Welcome to Slammer Jabber, your weekly look at all things professional wrestling from the past seven days. While it has been a relatively quiet week, there is still plenty to get your teeth into, with two action-packed TV shows, the confirmation of a big release from WWE, controversy on the indie scene and more. In a break from the usual format, we start things off with this week's edition with two big injury blows that will have an effect on the big Summerslam card on August 20th.
Injuries to Bayley & Dawson
With Summerslam looming, it looks like a couple of top-line WWE superstars will be missing out on the "biggest party of the summer". Firstly there is Bayley, whose shoulder injury is worse than originally thought. In fact she has separated her shoulder and will be out for a little while (more on that when we get to Raw). It's a shame because I definitely feel that the Bayley vs Alexa Bliss match was being set up as a starting point for a larger story with Sasha Banks, and the eventual Banks-Bayley feud (and presumably a heel turn for Banks). Still, given what happened on Raw, it's not impossible we'll still get there, but it's certainly a shame for Bayley.
Alongside the former NXT Women's Champion on the injured list is Scott Dawson of The Revival, who is apparently dealing with a torn bicep. I feel terrible for Dawson, who has plenty of bad luck since coming to the main roster. They had a great start after Wrestlemania, only for Dash Wilder to suffer a broken jaw which put the team on the shelf for a few months. Now, having regained that momentum after a few months away, it looks like they face another period on the side lines. Its shame, but I certainly have faith that the "top guys" will come back from this, better than ever.
Once again this week, for me Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman stole the show on Raw. The Miz was excellent in his demand for Jason Jordan's presence at ringside, and the segment turning into an appearance on Miz TV with Lesnar and Heyman was really well handled. I particularly enjoyed Heyman's line about role play, and then Lesnar absolutely obliterating the Miz-tourage. Lesnar looked really strong, and given the stipulation on his match at Summerslam it is really important that he is kept looking strong. Speaking of Jason Jordan, his match with a jobber (after Curtis Axel was ruled unable to compete) was a squash, but the booking of Jordan definitely has me thinking they are looking to get him some go-away heat in order to facilitate his heel turn down the line. It's still an intriguing storyline, but I certainly have questions over what the long term direction is, and whether we do eventually get the reveal that Jordan is in fact not really Kurt Angle's son.
The main event this week was an absolute corker. Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman knocked seven bells out of each other in a brutal and engaging battle, which was excellent. The chair spot they did was a bit genius, and looked absolutely brutal. The finish with Samoa Joe was really well done and made Joe again look like a killer. It was also very interesting that it seemed that Reigns was basically tapping out before Joe put him to sleep. It keeps all three challengers strong, especially with Reigns having got the win last week, and Lesnar getting more spotlight earlier in the show, the main event for Summerslam is shaping up really well, and I cannot wait to see how it works out.
The women's division got plenty of focus on Raw, with Bayley's announcement that she won't be able to compete at Summerslam. Both triple threat matches were very enjoyable, with Sasha Banks getting a good win over Alicia Fox and Emma, while Nia Jax dominated her way into a win over Mickie James and Dana Brooke. This sets up what should be a very good match next week, although I can only see a Banks win to set up a bout at Summerslam, as Jax vs Bliss seems like an odd, and frankly uninteresting match unless they are turning Jax face. Still, getting two decent Women’s matches on the show involving six different female performers can only be a good thing.
There was plenty of good work in building the other major matches for Summerslam on the red brand. The continuing awkward reunion story of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, well, continued. It really did feel like this week's squabble between the two as they continue to tease reuniting, was written by someone who specialised in Twilight fan-fiction. Even so, this yielded two really good matches with Sheamus taking on Seth Rollins, and Ambrose taking on Cesaro. I have said this for multiple weeks now, but I do suspect that Ambrose is stringing Rollins along in order to finally exact his revenge with a heel turn. Equally, this is still the most interesting either man has been in months, so I am all in favour. Bray Wyatt and Finn Balor had a nice little confrontation which was far better than I would have expected it to be, and hopefully leads to the tease next week of "The Demon" character making an appearance at Summerslam. The build to Big Show vs Big Cass at Summerslam continued, with Show and Enzo losing to Gallows & Anderson, who are now somewhat in limbo with The Revival out of action and The Hardys nowhere to be seen. The stipulation of Enzo being a shark cage at Summerslam should be fun, but I suspect he will be phased out soon enough (especially if the stories of him having heat withe rest of the locker room are true). Finally Akira Tozawa beat Ariya Daivari in fine match to continue building Tozawa up for his match with Neville.
A decent show overall, plenty of build for Summerslam and some decent in-ring action including a cracking main event brawl.
