Backlash, cruiserweights, champions and more — all in this week’s Coast 2 Coast.
The CWC has concluded and while we’re sad to see it go, we’re also really excited about the cruiserweights arriving on Monday Night Raw. Plus, our thoughts from the first Smackdown PPV of the new era — Backlash, Raw’s quickly shaping Clash of Champions, and a quick look towards Survivor Series.
1) This Wednesday brought the conclusion of the CWC. What are your thoughts?
Corey: As a whole, from beginning to end the entire tournament was beautiful done with an extraordinary amount of talent involved. We were given numerous amounts of 4-star and up matches, and I don’t have a single complaint about how they did things. Now before the tournament started Josh and I made our predictions for who we thought would win, and for a bit I swore up and down that our two would meet in the finals which would end with one of us getting some kind of bragging rights but in the end both of our picks lost in the semi-finals. Neither man has anything to be ashamed of because the matches were absolutely amazing. I’d also like to give props to the tag match between DIY vs Cedric Alexander and Noam Dar. That match was exciting from beginning to end! With the final match coming down to TJ Perkins and Gran Metalik, TJ Perkins picked up the win to not only become Top Cruiserweight in the world but also became the brand new WWE Cruiserweight Champion. Kudos to him as well as Triple H for putting this all together and now I can’t wait to see what they do now that the cruiserweights will be at Raw starting on Monday.
Josh: It was just all a really great tournament. Tons of great matches and it really showcased the unbelievable talent of the competitors. While much will be made of the tournament itself and the return of the long-dormant Cruiserweight Championship, what this special will probably be best known for are the stars it immediately made out of many of the competitors. And I’m not even talking about the guys who were already established like Ibushi, Kendrick, Sabre Jr., and Gran Metalik. But guys like Cedric Alexander, Jack Gallagher, or even the Bollywood Boys (Harv and Gurv Sihra) all saw their stock rise considerably. Pretty much everyone benefitted from this competition and even if they aren’t signed by WWE in this initial wave the attention they’ll receive back on the indie circuit will only catapult their careers forward.
TJ Perkins stands tall at the conclusion of the CWC.
2) The next Raw PPV is Clash of Champions and so far 4 matches have been announced. What are your thoughts on the card so far?
Corey: I am absolutely EXCITED about seeing Seth Rollins vs Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal Title. This is the first time these two are meeting in a pay per view main event and with as experienced as both of them are I’m sure these two may come close to putting on a classic. New Day vs Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson for the tag titles doesn’t have me all that excited, but I do think it’s about time that New Day drop the titles. They’ve been carrying the tag division for over a year and a half. They don’t need to carry the load by themselves anymore now that there are other credible tag teams in the division. Should be a standard match here. Charlotte vs Sasha Banks 2 is set. The match is going to be great I already know, but I don’t know what direction they are going to go, which is not a bad thing. Unpredictability is incredibly important in wrestling so good job to WWE for that. They could easily have Charlotte drop the title to Sasha and then lead that into a Sasha/Bayley feud or they could have Charlotte retain and then let Bayley and Charlotte feud with Sasha getting the winner or they could even let Charlotte keep the title after beating both Sasha and Charlotte in singles PPV matches and then at Survivor Series have Charlotte vs Sasha Banks vs Bayley vs Dana. So many possibilities! Sami Zayn vs Chris Jericho is going to be good for sure, but its the one I’m least invested in since it’s had the least amount of build up.
Josh: Card looks to be shaping up really nicely on the Raw side of the brand split. In addition to the four that are mentioned you have to assume that Rusev/Reigns is a lock as well, which is quickly becoming one of the better feuds of the year. There’s a lot of really good wrestling slated for Clash of Champions, plus it will also most likely be the first defense of the newly minted Cruiserweight Championship.
3) Backlash was this past Sunday. How do you feel about the outcome? What was the highlight for you? The lowlight?
Corey: I can honestly admit that Backlash was WAY better than it should have been. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of matches as well as match placement. First off let me say that the official heel turn of the Usos is PERFECT. Their gimmick had gotten ridiculously stale and boring, and this new heel team has me looking forward to seeing what they do next. I even dig their new move where one kicks the opponents back leg and the other Uso leads it into a submission. Perfect for a heel team. Becky Lynch finally becoming Women’s Champion was one of my highlights because not only did she deserve it, but because all the women in the match were spot on. Even with multiple people in the match it never got too sloppy and it was easy to keep up. Miz vs Dolph was great as well but as a huge Dolph Ziggler fan it hurts to see him lose AGAIN, but at the same time The Miz is on a hot streak right now so it doesn’t make sense for him to lose at the time. I can definitely see him dropping the title to Ziggler at some point and then getting back into the main event. Another highlight to me would be Heath Slater finally getting his contract. The man is pure entertainment and I’m finally excited to see him with some gold(or in Smackdowns case silver but you get my point).
