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Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review Issue #72

Welcome everyone to the 72nd edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review. I cover a week that saw the WWE Elimination Chamber PPV, the continued build to AEW Revolution, and the official end of The Undisputed Era on NXT. Let’s get started.

 

WWE Elimination Chamber:

Edge chose Roman Reigns to face at WrestleMania.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. John Morrison defeated Elias, Mustafa Ali, and Ricochet in a Fatal Four-Way match to earn a spot in the WWE United States Championship match later in the night
2. Daniel Bryan defeated Cesaro, Jey Uso, Kevin Owens, King Corbin, and Sami Zayn in an Elimination Chamber match to earn a WWE Universal Championship match later in the night
3. Roman Reigns (c) defeated Daniel Bryan by technical submission to retain the WWE Universal Championship
4. Matt Riddle defeated Bobby Lashley (c) and John Morrison in a Triple Threat match to become the new WWE United States Champion
5. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) defeated Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships
6. Drew McIntyre (c) defeated AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, Kofi Kingston, Randy Orton, and Sheamus in an Elimination Chamber match to retain the WWE Championship
7. The Miz defeated Drew McIntyre (c) after cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase to become the new WWE Champion

Thoughts: I am not a happy camper when it comes to what WWE is currently doing with Daniel Bryan and the WWE Universal Championship title scene. After everything that has been going on since Roman Reigns came back as The Tribal Chief, it logically felt like this story was going to result in Bryan taking on Reigns at WrestleMania for the Universal title. This seemed to be the case even on this show as The Leader of the Yes Movement overcame the odds and won the Elimination Chamber only to be screwed by Roman immediately afterwards.

You would think this would be the story going into Mania as there is months of build behind it, but you would be wrong. Instead, they had Edge come out, spear Reigns, point at the WrestleMania sign as pyro went off, and then later confirmed that it will be Edge and Roman at Mania. What? Edge and Roman have no history together nor do they have any real reason to have beef with each other as The Rated R Superstar has played no real role in this storyline of The Head of the Table’s months long tyranny over SmackDown.

The storyline going into Mania is now instead that Edge wants a World Title because he never lost his last one due to a forced retirement and Roman happens to be one of the World Title holders. That’s it. Compelling stuff, right? Once again, Daniel Bryan gets screwed out a major opportunity as WWE once again decided to go with name value over good storytelling.

This is no different than when WWE tried to force Bryan out of WrestleMania 30 in favor of doing Batista vs. Randy Orton and it took an outright fan rebellion to fix that. With no actual fans in the stands until at least Mania itself, I see nothing changing in Bryan’s favor this time around and it is a crying shame. Now, do not get me wrong, I really like Edge and would not mind him becoming champion again, I just personally felt it was Bryan’s time to shine.

Overall, this was a good PPV with the highlights being the SmackDown Elimination Chamber match (despite if being made pointless immediately afterwards), the Raw Elimination Chamber match (which is My Match of the Week), and the U.S. Title Triple Threat match.

 

WWE Raw:

Bobby Lashley laid out The Miz ahead of their WWE Championship match next week.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Matt Riddle defeated John Morrison
2. The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) defeated Retribution (T-Bar and Mace)
3. The Hurt Business (Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin) defeated Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado) in a Tornado Tag Team match
4. Damian Priest defeated Angel Garza
5. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax defeated Asuka and Charlotte Flair
6. Sheamus defeated Jeff Hardy
7. Naomi and Lana defeated Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke
8. AJ Styles defeated Ricochet
9. Bobby Lashley defeated Braun Strowman

Thoughts: The WWE Championship scene has become much more crowed in the aftermath of Elimination Chamber that saw The Miz cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase on Drew McIntyre after the Scottish Psychopath had already survived the Elimination Chamber and was brutally beaten down by Bobby Lashley. The Miz started off the show with John Morrison to celebrate, but MVP and Lashley came down and reminded the new champion that part of the deal to help Miz win the title involved Bobby getting the first shot at the gold. When The A Lister tried to back out of it, the CEO of The Hurt Business gave him one hour to decide when to give him his opportunity at the championship.

An hour later, while they were all back in the ring with Adam Pearce, Braun Strowman arrived and demanded an opportunity at the belt. This brought out Shane McMahon who made a match between Strowman and Lashley where if The Monster Among Men won, he would be added to the one-on-one championship match between Miz and Lashley next week. Thing would not work out for The Monster, though, as the Walking Armageddon would pick up the win and then take out Miz for good measure.

This all sets up some interesting possibilities as Lashley could potentially walk out of next week as WWE Champion ahead of WrestleMania. Should Bobby win, does McIntyre go after him? If he does, where does that leave Sheamus who has unfinished business with Drew and the WWE Championship? With so many moving parts going on, it is currently difficult to tell who the WWE Champion will even be going into WrestleMania let alone who will end up challenging for it on The Grandest Stage of Them All. As I expect Miz to drop the title before the big show so that he can fight Bad Bunny (talk about a step down), I would be fine with any combination between McIntyre, Sheamus, and Lashley facing off at the Show of Shows.

Overall, this was a good episode of Monday Night Raw with the highlights being the opening segment and the main event.

