WWE Week in Review, June 28: Roman Reigns Supreme, Vickie Guerrero Fired
It's been a rocky road toward Money in the Bank, but with the pending pay-per-view drawing near, on Sunday, it's safe to say that WWE has done a superb job of building up the card. This week's programming had the task of hyping each advertised match and getting viewers excited for the event, and the WWE succeeded.
Roman Reigns solidified himself as a favorite to win Sunday's WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder match when he stood tall at the end of Raw, Main Event and SmackDown. Will he leave Boston as champion, or will The Authority thwart his plans once again?
Another former member of The Shield, Seth Rollins, also left a lasting impression this week, winning on Raw and Main Event and ambushing Dean Ambrose on SmackDown. Will Rollins be the one to pull down the championship contract at Money in the Bank, or will Ambrose prevent him from doing so?
After a nine-year run in WWE, Vickie Guerrero's tenure with the company was cut short this week when she was fired by Stephanie McMahon. Could we see Guerrero back on WWE TV again sometime in the near future, or is it really the end of the line for her on-air character?
I will break down the week in wrestling by analyzing all of WWE's weekly programs and occasional pay-per-views, including each show's highlights, low points and other noteworthy, monumental moments. Also, I will give an award to the show and Superstar who shined the brightest over the course of the week.
Match of the Week: Bad News Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler: Raw, June 23
Needless to say, the Intercontinental Championship has been overlooked for far too long. The same can be said for Bad News Barrett and Dolph Ziggler.
While Barrett is the current intercontinental champion, he deserves to be in a higher spot on the card. Meanwhile, Ziggler, who hasn't been relevant since losing the World Heavyweight Championship in June 2013, is greatly underutilized as well.
Who knew that when you put two of WWE's most underrated talents in the same ring together, you would get magic?
No one thought Ziggler had a chance of winning the strap going into the match, but he managed to suspend disbelief with his very close near-falls on Barrett during the course of this contest. The two created such great chemistry together that it logically made for an awesome match.
The final few minutes were especially fantastic, with Barrett hitting the Bull Hammer on Ziggler out of nowhere. It was a nice preview of what's to come at Money in the Bank.
Superstar of the Week: Roman Reigns
How often is it that a faction breaks up, and every one of its members comes out of it looking great? Granted, it's only been a month since the demise of The Shield, but it's been so far, so good for each of the former members of the rogue trio.
While Ambrose and Rollins both had great weeks, Reigns shined the brightest. Not only was he on the winning end of a 4-on-3 Handicap match in the main event of this week's Raw, but he also closed the show by laying waste to Kane, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder match's newest contestant.
After partaking in an interview on Main Event, Reigns traveled to SmackDown to defeat Kane by disqualification. Could Reigns be closing in on his first major singles title?
Show of the Week: WWE NXT, June 26
The focal point of WWE's programming this week was to hype the upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view. In that respect, both Raw and SmackDown increased my excitement for the event and built toward the show nicely.
Both brands have been delivering solid shows for the most past as of late, but no show has been as consistently entertaining as NXT has been since Takeover in late May. This week's episode was no exception as it featured a mixed bag of just about everything.
The Becky Lynch and Bull Dempsey debuts were exceptionally exciting, as both acts have promise and potential to be great. The Vaudevillians, the newest team on the scene, established themselves well with another win.
Enzo Amore made his highly anticipated return by saving his tag partner Colin Cassady from a two-on-one situation. Finally, Adrian Neville and Rob Van Dam put on an excellent main-event match.
If you're not already watching NXT weekly, trust me when I say that you're missing out big time.
This Week's Highlights
Vickie Guerrero fired
This was a highlight for more than one reason. First off, this was a long time coming since Guerrero was no longer needed in the general-manager role. More importantly, though, she received the send-off that she definitely deserved.
She wasn't (technically) humiliated on her way out and was finally able to get one over the McMahons. Her tribute to her late husband Eddie Guerrero was an amazing touch and a fantastic way to go out.
Thanks for nine fun years, Vickie. You accomplished far more than anyone ever expected you to.
