Welcome to the week that was in the WWE. But before we get to the show recaps, there’s few things to get to during the week.
Paul Wight is now in AEW. That’s right. The superstar formerly known as The Big Show and The Giant is now All Elite. After 22 years, he’s left the WWE for what he hopes are greener pastures on a multi-year deal. You see, it seems like Wight feels like he has more left in the tank than the WWE thinks he does. As one who lives in New England, it’s a familiar story involving someone you might have heard of, you know, one Tom Brady. He not only left the Patriots but won his seventh Super Bowl at age 43 while the Patriots missed the playoffs. Wight had a great run in the WWE but his last memory in the company will be that in the Randy Orton storyline as a washed-up legend. His Netflix show, produced with WWE Studios, was canceled late last year as well. So, now it’s on to a return to Turner and TNT where he started as The Giant in WCW nearly a quarter century ago. We wish him nothing but the best. He’s a good guy who I met once in person doing radio in Providence, Rhode Island. His first assignment will be doing commentary with Tony Schiavone on Monday night’s AEW Dark: Elevation on You Tube followed by an appearance on Dynamite on Wednesday night. It should be very interesting in what is a very big signing (pun intended) for AEW and Tony Khan’s crew.
What’s up with the flurry of non-title matches?
On RAW, we got three non-title affairs. On NXT, we got another three matches with champions battling not with the championships on the line. What happened to the days when it was unique that champions even appeared on tv to wrestle? Now, it’s like a weekly thing. Seems to keep the luster off when a title is defended.
What happened to follow-up on storylines? Details people? Could we get an update on Keith Lee and why he’s not around? Could we get some closure on Lacey Evans’ pregnancy announcement from her side?
Elimination Chamber Thoughts – It’s been a long time coming, but Bobby Lashley is finally making his way back into the main event scene and I like it! If someone’s going to legitimately take down Drew McIntyre, Lashley’s a perfect candidate to do it. Plus, if The Miz was going to have a successful cash in with his Money In The Bank contract, he needed an underhanded, sure thing to get it done. MVP brokered the deal and got it done. All in all, a solid PPV that got us to Edge vs. Roman Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania. Job done and kudos to Daniel Bryan and Cesaro for being stars in the chamber.
Star of the Week:
Bobby Lashley – Sure, Lashley did lose his United States Championship to Riddle. But he didn’t get pinned to lose it. And sure, The Miz did win the WWE Championship, so maybe he might deserve the spotlight. But we all know it was only because of Lashley that The Miz could’ve cashed in his Money In The Bank contract to get the victory over Drew McIntyre after the Elimination Chamber match. Plus, Lashley did get a dominant win over Braun Strowman to boot to keep his title match this Monday night against The Miz a one-on-one affair. Things are looking up for The Hurt Business’ top guy!
- Non-title United States Championship Match: Riddle defeated John Morrison
- The New Day defeated RETRIBUTION (MACE & T-BAR)
- Non-title RAW Tag Team Championship Tornado Tag Team Match: Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin defeated Lucha House Party
- Damian Priest defeated Angel Garza
- Non-title WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler defeated Charlotte Flair & Asuka
- Sheamus defeated Jeff Hardy
- Naomi & Lana defeated Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke
- AJ Styles defeated Ricochet
- Bobby Lashley defeated Braun Strowman to deny Strowman of WWE Championship Match opportunity
Coming off the Elimination Chamber PPV, RAW was heavy on The Miz/Bobby Lashley storyline. That was to be expected and as expected, we got The Miz trying to weasel his way out of his deal with The Hurt Business to give Lashley a title match after hand-delivering The Miz the title on Sunday night with Lashley’s attack on Drew McIntyre after his Elimination Chamber title defense. Did we need Lashley having to beat Braun Strowman to keep it a one-on-one match, probably not. But it gets Strowman reintroduced to in-ring action and it makes Lashley look stronger going into this Monday’s match with The Miz.
Elsewhere, the biggest thing coming out of Monday night was Charlotte Flair and Asuka. They get yet another match with the tag team champs and after Flair inadvertently knocks Asuka down, the RAW Women’s Champion is pissed, doesn’t take Flair’s apology and walks off. Meanwhile, we finally get a decent, detailed interaction between Charlotte and Ric Flair with both sides trying to explain their sides in the Lacey Evans mess. This comes a couple of weeks too late for me. It explained it, but it was out of context now that they have nowhere to go with Lacey, who’s now out due to her pregnancy.
Bad Bunny and Damian Priest continue to shine as we expect them to get a WrestleMania match with The Miz and John Morrison after The Miz drops his title to Bobby Lashley. It’s a good, entertaining pairing that has some upside.
I don’t exactly understand why we needed AJ Styles against Ricochet again in short fashion just to have Omos beat up Ricochet after the match. Seemed like just a time filler. The same can be said of Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy and the ladies tag team match.
Randy Orton getting choked up on some nasty black goo was interesting. Yes, Alexa Bliss is up to her fiendish ways again. I love that she doesn’t have to actually appear in order to affect a storyline. That’s good tv right there.
Maybe, finally, we get the end to the wretched RETRIBUTION angle after Mustafa Ali walks out on them when they lose yet again to The New Day. He’s better without them but they’ve wasted months trying to get a group over that never had a chance.
Riddle and The Hurt Business get non-title wins. I hope they give Riddle a bit of a stretch as champion to prove himself. As for THB, I’m not sure if they’re going to continue the dissension angle or keep the group together when Lashley becomes WWE Champion. After all, the champ will need some coverage in fending off new challengers, right.