 

WWE NXT:

Adam Cole betrayed Roderick Strong, officially killing The Undisputed Era.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Dexter Lumis defeated Johnny Gargano by technical submission
2. Io Shirai defeated Zoey Stark
3. Xia Li defeated Kacy Catanzaro by referee stoppage
4. The Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake and Zack Gibson) defeated Killian Dain and Drake Maverick
5. Karrion Kross defeated Santos Escobar in a No Disqualification match

Thoughts: I was happy to see Dexter Lumis pick up the win over Johnny Gargano. While I am a fan of Gargano, I have been really enjoying Lumis’ work since he debuted on NXT and would love to see him get a run as NXT North American Champion.

On another note, I just do not see what the point of the Kross/Escobar match was. Did it have some great spots? Sure. However, I must again ask what the point of having it was? Karrion Kross is not eligible to challenge Santos Escobar for his NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Since a title match cannot happen, why put one of your champions in a position to lose in such a definitive way? If you wanted to give Kross an impressive win, there was an entire locker room full of guys who could have filled the same role as Escobar.

Adam Cole faking being sorry for his recent actions and revealing himself as a complete heel may have been a bit obvious, but it was still interesting to see him attack Roderick Strong as it means that he is going solo rather than teaming with Strong against Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish in an Undisputed Era civil war. When O’Reilly does return, his war with Cole should be a sight to see and I am looking forward to it.

Overall, this was a great episode of NXT with the highlights being Lumis vs. Gargano, Xia Li’s brutal defeat of Catanzaro, Kross/Escobar, and Cole’s betrayal of Strong.

 

All Elite Wrestling:

Jon Moxley delivered an excellent promo ahead of his upcoming AEW World Title match.
Credit: All Elite Wrestling

Results:
1. Jon Moxley defeated Ryan Nemeth
2. Team Taz (Brian Cage and Ricky Starks) defeated Varsity Blonds (Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison)
3. Jake Hager defeated Brandon Cutler
4. “Hangman” Adam Page defeated Isiah Kassidy
5. Nyla Rose defeated Britt Baker in an AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament Semi-final match
6. Lance Archer defeated Rey Fenix in a Face of the Revolution Ladder Match Qualifier

Thoughts: Jon Moxley opened the show after a quick victory with an excellent promo on his upcoming World Title rematch with Kenny Omega at AEW Revolution. Promos like this are a perfect example of why I picked Moxley to be my 2020 Wrestler of the Year. He is a machine in the ring and a master storyteller on the mic.

The question now is will Jon regain his championship from Kenny? At this point, I am not sure as I feel it could still go either way. On one hand, a Deathmatch is the type of environment that Moxley thrives in and it would be a shame for a great antihero like him to fail in the end. On the other hand, Omega has not been AEW World Champion for long and a Deathmatch can provide any number of ways for him to sneak away with the title still in his grasps.

Overall, this was a great episode of Dynamite with the highlights being Moxley’s promo, Sting and Darby Allin’s attack on Team Taz, and the main event.

Between NXT and AEW this week, I am going to have to give the win to AEW as it had the overall better match quality and storyline development. This brings my personal 2021 WNW rankings to: NXT – 2 and AEW – 6.

 

WWE SmackDown:

Daniel Bryan continues to have a rocky Road to WrestleMania.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Otis and Chad Gable defeated Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio
2. Apollo Crews defeated Shinsuke Nakamura
3. Tamina Snuka defeated Liv Morgan
4. The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) defeated Sami Zayn and King Corbin
5. Daniel Bryan vs. Jey Uso went to a Double Count-out

Thoughts: Apollo Crews delivered a great promo this week prior to his match with Shinsuke Nakamura. Crews was able showcase more of his character and background in this one promo than during his entire WWE main roster career thus far. Apollo is doing the best work of his WWE career with this new character and I am looking forward to his upcoming clashes with Big E.

After being screwed over at Elimination Chamber, Daniel Bryan attempted to get Roman Reigns to give him a rematch for the WWE Universal Championship at WWE Fastlane. Roman agreed, but only if Daniel could defeat Jey Uso in the main event. After failing to defeat Jey Uso due to both men being counted out, Bryan was offered another opportunity by Reigns via Paul Heyman on Talking Smack to face Uso again next week to earn a title match at WWE Fastlane. The Yes Man agreed, but only if it was a Steel Cage match, to which The Tribal Chief accepted via a text to Heyman.

During all this, Edge showed his displeasure at Bryan getting a title opportunity before him and did not even come to help Daniel from a beat down by Reigns and Uso at the end of the show, indicating a potential conflict between the two men.

While I am sure this is only going to lead to Bryan losing to Reigns at WWE Fastlane (again), WWE could still pull the rug out from under everyone and have Bryan involved at Mania. I seriously doubt it though.

Overall, this was a great episode of Friday Night SmackDown with the highlights being the opening segment with Bryan and Reigns, Apollo Crews’ promo, Crews vs. Nakamura, and Cesaro embarrassing Seth Rollins.

 

That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to the Bryan vs. Uso Steel Cage match this Friday on SmackDown. 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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