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Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review Issue #23

Welcome everyone to the twenty-third edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review. I cover a week that saw the final build to AEW Revolution, the WWE Super ShowDown event, and the return of John Cena.

 

WWE Raw:

Kevin Owens confronts Randy Orton
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Angel Garza defeated Humberto Carrillo
2. Ricochet defeated Luke Gallows
3. Aleister Black defeated Erick Rowan
4. Bobby Lashley defeated R-Truth
5. Angelo Dawkins defeated Buddy Murphy by DQ after interference by Seth Rollins
6. Seth Rollins defeated Montez Ford
7. Randy Orton defeated Kevin Owens after a quick three count

Thoughts: Before Aleister Black’s match with Erick Rowen, Black was attacked by The O.C. (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson) for merely walking past them during their conversation. Despite the beatdown, Black managed to overcome Rowen’s onslaught and delivered a Black Mass to the ginger giant for the win. After the match, Black challenged Styles to a match for next week. Black vs. Styles should be an epic encounter if given enough time. With Styles rumored to be facing The Undertaker at WrestleMania, it is unknown how long this feud between The Harbinger of Fury and The Phenomenal One will last.

In the main event, Seth Rollins, Buddy Murphy, and The AOP (Akam and Rezar) tried to get involved in Kevin Owens’ match with Randy Orton. Another distraction from The Monday Night Messiah led to Owens booting Rollins into the guardrail, allowing Orton to capitalize by hitting KO with a draping DDT. In a very weird moment, the referee delivered a quick three-count to give The Viper the victory to the confusion from all involved, including Rollins.

Seth threw two chairs in the ring and tried to convince Randy to deliver a con-chair-to to Owens like The Apex Predator had previously delivered to Edge and Matt Hardy. KO escaped before ripping off the referee’s shirt, revealing a Rollins t-shirt underneath, showing that the official was a disciple of Rollins. Owens responded to this by hitting the official with a stunner. He then retrieved a table and powerbombed the official through it as the show went off the air.

While the ending was a bit overbooked and confusing, it did a well enough job at advancing the feud between Owens and Rollins as well as keeping Orton in the spotlight until Edge’s big return. The referee being revealed as working for, or at least being a follower of, Rollins was odd and I would like to see how Seth convinced this official to work for him.

Overall, this was a good episode of Raw with the highlights being the Garza/Carrillo match and everything involving Allister Black.

 

National Wrestling Alliance:

Strictly Business brawls with Villain Enterprises
Credit: NWA

Results:
1. Zicky Dice defeated Matt Cross and Ricky Starks in a Triple Threat match
2. Trevor Murdoch defeated The Question Mark
3. Thunder Rosa (c) defeated Melina by countout to retain the NWA World Women’s Championship

Thoughts: After an interview with Tim Storm that led to a confrontation with Thomas Latimer, Storm was interrupted by Danny Deals, the man who was impersonating and mocking Mama Storm. Storm wanted to beat down Deals for insulting Tim’s mom, but Deals offered Storm a deal to help Storm get back on his feet: a tag team partner. Storm rejected the offer and said he was going to wrap his hands around Deals’ neck. Deals then said that since Storm didn’t want to team with his guy, he is going to get Storm and this man booked in a match and offered a new deal: If Storm loses, Tim needs to get his opponent a NWA contract, but if Storm wins, he will get five minutes in the ring with Deals.

After agreeing, Deals revealed that Storm’s opponent will be Jax Dane, the man Tim Storm won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship from. Deals said Dane wanted revenge for Tim taking his title and Jax walked out and got in Storm’s face. It was pretty cool to see Storm being confronted by a ghost from his past in the form of Jax Dane. Dane will make a great addition to the NWA’s roster.

In other news from the show, The Bouncers (Beer City Bruiser and Brian Milonas) turned on and beat down Eddie Kingston after being paid off by The Pope.

Overall, this was a good episode of NWA Power with the highlights being Jax Dane’s return and The Bouncers’ betrayal of Eddie Kingston.

 

WWE NXT:

Charlotte Flair stomps a steel chair wrapped around Bianca Belair’s leg.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Cameron Grimes defeated Dominik Dijakovic after interference by Damian Priest
2. Xia Li defeated Mia Yim
3. Tommaso Ciampa defeated Austin Theory
4. Killian Dain defeated Bronson Reed
5. Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake and Zack Gibson) defeated The Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake)
6. Charlotte Flair defeated Bianca Belair

Thoughts: After Finn Balor came to the ring and listed off all of his accomplishments, he questioned who would step up to him next. He was answered by Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel of Imperium who said that they were there to deliver a message from their leader, the NXT United Kingdom Champion Walter. Aichner and Barthel then attacked Balor. Finn succeeded in fighting them off at first, but the numbers game caught up to him and the two men stomped The Prince into the ring steps. Walter vs. Balor would be a fantastic match of epic proportions. I assume that the match will take place at NXT TakeOver: Tampa Bay, possibly for the UK title. The question then is, if Balor does win the championship, will he appear on just NXT UK or both NXT brands going forward?

