So this week, Braun launched Kalisto off the stage after losing a dumpster match. Charlotte and Naomi had the main event interrupted by the Natalya led mutually disrespected stable. There was still no Roman. And Orton and Rowan gave us a decent brawl . None of this kept me awake. I’m slowly coming round to admitting the petty things are what stops me sleeping. But it’s the little cogs that make the big ones turn. It’s all important. Or maybe I have issues? Either way, here’s what kept me up this week.
The past is not forgotten
Jericho and Ambrose met in the ring during their Raw opening segment with The Miz. It could have been so easy for WWE to ignore their past. They’ve done it plenty of times before. In a world where wrestlers can change the colour of their hat at a moment’s notice, former adversaries often end up tagging together, especially further up the card. This has kept me awake for years. So when Ambrose and Jericho stood in the ring together I was expecting their history to be completely ignored.
Instead, it was not only acknowledged but played up throughout the night. Despite both being on the side of fan favourites, Ambrose held up his hands to destroying the iconic lite-brite jacket. Jericho remembered him owing $15K for it. Ambrose had a gift, a replacement jacket. Jericho wore it and even appeased Ambrose later in the night by seemingly taking him off the list. But he went back on it, not everything can be forgiven.
Y2J and Ambrose gave us some funny moments on a rather lacklustre Raw by playing up what they had done to each other, playing on their habits and generally making peace, whilst punching Miz. This not only helped with the TV time spent on them but endeared both with the fans further, as well as made it stand out on a forgettable show. It would be nice if WWE could learn from this going forward, and have newly found tag partners for the night with history acknowledge it, rather than pretend all good guys get along and all villains enjoy working with others.
Getting Payback on the fans
I have a friend who is a massive fan of the Marvel Superhero movies. There for the first showing every time. He explained to me the surreal yet steadfast rule that when the movie ends, no one gets up. People who were asleep were suddenly awake and everyone waited with smiles on their faces. The post credit scene. Nick Fury would show up and help tie all the movies together, if they were lucky more than once.
Payback this Sunday feels very much the same, although without the joy and anticipation. It almost feels like revenge on the fans. Wrestlemania was the blockbuster, the past few weeks have been the credits, with the shake-up being the first bonus scene. And now we’re all just waiting for Samuel L. Jackson to bounce out and do his eye patch thing but its not coming.
With most of the matches being finishes to feuds that no longer exist due to the shake-up, Payback could not feel any less important if they tried. Which they have been doing, apparently. The Universal title isn’t involved, the WWE and the US title already have No.1 contenders lined up and other feuds are ready to go. Payback seems like something that has to happen, rather than something people want to happen.
Whilst I’m a big fan of feuds having a proper ending, not all of these need an end. The ambiguity over who is better could remain for the future. The anger of not being able to finish their feud could be part of what fuels a competitor for the coming months. Instead, we’re getting a lazily thrown together scene which ties in but doesn’t progress the story. Nick Fury would be so unimpressed.
Beat the Clock doesn’t help beaten opponents
Beat the clock has always been a strange way to get a number one contender. I get that there must be a way but timed matches helps no one. The Colons have been in a feud with American Alpha and yet their match was over in less than five minutes. Breezango won their match against enhancement talent Ascension in under five minutes as well. This does nothing for the tag division, other than provide a new number one contender. Which is fine, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of the division.
Wouldn’t more have been accomplished if the Uso’s themselves had set the time against a local team, Alphas and the Colons had fought past the time and therefore been eliminated from contention, and then Breezango had pulled off the surprise quick win? Come to think of it, even the commentators were forced to point out the slow pace of the Colons in relation to the match. Not a good sign.
Beat the Clock is best preserved for when the opportunity arises to push a monster/s that routinely makes quick work of his or their opponents. It’s how you would get the Authors of Pain in the number one contender spot, as hasty destruction is their MO. Any other time, and it does more damage than good. I’m happy that Breezango are getting a chance to show what they can do, but already they’re presented as fortunate, rather than a legit threat. This is due to the outdated procedure that got them there. Beat the Clock should be preserved for a more opportune time.
