Tag Archives: 5 best moments

5 Best Moments Of Raw 5/23/16: Enzo Returns!

It’s the day after WWE Extreme Rules and it’s time to shift focus to the next special event, Money in the Bank. Raw was filled with qualifying matches to see which competitors would take 5 out of 7 of the spots in the popular briefcase ladder match.

Seth Rollins made his Raw return after returning at the end of Sunday’s Pay-Per-View. The ovation he got was great and I was more than willing to place the appearance on this edition of this article…but then he went heel. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a fine heel and did well in turning the crowd against him. But it all felt too soon. I don’t really want to boo him any more than the majority of crowds want to cheer for Roman Reigns. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but the miscast here didn’t set well with me.

That’s enough of the negativity from me. Even if I don’t like the roles they’re in, Reigns vs. Rollins is still a match that excites me. They should put on something special and I’m glad it was announced as the MITB headliner. As for the rest of Raw, here are the 5 moments that I identified as the best of the night.

5. An Independent Woman

Not all of this felt like a total winner of a segment, but I did appreciate Charlotte’s ability to get the heat from the crowd. I guess having to win her match at Extreme Rules without Daddy nearby reminded her of the 30 years of her life that he wasn’t there anyways, so she decided to give him the boot on this night.

The WWE Women’s Champion told The Nature Boy that he abandoned her as tears poured down his face. The crowd viciously jeered her to which she turned it all back onto Ric, saying that he might be immortal to them but he was dead to her. Ouch. Some of those Flair waterworks might’ve been authentic after those comments.

It’s hard to figure out how Dana Brooke factors into whatever’s the next direction for Charlotte. I was hoping in the moment that she might defend Ric’s honor and turn on his daughter but that obviously didn’t happen. Still, if she’s allied with her now then certainly there will be a turn at some point in the future. I’ll cross my fingers that I don’t have to wait forever to get to that point.

4. No Longer Brothers

Before AJ Styles competed in the ring, he grabbed a mic and tried to explain his loss at Extreme Rules. He did put over Roman as one of the best talents he’s ever wrestled but also put some blame on the involvement of The Usos as well as his own buddies, Gallows & Anderson. This prompted an appearance by the Good Brothers.

Both Luke & Karl took offense to the AJ blame. The allegiance between these three came to a close during this time in the ring. The falling out ended with Anderson saying that not only are they not brothers anymore, but they’re not friends either.

I expected Gallows & Anderson to come out a little later in the night and cost AJ his match, but that didn’t happen. That’s probably for the better because there’s no real hurry to rush the next steps in the dissolution of The Club – especially if the next step is the appearance of Finn Balor. They can wait until after his cage match against Samoa Joe to make that happen.

3. Owens’ Brilliant Banter

The main event Money in the Bank qualifier between Kevin Owens and AJ Styles was a fine TV contest and easily the best match of the night, but that’s not what I’m wanting to highlight here. Kevin Owens knows how to be funny as well as snarky and brought those factors several times during this contest. There are technically 3 moments in this entry, but I’ll cheat a little and group them all together.

First, there was the dropkick attempt from AJ that missed. Kevin Owens simply clapped at his opponents’ misstep, giving him a sarcastic bravo. Check that one out above in .gif form.

Second, Styles was outside of the ring when Owens got a running start off of the ropes. The announcers gasped at the thought of Kevin possibly performing a tope or a suicide dive, but Kevin had a different attack in mind. He simply rolled under the run and gave AJ a clothesline.

Finally, there was this glorious line: “Shut up Cole, I can hear you from here!” THAT’S why Kevin Owens is a hero to so many.

2. An Owens Upset

Is it fair to call Kevin Owens’ win over AJ Styles an upset? It might not be a huge upset, but AJ did just come off of two months of feuding with the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He was at least a little bit higher up the card than KO. This was the best match of the night, highlighted with a 45o Splash by Styles and a Powerbomb onto steel steps by Owens. They both brought their A game and it was a match more than worth going back and seeing if you missed the show.