It was also announced on the show from NXT GM William Regal that there will be a series of qualifying matches in the coming weeks to earn spots in a #1 Contender Ladder match at NXT TakeOver: Tampa Bay where the winner will earn a shot at the NXT Women’s Championship against the winner of Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair’s match at WrestleMania.

Overall, this was an okay episode of NXT with the highlights being the start of Balor’s feud with Imperium and Flair vs. Belair.

 

All Elite Wrestling:

My Match of the Week: Kenny Omega vs. Pac in an Iron Man match
Credit: AEW

Results:
1. Kenny Omega defeated Pac in a 30 Minute Iron Man match in Sudden Death Overtime 2-1
2. Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, and Marko Stunt) defeated The Inner Circle (Sammy Guevara, Santana, and Ortiz) in a Six Man Tag Team match after interference by Darby Allin
3. Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta) defeated The Butcher and The Blade
4. Hikaru Shida defeated Big Swole, Shanna, and Yuka Sakazaki in a Fatal Four Way match

Thoughts: In the main event segment, Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley met in the ring for an official weigh in for their AEW World Championship match at AEW Revolution tonight. After Moxley finished his weigh in, Jericho stalled and stalled until Moxley had enough and blasted Le Champion with a headbutt that drew blood from Jericho’s head. The Inner Circle immediately jumped The Death Rider and beat him into a corner.

Dustin Rhodes ran down to make the save and attacked Jake Hager, fighting him into the arena’s concourse. Back in the ring, Darby Allin arrived and attacked Sammy Guevara, but Guevara got the upper hand and blasted Allin with his own skateboard over the head. All of this allowed Moxley to recover. The former Lunatic Fringe brawled with Y2J until Santana took him down. Jericho finished Moxley off by hitting him with his own move, the Paradigm Shift, onto the giant scale, sending a message to his championship challenger to close the show.

This was a great closing segment that did a good job at tying up the build for Rhodes vs. Hager, Guevara vs. Allin, and especially Jericho vs. Moxley for AEW Revolution. AEW Revolution has a great card and looks to be another great PPV from AEW. I believe that Moxley will be walking out of Revolution with the AEW World Championship as I feel it is time for the belt to change hands and Moxley is the perfect person to become the next face of the AEW brand.

This was a great episode of Dynamite with the highlights being Omega vs. Pac, which is my match of the week, the six man tag match, and the main event segment.

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 when it came to Omega vs. Pac and the Jericho/Moxley weigh in turned brawl. This brings my personal 2020 WNW rankings to: NXT – 3 and AEW – 5.

 

WWE Super ShowDown:

Sums up my thoughts on Goldberg beating The Fiend Credit: AEW

Results:
1. The O.C. (Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows) defeated The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar)
2. The Undertaker defeated AJ Styles, Andrade, Erick Rowan, Bobby Lashley, and R-Truth in a Gauntlet match to win the Tuwaiq Trophy
3. The Miz and John Morrison defeated The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) (c) to become the new WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champions
4. Angel Garza defeated Humberto Carrillo
5. Buddy Murphy and Seth Rollins (c) defeated The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) to retain the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships
6. Mansoor defeated Dolph Ziggler
7. Brock Lesnar (c) defeated Ricochet to retain the WWE Championship
8. Roman Reigns defeated Baron Corbin in a Steel Cage match
9. Bayley (c) defeated Naomi to retain the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
10. Goldberg defeated “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) to become the new WWE Universal Champion

Thoughts: The Undertaker appearing during the end of the Gauntlet and surprising AJ Styles with a chockslam for the win was a good way to set up a match between The Phenom and The Phenomenal One at WrestleMania. While Undertaker is up there in age, Styles is the perfect type of opponent to get the most out an encounter with The Deadman. The winner of their encounter at the Showcase of the Immortals could honestly go either way at this stage of Taker’s career, but no matter who wins, it will still be awesome to see two of the greatest of all time go head to head.

Lesnar vs. Ricochet was a massive waste of time. After all that talk to convince everyone that Ricochet was not a joke that Brock shouldn’t make light of, this match that went barely a minute and a half just made Lesnar’s initial reaction to Ricochet justified. I had heard that The One and Only was one of the few wrestlers that Paul Heyman, in his role as head of creative of Raw, was looking to push as a top star on the red brand. If that was the plan, than this feud with Lesnar has made that plan a complete failure. Ricochet now looks like a chump who couldn’t back up anything he said and he is now worse off in his career than he was before getting involved with The Beast.

