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SmackDown

Both Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston made statements Tuesday in their final appearance before Sunday’s steel-cage showdown at Stomping Grounds. Ziggler was solid in taking out Xavier Woods, even if his W was aided by the nagging heel duo of Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Kofi teamed up with Seth Rollins to close out SmackDown Live, as the two champs swept Owens and Zayn in a two-out-of-three fall battle. It was the right call to have Kofi and Ziggler look strong, but the real question isn’t who will walk away from Stomping Grounds with the WWE championship -- that seems fairly obvious. But can this match live up to its billing. At a minimum, will it wow the audience more than their fight a few weeks ago at Super ShowDown? Something says this one will steal the show.

Matt Wilansky, ESPN.com1d ago

Perhaps the hardest match to predict come Sunday will be for the SmackDown tag-team championship. Heavy Machinery, which squashed the B-Team on Tuesday, has largely been underused, but you can see and feel the energy when they appear in the ring. As compelling as Daniel Bryan and Rowan are as a team, could there be a title change in the air. If not at Stomping Grounds, it has to come soon, no? If anything, the recent ascent of Heavy Machinery has elevated the tag-team division on the Blue Brand (with help from the Red Brand). Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn haven’t had many winning moments, but they’re always formidable, are, of course, The New Day and the Bryan-Rowan duo. And let's not forget Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura are still out there. Oh and let's not forget R-Truth, who, yes, came up short in his tag-team match with the Miz on Tuesday and subsequently lost the 24/7 title, but he is someone who is worthy of more gold. Whatever happens, the push for Otis and Tucker has been a welcome addition.

Matt Wilansky, ESPN.com1d ago

Sure, Tuesday’s go-home show wasn’t unique by any stretch, but you can chalk it up to a valiant effort to ratchet up momentum ahead of an inaugural pay-per-view that needs some love. Seth Rollins (with that chair attached to his hip) continued his viscous side, unleashing on the B-Team because they showed interest in refereeing Rollins’ match against Baron Corbin on Sunday. The SmackDown women’s champ, Bayley, also refused to back down after Alexa Bliss browbeat then pummeled her. Of course, Nikki Cross played a role in that outcome. Bayley probably isn’t in much danger of losing her title, and neither is Rollins. But with the unknowns (Brock Lesnar, anyone?) in those two battles make Sunday just a little more intriguing.

Matt Wilansky, ESPN.com1d ago

Monday Night Raw

While Raw had its moments in which it felt more like a live event than a go-home show to a pay-per-view, the end result was a night with some really solid matches. Ricochet will get his biggest shot in WWE to date against Samoa Joe for the United States championship at Stomping Grounds after winning a Fatal 5-Way No. 1 contender’s match to open the show. Cesaro lifting Strowman up effortlessly for one of his signature moves was among the most impressive moments of an in-ring career chock full of them, but this was ultimately Ricochet’s night. Paul Heyman keeps showing up for short promos to keep Brock Lesnar in everyone’s minds, but I think it’ll be the moment when he stops showing up that there should be legitimate worry of his return to cash in Money in the Bank… Firefly Fun House continues to be one of the highlights of the week. We got our clearest look to date of Bray Wyatt’s new look, which he previously nicknamed “the fiend”, as he beckoned the world to “let him in”. How long until we see him in the ring, or anywhere outside of the Firefly Funhouse, for that matter?

Tim Fiorvanti, ESPN.com3d ago

We got less of Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins than we probably would’ve liked, but the 10 minutes we got after the chaos of 10 guys rushing the ring and a restart was, predictably, a lot of fun. There are many problems with the Wild Card rule, and there should be a decision made on the state of a true brand split, but this match was the best result of that decision to date. It was a busy night for Rollins, who destroyed everyone who seemed a likely candidate to be special guest referee with a steel chair, from Elias (who also ate five finishers from everyone in the opening match), to EC3, to Eric Young. Baron Corbin also took a few shots over the course of the night, but closed out the final Raw before Stomping Grounds by standing over a fallen Rollins… Roman Reigns finally got a measure of revenge against Shane McMahon, Drew McIntyre and The Revival by breaking up their cocktail party and taking his pound of flesh from all four of them. Sadly, he didn’t arrive in time to save Heath Slater, who saw his old friendship with McIntyre used against him before taking some violent head shots.

