Date: September 9, 2019
Location: Madison Square Garden in New York
The Big Takeaway --
Baron Corbin beat Samoa Joe and Ricochet to advance to the King of the Ring final this Sunday at Clash of Champions. Cedric Alexander pinned AJ Styles in a 10-man tag match.
Steve Austin was entertaining in his appearance but there were no big surprises or angles on WWE’s return to MSG. Bray Wyatt did not appear in front of the live crowd.
Show Recap --
Universal Championship contract signing moderated by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
Steve Austin came out to start the show. (They usually starts with the announcers welcoming us to the show, but they made sure to play Austin’s music first.) The crowd erupted for Austin. They’re shooting all sides of the arena and Michael Cole claimed the building is sold out.
Austin immediately dranks some beers. He said he was told it’s been over 20 years since he’s been to the Garden. The crowd loudly yelled “What” during his promo. Austin recalled fighting here at Survivor Series against Bret Hart and got goosebumps when Hart’s music hit.
He also talked about giving Vince McMahon his first stunner in this building, as well as his match against Undertaker (while also mentioning Earl Hebner). Austin asked the crowd if they were ready for the contract signing and they yelled “Hell yeah.”
Austin introduced Braun Strowman. Strowman offered a handshake, which got the crowd buzzing. They chanted for Austin, who ignored the handshake and introduced Seth “freakin’” Rollins. Austin shook both their hands once Rollins entered. Rollins was excited to be in New York. Rollins said he normally doesn’t like the “What” chants but was down with them tonight.
Rollins told Strowman he didn’t have any tricks, he was the best wrestler on the planet and would beat Strowman. The crowd booed when he called himself the best wrestler on the planet. There was a light and brief chant for CM Punk, then a light chant for AJ Styles.
Strowman admired Austin but said he was still a rattlesnake. He told Rollins that he liked being tag champs, but it would be even better being Universal champion. Strowman said he would open a can of whoop-ass and Rollins would get these hands.
The OC interrupted. Styles assured Austin that they don't want none, then mocked Austin. He wondered if anyone would even want to see Austin stomp a mudhole in someone anymore, and the crowd chanted “Yes.” Styles got annoyed at the “What” chants, then the crowd started rapidly chanting it at him, which was funny.
Austin told him to put some bass in his voice, so Styles told him to shut up. The crowd called Styles an asshole, then Austin called him an asshole. Styles said Austin has turned into an asshole in his old age (none of this was bleeped). Styles then called Austin an old fart, which is even better. The crowd chanted “soccer mom.”
Austin cleared the table because he knew what was about to happen. Rollins and Strowman attacked the OC. Strowman took out Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, but Styles avoided a stomp from Rollins and tossed him from the ring. The crowd buzzed because Austin was right behind him. Austin gave Styles the finger and then hit him with a stunner. The crowd popped.
This was great. Austin was obviously the highlight but Styles was good too.
They plugged Undertaker on Smackdown tomorrow.
Cedric Alexander defeated U.S Champion AJ Styles via DQ in a non-title match (8:45)
Styles was seated in the corner following the break, then Alexander ran down to start the match and take advantage of Styles just getting a stunner. Alexander was in control early on and hit a flip dive to the outside. However, Styles caught his arm, wrenched it over the rope and they went to break. (Alexander’s shoulder is hurt from last week’s attack.)
After a break, Alexander came back with a Michinoku Driver for a nearfall. Alexander hit a back elbow and enziguri, then Anderson and Gallows attacked him for the DQ. The Viking Raiders ran out for the save. They helped Alexander clear the ring, and gave Anderson the Viking Experience. The crowd chanted “war” to their music.
Backstage, Sasha Banks and Bayley cut a promo on Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. Bayley said there was no stronger connection than the two of them, and Banks said Lynch and Charlotte could take that to the bank. Lynch and Charlotte were shown getting ready elsewhere, and Lynch stared a hole through Charlotte the entire time.
Bray Wyatt let us know there would be a new episode of the Firefly Fun House tonight.
There was a Connor’s Cure video narrated by Roman Reigns. Reigns then came out on the stage in a Connor's Cure t-shirt. Reigns said it was about a year ago that he made his leukemia announcement, and through the fans’ love and support, he managed to return. Reigns always said he wanted to use his platform to benefit others. Reigns brought out young cancer survivors from a New York hospital, who were introduced one by one to the applause of the crowd.
Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair defeated SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley & Sasha Banks (17:24)
Lynch and Charlotte entered, then they aired a long video package. As Bayley and Banks entered, they were attacked by Lynch and Charlotte. Lynch gave Banks an Exploder on the outside but was overwhelmed by Bayley and Banks until Charlotte chased them off with a chair.
The match began after a break. Corey Graves said Banks should be on SportsCenter because she was like the Antonio Brown of WWE. Cole then plugged an ESPN article about these four women.
Lynch beat the crap out of Bayley and was in full control until the heels used nefarious means to cut her off and take over. Lynch quickly came back with an inverted DDT and tagged in Charlotte, who hit Banks with chops and fallaway slam. Charlotte booted Bayley off the apron, then gave Banks a neckbreaker for two.
Banks caught Charlotte in the crossface for a moment, but Charlotte countered into a Figure Eight. Lynch then tried putting Bayley in a Disarmer, but Bayley shoved her into Charlotte which broke up the submission. The crowd chanted “this is awesome” with all four women down. Banks then took out Charlotte with a double knee strike on the outside.
After a break, the heels worked over Charlotte who eventually caught Bayley with a knee strike before making the hot tag to Lynch. Lynch attacked Bayley with strikes and a running forearm, then gave Banks an Exploder. Lynch tried to put Bayley in a Disarmer but Banks gave her a backcracker.
Bayley and Banks tried a double suplex on Charlotte but Lynch saved her with a double dropkick. Lynch gave Bayley a diving leg drop and Charlotte followed with a moonsault (which didn’t look good) but Banks broke up the cover. Lynch had Banks in a Disarmer on the outside, then Bayley gave Lynch a suplex into the barricade. Bayley also suplexed Charlotte.
Bayley went for a flying elbow drop in the ring, but Charlotte got her knees up. Charlotte fought off Banks who tried to interfere, then hit Bayley with Natural Selection for the pinfall win. The bulk of this was good, except for a few clunky spots with Charlotte near the end.
Backstage, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode approached the OC with a proposition. Ziggler said they could be running the place with their assistance. Ziggler said they could take care of business tonight, then Styles shook his hand.
Rey Mysterio defeated Gran Metalik (6:24)
They went back and forth early on and Metalik had an answer for everything Mysterio did. Mysterio tried a diving splash but Metalik dodged it and hit a superkick. Metalik then hit a flip dive, leaping off the second rope, but landed hard on Mysterio’s head and neck (which was shown in split-screen because they were about to show a replay of something else.)
They paused for a brief moment to check on Mysterio. Mysterio used a headscissors takedown, seated senton, and springboard crossbody, but Metalik came back with a superkick and springboard dropkick. With Mysterio sitting on the top rope, Metalik leaped off the ropes and hit a hurricanrana for two. Mysterio followed with a Code Red for two.
Mysterio then caught Metalik with a 619 and frog splash for the win. Mysterio helped Metalik to his feet and they shook hands. Metalik bowed to Mysterio. This was quite good, but short.
They aired a replay of Strowman putting Sami Zayn in a dumpster last May for some reason. (It was a sponsored clip, which is usually when they show a classic replay.)
Tonight’s main event is a 10-men tag: The Viking Raiders, Rollins, Strowman and Alexander against The OC, Ziggler and Roode. The Street Profits plugged the match and Clash of Champions as loudly as they could. They also had a Reigns/Rowan/Daniel Bryan video package played. (There was no direct reference to the fact that they are no longer NXT tag champs.)
King of the Ring semifinal triple threat match: Baron Corbin defeated Samoa Joe and Ricochet (14:08)
Joe’s entrance got a big reaction. Most of Corbin’s entrance happened during a break. Ricochet was all over both guys early on, hitting multiple dives. And then they went to break two minutes into the match.
A small section of the crowd chanted for Corbin. The majority of the crowd responded with “Corbin sucks.” Corbin caught Ricochet on the outside and drove him into the post. Joe took out Corbin with a suicide dive, then also drove Ricochet into the post. Joe gave Corbin an inverted atomic drop, big boot and senton but Ricochet broke up the cover. Joe then gave Ricochet a power slam for two.