The main event was an absolute joke. Goldberg had no business beating The Fiend, especially at this stage of his career. The Fiend is one the most organically popular wrestlers in all of WWE and is their top merch seller, so WWE (Vince) thought it was a good idea to have his first loss be, not only happen before Mania or even against someone who would benefit from the win, but against a past his prime Goldberg who can’t even do his finishing move properly anymore.

I am supposed to believe that The Fiend, who has shrugged off 30 curb stomps, 20 superkicks, and a literal explosion all in one match like it was nothing, can’t kick out of three weak spears and a botched Jackhammer? I say all this as someone who actually likes Goldberg, but this was one of the most brain dead and out of touch booking decisions that WWE has ever done and that is truly saying something.

Overall, this was a mostly okay show, but the two world title matches were downright awful and did far more harm than good for the younger wrestlers involved

 

WWE SmackDown:

The Fiend appears and challenges John Cena to a match at WrestleMania
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Naomi defeated Bailey by DQ after interference by Sasha Banks
2. Naomi and Lacey Evans defeated Bailey and Sasha Banks
3. Robert Roode defeated Kofi Kingston after interference by Dolph Ziggler
4. Daniel Bryan defeated Curtis Axel by submission
5. The Usos (Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso) defeated The Miz and John Morrison

Thoughts: The show opened up with the, unfortunately, new WWE Universal Champion, Goldberg. After his music and what sounded like piped in Goldberg chants died down, the crowd rained down boos on the new champion. As expected, after Goldberg asked “Who’s next?” he was answered by Roman Reigns. After a pause, Reigns said “I’m next” to the delight of the Hall of Famer. It was soon announced later in the show that Goldberg vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania was official.

This was very forced and didn’t feel authentic at all. I am not sure if WWE expected Goldberg to be booed for taking the WWE Universal Championship from The Fiend, though they would have had to be completely tone deaf not to, but if they did and their plan was to get Roman cheered against an unpopular Goldberg, then that plan failed as there was an audible “You both suck” chant at the two men during the segment.

This could easily slip into a situation like Lesnar vs. Goldberg at WrestleMania 20, Randy Orton vs. Batista in the build up to WrestleMania 30 prior to Daniel Bryan being inserted, and Reigns vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania 31 prior to Seth Rollins cashing in his Money in the Bank during the match where the fans completely turn against this feud. If that does become the case, then WWE has no one to blame but themselves.

In the main event segment, John Cena made his big return to WWE to a massive reaction from his home state crowd. During the segment Cena stated that he shouldn’t be part of WrestleMania as the spots on the show should be reserved for the wrestlers who are the future of WWE. He also stated that he doesn’t think spots on the card should be handed out, but earned. While I agreed with Cena here, I found it kind of humorous that he would say all this considering what happened in the opening segment where Goldberg (who is a star of the past that has been given a spot on the card over a current star) and Reigns (who was handed a world championship match just by saying he was next rather than earning it) set up their match at Mania.

As Cena posed on the entrance ramp, The Fiend appeared behind him and pointed to the WrestleMania sign, silently saying he wanted Cena at Mania. Cena tipped his hat to accept the challenge as the show went off the air. Now that was a great segment. The Fiend targeting Cena for Mania makes perfect sense as it follows the pattern of The Fiend’s character of only going after those who wrong Bray Wyatt in the past (which was one of the reason Goldberg beating The Fiend made no sense). Also, unlike Goldberg, Cena will actually put The Fiend over.

After watching both the opening and closing segments of this show, I see no logical reason why Reigns vs. Goldberg could not have been a non-title feud with The Fiend vs. Cena match being for the championship instead. Goldberg and Reigns have zero history with each other, so the belt being on the line doesn’t add to their match at all. In comparison, Wyatt and Cena have a ton of history and backstory and having the championship involved would have made their match bigger and would have thrown in the question of whether Bray would end up getting his revenge against Cena for losing to him at WrestleMania 30 or would Cena overcome The Fiend and win his record breaking seventeenth world title.

In other news from the show, two matches where announced for the upcoming WWE Elimination Chamber event. The first match will see Braun Strowman, after some manipulation by Sami Zayn, defend his WWE Intercontinental Championship in a 3-on-1 Handicap match against Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro, and Sami Zayn. The second match will see The Miz and John Morrison defend their WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships inside an Elimination Chamber match, apparently just because, against five other teams including The New Day, Heavy Machinery, Lucha House Party, Ziggler and Roode and The Usos.

Overall, this was an okay episode of SmackDown with the only real highlight being the Cena/Wyatt segment.

 

That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to AEW Revolution tonight. 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.

2 Comments

  • Matt
    Mar 12, 2020 4:44 pm

    Did I miss 24?

    • Nicholas Slade
      Mar 12, 2020 7:22 pm

      Hello, Matt. Unfortunately, Spandex and Suplexes is on a short hiatus due to a sudden death in my family. The plan is for it to return with issue #24 next Saturday. Thank you for being a regular reader and for your patience.

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