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Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review Issue #5

 

 

Welcome everyone to the fifth edition of Spandex and Suplexes! This week saw the continued build up to WWE Crown Jewel and AEW Full Gear, a North American Championship match on NXT, the semifinals of the AEW World Tag Team Championship Tournament, and another great episode of NWA Power. Let’s get started.

 

WWE Raw:

Drew McIntyre and Ric Flair,  Credit: WWE

The show kicked off with the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair coming out to reveal the identity of last member of his team for Crown Jewel. Flair hyped up his team’s match with Team Hogan in Saudi Arabia and then revealed the last member of his team to be Drew McIntyre. After a brief promo, McIntyre was interrupted by Team Hogan’s Ricochet to start the first match of the night.

This was an excellent back and forth that ended with McIntyre picking up the win after hitting Ricochet with The Claymore Kick. After the match, Drew beat down the high flyer and threw him into the steel steps. This was an excellent match. McIntyre being hyped up as Team Flair’s final member and looking like a beast in this match hopefully means a big push for Drew is back in the works as he is a main event level talent just waiting to happen.

Jerry Lawler then hosted “The King’s Court” with Rusev as his guest. Lawler questioned Rusev about Lana’s affair with Bobby Lashley. Rusev blamed Lashley for the entire thing and said he hoped he will be able to one day reunite with Lana. Rusev was then interrupted by Lashley and Lana on the big screen. They were at a restaurant that Lana claimed Rusev would never take her to. After continuing to insult Rusev, Rusev told Lawler that he knew where they were and rushed off. Later on in the night, Rusev stormed into the restaurant and tried to attack Lashley, but was instead taken away by police. This storyline is terrible and is not doing any favors for anyone involved. The only way this can be saved is for Rusev to go full destructive badass, destroy Lashley, and dump Lana.

A still injured Rey Mysterio came out to hype up Cain Velasquez’s upcoming WWE Championship match at Crown Jewel against Brock Lesnar. Paul Heyman then showed up on the screen and promised pain for both Cain and Rey before Rey cut him off by telling him to shut up. Rey was then interrupted by Shelton Benjamin. Benjamin reminded Rey of Shelton’s longtime friendship with Brock Lesnar and started pushing Rey around. Velasquez then ran out to save Mysterio and chocked out Shelton. Other matches from the show saw Aleister Black defeating jobber Jason Reynolds, Andrade defeating Sin Cara, and The Viking Raiders defeating Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins.

Earlier in the night, Humberto Carrillo gave Seth Rollins a backhanded compliment which lead to Rollins challenging him to a match. The match itself was very good and ended with Rollins winning with The Stomp. The crowd, however, was not into this match at all. Carrillo has not been given enough credibility for the fans to ever believe he had any shot at beating the Universal Champion. Another problem was that the fans have completely turned against Seth Rollins as they booed him the entire match and chanted for Bray Wyatt. The only way WWE can salvage Rollins is to have him lose the championship to Wyatt and then turn Rollins heel. I have always found that Rollins made for a better heel than face anyway due to his natural smarminess.

In the main event, The Street Profits took on Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson with Styles at ringside. What was weird about this match was that it was billed all week as a six-man tag match with all three members of The O.C. taking on The Street Profits and a mystery partner, but this was changed with no announcement or explanation. The O.C. had the upper hand for most of the match until Angelo Dawkins made a comeback after a hot tag from Montez Ford. Dawkins’ comeback was short lived after Styles interfered. The referee caught this and called for Styles to be ejected. While Styles protested, he was attacked by Kevin Owens. Owens and Styles’ brawl allowed Ford to hit Anderson with a Frog Splash for the win.

This was a great match that made The Street Profits look like major stars, but are we really going to do Styles vs. Owens again? They wrestled each other so many times in 2017, I could have gone a lot longer before seeing this match up again. Overall, this was a decent Raw that did a good job in pushing guys like McIntyre and The Street Profits, but the rest of the matches didn’t really advance anything and Rusev and Rollins need serious adjustments to their characters.

 

National Wrestling Alliance:

NWA Power Episode 3, Credit: NWA

Eddie Kingston started off this week’s episode of NWA Power expressing his anger at The Dawsons for running in and causing his and Homicide’s NWA World Tag Team Championship match against The Wild Cards to be stopped. While Kingston said he was glad that the NWA are not going to take away their title shot, he said that he and Homicide wanted The Dawsons right now anywhere they can get them. This was followed by Marti Belle defeating Crystal Rose with a Pedigree.

The Dawsons then came out and said they have no intention of fighting Kingston and Homicide. They then announced that they will be facing a mystery tag team in the main event. A promotional video played announcing the arrival of Thunder Rosa to the NWA. This is a great signing by the NWA for their women’s division. Aron Stevens came out afterwards for an interview dressed like a pirate and played a clip from his newest “film”, Tropical Pirates. This was an excellent and charismatic promo from Stevens. Caleb Konley then defeated Dan Parker in a squash match.

