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Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review Issue #10

 

 

Welcome everyone to the perfect tenth edition of Spandex and Suplexes! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I know one thing that I am extremely thankful for: The sport of kings, Professional Wrestling! This week saw the NXT TakeOver: WarGames and WWE Survivor Series PPVs and their fallout, multiple championships on the line, and Chris Jericho’s Thanksgiving Thank You Celebration for Le Champion! Let’s get started.

 

NXT TakeOver: WarGames:

My match of the week: The Undisputed Era vs. Team Ciampa Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Angel Garza defeated Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
2. Team Ripley (Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox, and Dakota Kai) defeated Team Baszler (Shayna Baszler, Bianca Belair, Io Shirai, and Kay Lee Ray) in a WarGames match
3. Pete Dunne defeated Damian Priest and Killian Dain in a Triple Threat match to determine the #1 contender for the NXT Championship at Survivor Series
4. Finn Bálor defeated Matt Riddle
5. Team Ciampa (Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic, and Kevin Owens) defeated The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, and Roderick Strong) in a WarGames match

Thoughts: During the preshow, a mystery assailant attacked and took out Team Ripley’s Mia Yim. In response, Rhea Ripley chose Dakota Kai to replace her. The women’s WarGames match started off with LeRae and Shirai. They were followed by Belair, Ripley, and Ray. When Kai was scheduled to enter, however, she shocked everyone by turning heel and attacked Nox. Kai would brutalize Nox before being forced to leave by NXT GM William Regal. Nox was then ruled unable to compete. Baszler entered last, making the match 4-on-2.

Despite the numbers disadvantage, Ripley and LeRae managed to pick up the victory when Rhea hit Shayna with the Riptide onto two chairs. While Kai turning heel has been building for the past few weeks, the brutal way she destroyed Nox was very well done. Despite Kai’s betrayal not ultimately costing her team the victory, it should set up a great rivalry between Rhea and Dakota down the line. With Ripley getting the pin over Baszler, Rhea should be the next challenger for Shayna’s NXT Women’s Championship.

The men’s WarGames match, which is my match of the week, started off with Ciampa and Strong. They were followed by O’Reilly, Dijakovic, Fish, Lee and Cole. Ciampa’s mystery fourth member was revealed to be Kevin Owens who came out to a massive pop. After some amazing action, the match ended after Ciampa performed an Air Raid Crash on Cole from off the top of the cage through two tables for the win. This was a very good WarGames match with it being the best WarGames match under the NXT banner in my option. Owens being the mystery partner was an awesome surprise that I honestly didn’t see coming.

Overall, this was a very good TakeOver event with every match ranging from good to fantastic. Both WarGames matches served as the highlights of the show.

 

WWE Survivor Series:

Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Bayley Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode (SmackDown) won the 10-team Interbrand Tag Team Battle Royal last eliminating The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) (Raw)
2. Lio Rush (c) (NXT) defeated Akira Tozawa (Raw) and Kalisto (SmackDown) in an Interbrand Triple Threat match to retain the NXT Cruiserweight Championship
3. The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar) (WWE Raw Tag Team Champions) defeated The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champions) and The Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly) (NXT Tag Team Champions) in a Champions Triple Threat Tag team match
4. Team NXT (Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair, Candice LeRae, Io Shirai and Toni Storm) defeated Team Raw (Charlotte Flair, Natalya, Asuka, Kairi Sane and Sarah Logan) and Team SmackDown (Sasha Banks, Carmella, Dana Brooke, Lacey Evans and Nikki Cross) in a 5-on-5-on-5 Women’s Survivor Series Triple Threat elimination match
5. Roderick Strong (NXT North American Champion) defeated AJ Styles (WWE United States Champion) (Raw) and Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Intercontinental Champion) (SmackDown) in a Champions Triple Threat match
6. Adam Cole (c) defeated Pete Dunne to retain the NXT Championship
7. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) defeated Daniel Bryan to retain the WWE Universal Championship
8. Team SmackDown (Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Baron Corbin, Mustafa Ali, and Chad Gable) defeated Team Raw (Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, Randy Orton, and Ricochet) and Team NXT (Tommaso Ciampa, Damian Priest, Matt Riddle, Keith Lee, and Walter) in a 5-on-5-on-5 Men’s Survivor Series Triple Threat elimination match
9. Brock Lesnar (c) defeated Rey Mysterio in a No Holds Barred match to retain the WWE Championship
10. Shayna Baszler (NXT Women’s Champion) defeated Becky Lynch (WWE Raw Women’s Champion) and Bayley (WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion) in a Champions Triple Threat match by submission

