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Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review Issue #74

Welcome everyone to the 74th edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wrestling Review. I cover a week that saw the AEW Revolution PPV, the continued build to WWE Fastlane, and the introduction of the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships. Let’s get started.

 

AEW Revolution:

My Match of the Week: Sting and Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage and Ricky Starks in a Street Fight
Credit: All Elite Wrestling

Results:
1. Britt Baker and Maki Itoh defeated Riho and Thunder Rosa after interference by Rebel
2. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) (c) defeated The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho and MJF) to retain the AEW World Tag Team Championships
3. Rey Fenix (representing Death Triangle) won the Casino Tag Team Royale by last eliminating Jungle Boy (representing Jurassic Express) to earn a shot at the AEW World Tag Team Championships
4. Hikaru Shida (c) defeated Ryo Mizunami to retain the AEW Women’s World Championship
5. Miro and Kip Sabian defeated Best Friends (Orange Cassidy and Chuck Taylor) by submission
6. “Hangman” Adam Page defeated Matt Hardy (as a result Page receives Hardy’s 2021 first-quarter earnings.)
7. Scorpio Sky defeated Cody Rhodes, Penta El Zero Miedo, Lance Archer, Max Caster, and Ethan Page in a Face of the Revolution Ladder match to earn a shot at the AEW TNT Championship
8. Darby Allin and Sting defeated Team Taz (Brian Cage and Ricky Starks) in a Street Fight
9. Kenny Omega (c) defeated Jon Moxley in an Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch after interference by The Good Brothers (Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows) to retain the AEW World Championship

Thoughts: There was certainly several newsworthy things to discuss coming out of this past Sunday’s PPV from Christian Cage’s debut to the cinematic street fight to the main event and its poorly produced aftermath.

First off, I was happy to see that the mystery signing for AEW was revealed to be Christian Cage. After a surprise return at WWE Royal Rumble, many were wondering what the future of The Instant Classic’s in-ring career would be. With negotiations with WWE apparently falling through, we now know that, for the foreseeable future, Christian’s career is All Elite. I am looking forward to what Cage ends up doing in AEW and hope that he will get the same level of respect that he got in Impact Wrestling all those years ago, unlike his time in WWE.

The cinematic street fight between Sting and Darby Allin against Brain Cage and Ricky Starks was highly entertaining and well produced and is My Match of the Week. This was the perfect way to showcase Sting to his greatest potential due to his past injuries. All four men came out of this looking better than ever and I am interested to see what The Icon does next.

What can I say about the main event Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch? For the match itself, it was fine. Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley are both too talented to have let this match be a complete dud. However, despite this being promoted as a violent match type, this match did not live up at all to their previous encounter at AEW Full Gear 2019 which was much more violent and entertaining and did not have to rely on so many bells and whistles like this match did. The Good Brothers interfering at the end to help Omega win was horribly predictable and made Moxley look dumb as he should have known that it was coming.

What ultimately hurt the encounter was the aftermath. With Jon laid out in the ring with the timer for the final massive explosion still counting down, AEW created great tension as Moxley faced great danger. The story was going great with Moxley’s long time former friend and recent enemy, Eddie Kingston running down to the ring and throwing himself on top of Jon to try to save him. This was excellent storytelling.

Unfortunately, it would be severely tainted by what happened next as the so called “massive explosion” apparently misfired and ended up being a small bang with some sparklers that did not come anywhere close to Moxley and Kingston. This was made worse by the announcers still trying to sell it like the explosion went off right along with Kingston acting knocked out despite being nowhere near the misfired pyro. It sucks because the storytelling was there, but that dud of an “explosion” will ultimately be what everyone remembers from this show despite most of it being great.

Overall, this was a great PPV with the highlights being the AEW Tag Team Championship match, the AEW Women’s World Championship match, Page vs. Hardy, the Ladder match, and the cinematic Street Fight.

