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Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review Issue #31

Welcome everyone to the thirty-first edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review. I cover a week that saw the WWE Money in the Bank PPV, the continued build to AEW Double or Nothing, the NXT Tag Team Championships on the line, and the start of the WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament. Let’s get started.

 

WWE Money in the Bank:

My Match(es) of the Week: The Money in the Bank Ladder Matches
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Jeff Hardy defeated Cesaro
2. The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) (c) defeated The Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake), The Miz and John Morrison, and Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado) in a Fatal-Four Way Tag Team match to retain the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships
3. Bobby Lashley defeated R-Truth
4. Bayley (c) defeated Tamina to retain the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship after interference by Sasha Banks
5. Braun Strowman (c) defeated Bray Wyatt to retain the WWE Universal Championship
6. Drew McIntyre (c) defeated Seth Rollins to retain the WWE Championship
7. Asuka defeated Carmella, Dana Brooke, Lacey Evans, Nia Jax, and Shayna Baszler in a Money in the Bank ladder match to become the new WWE Raw Women’s Champion
8. Otis defeated AJ Styles, Aleister Black, Daniel Bryan, Baron Corbin, and Rey Mysterio in a Money in the Bank ladder match for a world championship match contract

Thoughts: The duel Money in the Bank Ladder matches were fantastic, a lot of fun, and easily My Match(es) of the Week. From beginning to end, this unique take on the MitB match created a number of funny and entertaining moments. The first of these great moments included Asuka performing a splash off the mezzanine onto the other female competitors at the start of the match in the lobby before escaping in an elevator.

Other great moments included the food fight between some of the men and women with poor Paul Heyman caught in the middle, Otis and Nia Jax squashing Rey Mysterio between them during the food fight, AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan angering Vince McMahon by brawling in his office, and Elias making his surprise return by smashing a guitar against the back of his nemesis, Baron Corbin.

The winners of the matches were both a welcome surprise with Asuka and Otis winning their respective gender’s briefcase. As we would find out the next night on Raw, the contents of Asuka’s case were not what they seemed. As for Otis, it will be interesting to see how he is booked as Mr. Money in the Bank and if he will end up cashing it in successfully to win his first World Championship.

Overall, this was a great PPV with the highlights being the Fatal-Four Way Tag Team match, Strowman vs. Wyatt for its storytelling, McIntyre vs. Rollins, and of course the duel MitB main event.

 

WWE Raw:

Becky Lynch presents Asuka with the WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Bobby Lashley defeated Humberto Carrillo in a No Disqualification match
2. Angel Garza defeated Akira Tozawa
3. Drew McIntyre defeated Andrade in a Champion vs. Champion match
4. The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce) defeated Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
5. R-Truth, Ricochet, and Cedric Alexander defeated Brendan Vink, Shane Thorne, and MVP
6. Aleister Black and Rey Mysterio defeated Seth Rollins and Buddy Murphy by DQ
7. Shayna Baszler defeated Natalya

Thoughts: The night opened up with a big surprise as WWE Raw Women’s Champion, Becky Lynch came out with Asuka’s Money in the Bank briefcase. Asuka then came out confused as to why Lynch had her case. Becky opened the case which had the Raw Women’s Championship inside and revealed that the women’s Money in Bank Ladder match was actually for the championship itself and that Asuka was the new champion. After Asuka celebrated her new title, Lynch revealed the reason she had to give up the belt was that she would have to take a leave of absence from the WWE as she announced that she was, in fact, pregnant with her first child. The Empress of Tomorrow was overjoyed for Becky and celebrated with The Man over the news.

I would like to congratulate both Becky and her fiancé, Seth Rollins, on the happy news. While Becky may be leaving for a while, Asuka will make a great champion in her absence. I am happy that The Empress is getting this opportunity and hope that she is allowed to have a nice, long reign as the champ. With this championship win, Asuka became the third WWE Women’s Triple Crown Champion and the second WWE Women’s Grand Slam Champion.