When looking at all of the qualifiers (so far) for the MITB ladder match in a few weeks, the talent pool is deep. Owens joins Sami Zayn, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, and Dean Ambrose in the battle for the briefcase. I’d be happy with any of those guys winning it. There are still two more spots left in the match and I can only hope that it’s a talent as exciting as what’s already involved in this contest.

1. Enzo Amore Returned!

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Colin Cassady began making his entrance, then signaled that he wasn’t alone. Enzo Amore came out to join him to a huge pop and oh boy was he wired! While in the ring he recited a slew of wise cracks that I didn’t completely follow but still found myself entertained by. His energy was through the roof. Like, Robin Williams in the 1980s through the roof.

The funniest moment of the bit was when Big Cass talked about how he was going to kick off a Dudley head into a swimming pool. When he said that he was not going to miss, Enzo went ballistic reciting “not gonna miss” over and over. Seriously, he came across as psychotic here and it was great.

WWE has tested the waters with a Big Cass singles run and you know that Vince is more than ready to push him hard. It’s good that they’re not pulling that trigger just yet because there’s still so much potential in this tag team.

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5 Best WWE SmackDown Moments 5/19/16: The Bloodline vs. The Club

Extreme Rules is in just a few days and I hope you haven’t begun looking for predictions articles just yet because we’ve still got SmackDown to go over. You didn’t forget about SmackDown, did you? It’s okay if you did. Looking at the ratings, many of you routinely forget about WWE’s Thursday night weekly. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

If you did miss this week, here are the best moments from the broadcast. These are the things most worth your time to try and look up. One honorable mention goes to Big E for this…

5. Owens Wins, Laughs At His Foes

Sami Zayn got a little lost in the shuffle on commentary, but who could blame him? Not only is it regularly a three-person team as a base, both The Miz & Maryse were also mic’d up along with Sami. When The Miz and his lady tried to distract the in-ring competition, Zayn decided to put down the headseat and head into the ring. Inadvertently, Zayn’s involvement caused Cesaro to lose because Kevin Owens capitalized on the distraction for a roll-up pin. As the brawling continued after the match, KO exited back up the ramp while laughing.

All four of these guys bring something of value to this IC Title feud and I’m very pumped for their match at Extreme Rules. I don’t feel like Owens’ win here gives him any significant momentum considering the outside involvement and the cheap roll-up, but it was still a good ending to solid opening match.

(This would normally be the part where I find a Twitter link relevant to this particular topic to break up the text, but I’ll go slightly off topic to show a bit of banter that Owens had during SmackDown’s broadcast with a restaurant that sucked…)

4. The Man That Humbled Kalisto

Doesn’t The Iron Sheik always talk about breaking people’s backs and making them humble? Well, our boy Rusev has at least borrowed some of that phrase. In a backstage interview with Renee Young he and Lana proclaimed that his aggressive Accolade to Kalisto on Raw was an act of humbling. Lana called her man the greatest U.S. Champion of all time while Rusev said that people will soon be chanting “Machka, machka” instead of “Lucha, lucha.” Can that please catch on, if only for a night?

Since WWE has allowed Rusev and Lana to return closer to what’s worked for them in the past, Rusev has stepped it up as far as being his own mouthpiece. Lana can still vouch for the Bulgarian Brute but he can more than speak for himself. He’s very comfortable with his own voice and that’s why I picked this brief interview segment as one of the best moments of the show. The man deserves praise for his promo skills.

3. More Of Dana Brooke’s Winning Ways

With Becky Lynch on commentary, Dana Brooke scored yet another win in only her second week on the main roster. She defeated Paige, putting her overall SmackDown and Raw record up to an impressive 3-0. She’s not beating scrubs, either. Paige just pinned WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte on Raw less than two weeks ago.

