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Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review Issue #35

Welcome everyone to the thirty-fifth edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review. I cover a week that saw the NXT TakeOver: In Your House event, the final build to WWE Backlash, the continued build to AEW Fyter Fest, and the finals of the WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament. Let’s get started.

 

NXT TakeOver: In Your House:

And NEW NXT Women’s Champion: Io Shirai! Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Mia Yim, Shotzi Blackheart, and Tegan Nox defeated Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, and Raquel González
2. Finn Bálor defeated Damian Priest
3. Keith Lee (c) defeated Johnny Gargano to retain the NXT North American Championship
4. Adam Cole (c) defeated Velveteen Dream in a Last Chance Backlot Brawl to retain the NXT Championship (As a result, Dream cannot challenge for the NXT Championship while Cole is champion.)
5. Karrion Kross defeated Tommaso Ciampa by technical submission
6. Io Shirai defeated Charlotte Flair (c) and Rhea Ripley in a Triple Threat match to become the new NXT Women’s Champion

Thoughts: The most surprising and newsworthy results from this night was Io Shirai defeating Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley to become the new NXT Women’s Champion in a fantastic main event. While I was happy to see Io finally get her big championship moment as she is one of the very best female wrestlers in the entire company, I do have to wonder how this will affect the already established feud between Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley.

Flair’s victory over Ripley at WrestleMania hampered Rhea’s momentum that she had been building for many months prior. However, this was excused as it was believed by many that Charlotte would give The Nightmare her victory back, possibly in front of a larger crowd, in order to make up for it. However, if Flair is actually going to end up leaving NXT behind after this without putting over anyone, especially Ripley, then I have a real problem with that as it means that WWE sacrificed a rising star in order to give The Queen yet another accolade that she didn’t need. I hope this does not end up being the case and we do see Flair vs. Ripley again even if it is not for the NXT Women’s Championship.

Overall, this was a great PPV with the highlights being Finn Bálor vs. Damian Priest, Keith Lee vs. Johnny Gargano, Adam Cole vs. Velveteen Dream, and the NXT Women’s Championship main event.

 

WWE Raw:

Christian attempts to motivate Edge ahead of his match with Randy Orton at WWE Backlash.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Charlotte Flair and Asuka defeated Bayley and Sasha Banks and The IIconics (Peyton Royce and Billie Kay) in a Triple Threat Tag Team match by submission
2. Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo defeated Buddy Murphy and Austin Theory
3. Andrade defeated Kevin Owens and Angel Garza in a #1 Contender Triple Threat match to earn a shot at the WWE United States Championship at WWE Backlash
4. Bobby Lashley and MVP defeated The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar) by submission
5. Charlotte Flair defeated Asuka after interference by Nia Jax

Thoughts: It was announced on the show that the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, Bayley and Sasha Banks, will defend their newly won titles against the prior champions, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross, and The IIconics (Peyton Royce and Billie Kay) in a Triple Threat Tag Team match at WWE Backlash. This could be the moment where the long hinted at split between Bayley and Sasha Banks occurs should they end up losing their championships, though it may be too soon to think that the time of the inevitable split is here due to the rumors stating that the long awaited clash between Bayley and Banks is not set to happen until WWE SummerSlam in August.

This was an overall great episode of Monday Night Raw with the highlights being the opening triple threat tag team match, the continuation of the Seth Rollins/Rey Mysterio feud, The Peep Show segment with Edge, Christian, and Randy Orton, Andrade vs. Owens vs. Garza, and Asuka vs. Flair.

 

WWE NXT:

Santos Escobar reveals his true nature.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae defeated Keith Lee and Mia Yim
2. Indus Sher (Rinku and Saurav) defeated Mikey Delbrey and Mike Reed
3. Finn Bálor defeated Cameron Grimes
4. Dakota Kai defeated Kacy Catanzaro
5. Adam Cole defeated Dexter Lumis after interference by The Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish)

Thoughts: New NXT Cruiserweight Champion, El Hijo del Fantasma, came out to the ring to talk about his championship win. He was then interrupted by Drake Maverick who congratulated Fantasma on his victory over him in the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Finals before asking for another shot at the masked superstar and the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Fantasma agreed before the same two masked men who had distracted Maverick in the Finals the week before stormed down to the ring.