Corbin turned Ricochet inside out with a clothesline, Joe took out Corbin, then Ricochet superkicked Joe. Ricochet attacked Corbin but Corbin cut him off with a big boot. Ricochet used a rollup for two. Corbin gave him a powerbomb, then flipped him up to his feet and caught him with Deep Six (which was cool) but Joe yanked Corbin out of the ring and put him the Coquina Clutch. Ricochet then wiped out both men with a shooting star press off the apron.
Joe avoided Ricochet’s 630 and put him in the Coquina Clutch, but Ricochet quickly countered into a Codebreaker. Ricochet hit the 630 but Corbin pulled him from the ring and tossed him into the crowd. Corbin then pinned Joe for the win. Corbin advances to the KOTR finals against either Chad Gable or Elias. Good match.
(They’ve developed a new pattern over the past few weeks. Instead of a match starting at the top of the hour, it’ll start maybe one segment before that, then continue through it.)
Natalya defeated Lacey Evans (5:06)
There was a CM Punk chant that was quickly drowned out by boos. Natalya hit a discus clothesline and went for the Sharpshooter but Evans stumbled out of it. Natalya went after Evans on the outside, then Evans caught her with a neckbreaker.
Evans then used the ring apron to choke Natalya, which the referee allowed. Cole thought it was “interesting” that she used the apron. Renee Young called it assault. After a while, Natalya caught Evans in a sharpshooter for the submission win. This wasn’t good. Evans beat Natalya in 5 minutes last week. Natalya beat Evans in 5 minutes this week.
They aired a clip from before the show of Boston Celtic player (and former New York Knick) Enes Kanter beating R-Truth for the 24/7 Title. Truth then rolled him up to win the title back. I’m surprised they didn’t put this on the main show.
Firefly Fun House
The rabbit puppet warned Bray that he saw a stranger with Rollins and Strowman. Bray knew it was talking about Austin. The pig mentioned some of the men Bray attacked, then Abby pointed out that their clock was stuck at 3:16. All the puppets yelled “stranger danger” until Bray shut them up, then smashed the clock to fix it. The clock now reads 11:19. Bray warned Rollins and Strowman that the Fiend never forgets. “See you in hell.”
Lynch and Rollins are on the cover of Muscle & Fitness.
10-man tag match: Universal Champion/Tag Team Champion Seth Rollins, Tag Team Champion Braun Strowman, Cedric Alexander & The Viking Raiders defeated U.S. Champion AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode (19:34)
All of the babyfaces except Rollins entered during a break. The heels all entered on the broadcast. A brawl broke out and they went to break two minutes into the match.
Back from break, the heels were in control and the crowd was doing the wave. Roode worked over Alexander’s arm as the crowd chanted “yowie-wowie.” Rollins tried to get the crowd back in the match but it didn’t really work.
Alexander hit a back elbow and made the hot tag to Rollins who hit Anderson with a slingblade, springboard knee strike and falcon arrow but Roode broke up the cover. Everyone came in and traded moves. Styles gave Ivar a Phenomenal forearm, then Rollins gave him a superkick. Rollins hit dives and Strowman hit running shoulder tackles.
Strowman gave Anderson a powerslam but Roode and Ziggler pushed Rollins into Strowman which broke up the cover. Strowman, an idiot, thought maybe Rollins did this on purpose. They argued as they went to break with 10 minutes left in the show.
Back from break, they aired an ad for Table for Three even though there’s a match still taking place. The heels worked over Rollins until he eventually gave Roode a blockbuster. Rollins gave Ziggler a buckle bomb and tagged in Strowman.
Strowman ran over Styles, but Styles avoided a charge and Strowman went shoulder-first into the post. Erik tagged himself in and got some offense until Styles gave him a Pelé kick. Ivar tagged in and ran over Styles, then took out a pile of men with a dive to the outside. Alexander then gave Styles a lumbar check for the pinfall win.
Instead of Alexander’s music playing, Austin’s music hit and he jogged out. He grabbed some beers and handed them out to the babyfaces. They all drank beer and celebrated as the show ended.
Final Thoughts --
This show was enjoyable until the KOTR match, but it really screeched to a halt after that. The crowd didn’t care about the main event and it felt like they were just waiting for it to end.