WWE Stomping Grounds
Tacoma Dome - Tacoma, Washington
June 23, 2019
Hello everyone and welcome to Planet Kayfabe. WWE Stomping Grounds took place last night live from Tacoma, Washington. If you read my preview on Friday you know that I had pretty low expectations for this event. That doesn't always mean it will be a bad show and often enough I end the night feeling better that the show ended up exceeding expectations. Which was this PPV? A mix of both. I will say off the top that I enjoyed the first half more than the second half.
The poor ticket sales were well documented. Half the venue was tarped off and according to Dave Meltzer there were about 6,000 people in the building and 4,000 to 4,500 paid. Damn. I remember when house shows used to draw double that in WWE and this is a PPV. It's as cold a time as any in WWE. Let's get into the card.
Singles match for the WWE Raw Women's Championship
Becky Lynch (c) vs Lacey Evans
Winner: Becky Lynch
2 1/4 out of 5 Goth Babes
The main show opened with the Raw Women's title on the line with Becky Lynch defending against Lacey Evans. It was better than I expected and pretty much Lacey's best match on the main roster after a string of some real stinkers this month. She needed a decent showing here. The match went just over 11 minutes. Becky was selling her ribs for much of the match after an attack into the announcer's table outside early on. There was an awkward exchange where Becky got whipped into the corner and she hopped the ropes to hit a back kick but Lacey was out of position and didn't come towards her. She did on the second attempt and Becky shook her head in frustration. The finish would have Lacey going for her moonsault only for Becky to move and put her in the Dis-arm-her for the submission win.
Becky retains in what felt like the end of this feud. If you watched the show, you know that is not the case. This would be a good blow off and a good time to move on, but the feud must continue if you saw the main event. I'm not a fan. Luckily, Lacey had an average showing. Not bad, but not outstanding either. I like her character but being over-exposed as a bit too green in the ring has hurt her and has cooled down Becky quite a bit too.
Tag team match
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs The New Day (Woods & Big E)
Winners: Owens and Zayn
3.25/5 Goth Babes
One of the more thrown-together matches tonight, yet it was one of the better ones. It got 11 minutes, so like I said in my preview it was basically a slightly bigger version of what we would get on an episode of Smackdown. This was fine though. They all worked hard and had a good match. There was a sign in the crowd that said: "the Invasion angle wasn't that bad"... Yeah, okay. It was only the biggest missed opportunity in wrestling history. Quality troll sign if it wasn't serious, though.
Woods sold for much of the match as the babyface in peril. Big E got the hot tag and ran wild on the heel team. Woods his a splash on Sami off Big E's shoulders which was a cool spot. New Day went for their finish but Sami countered out sending E into the post. They exchanged moves and KO hit a Popup Powerbomb on Woods that would get broken up by Big E. The finish was Woods going up to for a diving elbow and getting crotched on the ropes. Owens hit a Stunner on Woods for the pinfall victory.
I was glad the Stunner wasn't kicked out of. It's nice to see, but it's not as nice as Steve Austin's Stone Cold Stunner at all. Some moves should just be retired like when sports teams retire a great player's number.
Alexa Bliss was shown backstage. Nikki Cross showed up all giddy and said she can't wait to be in her corner and expose the real Bayley. This angle has gone fine, but it feels like this all they ever do with Bliss. She gets a friend, uses her and then they break up.
Singles Match for the WWE United States Championship
Samoa Joe (c) vs Ricochet
Winner and new WWE US Champion: Ricochet
3.75 Goth babes
I thought this had the potential to be the match of the night before the night started and they did not disappoint.
It was a physical match, which is what you should expect from Joe. Ricochet also got in some hard shots himself, which is good for him to show off. We know he's one of the best high flyers out there, but we need to see that he's capable of taking someone out standing up, too. There was a sequence where Ricochet hit a dive to the outside and a moonsault for a near fall. He is still Ricochet, after all. Joe got Ricochet with a powerslam for a two count. Ricochet tried battling back but Joe turned Ricochet inside-out with a hard clothesline. The most memorable spot, perhaps, was when Ricochet went for a kick and Joe caught his leg. Joe flipped Ricochet backward, which we normally see as a counter where the high-flyer will land on his feet. Instead, Ricochet did a full flip and landed hard on his back. Joe went for the Coquina Clutch, Ricochet went to the ropes and broke the hold using the ropes. Joe went for another clothesline, Richochet avoided, and hit him with Chris Jericho's "Code Breaker" move (they didn't call it that), and Ricochet went to the top rop for the 630 Splash and won.
