Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review Issue #22

Welcome everyone to the twenty-second edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wresting Review. I cover a week that saw the NXT TakeOver: Portland event, multiple championships on the line, and the continued build to WWE Super ShowDown and AEW Revolution. Let’s get started.


NXT TakeOver: Portland:

My Match of the Week: Johnny Gargano vs. Finn Bálor Credit: WWE

1. Keith Lee (c) defeated Dominik Dijakovic to retain the NXT North American Championship
2. Dakota Kai defeated Tegan Nox in a Street Fight after interference by Raquel Gonzalez
3. Finn Bálor defeated Johnny Gargano
4. Rhea Ripley (c) defeated Bianca Belair to retain the NXT Women’s Championship
5. The BroserWeights (Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne) defeated The Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly) (c) to become the new NXT Tag Team Champions
6. Adam Cole (c) defeated Tommaso Ciampa after interference by Johnny Gargano to retain the NXT Championship

Thoughts: This was yet another excellent TakeOver show. The match of the night and my match of the week was easily Bálor vs. Gargano as two of the greatest NXT Stars tore the house down in a match of the year candidate. I was very happy to see The BroserWeights win the NXT Tag Team Championships as I find Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle to be a very entertaining duo with Dunne playing the straight man to the goofy Riddle.

The ending of the show saw Johnny Gargano betray Tommaso Ciampa by hitting him with the NXT Championship belt. This allowed Adam Cole to get the win and retain his championship. Gargano turning heel and Cole retaining the championship were both results that I didn’t expect. I am still not sure if turning Johnny Wrestling heel was the right decision as they tried turning him heel a little over a year ago and it didn’t really last long or ever feel right to me. I was also not expecting Cole to retain as I now have to wonder who will be his next challenger.

The only wrestler who has been built up to be a genuine contender is Finn Bálor, especially after his victory over Gargano, but with Bálor and Cole both being heels, I am not sure how a feud between them would work. The most likely outcome I can think of that makes sense is Cole defending his championship at NXT TakeOver: Tampa Bay in a four way match with Bálor, Ciampa, and Gargano all involved.

In other news from the show, Charlotte Flair attacked Rhea Ripley after her successful title defense over Bianca Belair and officially accepted Ripley’s challenge for Charlotte to cash in her Royal Rumble win title shot against The Nightmare at WrestleMania. This should be an excellent match between two very talented wrestlers. Ripley should, of course, be the one to win that encounter as she would benefit far more from a victory over the ten time champion, Charlotte, than Flair winning yet another championship over a younger talent.


WWE Raw:

Randy Orton and Matt Hardy
Randy Orton destroys Matt Hardy
Credit: WWE

1. Aleister Black defeated Erick Rowan
2. Riddick Moss (c) defeated Mojo Rawley and R-Truth in a Triple Threat match to retain the WWE 24/7 Championship
3. Drew McIntyre defeated MVP
4. Bobby Lashley and Angel Garza defeated Rusev and Humberto Carrillo
5. Kairi Sane defeated Natalya by count-out
6. Ricochet defeated Karl Anderson
7. Kevin Owens and The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar) defeated Buddy Murphy and The AOP (Akam and Rezar by DQ after interference by Seth Rollins

Thoughts: This week’s Raw got to a violent, epic start as Randy Orton brutally destroyed the already injured Matt Hardy with a steel chair that ended with Orton smashing Hardy’s head in twice between a steel chair and the steel stairs. This was another sadistic, brilliant performance by Orton who is doing his best heel work in years in this lead up to his confrontation with Edge at WrestleMania. There have been rumors that Matt Hardy is not resigning with WWE, so if this is truly the way they have decided to send off the former broken one, then this was an epic way to do it as it adds a lot to this fantastic storyline between Orton and Edge.

During the show it was announced that at WWE Elimination Chamber, Natalya, Liv Morgan, Shayna Baszler, Asuka, Ruby Riott, and Sarah Logan will battle in out in an Elimination Chamber match to determine who will face Becky Lynch at WrestleMania for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship. In my opinion, this is a waste of an Elimination Chamber match as there is no doubt that Baszler is going to win it. If they wanted to do a women’s Elimination Chamber match, then I would have rather seen the match be for a shot at the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship as it is not as obvious who Bailey will be facing at Mania compared to Lynch.

This was a good episode of Raw with the highlights being Orton’s beat down of Matt Hardy and the continuation of the feud between Seth Rollins and his followers against Kevin Owens and friends.



Undisputed Era and Velveteen Dream
The Undisputed Era beat down Velveteen Dream
Credit: WWE

1. Jordan Devlin (c) defeated Lio Rush to retain the NXT Cruiserweight Championship
2. The Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake) defeated Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza
3. The BroserWeights (Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne) defeated Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan
4. Keith Lee defeated Kona Reeves
5. Chelsea Green defeated Kayden Carter after interference by Robert Stone
6. Velveteen Dream defeated Roderick Strong

Thoughts: During the Chelsea Green/Kayden Carter match, Bianca Belair came out to the ring mid-match and challenged Charlotte Flair to a match for laying her hands on Belair at NXT TakeOver: Portland. This distraction, along with some help from Robert Stone, allowing Green to take advantage and get the win over Carter. Belair vs. Flair should be a great match. We will have to see if the match will take place on NXT, Raw, or possibly at the WWE Elimination Chamber PPV.