Dana made sure to bad mouth Becky after she won, so it looks like that will be her rivalry for the time being. It’s a shame that Emma and (presumably) Sasha Banks aren’t along for this ride as well, but I won’t complain about a singles feud between these two.

2. A Clever Disguise

Chris Jericho entered the Ambrose Asylum before the cage and all of the different weaponry that accompanied it lowered over top of him. Y2J talked about how he’s been in every match that WWE has ever offered except for this new Dean-specific variation of a cage match. Chris also said he would make his opponent on Sunday spend 40 days in the hospital thanks to what he’ll do to him in this coming match. Chris said all of this without noticing the hairy stage guy in the cage walking behind him.

The disguise wasn’t the best thing ever, but I found it amusing to watch Ambrose remove his fake facial hair behind a posing Jericho. It had a comical tinge to it, which WWE has been guilty of doing too much of to Dean in the past. This didn’t feel like too much cartoony stuff to me, it was just a goofy reveal before the assault. Ambrose then procured a kendo stick and wailed on Jericho repeatedly before he could escape the cage.

1. The Expected Bloodline/Club Brawl

Sure, having these six guys in the same location has historically proven that there will be a melee, but since it’s pretty much always great then the predictability is fine by me. Also, this stable vs. stable fight followed a fresh match-up of Roman Reigns vs. Luke Gallows – and it turned out to be a pretty worthy main event.

For whatever hesitance Styles has had about embracing the heelish peer pressure of his buddies, he’s well beyond that at this point. It was AJ’s leg grab of Roman while the match was still going on that prompted all of the periphery players to get involved. The match didn’t technically end until AJ ordered Gallows and Anderson into the ring to administer the Boot of Doom to Roman. Styles looked ready to go even more ruthless when he cleared off the announce table. That move backfired against him and it was Roman who slammed AJ off of the table.

So, are all three members of The Club fully on the same page? As of the SmackDown main event, it would appear so. But, perhaps that’s precisely what I’m supposed to be thinking just to throw me off before Anderson & Gallows turn on AJ which will then be followed by the formation of the Balor Club on Raw the next night! Pardon the fantasy booking but I’ve been very into what WWE has been offering with this feud. I’m expecting some satisfying plot development/resolution to be given at Extreme Rules.

Oh wait, there’s also a YouTube video of more brawling after the show went off the air. Here’s a .gif of AJ missing another Styles Clash on a chair…

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5 Best WWE Raw Moments 5/16/16: New Day-Lorean

Raw came to us from Greensboro, North Carolina on the last stop to WWE Extreme Rules. The show was the typically 3 hour marathon of highs and lows, with nothing going much lower than the Shining Star tag team (re) debut. The crowd was super quiet for that match.

That’s enough of the negativity from me because this is an article about the best moments of the night. There was plenty to be excited about and I didn’t even have room for Big Cass’ win. Oh well, maybe next time. Here are my 5 best moments as I see it…

5. The Total Diva Wins Again

When Dana Brooke debuted on Raw last week, I was ecstatic. Her arrogant persona is more than refined so she’d be a natural heel opposite of the likable Becky Lynch. But with the terrible news of injury for her pal Emma (and I hope she recovers fully) I was concerned that Brooke’s main roster plans might get derailed. Thankfully for her, her momentum continued on Raw.

Brooke pinned Lynch for a second time (she also defeated her on last week’s SmackDown), making me question at this point if there’s even a need for the two to square off in a match at Extreme Rules. If I had to guess though, they’ll scuffle again in some capacity on this week’s SmackDown to set up something for at least the pre-show on Sunday. Lynch can finally take the W then, but her head will have been thoroughly patted by that point.

4. That Golden Truth Highlight Video

I’m definitely a sucker for a little bit of cheese in my wrestling programming and the video package prior to the official debut of The Golden Truth was in no short supply of it. They pulled clips from seemingly every interaction the two had over the past few months and backed it all up with a Wonder Years-style soundtrack. If you needed a Kleenex to dry your eyes after riding that emotional roller coaster, you’d get no hate from me. It seemed like the two FINALLY were ready for their arrival…only they weren’t.