Following a very strong show last week, Smackdown took a bit of a dip this week. The main event between Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton in a non-title match, with The Singh Brothers out injured and unable to interfere, was probably the best match between the two to date. That isn’t saying much, but it was a decent back-and-forth which I assume was aimed at building up Orton, and giving him his win back over Jinder. It does serve to weaken Mahal somewhat because it gives the impression he can't win without the help of his lackeys, but I suppose that is basically his character, so it’s not a huge issue. Unless Orton is now clamouring for a title shot, it does make him look a bit silly as he could surely protest that he beat Jinder when it wasn’t 3-on-1? Either way, it was giving Jinder something to do as they can't really do a promo duel with himself and Shinsuke Nakamura ahead of their bout at Summerslam. The Rusev attack on Orton in the post-match was very nice, and made Rusev look a lot stronger after being RKO'd out of his boots last week. I appreciate the feud is over nothing in particular, but it's an intriguing and relatively fresh match so I'm on board. Speaking of Nakamura, the sit-down interview with Renee Young was fine for what it was and thankfully they kept the questioning brief and fairly simplistic. Nakamura really needs to be booked as someone with a mystique, with enigmatic actions instead of words. It looked like WWE had figured that out, but perhaps not. We’ll have to see what next week's confrontation between the two on the go-home show brings about, because currently this match is pretty cold, especially in comparison to the Raw title match.
I appreciate that this might read like a contradiction of what you’ve just read, but I thought John Cena did a good job of putting over Nakamura for beating him clean last week, and making it seem like a big deal (it's the match with Mahal, rather than the people involved that feels cold). The confrontation between Cena and Baron Corbin was fine for what it was, and although I'm not sure it did Corbin many favours I’m also not sure that Cena putting him over would have fit the story they are trying to tell. If Corbin beats him, well that's another story, but I was fine with this for now and it builds towards their match next Sunday in a perfectly acceptable fashion.
The rest of the show, was an eclectic mix. The segment with Kevin Owens, AJ Styles and Shane McMahon was both funny, and managed to create a sense of intrigue over Shane McMahon’s motives as a referee at Summerslam, which is a credit to the guys involved. Owens showing clips of McMahon screwing other wrestlers in the past was excellent, especially as Owens is really very much at the top of his game at the moment so this played into his wheelhouse massively. Charlotte vs Lana was a weird match, where Lana is still being mocked for being rubbish to the point where I thought briefly that Charlotte was turning heel here. Carmella vs Naomi was a nice little match, as Carmella getting the win albeit with help from the returning James Ellsworth put her over as an actual threat, as did the little face-off with Natalya backstage. If Corbin isn’t caching in his briefcase at Summerslam, I could definitely see Carmella taking her shot against Naomi/Natalya in the post-match. Sami Zayn and Tye Dillinger vs The Usos was a short, but fun match which really just seemed designed to set up the post-match promo and brawl involving The Usos and The New Day, which was a nice angle, and kept that feud bubbling along. I am assuming that Zayn is done with Mike and Maria Kanellis now? Finally, we had this week's Fashion Files which might have been more bizarre than last week's, but very funny, especially now we know what happened to Tully the Horse.
An enjoyable, if unspectacular show, certainly not on par with last week's effort, but I’ve seen far worse in recent months form the blue brand. Let's see how they do with the go-home show next week.
Lio Rush no sells powerbomb - everyone goes crazy!
Independent star and soon-to-be-NXT/WWE trainee/performer Lio Rush made headlines this week in what was reportedly one of his final independent dates before heading to Orlando. Rush was involved in a match at a CZW event in which he was powerbombed off the top rope through a table, only to stand up immediately and no-sell the move. This garnered a lot of criticism online from certain quarters for "exposing the business", chiefly from the sort of people who got involved in the whole "dive" incident a few months back (well not Randy Orton, but certainly Rip Rogers and the usual suspects). For me, it's a silly spot and it does make the move seem a bit pointless, but it shouldn’t be as big a deal as it has become online. Some people are simply looking for a reason to criticise the younger generation of more athletic performers, while others are quick to jump to the defence of a growing movement where psychology means less and less. The truth as always is somewhere in the middle, I suspect. Equally, you have to wonder what Rush's new employers will make of this clip, if they happen to see it.
Eva Marie Gone from WWE
Finally this week, we got the sad news that Eva Marie had parted ways with WWE. Albeit inevitable, it is sad to see her go, if nothing else because of how annoyed certain quarters of the internet wrestling community got at the idea of Eva Marie possibly dethroning one of their favourites. We wish her well as she continues to holiday in the UK.
Well that is it from me for this week. I will be back at the same time next week with the continued build for Summerslam, all the news from Raw and Smackdown, an update on the NJPW G-1 Climax (I know I promised this last week, but I've delayed this so next week we can cover the tournament semi-finals, final, and eventual winner) and whatever other stories break in the next week. In the meantime, keep it locked here at Screenjabber for all the best movie, Blu-ray, DVD and video game reviews, as well as all the latest news, podcasts and more. Until next time, so long folks.