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The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Stomping Grounds


It's PPV time once again in the WWE Universe, so that means it's also time to play that familiar game. Stop me if you've heard this one before: the main roster TV shows are so dreadful that when the PPV comes around, we totally forget that the Superstars of the WWE are some of the best pros in the game, and they could actually put on a good show. (Sorry, Seth, everyone's a winner in my world.)

Stomping Grounds is no different from the usual cycle we fans experience with the modern WWE. I don't think you could find a lot of people who were that excited with the card, given how things were going on RAW and SmackDown, but out of habit, we tuned in anyway... and we were pleasantly surprised.

At this point, though, should you really be surprised? Have we forgotten that the current WWE roster is largely made up of the best of the best, plucked out from a legendary generation of independent (read: non-WWE) wrestlers?

I don't say this to downplay their skill, not at all; in fact, this is nothing but the highest praise for the wrestlers' collective talent. See, the difference between Stomping Grounds and a weekly TV show is the minutes they got were strictly for wrestling. Unlike Mondays and Tuesdays, this Sunday is made for all the climaxes we've been waiting for, even if we didn't know we wanted them. If anyone's doing the heavy lifting around here, it's the boys and girls in the ring.


I'm just afraid of the standard it'll set, especially now that WWE's got competition. With shows like this, they could easily putter away any sense of being hardworking on weekly TV, so long as the wrestlers tear it down every month on PPV. People are still going to watch, whether live or on TV, because that's just the way the machine works. Nothing the competition does at this stage will make a dent and force them to be better. Something's gotta happen: either Vince goes away, or the fans find a real reason to desert the Universe. I'm not counting on either.

Maybe Stomping Grounds is the right name for the show. It's the company going back to what works, even if just for a night, and reminding everyone that this whole rasslin' business is still theirs to walk all over⁠—no matter who leaves, they've still got the people to back it up. They always will.

Stomping Grounds Final Grade: B+

Match of the Night


The entire first half of the show was a joy to watch, to be honest with you, but in my opinion nobody brought it harder than Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and the rest of the New Day. Big E was sorely missed and lost not a single step, even after being gone for six weeks, and what's even better was that the French-Canadian Best Friends got a much-deserved win. Catch this match.

Other observations

  • God damn, I haven't enjoyed a Cruiserweight Championship match as much as that triple threat in quite a while. The 205 boys always put out good matches, so my standard for them's pretty high; deviating from the usual one-on-one bout is so refreshing.
  • I'll be honest, I didn't think Lacey Evans was that bad; just underprepared for a match like this on PPV. It was clear that she no longer had enough gas by the end to continue being in the zone the way a wrestler should be in the final act, and the commentators made it worse by trying to puff her up as having pretty good conditioning. It could've been worse, and I've seen worse. Too many people just overreacting.
  • Ricochet vs. Samoa Joe is another match of the night contender. Those two have tremendous chemistry.
  • A little amusing seeing Daniel Bryan and Rowan try to handle being heels in a hugely pro-Bryan town. I think Heavy Machinery handled it well.
  • Tuned out a little from Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns. Might not have been the right place for them on the card.
  • I actually enjoyed the cage match between Dolph and Kofi, and dug the finish because it's something I've never seen done in a cage match. Just wish these two, especially Dolph, ramped up the intensity a notch. It's a cage match; it's already not bloody because it's the WWE, so maybe make it the most brutal thing that night?
  • While I understand what Baron Corbin tries to do in the ring, I really do, I feel like they killed a lot of momentum with double the amount of heat that comes from having a heel special guest referee. It was pretty overbooked and only really got going in the end, so I wouldn't call it a compelling main event.
  • WWE officially recognizing Becky and Seth's relationship feels like it's jumping the shark, though, but I'll wait and see where this goes. (I'm definitely for the move of Seth needing Becky's help, though.)
Photo from WWE


*****

Romeo Moran (@roiswar) is the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, but really hates Davey Richards with his entire soul. He likes taking your wrestling questions over on his CuriousCat account.

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