Stealing the title to save it
Traditionally, I hate the stolen title belt routine. It keeps me awake regardless of the title in question. This week, Jinder Mahal and his tastelessly yet expensively attired friends ran a hit and grab on WWE Champion Randy Orton. This led to Jinder holding the title up in the sun roof of a limo as they made their getaway.
But maybe this time, it’s not the worst idea. Keeping the title belt away from the House of Horrors match may be for the best. The quicker that can be dealt with the better, no need to drag down the title as well as Bray Wyatt. (I’ve given hope up of Wyatt winning, as fun as it would be.) And it gives Orton a reason to dislike and pursue Jinder. But most of all, it gives me plenty of reasons to stay awake giggling, as I listen to the commentators try to describe the entire angle without saying ‘belt’. We know what it is, guys.
Gulak getting it done
On 205 Live, one of my favourite things ever happened. The last time I remember it happening was Jericho delivering a Codebreaker to Kevin Owens. Drew Gulak interfered in Mustafa Ali and Tony Nese’s match by pulling Nese out of the way as Mustafa ascended to the top rope. Nese hit the deck, and looked unhappy with Gulak’s intervention, until it was announced, much to Ali’s unhappiness, that Nese had won via DQ.
Letter of the law, as the commentators explained. I’ve often been left awake in my bed wondering why more heels don’t do this more to help win matches. Yes, it wouldn’t work if everyone did it but it could be a nice angle if just the one person did so. Gulak has opened the eyes of those on the side of villainy to what is possible with a little sacrifice. This must be what he means by a better 205 Live.
I liked his discussion with Cory Graves on the announce booth as he swayed the previously objectionable Graves round to his way of thinking. Gulak is a talented technical wrestler and knowing styles make matches, he could be a great character for the mid card of 205 Live. He has already shown he can mentally hang by thinking outside the box, rather than flying headfirst into it.
UK still needs to arrive, but getting there
Tyler Bate recorded another UK title defence by beating 205 Live’s Jack Gallagher on NXT this week. I find the UK Championship to be something that constantly baffles me. I like it, and want to believe in it more, but I don’t see why you have to have a dated moustache to defend or challenge for it.
Tyler Bate has not inspired me since I’ve seen him. Not that I think poorly of him, I just don’t like his British throwback style. Whilst there’s a place for the carny showman, I like a bit more intensity and explosiveness from my champions. In the UK tournament, I thought Tyler was the least impressive of the main names that were signed up. The match with Gallagher however, was a step in the right direction.
Tyler has clearly been hitting the gym, and the match was a nice technical bout that seemed to be cut short but did well whilst it lasted. More of this and when the planned weekly show comes around, there may be a champion to carry the show. After all, Tyler has his whole career in front of him, it can only get better (I hope). The UK title is still some way off as arriving as far as legitimately thought of titles go, but it’s getting there.
My Cross to bear
Nikki Cross is swiftly becoming my favourite female wrestler not named Asuka on NXT. The Glaswegian gal is now one of my highlights every time she’s on screen and it seemingly came out of nowhere. She was for a while she was just the crazy accomplice of Sanity, and whilst she retains that role, she is now also being highlighted as a competitor in her own right. And she is doing better and better every time she is given the opportunity.
Her performance on this week’s NXT was great from start to finish. Hijacking the opening made sense given her crazy persona. Her calling out of Ruby Riot without actually touching the microphone was weird and managed to stay just the right side of becoming adorable. She is a crazy heel and stuck to it during the first pull apart brawl. After Ruby had done a good job explaining her issue with Nikki backstage, the second brawl was even better. The image of Nikki being carried away by staff, each picking a limb, superbly set her up as a crazy loose cannon that they couldn’t trust on her own two feet.
I’m looking forward to this feud more and more as they build it. I’m hoping they’re setting Nikki up to be the first challenger for whomever it is that takes the title off of Asuka. She may not be quite ready for the title just yet but she is improving quicker and more noticeably than anyone in NXT currently and it’s exciting to see.
