After what seems like forever, it’s time for yet another pay-per-view, which means it’s time for yours truly to deliver yet another review.
This is a really weird show. There are seven matches on the card. Of those seven, one is a Brock Lesnar match, one is a Zelina Vega match, one is a Bad Bunny match, and one is an Omos match. You can’t really expect any of those matches to go long. Barring some additional unannounced matches, a Bad Bunny concert, or something like Bianca vs Iyo going 30+ minutes, this has the potential to be a super short event. That, or we’re getting a shit ton of “filler” all night long. I guess we’ll have to see what happens.
Bianca Belair vs Iyo Sky – Raw Women’s Title Match: Right off the bat, this crowd in Puerto Rico is on fire, but they’re also leaning heavily on the “bizarro world” level of reactions. They’re on fire for Iyo, and are booing Bianca out of the building whenever she does anything. It has been years since Bianca received any heel reactions, let alone a full-fledged heel reaction. This is wild. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think Iyo was the top woman in the entire company.
We had quite the roller coaster ride of a spot about nine minutes in. Selling an arm injury, Bianca pressed Iyo above her head, but had to resort to doing it one-handed. That was super impressive, and actually got the crowd to pop. However, Bianca wasn’t able to get enough momentum behind the slam, and she nearly dumped Iyo on her head. Iyo rotated enough to basically land on her face, so it ended up looking almost purposely done, but that still went from “holy shit” to “holy shit” REAL quick.
This ended up being one of the better women’s wrestling matches you’re going to see in WWE, especially outside of WrestleMania. A lava hot crowd helped to motivate both Bianca and Iyo, but especially Bianca, who almost seemed to be caught off-guard by the heel reaction, and used it as fuel. If you want hard-hitting action, you got it here. High-flying spots? You got it here. Counters and reversals? You got it here. So much fun. This was the version of Iyo Sky that has largely been missing since she was called up from NXT. If this is the version of her that we get moving forward, watch the fuck out. 4.25 Stars
Seth Rollins vs Omos: The crowd certainly isn’t tired after the previous match. They’re as hot as can be for Rollins here, “singing” his entrance music as loud as you’ve ever heard a crowd sing it before.
Folks, this was the PERFECT “big man” match. Omos looked like a million bucks with his power offense, made to look even more devastating because Rollins was more than willing to bump his ass off for everything Omos did. Omos, unlike some “monster” wrestlers that have come along through the years, seems to have a knack for selling, too. He knows when to look vulnerable, and he did so on several occasions for Rollins. Both men got to look very strong, and it’s pretty clear that Omos isn’t going anywhere, whether you like it or not. This was way better than I was expecting it to be, and well worth checking out if you haven’t already done so. 3.5 Stars
Austin Theory vs Bobby Lashley vs Bronson Reed – Triple Threat Match for the United States Title: While not quite on the same level as the first two matches, this crowd is still red hot. They simply have not let up since the show began. It’s already one of the best WWE crowds you’re going to see, and we haven’t even seen the Puerto Rican wrestlers yet, nor have we seen Cody Rhodes and Brock Lesnar. The roof is going to get blown off, quickly reattached, only to get blown off again.
Watching this match, all I can think about is that I want to see Lashley and Reed have a lengthy one-on-one match where they just beat the shit out of each other. They’ve been a ton of fun together over the last few weeks. That’s not a knock on Austin Theory, by the way. I just want to see Lashley and Reed fight it out. Unfortunately, that might need to wait a while, as Reed was drafted to Raw while Lashley was drafted to Smackdown. This match could’ve had a higher rating, but it was simply too short to warrant anything special. Had it kept going, I think it could’ve been really good, but I don’t think it even lasted seven minutes before it ended. 2.75 Stars
Rhea Ripley vs Zelina Vega – Smackdown Women’s Title Match: Big pop for Vega, who is Puerto Rican. She is struggling to hold back tears during her ring introduction, and this only makes the crowd cheer louder for her. That was a special moment, no matter how the rest of this match goes.
Back-to-back funny spots saw Zelina’s mother, sitting in the front row, hand her daughter a chancla. Like any Latina, Zelina has deadly accuracy with a chancla, throwing it at Rhea from 15 feet away and hitting her center mass. A moment or two later, Rhea slammed Zelina to the mat hard, and what looked like a wedding ring rolled away on impact, only to be picked up by the ref.