It was a little surprising that Goldust & R-Truth fell to BreezeDango after Truth nailed his partner directly in the face off of a mistimed kick. It’s also a little surprising that Fandango & R-Truth aren’t packaged under the name FaBreeze – that seemed like the most obvious choice for a winner of a team name. That’s not complaining, though. I’ll take BreezeDango over nothing.

Somebody tell this guy to hush…

The four interacted again post-match to set up the reason why this never-ending angle must still go on. Apparently Golden Truth are the heroic defenders of the previous era while BreezeDango are the dastardly young heels of the New Era. Wait, I thought this New Era was supposed to be a good thing? The booking’s a little wonky here but I did genuinely get a kick out of the pre-match video.

3. “He’s The Worst One!”

Everything about the Intercontinental Championship feud is great but one of the shiniest stars (not from Puerto Rico, that is) of this division is whenever Kevin Owens opens his mouth. WWE wisely put him and The Miz BOTH on commentary during a supposed Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro match that never got going. When anarchy stopped the contest, a couple of McMahons came out to Teddy Long the action into a tag match.

The line in my heading was my favorite bit of banter from Owens on this night. When it was first announced that he’d be tagging alongside Miz, he offered up that condescending remark. Then, his partner was switched to his arch-nemesis Sami Zayn which was even better.

The match was one of the highlights of the show and I’m expecting some great things from this 4way IC Title Match on Sunday. There’s too much talent for it not to be a show stealer.

2. Styles Clash On A Chair

Roman Reigns defends his WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Extreme Rules against AJ Styles in a match with an eponymous stipulation. They both were at ringside for a tag bout between The Usos and Gallows & Anderson and you just knew that everyone would get involved at some point. It was a little surprising to see Styles’ buddies take the fall so cleanly, but the action after the match made it seem like not as big of a deal.

Everyone in each faction battled it out, leading to a Reigns vs. Styles sequence with a chair inside the ring. Styles was the final man to get his hands on the steel, using it to lay Roman out. Then, he nailed Roman with his signature Styles Clash on top of the metallic seat.

AJ is looking like the man on top going into Extreme Rules, which likely signals that he’s taking the loss. That’s not unexpected. Even if he loses as clean as can be on Sunday I can say that this rivalry has been exceptional. Especially for as much flak as Roman gets as the champ, it’s really turned him around in my eyes. His character seems far less forced as of late.

1. New Day-Lorean

New Day have been one of the most entertaining acts in WWE for a long time. It’s got to be tiring to keep thinking up new shticks to continue being so funny but they really outdid themselves in Greensboro. Behind a sheet in the middle of the ring was an Xavier Woods invention straight out of Gallifrey: a time machine.

Big E called Woods out and said it was nothing more than an empty refrigerator box, but Xavier would have none of that. Big E also asked why the keyboard was sticky and Xavier changed the subject. The humor was on point here.

They initially traveled through time to 2009 when Kofi still had his Jamaican accent, then went all the way back to that bygone era that The Vaudevillains keep referring to. Back then, Booty-O’s were Derriere Squares, smartphones were old-timey regular phones, and video games didn’t exist. New Day deemed that that era sucked. They were then attacked by Aiden English & Simon Gotch and the beautiful New Day-Lorean was destroyed in the brawl, which was a shame.

I could see some people being a little tired of New Day’s humor but in mind this was one of the best skits they’ve done. Bravo guys, you three continue to be the standard of what entertaining is.

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5 Best WWE SmackDown Moments 5/12/16: Welcome To The Club

After a Raw that saw an obscenely expensive jacket get ripped to shreds by a man who has no business carrying a pair of scissors, SmackDown has arrived. While there wasn’t any further jacket destruction, Chris Jericho did introduce a new jacket that will likely play into a Pay-Per-View stipulation. That moment was one of the best of the night.