Rhea Ripley is coming soon!
- Non-title NXT North American Championship Match: Dexter Lumis defeated Johnny Gargano
- Leon Ruff vs. Tyler Rust went to a no-contest
- Non-title NXT Women’s Championship Match: Io Shirai defeated Zoey Stark
- Xia Li defeated Kacy Catanzaro by referee stoppage
- Grizzled Young Veterans defeated Killian Dain & Drake Maverick
- No DQ Non-title Cruiserweight Championship Match: Karrion Kross defeated Santos Escobar
That was kind of a strange, yet entertaining edition of NXT.
Dexter Lumis gets a non-title (of course) win over Johnny Gargano. But the real news is after the match as there could be some differences of opinions in The Way with Austin Theory and Indi Hartwell taking some shine to Lumis. Theory didn’t hit him with a chair as Gargano wanted him too and Hartwell is enamored with him apparently. Hmmm….
Xia Li continues to be a badass, beating up her former bestie Kacy Catanzaro into a referee stoppage victory. I like the match that gave both a bit of time to shine. Will Kayden Carter be next on her list?
Having Io Shirai take on Zoey Stark was just a means to a way to announce a championship match with Toni Storm. Executed and answered.
What are we to make of the Grizzled Young Veterans attacking MSK and seemingly braking Wes Lee’s hand? Is their title match still on for this upcoming Wednesday night or are the GYV trying to sneak into the match?
Michael Bivens and Tyler Rust picking on “injured” stars hoping to get easy wins is getting old, especially now when they claim wins in a match in which it never starts. They can thank Isaiah “Swerve” Scott for taking out Leon Ruff for that one.
As expected, Karrion Kross picked up a win over Santos Escobar in a non-title (of course), No DQ match. That was never going to be in doubt. But, by having Legado del Fantasma continuously beat up Kross for a 3-on-1 match gives Escobar some cred for his smarts in at least trying to take out Kross, who ultimately puts Escobar through a table and gets the victory. Where does Kross go next?
Adam Cole, as Pat McAfee says, is a terrible human. He continued his attacks on his former teammates in The Undisputed Era. Last week, it was Kyle O’Reilly. This week, it’s Roderick Strong getting a low blow after a feigned emotion plea from Cole, who also gets a superkick in on NXT Champion Finn Balor to boot. We’re going to get Cole vs. Balor at some point. Maybe it comes as WrestleMania? How does Kross factor in? He wants his NXT Championship, something he never lost, back soon and Scarlett is lurking!
- Otis & Chad Gable defeated Rey & Dominik Mysterio
- Apollo Crews defeated Shinsuke Nakamura
- Tamina defeated Liv Morgan
- The Street Profits defeated King Corbin & Sami Zayn
- Daniel Bryan and Jey Uso went to a double count out
Just like RAW, SmackDown leaned on the “win and you get a title match” storyline with Daniel Bryan having to beat Jey Uso in order to get a one-on-one shot at Roman Reigns and his Universal Title. And just like Braun Strowman, Bryan didn’t win, instead missing out on a title shot with a double count out finish. I was surprised Edge didn’t come down to help save Bryan from the Reigns post-match attack. All in all though, I’m with Edge. I don’t like the Fastlane title defenses either. Things would be better without that PPV impeding the Road to WrestleMania. Even despite being someone we’ve seen a lot already in 2021, Uso vs. Bryan did give us a decent main event before the disappointing ending.
I was screaming at my tv for Corey Graves and Michael Cole to at least throw out there that what was the reason for the change in Otis and Chad Gable? They were together for over a month being Mr. Positivity, along with Daniel Bryan, and then we get a spur of the moment heel turn last week. I don’t mind the change in attitude, but at least have them explain why! Having Graves spout off that Otis is now more aggressive with Gable makes no sense when he’s been with him for the past six weeks or more. Details people! The WWE Universe is not that dumb.
Apparently, Apollo Crews is going to follow Roman Reigns is following and celebrating his heritage. I can dig it. By far, that promo Friday night was the best of his WWE career. Let him get personal and shine! That was one creative way to use a scarf too to get a victory over Shinsuke Nakamura.
Tamina gets two victories in two weeks. I don’t not like it. At least Tamina can somewhat wrestle which is more than I can say for Nia Jax.
There was only ONE choice Bianca Belair and you made the right one. Belair vs. Sasha Banks for the SmackDown Women’s Championship will be epic! I find it interesting that SmackDown, with Belair vs. Banks and Edge vs. Roman Reigns, has the two main event matches for WrestleMania’s two-night event. It speaks volumes doesn’t it!
Speaking of Belair, I’d love to see her in a mixed tag team match with her husband Montez Ford! Ford and Angelo Dawkins are back in the win column too this week with a victory over the squabbling Sami Zayn & King Corbin. Corbin is just a guy lost from storyline to storyline these days. That’s a shame.
Seth Rollins and Cesaro are about to put on a string of matches you won’t want to miss. That is, if given the time to do it. I like that Rollins introduced the longtime friend card too. Well, at least before Cesar sent him swinging. Let it breathe Vince! This could be special.
Coming up this week:
WWE Championship Match: The Miz vs. Bobby Lashley
Drew McIntyre returns
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler vs. Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs. MSK
Steel Cage Match: Jey Uso vs. Daniel Bryan
Thanks for letting us share our thoughts! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins fan! If you’re not down with that, I’ve got TWO WORDS for you… NEW ENGLAND