4-on-3 Handicap match
Yes, this was the same exact match we got on SmackDown the week prior, but it's easy to tell why a rematch was held on Raw. I found this to be more entertaining than the original, and everyone played their role to perfection. The finishing sequence was fun, but I could have done without the babyfaces overcoming the odds yet again and beating the heels for a second straight time.
Seth Rollins vs. Rob Van Dam
Before I even talk about the match, I really enjoyed the verbal exchange these two had prior to it. It was certainly the best showing RVD has had on the mic since his WWE return, and Rollins is improving on the stick with each passing week. It set up their subsequent match nicely, which was also very good. They mesh well together, and the disqualification finish sets up a rematch for later down the line.
Sheamus vs. Bray Wyatt
This wasn't the same awesome match these two had on Main Event a few months back, but it was still very physical and hard-hitting. They work well together, and I just wish they'd be given more time to shine. I figured it would end on a disqualification (again) based on who was involved, but the important thing is that it effectively hyped two matches for Money in the Bank.
Alberto Del Rio and Cesaro vs. Dolph Ziggler and Rob Van Dam
I was very glad to see that this was more than the brief bout I expected it to be based on the lack of entrances. Everyone worked in some cool spots, and it built toward both upcoming Ladder matches. Color me surprised, Del Rio actually won a match cleanly! No one will take him as a threat to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but at least the effort was there.
Rob Van Dam vs. Adrian Neville
This was a great clash of styles that very much lived up to my expectations. They were given great time and had a very nice back-and-forth match. Far too often do main-roster performers come down to NXT, beat a rookie and then are never seen again. I'm glad RVD wasn't one of those guys by instead putting Neville over in a big way and giving the current NXT champion his biggest win to date.
This Week's Low Points
Big E vs. Damien Sandow
Sandow in the Abraham Lincoln getup was a comical visual but depressing at the same time. It served as a sad reminder that one year removed from winning the Money in the Bank Ladder match, he's not even involved in the bout this year. This was nothing more than a glorified squash match that I could have easily done without.
Bo Dallas vs. Titus O'Neil
Is WWE trying to turn Dallas face in some strange way? That said, he was never really a heel to begin with but still. He received chants from a portion of the crowd at one point in the match, and facing a heel in O'Neil didn't help matters.
Speaking of O'Neil, I realize that WWE doesn't have any plans for him at the moment, but it's disappointing to see his talent go to waste. Why did The Prime Time Players break up again?
Paige vs. Cameron
Let the record show that I am actually intrigued by the ongoing drama between Paige, Cameron and Naomi right now. As a matter of fact, I didn't even mind this match being so short, given how terrible Cameron is in the ring.
The real issue is that Paige and Naomi are the ones fighting for the Divas Championship on Sunday, not Naomi and Cameron. I appreciate the effort by WWE to create tension between Paige and Naomi on SmackDown, but it still feels like the Money in the Bank match should be a Triple Threat at this point.
Bad News Barrett injured
There's never a good time to get injured, of course, but it always feels like wrestlers are injured at the worst of times, especially Barrett. He's been riding a wave of momentum since April, and I'd hate to see it come to a screeching halt due to something out of his control.
I was looking forward to him in Money in the Bank, and I hope he still competes, but his well-being and health are more important. I wish him a speedy recovery.
Bo Dallas vs. Fandango
Not only did the match pit two heels against each other but also one of those heels has two heel Divas fighting over him. Wait, what? Exactly. I've despised this love triangle since the start, and I'm surprised to see that it's gone on this long. This match was an exact repeat from SmackDown the week prior, showing no signs of originality whatsoever.
Rybaxel vs. R-Truth and Xavier Woods
I like them both as singles competitors, but no matter how hard they try, Ryback and Curtis Axel as a team bore me to tears. I couldn't care less about their match with Stardust and Goldust at Money in the Bank. Their back-to-back matches with Truth and Woods, another uninteresting team, this week on Main Event and Superstars, failed to excite me in any way, shape or form.
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Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.