19/05/2024

The Usos before their Undisputed Tag Team Title defense against The New Day on Smackdown (Picture: WWE)

It was a busy week in WWE with the fallout of Crown Jewel and build to Survivor Series, as there were multiple championship retentions that resulted in a record being broken and a failed Money in the Bank cash-in.

Welcome to the WWE Weekly Round-up, where The Inner Sanctum will take you through this week’s most pivotal moments on WWE television and preview what shapes to be a huge period ahead.

More matches were added to the card of Survivor Series, with the Premium Live Event scheduled to occur in a fortnight on November 27. The picture for WarGames also became clearer and Gunther’s next challenger for his Intercontinental Championship is taking shape through a tournament.

Mia Yim joins The O.C. to combat the Rhea Ripley problem

Ever since The O.C. reunited with the returns of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, they have been feuding with The Judgment Day and failed to address one problem; the influence of the Eradicator, Rhea Ripley.

It was on display again at Crown Jewel, where the two teams collided in a six-man tag team match with Ripley assisting The Judgment Day by assaulting AJ Styles while the referee was distracted. On Monday Night Raw, it reached a breaking point.

The O.C. confronted The Judgment Day and finally revealed that someone had approached them to solve the Rhea Ripley problem. The equaliser turned out to be a returning Mia Yim, who took out the Eradicator before a brawl broke out amongst everyone.

Styles, Gallows, Anderson and Yim all stood tall at the end of the encounter and now it looks like a four-on-four match will occur at Survivor Series. Beth Phoenix’s name was floated as a potential option to join The O.C. after what Ripley did to her at Extreme Rules, but Mia Yim instead makes her way back to WWE after being released one year ago.

The addition of Yim also bolsters Raw’s women’s division, which has been far superior to Smackdown’s.

Women’s WarGames match for Survivor Series takes shape

With Survivor Series taking place in two weeks, it was imminent that some form of announcement would be made on Monday Night Raw regarding either the men’s or women’s WarGames match. Bianca Belair then decided to call out Damage CTRL with Asuka and Alexa Bliss.

Before the E.S.T could reveal her intentions, both parties engaged in a war of words before another brawl commenced. When Damage CTRL left the ring, Belair said that this is deeper than a feud and needs to finally end inside WarGames.

Soon after, Nikki Cross attacked the Raw Women’s Champion from behind and it allowed Damage CTRL to unleash an outnumbered assault on Belair, Asuka and Bliss. The WarGames match was then made official for Survivor Series and there are still spots remaining for both teams.

Damage CTRL and Cross need one more member, while Belair, Asuka and Bliss have to find two other teammates to make up a five-on-five. Names like Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch have been brought up to participate in the match, but the majority of the contest has been confirmed.

Later on Raw, Cross defeated Dana Brooke for the 24/7 Championship and threw it in a trash can after. It lead to speculation amongst fans that the title had seen its last day, before it was officially retired by WWE on Thursday.

Austin Theory fails Money in the Bank cash-in

The conclusion of Monday Night Raw saw Seth Rollins hold an open challenge for his United States Championship, which was anticipated throughout the whole show.

Mustafa Ali seemed like the obvious choice to answer the Visionary, given that the two had been feuding for weeks and never faced each other at Crown Jewel for the title.

When Rollins entered the ring and waited to see who he would be facing, Ali appeared on the titantron and said he would challenge the United States Champion until he was brutally assaulted by a ferocious Bobby Lashley.

The Almighty then declared he wanted an opportunity at the title after how he lost it to the Visionary four weeks ago and Rollins was ecstatic.

He was eager to compete against Lashley but before the bell could ring, the latter attacked the United States Champion and even planted him through the announce table when officials tried to get involved.

The former champion then made his way to the back and Austin Theory approached the scene with his Money in the Bank briefcase in hand, before ordering the referees to ring the bell. A match was then made official between Theory and Rollins, where the contract was illogically utilised on a mid-card title instead of the Undisputed Universal Championship.

In the dying stages of the contest, Theory was on the verge of becoming a two-time United States Champion when he delivered an A-town down to his opponent. However, Lashley made a return to the ring and pulled the referee away before he could make the three count.

The Almighty went on another rampage and viciously attacked the youngest Mr. Money in the Bank, which lead to a curb stomp from Rollins to retain his title.

