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Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review Issue #36

Welcome everyone to the thirty-sixth edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review. I cover a week that saw the WWE Backlash PPV, the continued build to AEW Fyter Fest, multiple championships on the line, and the return of Bray Wyatt. Let’s get started.

 

WWE Backlash:

My Match of the Week: Edge vs. Randy Orton
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Apollo Crews (c) defeated Andrade to retain the WWE United States Championship
2. Bayley and Sasha Banks (c) defeated Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross and The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce) in a Triple Threat Tag Team match to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships.
3. Sheamus defeated Jeff Hardy
4. Asuka (c) vs. Nia Jax for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship ended in a double countout
5. Braun Strowman (c) defeated The Miz and John Morrison in a 2-on-1 Handicap match to retain the WWE Universal Championship
6. Drew McIntyre (c) defeated Bobby Lashley to retain the WWE Championship
7. Randy Orton defeated Edge

Thoughts: Despite the PPV’s tagline, Randy Orton vs. Edge was not “The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” by any means. However, it was still a highly effective and entertaining match as these two legends threw everything that had at each other in what ended up being one of the best WWE matches of this year thus far. They hit each other with every move in their arsenal as well as moves made famous by many of their rivals over the years, including using the finishers of The Rock, Triple H, Eddie Guerrero, and Kurt Angle among others. The match came to an end when Orton hit the most dangerous move in his move set when he punted Edge in the head, a move that Randy has not hit in some time after it was initially banned.

The fact that the Punt, a move not seen in some time, had to be used to finally put Edge away was smart storytelling in my opinion. Aside from the shock of the move actually being done after so long, it really showcased from a storytelling perspective just how desperate to defeat Edge Orton had become by needing to use his last resort to finish the job. In some unfortunate news, it has been reported that at some point during in the match, Edge suffered multiple torn triceps and that the injury would sideline him for four to eight months. Due to this, we will have wait to see if there will a rubber match down the road between The Apex Predator and The Rated R Superstar.

This was an overall good PPV with the highlights being Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy, Drew McIntyre vs. Bobby Lashley, the hilarious backstage brawl/team up between The Viking Raiders and Street Profits, and the main event.

 

WWE Raw:

Christian confronts Randy Orton
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Kevin Owens defeated Angel Garza
2. The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar) and Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) defeated Akira Tozawa and his three Ninjas
3. The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce) defeated Liv Morgan and Natalya
4. Apollo Crews defeated Shelton Benjamin
5. Drew McIntyre (c) and R-Truth defeated MVP and Bobby Lashley to retain McIntyre’s WWE Championship
6. Asuka (c) defeated Nia Jax to retain the WWE Raw Women’s Championship
7. Randy Orton defeated Christian in an Unsanctioned match after interference by Ric Flair

Thoughts: The show opened up with Randy Orton in the ring bragging about his win over Edge at Backlash. Orton talked about Edge’s injury that he sustained in the match and then took credit for it and sending Edge home to be a family man. In a surprise appearance, Christian’s music hit and he walked down to the ring to confront The Viper. After trying to defend Edge’s honor, Christian was mocked by Randy who claiming that Christian was jealous of The Rated-R Superstar and that all he really wanted was just one more match for himself.

Orton noted that Christian is not medically cleared to compete, so he offered him a chance to be able to get retribution by accepting The Apex Predator’s challenge to an unsanctioned match in the main event. Later in the night, after trying to be talked out it by both Big Show and Ric Flair, Christian accepted Orton’s challenge.

In the main event, as the introduction were being made, Flair came out to try one last time to talk Captain Charisma out of competing, but Christian said he had to do it. However, as soon as the bell rang, Flair turned on Christian in a shocking twist by hitting him with a low blow from behind and then just simply walked away. Randy then took advantage and immediately hit the Punt on Christian’s head. Orton the carefully rolled Christian over and covered him for the pin. After the match, The Legend Killer acted remorseful for his actions and claimed he didn’t want to do what he did to Christian in a scene that was very similar to how Orton acted in the weeks after he first took out Edge earlier this year.

This was all fantastic storytelling by these two great veterans. Both Christian and Orton showed that they are masters both on the mic and in the ring as both men played their roles very well. While it is clear this Christian/Orton feud is a last minute replacement for the previously planned rubber match between Edge and Orton at WWE SummerSlam, this all still feel a like a very natural progression of this story. It is my hope that Christian is given a chance to really shine and is not just used as a place holder body for Orton to beat down until Edge comes back.

In other news, it was announced this past Friday that there will be four championship matches on next week’s Raw with Asuka defending the WWE Raw Women’s Championship against Charlotte Flair, The Street Profits defending the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships against The Vikings Raiders, Bayley and Sasha Banks defending the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships against The IIconics, and R-Truth defending the WWE 24/7 Championship against Akira Tozawa.

Overall, this was a good episode of Monday Night Raw with the highlights being the McIntyre/R-Truth vs. MVP/Lashley story and the start of the Orton/Christian feud.

 

WWE NXT:

Adam Cole, Keith Lee, Finn Bálor, & Johnny Gargano all make challenges for NXT championship gold.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Imperium (Marcel Bartel and Fabian Aichner) (c) defeated Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango) to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships after interference by Indus Sher (Rinku and Saurav)
2. Damian Priest defeated Killian Dain
3. Aliyah defeated Xia Li after interference by Robert Stone
4. Dakota Kai defeated Kayden Carter by submission after interference by Raquel Gonzalez
5. Bronson Reed defeated Leon Ruff
6. Bayley and Sasha Banks (c) defeated Tegan Nox and Shotzi Blackheart by submission to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships

Thoughts: While backstage, NXT Champion Adam Cole responded to the warning given to him by Karrion Kross and Scarlett last week. Cole stated that he unafraid before he was interrupted by Keith Lee. Lee then told the champion not to worry about Kross as he would be the one to take Cole’s title before he smashed Scarlett’s hourglass. The leader of The Undisputed Era then walked out to the ring to address both Lee and Kross. Adam claimed that Kross had only just arrived and that he wasn’t worthy of a title opportunity yet. When it came to The Limitless One, Cole issued a title challenge of his own as he stated that he wanted a shot at Keith’s NXT North American Championship.

