Tacoma, Washington was the host of WWE’s first-ever Stomping Grounds pay-per-view. It was nice to see the company revert back to original show names unlike naming the show after a stipulation like Hell in a Cell or Elimination Chamber. Fans were negative about the show from the start due to making the matches exactly the same as Money in the […]
Tacoma, Washington was the host of WWE’s first-ever Stomping Grounds pay-per-view. It was nice to see the company revert back to original show names unlike naming the show after a stipulation like Hell in a Cell or Elimination Chamber.
Fans were negative about the show from the start due to making the matches exactly the same as Money in the Bank and most recently Super ShowDown.
Were the rematches good matches? Here are my thoughts on all nine matches from Sunday night.
Cruiserweight Championship – Drew Gulak def. Tony Nese (c) and Akira Tozawa (pre-show)
Tony Nese defended his cruiserweight title on the kickoff show against former champion Akira Tozawa and Drew Gulak in a Triple Threat match.
The action was fast-paced from the start which is expected when it comes to seeing the 205 Live guys in action. Unlike the cruiserweight match at Money in the Bank, the crowd was really into the match. I am starting to like the fact that these guys should kick off every pay-per-view. It is a great way to start any show.
While it was nice for Nese to win the title at WrestleMania, he did not really have a memorable run with the title. Gulak has been with the brand from the start and has always gotten over with the crowd either as a face or heel. It is nice for a guy to finally have his moment and I am interested to see how his title run will go now. Hopefully, he’ll bring back the PowerPoint presentations for “A Better 205 Live.”
Raw Women’s Championship – Becky Lynch (c) def. Lacey Evans
A match here in which both Lynch and Evans did not seem like they were on the same page. The finish was pretty cool where Evans did a springboard stunner but was caught by Lynch and forced her to tap with a Disarmer for a successful championship but it did come out of nowhere.
It seems as though WWE may not be confident in making Evans be on top of the Women’s Division. Since her call-up, she has lost momentum over the last month and it would help if she stepped away from the title picture for now.
As for Lynch, she is clearly still over with the crowd and will find out on Raw what her plans are for the summer. Hopefully, there will be no rematch between the two for a while.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn def. The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods)
This was a fun match that allowed the heels to isolate Woods from the beginning and not allowed Big E to get as much action as we thought. The psychology worked, making Woods as the weak link here to The New Day.
Owens and Zayn desperately needed the win to maintain credibility, since they have yet to win since coming back from their respective injuries. New Day is still popular with the crowd, so they can afford losses from time to time.
United States Championship – Ricochet def. Samoa Joe (c)
It took a while for the match to build up but overall a quality match for Raw’s mid-card title.
Ricochet’s post celebration with other WWE Superstars like Carmella, Charlotte Flair, Heavy Machinery, and Triple H was a nice touch, showing that WWE is behind Ricochet as the next star in WWE.
We know what he can do in the ring, constantly putting on excellent performances and it’ll be interesting to see who will feud with now for the United States title. They teased a potential feud with AJ Styles and they’ll have a match on Raw, which should be good. Having him go up against guys like Cesaro, Cedric Alexander, and even Samoa Joe again could be some good matches to look forward to in the summer down the line.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship – Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) def. Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker)
They may have lost but Heavy Machinery came out as stars here.
Credit to Daniel Bryan here. The hometown favorite really did well here and helped Otis and Tucker get over quickly with the crowd. Bryan is reviving tag team wrestling in WWE.
Otis was a star here showing his athleticism and having good ring chemistry with both Bryan and Rowan. Despite his size, Tucker flew around the ring and showed that both members could be a mainstay in the tag division.
I would not mind seeing these two teams go at it again. You can make the argument too that they should challenge for the title again after Bryan won via a quick roll-up.
SmackDown Women’s Championship – Bayley (c) def. Alexa Bliss
Despite not being in many matches since January due to WWE being cautious with her injury history, Bliss put on a good showing here. That being said, it was the right call to have Bayley retain here and keep the momentum on her.
The storytelling and addition of Nikki Cross worked well here. Bliss repeatedly exploited her “friend” for her own gain was a good add on to their unlikely alliance.
As for Bayley, her early aggressiveness until her comeback were good additions to her character. Her early main roster run left a lot to be desired but her recent run as SmackDown Women’s Champion has helped gain back the momentum she once had at NXT.
More importantly, a Raw superstar did not win a SmackDown title. Hopefully, the Wild Card rule does not affect any more title pictures and superstars like Ember Moon, Sonya Deville, and Carmella, for example, can enter the title scene now.
Roman Reigns def. Drew McIntyre
The match itself was not bad but the constant presence of Shane McMahon ruined what could have been. Reigns and McIntyre are more than capable of putting on an excellent match and having McMahon here is unnecessary.
WWE creative is really keen on making McMahon a constant threat and it showed. The match was hard-hitting and physical but the interference shows that will likely see a match of some sorts between all three at WWE’s next pay-per-view, Extreme Rules.
WWE Championship – Kofi Kingston (c) def. Dolph Ziggler in a Steel Cage match
A slow start here but the action picked up throughout. Both veterans put on a show here and had constant finishers and high spots. The finish where Kingston jumped over Ziggler by the cage door to escape was a different way to end the match and showed off his athleticism.
It is the right call to keep the title on Kingston. Fans love him and always gets a reaction when his music hits. Who would have thought that two long-time mid-carders fight for WWE’s top prize?
A solid match and likely end to their short-lived feud.
Universal Championship – Seth Rollins (c) def. Baron Corbin with Lacey Evans as Special Guest Referee
Corbin brought out Evans as the referee for the match and from the start, it was obvious that Becky Lynch, who is in a real-life relationship with Rollins, would get involved here.
Evans did play the heel perfectly here, slow counting whenever Rollins was pinning Corbin and changing the stipulation to a no count-out match when Corbin was out of the ring. The match overall was okay but the crowd was really not into it, which chants of “Daniel Bryan” and “AEW” for example overtook what was going on in the ring.
Lynch eventually entered the fold and attacked Evans, allowing another referee to join in to call a fair contest. Rollins won and Lynch joined the celebration to close out the show.
Despite the chants from the crowd, the match itself was not bad at all. Corbin and Evans played the heesl perfectly here and there was constant storytelling throughout the match. The curtain call of Rollins and Lynch was a nice add on as WWE is fully showing out that they are a real-life couple.
It would not surprise me that we see these two in a Mixed Tag match down the line but it would be best if they both moved onto different feuds.
Stomping Grounds coming into Sunday had low expectations due to the lackluster match setups and carbon-copy rematches from past pay-per-views. That being said, it was actually a lot better than I expected. While we were missing many superstars and other titleholders (no Intercontinental/Raw or Women’s tag titles) but overall a quality show.
You wish WWE went back to single-branded pay-per-views to get more superstars on the card but that could change when SmackDown moves to Fox in the fall and want to be completely different from Raw on the USA Network.
Other than that, the show was good. The title matches were good from the pre-show Cruiserweight to the Universal main event.