Tim Fiorvanti, ESPN.com3d ago

While I’m not really sure why New Day vs. Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin was two-out-of-three falls, getting KO and Sami away from Corbin is probably the right call ahead of Sunday, and beyond. It was a solid match in its own right, until Zayn and Owens walked out in light of some friendly fire… The IIconics finally defended the women’s tag team titles on TV against Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss, though Bayley’s conflict with Bliss changed the course of the match. Bliss and Cross has no real right to make sense as a pairing, and yet the storytelling that also involves Bliss trying to gaslight everyone into thinking Bayley’s really a bully is pretty fascinating… R-Truth and Carmella were in the crowd in costume in this week’s dose of 24/7 title madness, but the real question that lingers is why Titus O’Neil was under the ring, too. Perhaps we will never know… Good to see The Viking Raiders again, albeit for less than a minute of actual ring time. Gallows and Anderson were briefly remembered for a moment as well, despite a quick loss of their own to The Usos. The Good Brothers interacting with AJ Styles and having him try to motivate them is at least a step towards telling a story.

Tim Fiorvanti, ESPN.com3d ago

SmackDown

Big E looked strong and healthy in his latest return to the ring, but once again Kofi Kingston was the star of the show as his Trouble in Paradise on Sami Zayn lifted the New Day to a win over a heel team that also included Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler. While it’s disappointing to see Zayn take another loss, he was terrific, as usual, on the mic earlier in the night. Now here’s hoping Kofi-Ziggler in a steel cage come Stomping Grounds brings a little more energy than their match last week at Super ShowDown.

Matt Wilansky, ESPN.com9d ago

A solid showing by the women of SmackDown, as Sonya Deville (with the help of Mandy Rose) beat Carmella in an entertaining match, while blue brand champ Bayley had to work hard to take down Nikki Cross, who had Alexa Bliss by her side. This, of course, was just a tune-up for the Bliss-Bayley showdown at Stomping Grounds, but the truth is Cross looks like she has the chops to be in the spotlight in future pay-per-views. On the men’s side, Heavy Machinery, Otis and Tucker, were impressive in crushing a pair of local jobbers and now look to be the frontrunners to face the SmackDown tag-team champs, Daniel Bryan and Rowan.

Matt Wilansky, ESPN.com9d ago

It was a busy, frustrating and largely disappointing night for The Miz on Tuesday. After hosting a lengthy “Miz TV” segment with Shane McMahon, Drew McIntyre and Elias, The Miz would be granted a rematch against Shane O’Mac IF he could beat both Elias and Drew McIntyre. Miz defeated Elias, but could not overcome McIntyre. McMahon then called for the bell against an already broken Miz, forcing the face to submit for his second loss of the night. There were an awful lot of moving parts, and it’s unclear what the story arc is here. Perhaps the payoff will come at Stomping Grounds in a couple of weeks if they go one on one again. If not, chalk this one up to nothing more than another wretched day for the A-Lister.

Matt Wilansky, ESPN.com9d ago

Monday Night Raw

The Revival won a triple threat match against Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins and The Usos on Monday Night Raw to become Raw tag team champions for the second time. It was a solid match, as you might expect with The Usos and The Revival involved, but Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins also had a few big moments to shine despite their two-month reign ultimately coming to an end. Dawson ultimately stole the pin from The Usos and pinned Ryder to seal the victory.

