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Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review Issue #29

Welcome everyone to the twenty-ninth edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review. I cover a week that saw the continued build to WWE Money in the Bank, the NXT North American Championship on the line, and the continuation of the AEW TNT Championship and NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournaments. Let’s get started.

 

WWE Raw:

Aleister Black, Apollo Crews, and Rey Mysterio
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Rey Mysterio, Aleister Black, and Apollo Crews defeated Andrade, Angel Garza, and Austin Theory
2. Bobby Lashley defeated Denzel Dejournette
3. Liv Morgan defeated Ruby Riott
4. Jinder Mahal defeated Akira Tozawa
5. Andrade (c) defeated Apollo Crews by referee stoppage to retain the WWE United States Championship
6. Ricochet and Cedric Alexander defeated Ever-Rise (Matt Martel and Chase Parker)

Thoughts: The star of this episode was Apollo Crews. WWE has done a good job so far at slowly building Apollo up into a serious contender. After an impressive win in the six-man tag team match, Crews would challenge Andrade to a WWE United States Championship match latter that night which Andrade accepted. During the title match, Apollo looked to be on his way to winning his first championship in WWE before an injury to his knee led the referee to declare him unable to continue and award the match to Andrade. Later on backstage, Crews was devastated by his failure as he was forced to use crutches to exit the building. WWE would later announce that Apollo will no longer be able to compete at Money in the Bank due to his injury.

If WWE does this right, this could lead to a star making push for Apollo Crews. Losing his shot against Andrade along with his spot at Money in the Bank now sets up the story of Crews overcoming the odds and getting his revenge on Andrade and finally winning gold in WWE. I have been impressed by Apollo ever since I first saw him perform live at an Evolve show back in 2014 and have never understood why WWE dropped the ball so badly with Crews since bringing him up to Raw from NXT in 2016. Hopefully, 2020 will be the year where Apollo finally gets the chance to shine.

Overall, this was a great episode of Raw with the highlights being the opening six-man tag match, the United States Championship match, and the main event contract signing segment with Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins.

 

WWE NXT:

Keith Lee vs. Damian Priest
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott defeated El Hijo del Fantasma in a NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament match
2. Candice LeRae defeated Kacy Catanzaro
3. Charlotte Flair defeated Mia Yim by submission
4. Dexter Lumis defeated Shane Thorne by submission
5. Drake Maverick defeated Tony Nese in a NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament match
6. Keith Lee (c) defeated Damian Priest to retain the NXT North American Championship

Thoughts: The Drake Maverick storyline has been very engaging as it blurs the lines between kayfabe and real life. I do believe that Maverick’s contract release was legitimate, but that they decided to go ahead and have him wrestle as scheduled in the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament due to him being still technically employed to WWE for 90 days after being released. However, after seeing the amount of support Drake got after the very emotional video he posted on Twitter, WWE made the decision to include his release as a part of his storyline within the tournament with winning the tournament now being Maverick’s only hope to keep his job.

I think it would be very cool to have the former WWE 24/7 Champion win the entire tournament and have him resigned as it would make for a great, feel good story. Even if he doesn’t win the tournament, I do hope that they end up resigning him anyways as he has shown more heart and ability over the past few weeks than previously shown in his WWE career thus far.

During the show, three big matches were announced for next week with Dominik Dijakovic set to take on Johnny Gargano, Charlotte Flair defending her NXT Women’s Championship against Io Shirai, and Adam Cole defending his NXT Championship against The Velveteen Dream. Finn Balor will also be making his return, after being taken out last week, to call out his attacker.

This was an overall good episode of NXT with the highlights being the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament matches and the NXT North American Championship main event.

 

All Elite Wrestling:

My Match of the Week: Cody Rhodes vs. Darby Allin
Credit: AEW

Results:
1. Cody Rhodes defeated Darby Allin in an AEW TNT Championship Tournament Semifinal match
2. Wardlow defeated Musa
3. Best Friends (Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor) defeated Kip Sabian and Jimmy Havoc in a No DQ/No Count Out match
4. Shawn Spears defeated Baron Black by submission
5. Brodie Lee defeated Marko Stunt
6. Lance Archer defeated Dustin Rhodes in an AEW TNT Championship Tournament Semifinal match

Thoughts: This was a great episode of AEW Dynamite with the highlights being the two AEW TNT Championship Tournament matches and the No DQ tag team match. As I predicted at the start of this tournament, the finals have come down to Cody Rhodes and Lance Archer. AEW has done a fantastic job at building up Lance Archer as a dangerous monster. While Cody could be the man to stop Archer and capture the TNT title, I don’t see The Murderhawk Monster losing his first match so soon, thus I predict that Lance will go on to defeat The American Nightmare at AEW Double or Nothing to become the inaugural AEW TNT Champion. It was also announced that next week, Kenny Omega will be teaming with “Broken” Matt Hardy to take on The Inner Circle’s Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara.

Between NXT and AEW this week, I am going to have to give the close win to AEW based on the in ring quality of Cody vs. Allin (which is my match of the week), the No DQ tag team match, and Dustin vs. Archer. This brings my personal 2020 WNW rankings to: NXT – 8 and AEW – 9.

 

WWE SmackDown:

Otis qualifies for Money in the Bank
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Daniel Bryan defeated Baron Corbin by DQ
2. Sheamus defeated Leon Ruff
3. Carmella defeated Mandy Rose in a Money in the Bank Qualifying match after interference by Sonya Deville
4. The Forgotten Sons (Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler) defeated The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E)
5. Otis defeated Dolph Ziggler in a Money in the Bank Qualifying match

Thoughts: The segment between Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman was very well done. This feud between the former leader of the Wyatt Family and his former charge has featured excellent storytelling thanks to Bray drawing upon his and Strowman shared history. I still find it interesting that Wyatt will be facing Strowman at WWE Money in the Bank for the WWE Universal Championship as his Firefly Funhouse persona instead of as The Fiend. This could be a way to have Braun win while protecting Bray with Wyatt having to summon The Fiend to take the championship away from The Monster Among Men in a rematch, possibly at the next scheduled PPV, Extreme Rules, in July.

Overall, this was a great episode of SmackDown with the highlights being Daniel Bryan’s opening segment promo, the Wyatt/Strowman segment, and Sonya Deville’s promo and beatdown of Mandy Rose. It was also announced during this show that Jeff Hardy will be making his long awaited return next week.

 

That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to the stacked show for NXT this Wednesday as well as the return of Jeff Hardy this Friday. 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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