Whilst I may also harbour dreams of a strange six man mixed tag match pitting the Scots of Drew, Noam and Nikki against the Irish Sheamus, Finn and Becky, I genuinely would like to see Nikki Cross on the main roster one day. At the rate she is going, hopefully this time next year she’ll be making her debut. The unhinged and brutal Scottish lass would be a great addition to either roster, having found a perfect place in Sanity and NXT. There will hopefully be much more to come from Cross.
Seth Rollins this week finally debuted his new finisher on live TV. Having seen a few recordings from house shows as he got it down, it was nice to see him use it on Raw this week in the six man. The set up with finally abandoning Triple H’s finisher to continue his quest to get his life back and be his own man was a nice touch. Ignoring the internet’s quick jump to label it a rip off of Omega’s (Rain) V-Trigger, remembering that Punk didn’t even change the name of the GTS, the move is currently unnamed, and I’m curious to see what it gets called.
I have seen Seth wrestle in his Tyler Black days through to FCW, early NXT and now the main shows. There have been a lot of finishers in that time, including my favourite, God’s Last Gift. But as characters develop, it’s nice to see a change in character bring a change in finisher. It’s the little things that make a difference. It was about time Seth showed his pedigree.
Feel the desire to argue, agree, condemn or converse, feel free to comment below or at [email protected] or @HeneghanCiaran.
Break It Down: Ranking Every Major Wrestling TV Show (Week #3)
As we head towards one of the busiest periods of the calendar year for professional wrestling, the eyes have certainly been on the weekly shows and the quality that they are providing. The third week of the year certainly wasn’t a perfect one overall, but while some shows struggled, others really thrived.
There were some fantastic in-ring matches throughout the week, with a title bout and some good storyline development towards the major shows that are coming up in the future. But which show was the pick of the bunch? Join us as we Break It Down to find out!
6. WWE Raw
For the third week in a row, WWE Raw takes the bottom spot, with the red brand really struggling to build an entertaining three hours. The show has fleeting moments of quality, such as the match between Charlotte Flair and Peyton Royce, which was hard-hitting and back and forth, as did Ricochet and AJ Styles, which is no surprise.
However, the show is just far too inconsistent, with not enough quality throughout the evening to really grip people, even heading into the Royal Rumble. Mace and Xavier Woods had quite a sloppy match, while the six-man tag team match had far too much in-fighting for The Hurt Business for the bout to get going.
Alexa’s Playground didn’t really work with Asuka, and their main event angle didn’t click either. However, the worst segment of the night was the Dirt Sheet, which was mocking Drew McIntyre and Goldberg. Seeing Gillberg was fun, but this didn’t build any interest in the upcoming WWE Championship match and made them both look ridiculous.
5. AEW Dynamite
It was an off night for AEW this week, with this particular episode of AEW Dynamite not quite delivering or feeling particularly ‘must-see.’ There were good elements to this show, with Tazz cutting a great promo and Jon Moxley having arguably the match of the night.
However, there was a lot that just didn’t work. The opening tag team match was chaotic and quite sloppy, and that was a trend throughout the night. AEW often likes to have six-man tags, but a lack of rule-following is something that makes the matches tough to get connected with.
The main event was fun, seeing the Inner Circle’s attempts to prove who is the best being enjoyable, but it wasn’t a blockbuster match. Meanwhile, Cody’s bout with Peter Avalon was just far too long. The Shaq storyline continues to be teased and hasn’t really proven to be interesting to this point, with this show just lacking the normal buzz overall.
4. WWE SmackDown
The blue brand was a much better show this week than last, with WWE SmackDown returning to its usual quality. Throughout the show, the work with Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman was tremendous, with the opening promo from the Universal Champion silencing any doubters about his microphone skills.
The women’s tag team match was very enjoyable, with The Riott Squad holding their own with the champions until Billie Kay accidentally cost them. Her work is continuing to be great, and hopefully, WWE can continue that, meanwhile the Obstacle course did actually prove to be entertaining.