Tim Fiorvanti, ESPN.com10d ago

Monday Night Raw opened and closed with Seth Rollins, and the theme of the night was that the steel chair he used to decimate Brock Lesnar was never far from his side. Even though he ultimately ended up on the wrong side of a DQ decision to Kevin Owens in the main event, after putting his hands on special referee Sami Zayn, Rollins got the best of Zayn, Owens and Baron Corbin in the end. With Paul Heyman declaring during the night that Lesnar would no longer give notice before attempting to cash in Money in the Bank, a rivalry with either Owens or Zayn after Stomping Grounds would be a solid direction to head in.

Tim Fiorvanti, ESPN.com10d ago

Rounding out the rest of another inconsistent, if somewhat improved edition of Raw: Firefly Funhouse went to a dark place as Bray Wyatt smashed one of his puppets with a giant novelty hammer and then jarred the resulting jam. Ricochet, Braun Strowman and The Miz defeated Cesaro, Bobby Lashley and Samoa Joe in the match of the night; Lacey Evans had words with Becky Lynch, before teaming up with Alexa Bliss and defeating Lynch and Bayley; Lars Sullivan faced the Lucha House party in yet another handicap match, for some reason; The IIconics beat a couple of local talents in another match in which they didn't actually defend their women's tag team titles; and R-Truth spent the better part of three hours stuck in an elevator with several potential challengers to his 24/7 title and bonded with them as no referee was present.

Tim Fiorvanti, ESPN.com10d ago

SmackDown

Some of the biggest names in the business made one final statement ahead of Super ShowDown, including Goldberg, who will go one-on-one against The Undertaker for the first time ever. Goldberg had some strong words for his opponent, before the Deadman’s music hit, the lights went dark and The Undertaker appeared in the ring, nose to nose with Goldberg before disappearing just as quickly. Shane McMahon once again got the upper hand on Roman Reigns, beating down the Big Dog, thanks to assistance from The Revival and Drew McIntyre, while Finn Balor and Andrade came to blows, albeit briefly. And finally, Lars Sullivan, after months of reticence, spoke in freakish metaphors to a lukewarm response. Here’s hoping his in-ring performance Friday goes a little better.

Matt Wilansky, ESPN.com16d ago

This might not be the most popular opinion, but can we have more Dolph Ziggler, please? On Tuesday, he delivered another moving promo, both professing his respect for Kofi Kingston and the depths of jealousy ahead of their matchup at Super ShowDown. Then, shortly after Kofi and Xavier Woods took care of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, Ziggler laid out both New Day members with superkicks. Will things go Zigger’s way Friday in Saudi Arabia? It’s a longshot, but one thing is for certain: His performance, on the mic and in the ring, is a reminder that few, if any, do it better than Ziggler.

Matt Wilansky, ESPN.com16d ago

Welcome back to the championship mix, Alexa Bliss. Largely sidelined with injuries in recent months, she -- thanks to outside assistance by Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville -- DDT’d Carmella to win a triple-threat match, which also included Charlotte Flair, to earn a shot against Bayley at the inaugural pay-per-view event, Stomping Grounds, later this month. While Bayley will have her hands full, so, apparently, will R-Truth, who once again lost his 24/7 title, this time within seconds to Elias in a lumberjack match. Truth, though, immediately reclaimed his gold by pinning Elias under the ring and out of sight of the camera as the other performers all duked it out in the ring. In case you’re wondering, that’s four titles for Truth in the 15-day existence of the belt.

Matt Wilansky, ESPN.com16d ago

NXT 25

The top 25 NXT TakeOver moments

Ahead of the 25th NXT TakeOver, we look back at the biggest moments in the WWE's third brand's history.

Stars in development: Life at the WWE Performance Center

The WWE stars of tomorrow train at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. So who's next, and how are they going to get to the top?

Monday Night Raw

Monday night was largely centered on building up matches and appearances for Friday’s Super ShowDown event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. That’s what brought us about six minutes of The Undertaker, which basically boiled down to him telling Goldberg, “You’re next.” The long advertised and oft-hyped Brock Lesnar cash-in advertised for an entire week predictably led to nothing of the kind, although Brock Lesnar continued to do some of his best work of the last few years in utterly destroying Seth Rollins. Baron Corbin got an End of Days in for good measure, and although Corbin seems to stand very little chance of winning the Universal championship from Rollins on Friday, rolling Lesnar and even Becky Lynch into the story (as Rollins was being taken away in an ambulance) was a nice way of making the show feel like one cohesive web of stories.

