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Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review Issue #33

Welcome everyone to the thirty-third edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review. I cover a week that saw the AEW Double or Nothing PPV, the continued build to WWE Backlash and NXT TakeOver: In Your House, the WWE United States Championship on the line, and the continuation of the NXT Cruiserweight Championship and WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournaments. Let’s get started.

 

AEW Double or Nothing:

My Match of the Week: The Elite and Matt Hardy vs. The Inner Circle in a Stadium Stampede match
Credit: AEW

Results:
1. Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta) defeated Private Party (Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen) in a #1 Contender match to earn a shot at the AEW World Tag Team Championships
2. Brian Cage defeated Darby Allin, Colt Cabana, Orange Cassidy, Joey Janela, Scorpio Sky, Kip Sabian, Frankie Kazarian, and Luchasaurus in a Casino Ladder match to earn a future AEW World Championship match
3. MJF defeated Jungle Boy
4. Cody Rhodes defeated Lance Archer in the AEW TNT Championship Tournament Final to become the inaugural AEW TNT Champion
5. Kris Statlander defeated Penelope Ford
6. Dustin Rhodes defeated Shawn Spears
7. Hikaru Shida defeated Nyla Rose (c) in a No Disqualification and No Countout match to become the new AEW Women’s World Champion
8. Jon Moxley (c) defeated Brodie Lee by technical submission to retain the AEW World Championship
9. The Elite (Kenny Omega, “Hangman” Adam Page, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson) and Matt Hardy defeated The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana, and Ortiz) in a Stadium Stampede match

Thoughts: The Casino Ladder match was an excellent match with plenty of high flying, extreme moments. The big mystery competitor was revealed to be the debuting Brian Cage with ECW Legend Taz by his side. Cage ended up winning the entire match after taking out Darby Allin with the Drill Claw and grabbing the giant poker chip hanging above the ring to earn himself an opportunity to compete for the AEW World Championship. It was later announced that Cage would be cashing in that opportunity against Jon Moxley at AEW’s next PPV, Fyter Fest, which is set to take place sometime in June.

Two other men who really stood out in the Ladder match were Darby Allin and Orange Cassidy (including the hilarious moment where Cassidy walked over to the announce team and asked them how to win the match). After a few weeks of offering his mentorship to Allin and of being turned down each time, Taz got his revenge on Darby for the perceived disrespect when his new client, Cage, took out Darby at the end of the match to earn the victory. It will be interesting to see if the problems between Darby and Taz continue and, if so, how it will affect Cage’s upcoming championship match with Moxley.

The main event Stadium Stampede match was nothing short of epic. With so many memorable spots including the Inner Circle’s entrance, Page riding in on a horse, the “Pool of Reincarnation” spot with Hardy, Ortiz, and Santana, the bar room brawl between Page and Omega against Hager, and Hardy and Omega chasing Sammy with the golf cart for a second time, this was a match to remember. This was the most fun that I have had watching a match in AEW’s short history and I believe this will be a match people with be talking about and watching over and over for years to come. If you have not had the chance to check it out, I highly recommend it. Needless to say, this was My Match of the Week.

This was a fantastic PPV with the highlights being the Casino Ladder match, Cody vs. Archer, and especially the Stadium Stampede match.

 

WWE Raw:

NEW WWE United States Champion: Apollo Crews!
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Apollo Crews defeated Andrade (c) to become the new WWE United States Champion
2. Angel Garza defeated Kevin Owens
3. Buddy Murphy and Austin Theory defeated Humberto Carrillo and Aleister Black
4. Nia Jax defeated Natalya and Charlotte Flair in a Triple Threat #1 Contender match to earn a shot at the WWE Raw Women’s Championship at WWE Backlash
5. The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) defeated MVP and Bobby Lashley by DQ

Thoughts: I was very happy to see Apollo Crews win his first championship in WWE by defeating Andrade in a stellar match to become the new WWE United States Champion. After five years of up and mostly downs during his WWE career thus far, Crews finally got his chance to really shine and have a big moment. I hope Apollo’s momentum continues from here and that he is allowed to have a good reign as champion by continuing to showcase his incredible talent.

After Theory and Murphy’s victory over Carrillo and Black, Seth Rollins grabbed Humberto and had Austin and Murphy hold his eye against the edge of the ring steps like Rollins had done to Rey Mysterio weeks before. An act that saw Rey’s eye heavily damaged. Seth then gave a speech about how Mysterio was sacrificed for the greater good and threatened to do the same thing to Carrillo when Black tried to stop them with a steel chair. The Monday Night Messiah and his two disciples then escaped.

The evolution of Rollins’ Messiah character from a soft spoken, delusional person to a dangerous, unhinged madman has been exceptional with this promo being some of the best work that Seth has done since the introduction of his new persona. It was later announced on the show that there will be a Rey Mysterio retirement ceremony next week. We will have to wait and see to find what is actually behind this “retirement ceremony”.

This was a great episode of Raw with the highlights being Crews vs. Andrade, Garza vs. Owens, Rollins’ post match attack and promo against Carrillo and Black, and the main event post match brawl between Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley.