Up next was Tim Storm coming out for an interview. Storm thanked Nick Aldis for giving him what ended up being his last shot at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Storm started dropping hints that he was going to retire before Eli Drake came out. Drake told Storm that getting one loss is not reason enough to give up and it will never take him off the list of former World Champions that includes the likes of Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, and Harley Race. Drake continued that while the World title may not be in his immediate future, the Tag titles could be for both of them and asked Tim to be his tag partner against The Dawsons later that night. Storm told him he would think about it.

Josephus walked out to ringside and asked for the opportunity to apologize to James Storm and shake his hand. Colt Cabana then came out mocking Storm’s mannerisms and taking a cowboy hat and beer from Josephus. Josephus then threw some powder in Colt’s face and started beating him down. James Storm appeared behind Josephus and superkicked him in the face. The Cowboy then tried to superkick Cabana, but Colt was pulled out of the ring by his tag partner, Ken Anderson.

In the main event, Eli Drake came out, followed by Tim Storm, to face The Dawsons. After a hard hitting back and forth, the match ended when Drake was driven into the corner ring post which left Tim alone to be hit by a double team by The Dawsons who picked up the victory. The Dawsons beat down Storm after the match only to be run off by Kingston and Homicide. Nick Aldis and Drake then checked on Storm as the show came to a close. This was yet another excellent episode of Power as the NWA continues to deliver.

 

WWE NXT:

Me with Cameron Grimes (FKA Trevor Lee) at FIP Heatstroke 8/7/15

In the opening match, Rhea Ripley defeated Bianca Belair. Io Shirai tried to interfere in the match, but she was stopped by Candice LeRae. Matt Riddle then defeated Cameron Grimes. Grimes then got into a confrontation with Tyler Bate who was in the front row. Bate vs. Grimes should be an excellent match between these two talented wrestlers.

Kushida was originally scheduled to team with Breezango against The Forgotten Son in six-man tag match, but with Kushida out injured, The Fashion Police found a replacement in Isiah “Swerve” Scott. After a good back and forth, Scott picked up the win for his team by hitting Wesley Blake with a shining wizard. Angel Garza then defeated Gentleman Jack Gallagher in an okay match to help set up Garza as a future challenger for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.

Up next, Dakota Kai and Tegan Nox defeated Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir for the right to face The Kabuki Warriors for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship. I am happy to see that the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships finally make an appearance on NXT. The championship match next week should be very good as Asuka and Kairi Sane make their return to Full Sail. Duke and Shafir still feel really green in the ring to me.

In the main event, NXT North American Champion Roderick Strong defended his title against Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic in a triple threat match. This was an absolutely fantastic, insane match from beginning to end. Lee and Dijakovic managed to keep Strong out of the match and focus on each other, but this would be their undoing as Strong stole the win by pinning Lee after Lee was taken down by an avalanche powerbomb by Dijakovic. While Lee and Dijakovic need to have one more match to settle their rivalry, this match showed that they would make a great tag team afterwards.

The rest of The Undisputed Era came down to celebrate with Strong before they started beating down Lee and Dijakovic. They would be interrupted by Tommaso Ciampa followed by Johnny Gargano and then Finn Balor. In a massive twist, Balor turned heel for the first time in his WWE career by attacking Gargano. As Undisputed Era beat down Ciampa, Balor spiked Gargano on the entrance ramp. Balor turning heel was a surprising moment, but anyone who has followed Balor since his days in New Japan as the first leader of The Bullet Club knows how good of a heel Balor can be. Balor vs. Gargano is a big match up that will steal any show it takes place on.

Overall, this was a good episode of NXT with a fantastic ending. The North American title match was excellent and the heel turn by Balor was unexpected and amazing. I am looking forward to next week for the Women’s Tag Title match and the fallout of this week’s ending.

 

All Elite Wrestling:

Pentagon Jr. at AEW Fyter Fest 2019

This week’s episode of Dynamite got right to the action as Private Party took on The Lucha Bros. in the first of the two semifinals matches in the AEW World Tag Team Championship Tournament. This was a good match with nonstop action. In the end, The Lucha Bros. picked up the win after Fenix ran the ropes and kicked Marq Quen in the head before joining his brother in hitting a double stomp/package piledriver combo for the pin. This match was followed by the second AEW World Tag Team Championship Tournament semifinals match as So Cal Uncensored defeated The Dark Order. This means that next week, The Lucha Bros. and SCU will face off in the tournament finals to crown the very first AEW World Tag Team Champions in what should be an awesome match that could go either way.

Kenny Omega then took on Joey Janela in a rematch from their unsanctioned match on AEW Dark two weeks ago. This was a physical contest between two great competitors that culminated in Omega hitting Janela with The One-Winged Angel for the victory. This was a great match that helped Omega build up momentum for his upcoming match with Jon Moxley at Full Gear.

Cody Rhodes then came out for an interview with Tony Schiavone to talk about his upcoming World Championship match with Le Champion himself, Chris Jericho, at Full Gear. However, every time Cody tried to speak, he was interrupted by air horns being used by Jericho and his Inner Circle teammates Ortiz, Santana, and Sammy Guevara, who had all bought tickets as fans and occupied a private skybox earlier in the show. This lead to an exchange of words between Cody and Jericho where Jericho egged Cody on to come up to them.