This was the type of segment that could have been a disaster, but it did a really good job of putting over Bianca Belair, especially when she carried Otis. Plus, seeing Kevin Owens get the best of Roman Reigns for a change was fantastic to see, as that hasn’t really happened since the Tribal Chief returned to WWE.
3. WWE NXT U.K.
WWE NXT U.K. was very enjoyable this week, with WWE’s newest brand continuing to deliver in high-quality in-ring action. Right from the start that standard was set as Rampage Brown and Dave Mastiff had a very hard-hitting bout. There was nothing pretty or technical about it, but instead, it was just a physical brawl, which was tons of fun to watch.
The show developed other storylines nicely as well. Kenny Williams pushing Amir Jordan into a tough match sets up certain possibilities, meanwhile seeing Ilja Dragunov return and showcase a much more physical and aggressive side of himself was tremendous, as he can build on this now.
The main event was given plenty of time and it really benefitted from that. Kay Lee Ray put her NXT U.K. Women’s Championship on the line against Jinny and they had a fantastic match together, going back and forth with Joseph Conners causing issues on the outside, ultimately leading to the finish.
2. WWE NXT
The black and gold brand was very much focused on the in-ring product again this week, which is mainly because of the two tournaments taking place. Kushida and Leon Ruff had a solid match with The Way, while Lucha House Party and Imperium had a really exciting match as well.
Having Lucha House Party set up their match with Legado Del Fantasma was great work, continuing to push the main roster team. Plus, it was great to see the women’s tournament really get built up, and Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter going through was a great surprise.
But it was the main event that really stole the show here, with the Fight Pit returning. This match type is one of the best that WWE has created in years, and Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa certainly didn’t disappoint, with an incredibly physical clash.
1. IMPACT Wrestling
When it comes to the best show of the week, there’s no doubt that IMPACT Wrestling takes the top prize. This show had everything from great in-ring work, surprises, and fantastic backstage segments to create a really entertaining evening of wrestling.
The big tag team segment was great, seeing James Storm return and then the surprise of Matt Hardy and Private Party, proving more doors are open between AEW and IMPACT. This played into the main event, which was a great bout, and with Tony Khan appearing as well, it was certainly noteworthy.
The way Taya Valkyrie finished up her run with IMPACT was fantastic, while the opening match between Eric Young and Rhino, plus the post-match beatdown was very well done as well. The show built the women’s tag team division and continued to push other mid-card talents too, which really provided an entertaining show.
Sixth place= 1 point
Fifth place= 2 points
Fourth place= 3 points
Third place= 4 points
Second place=5 points
First place= 6 points
2020 results (each week, the points tally will be added up below):
WWE Raw- 3
IMPACT Wrestling- 12
WWE NXT- 15
AEW Dynamite- 12
WWE NXT UK- 10
WWE SmackDown- 11
Break It Down: Ranking Every Major Wrestling TV Show (Week #2)
While it’s still early on in 2021, the wrestling world has set a high standard for in-ring quality so far from last week and all of the shows continued in that mindset here. The shows were all varied and while not everything worked for each show, there were a lot of positives to takeaway.
A week that featured huge title matches, fantastic promos, and even some fireballs being thrown in for good measure has been enough to keep everyone entertained. But, which show was the strongest of the bunch? Let’s Break It Down and find out!
6. WWE Raw
WWE Raw has been a struggle as of late, and sadly this show didn’t change that run of form for the red brand. It was clear the show had been hurt by COVID-19, with a lot of people missing and a lot pulling double duty on the night, so credit does deserve to be given for that. On that note, praise is deserved for Drew McIntyre too, for making his appearances via video, despite having a positive COVID test.
Sheamus and Keith Lee had a fun match as partners and as opponents on this show, but outside of that this show lacked a lot. Charlotte Flair facing Lacey Evans was nothing special, and using Ric frequently right now isn’t helping her character while having Riddle be beaten so easily feels like a mistake, even if it helps Bobby Lashley overall.