Brand Supremacy Results:
Raw – 1
Smackdown – 2
NXT – 4
(NXT Wins)

Thoughts: The women’s Survivor Series match did a great job at making Rhea Ripley look like a star. The match came down to NXT’s Ripley and SmackDown’s Sasha Banks. Io Shirai and Candice LeRae, who were thought to be injured earlier in the match and taken to the back, returned to the ring and distracted Banks enough for Ripley to hit Sasha with the Riptide for the pinfall leaving Ripley, Shirai, and LeRae as the survivors and giving NXT the victory.

In the men’s Survivor Series match, the man who came out looking the best was Keith Lee. The final three saw one man from each team left with Raw’s Seth Rollins, NXT’s Keith Lee, and SmackDown’s Roman Reigns going at it. In a surprise move, Keith Lee hit Seth Rollins with a jackhammer to eliminate The Architect from the match. After a back and forth between Lee and Reigns, Roman managed to hit a spear on Lee for the pinfall leaving Roman Reigns as the sole survivor and giving SmackDown the victory. After the match the men showed respect for each other. This was a star making performance by Keith Lee.

The match of the night was the NXT Championship match between Adam Cole and Pete Dunne while the WWE Championship match and the women’s champions’ triple threat were the weakest matches on the card. The night ended with NXT winning the battle for brand supremacy with four wins. SmackDown came in second with two wins while Raw came in last with only one victory. Overall, this was a very good show and, in my opinion, the best non-NXT WWE event since at least WrestleMania with the highlights being both Survivor Series matches, the midcard championship triple threat match, and the NXT Championship match.

 

WWE Raw:

Seth Rollins’ Town Hall Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Bobby Lashley defeated Titus O’Neil by DQ after interference by Rusev
2. The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) defeated Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder
3. Andrade defeated Akira Tozawa
4. Buddy Murphy defeated Matt Hardy
5. Rey Mysterio defeated Ricochet, Randy Orton, and Drew McIntyre in a #1 Contenders Fatal Four Way match for the WWE United States Championship
6. Rey Mysterio defeated AJ Styles (c) after interference by Randy Orton to become the new WWE United States Champion
7. Asuka defeated Charlotte Flair after interference by Kairi Sane
8. Erick Rowen defeated Kyle Roberts
9. Kevin Owens defeated Seth Rollins by DQ after interference by The Authors of Pain

Thoughts: Raw opened up with Seth Rollins hosting a Raw Town Hall in the ring with the Raw roster standing around him. Seth berated everyone, including Randy Orton, Charlotte Flair, The Authors of Pain, and Rey Mysterio. They all responded by walking out on him. Kevin Owens stayed behind and wanted to speak, but The Beastslayer would not let him and called Owens a Rollins wannabe and a lazy POC. The Prizefighter responded to this by hitting Rollins with a stunner. Backstage, Seth challenged KO to a match in the main event.

During the Lashley/O’Neil match, Rusev, who was banned from the arena by a restraining order from Lana, attacked The All Mighty, causing a disqualification. The Bulgarian Brute tried to send Lashley through the announce table, but the police showed up and arrested him. Just before he could be taken away, Rusev knocked Lashley off the stage and then kicked a piece of the stage on top of him. This was the most badass Rusev has looked in this storyline and this was the first segment of this story that I have enjoyed. This needs to end with Rusev getting a decisive win over Lashley and then being moved up the card in order to save what has been up to this point one the worse booked feuds of the year.

When Humberto Carrillo came out for his scheduled WWE United States Championship match with AJ Styles, The O.C. (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson) suddenly appeared and laid him out, making him unable to compete. Styles mocked Carrillo, but he was interrupted by Ricochet, Randy Orton, Drew McIntyre, and Rey Mysterio who all came out and challenged AJ Styles to put his title on the line against them. AJ refused all of them until Ricochet proposed a four way match between the four challengers with the winner facing Styles for the title. Styles accepted this idea. After a fantastic four way match, Mysterio picked up the win after pinning Ricochet. During the match, Orton was closing in on a victory when he was pulled out of the ring and attacked by Gallows and Anderson.

