From an in-ring standpoint, July was a strong month across all of WWE programming. Between Extreme Rules, a handful of high quality Raw & SmackDown matches, the rising 205 Live, and possibly the strongest span of weekly NXT we’ve ever seen, there certainly was no shortage of entertaining pro rasslin’…
Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong vs. Trent Seven & Tyler Bate (NXT, July 11)
I know a lot of people would put this at the top of their list, but I just can’t get past the weird finish of Bate throwing in the towel when he could’ve just made the save. Yes, the referee gave him a warning earlier in the match, but it still feels so inconsistent with the way tag matches usually go in WWE/NXT. Other than that, the match was fantastic. It totally deserves all of the praise it’s been receiving.
Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley (Extreme Rules; Raw, July 24)
Roman and Bobby had a pair of fun, high octane matches in July. Lashley elevated himself quite a bit, and Reigns showed just how far he’s come as an in-ring performer. BIG DOG OOOOO AAAHH. Get out of here, haters. (Don’t get out of here. Read on please. Agree to disagree. Love you.)
Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins, Iron Man Match (Extreme Rules)
I get why people were upset by the surplus of falls, but it didn’t bother me too much. I would’ve preferred less, but I think they did a good job of making each feel earned. In the end, it was a fun, ambitious PPV main event, and shouldn’t be remembered as anything less.
5) Kairi Sane vs. Candice LeRae vs. Nikki Cross (NXT, July 18)
The NXT Women’s division is starting to pick up some real momentum. I won’t say it’s quite reached the heights of the Sasha/Bayley or undefeated Asuka days, but it’s starting to get close. This match was an awesome showcase of the division’s top performers. It’s a shame Bianca Belair wasn’t able to be involved, but the dynamic between the three worked well.
More than anything, this felt like a joyous sendoff for Nikki. Even when she was pummeling Full Sail’s most beloved babyfaces, the crowd was chanting her name. LeRae and Sane were great too (duh).