This Week In The WWE: 1/12-1/18

RIP Rocky Johnson

Sad news this week as former WWE legend Rocky Johnson passed away at age 75. I remember watching Rocky and Tony Atlas, The Soul Patrol, win the then WWF Tag Team Championships and defend those titles in Providence and Boston as a kid. They were the first African-American champions in the company’s history defeating the Wild Samoans in 1983. Who could ever forget that misplaced chair shot by Captain Lou Albano! Plus, who could forget his memorable feuds with The Magnificent Don Muraco, Greg Valentine among others. And of course, he’s the father of The Rock, Dwayne Johnson. Through it all, Johnson did it with class in the ring and out. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.


Before we got to RAW, NXT UK took over Blackpool a second time and in a surprise ending, The Undisputed Era jumped WALTER after his title defense against Joe Coffey. It’ll be fun to see TUE and Imperium clash again come Worlds Collide on Royal Rumble Weekend.

NXT UK: TakeOver Blackpool II

  • Eddie Dennis defeated Trent Seven
  • NXT UK Women’s Title Match: Kay Lee Ray defeated Piper Niven & Toni Storm to retain title
  • Tyler Bate defeated Jordan Devlin
  • NXT UK Tag Team Title Ladder Match: Gallus defeated Imperium, South Wales Subculture, & The Grizzled Young Veterans to retain titles
  • NXT UK Title Match: WALTER defeated Joe Coffey (Submission) to retain title

Star of the Week:

The Usos – Jimmy and Jey started the week late-night on WWE Backstage, entertaining us all with some insights with Renee Young and pals. Then, after a win over The Revival with an awe-inspiring top rope splash from Jimmy, The Usos save cousin Roman Reigns’ bacon against Robert Roode. They’re everywhere this week.


RAW

RESULTS

  • Triple Threat Match: Drew McIntyre defeated Randy Orton & AJ Styles
  • Ricochet defeated Mojo Rawley
  • Charlotte Flair defeated Sarah Logan
  • Mojo Rawley defeated 24/7 Champion R-Truth to win title after Brock Lesnar beatdown
  • Bobby Lashley defeated Rusev
  • Raw Tag Team Title Match: The Viking Raiders defeated The Singhs to retain titles
  • Aleister Black defeated Buddy Murphy
  • Erick Rowan defeated unnamed local wrestler
  • Fist Fight Match: Seth Rollins & The AOP defeated Big Show, Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe

What we loved:

Brock has a personality – It’s true. WWE Champion Brock Lesnar can speak and can actually have a laugh or two. All it took was a boisterous Kentucky crowd and R-Truth to do it! And of course, after a few laughs, Lesnar got to business by beating down R-Truth, allowing a lucky Mojo Rawley to pick up the scraps and the 24/7 Championship.

Buddy Murphy vs. Aleister Black III – How good was that! The trilogy delivers in spades and gets a great TV spot in the final hour of RAW. And with Black’s win, it didn’t take long for Murphy to get back on the winning side, joining sides with Seth Rollins and the Authors of Pain to take Big Show down in the main event. We can only hope that Black will now join sides with Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe as well to even things up.

What we didn’t love:

Fist Fight Match Huh? – How does a fist fight match not end in someone actually going down by way of a fist? Seriously?! WTF. We get the match ending by way of the referee’s discretion. Not sure I fully understand the rationale behind that one. Now, having said that, the Kevin Owens skate park-like flip off the titan tron was damn cool!

Back to squashes – The Viking Raiders took less than a minute to take out the Singhs. Two minutes for Charlotte Flair to dismiss Sarah Logan. And of course, about 90 seconds for Erick Rowan to squash a nobody. Sometimes, quantity doesn’t over quality.