I was happy to see after the six-man tag match that Bobby Lashley decided to take MVP up on his offer to be his new client. Lashley and MVP made for a great pair during their alliance as part of The Beat Down Clan in Impact Wrestling and it would be great to see them recreate that magic in WWE. This could soon lead to The All Mighty becoming a major contender for Drew McIntyre’s WWE Championship.

The development of Seth Rollins’ character took an interesting twist on this week’s Raw. After losing to McIntyre at Money in the Bank, Rollins came out for his tag team match with Buddy Murphy looking disheveled and completely out of it. Seth then spent most of the match staring into space while Murphy fought Mysterio and Black on his own. At the end of the match, Rey struck Rollins, which snapped him out of his daze. Seth then caught Rey in a 619 attempt and slammed him into the barricade, which caused the referee to DQ him for some reason. The Monday Night Messiah then did the same to Black and commanded Murphy to “Stay the hell back!” Rollins grabbed Mysterio and pressed him eye-first into the steel steps, yelling, “It’s not your fault, Rey!”

Later on backstage, as doctors tried to help Rey’s damaged eye, Rollins with Murphy in tow busted in and tried to “apologize” for his actions. Black pushed Seth away which led to a brawl between Aleister and Murphy. While Rollins was already deluded with his belief that he was Raw’s “messiah”, the shock of losing to McIntyre has now twisted that delusion into insanity. I am very interested in seeing what direction this change in character will lead to.

In the main event segment, Randy Orton confronted Edge. Orton claimed the better man won at WrestleMania, but not the better wrestler. Randy continued by saying that he didn’t think Edge had it anymore as a wrestler and saw doubt in Edge’s eyes. The Viper then laid out a challenge for a WrestleMania rematch: “If you’ve got the guts, then at Backlash, it will be Edge vs. Orton in a straight up wrestling match.” The Rated R Superstar stood silent with a conflicted look on his face as Raw went off the air.

While I don’t think a rematch between these two former friends is really necessary as the feud seemed to have had a complete ending at The Show of Shows, I can see this possibly leading to Orton finally acknowledging that Edge is truly back. If this occurs, then I don’t think a possible Rated RKO reunion is out of the question.

Overall, this was a great episode of Monday Night Raw with the highlights being the opening Becky Lynch/Asuka segment, Seth Rollins’ snap, and the main event Edge/Orton segment.

 

WWE NXT:

NXT Tag Team Championship match: Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher vs. Imperium (Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner)
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Imperium (Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner) defeated Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher (c) to become the new NXT Tag Team Champions
2. Tegan Nox defeated Indi Hartwell
3. Jake Atlas defeated Tony Nese in a NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament match
4. Cameron Grimes defeated Finn Bálor after interference by Damian Priest
5. Gentleman Jack Gallagher defeated Isaiah “Swerve” Scott in a NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament match after interference by Tony Nese
6. Kayden Carter defeated Aliyah by submission
7. Matt Riddle defeated Timothy Thatcher

Thoughts: While Timothy Thatcher turning on Matt Riddle and costing him the NXT Tag Team Championships was something I expected to happen sooner or later, the way it was done here was well done as well as the match Thatcher and Riddle had against each other later on in the main event. With Thatcher attacking Riddle after the match, their feud is far from over and with the talent that these two men possess, their upcoming rematches should be top notch.

Also during the show, Damian Priest was revealed as Finn Bálor’s mystery attacker. A feud between Bálor and Priest should be a good time filler story for The Prince until he is able to resume his feud with Walter over the NXT United Kingdom Championship once the Coronavirus related travel bans have been lifted.

In other news from the show, DX (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Road Dogg) made the announcement that the next TakeOver event would be NXT TakeOver: In Your House on June 7th. Bringing back the In Your House brand (from the series of PPVs of the same name from the 90s) is a creative and fun idea and I can’t wait to see how the show takes shape.

