This Week In The WWE: 1/31-2/5

The Road to WrestleMania is off to a white hot start!

Your first two superstars set for Tampa April 10-11 are Bianca Belair and Edge with their respective Royal Rumble wins. Both had magical runs with Edge running the table for a full hour from the #1 spot while Belair almost matched him from the #3 position, going 56+ minutes.

I thought both Rumble matches were very good with men’s being a bit more cohesive. They missed a storyline detail with Orton’s face being magically cured just 6 days after seeing it exposed on RAW. I’m glad they didn’t go down the road of Orton missing most of the Rumble with the new injury and then coming back at the end to eliminate Edge. Edge going wire-to-wire was inspirational. Ricochet being in and no Keith Lee was never explained, although I’m sure it was COVID-19 related for Lee with Mia Yim already announcing she had tested positive prior that weekend. Bad Bunny taking out The Miz & John Morrison was your entertainment clip for the next day and the start of a beautiful relationship with the WWE for Latin rapper/wrestling fan. Good showings for the returning Seth Rollins, Big E and Damian Priest with 4 eliminations a piece to lead the men. Omos got two eliminations from the outside when he pulled out Big E and Rey Mysterio. At what point do they expose him to some action in the ring?

On the women’s side, Billie Kay was funny, Rhea Ripley was a beast with a night-topping 7 eliminations and the final three was fantastic with Belair, Ripley and Flair.

Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens stole the night going around Tropicana Field beating the holy hell out of each other. I’m just glad Paul Heyman finally got those handcuffs off!

Sasha Banks vs. Carmella was very good, but I just wonder what they do with Carmella now after all the hype.

Drew McIntyre and Goldberg did what they needed to do – pass the torch of respect and keep Goldberg in mind, looking relatively strong for another match at WrestleMania.

The less we say about the kick-off women’s tag team championship match the better. Predictable as the day is long and we get Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler as champs again, YAWN!


Star of the Week:

Edge – Seriously, is any explanation needed?!


RAW

RESULTS

  • United States Championship Match: Riddle defeated Bobby Lashley by DQ
  • Xavier Woods defeated Mustafa Ali
  • Damian Priest defeated The Miz
  • RAW Tag Team Championship Match: The Hurt Business defeated Lucha House Party
  • Triple Threat Tag Team Elimination Match: Naomi & Lana defeated Charlotte Flair & Asuka and Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke to win championship match
  • Jeff Hardy & Carlito defeated Jaxson Ryker & Elias
  • Alexa Bliss defeated Nikki Cross
  • Edge defeated Randy Orton

Needless to say Edge is having one hell of a week and Monday Night RAW and thus, we the fans, are benefitting.

Monday Night EDGE was full of the Royal Rumble winner from Sunday night. First, off, he sets the tone for the night by telling WWE Champion Drew McIntyre that he and he only, will set the place and time when he decides who Edge will face at WrestleMania.

Just a few moments later, Sheamus turned on his friend of 20 years, setting up their feud and future title match.

Then, later on in the show, Edge gives his rub and thumbs up to Damian Priest, RAW’s newest member after his Royal Rumble debut. Finally, after a challenge from old friend Randy Orton, Edge puts to bed his feud with The Legend Killer with an assist from Alexa Bliss. A fun night of EDGE indeed!

Speaking of Little Miss Bliss, she continues to be a primetime player, inserting herself into the finish of the Edge/Orton match, paying back The Viper for his costing her the RAW Women’s Championship one week earlier. You wonder if at some point, they have them face-off in the ring in an intergender match. And oh yes, we’re just waiting for the reincarnation of The Fiend before WrestleMania.

It looks like we will get an intergender match between Xavier Woods and RECKONING once Mia Yim comes back from COVID-19. It’s now 2-2 between Woods and RETRIBUTION, so Woods wants the tiebreaker. We can only hope it’s as good as Sasha Banks vs. Reginald.

Damian Priest, along with Bad Bunny, made their RAW debuts a successful one taking out The Miz. Say what you will about celebrities, but I though Bad Bunny made a good showing with the leap off the top rope at the Royal Rumble and then with appearance on MizTV followed by the Priest/Miz match. I can just see a tag team match down the road, maybe at WrestleMania coming. It’s a win-win for the WWE with mainstream following of Bad Bunny. BTW: Booker T is hilarious in his old GI Bro get-up for the video.

Nice to see Carlito back in the Rumble and on RAW. Not sure why he’s teaming with Jeff Hardy other than filling up a spot to take down Jaxon Ryker & Elias, a team that seems to be going nowhere after an impressive start.

As for The Hurt Business, Bobby Lashley won the war but lost the battle by DQ to Riddle. There’s most to come between those two I’m sure. Meanwhile, the tension continues between Cedric Alexander, Shelton Benjamin and MVP. It’s only a matter of time before the unfortunate break-up between these three. It’s unnecessary for sure.


NXT

RESULTS

  • Dusty Rhodes Women’s Tag Team Classic Semifinals: Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai defeated Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter
  • Austin Theory defeated Leon Ruff
  • Dusty Rhodes Men’s Tag Team Classic Quarterfinals: Legado del Fantasma defeated Lucha House Party
  • Jessi Kamea defeated Toni Storm by DQ
  • NXT Cruiserweight Championship Match: Santos Escobar defeated Curt Stallion
  • Dusty Rhodes Men’s Tag Team Classic Quarterfinals: Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa defeated The Undisputed Era

Talk about a jam packed two-hour show folks! NXT had it in spades Wednesday night.

To start the night, Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai fought off a valiant effort from the underdog team of Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter to gain a spot in the Dusty Rhodes Women’s Tag Team Classic Finals. Truth be told, I thought Kacy & Kayden were going to pull off the upset until Gonzalez’ brute strength won out.