When they came back from commercial break, Mysterio vs. Styles was underway. The Phenomenal One dominated early, The Master of the 619 made a comeback. However, a 619 knocked Styles into the referee and knocked him out, allowing Gallows and Anderson to interfere. Randy Orton returned and took out Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson before hitting Styles with an RKO. This set up Mysterio to pin Styles for win and become the new United States Champion. Later on backstage, Styles was distraught over losing the title and could only say Orton’s name. This was excellent storytelling with Rey playing the role of the ultimate underdog in the way that he has done so successfully many times during his career. This outcome and backstage segment set up a renewed feud with Styles and Orton after they had a fantastic match at this past year’s WrestleMania.

In the main event, Rollins and Owens went at it with the two showing the great chemistry that they have in the ring together. The match ended when The Authors of Pain of all people came in and attacked Owens, causing the DQ. After attacking Owens, they turned their sights to Rollins who acted like he was ready for a fight, but AOP just stared at him and left. A confused Rollins took advantage of the situation and hit Owens with two curb stomps.

This action and the promo earlier in the night confirmed Rollins finally turning heel after losing the fans weeks ago. I have always felt Rollins made a much better heel than face. Owens should be the one the take Rollins former place as the top face of the red brand and should have an excellent feud with The Architect. The possible alliance between Rollins and AOP was very interesting. The two big men could serve the newly heel Rollins well as obstacles for KO.

Overall, this was a good episode of Raw. While there were a few too many short matches, the storyline advancements made in the Rusev/Lashley and Murphy/Black feuds and the storytelling with the United States Championship and Rollins’ heel turn more than made up for that.

 

National Wrestling Alliance:

Stevens “suffering” from The Dawson’s bad Shakespeare Credit: NWA

Results:
1. The Question Mark defeated Zane Dawson in an Empty Arena match

Thoughts: This week’s episode of NWA Power was mainly recaps, promos, and match announcements for the upcoming NWA Into the Fire PPV with only one actual match. It was announced that next week, The Wild Cards (Thomas Latimer and Royce Isaacs) will defend their NWA World Tag Team Championships against the legendary Rock n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson). It will be interesting to see if the Hall of Famers manage to capture the titles they have held eight times before.

The first match for Into the Fire was announced with Colt Cabana defending his NWA National Championship. His opponent will be determined at a later date with Cabana set to take on Ricky Starks in a non-title match next week.

In the only match on the show, The Question Mark defeated Zane Dawson in an Empty Arena match with the stipulation being that if Zane lost, The Dawsons would have the recite Shakespeare. This was a pretty funny segment with Stevens grabbing a trash can from under the ring and pretending to vomit while listening to The Dawsons try to do Shakespeare. After the match, it was announced at Into the Fire, The Question Mark will take on Trevor Murdoch.

Other matches announced for Into the Fire were NWA Women’s World Champion Allysin Kay teaming with Ashley Vox to take on two of the three members of Melina’s team (Melina, Thunder Rosa, and Marti Belle), Eli Drake vs. Mr. Anderson, and in the main event, Nick Aldis defending the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in a 2-out-of-3 Falls match against James Storm. While I am happy that Storm is getting the Word Championship shot and that Anderson vs. Drake is happening, I do not understand why the Women’s Championship is not on the line at such a big event. I am also not a fan of Melina being set up as the next challenger for the Women’s title as I feel Thunder Rosa has been so well booked since her debut.

Speaking of Thunder Rosa, the “Into the Cage” segments that documented her journey to her first MMA fight were very well done. My only gripe is that these segments seemed to be made for a face character as they did an excellent job at making Rosa very likable and supportable. The thing is that Rosa is currently a heel. I am not sure if they are planning to turn her face soon, but if they do, they have already set the ground work to do so. If Melina does end up defeating Kay for the Women’s Championship, Melina vs. Rosa for the title could be a good program.

Overall, while there was only one match on the show, this was still a good episode of Power with the storyline and character advancements they made in the segments and promos being excellent.