 

WWE NXT:

Matt Riddle vs. Timothy Thatcher in a Pit Fight with special guest referee, Kurt Angle
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Drake Maverick defeated Jake Atlas and Kushida in a Triple Threat match to win Block A of the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament
2. Johnny Gargano defeated Adrian Alanis by submission
3. Raquel Gonzalez defeated Shotzi Blackheart after interference by Dakota Kai
4. Charlotte Flair and Chelsea Green defeated Io Shirai and Rhea Ripley
5. Tommaso Ciampa defeated Leon Ruff
6. Timothy Thatcher defeated Matt Riddle by technical submission in a Pit Fight

Thoughts: The Drake Maverick storyline has been one of the major highlights on NXT week after week. With his win on this night, Maverick goes on the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Finals next week to take on El Hijo del Fantasma. I believe that Drake should go all the way and win the championship to complete his come from behind underdog story. Even if he does not win, he has more than earned a new contract with WWE after his performances in this tournament.

The main event Pit Fight was both physical and brutal as both men went in trying to destroy each other. The Fighting Pit was a unique structure. It was a ring surrounded by a cage with no ring ropes or posts with a scaffold surrounding the top of the cage. After a vicious back and forth, Thatcher picked up the win by locking Riddle in a rear-naked choke until The Original Bro passed out. This was a great match between these two technical masters. This would be the end of the feud as the rumor of Riddle moving to SmackDown was confirmed later in the week on SmackDown by Kurt Angle. I look forward to seeing what both Thatcher and Riddle do next in their careers.

During the show, a number of matches were announced for NXT TakeOver: In Your House including Charlotte Flair defending the NXT Women’s Championship against Io Shirai and Rhea Ripley in a Triple Threat match, Finn Balor vs. Damian Priest, Keith Lee defending the NXT North American Championship against Johnny Gargano, and Adam Cole defending the NXT Championship against The Velveteen Dream with the stipulation that if Dream loses, he will never get another shot at the NXT Championship while Cole is champion.

Overall, this was a great episode of NXT with the highlights being the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament match and the main event Pit Fight.

 

All Elite Wrestling:

FTR make their AEW debut
Credit: AEW

Results:
1. Matt Hardy and The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) defeated Joey Janela and Private Party (Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen)
2. Brain Cage defeated Lee Johnson
3. Hikaru Shida defeated Christi Jaynes
4. Kip Sabian and Jimmy Havoc defeated SCU (Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) to earn a shot at the AEW World Tag Team Championships next week
5. Jungle Boy won the #1 Contender Battle Royal last eliminating Orange Cassidy to earn a shot at the AEW TNT Championship next week

Thoughts: After the opening six man tag match, The Butcher and The Blade attacked The Young Bucks from behind after a confrontation between the two teams at ringside during the match. A pickup truck drove into the arena with the drivers being the debuting FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood) FKA The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson) in WWE. FTR hit the ring and acted like they were going to join in on the beat down of The Young Bucks before turning and taking out Butcher and Blade. The Bucks and FTR then had a stare down before FTR left the ring.

After weeks of speculation, FTR have made their way to AEW to confront the team that they have had a war of words on social media over many years. The Young Bucks vs. FTR is a dream match in anyone’s book and I look forward to seeing these two teams finally go head to head.

It was announced on the show that The Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta) will face the winners of next week’s AEW World Tag Team Championship match for the titles at AEW Fyter Fest.

Overall, this was a good episode of Dynamite with the highlights being FTR’s debut, Taz’s promo on Jon Moxley, and Cody Rhodes’ promo where he declared that he would defend the AEW TNT Championship every week.

Between NXT and AEW this week, I am going to have to give the win to NXT based on the overall match quality and the great Drake Maverick story. This brings my personal 2020 WNW rankings to: NXT – 10 and AEW – 11.

 

WWE SmackDown:

Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Sheamus won a Battle Royal last eliminating Jey Uso to earn the right to face Daniel Bryan in the WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Semifinals
2. Sonya Deville vs. Lacey Evans went to a double countout
3. Sasha Banks defeated Alexa Bliss after interference by Bayley
4. Chad Gable defeated Cesaro
5. Daniel Bryan defeated Sheamus in a WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Semifinals match after interference by Jeff Hardy

Thoughts: SmackDown opened up outside of The Performance Center where Elias was being stretchered into an ambulance by paramedics after being hit by a car in a hit and run “accident” with the driver having fled the scene. WWE Producer, Jamie Noble, and the police found Jeff Hardy nearby on the ground. Due to the car being under Hardy’s name and Jeff being out of it and smelling of the alcohol that was found in the car, the police arrested him as a suspect in the hit and run. Due to all of this, both Elias and Jeff were taken out of the WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament semifinals. This opening sets up the mystery of who really hit Elias with the car and framed Hardy for the crime with Baron Corbin and/or Sheamus being the most likely suspects.

After an argument backstage between the members of the locker room, AJ Styles opted to take his bye to the finals while Daniel Bryan stated that he wants to face someone tonight to earn his way to the finals. After further arguing, it was decided by WWE Producer, Adam Pierce, that there would be a Battle Royal with the winner facing Bryan later in the night for the right to go to the finals of the tournament to face Styles in two weeks. The Battle Royal came down to Sheamus and Jey Uso with The Celtic Warrior getting the win.

In the main event, Bryan defeated Sheamus with a running knee after the Irishman was distracted by a returning Jeff Hardy. After the match, Hardy attacked Sheamus causing The Celtic Warrior to flee, giving us the indication that it was Sheamus who framed Jeff for the hit and run.

During the show, as a result of Sasha Banks’ victory over Alexa Bliss, it was announced that Bliss and Nikki Cross will defend their WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships against Bayley and Banks next week.

Overall, this was a great episode of Friday Night SmackDown with the highlights being the stories and matches surrounding the WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament.

 

That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Finals this Wednesday. 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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