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Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review Issue #76

Welcome everyone to the 76th edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review. I cover a week that saw the WWE Fastlane PPV, the continued build to NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver, and the AEW TNT Championship on the line. Let’s get started.

 

WWE Fastlane:

My Match of the Week: Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Matt Riddle (c) defeated Mustafa Ali to retain WWE United States Championship
2. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) defeated Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships
3. Big E (c) defeated Apollo Crews to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship
4. Joseph Average (Erik Bugez) defeated R-Truth (c) backstage to become the new WWE 24/7 Champion
5. R-Truth defeated Joseph Average (Erik Bugez) (c) backstage to become the new WWE 24/7 Champion
6. Braun Strowman defeated Elias
7. Seth Rollins defeated Shinsuke Nakamura
8. Drew McIntyre defeated Sheamus in a No Holds Barred match
9. Alexa Bliss defeated Randy Orton after interference by “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
10. Roman Reigns (c) defeated Daniel Bryan after interference by Edge to retain the WWE Universal Championship

The Fiend is back!
Credit: WWE

Thoughts: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt finally made his return this past Sunday. After Alexa Bliss distracted Randy Orton throughout their match using mind games and fiery effects, a hand would reach itself through the ring mat from the depths of hell and grab Orton by the leg. This hand would soon be revealed to belong to The Fiend, now with a new scorched look after being set ablaze by The Legend Killer at WWE TLC three months ago. Wyatt would quickly take Orton down with a Sister Abagail, with the former Goddess simply sitting on top of the fallen Viper for the three count.

I am very happy to see The Fiend finally back on WWE TV. His return as well as the special effect pulled out by Bliss during the lead up were both well done. The Fiend new burned look is great, reminiscent of past horror icons like Leatherface and Freddy Kruger. The Fiend and Orton’s final clash is one of the matches I am looking forward to most at this year’s WrestleMania.

As I predicted in previous issues, Edge ended up costing Daniel Bryan the WWE Universal Championship and the main event of WrestleMania after beating down Bryan with a chair as Roman Reigns was visibly tapping out following an accidental chair shot by Daniel on The Rated R Superstar earlier in the match. The match between The Yes Man and The Trible Chief itself was excellent and is My Match of the Week. Bryan matched his technical wizardry against Reigns’ brutal power in brilliant fashion as Daniel showed once again why he is one of the best in the world. With Edge costing Bryan, The Leader of the Yes Man being added to the main event of WrestleMania is now a no brainer and I hope we see Bryan overcome the odds once again and become the new WWE Universal Champion.

Overall, this was a great PPV with the highlights being Rollins vs. Nakamura, McIntyre vs. Sheamus, The Fiend’s return, and the main event.

 

WWE Raw:

Rhea Ripley challenged Asuka to a match at WrestleMania.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Bobby Lashley defeated Sheamus by submission
2. Asuka defeated Peyton Royce by submission
3. The Miz defeated Jeff Hardy
4. Kofi Kingston defeated AJ Styles after interference by Xavier Woods
5. Drew McIntyre defeated The Hurt Business (Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin) in a 2-on-1 Handicap match (as a result, Alexander and Benjamin are banned from ringside at WrestleMania)
6. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler defeated Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke
7. Braun Strowman defeated Elias

Thoughts: Four matches were made for WrestleMania this past Monday on Raw, including The Miz vs. Bad Bunny, Asuka vs. Rhea Ripley for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship, Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon, and The Fiend vs. Randy Orton. Another match that was hinted at was Matt Riddle vs. Sheamus for the WWE United States Championship after a backstage altercation between The Original Bro and The Celtic Warrior.

Rhea Ripley is a great choice to face Asuka for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship. Asuka had already run through the rest of the Raw Women’s roster and needed fresh, legitimate competition and Ripley certainly fits that description. I have far more interest in seeing The Empress vs. The Nightmare than seeing the previously implied Mania match of Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair for the millionth time.

The Fiend vs. Randy Orton at WrestleMania was finally made official in the main event segment of the night. The question is now whether it will be a standard in ring match, a cinematic match, or a mix of the two? We will have to wait and see.

Overall, this was a great episode of Monday Night Raw with the highlights being Rhea Ripley’s debut, Kingston vs. Styles, McIntyre vs. The Hurt Business, and The Fiend’s attack on Randy Orton.