 

WWE NXT:

Me with Tommaso Ciampa at Evolve 54 1/23/16

Results:
1. The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong) (c) defeated Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships
2. Mansoor defeated Shane Thorne
3. Candice LeRae defeated Dakota Kai by DQ
4. Lio Rush (c) defeated Akira Tozawa to retain the NXT Cruiserweight Championship
5. Xia Li defeated Vanessa Bourne
6. Finn Bálor defeated Tommaso Ciampa after interference by Adam Cole

Thoughts: The NXT roster came out to celebrate their victory at Survivor Series. They were interrupted by The Undisputed Era who claimed to be the sole reason NXT won. Tommaso Ciampa made it clear to Adam Cole that he is coming for the NXT Championship and that no one was in his way. Finn Bálor then came out and said that he is in Ciampa’s way, setting up the night’s main event.

After Xia Li defeated Vanessa Borne, Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir, and Jessamyn Duke came out and attacked her. Baszler bragged about her victory at Survivor Series over Bailey and Becky Lynch, but Rhea Ripley interrupted and reminded The Queen of Spades that she lost at to Ripley at WarGames. Ripley made it clear that she is going after Baszler’s NXT Women’s Championship. Baszler talked big, but when Rhea challenged her to do something right now, Shayna backed off. After a long and dominating reign, I feel Rhea will be the one to finally take the title off The Submission Magician.

In the main event, Ciampa came close to defeating Bálor, but Adam Cole’s interference gave Finn the win after The Prince hit Ciampa with the 1916. Cole stood with Bálor over Ciampa, but Finn showed that he works alone by planting the NXT Champion with a pele kick out of nowhere. While it originally seemed that Cole vs. Ciampa one on one was the plan, it looks like now that we will be getting a triple threat match between Cole, Ciampa, and Bálor for the title, which should be a fantastic match.

Overall, this was a good episode of NXT that advanced the title scene for both the NXT Championship and NXT Women’s Championship.

 

All Elite Wrestling:

Chris Jericho’s Thanksgiving Celebration
Credit: AEW

Results:
1. Best Friends (Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor) defeated The Lucha Bros. (Pentagon Jr. and Fenix)
2. Bea Priestley and Emi Sakura defeated Kris Statlander and Hikaru Shida
3. Cody Rhodes defeated Matt Knicks
4. Kenny Omega defeated Pac
5. MJF defeated Hangman Page after interference by Wardlow to win the Dynamite Diamond Ring
6. Chris Jericho (c) defeated Scorpio Sky by submission to retain the AEW World Championship.

Thoughts: The show opened up with Chris Jericho’s Thanksgiving Thank You Celebration for Le Champion. This was a brilliant and funny segment by Le Champion that involved the members of The Inner Circle giving Jericho gifts, one of which was an actual goat named Chris Jerigoat. Outstanding. It also involved Jericho’s father, hockey legend Ted Irvine, to get some local sports heat. The segment ended with Jericho having ring announcer Justin Roberts read an official statement from AEW and TNT. Not happy with his tone, The Inner Circle beat down Roberts until SCU, disguised as the marching band, made the save. This was yet another fantastic segment involving Jericho which is to be expecting by the living legend.

After Cody Rhodes’ victory, he was attacked by a new tag team, The Blade (aka Braxton Sutter in Impact Wrestling and Pepper Parks elsewhere) and The Butcher (aka Andy Williams, guitarist for the band Every Time I Die), with Allie (now called The Bunny) as their manager. While I am familiar with The Blade due to his time in Impact Wrestling, I have not seen The Butcher in action before, but he does have a great look. I do wonder why they had them debut by attacking Cody due to Cody already being in a major feud. Allie turning heel out of nowhere was confusing as well. Hopefully these question will be answered soon.

In the main event, Chris Jericho defeated Scorpio Sky by submission to retain the AEW World Championship. After the match, Jericho reapplied his submission hold on Sky until Jon Moxley appeared in the crowd. Moxley stared down Jericho as the show went off the air. I expected Moxley to be Jericho’s next challenger. AEW has not announced when their next PPV is going to be so I am not sure when this match will occur. They do have two big episodes of Dynamite in January under the “Bash at the Beach” banner, one of which will be on Jericho’s cruise. However, these shows will still be on free TV and I don’t see a major title match like this being put on anything other than PPV. We will have to see.