 

WWE Raw:

Bobby Lashley retained his WWE Championship against The Miz.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Bobby Lashley (c) defeated The Miz by submission to retain the WWE Championship
2. Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus in a No DQ match went to a double referee stoppage
3. Xavier Woods defeated Shelton Benjamin
4. Matt Riddle defeated Slapjack
5. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) defeated Naomi and Lana after interference by Reginald to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships
6. AJ Styles defeated Randy Orton after interference by Alexa Bliss

Thoughts: The new WWE Champion, Bobby Lashley, made his first title defense this past Monday as he easily dominated the former champion, The Miz. With Miz out of the way, Lashley must get through WWE Fastlane before he can walk into WWE WrestleMania as champion. Drew McIntyre seems like the most likely foe Bobby will face at The Showcase of the Immortals and is currently busy with Sheamus, so the question now is who will The All Mighty face at WWE Fastlane? We will have to wait and see.

Two championship matches were announced for next week as Matt Riddle will defend his WWE United States Championship against Mustafa Ali and The Hurt Business (Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin) will defend their WWE Raw Tag Team Championships against The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods). While I expect The Hurt Business to retain their titles, I can see Riddle vs. Ali going either way depending on where they want to go with Ali in the lead up to Mania.

Overall, this was a good episode of Monday Night Raw with the highlights being Lashley retaining against The Miz and McIntyre vs. Sheamus.

 

WWE NXT:

William Regal unveiled the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. Io Shirai (c) defeated Toni Storm to retain the NXT Women’s Championship
2. Pete Dunne defeated Jake Atlas by submission
3. Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart defeated Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez (c) to become the new NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions
4. Xia Li defeated Kayden Carter by DQ after interference by Kacy Catanzaro
5. Legado del Fantasma (Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde) defeated The Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake and Zack Gibson) after interference by MSK (Nash Carter and Wes Lee)
6. Finn Bálor (c) defeated Adam Cole to retain the NXT Championship

Thoughts: At the top of the show, after the controversial ending to the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match last week, NXT GM William Regal stated that he was tired of waiting on WWE officials and made the decision to create the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships. He then named Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez to be the inaugural champions due to them winning the 2021 Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. The new champions would then be challenged by Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart to put the titles on the line later in the night. One hour later, Moon and Blackheart would win the titles.

Personally, I see no real reason for WWE to create a second set of women’s tag team titles for NXT when there are barely any teams on Raw and SmackDown to support the division of the original belts. While I understand that WWE did a poor job having the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships showcased on NXT, this was, in my opinion, not the way to solve this issue. What made the Women’s Tag Team Titles special was the fact that it was available to all three brands. NXT is supposed to be on equal footing with Raw and SmackDown and this decision, instead, further isolated the black and yellow brand from the rest of the WWE Universe.

To make it worse, they had the inaugural champions lose the titles on the same night they got them. I get they were going for shock value, but it could easily do long term damage to the titles’ credibility which is not a good thing for a championship that was just created.

Overall, this was a great episode of NXT with the highlights being Shirai vs. Storm, the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship match, and the main event.

 

All Elite Wrestling:

MJF’s new faction destroyed The Inner Circle.
Credit: All Elite Wrestling

Results:
1. Rey Fenix defeated Matt Jackson
2. Cody Rhodes defeated Seth Gargas by submission
3. Ethan Page defeated Lee Johnson
4. Thunder Rosa, Hikaru Shida, and Ryo Mizunami defeated Britt Baker, Nyla Rose, and Maki Itoh
5. Darby Allin (c) defeated Scorpio Sky to retain the AEW TNT Championship

Thoughts: This week’s episode of Dynamite came to a dynamic conclusion (pun fully intended). During The Inner Circle’s “War Council”, Sammy Guevara showed up and reveled footage proving that MJF intended to steal The Inner Circle from Chris Jericho. MJF thought he was ahead when he ordered Jake Hager, Santana, and Ortiz to attack Jericho and Guevara. However, Jericho would turn it around when the three men instead turn their sight on MJF, revealing that The Inner Circle was aware of what MJF was doing all along. Le Champion then fired MJF from The Inner Circle and planned to give him a well-deserved beatdown.

