Welcome everyone to the thirty-second edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review. I cover a week that saw the continued build to WWE Backlash and NXT TakeOver: In Your House, the final build to AEW Double or Nothing, and the continuation of the NXT Cruiserweight Championship and WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournaments. Let’s get started.
1. Buddy Murphy defeated Humberto Carrillo after interference by Seth Rollins
2. Charlotte Flair defeated Ruby Riott by submission
3. Bobby Lashley defeated R-Truth by submission
4. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross (c) defeated The IIconics (Peyton Royce and Billie Kay) by DQ to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships
5. Shayna Baszler defeated Natalya in a Submission match
6. Kevin Owens and Apollo Crews defeated Andrade and Angel Garza
7. Aleister Black defeated Buddy Murphy by DQ after interference by Austin Theory
8. Drew McIntyre defeated Baron Corbin
Thoughts: In the opening segment, Edge accepted Randy Orton’s challenge to a rematch at WWE Backlash on June 14th. I really wish WWE would stop billing this match as the “Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” as it is hyperbole that will live up to such hype which is not fair to either Edge or Orton.
Kevin Owens made his first appearance since his victory over Seth Rollins at WrestleMania by hosting an edition of “The Kevin Owens Show” with guests Zelina Vega, Andrade, Angel Garza, and Austin Theory. Vega denied that there was any animosity or tension in her group before Kevin Owens revealed that he had another guest: The returning Apollo Crews. Crews ran to the ring and attacked Andrade, the man who injured him and cost him his spot in the Money in the Bank Ladder match.
This led to a tag team match between Crews/Owens and Andrade/Garza. After an attempt to interfere by Theory backfired, Apollo picked up the victory by pinning Garza. After the match, Vega allowed El Idolo and the Lethal Lothario to beat down Austin before kicking him out of their group. Later on in the night, Apollo challenged Andrade to a match for the WWE United States Championship which was made official for next week.
It was great to see both Owens and Crews back this week. KO is an easy contender for the WWE Championship, but with Drew McIntyre currently holding the position of top babyface on Raw, it will be interesting to see what Owen’s next move will be. As for Apollo, I hope he finally gets his chance to shine next week by capturing his first championship in WWE.
During the match between Buddy Murphy and Aleister Black, Seth Rollins found Theory still sitting against the barricade at ringside after being beaten down by Andrade and Garza. Seth offered his hand to Austin and had him attack Black in the ring from behind. After Theory and Murphy beat down Aleister, The Monday Night Messiah embraced Austin as his new disciple. Being a disciple of Rollins should be a better fit for Theory rather than when he was part of Zelina’s group as he just felt out of place with them. Hopefully aligning himself with Rollins and Murphy will do wonders for Austin’s career going forward.
Prior to the main event, Bobby Lashley and MVP came out to watch Drew McIntyre take on Baron Corbin. Lashley made it clear to McIntyre that he was coming for Drew’s WWE Championship. After the Scotsman finished off Corbin, Drew declared that he wanted to fight The All Mighty. The championship match was later made official for WWE Backlash. I am glad to see Lashley finally get put into the world title picture after making his return to WWE back in 2018. If the prior clashes that these two men had in Impact Wrestling are any indication, then this upcoming title match should be an excellent, hard hitting encounter.
Overall, this was a good episode of Monday Night Raw with the highlights being Apollo Crews’ return and the main event.
1. Karrion Kross defeated Liam Gray
2. El Hijo del Fantasma defeated Akira Tozawa to win Block B of the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament
3. Mia Yim defeated Santana Garrett
4. Roderick Strong defeated Dexter Lumis
5. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan defeated Ever-Rise (Chase Parker and Matt Martel) by submission
6. Drake Maverick defeated Kushida in a NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament match
7. Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai went to a No Contest after interference by Charlotte Flair
Thoughts: After Karrion Kross squashed another unfortunate soul that was out in his path of destruction, the man he attacked from behind weeks prior, Tommaso Ciampa, marched to the ring and challenged Kross to a match at NXT TakeOver: In Your House on June 7th. The match was later made official. This should be an interesting match as the winner is a bit hard to predict. Kross has just arrived on the scene and can’t really lose his first TakeOver appearance without losing the momentum he has built so far. On the other hand, Ciampa is just coming off losing his feud against Johnny Gargano. However, I feel that Ciampa can survive one loss against Kross and then go on to vanquish Karrion in a rematch at a later date.