The whole show was built around Triple H returning for a one-off match with Randy Orton, which was all set up nicely. It was never going to be a full match, but it would’ve been nice to have given this a little longer. Obviously, the big talking point was the Alexa Bliss fire, some people loved it, others hated it. I personally, quite enjoy a little magic and ridiculousness when it’s done well, and this story is working so far, with this being a nice finish to the show.
5. WWE SmackDown
WWE SmackDown kickstarted 2021 with a bang last week, but sadly this episode was a slight drop in quality. It was still a good show though, with lots of positives to take, especially in terms of the in-ring product, with Daniel Bryan and Cesaro have a particularly great match on this show.
The work with Billie Kay was a lot of fun, with her ‘punk’ vibes being fantastic comedy, while the storyline with King Corbin and the Mysterio family continues to be put together well. Jey Uso had a really good match with Shinsuke Nakamura too, who appears to be gaining a big push as a babyface, which is great to see.
However, there were elements that didn’t work, with Bayley’s new talk show and segment being a little awkward, while all of the build with Roman Reigns and Adam Pearce was a little dragged out and too repetitive from last week.
4. WWE NXT UK
WWE NXT UK was another really fun show this week, with the brand continuing to put together some great work lately. Seeing the debut of Sha Samuels was great, as he is a real talent in the ring and on the microphone, and he had a nice hard-hitting encounter with Joe Coffey to kick off the show.
Jinny and Kay Lee Ray had a really nice promo segment to build to their title match, and it certainly built interest in their upcoming title match. Plus, Sam Gradwell and Tyler Bate had a really enjoyable match together, with WWE clearly looking to build Bate back up.
However, this show was really all about the main event. WALTER defending his NXT UK Championship didn’t disappoint. He and A-Kid had tremendous chemistry with this being a very hard-hitting encounter that didn’t let up from start to finish, with WALTER retaining, but A-Kid looking just as good in defeat.
3. IMPACT Wrestling
It was a big week for IMPACT Wrestling with the Hard To Kill event taking place this weekend. While that PPV was a lot of fun, our focus is on the weekly edition of IMPACT, which on the whole was also a great show, building to the PPV in a really nice manner.
The opening women’s match got plenty of time and they didn’t disappoint, while the tag team match featuring Manik and Suicide was also a fast-paced and frantic bout. The storyline development between Eric Young’s group and Rhino and his men wasn’t really needed, with the match itself being incredibly average.
Moose’s squash victory was also dragged on a little too long, and he would’ve benefited from being a little quicker. However, the main event between Karl Anderson and Rich Swann was solid, and the post-match brawl built up the six-man tag team match for Hard To Kill perfectly, which is what was needed.
2. WWE NXT
Yet again the black and gold brand was very enjoyable this week. The show featured a lot of brilliant in-ring work, with a large focus being placed on tag team wrestling, with the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic beginning, which brought plenty of fun bouts.
Grizzled Young Veterans showcased just how good they are, although, booking Ever-Rise as a babyface team here was odd, while MSK’s debut was very fun to see, with the former IMPACT stars seriously impressing. Candice LeRae and Shotzi Blackheart had a good bout as well, while Xia Li’s character development continues to be done brilliantly.
Johnny Gargano’s match with Dexter Lumis was the only real disappointment of the show, as this didn’t quite connect. However, the work with Pete Dunne throughout the show was excellent, building him and his group up as a real threat, with Dunne facing Finn Balor being something that everyone should be excited for.
1. AEW Dynamite
AEW Dynamite was incredibly exciting this week, with a lot of really good matches taking place. The show benefited from not having and big multi-man matches, with everything being crisp and to the point. PAC and Eddie Kingston had an excellent opening match which set the pace for the entire show, with this story being a lot of fun.
This show also saw the best piece of booking that Miro has had since he joined AEW. He was dominant and physical, and hopefully, this is how he’s used moving forwards. The Matt Hardy and Private Party backstage segment will likely be overlooked by most, but it was really good storytelling here as well.