Very good match. This was my favorite one of the night. It was a title match that was physical, hard-hitting and acrobatic. I picked Joe to win, but I'm glad Ricochet did for multiple reasons. Samoa Joe should really be in the main event scene instead of a guy like Baron Corbin who has been hovering around main events since last summer and in that time the show has run off viewers and guys are working f***ing PPV's to half-empty arenas like this. Good heat, like what Joe has, is when you can draw interest in a match and get a babyface over and Ricochet came off like a star here. It's not good heat if people think you are boring and don't want to watch you and people chant for random nonsense while you have the babyface in the 6th rest hold of the match. I hope Ricochet has a good, long run with this title. Cole said it's his first championship in WWE. It is if you don't count NXT and I don't know why they don't since NXT is a WWE brand. Weird.
They showed Ricochet entering the Gorilla Position backstage where he was greeted with applause by various superstars. All babyfaces, except Charlotte Flair, so the felt a bit awkward. Triple H, who runs NXT, gave him a hug. It was a cool moment and a nice cherry on top after this very good title match.
Smackdown Tag Team Championships
Daniel Bryan and Erik Rowan (c) vs. Heavy Machinery
Winners: Daniel Bryan and Rowan
3 1/4 goth babes
This is Daniel Bryan's home state, not his home town as some goof on commentary said. The fans were very much behind Bryan from the start. Rowan was going to start the match, but the fans were chanting for Bryan so he tagged in Bryan for a big pop. Whenever Otis got offense in on Bryan the fans booed. It was very much a home field reaction. The fans didn't hate Heavy Machinery so they didn't exactly work like heels or change their style much.
There were chants of "please recycle" and "drive a Prius". Yeah, you had me at 'recycle'; you lost me at 'Prius'. It was a fun back-and-forth match. The big guys did their power moves and Bryan got in all his signature spots which the fans here loved. I'm starting to think that if WWE wanted to do another Wrestlemania in Seattle they would sell out pretty fast if Daniel Bryan was headlining. Does anyone get a home town/state reaction as he does minus those who aren't from the US? Shit, even John Cena used to still get booed in Boston, but then again its not like he ever wore his Bay State roots on his sleeve like guys like Bryan has for Washington and CM Punk has for Chicago... Being a f***ing Devil Rays fan doesn't help either.
This match was better than expected and very much helped by an enthusiastic crowd. The finish was Bryan wrapping Tucking in a small package for the win. Like Bryan said on Twitter, Mr. Small Package strikes again!
They got their championship bout introductions and 10 minutes to work with. Bayley started on offense early on and then Alexa got the advantage by sending Bayley into the turnbuckle. There were dueling chants. I'm not sure who the fans were mostly behind, but it sounded pretty even. There was a lot of brawling and they went out to the floor. Bayley was distracted by Nikki Cross a bit and got her shoulder smashed into the post. Back in the ring, Bayley hit a belly to back suplex for a two count. Bayley then hit a running sunset flip Powerbomb that sent the back of Alexaís head into the turnbuckle, which looked pretty rough especially if you're a viewer aware of her concussion issues.
Back outside Nikki Cross was hit with a suicide dive by Bayley that was intended for Alexa. The finish saw Bliss going for Twisted Bliss, Bayley got her knees up to block and Bayley hit the Bayley to Belly suplex for the pinfall win at 10 and a half minutes.
The match was fine. I thought it was better than the Raw women's opener but its really splitting hairs. They were both just average, o.k. matches.
Ricochet was shown doing a photoshoot with the US Title. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson walked up to him. AJ Styles walked up to them and they all posed together, though Ricochet showed some reluctance. Styles congratulated Ricochet and said he would see him tomorrow night on Raw. The AJ vs Ricochet match was confirmed on Twitter today.
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre w/ Shane McMahon
Winner: Roman Reigns
2.75 goth babes
The two got over 17 minutes and this felt like a classic Roman Reigns match... and not in a good way. Here is where the show really started to turn for me since I did have decent expectations for this match even though their match at Wrestlemania was not very good. My main problem with this match was it was classic Roman Reigns in God-mode basically kicking out of every move in the book. This same guy had to sell for f***ing Shane McMahon's shitty punches and shitty submission holds for 9 minutes only to be taken out by a single Claymore for Shane to go over on Roman, but against Drew McIntyre, an actual wrestler in his prime, nope.
This was a physical match but it was also one of those Super Cena type matches that they tried doing with Roman over the years. It was time for Drew to go over and all his big moves, a ref bump, and Shane hitting his Coast-To-Coast leg drop couldn't keep Roman down. It was a ridiculous type of match that simply doesn't usually work in 2019, but I'll say this much, even though Roman had his share of boo's it sounded like fans were mostly in his corner and the wrestlers weren't met with the type of chants that show signs of a crowd being bored as we would later see in the main event.
