Team Awe-Suka–The Miz and Asuka-won the inaugural Mixed Match Challenge earlier this year. They were on RAW at the time but are both now on Smackdown. They will be back along with 3 other teams from the first season: Jimmy Uso + Naomi (Married), Rusev + Lana (Married) and Alexa Bliss + Braun Strowman (no surprise).
We know of six other teams that will be joining them:
The first Season had 12 teams to start. The other two teams have not be revealed as of yet but as you can see, it will air live on Facebook Watch immediately after Smackdown just like before. Episodes will be available on WWE Network a few days later, usually by Friday morning.
You can see from the poster that this time, they show the teams already paired off as well as by brand. Kevin Owens returning this week on RAW is likely mostly to help promote the Mixed Match Challenge with his partner Natalya. R-Truth has already been promoting it with his promos involving Carmella.
That reminds me. The MMC is independent of existing Raw or Smackdown storylines. It’s just a little something for the fans to see some of their favorite superstars in action. It’s fine if they are out of character as well since it has no bearing on existing storylines they may be involved in.
Roman Reigns and Nia Jaxx announced on Twitter that they will be paired for the MMC, noting their being included was omitted from the initial announcement. It’s unconfirmed but Cien Almas and Zelena Vega will likely be one of the other remaining teams. The word is Vince has been very impressed with Cien Almas since he came to the main roster so far so…yeah.
Like before, the winning team gets $100,000 for the charity of their choice while the losing teams get $10,000 for the charity of their choice. Let’s be real, The Miz + Asuka won Season 1 to protect Asuka’s undefeated streak at the time. Her win streak ended at Wrestlemania so this year, anyone could win.
The rumor mill is abuzz Team Little Big might be getting serious with each other and more so given their Road Trip Segments. Adam Scherr (Braun Strowman) and Lexi Kaufman (Alexa Bliss) are both Heels but The Monster Among Men is Over with the WWE Universe. Little Miss Bliss being a Vegetarian could be a problem for Strowman, who is big on eating meat himself. Even if they don’t get serious, just teasing it is good for now and they both know it.
AJ styles and Charlotte both currently have the top Smackdown titles so their pairing makes a bit of sense. AJ Styles is not expected to drop the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell and is likely a reward for showing up for work every week. Charlotte may drop the title to Becky Lynch or Carmella though the latter feels like the most likely if she drops the title.
Because WWE plans to book a Four Horsewomen vs. Four Horsewomen Match at Survivor Series. Everyone knows about Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Bayley from their NXT days. They carried the Women’s Division in NXT and all four won titles when they went to the main roster.
Charlotte was the first Superstar period to win a title on both brands (first on RAW, then on Smackdown) as well as the first RAW Women’s Champion and the last Divas Champion. She is a 5-time Champion as well (which Booker T conveniently omitted during his promo with The New Day two weeks ago). Sasha Banks is a 2-time RAW Women’s Champion, winning both times vs. Charlotte. Becky Lynch is Smackdown’s first Women’s Champion while Bayley had a title run on RAW herself two years ago.
On the other side you have former UFC athletes RAW Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey and NXT’s Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler (won the NXT Women’s Title and held it for a while) along with Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke. Shafir and Duke are both training at WWE’s Performance Center and the Survivor Series match could be used to showcase both of them. Shayna Baszler could be moved to the main roster by then, likely Smackdown since RAW has too many top names in the Women’s Division.
Anywho, the two teams of four facing off was teased during the Mae Young Classic when seven of them were involved in that now imfamous awkwardly done promo. Now WWE is clearly laying the groundwork for them to clash at Survivor Series. Duke and Shafir could both bypass NXT but I think at least one of them will be in NXT.
It’s easy to understand why most don’t think a real match between male and female wrestlers can be done. Their match highlighted some of the obvious challenges. The closest we have to that now are mixed tag matches. The match involving Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Triple H and Steph at Wrestlemania gave some ideas on how it could be done while making both participants look strong.
A few ideas:
- Less Strike Moves, More Grappling: Let’s be honest, Rousey and Nia are probably the only two female superstars who could seriously get in the ring with Brock Lesnar, Samoa Joe or Braun Strowman. Rousey has the experience and Nia has the raw power to put on a decient match with one of them. That aside, cross-gender matches would focus less on strike moves and more on showcasing pure mat skills.
- Matching Styles: Both competators would have to adjust to compliment the other’s style of wrestling. Both Becky Lynch and Dean Ambrose are brawlers and could probably go all out against each other. AJ Styles is a mostly technical superstar. It would match up pretty well with Asuka, who is also a mostly technical superstar.
- Modified or different Finishers: Obviously, Seth Rollins can’t use his recently returned Curb Stomp (even as a Heel). Finn Balor can’t use the Coup de Grace either. Neither could Samoa Joe use his sleeper hold. It would just look really bad in a mixed gender match no matter who is involved. Bray Wyatt can use Sister Abigail normally as can The Miz use the Skull-Crushing Finale.
…Steph took a Spear from Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 32 and sold it well. Steph also sold an RKO from Randy Orton on RAW years ago well, too. Who can forget the time Linda McMahon botched talking a Stone Cold Stunner?
Mind you, there are some women not named Ronda Rousey or Charlotte Flair who can hold their own against most of the top male superstars, let alone the midcard male superstars as well. Asuka, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Bayley, Nia Jaxx, Naomi and maybe Alexa Bliss and Ember Moon immediately come to mind. Not just raw mat skills but can make the contest look good for both of them.
WWE will figure out a way to make it work. No one else is interested in even trying so…yeah.
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