As many of you will know WWE has been running its new programme Mixed Match Challenge on Tuesday nights after Smackdown taking 205’s 10pm slot, which now begins after MMC at 10.20pm. The show is a tournament of mixed gender tag teams competing for $100,000 prize money to donate to charities of their choosing and was launched on Facebook Watch, a new social media viewing platform.
A group of 12 male and 12 female superstars were teamed up by their respective general managers, with both brands having 6 tag teams. Raw saw Alexa Bliss teamed with Braun Strowman who coined the name ‘Team LittleBig’ and chose Connor’s Cure as their charity. Miz with Asuka, named Awe-ska, representing the Rescue Dogs Rock. Sasha Banks and Finn Balor, the Boss Club, who chose to support the Special Olympics. Nia Jax and Enzo later replaced after catching the flu by Apollo, fighting for the Susan G Komen foundation. Alicia Fox with Goldust chose Hire Heroes USA and Samoa Joe with Bayley, representing Americures. Both Samoa Joe and Alicia Fox sustained injuries ruling them out of the tournament and were replaced by Elias and Mandy Rose who chose to name her and Goldust’s team RoseGold.
Smackdown got Bobby Roode and Charlotte Flair the ‘Robe Warriors’ representing Girl Up. Lana and Rusev Ravishing Rusev Day chose Global Citizen as their cause. Naomi with Jimmy Uso picked Boys and Girls Club of America. Carmella with Big E chose to support KaBOOM. Becky Lynch and Sami Zayn’s charity was UNICEF, and finally, Shinsuke Nakamura paired with Natalya chose to represent Make-A-Wish.
Based on a 12-week format with a first round match each week for the first 6 weeks followed by weeks 7-9 as round 2, pitting the winners of round one against each other. The winners of round two face each other in weeks 10 and 11 to determine two teams for a 12th-week finale. Also as there will only be 3 teams naturally advancing to the semi-finals. A team who has already lost will return in week 11 with a special second chance fan vote making the fourth semi-final Tag Team.
With Renee Young and Byron Saxton as co-hosts and Corey Graves, Michael Cole and Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix on commentary the show got off to a good start with general managers Kurt Angle and Daniel Bryan announcing in its first week on Facebook watch it gained 35 million total engagements.
Here are the results so far:
The Boss Club advanced to round 2 by defeating Nakamura and Natalya by submission.
The Miz and Asuka beat the team of Big-E and Carmella, who tapped out to the Asuka lock.
Sami Zayn and Becky Lynch were defeated after the ‘BIG’ member of team LittleBig pinned Sami Zayn.
The husband and wife team of Naomi and Jimmy Uso won their match by pinfall Sending team RoseGold out of the tournament.
The team of Elias and Bayley were not enough to overcome the ‘Ravishing Rusev Day’ when they lost by pin-fall.
Nia Jax and Apollo were eliminated following pin-fall by the ‘Robe Warriors.’
This week sees match 7 take place with the winning teams of Banks/Bálor, and Miz/Asuka face off for a spot in Week 10’s semifinals match. Both teams won their first-round matches by submission, so this will definitely be a match you will not want to miss! Check back later in the week for results of this weeks match!
Next week sees Naomi and Jimmy facing Bliss and Braun, with the final round two match coming the week after, pitting Bobby Roode and Charlotte against Rusev and Lana. The winners of these three matches go onto the semi-finals. Where they will be joined by the fans ‘Second Chance Vote’ to decide who will move into the finals of week 12 and then be crowned winners of the first ever Mixed Match Challenge.
From what we’ve seen so far the MMC concept seems to have been a good idea and has been received well by fans, steadily showing growing viewer numbers, and opening the door for possible continuation or expansion of the concept.
Already a mixed tag match has been made for a March Raw house show between Bayley and Elias (possibly indicating a Bayley heel turn is approaching) and Nikki Bella with John Cena. It’s unclear yet whether this is a sign that the concept is returning after the tournament ends. This could also mean that Elias and Bayley may be the Second Chance Vote team, I can note that it was initially planned for John Cena to face Samoa Joe at this show however following Joe’s injury the tag match was made.
I hold high hopes for the Mixed Match Challenge, the possibilities it brings and also the chance for WWE to expand into other areas where fans can watch the product.
Overall it seems to have been a good decision that will likely pay off in the long run. I for one would love to see some of these teams not only join up again as their chemistry was great but also what new teams could arise if there is a second season, and we wish good luck to all of the competitors and their respective charities.