In the end, Drew continued to come off as just another guy that the WWE doesn't have any big plans for. To make McIntyre look worse, after losing despite having every advantage possible, Shane McMahon cuts a promo backstage after the match saying on Raw Roman will be in a handicap match against himself and Drew... And I care... why??? I just basically saw Roman go over in a handicap match. Also, isn't the PPV supposed to usually be the payoff? I like how they basically told us that this 17 minute and 20-second match was a waste of time and money for the fans immediately after it was over.
I have to give it at least an average rating because the two worked hard and tried to make this something great, but it wasn't and the booking was just baffling. Drew McIntyre really can't catch a break, but hey at least they got Shane McMahon over!
WWE Championship Steel Cage Match:
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Winner: Kofi Kingston
2.25 goth babes
I went into this match with moderate expectations and I don't even think those were met. I like both guys involved, but I and many of the fans live never bought Dolph Ziggler as a real challenger to Kofi Kingston's title. It's funny because I've seen this match a thousand times at the mid-card level over the last 10 years but as a world title match, it just didn't click.
This was pretty much every WWE cage match, especially every cage match in the PG era. In my preview, I said I'm pretty much done with cage matches in WWE and this did not change my mind. I thought it was pretty boring. I think the cage actually held these two back a bit. I would have much rather have seen them brawl around the outside a bit. Instead, we saw headlocks in a cage, no blood and the same escape teases we always see until the eventual finish. There was a moment where Kofi was in a submission hold and reached the ropes but it correctly wasn't broken because ITS A f***ING CAGE MATCH so that shameless shill Jimmy Korderas can suck it for defending that bullshit during Miz vs Shane.
The match never kicked into high gear, but the finish was pretty cool. The official outside the ring opened the cage door and Dolph crawled towards it to escape. Kofi recovered, got up and jumped through the 2nd rope to escape the cage. It looked like a rough landing. Hopefully, this is it for this feud. I'm a long time fan of Dolph but I haven't loved his crying "it should have been me" promos. Sure... It should have been in 2014. It's 2019 now. Ali and Kevin Owens have more right to be cutting "it should have been me" promos for this title
WWE Universal Championship:
Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin (Lacey Evans as special referee)
Winner: Seth Rollins
3/4 of a Goth Babe
What's more newsworthy is some of the comments Rollins made on Twitter before and after this event. I have a lot to say about that, but first the match.
You see the rating, so obviously I thought it was a terrible main event. The two came out. Rollins had a chair and said whoever he picked as a referee would end up like everyone else. Right there it hit me as if it had been in front of me all along... The referee is Lacey Evans who looked f***ing hot as f***. Unfortunately, everything else was downhill from there.
Dave LaGreca from Busted Open Radio tweeted about how Corbin is the best heel in WWE. I know some of you idiots might agree with this fool, but let me educate this supposed life long fan who is old enough to be my dad and has seen it all but still apparently spews idiotic takes like this. Baron Corbin is capable of milking boos in his promos but he doesn't have good heat.
Do you know what heat is? Heat isn't when you dislike some guy because you think he's boring and therefore after a year of being WWE's go-to main event heel they are posting record low television ratings and when he main eventing PPV's like this they are wrestling to a half-empty arena. Heat isn't some guy getting booed. You have heat when the people are invested in you, you generate interest because people despise you so much and you create a hot angle and get a babyface over.
Did anyone get over here when fans were chanting "boring" and "this is stupid" and "CM Punk" and "Daniel Bryan" and "AEW"? Is Seth a bigger star and more credible world champion for beating Baron Corbin? f*** no. Does one fan care about the eventual rematch with these two? No, just like how no one cared about this f***ing match. A good heel gets an already decent babyface even more over and generates interest in the product with their heat.
Do you want a good heel? You had him on your show, LaGreca. His name is Chris Jericho and he's a big reason why these AEW shows sell out at the drop of a hat and they will have a prime-time weekly slot on TNT this fall. There's a great heel with the right kind of heat because his heat makes numbers move in the right direction. Corbin's doesn't.
Anyway, f*** this match. It was every heel special guest referee match. Lacey ended up making it a no count out/no disqualifications match. It was obvious where this was going. Eventually, Becky Lynch was going to come out and even the odds since Seth can't lay out Lacey like he did with the guys Corbin was interested in on Raw. The problem is it took Becky almost 20 minutes to come out. This entire match was basically watching a boring cheap heat fest while waiting for the obvious Becky run-in. When it happened, Lacey was taken out. Referee John Cone came out. Rollins hit The Stop and won to retain the title.
Seth celebrated with Becky. Cole mentioned that Seth was her boyfriend about a thousand times. It got pretty annoying and based on what I've seen on Facebook and Twitter even fans of their's are really getting tired of having their relationship thrown in our faces as much as WWE has been the last couple of weeks. It's not good for either of them unless the plan is to turn them heel, which I really would not do right now. It seems here they are setting up for a mixed tag match at the next PPV... f***ing hell. Seth and Becky vs Corbin and Lacey. Ugh...