NXT

RESULTS

  • Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic 1st Round: Matt Riddle & Pete Dunne defeated Flash Morgan Webster and Mark Andrews
  • Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic 1st Round: Grizzled Young Veterans defeated Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & Kushida)
  • For a Shot at The NXT Cruiserweight Title at World’s Collide: Isaiah Scott defeated Lio Rush & Tyler Breeze
  • NXT Women’s Championship Number One Contender’s Battle Royal: Bianca Belair (last two: Belair and Io Sherai)

What we loved:

Triple Threat Trifecta – I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of Lio Rush on RAW, but in NXT, he’s been awesome! Tyler Breeze is a treat taking on the new stars of Full Sail. And how about Isaiah “Swerve” Scott coming up with the swerve and the victory with the JML driver for a shot at NXT Cruiserweight Champion Angel Garza. With all due respect to TNA, this was complete total non-stop action from start to finish!

The Battle Royale – Usually battle royals disappoint, but this one did not. We got debuts in the form of Mercedes Martinez and Shotzi Blackheart. We got surprising returns in the form of Kacy Catanzaro. We got a surprise entrant in Shayna Baszler. And finally, we got a surprise winner with Bianca Belair getting a shot at Rhea Ripley’s NXT Women’s Championship.

The Undisputed Era vs. everyone – Whether it was trying to take out WALTER at NXT TakeOver or trying to take out Keith Lee on NXT’s opening salvo or later on tackling Tommaso Ciampa, TUE was all about the domination this week. Although, this car flip from Keith Lee’s gotta leave a mark!

DIY Reunion – Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa are back together! Sure, it’s only for one match at World Collide against Moustache Mountain after Gargano helped saved Ciampa against TUE, but we’ll take it.  

The upset – Sure, didn’t we all expect The Time Splitters to win their Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic first round match? I mean, who expected Alex Shelley and Kushida to lose in their first match back in NXT together? Kudos to the Grizzled Young Veterans for the upset.


SMACKDOWN

RESULTS

  • John Morrison defeated Big E
  • The Usos defeated The Revival
  • Non-title match: Lacey Evans defeated Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley
  • Alexa Bliss defeated Sonya Deville

What we loved:

The return of the super slo-mo – How could you not enjoy a super slo-mo entrance from the returning John Morrison and The Miz in Morrison’s first WWE match since 2011? Plus, a win to boot. Nice week for the M&M boys. I see a tag-team title match in their immediate future.

Team Hell No – Kane comes back to help Daniel Bryan surprise The Fiend in a quick reunion of Team Hell No! Short, sweet and to the point to move the story forward. Now, if they can just get rid of that damn red lighting for The Fiend. It does nothing for me (or anyone else)!.

Meh:

More Corbin vs. Reigns – It seems like these two have been feuding longer than Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes back in the NWA/WCW days. Maybe it’ll finally end at the Royal Rumble as the two tangle in a match, thanks to Reigns beating Robert Roode Friday night on Smackdown. Reigns picked an obvious falls count anywhere match. I would’ve gone for the dog-collar match that would’ve fit the feud and dog food spotlight a bit better. Probably a bit too violent for the family folks at WWE though. The Usos were pretty fly though taking out Dolph Ziggler and helping Reigns get the win in the tables match.


Parting shots:

Freddie Prinze Jr. on WWE Backstage was pretty entertaining. The dude, as he should, cut a pretty decent promo against Xavier Woods.

I so would’ve marked out if Brock Lesnar had pinned R-Truth for the 24/7 Title! It would’ve been great to see how sneaky and underhanded the WWE Superstars could be in trying to outsmart Lesnar for a quick 1-2-3 count for a title many levels beneath the coveted WWE Championship. It could’ve made for some entertaining television for a few weeks.

Yes or no – do you want to see CM Punk be a surprise entrant for the Royal Rumble next week in Houston? Something tells me we’ll get Booker T in his hometown. You just know there’s going to be some cheating references in their that night with the MLB/Houston Astros scandal fresh in everyone’s minds.


Thanks for letting us share our thoughts! Shoot me an email at jcrowe567@gmail.com. We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions! You can also check out my blog, The Crowe’s Nest as we delve into more pro wrestling, sports entertainment and the World of Sports. My apologies ahead of time – I AM a Patriots and Red Sox fan! If you’re not down with that, I’ve got TWO WORDS for you… NEW ENGLAND!

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