Moments that didn’t make the cut but were still notable included Big E getting scolded for repeated attempts at using risque speech, Lana throwing water into Kalisto’s face, and Bob Backlund being a crazy old guy who made Darren Young do 200 squats for using his phone to check the time. Old people are confused and senile and it’s hilarious!

This isn’t a comprehensive review of SmackDown but rather my thoughts on what the best moments of the night were. Assume this list is definitive and authoritative…or disagree. You have a right to your opinion.

5. The Golden Truth Sort Of Finally Forms

Is Breezedango an okay name for Tyler Breeze and Fandango? Or maybe we’ll call them The Beautiful Dance? How about Selfie Sticks and Hip Gyrations?  I’m not sure if Breeze and Fandango have officially formed a tag team together but they did join forces after they got fed up with the nonsense of the two guys that were their partners going into this match.

When R-Truth and Goldust found themselves to be the legal men on opposite sides of the ring, they refused to fight each other. They DO love each other! It was a beautiful moment in which the crowd briefly started a “Golden Truth” chant. The chants may have been piped in, but if that’s the case then please don’t message me or comment about it to set me straight. I want to live in a world that for at least a moment was happy that Truth and Goldust were finally coming together.

The moment didn’t last forever because as I already stated in the Breezedango paragraph above, they were attacked by their respective teammates. There will likely be a tag team match to settle the score and kick off The Golden Truth’s run in the near future. I’m hoping that The Forbidden Dance (nailed it!) will at least get an Extreme Rules pre-show match out of this. (Feel free to comment below with your own catchy tag team name suggestions for Tyler Breeze and Fandango below – even though it’d hard to top The Forbidden Dance.)

4. Playtime Is Over

Dana Brooke had her debut match on the main roster against Becky Lynch on SmackDown. It was notable because she scored a win over the superstar who competed for the Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 32, but that’s not the moment I’m choosing to highlight. It was Dana’s promo prior to this big win that impressed me the most.

When interviewed alongside her pal Emma, Brooke explained why she chose to attack Becky from behind on Monday night. She talked about how Emma was at the forefront of the Women’s Division in NXT, but when Lynch came along, people focused on her instead. As she explained her actions while flexing her biceps (she is a bodybuilder, by the way), she seemed like an absolute natural on the microphone.

Brooke was always a standout talker in NXT. She’s proclaimed herself to be THE Total Diva in the past and has smugly patted those she disliked on the head. Watching this interview on SmackDown, it became clear to me that she might be the most talented female talker that WWE has. She’s so comfortable with her character, and it’s enjoyable to watch. She’s a natural.

3. Two Codebreakers In A Straitjacket

Are Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho building towards a straitjacket match at Extreme Rules? Judging by the opening of SmackDown, that seems to be the case. Some sort of unique stipulation should be expected but I can’t remember the last time I’ve watched that kind of match so why not?

Ambrose was in the middle of the ring, talking about his beef with Y2J when the arena went dark. Jericho’s music hit, yet nothing could be seen. It seemed like the prolonged pitch black was due to Chris’ fancy light up jacket getting destroyed on Raw, but he deviously chose to use the entrance as an opportunity to strike.

Jericho attacked his foe from behind. While Ambrose was loopy, Chris placed him inside of a straitjacket and then beat on him as he came to. Jericho gave him a Codebreaker before a team of refs came out to stop the attack, then gave another in the midst of the black and white stripes. Chris was ruthless as the two march on to a singles match at Extreme Rules.

2. The Club Levels The Usos

The only presence of WWE Champion Roman Reigns and his Extreme Rules challenger AJ Styles was during interview segments with their buddies before this tag team match. Both guys said they’d come out to assist if the either guy shows up, which surprisingly didn’t happen in this contest between Gallows & Anderson and The Usos.