My final grade for this show is 6 out of 10 hot goth babes. Like I said I really enjoyed the first half. Ricochet came off as a star... ya know because Samoa Joe is a great worker and a great heel with the right kind of heat.
AHHHSIDLfogijudfogij Seriously? How can that guy say Corbin is the best heel in WWE when everything Samoa Joe does is great and people actually care about his matches and segments. Can you imagine if those two switched spots on the card?
Before the show, Seth Rollins sent out a tweet, fully aware of the historic low interest in this show by saying that WWE is the best pro-wrestling in the world. That is very debatable, but whatever. I expect him to believe that.
When the show started he elaborated by tweeting this:
"Doubling down. Best pro wrestling on the planet. See that Cruiserweight Triple Threat? And thatís just one night, one match amongst the many. Find anyone else alive who does what I do as well as I do it as often as I do it. Ya canít. "
Stomping Grounds came and went. It was an above average show with two pretty dull world title matches and two average-at-best women's title matches. It was a basic B-level WWE PPV.
Today Seth replied to a Cageside Seats tweet mocking Seth and he had this to say:
Sure do dorks. And after that PPV I stand by it even more. The crew brought it tonight. From top to bottom all out effort from every person in the ring and out. And youíre still talking/writing about it. https://t.co/0Mh5UOX5cA
I get that Seth is being a company man here and he absolutely should promote the promotion he works for as the best in its genre. However, here Seth comes off as either insecure or delusional. Maybe both. He's going at Will Ospreay calling him "little guy" saying that they have a better version of him in WWE named Ricochet. I don't know where this "little guy" shit comes from since he's bigger than Ricochet and the same height as Seth Rollins. Seth came off as a WWE snow globe type who ignores the outside world and doesn't really know who Will Ospreay so he went to what he thought was a good insult. He also said something about how no one works more than he does, even though the very guy he just called out, does, in fact, work more than Seth Rollins. Seth can go around calling fans "dorks" but how much of a dork does Seth Rollins himself come off here. Dude, you're the f***ing world champion in WWE and you're on Twitter getting in flamewars with people like a typical message board dweller. Do you think Steve Austin would have been doing that shit? You're supposed to be a "superstar" and above that. Instead, you just lower yourself by selling for every little thing that comes in your @ feed.
I like Seth, but if he is going to proudly stab the WWE flag into the turf and make a big statement like that, you better f***ing deliver on this show and WWE Stomping Grounds was just an ordinary B-level WWE PPV. Seth is trying to paint himself as a leader sticking up for WWE. Why don't you lead by example? Seth is the Universal Champion in the main event and had the worst match on the show. If I'm the world champion and had that shitty of a match with the absolute worst main eventer in the wrestling business in Baron Corbin I am not going to come on Twitter and pound my chest about how WWE has the best pro-wrestling in the world.
Don't get me wrong. Yes, there are some great wrestlers in WWE, but not only do they not typically put on the best wrestling shows, they also aren't often in a position to be truly great due to WWE's shitty booking. The Roman/McIntyre match is a good example.
Seth, you put yourself out there and made bold claims that simply didn't deliver. You got nervous and reacted to all this buzz AEW is has. If Stomping Grounds was one of the best shows of the year, you could have proudly said everything you said and fans would have had no response. Instead, it was just your average WWE show. If Stomping Grounds was some great show that screamed "follow that G1!" or "Take that Double or Nothing!" people wouldn't be laughing their asses off, but they are because WWE is still basically McDonald's. Yeah, they may have the next Emeril Lagasse or Gordon Ramsay back there preparing the meals, but the end product is still going to be the same uniform Big Mac and fries that you could get anyway.
I like you, Seth, but if you're going to spike the football and dance around after what was basically a 1-star main event on PPV that was widely rejected by the paying customers than you deserve to be laughed at by those "dorks" on Twitter. At least they aren't dorks who talk some big game before delivering what could be the worst main event on WWE PPV this year had it not been for the disastrous Undertaker vs Goldberg match 2 weeks ago. It's just weird seeing WWE and top guys in WWE squirm like this. When push comes to shove they fall back on how much money the company makes and how many dates they work. WWE seeing their viewership shrink while AEW has all this momentum has them coming off like the bitter ex-boyfriend who sees their old girl happy with someone new and when she doesn't want him back he just says "yeah, well my dick is still bigger than his!" Well, enjoy being 'bigger' WWE, because a lot of fans are feeling ways they haven't felt in years with their new squeeze that actually listens to them and cares how they feel.
Thanks for reading, everyone. Follow me over on Twitter @PlanetKayfabe and I'll be back next week with more news and notes right here on Planet Kayfabe on NoDQ. Take care and God bless.