Overall, this was a good episode of NXT with the highlights being the NXT Tag Team Championship match and Thatcher vs. Riddle.

 

All Elite Wrestling:

Brodie Lee vs. Christopher Daniels
Credit: AEW

Results:
1. Best Friends (Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor) defeated Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus) after interference by MJF
2. Hikaru Shida defeated Britt Baker, Kris Statlander, and Penelope Ford in a Fatal-Four Way match
3. Matt Hardy and Kenny Omega defeated Santana and Ortiz
4. MJF defeated Lee Johnson
5. Chris Jericho defeated “Pineapple Pete” Suge D
6. Brodie Lee defeated Christopher Daniels after interference by The Dark Order minions

Thoughts: After Chris Jericho’s victory over “Pineapple Pete”, Le Champion laid down a challenge to Matt Hardy and The Elite for a “Stadium Stampede” match at AEW Double or Nothing with The Inner Circle taking on The Broken One and his Elite allies in a fight that would take place throughout the TIAA Bank Field Stadium. Jericho then made things even more personal when he smashed Hardy’s beloved drone, Vanguard-1, with a baseball bat. While the exact rules where not stated, the unique setting, the talent involved, and with the same kind of creativity that we saw in last week’s Street Fight should make this upcoming match one to look forward to.

Other matches announced for AEW Double or Nothing included Nyla Rose vs. Hikaru Shida in a No DQ and No Count Out match for the AEW Women’s World Championship and Britt Baker vs. Kris Statlander. Darby Allin, Colt Cabana, Orange Cassidy, Rey Fenix, Scorpio Sky, and Kip Sabian were also all announced to be in the 9-Man Casino Ladder match for a future AEW World Championship match.

This was an overall good episode of AEW Dynamite with the highlights being Best Friends vs. Jurassic Express, the women’s fatal four way, Hardy and Omega vs. Santana and Ortiz, and Lee vs. Daniels.

Between NXT and AEW this week, I am going to have to give the win to AEW based on the overall match quality. This brings my personal 2020 WNW rankings to: NXT – 8 and AEW – 11.

 

WWE SmackDown:

Braun Strowman and Otis celebrate their victory.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Elias defeated Baron Corbin in a WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Quarterfinals match
2. Dana Brooke defeated Naomi
3. Daniel Bryan defeated Drew Gulak by submission in a WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Quarterfinals match
4. Otis and Braun Strowman defeated The Miz and John Morrison

Thoughts: The main story for this episode was Otis’ first night as Mr. Money in the Bank. The show started off with Otis being a guest on Miz TV with The Miz and John Morrison. After being insulted by The Miz and being told that he didn’t deserve the MitB briefcase or Mandy Rose, The Miz challenged Otis to find a tag team partner to face Miz and Morrison in the main event.

After looking for a partner throughout the night, Otis found an ally in the WWE Universal Champion, Braun Strowman. The two big men would go on to defeat the former WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champions after Strowman hit The A-Lister with a Running Powerslam for the win. After the match, Otis teased cashing in the MitB case on The Monster Among Men, but when Braun turned around and caught him, Otis claimed that he was just kidding.

I personally think it would be smart to have Otis hold on to the briefcase for a while. That is at least until WWE is able to perform in front of live crowds again as Otis possibly winning his first World Championship would be a special moment that would draw a massive reaction from the fans. It was also worth noting that neither Bray Wyatt nor The Fiend were anywhere in site. Wyatt will most likely make his next move against his former Wyatt Family teammate on next week’s episode.

This was an overall good episode of Friday Night SmackDown with the highlights being the two Intercontinental Championship Tournament matches (especially Bryan vs. Gulak) and the main event tag team match.

 

That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to the fallout of Seth Rollins’ action on Raw and the continuation of both the NXT Cruiserweight Championship and WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournaments. 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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