Tim Fiorvanti, ESPN.com17d ago

Firefly Funhouse once again represented a light in an otherwise choppy, at best, edition of Monday Night Raw. Bray Wyatt’s madcap play on a children’s show folded in a workout segment, a Vince McMahon puppet with devil horns and subliminal messages that urged viewers to “erase your mind” and “let him in”. It certainly balanced out the silliness of the arm wrestling contest between Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley, which seemed to come straight out of the 1980s, as well as the type of frustration that comes from once again being unable and unwilling to uncouple Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair for an extended period of time. Lynch, predictably, interfered midway through a match between Flair and Lacey Evans. Also, Lars Sullivan continued his puzzling conflict with the Lucha House Party, while Rey Mysterio relinquished the United States championship to Samoa Joe and still got a Coquina Clutch for his troubles.

Tim Fiorvanti, ESPN.com17d ago

The Evans-Flair match was one of only four matches over the course of Raw’s three-hour broadcast. Drew McIntyre and The Revival defeated Roman Reigns and The Usos, with Shane McMahon playing the numbers game after the match as Reigns absorbed multiple Claymore kicks, a Shatter Machine and a spear from McMahon himself. On the positive side of things, Ricochet and Cesaro have another great match, folding the silliness of the 24/7 title into the aftermath of the match in the process by having Cesaro slide a table out from under the ring only to find R-Truth. It fas a fun way to keep that title on TV without making it a focal point. Nikki Cross had the crowd behind her in a big way in her victory over Peyton Royce, and showed off some of her dynamic offensive repertoire. She and Alexa Bliss are making the most out of their unlikely friendship, and if it goes any way other than the obvious in the short term, it’s good news for both of them.

Tim Fiorvanti, ESPN.com17d ago

NXT TakeOver: XXV

1:58

Adam Cole discusses the legacy of the NXT championship, how he feel he fits into that role and the responsibility he feels to continue to elevate the title and NXT in general. (Video by Tim Fiorvanti)

Andrew Feldman, ESPN.com18d ago
1:41

New NXT champion Adam Cole reflects on his journey to the title and his match against Johnny Gargano at NXT TakeOver: XXV.

Andrew Feldman, ESPN.com18d ago

AEW

Jericho says there's WWE talent who 'can't wait' for own version of Moxley podcast

Chris Jericho reflects on his Jon Moxley interview going viral and the reaction he got from some WWE talent. He also discusses his own WWE experiences, his busy schedule over the next few months and the potential of CM Punk in AEW.

Jon Moxley explains why he left WWE

Jon Moxley, formerly known as Dean Ambrose in WWE, revealed to Chris Jericho why he left WWE and what he hopes to get out of his time with new wrestling organizations.

Give it up for R-Truth. Shortly after interrupting Shane McMahon appreciation night, Truth was beaten down by Shane O’Mac and his posse, Drew McIntyre and Elias, leading to the latter winning the 24/7 title. But in the main event later in the show, Truth teamed with Roman Reigns and took apart McIntyre and Elias, thanks to a spear from the Big Dog on the guitar-wielding showman. After the bell, Reigns continued his pummeling of Elias, allowing Truth to cover and pin the short-lived champ and reclaim the title. Sure, it was comedic and hardly a proper build for Super ShowDown, but at the end of the night, it was fun and engaging. That matters.