What did happen was a DQ finish that led to a fun brawl on the outside. It felt a little wild and chaotic, something that I haven’t felt like these guys have yet been able to achieve without Roman or AJ involved. It was good that they could do that on their own.

Gallows & Anderson finally prevailed when they brought a steel chair into the mix. As both Jey and Jimmy were lying unconscious on the ground, Anderson sat on the chair while Gallows stood tall behind him. They both threw up their Too Sweet hand gestures in celebration.

1. The Miz Stands Tall

Next to the AJ Styles vs. Roman Reigns feud, WWE’s current Intercontinental Championship division is the best thing going. Champion The Miz has Kevin Owens, Cesaro, and Sami Zayn all vying for his belt and that’s a heck of a short list of challengers. On this night, a tag team match main evented with the guys split along heel/face lines.

Owens was the man to score the winning pinfall against Cesaro after he hit him with a Frog Splash, and that’s when the really fun stuff happened.The guys traded blows and specialty moves until Kevin was able to Popup Powerbomb Sami Zayn. The Miz, sneaky as he is, immediately came up behind Owens and dropped him with his Skull Crushing Finale.

The Miz standing tall among his three fallen challengers is how the show went off the air, a visual that made me particularly happy. I love The Miz. This is such a great mix of wrestlers and this SmackDown main event continued to add fuel to everybody’s fire.

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Thanks for reading my thoughts on SmackDown. If you like this style of review then go back and also read my 5 Best Moments From Raw 5/9/16: Ric Flair Is A Velociraptor. Also, follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson. Thanks for reading.

5 Best SmackDown Moments 5/5/16: Big Cass Stands On His Own

Welcome back to the show that no McMahon is currently fighting for control over. It’s pretty much the wild west on Thursday nights. It shocks me that matches can still happen without people of power discussing them on camera while the show is ongoing, but somehow they do. It’s probably witchcraft.

This isn’t a comprehensive review, just my thoughts on what I believe to be the 5 best moments from the show. Feel free to disagree, it’s a subjective artform or something…

5. Another Miz Opener

Two weeks ago, The Miz kicked off SmackDown with a MizTV segment that included AJ Styles. Last week, The Miz interrupted Roman Reign’s opening promo to tell him that Styles was aligned with Gallows & Anderson. This week, The Miz crashed Sami Zayn’s appearance on Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel to tell him that Sami interfered with his business on Raw earlier this week. All three opening segments resulted in later matches on each show against Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, and Sami Zayn, respectively.

The Miz has been one of the consistent cornerstones of SmackDown over recent history and I for one am more than happy about it. He’s a fantastic heel that has no trouble getting the crowds not only want to boo him but to also cheer for whoever is opposite of him at the time. The Intercontinental Championship as well as his fawning wife are by his side, which are both fitting complements to the “A-Lister.” Plus, his in-ring competition has been pretty stellar. What wrestler wouldn’t want to be facing that caliber of talent week after week?

Please continue the heavy Miz presence on this show, WWE.

4. Make Darren Young Great Again

Again? Doesn’t that imply…never mind, I’m being a jerk.

Young is one of countless guys in the back that hardly ever gets valuable on-screen time, so if this goofy Donald Trump parody segment gets him an opportunity then fine by me. You never know, he might stumble into something that clicks.

What makes this segment one of the better moments of the night is the craziness of Bob Backlund. He’s bringing to the table some Trump-inspired catchphrases, something that Vince is probably literally rolling on the floor laughing over. He also used the phrase “Wrestling is life” with a ferocity that eliminated any doubt that this was not wasted television time.

Was this segment silly? Yes, absolutely. But to be fair, it wasn’t long at all and it gave a guy TV time that’s pretty starved of it alongside a legendary former WWE Champion. I can stand a minute or two here and there for some Bob Backlund delivery of humor that Vince thinks is comedic gold.

