wrestling / TV Reports

Kevin’s WWE Stomping Grounds Review

June 23, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Seth Rollins Lacey Evans Stomping Grounds
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Kevin’s WWE Stomping Grounds Review  

WWE Stomping Grounds
June 23rd, 2019 | Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington

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WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Tony Nese [c] vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak
The cruiserweights were back to the Kickoff Show tonight. This was exactly what we’ve come to know from the cruiserweight division. Even when thrown onto the Kickoff Show, they put in the effort. I loved Drew Gulak’s aggression in this. It has been a pivotal part of his story over the past few months and he opened with a big dropkick at the bell. Tozawa and Nese handled the athletic stuff while Gulak grounded things. They build to some pretty great drama down the stretch and got the crowd involved. Nese was tossed to the outside, taking him out of the finish. Gulak avoided a kick from Tozawa and picked up the win to earn the title in 11:19. A well deserved victory. Really good match with lots of entertaining moments and good spots. I dig it. [***½]

WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch [c] vs. Lacey Evans
A rematch from their **¾ encounter at Money in the Bank. Like that match, this one shined when Lacey Evans got to do her character work. Just the little things like the way she talked smack or responded to Becky’s offense was good. You can tell she still needs help as Becky was calling a lot of spots, on an almost John Cena level of loud. Evans made a big mistake when she stopped to try and us her handkerchief on the “nasty” champion. Becky turned it around of her and gave her a taste of her own medicine. It was back and forth after that, with Evans hitting a pretty lame looking springboard style Stunner. Becky survived and locked in the Dis-Arm-Her. Evans immediately tapped out at 11:24. Better than their MITB outing by a slight margin. Evans nails her character. [***]

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. The New Day
I had hopes that this would potentially steal the show. It didn’t quite do that, but they still delivered a very good tag team match. These are four guys who understand how to make something work. Kevin Owens taking out Big E and immediately running over Xavier Woods was a great way to start. It set him up as the face in peril that he excels at. They built and built to a very strong Big E hot tag. Things picked up from there and the final stretch was pretty great. A few close calls were teased late, before Owens bested Woods with a Stunner at 11:06. I really enjoyed this. Looking at my ratings, it was the best straight tag since Double or Nothing. [***¾]

WWE United States Championship: Samoa Joe [c] vs. Ricochet
An ideal battle of size against speed. Their styles should mesh for something special. Think about how well Samoa Joe worked with the X Division guys a decade ago. That was pretty much what happened here. Ricochet got his ass handed to him. Joe was a brutalizing enforcer who just bullied his smaller opponent. And yet, Ricochet refused to give up. He fought through a lot and climbed to the top, where he came down with the 630 splash to win his first main roster singles title in 12:19. Joe is almost always at his best when working against smaller guys. He’s the perfect bully and Ricochet was the perfect foil. Put those elements together in front of a hot crowd and you’ve got a recipe for success. A banger of a match. [****]

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship: Daniel Bryan and Rowan vs. Heavy Machinery
No matter how hard Daniel Bryan tries, there was almost no way he was getting booed in Washington. The crowd was firmly behind his team, which could’ve made for a strange atmosphere. However, they were smart enough to kind of have Heavy Machinery work more of a heel style than usual. The match still did build to something of a hot tag for the babyfaces, but it didn’t entirely connect. The best bits of this were when Heavy Machinery acted like heels. Just when it seemed like the challengers might pull this one out, Daniel Bryan pulled Tucker Knight into a small package to retain in 14:17. I love that finish because it is how Bryan won several big matches last year. Heavy Machinery may have been the better team, but Bryan was smarter. Exceeded expectations. [***¼]

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley [c] vs. Alexa Bliss w/ Nikki Cross
Big pop for Alexa. This feud has played well off their 2017 disaster (outside of that very good Payback match). We’re two years removed and Bayley has grown. She’s now a more aggressive wrestler and it’s part of why she won the Women’s Title at Money in the Bank. Cashing in when she did wasn’t a “nice girl” moment for her. Despite this, Bliss took control and showed that she’s still the meanest of them all. She neutralized Bayley’s arm, looking to take the Bayley to Belly out of play. You could see the training she did with Mike Quackenbush pay off with some of her offense in this one. A pivotal moment came when Bayley hit Nikki Cross with a tope suicida. It was intended for Bliss but she may have pulled Cross into harm’s way. Twisted Bliss was set up, but Cross tried to go after Bayley. The slight distraction allowed Bayley to get her knees up on the move and then she retained with the Bayley to Belly in 10:39. A hoot of a match. The arm work was solid and I loved the way that finish played into the storyline. [***¼]

Drew McIntyre w/ Shane McMahon vs. Roman Reigns
Their WrestleMania match was a disappointment. I wanted them to have a hard hitting sprint. I was hoping I’d get that here. It was hard hitting, but not really a sprint. Instead, they went on for a while. It got off to a promising start, but the longer it lasted, the less interested I was. That was especially true with all the near falls and such late. It felt like they were just doing big kickout spots for the sake of it. We also got a hefty dose of involvement from Shane McMahon to keep his feud with Roman Reigns alive. There were several points where it felt like Drew should’ve won, yet he didn’t. A Claymore was enough at Super Showdown but everything Drew threw at him here wasn’t? Reigns overcame the odds and won with the Spear in 17:25. [***]

WWE Championship Steel Cage Match: Kofi Kingston [c] vs. Dolph Ziggler
I don’t like Steel Cage matches anymore. It’s rare that one comes along and is great. Most are either bad or cap out at pretty good. I’d say this one is hard to call flat out bad. The stuff they did wasn’t exactly bad. It was just unbelievably boring. That’s disappointing because of how great Kofi Kingston has been this year. There’s just something about Dolph Ziggler that drags everyone down. It followed the Steel Cage tropes we’ve come to expect and nothing about this stood out. Until the finish. When it looked like all hope was lost for Kofi and Dolph was escaping out the door, Kofi dove over the top rope and over Dolph to the floor, winning in 19:56. I’ve never seen that ending to a cage match and it was perfect for Kofi. Honestly, that helped bump the score up. [**¼]

WWE Universal Championship: Seth Rollins [c] vs. Baron Corbin
So the big reveal of the special referee turned out to be Lacey Evans. The fans dumped all over this, but it made sense. They’ve been pushing the Seth Rollins/Becky Lynch relationship on TV and Seth has been beating up all the candidates. So get someone who he won’t hit and who has an issue with Lynch. The crowd didn’t care about this at all, chanting a ton of stuff that had nothing to do with the match. Evans was a good choice from a storyline perspective, but not from a real perspective as she had no clue what she was doing. She paced around like a deer in the headlights. She did change stipulations a few times to stack the odds against Seth. Becky made the save and a new ref arrived to count the three after Seth hit the Blackout in 18:46. Another boring match. It felt long, nobody cared, and the overbooking was too much. [*¾]

The final score: review Good
The 411
I came into this with zero expectations. Though I’m higher on the WWE product than a lot of people on the internet, I wasn’t enthused about this show. The build wasn’t there. But then it started and they were rolling. The first seven matches all got at least ***, which is a strong level of consistency. The last two matches fell off a cliff, causing this to drop in quality. A good show that you can consider damn near great if you turn it off before the major title matches.