Matt Wilansky, ESPN.com23d ago

Monday Night Raw

If you've been unhappy with the recent direction of WWE, Monday's edition of Raw didn't do anything to help. The first hour, 15 minutes of the show featured no competitive wrestling. There was two "Who will Brock Lesnar cash-in against" segments that led to Lesnar "realizing" that he didn't have to choose now and walking off. There was a rehash of the Dolph Ziggler attack on Kofi Kingston, this time with Xavier Woods making a save, followed by a lengthy fight through the crowd. But the bright side of that was another passionate Ziggler promo. Shane McMahon "defeated" Lance Anoa'i after interference from Drew McIntyre. There was multiple segments from the Usos that led to a game of cornhole against The Revival and R-Truth doing a pass-through with the 24/7 title. Add-in a Fatal Four-Way which might've been an elimination match, but only one competitor was ever pinned, and you get an edition of Raw that we hope was off only because it was a holiday edition. At least there wasn't a segment where fans awkwardly asked Sami Zayn inane questions while he sat in a replicate of a 100-year-old electric chair. Wait, that happened?

Matt Willis, ESPN Staff Writer24d ago

While RAW was largely a disappointment, which brought about “AEW” and “this is awful” chants from the restless Kansas City crowd early on in the show, the silver lining was some of the in-ring action. The night’s main event between Universal champion Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn closed out the show on a positive note. Two other in-ring gems saw Ricochet rebound from a loss on last week’s show with a pinfall victory over Cesaro and the duo of Becky Lynch and Nikki Cross defeat women’s tag team champions the IIconics.

Sean Coyle, ESPN24d ago

AEW

Double or Nothing

Jon Moxley has landed in AEW. While Chris Jericho was the winner of the main event of Double or Nothing, and earned a future world title shot against Adam Page, that was not the biggest news of the night. As Jericho asked for a thank you from AEW and the crowd, a slow rumble became a roar as Moxley — fka Dean Ambrose — came from the crowd and proceeded to hit Jericho and referee Paul Turner with a pair of Dirty Deeds, and then lined up Kenny Omega for the same. Their battle spilled up the ramp and up on the stage, where Moxley hit a final Dirty Deeds atop a giant stack of chips on the stage, then flipped Omega down onto a different portion of the stage.

Tim Fiorvanti, ESPN.com26d ago
1:16

Cody Rhodes on smashing a Triple H-inspired throne with a sledgehammer during his Double or Nothing entrance, and how he's balancing being a wrestler and an EVP of AEW. (Video: Tim Fiorvanti)

Andrew Feldman, ESPN.com25d ago
1:22

Tony Khan compares his experiences producing AEW's Double or Nothing show to his roles with Fulham FC and the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also talks about how his father, Shahid, enjoyed the show, and breaks down his thoughts on AEW's approach to pay-per-views moving forward.

Tim Fiorvanti, ESPN.com25d ago

WWE

Raimondi: 2019 is the right time for the new WWE 24/7 title ... if executed correctly

WWE introduced a new 24/7 title with the idea that it could be defended anywhere at any time. Utilizing the whole roster and all of the WWE's media platforms will be key if it's going to succeed as planned in 2019.

3-time WWE champion Mick Foley made an appearance on RAW tonight to debut a new championship. The title, dubbed the 24/7 Championship, is reminiscent of the Hardcore Championship of years past, a fond memory of the Attitude Era. The title can be defended anywhere, at any place, at any time. Following his announcement, Foley left the championship in the middle of the ring to be claimed by any superstar. After a brawl featuring a number of superstars, Titus O’Neil became the first-ever 24/7 champion. The reign didn't last long, however, as Robert Roode snuck up from behind him and rolled him up for the pinfall victory to become champion. After Roode evaded challengers backstage, R-Truth lured him into a trap and got the pinfall to take the title to SmackDownLive.

Matt Willis, ESPN Staff Writer31d ago

AEW

Can AEW compete with WWE?

All Elite Wrestling hosts its debut event in Las Vegas over the weekend. With strong talent and a TV deal, it's seemingly set up for success, but will AEW be a legitimate competitor to WWE or simply another operation in the shadows of the industry leader?

Why Brandi Rhodes has to work harder than anyone else in wrestling

All Elite Wrestling's chief brand officer accomplished many firsts in the sport.