The Drake Maverick story in the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament has been exceptionally well done. After being legitimately fired by the WWE and posting an emotional video on Twitter, WWE decided to incorporate these real life situations into Drake’s storyline involvement in the tournament. This has allowed Maverick to showcase more passion and in ring ability than at any point in his WWE career thus far, especially in his surprise win over Kushida on this night in what ended up being my Match of the Week.
This win now ties Maverick, Kushida, and Jake Atlas in the standings of Block A of the tournament. It was announced after the match that the winner of the block will be decided in a triple threat match between the three men next week. It is unknown if Drake has signed a new contract with WWE or not, but if he has, then winning the entire tournament would make for an excellent underdog story and, personally, I hope it comes to pass.
Overall, this was a great episode of NXT with the highlights being Ciampa’s confrontation against Kross, the two NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament matches and Strong vs. Lumis.
1. Jon Moxley defeated 10
2. MJF defeated Marko Stunt by submission
3. Rey Fenix defeated Orange Cassidy after interference by Kip Sabian
4. Nyla Rose and Britt Baker defeated Kris Statlander and Hikaru Shida
5. Matt Hardy defeated Sammy Guevara
Thoughts: Overall, this was a good episode of Dynamite with the highlights being Fenix vs. Cassidy, Hardy vs. Guevara, and the post main event brawl between Matt Hardy/The Elite and The Inner Circle on the TIAA Bank Field.
During the show, Shawn Spears challenged Dustin Rhodes to a match at AEW Double or Nothing this Saturday which was later made official. Also on the show, Frankie Kazarian and Luchasaurus were announced as participants in the Casino Ladder match at the PPV where the winner will earn a future AEW World Championship match. The last spot in the ladder match was left unannounced, leaving the impression that that last spot will go to a surprise entrant.
I am looking forward to tonight’s PPV. This will be AEW first PPV in the empty arena era and it will be interesting to see how the presentation of the show turns out in comparison to WWE’s last two PPVs. The match I am looking forward to the most is the Stadium Stampede which will see The Elite and Matt Hardy fight The Inner Circle all over the TIAA Bank Field with falls counting all over the stadium. With the amount of talent involved, it should be a chaotic and fun match with plenty of creative spots. I expect The Elite and Hardy to get the win to finally get their revenge against Chris Jericho and his Inner Circle.
Between NXT and AEW this week, I am going to have to give the close win to NXT based on the overall match quality and the great Drake Maverick story. This brings my personal 2020 WNW rankings to: NXT – 9 and AEW – 11.
1. Braun Strowman defeated The Miz
2. AJ Styles defeated Shinsuke Nakamura in a WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Quarterfinals match
3. Bayley defeated Charlotte Flair in a Champion vs. Champion match
4. Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville defeated Otis and Mandy Rose
5. Jeff Hardy defeated Sheamus in a WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Quarterfinals match
Thoughts: After The Miz and John Morrison mocked Braun Strowman on The Dirt Sheet, The Universal Champion came out to confront the former WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champions. After going at it on the mic back and forth, Morrison got too overzealous and issued a challenge against The Monster Among Men on Miz’s behalf to which Strowman accepted. After Braun destroyed Miz, The Shaman of Sexy made another challenge against Strowman, saying that Braun couldn’t beat both Miz and Morrison together and to defend his WWE Universal Championship against the pair at Backlash in a handicap match. Strowman confidently accepted the challenge and the match was made official later in the night.
Braun’s next title defense being against both Miz and Morrison at Backlash is an interesting booking decision. It indicates that WWE wants to slowly build up to the inevitable rematch between Strowman and Bray Wyatt, possibly at July’s Extreme Rules or even August’s SummerSlam where there is a higher likelihood that WWE will be able to perform in front of a live audience again. One thing I really liked in the opening segment was when Miz warned Strowman that The A-Lister had faced Wyatt before and that Bray was not done with The Monster yet. This showed some continuity and further teased The Fiend’s vengeful return.
During AJ Styles’ entrance, Michael Cole noted that the reason Styles was able to be in the WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament was that The Phenomenal One had been traded by Raw to SmackDown, though it was not revealed who AJ was traded for. The final four in the tournament were decided on this night with the semifinal matches of Jeff Hardy vs. Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles vs. Elias announced to both take place next week. I predict that the finals will come down to Bryan and Styles with AJ being the one to walk away in the end with his first IC Title in hand.
Overall, this was a great episode of Friday Night SmackDown with the highlights being Styles vs. Nakamura and Bayley vs. Flair.
That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to AEW Double or Nothing tonight, Apollo vs. Andrade 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!