Sami Zayn and Becky Lynch come up against the unstoppable Braun Strowman and his partner, WWE RAW Women’s Champion, Alexa Bliss…
Braun Strowman & Alexa Bliss
Sami Zayn & Becky Lynch
(Winners via pinfall: Strowman & Bliss)
If there’s one thing that has kept me thinking about Mixed Match Challenge each and every week, it’s the comical chemistry between some of the teams. We saw one brilliant pairing eliminated last week (Carmella & Big E, WWE Mixed Match Challenge: 1st Round, Week 2 (Review)), but in this episode we saw two of the absolute best come face to face. Heading into the show, it was somewhat depressing to think that one of these combos was going to leave the competition.
Braun Strowman, who is got himself over majorly with fans due to his destructive and monstrous persona on WWE RAW, has shown a softer and more gentle side in his segments with Alexa Bliss, promoting this match and the show as a whole. The size difference between the two is where the comedy first started, but they’ve almost played on this Beauty & The Beast angle, and the two have become must-watch.
For Becky Lynch and Sami Zayn, the real fun has come from Lynch being a huge babyface, and Zayn a recently turned villain. Watching Lynch attempt to bring back the old Zayn, a man who loved the fans, has been as brilliant as Zayn’s efforts have been to drag Lynch over to the dark side. Just as with other teams we’ve seen on this show, the chemistry between the two is off the charts, and makes you wonder once again why we never see the men and women interact more on RAW or Smackdown.
In the lead-up to the match, WWE announced that fans would be able to vote on Facebook for who should start the match: Lynch or Zayn. Of course, the latter would have meant Zayn would have to face Strowman right from the start, which he would have keenly wanted to avoid. Lynch won out, because she’s the fan favourite, but it did feel like the fans missed a trick with this one.
Most of the hard work in this match was done by Lynch and Bliss, who haven’t properly met in the ring for over 10 months. Zayn and Strowman were being kept apart for obvious reasons, so it was up to the two women to provide the majority of the in-ring action. They kept things simple between the ropes, but it was very smooth and effective, and allowed for the real greatness of this match to come from the dialogue between all the competitors, and Zayn’s attempts to avoid Strowman.
From Bliss trying to convince Strowman that she was in control, and his “trusting” her, to Zayn telling Bliss from the corner that he’d stop being a gentleman if she continued to drag Lynch’s face across the ropes… this match was comedy gold. Throw in Zayn’s many attempts to run away from Strowman when they were both the legal men, and you pretty much had gold. The live crowd were eating it up, too.
The match eventually came to an end when Zayn was tossed into the crowd at ringside, and Bliss climbed onto the shoulders of Strowman to deliver an impressive Twisted Bliss onto the prone body of Lynch. The 1-2-3 followed, and Lynch and Zayn were promptly eliminated from the tournament.
The fun wasn’t over there, though, as Renee Young’s post-match interview with the winners delivered the most entertaining part of the entire show. After Strowman admitted that he felt he and Bliss had a great professional and personal relationship, Bliss admitted that she also found Strowman cute. The fans were eating it up, and Strowman sold it perfectly. When Bliss then told him “we are going to go all the way,” this viewer was legitimately laughing out loud on a train full of people (because we all watch wrestling on the go now, right?). We all knew she was going to add “to the final of the tournament,” (paraphrasing) but it didn’t ruin the moment. These two are perfect together, and WWE would really be foolish not to take this pairing to the main roster once they’ve both got through their Wrestlemania programmes.
One final observation, as something really hit home whilst viewing this show: Alexa Bliss is going to be a megastar when she eventually turns babyface. If this week’s episode showed us anything, it’s that Bliss knows exactly how to work as a babyface on the main roster and, more importantly, the crowd are ready for it too. I fully expect to see it happen by the end of 2018.