Tensions were high last week when Roman Reigns unleashed his frustration on Sami Zayn, following their defeat to John Cena and Kevin Owens a fortnight ago. This week, the Tribal Chief gave the Honorary Uce a chance to redeem himself and it now looks like there will be more angst within The Bloodline.
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.
There was also an all mighty return on Raw, while The Judgment Day received a future tag team championship opportunity and Gunther triumphed in an Intercontinental Title defense on Smackdown.
Bobby Lashley returns amidst probable Hurt Business reunion
After multiple incidents with management last month that resulted in suspension, Bobby Lashley made his return on Monday Night Raw and announced that he has been reinstated.
The All Mighty reemerged after a confrontation between Austin Theory and Seth Rollins, spearing the United States Champion and throwing him over the top rope. Lashley then declared that not only was his suspension lifted, but that he will also manhandle all competition in the men’s Royal Rumble match.
Following this segment, MVP met with the All Mighty backstage and revealed he convinced Adam Pearce to reinstate him to the roster. The manager then attempted to discuss “business” with Lashley, hinting at a much-desired Hurt Business reunion that has been teased for several weeks.
While the former WWE Champion had forgiven MVP for their past grievances, Lashley admitted that now wasn’t a good time to open the conversation and possibility for a reuniting. Although this was the case, it does appear almost certain that The Hurt Business will finally reform after officially disbanding in 2022.
The faction that also featured Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin were highly rated by the WWE Universe, as they made a significant contribution to Raw during the pandemic era. It would also add a group to contest The Bloodline for their championships, although that window is quickly narrowing.
Lashley’s participation in the men’s Royal Rumble match has also ruled out a potential third clash with Brock Lesnar at the Premium Live Event, which some speculated would happen. The Beast and All Mighty may still cross paths in the battle royal or even have their final encounter at WrestleMania 39.
The Judgment Day rise in tag team turmoil to earn title match
The main event of Monday Night Raw consisted of a tag team turmoil match, with the winning duo earning the right to challenge The Usos for only the Raw Tag Team Championships. Although they began in the ring first, The Judgment Day prevailed and now have their sights set on The Bloodline.
Finn Balor and Damien Priest progressed through The O.C. at the start, followed by Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin. Alpha Academy were then the third team in line and while The Judgment Day were able to score another win, it came at a severe cost.
Balor was medically disqualified after suffering a rib injury from Otis and could not compete in the final bout against The Street Profits. The Judgment Day either had to forfeit or substitute Dominik Mysterio in the match, choosing the latter.
While it seemed like Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins were going to steal the victory, Mysterio rolled up Ford and pinned him with some assistance from Rhea Ripley. The Judgment Day were announced as the number one contenders, as all praise was directed towards Damien Priest for lasting through the entire turmoil.
It was the right decision to give The Judgment Day the title opportunity, as it creates an interesting dynamic against The Usos. The former have proven that they are the best faction in WWE outside The Bloodline and their match against the champions is somewhat unpredictable.
If WWE wish to split the titles, The Judgment Day looms as the perfect candidate to win the Raw Tag Team Championships after how they have been creatively booked. The scenario of separating the titles still seems highly unlikely, but it is a situation to keep a close eye on.
It can also be said that The Usos are not losing any championship defense before WrestleMania 39, where it is projected that they will finally drop the gold to Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
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Gunther overcomes his biggest challenge yet as Intercontinental Champion
Friday Night Smackdown commenced with Gunther continuing his impressive Intercontinental Title reign, defeating Braun Strowman in the latter’s best match since returning to WWE last September.
The Monster had control in the early stages of the contest and even forced the champion to retreat from the ring, but Gunther gained momentum after targeting his challenger’s sore arm that he brutalised two weeks ago.
In the closing moments of the match, it was an even battle and both competitors could not be split. The crowd were eager to see Strowman capture the Intercontinental Championship, but the tables turned when the Ring General prevented a superplex.
Gunther still focused on the injured arm of Strowman and delivered a powerbomb to the Monster from the top rope, before pinning his opponent and remaining as the Intercontinental Champion at 217 days.
The Ring General’s title reign has been lauded for the competition he has beaten and the legitimacy he has brought back to the championship, with Strowman being his biggest victory yet.
There have even been calls for Gunther to become the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time, which would require surpassing The Honky Tonk Man’s tenure of 454 days.
It is hard to see which direction Gunther takes next, but there are some serious opponents lined up for the Ring General heading into WrestleMania. He could reignite his feud with Sheamus or enter a rivalry with Drew McIntyre, but those two have only recently become a tag team.
Strowman could also be granted a rematch in the coming weeks, but Gunther declared on Smackdown that he will participate in the men’s Royal Rumble match which means his next feud should kickstart next month.
The Bloodline cost Sami Zayn a certain victory against Kevin Owens
In what was dubbed as the biggest match of Sami Zayn’s career, he went to war with Kevin Owens in the main event of Friday Night Smackdown to redeem himself from two weeks ago.
Earlier in the show, the Honorary Uce approached The Bloodline’s locker room to discuss a strategy for the match. However, Paul Heyman revealed the faction weren’t in the building and instructed Zayn that he had to beat the Prizefighter by himself.
Fast forward to the main event, the two former best friends were putting on a clinic and Zayn was holding up on his own. The Honorary Uce was committed to once again proving himself and was nearing victory, setting Owens up for a helluva kick after delivering two exploder suplexes.
However, The Bloodline launched an attack on the Prizefighter and the contest ended in a disqualification. Zayn was visually upset and disappointed at the outcome, as he was on the cusp of a win and told The Bloodline that he needed to take care of business.
The Honorary Uce was hesitant to join in on the outnumbered assault, before Solo Sikoa splashed on Owens through the announce table to close Smackdown.
It is clear now that The Bloodline are toying with Zayn and playing with his emotions, as the Prizefighter pointed out during an interview prior that they are using the Honorary Uce. Zayn refused to believe what Owens was saying, but this angle seems to be coming to a head which should result in the former being betrayed by The Bloodline.
Next week, Reigns and Owens will sign the contract for their Undisputed Universal Championship match at the Royal Rumble.
The Tribal Chief may acknowledge Zayn’s unwillingness to attack the Prizefighter after the main event and in order for the Honorary Uce to prove himself once again, a fascinating dynamic would be to make him the special guest referee.
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