Kenny Omega choosing The Good Brothers over the ‘Bucks is a nice twist, and FTR also had a fantastic tag team bout with Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt. The Waiting Room segment was fun and really shows Britt Baker at her best, meanwhile, Tay Conti and Serena Deeb had a fantastic match. The main event also delivered, like everything on this brilliant show, but the only nitpick I had was Sting’s appearance. Doing the same thing with him every week is already feeling stale, he is someone who should be used less frequently to make him feel more special, in my opinion.
Sixth place= 1 point
Fifth place= 2 points
Fourth place= 3 points
Third place= 4 points
Second place=5 points
First place= 6 points
2020 results (each week, the points tally will be added up below):
WWE Raw- 2
IMPACT Wrestling- 6
WWE NXT- 10
AEW Dynamite- 10
WWE NXT UK- 6
WWE SmackDown- 8
We Ranked: 5 Ways WWE Should Utilize The Legends On WWE Raw
Tonight is WWE Raw Legends Night, and plenty of familiar faces will be coming back to the company, but how should WWE use them? It’s going to be a blockbuster episode of WWE Raw to kickstart 2021 in style, and there will be a real element of nostalgia about the show, with a lot of legends being confirmed for the event.
While not every legend is going to have a significant role to play on the show, some of the talents are going to have a very big part to play in things. WWE has heavily pushed the legends aspect of the show, so there’s no doubt going to be some involvement. But what are the best, and most logical ways the talents could be used?
Jinder Mahal Discusses His Upcoming Return & His Motivation
Updated List Of WWE Royal Rumble Participants Following 1/25 Raw
Edge Announces Return From Injury, Will Enter 2021 Men’s Royal Rumble Match
WWE Backstage To Reveal 30th Entrant In Men’s Rumble, 1st & 2nd Entrants In Women’s Rumble
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match Added To Royal Rumble
WWE Raw Results (1/18): Alexa Bliss Returns To In-Ring Action, Randy Orton Burn Update & Gillberg Appears!
IMPACT Wrestling Hard To Kill Results (2021): Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers vs Rich Swann, Chris Sabin & Moose
WWE Smackdown Results (1/15): Cesaro vs. Bryan, Road To The Rumble Continues
AEW Dynamite Results (1/13): NWA & TNT Titles On The Line, Eddie Kingston vs. Pac, “The Elite” In Action?
AEW Dynamite Results (1/20): The Inner Circle’s Inner Battle, Young Bucks Confront Don Callis
Pat Patterson Tells The Story Of Coming Out To His Parents & Moving To Boston After Being Kicked Out (VIDEO)
WWE Smackdown Videos: Owens Stuns The Tribal Chief, Obstacle Course, Cesaro Wins Again, Post-Match Interviews
AEW DARK Video & Results (1/19): Lucha Bros vs Chaos Project, Big Swole vs Alex Gracia, Sammy Guevara, Top Flight, More
Cesaro Comments On Beating Daniel Bryan, Nakamura Targets Roman Reigns, WWE Smackdown Top 10
Bayley Reveals Her Mount Rushmore Of Women In Sports Entertainment
Results12 hours ago
WWE Raw Results (1/26): Raw Women’s Title Match, McIntyre – Goldberg Staredown, Edge Provides Health Update
WWE2 days ago
Jonathan Coachman Believes His 2018 WWE Commentary Run Was A Mistake
WWE23 hours ago
NBCU’s Peacock Acquires Exclusive U.S. Streaming Rights To WWE Network
AEW2 days ago
Matt Hardy Involved In A Car Accident This Weekend
WWE1 day ago
Alexa Bliss To Challenge For Raw Women’s Title After Last Week’s Bizarre ‘Transformation’
AEW2 days ago
Lio Rush Gives His Opinion On AEW Using Wrestlers As Fans At Ringside
WWE2 days ago
Drew McIntyre Responds To The Undertaker Calling WWE’s Current Product ‘Soft’
WWE21 hours ago
Heath Slater Reflects On Forgetting His Lines During Brock Lesnar Segment