3. Rusev’s Forehead

In a match with Zack Ryder, Rusev took a routine hit against the corner post while on the outside. The match kept proceeding like normal because nothing seemed off about the move at first glance. It wasn’t until the two brought the action back into the ring that the damage to the cranium of The Bulgarian Brute became evident…

Well, that probably hurt. Rusev was able to continue on with the match with no ill effects from the head shot, although he did noticeably wipe the goose egg with his hand a few times to check to see if there was any blood.

Lana’s sure got herself a tough man. At least she can revel in the fact that the part of him that resides above the eyebrows is number 3 on this week’s list. Rusev defeated Ryder fairly easily only to be gotten the better of by the U.S. Champion Kalisto post-match.

2. Anderson Facewashes Roman

It started out as a standard two-on-two tag team match between The Usos and Anderson & Gallows but with both Roman Reigns and AJ Styles at ringside you knew that things were going to break down. That moment came when Karl Anderson stuck his boot out of the ring and gave the WWE World Heavyweight Champion a facewash. Roman ran into the ring to retaliate and soon afterward everyone was brawling. Refs spilled out from backstage to try to seperate the factions and after a few moments, order was restored.

The moment that Anderson attacked Reigns with his boot is the part that I specifically wanted to celebrate. The Good Brothers have had a few bland matches in their short time in WWE so far but this week has felt so much better for them. They were using chairs and tempting Styles to attack a helpless Roman on Raw and now they’re booting Roman’s schnoz when he’s caught off guard. They’re lawless. They’re cool.

A six-man tag match was then restarted and it was a very good match from then on – easily the best match of the night. Roman scored the winning pinfall for his team after spearing Anderson, the man who struck first against The Big Dog.

1. Big Cass Stands On His Own

With Enzo Amore temporarily out with injury, the personality powerhouse half of the Enzo & Big Cass act could’ve simply left an unfilled void. But just like on Raw, Colin Cassady was handed mic time all by his lonesome. As far as I can tell, he’s doing just fine on his own.

After The Vaudevillians defeated Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel of The Social Outcasts, the seven footer’s music hit. He came out and told them that they looked like they were Sherlock Holmes characters trying to solve the mystery of who Cass was going to beat up. The answer to that mystery was that both of them would be getting the whooping. He’s got a calm and confident delivery that I’m really buying into.

Before going into the ring and making good on the promise of his promo he delivered his usual “spell it out for you” schtick, something that he’s been saying differently since coming to the main roster. Maybe it’s been longer than that, but since leaving NXT I’ve noticed that Cass doesn’t scream out his usual lines anymore. He says them in more of a normal speaking voice now.

It’s a perfectly fine change, but it has felt a little less energetic as of late…until this episode of SmackDown. Colin is finally nailing how to say the words with intensity without simply screaming them. It’s a subtle thing that I’m probably making way too big of a deal out of, but I was happy to feel like I truly heard the emotion from him like the fire in NXT.

Colin Cassady’s promos are good. Of course I’ll be tickled to death when Enzo finally comes back on screen, but if there were any worries that Colin would flop without his Luke Skywalker Smack-talker of a tag partner, worry no more.

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10 Most Insane Spots From WWE Payback

5 Best Raw Moments 5/2/16: Conflicted AJ

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5 Best Raw Moments 5/2/16: Conflicted AJ

Only a day removed since Payback, we’re officially in WWE’s “New Era.” Does an extended opening promo of multiple McMahon’s really count as new?

Despite the staleness of many of the faces in charge, there’s still plenty of good to be found on the show. So here are the 5 best moments from the full three hours of WWE’s flagship show…

5. First Win Of 2016

It’s been disappointing to see how great Tyler Breeze can be from time in NXT only to have to watch him be relegated the lowest of the lowliest on Raw. He was in a marquee matchup against special attraction Jushin Thunder Liger in 2015 – he is better than this! Recently, Breeze has joined the likes of Fandango as a minor character in the grand story of The Golden Truth, a team that simply refuses to realize their destiny of tagging together and losing routinely to The Usos on Superstars.