What can you say about Leon Ruff and Austin Theory? Loved the way the match played out. Everything was entertaining and made sense. Ember Moon, Shotzi Blackheart, Indie Hartwell and Candice LeRae was just enough to let Ruff pull off an Eddie Guerrero tribute to get Johnny Gargano tossed. Theory getting the win was the right choice and then Dexter Lumis making the save while pulling out Theory’s hair extends the story.

Lucha Libre grabbed the spotlight as Legado del Fantasma took out Lucha House Party in a high-flying match. Now, we get MSK and Legado in the Dusty Rhodes Men’s Classic Semi’s next week in what will be a certain classic.

What better way to put more intensity into Finn Balor and Pete Dunne’s NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day announcement then to put the Rater R Superstar right in the middle of it! Edge’s first visit to NXT puts even more intrigue into who the Royal Rumble winner will face at WrestleMania. Talk about a promo bringing goosebumps. That was it, friends. Straight to the point and I loved the line about sometimes in WWE they focus more about the “E” but in NXT, it’s more about the “W.”ย 

How old is Tian Sha? Did they 1,000 years old? #Intrigued

I could’ve done without the run-in by Mercedes Martinez and Io Shira in the Toni Storm vs. Jessi Kamea match. The DQ ending in under two minutes didn’t do anyone any justice. But, let’s be honest, when Shirai, Storm and Martinez is the low point of your show, that’s a pretty damn good night!

Santos Escobar is Elite. That much he proved again with another successful defense of his NXT Cruiserweight Championship over Curt Stallion. There’s few that can match in move for move in the ring. But, now where will this latest beef with Karrion Kross lead to while Scarlett watches him win and then Kross gives him the gift of time after beating up Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza. Tick. Tock. Who’s on the clock. Could it be Edge and Kross? Yes, please!

For a team that was just thrown together out of respect, Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher are making things mighty interesting in the Dusty Rhodes Men’s Tag Team Classic! I knew it would be a good main event, but that was one fun, physical match against The Undisputed Era. Thatcher even gave himself up so that Ciampa could get the pin over Roderick Strong with the Willow’s Bell. Now, it’s the Grizzled Young Veterans in the semis next week.


SMACKDOWN

RESULTS

  • Dominik Mysterio defeated King Corbin
  • Cesaro defeated Daniel Bryan
  • Bayley defeated Ruby Riott
  • Non-title SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler defeated Otis & Chad Gable
  • Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat Match: Big E defeated Sami Zayn and Apollo Crews to retain title

Even an assault on both Rey and Dominik Mysterio before the match didn’t eliminate the chance of yet another Corbin vs. Dominik match this week. At least Mysterio got the pinfall this time, but it still didn’t really give me any intrigue as to why I should be invested in their story. Has Corbin given us any reason why hates the Mysterios so much? Nah, didn’t think so.

In better news, we get more Cesaro and Daniel Bryan. Just give these guys 60 minutes and an Ironman Match already! Love the run that Cesaro is on. There’s got to be a nice payoff coming for the King of Swing. Maybe he’ll get the spot against Roman Reigns that we all thought Bryan was going to get.

Vroom! Vroom! Sasha Banks is going to get them started at the Daytona 500!

Give me more Reginald! Every week, he puts himself more and more of the spotlight. This week, though, he does protest too much and after telling Bianca Belair that she can’t beat Sasha, he gets a hairful of whipping ponytail across his backside. No official decision from the EST, but things are heating up with Banks, Carmella, Belair and of course, Reggie.

New music for the tag team champs plus a win over Otis & Chad Gable. Nice commentary work by The Street Profits. I’ll put this one in the same place as Bayley vs. Ruby Riott, more filler than anything special. Not bad, just not memorable.

Edge and Shinsuke Nakamura. Respect.

Not sure Edge needed the Hulk Hogan rub but it was nice going down memory lane 33 years ago for Hogan vs. Andre on The Main Event.

Good three-way work for the I-C Title between Big E, Sami Zayn and Apollo Crews. Poor Sami, gets power-pressed into the timekeeper’s area after Crews stopped him from pinning Big E for the title. In the end, Big E retains over Crews and continues his ascent on SmackDown. Who’s next?

Edge wraps up his week on SmackDown. But, will we get an answer to who he’ll face at WrestleMania? Reigns wants acknowledgement. Edge says he’s already taking up space in Roman’s head but he’s not here alone. Bingo! Once Reigns clears Paul Heyman and Jey Uso from the ring, Kevin Owens is back with a stunner. No decision from Edge but we do get one long smirk to end the show. Keep the intrigue going! Great decision. Slow walk it and build up the anticipation on all the shows!


Parting Shots:

Nicely done Peter Rosenberg. Less than 24 hours as 24/7 Champion and losing it on the YES Network LIVE!

Things are looking sweet for Valentine’s Day at NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day.

  • NXT Championship: Finn Balor vs. Pete Dunne
  • NXT Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match: Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm vs. Mercedes Martinez
  • NXT North American Championship Match: Johnny Gargano vs. KUSHIDA
  • Dusty Rhodes Women’s Tag Team Classic Finals
  • Dusty Rhodes Men’s Tag Team Classic Finals

Coming up this week:

RAW:
What’s next for Sheamus and Drew McIntyre?

NXT:
Cameron Grimes returns
Dusty Rhodes Women’s Tag Team Classic Semifinals: Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell vs. Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon
Dusty Rhodes Men’s Tag Team Classic Semifinals: Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher
Dusty Rhodes Men’s Tag Team Classic Semifinals: MSK vs. Legado del Fantasma

SMACKDOWN:
Seth Rollins returns


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