This was fun for what it was. Puerto Rico or not, there wasn’t a chance that Zelina Vega was going to become the Smackdown Women’s Champion here, especially after Rhea Ripley just won the title at WrestleMania. With that said, it was smart of WWE to not book this as the squash match it probably would’ve been on an episode of Smackdown somewhere in the United States. Zelina got multiple near falls, and she was able to get the crowd even more behind her. Like the previous match, this was simply too short to warrant any sort of high rating. 2.75 Stars
Bad Bunny vs Damian Priest – San Juan Street Fight: Jesus Herbert Christ, what a pop for Bad Bunny! The crowd went ballistic for him, then started singing his entrance music. This is like an actual concert. They’re going nuts for him. It’s one of the best crowd pops you’re going to hear for anybody. My goodness. Puerto Rico loves them some Bad Bunny. The man is living his best life.
Let’s hand out some kudos, shall we? All the fucking kudos in the world for Damian Priest, selling for Bad Bunny and making him look tremendous, but without looking “weak” for taking a beating from a much smaller man that isn’t a pro wrestler. Bad Bunny gets a ton of kudos, as well, because he has been taking an ass whooping. Priest has been stiff with the shots, both with his hands and with the weapons, and Benito is taking it. It is worth pointing out that he is one of the biggest stars on the planet. He doesn’t need to be doing this, but he’s here because he’s a lifelong wrestling fan, and he wants to do this. That’s awesome.
Earlier tonight, we got to see Savio Vega in a backstage segment with Bad Bunny and Rey Mysterio. Now, we got to see the roof blow off of the arena for the return of none other than Carlito, here to even the odds after Finn Balor and Dominik Mysterio came out. I legitimately got goosebumps for that. That was one of the biggest pops in recent memory. Then, as I type that, we got another insane crowd pop as Savio came out, leading the rest of the LWO to deliver a beatdown on Dom and Finn. That was everything. Absolutely epic.
I don’t care what anybody says. This was 5 Stars. It wasn’t a technical classic, but it was never supposed to be. There was the perfect amount of hard-hitting action, overbooking, a mega hot crowd, two men who were clearly motivated to put on a show, the returns of Puerto Rican legends, and a ton of emotion. It was ev-er-y-thing that it needed to be, and much more.
Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn & Matt Riddle vs The Usos & Solo Sikoa: The opening bell hasn’t even sounded yet, but man, the crowd is still super amped up. Even with the names involved in this match, you would almost expect the crowd to be worn out after everything tonight, and especially after the previous match. This is the crowd of the year. No question.
I’m a fan of what all six men in this match can do in the ring, and I’m a fan of the entire Bloodline storyline. With that said, I have no idea how this is supposed to follow the previous match. Think about that for a moment. Look at the talent here, and there’s a question how they’re going to be able to follow a Bad Bunny match.
In almost any other situation, this probably could’ve been in the main event spot. It was your usual all-action match in the Bloodline storyline, complete with the added intrigue of more cracks forming in the relationship between Solo and his brothers. I don’t know how they manage to add more chapters to this story that has been going on for nearly three years now, but they continue doing so. Incredible. The match was a lot of fun. It might not be what it could’ve been, though, as a large portion of the second half focused more on advancing the Bloodline drama than on the match itself, but I still enjoyed this a lot. 3.5 Stars
Cody Rhodes vs Brock Lesnar: Not that it’s a surprise at this point, but the crowd continued to be red hot during the entrances for this one. Cody got a superstar pop and loud “singing” of his entrance music, and as always, Brock’s entrance music completely changes the vibe inside of any building it is played in. There’s a definite “big fight feel” in the air.
Brock’s back has welts and cuts on it from a pre-match attack. Cody has been suplexed and thrown around so much that he probably wishes he was only dealing with a torn pec again. Tons of physicality so far.
Hey, speaking of physicality, Brock’s face is a bloody MESS right now after being sent, face first, into the exposed turnbuckle. The replay showed that he hit it squarely at full speed, busting himself open the hard way. He’s out of his mind. Please don’t tell him I said that, though.
After all that physicality and violence, of course the match ends with a glorified roll-up, as Cody adjusts his weight to pin Brock’s shoulders to the mat as Cody was locked in a Kimura. It was a fun match, but I can’t help but look back at the last two matches and say, with hindsight being 20/20, that Bad Bunny vs Damian Priest should’ve gone on last. 3.5 Stars here, though, either way.
Lots and lots of fun with this one. Thank you, Puerto Rico, for making an already entertaining show infinitely better.