In the main event, despite the rest of The Undisputed Era’s attempt to get involved, Velveteen Dream managed to take them all out and hit the Dream Valley Driver on Roderick Strong for the win. This victory would be short lived as the four members of the UE ganged up on Dream and laid him out. While I previously floated the idea of a four way match being the NXT Championship match at NXT TakeOver: Tampa Bay, this storyline between Dream and the UE could potential lead to a Cole vs. Dream match for the title in Tampa instead.

Overall, this was a good episode of NXT with the highlights being the NXT Cruiserweight Championship match and the main event.


All Elite Wrestling:

Cody vs Wardlow
Cody Rhodes vs. Wardlow in a Steel Cage Match
Credit: AEW

1. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) won a Tag Team Battle Royal last eliminating Santana and Ortiz to earn a shot at the AEW World Tag Team Championships at AEW Revolution
2. Kris Statlander defeated Shanna
3. Jon Moxley defeated Jeff Cobb
4. The Elite (Kenny Omega and Hangman Page) (c) defeated The Lucha Bros. (Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix) to retain the AEW World Tag Team Championships
5. Cody Rhodes defeated Wardlow in a Steel Cage match to earn the right to face MJF at AEW Revolution

Thoughts: This was as awesome episode of Dynamite with the best match in terms of in ring action being the AEW World Tag Team Championship match while the Steel Cage match was the best in terms of storytelling. Moxley vs. Cobb was also a big highlight.

The Young Bucks and Omega/Page both winning their matches now sets up an Elite vs. Elite match at AEW Revolution with the AEW World Tag Team Championships on the line. The Young Bucks came out to congratulate Omega and Page for their victory, but Hangman wanted nothing to do with them, leaving the ring and drinking a beer given to him by a fan, further hinting at his eventual exit from the group. Whether this exit occurs at AEW Revolution or further down the road remains to be seen, but I have really enjoyed the recent character development of Page and this has actually made me a bigger fan of Hangman than I was before.

In the main event, Cody overcame the odds and defeated the massive and powerful Wardlow in a steel cage to accomplish the third and final condition set by MJF to finally earn the opportunity to get his hands on MJF, the man who betrayed him back at AEW Full Gear, at AEW Revolution. This feud between Cody and MJF has been slowly built with great storytelling with the big finale to occur at AEW Revolution. MJF and Cody have both done so well in their roles as the dastardly villain and sympathetic hero that their match should be the most fan invested match of the night. This is pro wrestling storytelling at its finest.

Between NXT and AEW this week, I am going to have to give the win to AEW based the overall wrestling and storytelling quality, especially in The Elite’s inner turmoil and the Cody/MJF storylines. This brings my personal 2020 WNW rankings to: NXT – 3 and AEW – 4.


WWE SmackDown:

Goldberg and Bray Wyatt
Goldberg and The Fiend stare each other down.
Credit: WWE

1. The Usos (Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso) and The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E) defeated Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, The Miz, and John Morrison
2. Braun Strowman and Elias defeated Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro in a Symphony of Destruction match
3. Daniel Bryan defeated Heath Slater
4. Naomi defeated Carmella in a #1 Contender match to earn a shot at the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship at WWE Super ShowDown

Thoughts: During a backstage segment, Tucker confronted Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville over what occurred last week where Otis arrived for his date with Rose only to see Dolph Ziggler in his place. Mandy claimed that Otis was late and that she just happen to run into Ziggler at the restaurant. Tucker defended his tag team partner and asked Rose why she texted Otis last week that she was running behind if she was already at the restaurant. Rose acted confused over this and claimed to not know about any text as Tucker left. Mandy asked Sonya what Tucker was talking about, but Deville just shrugged it off as Tucker making things up to defend his friend and said that Dolph was more of Rose’s type anyway.

This segment showed that Mandy was not the one who sent Otis that text and that their date was sabotaged by someone. The two main suspects would be Ziggler and Deville. With Sonya quickly shrugging off the text, she seems be the most likely culprit, though Dolph could be revealed as being in on it as well. This storyline has been really well done and goes to show that sometimes a simple, but effective plot is all you need for a good story.

In the main event segment, Goldberg came out to the ring to talk about his match with “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt for the WWE Universal Championship this Thursday at WWE Super ShowDown. He was quickly interrupted by Wyatt from the Firefly Funhouse. Wyatt tried to play his usual mind games, but Goldberg cut him off and “Da Man” said that he did not return to talk, he came back to regain the WWE Universal Championship. Bray said Goldberg does not know him and that the former WCW World Heavyweight Champion will not be taking anything. Wyatt introduced all his Firefly Funhouse puppet friends to Goldberg before saying that there was still one person left for him to meet.

The lights went out when they returned, The Fiend stood ominously behind Goldberg. This didn’t fazed the Hall of Famer who launched himself at The Fiend before dropping the monster with a spear. The lights went out again and when they returned, The Fiend had disappeared. Wyatt’s evil laugh filled the arena. Goldberg stood tall as the show went off the air. This was a great go home segment for this match. The outcome of this match could go either way. While Goldberg is a legend, The Fiend needs to win this match. If he doesn’t, then WWE risks losing all the build and credibility they have put behind him so far.

Overall, this was a good episode of SmackDown with the highlights being the Symphony of Destruction match, the advancement of the Otis/Mandy Rose storyline, and the Goldberg/Wyatt segment.


That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to WWE Super ShowDown this Thursday. Until next time, I’ll see you at ringside!


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.