Overall, this was a good episode of Dynamite with the highlights being Jericho’s celebration, the Omega/Pac match, and the AEW World Championship match.

It was very close in choosing whether AEW and NXT had the better show this week. Wrestling and segment wise they were pretty even, but based on storyline progression, I am going to have to give the edge to NXT this week. This brings my personal WNW score to: NXT – 6 and AEW – 3.

 

WWE SmackDown:

The Fiend’s personal championship belt
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Roman Reigns defeated Robert Roode
2. Mustafa Ali defeated Drew Gulak
3. Nikki Cross defeated Sonya Deville
4. The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E) (c) defeated Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro to retain the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships

Thoughts: Prior to the Ali/Gulak match, a promo aired featuring Sheamus who announced his long awaited return to the ring. It was really good to see that The Celtic Warrior is making his return to the ring as there was a point where his in-ring wrestling career was in jeopardy due to a serious injury. After being gone for so long, the Irishman will certainly add a breath of fresh air to SmackDown. Hopefully, he will be involved in some interesting storylines. Sheamus would not be the only superstar to make his return on this night.

Bayley and Sasha Banks came out to call out the performance of the SmackDown women at Survivor Series. They were interrupted by Lacey Evans who made fun of the fact that Bayley tapped out to Shayna Baszler at Survivor Series. Sasha tried to respond, but got a Woman’s Right for her trouble. Bayley checked on Banks as Evans walked to the back. I am personally not a fan of Evans as a face as it just doesn’t feel natural. Her character of being a high class, judgmental southern belle seems more fitting for a heel persona. Evans vs. Bayley is a fresh match up at the very least.

After Nikki Cross defeated Sonya Deville she was attacked by Mandy Rose. Deville then joined in on beating down the former WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion. In her big return, Cross’ tag team partner, Alexa Bliss, ran down and made the save. Bliss’ return is a welcome one as the face side of SmackDown’s women’s division could certainly use a boost. Backstage, Elias made his return to SmackDown in a backstage segment with Dana Brooke and Drake Maverick. It was very good to see The Drifter as I am a very big fan of the character. While I did enjoy his 24/7 Championship feuds with Maverick and R-Truth, I do hope he will be used in more high profile matches going forward.

Earlier in the night, Bray Wyatt said he had so much fun “playing” with Daniel Bryan at Survivor Series that he wants to do it again and challenged Bryan to accept. The Miz walked up to Bryan and warned him not to face The Fiend again or he may not survive intact this time. At the end of the night, Bryan said that the fan’s energy made him feel like he changed in the middle of the match with Wyatt at Survivor Series. He said that he originally killed the Yes Movement, but that the fans may have brought it back. He then asked the fans if he should accept Wyatt’s challenge for a rematch for the WWE Universal Championship. As the fans chanted “Yes”, Bryan joined them, officially bringing back the Yes Movement.

Wyatt interrupted from The Firefly Funhouse and said The Miz was right that if Bryan faces The Fiend again, ‘he’ will take Bryan’s mask off. Bray then said he would make good on his promise to introduce the new face. The lights dimmed and The Fiend tore through the ring mat and attacked Bryan. Daniel tried to fight him off but succumbed to the mandible claw and was dragged into the hole. In the hole, The Fiend pulled hair out of Bryan’s head and laughed as the show went off the air.

This was a very well done segment that succeeded in both fully turning Bryan back to The Leader of the Yes Movement and showing The Fiend depravity. The Fiend vs. Bryan II, that I am assuming will take place at TLC, should be an excellent encounter, especially if it is in some sort of stipulation match to make it different from their first encounter. One note from Wyatt promo is that he once again made an indirect reference to Bryan betraying The Wyatt Family back in 2014. One of the things I have really enjoyed about The Fiend’s storylines are the small Easter Eggs and references to past Bray Wyatt stories that serve to reward long time viewers.

Overall, this was a good episode of SmackDown. While there were only two matches on the show that got any real time, the Wyatt/Bryan segments made up for this with excellent storytelling.

 

That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to WWE Starrcade tomorrow night and the NWA World Tag Team Championship match this Tuesday on NWA Power. 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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