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Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review Issue #52

Welcome everyone to the 52nd edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review. I cover a week that saw NXT TakeOver 31, the AEW TNT Championship on the line, Night One of the WWE Draft, and the 30th Anniversary of Chris Jericho celebration. Let’s get started.

 

NXT TakeOver 31:

My Match of the Week: Finn Bálor vs. Kyle O’Reilly for the NXT Championship
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Damian Priest (c) defeated Johnny Gargano to retain the NXT North American Championship
2. Kushida defeated Velveteen Dream by submission
3. Santos Escobar (c) defeated Isaiah “Swerve” Scott to retain the NXT Cruiserweight Championship
4. Io Shirai (c) defeated Candice LeRae to retain the NXT Women’s Championship
5. Finn Bálor (c) defeated Kyle O’Reilly to retain the NXT Championship

Thoughts: Finn Bálor and Kyle O’Reilly had an epic encounter, wrestling one of the most physical matches ever seen in WWE. The two men went to war with both showing clear damage as both wrestlers were bleeding from the mouth. If you have not watched this match yet you should as not only was this my clear Match of the Week, but it is also a heavy favorite to be my 2020 Match of the Year. The aftermath of the match was also interesting as it seems that WWE is ready to move Ridge Holland to the main event level with his attack on Adam Cole. Was this a message to The Undisputed Era, Bálor, or both? We will have to see.

Overall, this was an excellent TakeOver with the highlights being Priest vs. Gargano, Shirai vs. LeRae, and the main event.

 

WWE Raw:

Mustafa Ali was revealed as the leader of Retribution.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Asuka, Mandy Rose, and Dana Brooke defeated Zelina Vega, Natalya, and Lana
2. Drew Gulak defeated R-Truth (c) backstage to become the new WWE 24/7 Champion
3. Seth Rollins and Buddy Murphy defeated Dominik Mysterio and Humberto Carrillo
4. Braun Strowman vs. Keith Lee went to a double count-out
5. R-Truth defeated Drew Gulak (c) in a dumpster backstage to become the new WWE 24/7 Champion
6. Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin defeated Ricochet and Apollo Crews by submission
7. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) defeated The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan) by submission to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships
8. Mustafa Ali vs. MVP went to a no contest after interference by Retribution (T-Bar, Mace, Slapjack, and others)
9. Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler, and Robert Roode defeated Drew McIntyre and The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins)

Thoughts: The biggest news from this week’s Raw was the reveal that the true leader of Retribution is none other than Mustafa Ali. This was brilliant booking decision. You would be hard pressed to find a competitor screwed over by WWE’s system than Ali, so him leading a group whose purpose is to tear down that system makes perfect sense. This makes a storyline that felt like it was going nowhere a lot more interesting. Hopefully, this leads to a massive push for Ali who is far too talented for the weak booking he has been forced to deal with since losing his push on SmackDown to Kofi Kingston back in early 2019.

Overall, this was a great episode of Monday Night Raw with the highlights being The Kevin Owens Show segment with Bray Wyatt, Strowman vs. Lee, Murphy standing up to Rollins, and the reveal of Ali being the leader of Retribution.

 

WWE NXT:

Ember Moon and Rhea Ripley
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Tommaso Ciampa defeated Kushida by DQ after interference by Velveteen Dream
2. Drake Maverick and Killian Dain defeated Ever-Rise (Chase Parker and Matt Martel)
3. Austin Theory defeated Leon Ruff
4. Dexter Lumis defeated Austin Theory by submission
5. Ridge Holland defeated Danny Burch
6. Shotzi Blackheart defeated Xia Li
7. Ember Moon and Rhea Ripley defeated Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez

Thoughts: Well, so much for Ridge Holland. After a big moment at NXT TakeOver 31 that saw Holland taking out Adam Cole in a move that seemed to be leading to a big push, it appears that Ridge may have suffered a legitimate injury during his post-match brawl with Oney Lorcan. Hopefully, the injury is nothing serious and he will be back soon to renew his storyline with The Undisputed Era.

After making her big return at NXT TakeOver 31, Ember Moon had her first match in over a year in the main event. During the match, Moon showed that she has not missed a step while away. With Ember looking to be Io Shirai next opponent, I cannot wait to see these two talented women go head to head.

I am honestly really loving the storyline of Drake Maverick trying to convince Killian Dain to form a tag team with him. The two have polar opposite personalities and play off each other well. Hopefully, this leads to NXT Tag Team Championship gold in the future.

Overall, this was a good episode of NXT with the highlights being Ciampa vs. Kushida, the continued storyline of the Maverick and Dain tag team, Lumis’ in ring return, and the main event.

