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Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review Issue #40

Welcome everyone to the fortieth edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review. I cover a week that saw AEW Fight for the Fallen, the final build to WWE Extreme Rules, two NXT championship matches, and both the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships and WWE Intercontinental Championship on the line. Let’s get started.

 

WWE Raw:

Shayna Baszler made her return to Monday Night Raw.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Andrade and Angel Garza defeated The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar) in a Tag Team Elimination match
2. Ruby Riott and Bianca Belair defeated The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce)
3. Aleister Black defeated Buddy Murphy by DQ after interference by Seth Rollins
4. Kevin Owens defeated Seth Rollins after interference by Aleister Black and Dominik Mysterio
5. Randy Orton defeated R-Truth
6. Bobby Lashley defeated Ricochet by submission
7. Bayley and Sasha Banks (c) defeated The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) by submission to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships

Thoughts: Prior to his match with Randy Orton, R-Truth had a backstage confrontation with Akira Tozawa. Truth then said that he was tired of dealing with Tozawa and his ninjas and challenged the Japanese superstar to a match in the ring for Truth’s WWE 24/7 Championship. Before the match could begin, Shayna Baszler made her return to Raw after not appearing on TV since early May. Baszler then destroyed Tozawa’s three ninja one by one which caused Akira to reconsider his plans with Truth and retreat. Shayna then stared down the WWE 24/7 Champion, causing him to also choose to let himself out.

The Queen of Spades then issued a dire warning to the Raw women’s division by promising a reality check. “And I am that reality,” she said. Baszler’s return indicates that she will be the next obstacle for WWE Raw Women’s Champion, Asuka. The question then is will Shayna be the one to end The Empress of Tomorrow’s title reign and win the championship that she failed to win back at WrestleMania?

After Orton’s victory over R-Truth, Orton teased punting Truth in the head, but he was interrupted by Big Show who ran down to make the save. Randy then challenged Show to an unsanctioned match for next week, to which the giant accepted. Next week’s math between Big Show and Orton should be an excellent hardcore brawl between these two legendary wrestlers. While this match may have fit very well on this Sunday’s WWE Extreme Rules, I get that WWE is choosing to put more big matches on TV to help boost ratings. Should The Viper emerge victorious, as I believe he will, the question is then what will be next for The Legend Killer? Will he go after WWE Champion Drew McIntyre or will another legend try to stand in his way? We will have to wait and see.

Overall, this was a great episode of Monday Night Raw with the highlights being the Tag Team Elimination match, Shayna Baszler’s return, Owens vs. Rollins, Orton’s beatdown of Truth and his challenge to Big Show, Lashley vs. Ricochet, and the main event.

 

WWE NXT:

My Match of the Week: Io Shirai vs. Tegan Nox for the NXT Women’s Championship
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Damian Priest defeated Cameron Grimes
2. Indi Hartwell defeated Shotzi Blackheart after interference by Robert Stone and Aliyah
3. Keith Lee (c) defeated Dominik Dijakovic to retain both the NXT Championship and NXT North American Championship
4. Timothy Thatcher defeated Denzel Dejournette by submission
5. Io Shirai (c) defeated Tegan Nox to retain the NXT Women’s Championship

Thoughts: After Keith Lee’s victory over Dominik Dijakovic, the lights went out. Scarlett then appeared on the entrance ramp and walked down to the ring. She then set on the mat the shattered remains of the hourglass once left for Adam Cole as a warning that Karrion Kross is coming for Lee’s titles. Dijakovic later confronted Kross backstage which lead to the two big men brawling before Kross came out on top. It was later announced that Kross and Dijakovic will go one on one next week. Kross is the sensible next threat for Lee. The eventual showdown between them will most likely take place at the next NXT TakeOver, which is currently scheduled to occur in August. While Kross is a dangerous threat, I do not see Lee losing the NXT Championship anytime soon. The NXT North American Championship, on the other hand, may be a different story.

After Io Shirai’s victory over Tegan Nox in what is My Match of the Week, The Genius of the Sky was laid out from behind by Dakota Kai. Kai is the perfect next challenge for Shirai as she has been built up for some time as a credible heel challenger. While I would love to see Kai as champion, like I had said with Lee, I do not see Io losing her title anytime soon.

With Shirai dominating the NXT women’s division, it is unknown as to what Rhea Ripley will do next. I could see her being sent to Raw or SmackDown with SmackDown being more in need of top face competitors. Whatever she may end up doing for now, whenever Charlotte Flair makes her return, WWE needs to go back to Flair vs. Ripley as there is still too much unfinished business between the two as The Nightmare is due to get her win back from The Queen.

Overall, this was a great episode of NXT with the highlights being Lee vs. Dijakovic and Shirai vs. Nox.

