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Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review Issue #67

Welcome to the 67th edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review. I cover a week that saw the continued build to WWE Royal Rumble and AEW Revolution as well as the continuation of NXT’s 2021 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Let’s get started.

 

WWE Raw:

Alexa Bliss intimidates Asuka.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Charlotte Flair defeated Peyton Royce by submission
2. Mace defeated Xavier Woods
3. Shayna Baszler defeated Mandy Rose by submission
4. AJ Styles defeated Ricochet
5. The Hurt Business (Bobby Lashley, Cedric Alexander, and Shelton Benjamin) defeated Matt Riddle and Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado) by submission
6. Jeff Hardy defeated Jaxon Ryker by DQ after interference by Elias
7. Alexa Bliss defeated Asuka

Thoughts: Retribution targeting The New Day makes perfect sense story wise as Mustafa Ali did well in reminding everyone that the opportunity that Kofi Kingston got when he won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania two years ago was originally going to be Ali’s. While Kofi may be currently on the shelf for now, I cannot wait to see Kingston and Ali go at it one on one.

Alexa Bliss did great at establishing herself as a legitimate threat to Asuka’s WWE Raw Women’s Championship, first in the Alexa’s Playground segment where she freaked out The Empress and then later in the main event when she defeated the Raw Women’s Champion in the middle of the ring. With Bliss set to compete in the Women’s Royal Rumble match, the eventually title showdown could take place as early as WWE Elimination Chamber in February or, if Alexa wins the Rumble, possibly as far off as this year’s WrestleMania in April. After all this, this year’s women’s Rumble match is now an even bigger must watch as Bliss has quickly made herself a favorite to win the entire thing.

Overall, this was a good episode of Monday Night Raw with the highlights being the Alexa’s Playground segment, Styles vs. Ricochet, and the main event.

 

WWE NXT:

Tommaso Ciampa vs. Timothy Thatcher in the Fight Pit.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Kushida and Leon Ruff defeated The Way (Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory) in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic first round match
2. Karrion Kross defeated Ashante “Thee” Adonis
3. Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado) defeated Imperium (Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic first round match
4. Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro defeated Toni Storm and Mercedes Martinez in a Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic first round match
5. Bronson Reed defeated Tyler Rust
6. Timothy Thatcher defeated Tommaso Ciampa by submission in the Fight Pit

Thoughts: The first round of the 2021 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic continued for the men’s side and began for the women’s side. On the men’s side Kushida and Leon Ruff and Lucha House Party would advance to the second-round while, on the women’s side, Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro would pull off an upset over Toni Storm and Mercedes Martinez to move on in the tournament. The Way (Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell) would also advance to the second round later in the week on 205 Live by defeating Cora Jade and Gigi Dolin (FKA Priscilla Kelly).

The men’s tournament would see a shakeup due to Karrion Kross taking out both Ashante “Thee” Adonis and Desmond Troy. This action left an empty slot in the tournament. After the brutal match in the Fight Pit, Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa would acknowledge their respect for each other. As a result, Ciampa later invited Thatcher to team with him to fill the vacant spot to which Thatcher agreed. Later in the week on 205 Live, the new team of Ciampa and Thatcher would defeat Ariya Daivari and Tony Nese to advance to the second round. While I think that The Grizzled Young Veterans are still the favorites to win this year, the unlikely addition of Ciampa and Thatcher now makes things a lot less certain.

Overall, this was a great episode of NXT with the highlights being all three Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic matches and the main event.

 

All Elite Wrestling:

I really don’t care.
Credit: All Elite Wrestling

Results:
1. “Hangman” Adam Page and The Dark Order (Colt Cabana, John Silver, and Alex Reynolds) defeated TH2 (Angélico and Jack Evans) and Chaos Project (Luther and Serpentico)
2. Cody Rhodes defeated Peter Avalon by submission
3. Jon Moxley defeated Nick Comoroto
4. Matt Hardy and Private Party (Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy) defeated Matt Sydal and Top Flight (Darius Martin and Dante Martin)
5. Penelope Ford defeated Leyla Hirsch after interference by Kip Sabian
6. MJF and Chris Jericho defeated Santana and Ortiz and Sammy Guevara and Jake Hager in a Triple Threat Tag Team match for the right to be the official tag team of The Inner Circle

Thoughts: Am I the only one who does not care at all about this “feud” between Cody Rhodes and Shaq? I get that celebrities in wrestling help draw eyes to the product (to varying degrees of success depending on the celebrity), but if Shaq is really going to wrestle, shouldn’t he be fighting another big man? That is why his long planned, though never done, match with Big Show in WWE at least made some sense.

The actual answer for why Cody is his planned opponent is, in all truth, an obvious one as Rhodes is one of the faces of the company, but I feel this whole thing would have been much better served for someone like a Lance Archer or Luchasaurus. I truly to wonder how Cody is going to pull out an actual match out of someone like Shaq who has no in ring experience, is of a much larger size, and is, with all due respect, not the athlete that he once was? When Pat McAfee showed up in NXT and wrestled Adam Cole, he managed to out perform my expectations and seriously impressed me. I do not see the same thing happening with Shaq.

Overall, this was an okay episode of Dynamite that felt like mostly filler with nothing on the show outside of maybe the main event, feeling especially important. While it had some good wrestling, again mainly in the main event, this week’s show came off as one of the weaker episodes in Dynamite’s history.

Between NXT and AEW this week, I am going to have to give the clear win to NXT as it had the overall better match quality. This brings my personal 2021 WNW rankings to: NXT – 2 and AEW – 1.

 

WWE SmackDown:

Will Daniel Bryan win the 2021 Royal Rumble?
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Asuka and Charlotte Flair defeated The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan)
2. Cesaro defeated Dolph Ziggler
3. Sasha Banks defeated Reginald by submission
4. Big E (c) vs. Apollo Crews for the WWE Intercontinental Championship went to a No Contest after interference by Sami Zayn
5. King Corbin defeated Dominik Mysterio
6. Adam Pearce vs. Roman Reigns went to a No Contest after interference by Kevin Owens

Thoughts: Daniel Bryan has been heavily featured as a favorite to win this year’s Royal Rumble with him then presumably going on to face Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania. I, for one, really hope it happens. Daniel Bryan should have won the Rumble back in 2014 and arguably in 2015. The hints are there for this to be the plan as Bryan is the only major person that Reigns and Jey Uso have targeted who has not had an opportunity to get even with the two cousins.

Bryan’s everyman, for the people persona is the perfect counter to the current incarnation of The Big Dog who has become arrogant, self-serving, and self-aggrandizing. With Daniel having recently said many times in recent memory that he does not plan to be wrestling for much longer (at least not full time), I feel like having him finally win the Rumble and topple The Trible Chief at Mania would be a great final big run for one the most talented and popular wrestlers of his generation. I am also glad to see Cesaro benefiting from this same storyline and I hope that both he and his tag team partner, Shinsuke Nakamura, receive the opportunities this year that have been denied to them both for a long time.

Overall, this was a great episode of Friday Night SmackDown with the highlights being Cesaro vs. Ziggler (which is My Match of the Week), the continuation of the Big E/Crews/Zayn storyline, and the main event.

 

That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to the continuation of the 2021 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic this Wednesday. While you are here on Florida Geek Scene, be sure to check out the second episode of my spin off series, Spandex and Suplexes: The Interview Series, where I interviewed veteran pro wrestler, Randy Hogan. 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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