While the situation may seem laughable that Theory cashed in on the United States Champion in an open challenge, it removes the awkward situation of him holding the contract when he was never going to realistically win the Undisputed Universal Title in the next year.

WWE booked themselves into a corner when they had Theory win the Money in the Bank ladder match back in July, as they even teased a potential cash-in on Bron Breakker in NXT. His direction may be unclear now, but the situation on Raw can be viewed as a reset for Theory who needs to be booked better with Triple H in creative control.

Finally, it also seems like a Bobby Lashley heel turn is on the cusp if it hasn’t happened already. It was insinuated at Crown Jewel, where he was booed by the crowd and attacked Brock Lesnar after their match had finished.

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Smackdown World Cup kicks off

The Smackdown World Cup that would determine Gunther’s next challenger for the Intercontinental Championship commenced on Friday Night Smackdown, with two matches kickstarting the tournament.

The first contest saw Santos Escobar of Legado Del Fantasma defeat Shinsuke Nakamura, before Braun Strowman capitalised on his momentum from Crown Jewel by beating Jinder Mahal.

The other competitors involved in the tournament are Sami Zayn, Butch, Ricochet and Mustafa Ali. The last two will battle against each other next week, while a match between the Honorary Uce and Brawling Brute will also build towards the men’s WarGames contest at Survivor Series.

Strowman seems to be the logical winner for the Smackdown World Cup and earn a title shot against Gunther, as nobody has matched the Ring General in the ring apart from Sheamus.

It is unknown at this stage whether or not the Intercontinental Championship match would take place at Survivor Series.

Ronda Rousey’s opponent for Survivor Series confirmed

On Friday Night Smackdown, six women were given the opportunity to face Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series for her title in a six-pack challenge. While names like Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez featured, it was actually Shotzi who earned a Smackdown Women’s Championship match.

She scored the pin on Lacey Evans after Morgan, Rodriquez and Sonya Deville were out at ringside from their own altercation. This victory is a welcome push for Shotzi, who has turned face and was given back her signature tank after it was abolished by Mr. McMahon.

The match between the champion and number one contender makes sense to occur at Survivor Series, since a contest between Rousey and the E.S.T was ruled out with the announcement of the women’s WarGames bout. It gives Shotzi some spotlight and exposure, although she will most definitely lose to the Baddest Woman on the Planet.

After the six-pack challenge, Emma congratulated Shotzi before the victor was placed in a sleeper hold by Shayna Basler after stating how she will beat the Smackdown Women’s Champion.

The Usos become the longest reigning Tag Team Champions of all time, The Bloodline brawl with the Brutes and Drew McIntyre

Friday Night Smackdown commenced with a tag team match that had more than the Undisputed Championships on the line; The Usos defended their titles against The New Day, who were trying to protect their record as the longest-reigning Tag Team Champions of all time.

It was a fantastic match that saw multiple swings in momentum and The Usos looked to have it won when they delivered a double splash to Xavier Woods in the middle of the ring. However, Woods was able to kick out and The New Day’s record was still intact for the time being.

Shortly after, Woods and Kingston landed a midnight hour on Jimmy and the former WWE Champion applied a cover. It was then broken up by Jey, who was taken out by his opponents prior at ringside.

Towards the end, The Usos ensured they had the outnumber by superkicking Woods into the timekeepers’ area, leaving Kingston alone to try and secure the win for The New Day. The Usos were then able to hit a 1D on their opponent who launched from the top rope, as they assured themselves as the longest reigning Tag Team Champions of all time.

The conclusion of Smackdown then saw The Bloodline make their way to the ring for a ‘special moment’, after Roman Reigns told The Usos he wanted to share something with them. Before the Tribal Chief could say anything, Ridge Holland and Butch of The Brawling Brutes interrupted and stated they’ve had enough of always being outnumbered.

This led to the return of Sheamus, who made his first appearance on television since the October 22 edition of Smackdown when he suffered a brutal assault from The Bloodline. The trio then brawled with the stable and didn’t come out on top, until Drew McIntyre equalised the situation before the two parties kept fighting as the show went off the air.

It now indicates that both teams will compete against each other in the men’s WarGames match at Survivor Series, with Sami Zayn and hopefully Kevin Owens to be added to the equation.

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