Welcome everyone to the forty-third edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review. I cover a week that saw the continued build to WWE SummerSlam and NXT TakeOver XXX, the AEW World Championship on the line, and the amazing Jericho/Cassidy debate.
1. Apollo Crews (c) defeated MVP to retain the WWE United States Championship
2. The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan) defeated The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce)
3. Akira Tozawa defeated Shelton Benjamin (c) and R-Truth in a Triple Threat match to become the new WWE 24/7 Champion
4. Shayna Baszler vs. Sasha Banks went to a No Contest after interference by Asuka
5. Angel Garza defeated Angelo Dawkins
6. Montez Ford vs. Andrade went to a No Contest
Thoughts: During this episode, we were introduced by Shane McMahon to Raw Underground which featured wrestlers shoot fighting in a dingy warehouse with poor lighting and strippers dancing in the background. In the fights throughout the night we saw the Raw debut of NXT’s Dabba-Kato (FKA Babatunde) who destroyed two men in back-to-back fights as well as Erik and Dolph Ziggler both defeating their respective opponents. The night ended with The Hurt Business (MVP, Bobby Lashley, and Shelton Benjamin), frustrated by their two losses earlier in the night, taking over Raw Underground and destroying every man they could get their hands on.
I am not sure what to think of this new concept this early into its run, but at least they are trying something different. Lashley looked like a total beast while manhandling his opponents, which is how he should have been portrayed in his current WWE run the entire time. We will have to see where this thing goes before I can truly declare it a success or a bust.
Two matches were made for WWE SummerSlam. The first match will be a rematch from this week’s episode. Due to the power shorting out throughout their match, which was later revealed to be caused by the power generator being set on fire with Molotov cocktails by the new mysterious faction, MVP declared that he deserved a rematch against Apollo Crews for the WWE United States Championship at WWE SummerSlam. It was later revealed that Crews had accepted that challenge.
The second match will see Dominik Mysterio taking on Seth Rollins who accepted Dominik’s challenge after the younger Mysterio attacked Rollins and Buddy Murphy with a kendo stick. It will be interesting to see how well Dominik does in his first official match as he has performed well in these ringside brawls in recent weeks.
This was an odd but still overall good episode of Monday Night Raw with the highlights being the confrontation between Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton, Samoa Joe standing up to Rollins, Dominik attacking Rollins and Murphy, and The Hurt Business taking over Raw Underground.
1. Dakota Kai defeated Rhea Ripley in a #1 Contender match after interference by Mercedes Martinez to earn a shot at the NXT Women’s Championship at NXT TakeOver XXX
2. Bronson Reed defeated Shane Thorne
3. Damian Priest defeated Oney Lorcan and Ridge Holland in a Triple Threat match to qualify for the NXT North American Championship Ladder match at NXT TakeOver XXX
4. Keith Lee defeated Cameron Grimes
5. Tegan Nox defeated Indi Hartwell
6. Imperium (Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel) (c) defeated The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish) to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships
Thoughts: The qualifying matches for the NXT North American Championship Ladder match at NXT TakeOver XXX continued this week with Damian Priest claiming what we originally thought was the third spot. It was announced later in the show by NXT GM William Regal that Dexter Lumis had injured his ankle in the second qualifying match and would thus have to vacate his spot in the ladder match. Due to this, there will be one more Triple Threat match (which will see Kushida taking on Cameron Grimes and a mystery opponent) for the actual third spot next week followed by a pair of singles matches in two weeks between the four men not pinned in the Triple Threat matches (which currently includes Finn Bálor, Johnny Gargano, and Ridge Holland) to determine the final two spots.
It is unfortunate that Lumis was forced to be pulled from the match due to injury. I am currently unsure if the ankle injury is legit or part of a planned storyline with Timothy Thatcher, the man who wore down Dexter’s ankle throughout the match. I am glad to see guys like Bálor and Gargano getting a second chance to be in the match. It will be interesting to see who the mystery opponent is for next week’s qualifying match.