Lee then arrived to confront Cole before they were interrupted by Johnny Gargano and Finn Bálor. Gargano and Bálor made it clear that they both want both Lee and Cole’s titles. William Regal then appeared on the screen and announced two massive championship matches. First, Keith Lee will defend his NXT North American Championship against both Bálor and Gargano in a triple threat next week. The winner of that match will then go on to face Adam Cole in a winner-take-all champion vs. champion match on July 8.

This was a great segment that set up some very exciting and interesting scenarios in the NXT Championship picture going forward. I can see either Lee or Bálor being the man who will walk away next week with the NXT North American Championship before going on to face Cole in the title-for-title match. The only reason I doubt that Gargano is winning is that I don’t see Johnny Wrestling clashing with Cole at this time.

Overall, this was a good episode of NXT with the highlights being the segment mentioned above as well as the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship main event.

 

All Elite Wrestling:

Le Sex Gods (Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara) vs. Best Friends (Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor)
Credit: AEW

Results:
1. Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page (c) defeated Natural Nightmares (Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall) to retain the AEW World Tag Team Championships
2. Abadon defeated Anna Jay
3. MJF defeated Billy Gunn after interference by Wardlow
4. Cody Rhodes (c) defeated Ricky Starks to retain the AEW TNT Championship
5. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) defeated Superbad Squad (Kip Sabian and Jimmy Havoc)
6. Best Friends (Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor) defeated Le Sex Gods (Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara) in a #1 Contender match to retain their shot at the AEW World Tag Team Championships at AEW Fyter Fest after interference by Orange Cassidy

Thoughts: Keeping his promise to defend the AEW TNT Championship every week, Cody Rhodes had issued an open challenge to anyone from outside AEW. It was then revealed that this challenge had been accepted by the highly talented former NWA World Television Champion, Ricky Starks. After a fantastic match, Cody would pick up the win after hitting Starks with the Cross Rhodes to retain his title. This match was a great way to showcase Starks to anyone in the AEW audience who was not familiar with his previous work on NWA Power. AEW did a great job at picking up Starks for their roster after he had became a free agent as Starks is a great talent with a lot of potential.

As a result of the match outcomes in the opening match and the main event, the AEW World Tag Team Championship match at AEW Fyter is once again set as Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page will defend their titles against Best Friends. This is a match that could either way depending on what plans AEW has for Omega and Page post-Fyter Fest.

Speaking of the main event, Orange Cassidy was brilliant. Unknown to everyone, Orange had disguising himself as a cameraman. During the match, he tripped up Sammy Guevara which allowed Trent to take advantage and pick up the win, costing Chris Jericho and Guevara a shot at the tag titles. Freshly Squeezed then revealed himself and attacked Jericho. Cassidy showed more intensity than he has ever shown before in AEW before finishing off Le Champion by knocking Jericho out of the ring with a Superman Punch. It was then announced right afterwards that Chris Jericho and Orange Cassidy will go one on one at Fyter Fest. This is the match that I am most excited for on this two part event as Jericho and Cassidy should put a great show.

Overall, this was a great episode of AEW Dynamite with the highlights being the AEW World Tag Team Championship match, Cody vs. Starks, The Young Bucks vs. Superbad Squad, 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 – 14.

 

WWE SmackDown:

The original Bray Wyatt returns.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Matt Riddle defeated AJ Styles
2. Chad Gable defeated Mojo Rawley
3. The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E) defeated Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik)
4. Sasha Banks defeated Nikki Cross

Thoughts: Bray Wyatt made his return in the main event segment with a new edition of the Firefly Funhouse. While talking about his loss to Braun Strowman at WWE Money in the Bank, Wyatt was about to reveal his next step before he was interrupted by Strowman. Strowman then got on the mic and told Bray that he done playing games with him. The host of the Firefly Funhouse then revealed that he had revived someone from the dead to take care of The Monster Among Men. In a shocking twist, Wyatt then reverted to his original Eater of Worlds persona. This caused Strowman’s face to go blank as he was faced with the persona of Wyatt that was Braun’s former leader in The Wyatt Family. Bray then challenged Braun to come find him and added that the WWE Universal Champion knows exactly how to do so: “Follow the Buzzards”.

This was a fantastic segment with an unforeseen twist. Most people assumed that Bray summon The Fiend to go after his former follower, but instead, he resurrected the Bray Wyatt of old. In the context of the story, this makes sense from Wyatt’s perspective as it is this persona that seems to cause Strowman to lose his confidence. With this development, Bray now has three distinct, separate personas which, in my opinion, makes the character even more unpredictable and dangerous as you will now never know which version of this monstrous man that you will be forced to face in the ring.

In other news from the show, Matt Riddle made his SmackDown debut in impressive fashion by defeating the WWE Intercontinental Champion, AJ Styles. Riddle is a great addiction to the Blue Brand and it will interesting to see where this victory over The Phenomenal One goes. Styles’ won’t be getting a break anytime soon as it was announced that he will be defending his title next week against a man who also has a recent victory over him, Drew Gulak, which should be a great match.

Overall, this was a great episode of Friday Night SmackDown with the highlights being Matt Riddle’s debut, The New Day vs. Lucha House Party, and the return of the original Bray Wyatt.

 

That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to the big championship night on this Monday’s Raw and the triple threat NXT North American Championship match 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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