Husband and wife, Jimmy Uso & Naomi, team up to battle the odd pairing of Goldust and Mandy Rose in this first round match between WWE Smackdown and WWE RAW superstars…
Jimmy Uso & Naomi
Goldust & Mandy Rose
(Winners via pinfall: Jimmy Uso & Naomi)
After Alicia Fox suffered a nasty injury in the lead-up to WWE Royal Rumble 2018, Goldust was forced to quickly find another partner for his Mixed Match Challenge debut. We found out last week that Fox’s replacement would be Mandy Rose, and immediately it felt as though they were doing a throwback pairing to the kind we used to see Goldust involved in two decades ago.
After some big matches in the past three weeks, featuring some top WWE stars, this was the first episode that felt like filler before it had even aired. It lacked any top stars, focusing exclusively on mid-to-low card talent, and so this felt more like ticking the box on ones watch list, rather than the must-see programming it has been since its debut. Knowing that the winner is almost guaranteed to exit at the next round (a match with Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss awaits) didn’t help, either.
That said, I thought this was a very fun match, particularly the opening minutes. From Goldust pausing the match due to being out of breathe after running the ropes, to the back and forth attempts to show who was the better team (a kiss of the hand, a hug, and then a full on kiss). That Mandy Rose was so game for the kiss was brilliant, topped only by Goldust’s reaction. I was booing along with the crowd when Uso broke it up to try and get the rollup victory.
Some of the best action came when Naomi and Rose were in the ring. I was pleasantly surprised by this, as I’m not high on Naomi’s in-ring ability, and Rose is obviously still a new hand at all of this. Both women impressed though, and I thought that Naomi’s clean dive over the ropes onto Rose, avoiding Goldust, was the best spot of the match. Rose’s impact with the mat at ringside looked painful.
I thought the contact from Naomi to Goldust was the first time in the competition where I felt that WWE‘s tendency to only show woman-on-man offence, rather than the other way around, stood out like a sore thumb. I’m fine with neither gender having much contact with the other, as was done perfectly in Boss Club versus Natalya and Shinsuke Nakamura, but if you’re going to have outright attacks on one by the other (as seen in the featured photograph with this article), you have to do it both ways or it just draws attention to WWE‘s policy of woman-on-man violence being fine, but man-on-woman violence being offensive. I fully understand their position on the latter, but the whole policy doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.
As with previous weeks, the crowd were very much up for this, which can only help 205 Live which films in front of the live crowd right after Mixed Match Challenge airs. I enjoyed their rendition of Rusev’s song for Lana, which ended this weeks episode. I did think that the appearance of the latter took the wind out of the sails for Uso and Naomi, as it happened right after they’d got their win, but I can’t complain about WWE trying something different with their hype for the next episode, compared to their usual routine.
This show is still weekly viewing for me, and that won’t change, but I think we’re entering the filler weeks now, before the big guns are brought back out. Saying that, Rusev and Lana versus Elias and Bayley does sound like a fun match for next week.