Courtesy AEW

Jim Ross on leaving WWE and what's ahead for him at AEW

After a reduction in assignments, Jim Ross left WWE for AEW and hopes that he can serve as a mentor to many in the new wrestling organization.

AEW

Double or Nothing

The Young Bucks and Lucha Brothers continued the night's run of tremendous tag team matches. While the Bucks ultimately won and retained the AAA tag titles, this was a showcase for the creative minds that all four men possess. It felt like an appropriate ramp up of energy and crowd excitement in the evening's co-main event.

Tim Fiorvanti, ESPN.com26d ago

The first major surprise of the night - a previously scheduled triple threat women's match on Double or Nothing added veteran standout Awesome Kong to make it a Fatal 4-Way. Kong spent a long stretch with TNA/IMPACT Wrestling, as well as a short run with WWE. She also featured prominently on both seasons of the Netflix show GLOW.

Tim Fiorvanti, ESPN.com26d ago

Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta) defeated Angelico and Jack Evans in a tag team wrestling clinic. After the match, the lights went out twice - once to mark the debut of Super Smash Bros., and once to allow an army of their masked minions to lay waste to both tag teams that had just competed.

Tim Fiorvanti, ESPN.com26d ago

Money In The Bank

WWE Money in the Bank results: Bayley wins and cashes in; Lesnar shocks with return and captures briefcase

After being out of sight since losing the Universal championship at WrestleMania, Brock Lesnar made a surprise return and became Mr. Money in the Bank.

Bayley cashes in her Money In The Bank briefcase on Charlotte and wins the SmackDown Live women's championship

Andrew Feldman, ESPN.com32d ago

Well that was a twist. Brock Lesnar runs in an grabs the Money In The Bank briefcase. He was announced as the winner.

Andrew Feldman, ESPN.com32d ago

Money in the Bank

May 19

The best WWE Money In The Bank cash-in moments

The Money in the Bank cash-in attempt is one of the highlights of the WWE calendar. We look at five of the most memorable efforts since the briefcase's debut in 2005.

Best of WWE's Money in the Bank

2:39

Paige on the Rock

How well does Paige know The Rock?

2:57

Brock Lesnar

What's next for Brock Lesnar?

With Dana White publicly claiming Brock Lesnar is retired from the UFC, along with Wednesday's announcement of Lesnar's return to WWE in June in Saudi Arabia, what does the future hold for "The Beast"?

WrestleMania 35

WWE fans got what they wanted at WrestleMania 35

WWE fan favorites Becky Lynch, Kofi Kingston and Seth Rollins all won at WrestleMania 35, securing all of WWE's top titles in one exciting, emotional night. So what comes next?

The best of WrestleMania 35

Extended cuts of post-match interviews with Kofi Kingston, Seth Rollins and The IIconics, plus all of the best of what we captured throughout WrestleMania week.

WrestleMania

WrestleMania 35 results: Becky Lynch, Kofi Kingston and Seth Rollins become new champions

Becky Lynch, Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston had their WrestleMania moments with championship victories, while Kurt Angle lost his final match and retired from in-ring action.

WWE

Kofi after winning WWE Title: 'I was overcome with emotion'

1:59

Rollins wants 'to headline Wrestlemania next year'

After defeating Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins says next year he wants to headline Wrestlemania.

1:11

Becky Lynch

How Becky Lynch became The Man

At age 15, Rebecca Quin, known today as Becky Lynch, wanted to be the best wrestler in the world. After a 17-year journey, filled with more lows than highs, she has finally accomplished her dream.

Wrestlemania 35

Hawkins: It's 'pretty special' to win title in hometown

Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder reflect on the feeling of winning the Raw tag team titles at WrestleMania 35.

2:28

How WrestleMania became a mainstream cultural phenomenon

5:56

Kofi Kingston

Kofi Kingston's fight to become the fourth black WWE heavyweight champion

Over a decade with the company, Kingston is finally getting a title shot.

WWE

Kofi Kingston: Xavier Woods and Big E are my brothers

2:02

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