When Cody hesitated to jump over the guardrail, Jericho called Cody a “millennial b***h” and told him to leave before he got a beat down by The Inner Circle. This led to Dustin Rhodes, MJF, and Diamond Dallas Page to come out as back up for Cody. Team Cody marched up to the skybox where the heels had locked themselves in the box. Cody then wrapped his fist in MJF’s scarf and busted the glass window. The two sides brawled and the fight spilled into the corridor, where security broke them up. This was followed by The Young Bucks defeating The Best Friends in an excellent tag match and Britt Baker making her return to her hometown to defeat Jamie Hayter.

In the main event, Jon Moxley and Pac wrestled to a time limit draw in a very physical and intense match. Having no clear winner after such a good match is a bit disappointing, but they are probably waiting to have a clear victor between these two on a bigger stage. Overall, this was an excellent wrestling heavy episode of Dynamite. I am looking forward to next week to see which team will be crowned the first ever AEW World Tag Team Champions. Once again, NXT and AEW both put on good shows, but I am going to have to give the edge to AEW for the second week in a row based on the quality of the wrestling. This brings my personal score for the WNW to be NXT – 2 and AEW – 2

 

WWE Smackdown:

Team Flair vs. Team Hogan, Credit: WWE

The showed opened up with a Miz TV segment that featured members of Team Flair and Team Hogan. From Team Flair was Ric Flair himself, Shinsuke Nakamura with Sami Zayn, and Baron Corbin. From Team Hogan was Hulk Hogan himself with Jimmy Hart, Roman Reigns, Ali, and Chad Gable. Hogan and Flair hyped up their teams as the wrestlers threw insults at each other.

Hogan then made a challenge to Team Flair for a six-man tag match in the main event with Roman Reigns, Ali, and Chad Gable taking on Shinsuke Nakamura, Baron Corbin, and Sami Zayn. Zayn accepted the match, but claimed he was physically unable to compete and introduced someone to take his place: Cesaro. Team Flair and Cesaro started a brawl with Team Hogan, but the faces fought them off.

Up next, Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler defeated The New Day team of Kofi Kingston and Big E in surprisingly quick fashion. Lacy Evans then defeated jobber Cameron Connors. Afterwards, we were then treated to a new episode of The Firefly Funhouse where Bray Wyatt was holding a funeral for Ramblin’ Rabbit who died when Rollins set fire to the Funhouse on Raw last week. Wyatt kissed the rabbit, which brought him back to life only for Ramblin’ to get eaten by Mercy the Buzzard once again. Wyatt then said that everything can come back if you just believe.

Back in the ring, Drew Gulak had his opponent, Kalisto wait while Gulak pulled up his PowerPoint presentation to make fun of how Braun Strowman will be knocked out by Tyson Fury at Crown Jewel. Kalisto grew tired of this and attacked Drew to start the match. Strowman stormed to the ring, which distracted Gulak enough for Kalisto to hit the Salida Del Sol for the win. Braun then got in the ring and hit Gulak with a running powerslam. He then grabbed a mic and said to Fury that this is what happens when people make fun of him. Strowman then said that despite Gulak mocking him, he at least deserves to be in a WWE ring, unlike Fury. Poor Gulak, he has fallen from a dominate champion on 205 Live to comedy jobber on Smackdown.

After this, Daniel Bryan came to the ring for an interview with Michael Cole. Cole asked Bryan if the Yes Movement is back. Before Bryan could answer, Nakamura and Zayn interrupted. Zayn played a video with the promo back in November where Bryan originally killed the Yes Movement. Zayn then offered for Bryan to align himself with Nakamura and Zayn. Bryan needed more time to think it over and left the ring without saying a word. I appreciate that they are taking their time transitioning Bryan back to a full face. Nikki Cross then defeated Mandy Rose.

Rey Mysterio and Cain Velasquez walked to the ring for their face to face with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. Lesnar and Heyman appeared on the big screen and refused to meet Rey and Cain in the ring. Heyman then revealed that Lesnar had beat down Rey’s son, Dominic. Mysterio and Velasquez ran to the back and took Dominic to the trainer’s room where Lesnar jumped them, slamming Mysterio into a wall and then F5ing Velasquez onto Dominic.

In the main event, Reigns, Ali, and Gable defeated Corbin, Nakamura, and Cesaro in a fun six-man tag match where all the wrestlers got to show off their best moves. The match ended when Reigns hit Cesaro with a spear which allowed Ali to hit the 450 off the top rope for the pin. Overall, the show did a good job building up to Crown Jewel. The segments on Bryan and Velasquez were well done while the jobber status of Drew Gulak and Chad Gable being renamed Shorty G are both still very idiotic as both men deserve better.

 

That’s it for this week folks. I am looking forward to seeing who will win the AEW World Tag Team Championship Tournament on AEW Dynamite as well as the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match on NXT. 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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