Unfortunately for The Inner Circle, MJF had planned for this. The lights then went out and when they came back on, Wardlow, FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood), Tully Blanchard, and Shawn Spears surrounded The Inner Circle. This new MJF lead faction then overpowered The Inner Circle using weapons and numbers to their advantage. The show ended with the new team tossing Jericho off the stage through a table.

I will be honest that this was not exactly how I thought this would go down and I mean that in a good way. Having Hager, Santana, and Ortiz turn of The Demo God and having MJF lead The Inner Circle seemed like the obvious story they were telling. So, I was glad to see that Chris had learned from past betrayals and was ahead of game on that front. The twist then took another turn when MJF revealed that he had his own faction to work with, with FTR, Blanchard, and Spears joining him and Wardlow. Again, while I had expected this to lead to a face turn for Le Sex Gods, it instead resulted in the entire Inner Circle turning face, which should prove interesting. Now we will have to wait and see how AEW explains why this group of heels decided to work for MJF.

Overall, this was a great episode of Dynamite with the highlights being Fenix vs. Jackson, Cody Rhodes and Penta El Zero Miedo’s brawl, the in-ring fight between Moxley/Kingston and Kenny Omega’s crew, Christian Cage’s confrontation with Omega, Allin vs. Sky and Sky’s post-match heel turn, and the main event segment between The Inner Circle and MJF’s new faction.

Between NXT and AEW this week, I am going to have to give the win to AEW as it had the overall better match quality and storyline development. This brings my personal 2021 WNW rankings to: NXT – 3 and AEW – 7.

 

WWE SmackDown:

Edge, Roman Reigns, Jey Uso, and Daniel Bryan brawled it out.
Credit: WWE

Results:
1. The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins), Rey Mysterio, and Dominik Mysterio defeated Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, and Alpha Academy (Chad Gable and Otis)
2. Cesaro defeated Buddy Murphy by DQ after interference by Seth Rollins
3. Natalya and Tamina defeated Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair after interference by Reginald
4. Big E (c) defeated Sami Zayn to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship

Thoughts: The drama surrounding the WWE Universal Championship continued this week. At the top of the show Edge tried to confront Daniel Bryan over Daniel doing what he must to get into the main event of WrestleMania. The Rated R Superstar tried to say that Bryan was “better” than these tactics, which is hilarious coming from a man known as The Ultimate Opportunist.

Later, in the main event segment, when Roman Reigns tried to back out of his championship match with Bryan at WWE Fastlane, The Leader of the Yes Movement managed to anger Reigns to the point where The Head of the Table signed the championship contract. After this, Jey Uso claimed that the match needed a special enforcer that it should be him. Edge then came out and challenged Uso to a match next week where the winner would be made the enforcer. Adam Pearce then made it official, and the four men brawled in the ring with Bryan standing tall in the end.

WWE keeps teasing us that Bryan will end up in the main event of Mania. At this point, they might as well do that, because if they decide to pull the rug under us regarding The Yes Man, they risk having their Mania main event booed out of the building. I expect Edge to become the enforcer next week. They could then have Edge screw over Bryan at WWE Fastlane, setting up a triple threat match at Mania for the Universal title.

I know you may be thinking, “hey, isn’t this basically the same build up from WrestleMania 30 when they tried to replace Bryan with an older returning star?” Yes. Yes, it is. In conclusion, if this does end with Daniel making it to the main event of The Show of Shows, then great. However, if this is just some giant tease that they have no intention of going through with, then as I mentioned above, WWE does so at its own risk.

Overall, this was a great episode of Friday Night SmackDown with the highlights being the opening segment with Edge and Bryan, Big E vs. Zayn and Apollo Crews’ post-match attack on E, and the main event contract segment.

 

That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to the fallout from this week’s Dynamite on Wednesday. While you are here on Florida Geek Scene, be sure to check out the second episode of my spin off series, Spandex and Suplexes: The Interview Series, where I interviewed veteran pro wrestler, Randy Hogan. 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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