I personally could not care less about a match between Adam Cole and Pat McAfee, which has now been made official for NXT TakeOver XXX. First off, why should we care about this feud? Why is a former football player and podcast host being put on the same level as one of the top stars in NXT? Are The Undisputed Era suddenly babyfaces now? This is yet another example of the types of stunts WWE does for temporary social media buzz that will not matter in the long run. This felt like something you would see on Raw or SmackDown, not NXT.
Overall, this was a good episode of NXT with the highlights being Kai vs. Ripley, the triple threat qualifying match, and Lee vs. Grimes.
1. The Dark Order (Brodie Lee, Colt Cabana, Stu Grayson, Evil Uno, Alan Angels, and 9) defeated The Elite (Kenny Omega, “Hangman” Adam Page, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson) and FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler)
2. Best Friends (Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor) defeated Santana and Ortiz
3. Cody Rhodes and Matt Cardona defeated The Dark Order (John Silver and Alex Reynolds)
4. Big Swole defeated Rebel to earn a match against Britt Baker
5. Jon Moxley (c) defeated Darby Allin to retain the AEW World Championship
Thoughts: The debate between Chris Jericho and Orange Cassidy was amazing. With surprise guest moderator, Eric Bischoff (who made his first appearance on TNT since his time in WCW 20 years ago), Jericho and Cassidy put on a wildly entertaining and hilarious segment. Some the highlights of the debate were Cassidy putting on a clip-on tie in response to Jericho attacking his attire, Cassidy giving an unexpected, detailed answer on combating climate change, and Jericho’s always great insults. The segment ended on a high note when the usually quite Orange delivered a passionate promo on how he will defeat and embarrass The Demo God next week. This was my favorite wrestling segment this week as the Jericho/Cassidy feud continues to prove that it is the best thing going on in AEW.
Overall, this was a great episode of Dynamite with the highlights being the opening match, Best Friends vs. Santana and Ortiz, the brawl between Sammy Guevara and Matt Hardy, the Jericho/Cassidy debate, and the main event AEW World Championship match (which is My Match of the Week).
Between NXT and AEW this week, I am going to have to give the win to AEW due to the overall match quality and the Jericho/Cassidy debate. This brings my personal 2020 WNW rankings to: NXT – 12 and AEW – 19.
1. Matt Riddle defeated Sheamus by DQ after interference by Chad Gable
2. Cesaro defeated Lince Dorado
3. Jeff Hardy defeated Baron Corbin by DQ after interference by Sheamus
4. Sheamus defeated Baron Corbin after interference by Matt Riddle
5. Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker) vs. John Morrison and The Miz went to a No Contest due to interference by Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville
Thoughts: After calling Bayley and Sasha Banks to the ring for a video conference, Stephanie McMahon announced that Bayley will be defending her WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship at WWE SummerSlam against the winner of a battle royal (featuring women from all three brands) that will take place next week. With how stacked NXT’s women’s division is compared to Raw and SmackDown, I see this as an opportunity to move someone from NXT to SmackDown by having an NXT competitor win the battle royal. It will be interesting to see who will end up winning next week and go on to face Bayley for the title.
The official debut of the mysterious faction seen on Raw, now called Retribution, was a chaotic scene indeed as they arrived at ringside with various weapons and proceeded to destroy the ring, chase off the announcers and the ring crew, and attack the developmental wrestlers in the crowd. This scene confirmed that this group will be creating havoc across both Raw and SmackDown. We will have to wait and see as to when this group will reveal their true identities as they currently hide their faces behind ski masks and hoodies.
Overall, this was a great episode of Friday Night SmackDown with the highlights being the Braun Strowman/Bray Wyatt segment where Strowman declared that his inner evil had been unleashed, Corbin vs. Sheamus, the continuation of the Rose/Deville storyline, and the full debut of Retribution.
That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to the fallout of Retribution’s actions this Monday on Raw and the rematch between Chris Jericho and Orange Cassidy this Wednesday on AEW Dynamite. Until next time, I’ll see you at ringside!