The first round of the Mixed Match Challenge continues, as two new male and female combinations face each other for the right to battle Finn Bálor and Sasha Banks in the next round…
Carmella & Big E
Asuka & The Miz
(Winners via submission: Asuka and The Miz)
The first ever WWE Mixed Match Challenge returned for its second episode, as many naysayers on social media still hung on to the supposedly negative news that the first episode had “only” garnered approximately two million views on Facebook Watch thus far. Forget the outreach of Facebook itself for a moment, and be impressed that Mixed Match Challenge‘s first episode had pulled in almost as many viewers as an episode of RAW and Smackdown (albeit on delay). That’s impressive, ladies and gentlemen. But I digress…
This week saw Asuka and The Miz team-up to battle The New Day’s Big E and Carmella. Both teams have been incredibly fun to watch prior to this match, with social media videos getting over just how entertaining the two duos are. From The Miz having no idea what Asuka was saying during her Japanese trash-talking promos, to Carmella’s training sessions with The New Day… everything was gold. Carmella and Big E wearing matching ring gear was perfect too, and I hope we see more of the teams do that throughout this tournament.
On paper, it was always clear that this match wouldn’t hit the levels of Week 1 (click here to our review), and that turned out to be the case but should certainly not be considered a negative. Last week was a serious wrestling match, whilst this week was a fun wrestling match. You have different expectations of both types of contest, and that’s one reason WWE caters quite well to a lot of different viewers.
What wasn’t expected, at least to this particular viewer, was the match to be as dominated as it was by Asuka and The Miz. Given their placement in the company, and certainly their abilities, it was to be assumed that Asuka would boss all of her ring time with Carmella, but it was also perhaps wrongly assumed that Big E would balance it out by overwhelming The Miz. The latter never really happened, and Asuka and The Miz picked up the win in rather impressive fashion.
The match, however, will always be remembered for Carmella handing Asuka her first L. If you didn’t find that hilariously entertaining, you shouldn’t be watching WWE. Whoever came up with that is a genius.
The freshness already feels gone, but only from a production standpoint. This is still an exciting show to watch, and the concept and format both work perfectly. The teams are fun, and watching the wrestlers have more opportunities to be creative themselves, rather than being forced to use material from the “creative team,” is a joy to behold. Watch Mixed Match Challenge, then tell me that these talents couldn’t get themselves more over as huge stars if they were left to come up with their own characters and promos.
At this point, Smackdown now finds itself having lost both matches against RAW competition. Looking at the teams (and even the rosters of both shows, currently), this was to be expected, but one assumes that this losing run will end shortly. Next week sees Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss tackle Sami Zayn and Becky Lynch, and present booking would suggest the former pairing will be victorious, but I wouldn’t rule out some shenanigans taking place that allows Smackdown‘s Zayn and Lynch to pick up the win.
Two episodes in, Mixed Match Challenge has become must-see programming. At only 20 minutes in length, and designed to be viewed best on a mobile device, it’s perfect for the commute to work, or to watch on your lunch break. So pop open Facebook Watch and give it a watch, or wait until Thursday evening when it airs on the WWE Network. It’s worth your time.