Otis was somehow getting the most heat of the night so far) - he still did that damn worm. Tucker showed a ton of agility I didn't realize he had, there was this killer early moment where he somersaulted over Bryan to get into position to lariat him out of his boots, and later he missed a big moonsault, took a big bump over the top to the floor, and was a part of a neat double team powerslam on Bryan. I do wish they would have made slight alterations to the match structure once it was so obvious that the crowd was going to treat Bryan like the face and HM like the heels, it made things a little silly when Tucker was fighting to the Otis hot tag while the crowd booed. Still Otis clearly knew what was going on and made a bunch of faces to show that he was just rubbing it in to the fans. His dorky chunkster hype movements while Bryan was lacing kicks into his chest made me laugh, and I just thought the pairing was insanely entertaining the whole match.

Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley

ER: This one didn't do much for me. Bliss worked too long and too dry a control segment, and Bayley's comebacks often leave me flat as they can look clumsy and revolve way too much around her opponent getting into an unnatural series of positions to take her specifically ordered offense. There were good moments, dug Bayley taking out Cross with a dive, dug Bliss hitting knees on the rotating splash, but this was pretty dry overall. This was the first match on the card I couldn't get into.

Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns

ER: This show appears to be dying fast after a legitimately fun and exciting first couple hours, as this is filled to the brim with Shane interference, none of which is interesting. It really chumps McIntyre when he not only can't put Roman away, but has to also get out of the way while Shane does his thing, and still can't beat Roman. It's not a very satisfying match structure. Just like the prior match, there were some exciting moments: Roman hit one of those big Undertaker no hands dive (and he gets nutso height), but this all felt too predictable, and it spent too much time propping up a feud I have no interest in.

ER: And with that, I'm sad to say that I have already filled my life's quota of Dolph Ziggler/Kofi Kingston matches. We've been seeing 10 minute + singles matches from these two for literally a decade, sometimes enduring stretches of TV where they were happening every other week, and they do not have anything new to add to their match story. And there is no chance I'm going to sit through a Seth Rollins main event when I can be watching a bananas new season of Luther. I had a great time with the stuff I liked, and I pulled the plug by using common wrestling sense. Bless.

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Blogger Yerfuneral said...

Currently I watch Instagram to see what people are talking about the most, good or bad, and read dirt sheets or Youtube reviews. I fast forward through the weekly shows and skipped Saudi Showdown so went in with little direct knowledge of the show.
Can't say the preshow got me excited about anything specifically but it does a good job of catching one up with what is going on outside the people I care about.
If stories are to be believed they are feeling the heat from competition which is good so hopefully this is the first track laid to get the locomotive moving again.

1) Cruiserweight Triple Threat Title Match

I was turned off by the very choreographed almost dance of early action and then we get the split screen to bring in ads to just kill it for me.
Strangely enough making the rounds of Instagram was supposed announcement of WWE stopping that practice but guess that only refers to Smackdown.
Supposed problems filling seats may be helping, we will see as card goes on, because you got the diehards who get in to the match. So an excited crowd brings me out of my phone for some impressive stuff.
Excited for Gulak after the recent NXT stuff with Kushida. Before then just remembered him doing a bit of politician gimmick and not remembering his matches if any.
Still doesn't get me excited enough to watch 205 but not left questioned the decision like when they gave Nese a run with the belt since unless he has been on Worldwide or something haven't seen Murphy since the draft.

2) RAW Womens Title Match

Was surprised when they called up Evans from NXT. I thought they finally found the right character for Evans but still needed ring work.
The way WWE presents women though you can get away more with character but pushing someone this high in the title picture with little more than catwalking for months is a bit much.
They have pretty much killed Lynch with this becoming way over long feud. They never really followed up with Asuka or Carmella after they lost titles. At least we don't get the hot potato of Sasha vs Charlotte. With such a small pool of superstars to pull from you would think the womens division would be off the hook but seems injuries and attitudes are hampering in some ways along with the weekly shows not trying to build really for anything more than whatever ppv is coming up.
Anyway, the match was messy not the greatest way to open the ppv but Smackdown women is definitely the one I am more interested in and glad it will be later in the card.

3) Zayn/Owens vs other 2/3 of New Day

This may not be the barn burner of tag wrestling I hoped for but it continued to build on the story which works for me. Loved the character moments and how it was built. Helps having four guys who bring so much character to their presentation. This is what I expect from a match not being fought over a belt. Something I hope to see on the weekly show but if they have to do it on a ppv fine. Looking forward to more of the crazy canucks and New Day.

10:42 PM  
Blogger Yerfuneral said...

Sorry for break in continuing had some family stuff.

4) US Title Match

Samoa Joe is one the main eventers I pay attention to.
Ricochet I can go either way cause the flippy stuff is a bit much most of the time for my tastes but their is a sense of excitement that is contagious.
Sucks about Mysterio's injury but it opens opportunities and this match thought Ricochet did well with what he was given.
Surprised they gave him the belt but later promo made it completely understandable and WWE definitely taking steps to right the ship with matches that fans have been wanting and fresh because they haven't happened in WWE.
Solid match, I thought.