 

WWE NXT:

Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole are ready for war.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai defeated Zoey Stark and Io Shirai
2. Bronson Reed defeated LA Knight
3. Karrion Kross defeated Oney Lorcan
4. Walter defeated Drake Maverick by referee stoppage
5. Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart (c) defeated Aliyah and Mercedes Martinez to retain the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships
6. Jordan Devlin defeated Kushida after interference by Legado Del Fantasma (Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde)

Thoughts: In the final segment of the night, Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly sat down to sign the contract for their upcoming Unsanctioned match at NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver. Cole delivered an excellent promo against O’Reilly with Kyle delivering a good one of his own. While Finn Balor vs. Karrion Kross is for the NXT Championship, I personally feel that Cole vs. O’Reilly should go on last at TakeOver as no other match on either night’s card has as much story and emotion as this personal war between these two former best friends.

NXT GM William Regal announced that to determine who will face Johnny Gargano for the NXT North American Championship on Night Two of NXT Takeover: Stand & Deliver, there would first be a twelve-man Battle Royal next week with the final six going on to compete in a Gauntlet Eliminator match on Night One. The winner of that match would then face Gargano on Night Two for the title. This seems like a lot of work when Dexter Lumis seems to be the obvious person that will face Johnny Wrestling for the championship. Otherwise, what was the weeks of build between the two men even for?

Overall, this was a great episode of NXT with the highlights being Lorcan vs. Kross, Devlin vs. Kushida, and the main event segment.

 

All Elite Wrestling:

Kenny Omega demanded solidarity from The Young Bucks.
Credit: All Elite Wrestling

Results:
1. Kenny Omega defeated Matt Sydal in a World Championship Eliminator match
2. Hangman Page defeated Cezar Bononi
3. The Pinnacle (Cash Wheeler, Dax Harwood, and Shawn Spears) defeated The Hollywood Blonds (Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison) and Dante Martin
4. The Lucha Bros. (Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix) and Laredo Kid defeated The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) and Brandon Cutler
5. Tay Conti defeated Nyla Rose
6. Darby Allin (c) defeated John Silver to retain the AEW TNT Championship

Thoughts: On this week’s episode of Dynamite, after weeks of infighting, The Elite seemed to come to an end. After The Young Bucks lost to The Lucha Bros. and Laredo Kid, Kenny Omega came down to the ring and attacked Kid. Omega then claimed to The Bucks that he has always supported and chosen them over everyone else, but they are now no longer returning the favor. An irate Kenny then demanded that Matt and Nick throw up the “Too Sweet” one last time. The Bucks then refused, saying that he is not the same man that they became friends with and left the ring, seemingly ending their relationship with The Cleaner for good.

The end of The Elite is nigh as I feel that the group is not completely dead until Omega physically assaults his former best friends. I also feel that it will not be too long until this happens, with Kenny’s other friends, The Good Brothers, joining in to try and take the Jacksons’ AEW World Tag Team Championships.

Overall, this was a great episode of Dynamite with the highlights being Omega vs. Sydal, The Young Bucks/Brandon Cutler vs. Lucha Bros./Laredo Kid, Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks’ confrontation, 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 – 3 and AEW – 9.

 

WWE SmackDown:

The Triple Threat is on!
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Seth Rollins defeated Shinsuke Nakamura
2. Apollo Crews and Alpha Academy (Otis and Chad Gable) defeated Big E and The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins)
3. Bianca Belair defeated Natalya
4. Rey Mysterio defeated Dolph Ziggler

Thoughts: After the controversial ending to the WWE Universal Championship match at WWE Fastlane, WWE Official Adam Pearce had to make a decision in regard to the WWE Universal Championship match at WWE WrestleMania 37. Despite the attempts by Edge and Roman Reigns to intimidate him, Pearce made the announcement at the end of the night that Daniel Bryan would be added to the match at Mania, making it a Triple Threat match. This announcement caused Edge to lose it and after a brawl between all three men, The Rated R Superstar would lay both men out as the show went off the air.

I am very happy to see Bryan added to the match. As I have mentioned for the past several weeks, WWE had no choice but to go with this match up as they had made the same mistakes that they made in the build up to WrestleMania 30 back in 2014 prior to having to add Bryan to that main event as well. Another benefit to all this is that Edge is once again a heel. I have always personally felt that Edge was at his best when he was the bad guy. The question now is who will walk out of WrestleMania 37 as WWE Universal Champion? I am personally rooting for Bryan with Edge being his first major championship feud in the months to follow.

Other matches announced for Mania included Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn, and Big E vs. Apollo Crews for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. All these matches sound great as this year’s Mania card continues to look stacked.

Overall, this was a great episode of Friday Night SmackDown with the highlight being Rollins vs. Nakamura, Cesaro’s return and acceptance of Rollins’ WrestleMania challenge, Big E/Street Profits vs. Apollo Crews/Alpha Academy, The KO Show segment with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, and everything involved with the WWE Universal Championship scene.

 

That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to the continued build to WrestleMania, especially on SmackDown which has become WWE’s true A show over the past several months. 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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