The low point for me would be AJ Styles winning the title with a low blow. I don’t mind playing it up as a heel but I wish his win would have come from some kind of referee mistake or something along those lines, but the match itself was still really good. I also understand why they had him cheat to win so that way they can extend the feud.
Josh: Backlash was way better than it had any business being and actually has me kind of excited for the current PPV schedule. If every PPV can be that entertaining then the extra hours of content won’t feel sluggish. The low point of the show was Kane vs Bray Wyatt. I get that Orton was injured so the scheduled match couldn’t take place, I just don’t understand what the plan is for Bray Wyatt’s character. Every time they seem to move in an interesting direction they just rehash whatever was done before.
The highlight would be the Ambrose/Styles match. Both dudes worked an incredibly entertaining match and putting the belt on Styles is a great call (and not just because it was a prediction of mine last week). I know some people (i.e. Corey) have an issue with Styles winning the belt with a low-blow, but Styles is a heel. That’s what heels do! If he cheats to win every match from now until he eventually drops the belt then that’s fine too. Hell, make Styles new finishing move the Swift Crotch Kick or SCK (read as ‘sick’) and print that sucker on a John Cena headband!
4) What do you think of the Dean Ambrose attack on Cena at the end of Smackdown? Do you think it’s going to end with an eventual heel turn or do you think WWE is still pushing for face Ambrose?
Corey: Even though WWE has been pushing AJ Styles as a heel over the past few months the crowd doesn’t really seem to care and Dean comes off way more intimidating as a heel so I can definitely see him eventually having a heel turn. I’m actually hoping for a Dean heel turn as well since him as a face doesn’t interest me as much; as well as the fact that Smackdown has very few main even heels so a turn for Dean might be the best thing.
Josh: Great move for Ambrose’s character. Ambrose should be more of a tweener character anyway because as a pure face he runs a little too close to just silly schtick. Funny but dangerous is the best version of the Ambrose character and to accomplish that effectively he needs to attack heels and faces with equal measure. I think that’s why saw him face off against Ziggler at SummerSlam because Ziggler is as much of a babyface as is currently on the roster.
Ambrose heel turn or was Cena just a convenient target?
5) There have been some rumors regarding having a Shield spot at Survivor Series since at the current time all three are working as faces. Do you think it would be a good idea?
Corey: The only reason I would behind a Shield spot is if it would lead to a Roman Reigns heel turn. I’ve been talking about it for months and it needs to happen. WWE seems obsessed with trying to get him over as a face but it’s clear that, just like his cousin The Rock, he may need a heel run before he can become an effective face.
Josh: Not particularly. Nostalgia goes a long way in wrestling, but we’ve already seen the Shield mini-reunion spots and I’m not ready for a Shield reunion match. Let these guys stand apart. While they are all established WWE guys now, as individual characters they still need some room to grow.
– Naomi was absolutely amazing at Backlash. She showed up and showed out!
– Now that the CWC is over I’m ecstatic to see Cedric Alexander debut on Monday Night Raw. I can admit before the tournament I wasn’t very familiar with him but his classic with Kota Ibushi made me an official fan.
– I’m interested to see how the WWE will place the cruiserweights on the three-hour show. Maybe they’ll get 30-45 mins or maybe they’ll split their matches up with one cruiserweight match every hour that way the crowd is guaranteed to have a point of excitement every hour over the three-hour show.
– I can’t lie, I am a tad bit salty that we never got to see Zack Sabre Jr vs Kota Ibushi in the tournament, but if all goes well we can see that match when they both eventually come to WWE.
– Alexa Bliss is one giant hammer away from a full-fledged Harlequin gimmick. Make it happen!
– The Smackdown women’s division is stacked right now, partly because they are all great workers and also because they’ve done an excellent job of positioning each of them as credible competitors.
– Chris Jericho’s latest podcast is with James Ellsworth, the jobber you’ve probably seen on television and asked yourself “what happened to his chin?” I’m glad I live in a world where this exists.