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Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review Issue #25

Welcome everyone to the twenty-fifth edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review. I cover a week that saw the final build to WrestleMania 36, the NXT North American Championship on the line, and the introduction of the AEW TNT Championship. Let’s get started.

 

WWE Raw:

The Undertaker
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Aleister Black defeated Jason Cade
2. Kevin Owens and The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) defeated Seth Rollins, Austin Theory, and Angel Garza
3. Asuka defeated Kayden Carter

Thoughts: With only a few days until WrestleMania, WWE’s Monday Night Raw go home show had its pro and cons. The biggest highlights of the show were the excellent promos by The Undertaker and Edge. The Undertaker has recreated himself for the first time since he returned to his Deadman character in 2004 with this new version of The Phenom being a mixture of his Deadman and American Badass personas. Taker once again showcased just how good of a promo man he is as he promoted his upcoming Boneyard match with AJ Styles at Mania. While we still do not know what exactly a Boneyard match is as of this writing, this should still be an excellent encounter between two of the best of all time.

As mentioned before, Edge’s promo was very well done as well. The feud between The Rated R Superstar and Randy Orton has been the best written storyline going into this year’s Show of Shows and I am looking forward to seeing Edge in his first singles match in nine years as he takes on The Viper in a Last Man Standing match.

The biggest negative of the show were the low quantity and quality of the matches with the show having too many squash matches ever since WWE was forced to move the show to The Performance Center due to the Coronavirus outbreak. This is still a wrestling show after all.

Overall, this was an okay show with great promo work, but very little new in ring content.

 

WWE NXT:

My Match of the Week: Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic vs. Damian Priest
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. The Velveteen Dream defeated Bobby Fish
2. Dexter Lumis defeated Jake Atlas
3. Dakota Kai defeated Shotzi Blackheart, Deonna Purrazzo, Xia Li, Aliyah, and Kayden Carter in a Gauntlet match last eliminating Shotzi Blackheart to qualify for the NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender Ladder match
4. Kushida defeated Joaquin Wilde
5. Keith Lee (c) defeated Damian Priest and Dominik Dijakovic in a Triple Threat match to retain the NXT North American Championship

Thoughts: This was a good episode of NXT with the highlight being the excellent main event, which is my match of the week, that saw Keith Lee successfully defend his NXT North American Championship against both Damian Priest and Dominik Dijakovic. Unlike Raw, this was a wrestling heavy show with Shotzi Blackheart having a great showing in the Gauntlet match by starting the match and eliminating every other competitor before falling in the end to Dakota Kai. Dexter Lumis also did a good job at showcasing his Norman Bates-like character which I feel was greatly enhanced in the empty arena setting. The show also did a good job at promoting the upcoming final clash between Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa that is set to take place next week. Where will these two former friends go after their climatic encounter? We will have to see.

 

All Elite Wrestling:

Darby Allin and Cody Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara and Shawn Spears
Credit: AEW

Results:
1. Kenny Omega defeated Trent Beretta
2. Hikaru Shida defeated Anna Jay
3. Lance Archer defeated Marko Stunt
4. The Natural Nightmares (Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall) defeated The Dark Order (Members #8 and #9)
5. Sammy Guevara and Shawn Spears defeated Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin

Thoughts: It was announced this week that AEW would finally be getting a secondary championship with the title being called the AEW TNT Championship. The first champion will be determined with an eight man tournament with the finals being held at the upcoming Double or Nothing PPV. The first round matches announced were Cody Rhodes vs. Shawn Spears, Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin, Dustin Rhodes vs. Kip Sabian, and Lance Archer vs. Colt Cabana. I predict the finals will come down to Cody and Archer.

Overall, this was a good episode of Dynamite with the highlights being the opening match and the main event.

Between NXT and AEW this week, I am going to have to give the narrow win to NXT based on the quality of the NXT North American Championship match. This brings my personal 2020 WNW rankings to: NXT – 5 and AEW – 8.

 

WWE SmackDown:

Mandy Rose walks out on Sonya Deville
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Tamina defeated Naomi and Lacey Evans in a Triple Threat match
2. Tucker defeated Dolph Ziggler by DQ
3. Daniel Bryan defeated Shinsuke Nakamura by DQ after interference by Cesaro

Thoughts: After Ziggler got disqualified due to refusing to stop attacking Tucker with the steel steps, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville ran down to stop him from smashing Tucker with the steps. As Otis ran out to save his tag team partner, the mysterious, hooded hacker who had been messing with the broadcast for a number of weeks appeared on the screen and announced he would “reveal the truth”. The hacker showed footage that proved Sonya and Dolph conspired together to screw Otis out of his date with Mandy. After the footage ended, Otis ran off Ziggler as Rose walked away from Deville disgusted by what she had seen.

This was a great segment that finally revealed the conspiracy against Otis and Mandy’s relationship after months of buildup. Some would say that this reveal should have been made at Mania, but I feel it really worked doing it here as Mania will be where Otis finally gets his hands on The Showoff. The hacker’s identity was not revealed, though I have seen reports that it is most likely Mustafa Ali due the hacker’s symbol being the same as the light on Ali’s gloves. Ali has not been featured on television in a number of months so it would great to see him back in a big role. The Otis/Mandy love story has been one of the most consistently well written storylines from WWE in recent memory and I am looking forward seeing Otis finally get his revenge on Dolph.

Also announced on the show was the official announcement that Braun Strowman will replace Roman Reigns in the WWE Universal Championship match against Goldberg. I was a bit disappointed that there was no interaction or promos at all from Braun or Goldberg about the match. The match could go either way, but I don’t see any reason to keep the title on a part timer like Goldberg and Strowman would be a very credible full time champion.

Overall, this was a great episode of SmackDown with the highlights being the Otis/Ziggler storyline segments, the Bryan and Gulak vs. Sami Zayn and friends segment, and the main event segment between John Cena and Bray Wyatt.

 

That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to WrestleMania this weekend, Gargano vs. Ciampa on NXT this Wednesday, and the start of the AEW TNT Championship Tournament. 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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