 

All Elite Wrestling:

Jon Moxley vs. Brian Cage for the AEW World Championship
Credit: AEW

Results:
1. Cody Rhodes (c) defeated Sonny Kiss to retain the AEW TNT Championship
2. FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler) defeated The Lucha Bros. (Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix)
3. The Elite (Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson) defeated Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, and Marko Stunt)
4. Nightmare Sisters (Brandi Rhodes and Allie) defeated MJ Jenkins and Kenzi Page
5. Jon Moxley (c) defeated Brian Cage by technical submission after Taz threw in the towel to retain the AEW World Championship

Thoughts: This was the Fight for the Fallen 2020 special episode. The most interesting developments from this week’s episode was the behavior of both Cody Rhodes and Kenny Omega. Cody displayed heelish behavior during his AEW TNT Championship defense against Sonny Kiss. He acted cocky and showed great frustration and sloppy behavior throughout the match against someone he should have been a clear favorite against. The commentators noted that the schedule of defending the AEW TNT Championship almost every week, that Cody placed upon himself, may be getting to The American Nightmare as he appears to be burning out and succumbing to his own hubris and desperation. With Tully Blanchard watching from the audience and Arn Anderson expressing frustration with his charge, could Cody be heading to a heel turn and change in management soon?

Speaking of potential heel turns, Kenny Omega showed a darker part of his personality that he has not shown since leaving New Japan Pro Wrestling for AEW. Over the past year, Omega has faltered by not living up to the potential that everyone had for him as he went from being a dominate champion in Japan to struggling in AEW against the likes of Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley, and Pac as well as being walked over by his own tag team partner, Hangman Page. The last straw for Kenny seemed to come on this week’s episode, when an attempt to make peace with FTR was rejected when they took the beer offered by The Cleaner and poured it over his head.

The anger and disrespect felt by Omega due to FTR’s actions lingered over into his six-man tag match with The Young Bucks against Jurassic Express. The Best Bout Machine took the much smaller Marko Stunt lightly at the beginning of the match and payed for it by nearly being caught up by Stunt multiple times. Omega then turned up the aggression and fully engaged himself against his opponents, picking up the win by hitting Stunt with the One-Winged Angel.

The anger with FTR and frustration with being nearly caught by Marko came to a head as Omega allowed his frustration to boil over when he took a few cheap shots to Stunt’s head after the match was already over, causing The Bucks to have to pull him off and reprimand him. After a year of setbacks in his singles career and multiple instances of disrespect, could the old ruthless Kenny be making his return? How will this affect his partnership with his AEW Tag Team Championship partner, Page, who was seen sharing a drink with FTR, as well as his relationship with The Young Bucks? Is The Elite set to implode with Cody and Kenny sinking back to their old heelish ways?

Overall, this was a great special episode of AEW Dynamite with the highlights being FTR vs. The Lucha Bros., The Elite vs. Jurassic Express, and the main event that saw the return of Darby Allin when he saved Jon Moxley from a post-match attack by Brain Cage, the man who put Allin out of action for a month.

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 – 11 and AEW – 17.

 

WWE SmackDown:

AJ Styles vs. Matt Riddle for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Cesaro defeated Big E after interference by Shinsuke Nakamura to earn the right to name the stipulation for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship match at WWE Extreme Rules
2. Bayley and Sasha Banks defeated Asuka and Nikki Cross
3. Braun Strowman defeated John Morrison
4. Lacey Evans defeated Naomi
5. AJ Styles (c) defeated Matt Riddle to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship

Thoughts: As a result of Cesaro’s victory over Big E, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura were able to choose whether their match against The New Day for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship match at WWE Extreme Rules will be a Cage match or a Tables match. The international duo ended up choosing a Tables match which made sense considering this has been their weapon of choice when attacking The New Day over the past couple of weeks. I expect The Swiss Superman and The King of Strong Style to walk out of WWE Extreme Rules with the gold as there is really no other heel team for The New Day to feud with that they have not already beaten. Cesaro and Nakamura would be excellent tag champs as well as be perfect opponents for a team like Heavy Machinery to challenge.

The promos by both Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman were both fantastic. Wyatt’s promo from his home in the swamp was a great way to reintroduce his Eater of Worlds cult leader character. Strowman’s response to Wyatt showed more passion and emotion than any other promo he has ever done. I am highly looking forward to The Wyatt Swamp Fight between these two former allies turned bitter enemies this Sunday at WWE Extreme Rules. I predict that Wyatt will get the upper hand over Strowman and then unleash The Fiend on The Monster Among Men at WWE SummerSlam, regaining the WWE Universal Championship. This has been an awesome feud filled with great writing and excellent performances from both Wyatt and Strowman.

Overall, this was a great episode of Friday Night SmackDown with the highlights being Cesaro vs. Big E, Bayley/Banks vs. Asuka/Cross, Wyatt and Strowman’s promos, and the main event championship match between Styles and Riddle.

 

That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to WWE Extreme Rules 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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