 

All Elite Wrestling:

Brodie Lee vs. Cody Rhodes for the AEW TNT Championship
Credit: AEW

Results:
1. Brian Cage (c) defeated Will Hobbs to retain the FTW Championship
2. FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood) (c) defeated The Hybrid2 (Jack Evans and Angelico) to retain the AEW World Tag Team Championships
3. Cody Rhodes defeated Brodie Lee (c) in a Dog Collar match to become the new AEW TNT Champion
4. Big Swole defeated Serena Deeb
5. The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho and Jake Hager) defeated Chaos Project (Dr. Luther and Serpentico) after interference by Sammy Guevara

Thoughts: Cody Rhodes and Brodie Lee wrestled a helluva match. The two men beat the living hell of each other in a brutal encounter that lived up to the stipulation’s history. This was probably the best match I have ever seen from Lee who has shown since he arrived in AEW what WWE missed out on when they had him. Cody regaining the AEW TNT Championship was expected, but that did not take away from the epicness of this battle. Orange Cassidy being The American Nightmare’s first challenger of his second reign is a good choice. While I would love to see Orange win championship gold, I do not see Cody losing his title so soon.

This week’s episode marked the 30th Anniversary of Chris Jericho’s wrestling career. Jericho is one of my favorite wrestlers of all time, second only to The Undertaker. I have been a fan of Le Champion since he made his legendary Raw debut when he interrupted The Rock. He has proven himself to be one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. Along with the talent he has shown in the ring, he should also be credited with his amazing ability to reinvent himself as he has numerous times over these past thirty years. Congratulations, Chris, you are truly a legend among legends.

Overall, this was a great episode of Dynamite with the highlights being Cage vs. Hobbs, FTR vs. The Hybrid2, Cody vs. Lee, and the main event.

Between NXT and AEW this week, I am going to have to give the win to AEW due to the overall match quality. This brings my personal 2020 WNW rankings to: NXT – 14 and AEW – 26.

 

WWE SmackDown:

The New Day is no more.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Big E defeated Sheamus in a Falls Count Anywhere match
2. Matt Riddle and Jeff Hardy defeated John Morrison and The Miz
3. Sasha Banks defeated Bayley (c) by DQ in a WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship match (Bayley retains the championship)
4. The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) defeated Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro (c) to become the new WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champions
5. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt defeated Kevin Owens

Draft Picks:

Raw Drew McIntyre, Asuka, The Hurt Business (MVP, Bobby Lashley, Shelton Benjamin, and Cedric Alexander), AJ Styles, Naomi, Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, Ricochet, Mandy Rose, John Morrison, The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, Dana Brooke, and Angel Garza

SmackDown – Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Sasha Banks, Bianca Belair, Jey Uso, Rey Mysterio, Dominik Mysterio, Big E, and Otis

Thoughts: This was a mostly uneventful Draft with only seven of the twenty picks resulting in superstars switching brands. When it comes to name value, the biggest gets from Night One for each brand were AJ Styles for Raw and Seth Rollins for SmackDown. With Styles having moved to SmackDown only a few months ago due to allegedly wanting to get away from then Raw Creative Head, Paul Heyman, after a major creative disagreement, it makes sense to send The Phenomenal One back to Monday Nights now that Heyman is currently on SmackDown. Rollins moving to SmackDown should create fresh opportunities for The Monday (now Friday) Night Messiah, but with The Mysterios also being sent to Friday Nights, it looks like that feud is not over with. Hopefully, Buddy Murphy is also sent to the Blue Brand so that he can get a clear victory over his former boss.

The most shocking draft of the night was when the returning Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, who had just won the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships for the seventh time, were sent to Raw while Big E was kept on SmackDown. After six years together, The New Day trio is now separated. This makes sense as Big E needs to continue his singles push and he would be too tempted to go back to the tag team division if he were on the same brand as his two teammates.

The biggest question now is what does this mean for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships now that they are held by Raw Superstars? Unlike past occasions when titles were sent to different brands via the Draft, the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships has the word SmackDown in their name. I guess we will have to wait to find out on Night Two of the 2020 WWE Draft this Monday on Raw.

In other news from the show, Roman Reigns announced that his upcoming Hell in Cell match with Jey Uso at WWE Hell in a Cell will now also be an I Quit match. Also announced for WWE Hell in Cell was Bayley vs. Sasha Banks in a Hell in a Cell match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship which should be an awesome encounter. Oh, and Lars Sullivan is back. Yay, I guess?

Overall, this was a great episode of Friday Night SmackDown with the highlights being Big E vs. Sheamus, Rollins being drafted to SmackDown, Styles being drafted to Raw, the shocking split of The New Day, and the main event.

That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to Night Two of the 2020 WWE Draft this Monday on Raw and the One Year Anniversary of AEW Dynamite this Wednesday. While you are here on Florida Geek Scene, be sure to check out the first episode of my new spin off series, Spandex and Suplexes: The Interview Series, where I interviewed 17-year veteran pro wrestler, Alex Chamberlain. Until next time, I’ll see you at ringside!

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Nicholas grew up reading J.R.R. Tolkien's books, watching Disney and Studio Ghibli films, and reading Marvel comics and Japanese manga. The superb storylines and characters ignited his passion for writing. He graduated from Full Sail University in 2015 with a BFA in Creative Writing for Entertainment. During his writing career thus far, Nicholas has had numerous short stories and articles published in an array of literary magazines and websites.

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