5) Smackdown Tag-team Title Match

Way off on my guess for Rowan's metal shirt thought Motionless In White would be the go to. Maybe his shirts aren't as much as an ad buy as I thought they might be but MIW did some NXT stuff, I think, in past and recently dropped an album. Wasn't expecting some little known post metal group on a ppv.
I haven't liked the comedy of Heavy Machinery in their WWE run. I am all for characters but like the announcers brought up a few times it is very Bushwhacker. Was more into the NXT steaks and weights were working class which could still work in this feud with the way Bryan's almost Marin County attitude is.
Like the other tag match this built a lot of character and though slow paced this was highly entertaining and worked well. Would think possibly ring general from Bryan to pull it together but Heavy Machinery character moments really put it over.
These tag matches may have not had over the top ring work but both have been great, in my opinion.

6) Smackdown Womens Title

WWE I thought messed up with the Bayley cash in. What she had done was outside the characters boundaries I thought and they should have run with it but we are still getting the same old Bayley.
It was great to see Bliss back but the beginnings of this match was to over protecting of Bliss though was surprised by some of the action later to Bliss' head and a slam to the turnbuckles that looked to be taken simply by Bliss' head and neck.
It was great seeing Bliss again. Yelling at referees and her opponent but it is early and at the stage I worry like Daniel Bryan this soon after his return to the ring.
The end was sloppy too. I didn't get the Cross coming in to the ring. Did she come in to early? Was Bayley late in starting to get up. We weren't presented with a reason for Cross to come in.
Like I said great to see Bliss back but you had two ladies who really aren't the greatest in ring workers but putting Bliss right back in to a title picture picked up from where she left off so don't feel like it was weird booking decision other than they being on different brands.

1:15 AM  
Blogger Yerfuneral said...

7) McIntyre vs Reigns

Based on the hype package was surprised to see McIntyre do so much of his own talking. Fast forwarding through the weekly show just seemed like this long Super Shane Osbourne set pieces.
The match itself was predictable with lots of McMahon interference and things built around those Reigns moments. Was surprised at the Reigns win as thought maybe he wouldn't get a win in until SummerSlam where he would finally get over on Shane but was wrong.

8) WWE Title match

Cage matches should be brought in to have a defining ending to a feud. Definitely didn't get that with this match with the finish being a quirky jump over you to beat you out the door rather than leave you bloody and beaten in middle of the ring.
I get the cage was more for keeping the New Day out of it which has been silly the use of New Day to help protect Kingstons title. Understandable if you got Kingston facing a guy like Stroman or Walter but Ziggler?
This is another build up I fast forwarded through and one of the problems I have with current product this whole wild card thing. I shouldn't be tuning into Raw and the show starts off with a Smackdown segment and vice versa.
Just merge most of the titles already and use the US and Intercontinental titles like TV titles. This wild card thing is killing of the middle and lower tier talent.
The 24/7 title is getting glimpses of those guys and seeming to get Truth over big time but want to see these guys for more then a blip of time. Cheerleader Melissa in the wedding party understandable but EC3, Mahal (is he the new Sid Vicious the way he has been treated after a run at the top), etc. not so understandable. The skits are more expensive but they are better than Aleister Black just sitting whining that no one is challenging him. Firefly Funhouse is building a character and understand motivation much better than a lame interview in the middle of the ring about kids caling me a freak when I was younger.
Your making all this money put it in the product don't do stock buy backs or whatever they are doing with the Saudi and new tv deal money.

9) Universal Title Match

Why does the Baron Corbin as a main event guy continue? Why is Corbin calling for rematches like he has a title rematch clause when he didn't lose a belt?
They have even made his accomplishments part of his entrance but all it shows is he has been given a bunch of opportunities others weren't given and really has done nothing with them. People still got a bad taste in their mouths over the Kurt Angle final match debacle. Corbin feels like a Gagne guy pushed for his boxing and NFL work.
Lacey Evans as special ref and what all happened means that the Lynch vs Evans is far from over too. Looks like we got some mix tag stuff on the horizon too especially with how much offense they allowed Evans to take on Rollins.
The guest ref thing has its little moments but the predictability of everything is bad. TO have it run as long as it did and present it as your main event is not excusable. The way this was told and ended means we got feuds going longer when we are at a period where they need to freshen up the WWE.
Bring in a bit of attitude but a lot of crowd shots through the show looked to be of kids having fun. It isn't going to cut it by trying to sell to families. Family dollar is strong but unfortunately one of the major selling points to me is AEW is also selling Attitude Extreme Wrestling. Not a concept that you can keep running with but you can't keep running a bring the whole family down to see the wrasslin show either.

This show started off fun but when you got to the matches that seemed to have the most build behind and repeats from Saudi Showdown they just were bleah I seen this before or overly silly convoluted stuff better for the weekly show. The big stories should feel like you have a pay off or something close to it at the ppv. We definitely didn't get that.

1:57 AM  

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