Fantasma acted like he was going to work with Drake to fight the two men before the luchador turned around and attacked Maverick. The three masked men then beat down the former WWE 24/7 Champion before Fantasma finished Maverick off with the Phantom Driver. The two mystery men then unmasked and revealed themselves to be Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza. The champion then removed his own mask and said his name was truly Santos Escobar and that he was now completely untouchable.

This was a huge twist and payed off months of strange backstage attacks that had seen Wilde and Mendoza seemingly abducted by masked men that we now know were working for Escobar. This twist also revealed that the distraction that had cost Maverick the championship in the tournament finals was purposeful and orchestrated by Fantasma/Escobar to steal the title. This was a great, effective heel turn with Maverick being the perfect underdog hero to fight to overcome this dastardly trio and win the championship.

After Adam Cole’s victory over Dexter Lumis, he was interrupted by Scarlett. She then walked down the ramp and set an hourglass in the ring as a warning that Karrion Kross was coming for Adam Cole and his NXT Championship. I personally hope this does not end with Kross being the one the take the NXT Championship from Cole as Karrion is not the proper type of character to be the one to end the over year long reign of the leader of The Undisputed Era.

Kross is the type of monster heel character that others must overcome and not the type to be the one doing the overcoming against a dominant heel champion like Cole. While I believe that Kross could be a good champion down the line, I would be far more interested with Lumis being the one to chase Cole as he is a very unique type of character, especially for a face.

Overall, this was a good episode of NXT with the highlight being the heel transformation of El Hijo del Fantasma into Santos Escobar.

 

All Elite Wrestling:

Cody Rhodes vs. Marq Quen for the AEW TNT Championship
Credit: AEW

Results:
1. FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood) defeated The Butcher and The Blade
2. Penelope Ford and Nyla Rose defeated Kris Statlander and Hikaru Shida
3. Orange Cassidy and Best Friends (Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor) defeated The Inner Circle (Jake Hagar, Santana, and Ortiz)
4. Sammy Guevara defeated Colt Cabana
5. Cody Rhodes (c) defeated Marq Quen by submission to retain the AEW TNT Championship

Thoughts: After Cody Rhodes’ victory over Marq Quen, he was interrupted by Jake Hager. Hager then attacked Cody and Arn Anderson. Jake then picked up the AEW TNT title, showing that he wanted the next shot at the championship. Private Party (Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy) and Matt Hardy ran down to make the save before the rest of The Inner Circle ran out, causing a huge brawl. After The Inner Circle retreated to the stage, The American Nightmare offered Hager a shot at the AEW TNT Championship at Fyter Fest.

Cody vs. Hager should be a great championship match, though I see Rhodes retaining as I believe it will end up being Lance Archer who takes the title from Cody. Cody vs. MJF II is also a possible post Fyter Fest feud for the AEW TNT Championship given MJF’s repeated claim of deserving a title shot with the match being a possible featured match at AEW All Out in September.

Overall, this was a great episode of Dynamite with the highlights being FTR vs. Butcher and Blade, Cassidy/Best Friends vs. The Inner Circle, the post-match beatdown of Cassidy by Chris Jericho, and the main event.

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 – 10 and AEW – 13.

 

WWE SmackDown:

My Match of the Week: AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan for the vacant WWE Intercontinental Championship
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro defeated The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E)
2. AJ Styles defeated Daniel Bryan in the WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Finals to become the new WWE Intercontinental Champion
3. Braun Strowman and Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker) defeated Dolph Ziggler, John Morrison, and The Miz

Thoughts: The WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Finals was, pun fully intended, simply phenomenal and is my Match of the Week. AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan are arguably two of the best professional wrestlers in the entire world and the two lived up to their talents in this fantastic, clinical wrestling match.

I still don’t know exactly why WWE didn’t have this great match at the WWE Backlash PPV. The only thing I can think of is that they knew this match would outclass everything else of the card, including the self-proclaimed “Greatest Wrestling Match of All Time”, Edge vs. Randy Orton. I was happy to see Styles win one of the few titles to have eluded him in his WWE career thus far and I hope that this is not the last time we see The Phenomenal One and The Planet’s Champion go at it for this title during AJ’s reign.

I was also very happy to see Heavy Machinery back together with Tucker making his return on this episode after a number of weeks of being absent from the show. While I think Otis can be a highly successful singles star, I really hope Heavy Machinery get a run with the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships before WWE makes the inevitable dumb choice to split the team up.

Overall, this was a great episode of Friday Night SmackDown with the highlights being the amazing WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Finals and the main event.

 

That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to WWE Backlash tomorrow night. 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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