Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review Issue #50

Welcome everyone to the milestone 50th edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review. I cover a week that saw the final build to WWE Clash of Champions, the continued build to NXT TakeOver 31, and the AEW World Championship on the line. Let’s get started.


WWE Raw:

Retribution’s core members are revealed.
Credit: WWE

1. Andrade and Angel Garza defeated Humberto Carrillo and Dominik Mysterio and Seth Rollins and Buddy Murphy in a #1 Contenders Triple Threat Tag Team match to earn a shot at the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships at WWE Clash of Champions
2. Drew McIntyre defeated Keith Lee by DQ after interference by Randy Orton
3. Zelina Vega defeated Mickie James in a #1 Contender match to earn a shot at the WWE Raw Women’s Championship at WWE Clash of Champions
4. Apollo Crews defeated Cedric Alexander
5. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler defeated Lana and Natalya by submission
6. Asuka defeated Peyton Royce by DQ after interference by Zelina Vega
7. The Hurt Business (Bobby Lashley, Cedric Alexander, and Shelton Benjamin) defeated Retribution (T-Bar (Dominik Dijakovic), Mace (Dio Maddin), and Slapjack (Shane Thorne)) by DQ after interference by Retribution’s henchmen

Thoughts: The core members of Retribution were finally revealed this week and my God what a blunder of a debut it was. Where do I even begin? Let’s start with the group’s entire motivation, which is supposedly to get revenge against WWE as they feel they were tossed aside and let down by the WWE system. As such, they want to accomplish this by taking out the Superstars of Raw (I guess they gave up on attacking SmackDown anymore) out of a sense of jealousy of those who had “made it”.

While this makes sense for two of the members in Mace (Dio Maddin) and Slapjack (Shane Thorne), this makes zero sense for the rest of the members in T-Bar (Dominik Dijakovic), Mia Yim, and Mercedes Martinez. Dijakovic and Yim were both featured heavily in NXT and both received several title opportunities. Martinez has hardly been in NXT long enough to complain about being lost in the shuffle which she hasn’t as she was in a major main event steel cage match against Rhea Ripley only a few weeks ago. The idea of the group was an intriguing one, but most of the people they chose to put in this collective don’t fit the narrative being told.

Next are the stupid as hell new ring names. T-Bar? Mace? Slapjack? Who came up with these? They sound like rejected names for low tier henchmen in a Mad Max movie. God only knows what dumb names they end up giving to Yim and Martinez. I don’t even know why they are going by these names as the equally stupid as hell masks they are wearing don’t hide their true identities at all aside from Thorne’s so anyone who has watched NXT knows exactly who these people are.

Also, who is their right mind gave these guys, who have been breaking into the Performance Center and the WWE Thunderdome and attacking WWE employees for weeks, official WWE contracts? That makes no narrative sense. I get that they had to give a reason for the group to be able to wrestle in official matches, as this is still pro wrestling at the end of the day, but they should have at least had them to something in order to get the contracts rather than just have some unnamed person just give them to them off screen.

This is just lazy writing at its worst. Say what you will about how The Nexus ended up, at least that group had an awesome, memorable debut, a good early start, and a motive that made sense. This new group is dead in the water from the start and I honestly feel sorry for everyone involved.

The handling of Retribution, and whatever the hell that Seth Rollins segment was, made this an overall poor episode of Raw with the only real highlights being McIntyre vs. Lee, Orton’s attack on both men, and his post-match promo.



My Match of the Week: The Gauntlet Eliminator match
Credit: WWE

1. Candice LeRae won a #1 Contender Battle Royal last eliminating Shotzi Blackheart to earn a shot at the NXT Women’s Championship at NXT Takeover 31
2. Tommaso Ciampa defeated Jake Atlas
3. Roderick Strong and Danny Burch defeated Fabian Aichner and Raul Mendoza to earn a #1 Contenders match between The Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish) and Danny Burch/Oney Lorcan next week
4. Damian Priest defeated Austin Theory
5. Ridge Holland defeated Antonio De Luca
6. Kyle O’Reilly defeated Kushida, Bronson Reed, Timothy Thatcher, and Cameron Grimes in a #1 Contender Gauntlet Eliminator match last eliminating Grimes to earn a shot at the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver 31

Thoughts: My clear Match of the Week was this week’s main event Gauntlet Eliminator match. The match was excellent from start to finish with great performances from everyone involved. Kyle O’Reilly is an interesting choice to be Finn Bálor’s next challenger. The two men should have a barn burner of a match at NXT TakeOver, though I expect The Prince to retain his title in the end.