Thanks to the wacky shenanigans of a distraction dance-off between Fandango and Truth that Goldust was watching, he got rolled up by Tyler Breeze to end the match. This marks the first win for Prince Pretty of the calendar year, a milestone that should’ve been reached long before now.

4. R.I.P. Mitch The Plant

Payback felt like the end of the Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho rivalry. Reports are circling the rumor mill that Y2J is already out the WWE door for another one of his hiatuses. That didn’t stop the two from interacting after Stephanie McMahon became the final guest of the Ambrose Asylum, Dean’s talk show segment that is currently cancelled.

Jericho met Ambrose on the entrance ramp and the two began to fight it out. The final blow came in the form of Dean’s favorite plant as Chris smashed it in the back of his head. A mess of blood and guts potting soil stained the ground below them.

The internet immediately went into mourning for the plant with the perfect name. Pictures in the form of WWE’s traditional R.I.P. graphic for fallen wrestlers quickly emerged and flooded timelines and newsfeeds.

It can only be assumed that Ambrose will accept the foliage’s HOF award in his honor next year.

3. Ryder In The Final 2

Since Ryback has exited the contention for the United States Championship (and potentially WWE altogether), a new Number One Contender needed crowned. Filling this vacuum came in the form of a Battle Royal, featuring a wide array of middle card wrestlers.

The biggest highlight of this contest was the ovation Zack Ryder got when it came down to him and The Bulgarian Brute, Rusev. Ryder’s IC Title win at WrestleMania might’ve turned out to be nothing more than a fluke, but for a brief moment it looked like he was getting the booking love once again.

In the end, it was Rusev that won the over-the-top rope contest. He celebrated in the ring with Lana and good for him. However, the excitement that Ryder gave us in final moments was what made Rusev’s victory matter so much more.

2. Zayn Stood Tall With The IC Title

The first match on Raw was between Kevin Owens and Cesaro. The Intercontinental Champion, The Miz, watched the event with his wife while he hung out with the commentary team. The match was supposed to determine who would face Miz next for his belt, but Miz halted a Number One Contender being named when he struck Cesaro to end the match in DQ.

Arguments and fists followed between Cesaro, Owens, and Miz, who were joined by Sami Zayn during the scuffle. After delivering a Helluva Kick to Owens, Miz was pulled out of the ring by Maryse to safety. Miz haphazardly left his title behind, so Zayn picked it up and held it high in the air.

The ovation Sami got was tremendous. He’s clearly the fan’s choice in the IC Title hunt. The crowd gave him thunderous “Yes” chants of approval. I’m hoping that this shows WWE higher-ups that Zayn is somebody worth putting a top title on.

1. Who’s Side Is Styles On?

As long as WWE doesn’t get too upset that Roman and his cousins are the heels pretty much every town they go to, this is a great feud for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. AJ Styles and Roman Reigns have chemistry and when they’re not shoving too much McMahon nonsense into the story, it plays out pretty great.

After the six-man tag main event, Anderson & Gallows dragged a beat up Roman into the middle of the ring and handed AJ a chair. Styles wasn’t comfortable with this idea. He showed just a few moments later that he didn’t have a problem with using a chair when he battled The Usos, but there’s a difference between striking a man who’s in the middle of combat and striking one who’s completely helpless.

Styles is having a conflict between an allegiance to his friends of many years and whether or not he wants to join in with their dastardly heel tactics. If he keeps resisting the peer pressure, he’ll have to break away from his buddies and stick to the babyface route. If he finally embraces their influence, this could be the full emergence of a bad guy Bullet Club-ish faction.

Either way, I’m interested.

Plugs & Staff

Here are a few recent articles and reviews I’ve written worth checking out.

16 Greatest Wrestling Moments In 16-Bit

ROH TV 4/27/16 Review

10 Best Insight’s From Lucha Underground’s Catrina’s Reddit AMA

Also, follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson.

Thanks for reading.