Two other matches were made for NXT TakeOver as Candice LeRae will challenge Io Shirai for the NXT Women’s Championship and Johnny Gargano will challenge Damian Priest for the NXT North American Championship. Will the husband and wife duo make good on their promise to both hold championship gold at the same time? We will have to see.

Overall, this was a great episode of NXT with the highlights being the Battle Royal, Strong/Burch vs. Aichner/Mendoza, and the main event.


All Elite Wrestling:

Cody Rhodes makes his return.
Credit: AEW

1. Miro and Kip Sabian defeated Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss by submission
2. “Hangman” Adam Page defeated Evil Uno
3. Brodie Lee (c) defeated Orange Cassidy after interference by John Silver to retain the AEW TNT Championship
4. Hikaru Shida and Thunder Rosa defeated Ivelisse and Diamante
5. Jon Moxley (c) defeated Eddie Kingston by submission to retain the AEW World Championship

Thoughts: The biggest news from this week’s Dynamite was the return of Cody Rhodes. After being taken out by The Dark Order six weeks ago, Cody made his surprise return after Brodie Lee’s successful title defense. Sporting his classic black hair, Cody stormed the ring. While the rest of The Dark Order retreated, The American Nightmare got his hands on Dark Order member, Alan Angels, and locked him in The Figure Four Leglock. Backstage, a furious Lee challenged Cody to a Dog Collar match and gave him one week to answer him.

While it was great to see Cody back, I do wonder if they brought him back too soon as Brodie has only recently found his groove as a dominant champion. The question is now when will Cody and The Exalted One have their fated rematch? Will they hold out another six weeks until AEW next PPV, Full Gear, or will they have it before on a big episode of Dynamite? We will have to see. Either way, I expect The Son of a Son of a Plumber to regain his lost championship.

Overall, this was a great episode of Dynamite with the highlights being Lee vs. Cassidy, Shida/Rosa vs. Ivelisse/Diamante, and the main event.

Between NXT and AEW this week, I am going to have to give the win to NXT due to the overall match quality. This brings my personal 2020 WNW rankings to: NXT – 14 and AEW – 24.


WWE SmackDown:

Roman Reigns shows his dominance over his cousin, Jey Uso.
Credit: WWE

1. Sami Zayn defeated Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles in a Triple Threat match
2. Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Gran Metalik
3. Baron Corbin defeated Matt Riddle
4. Lacey Evans defeated Alexa Bliss by DQ

Thoughts: The Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso rivalry has been excellent thus far. In my opinion, both men have shown more passion and fire in this storyline than any other time in their careers. For Roman, this heel turn has done wonders for him as it has made him a far more compelling character as The Tribal Chief than when he was just the smiling, one liner giving babyface. This is the Roman Reigns that fans have been wanting to see for years and I am very invested in seeing where this new direction for The Big Dog goes from here.

For Jey Uso, this feud has shown that he is more than just a great tag team competitor, that he is more than just one half of a great act. While it is doubtful that Uso will be walking out of WWE Clash of Champions with the WWE Universal Championship, he has more than proven himself in this program to be someone to take notice of on his own individual merits.

Overall, this was a great episode of Friday Night SmackDown with the highlights being the opening match, Bayley’s promo on Sasha Banks and Nikki Cross, Alexa Bliss embracing the influence of The Fiend, and the show closing segment with Roman Reigns and Jey Uso.


That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to WWE Clash of Champions this Sunday. While you are here on Florida Geek Scene, be sure to check out the first episode of my new spin off series, Spandex and Suplexes: The Interview Series, where I interviewed 17-year veteran pro wrestler, Alex Chamberlain. Until next time, I’ll see you at ringside!


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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