As we head to the middle of February and Valentine’s Day now in the rear view, let’s take stock of the hottest things in the WWE these days.
On RAW, it’s Edge vs. Randy Orton. That story is white hot my friends, especially now that Matt Hardy has been thrust into it too! But, you could make a case for Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler as a distant second after this past Monday night. That one has legs if they do it right. Add in the Monday Night Messiah, Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens and Friends, the Latin battle for the US Title and oh yeah, Drew McIntyre vs. Brock Lesnar and RAW’s as good as its been in months.
On NXT, it’s Adam Cole vs. Tommaso Ciampa. Close behind is Rhea Ripley vs. Bianca Belair and the addition of Charlotte Flair to the mix. And then, lots of supporting storylines from Keith Lee to Finn Balor vs. Johnny Gargano to The Undisputed Era vs. everyone and on and on we go. Solid each and every Wednesday night.
On Smackdown, it’s… it’s… it’s Mandy and Otis! Now, nothing against the lovebirds, but that’s the problem with what should be the standout show of the WWE trying to deliver to a broadcast base that could and should beat the other two shows handily each week, but doesn’t. It’s an undefined show at the moment and that shouldn’t be when we’re this close to WrestleMania. Friday nights on FOX should be the big ol’ mouthpiece to the World for the WWE.
Maybe The Miz and John Morrison can pick up the slack. Where does Roman Reigns go next, if and when his feud with King Corbin mercifully ends? Will Sheamus do better than Shorty G? What’s in store for Daniel Bryan, who’s out of the mix until after Super Showdown due to his political beliefs. And how about Braun Strowman and King Corbin – shouldn’t that be a feud? Or maybe Strowman and Elias as a team going into the tag team title mix to make Strowman Braun-Two-Belts?!
You know the WWE is a bit concerned when they bring back Goldberg and Hulk Hogan for guest spots, albeit via satellite, in back-to-back weeks. I’ll grant you, having Bray Wyatt be on screen with Hogan is good and was fun for the TV audience, but did it do anything for the Vancouver live crowd? Slapped in the middle of Smackdown, it took a little wind out of their sails. Thankfully, they rebounded well! Cowbell, anyone!
Finally, what happened to FOX wanting Smackdown to be more like sports? Just three matches this week. Gotta give me more!
Star of the Week:
Simone Johnson – The Rock’s daughter is bound for the Performance Center after being signed to a WWE contract. You gotta think there’s something coming soon, maybe as soon as WrestleMania in Tampa perhaps?
- RAW Women’s Championship Match: Becky Lynch defeated Asuka to retain title
- The Street Profits defeated Mojo Rawley & Riddick Moss
- Riddick Moss defeated Mojo Rawley to win 24/7 Championship
- Angel Garza defeated Cedric Alexander
- Non-title match: NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley defeated Sarah Logan
- Ricochet defeated Bobby Lashley
- Aleister Black defeated Akira Tozawa
- Seth Rollins, Buddy Murphy & Authors of Pain defeated Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe and The Viking Raiders
Even though I would’ve started the show with Becky vs. Asuka, it was still a hot show. They kept the in-ring starting promo to a minimum before clearing way for a very good RAW Women’s Title Match that climaxed after 20 minutes with the shocking, brutal beatdown of Becky by Shayna Baszler (more to come below!). Good follow by Ricochet’s win over Bobby Lashley to build him up more heading into Super Showdown too. Who’s next for Aleister Black? Smells to me like a heel turn.
What we loved:
Baszler’s beatdown – We all know that the former NXT Women’s Champion is a true bad ass, but who knew she was a vampire too? What was up with biting a hole into the back of Becky’s neck about? Can’t wait for the explanation on that one! Sure, it’s odd, but it surely got your attention right?
Matt vs. Randy – Loved that Matt Hardy came out to confront Randy Orton on his attack on Edge two weeks ago. Hardy brought emotion, truth and reality to the story. And now, we get a no-holds barred match between these two. Sign me up!
No Rowan squash – Thankfully, we got a week off. The squash quotient was filled by Garza vs. Alexander. We also got MVP squashed by Drew McIntyre in the return of the VIP Lounge. Here’s hoping MVP sticks around to try to get some revenge on Drew.
What we hated:
Hey, Buddy – Hey, WWE. Stop dropping first names! We in the WWE Universe can handle someone having a full name and don’t need you to shorten Buddy Murphy to Murphy just like you did Mustafa Ali to Ali, Erik Rowan and Luke Harper to Rowan & Harper for a while. Give us a little credit folks!
What made us think:
Becky stealing an ambulance – Someone needs to explain to me why, how and what was the reasoning behind Lynch stealing the ambulance after her attack by Baszler, heading to the hospital, getting treated and then getting back to the arena to address the crowd. None of it makes any sense and surely, limits the brunt of that attack by Baszler.
- Roderick Strong defeated Bronson Reed
- Dakota Kai defeated Candice LeRae
- Johnny Gargano defeated Cameron Grimes
- #1 Contender’s Match for NXT Cruiserweight Championship – Lio Rush defeated Angel Garza
- Bianca Belair defeated Santana Garrett
- Non-title match: NXT Champion Adam Cole defeated Kushida
It’s all about the set-up for TakeOver: Portland this Sunday for this week’s edition of NXT. Nothing was over-the-top, OMG. But, then again, nothing was bad. It was your normal, every Wednesday solid performance from Full Sail. Having said that, everyone did a very good job in setting up the PPV for this weekend. Between the matches, vignettes from Tommaso Ciampa, promos from Bianca Belair and Rhea Ripley and more, I was sold on why I should be invested in TakeOver. After all, that card looks absolutely stacked from top to bottom.
NXT TakeOver: Portland Card:
- NXT Championship: Adam Cole vs. Tommaso Ciampa
- NXT Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley vs. Bianca Belair
- NXT Tag Team Championship: The Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) vs. The Broserweights (Matt Riddle & Pete Dunne)
- NXT North American Championship: Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic
- Finn Balor vs. Johnny Gargano
- Street Fight: Dakota Kai vs. Tegan Nox
What we loved:
The Dream’s ode to Rude – Velveteen Dream’s tights with Roderick Strong’s family brings backs shades of Rick Rude and Jake the Snake’s wife Cheryl. Way to make it personal quick TVD.
Rush to an upset – Count me as surprised that Lio Rush got the duke over the recently surging Angel Garza. Rush vs. NXT Cruiserweight Champion Jeremy Devlin should be fun! Makes me thing there are bigger things for Garza and that a longer stint on RAW could be coming for him.
No Queen – I’m glad they kept Charlotte Flair off NXT tv this week, keeping the focus on Ripley vs. Belair. There’s plenty of time to rev up the Road to WrestleMania for the Queen and the NXT Championship. Bianca stepped up and proved that she COULD possibly win.
The road to Portland – Loved the comedy bits from The Broserweights, Pete Dunne & Matt Riddle. Trying to get cross-country to Portland to face The Undisputed Era was hilarious until the boys finally hopped a ride on Triple H’s plane! Good stuff.
What we didn’t love:
Same ol’ story – You knew it was coming. Full Sail. Big brands need a big showcase. You’ll see it at TakeOver: Portland where the crowd will be off the hook! NXT deserves that big-game feel each week and they’ll get it in a few weeks when Full Sail has a booked commitment, according to Triple H. So, we’ll see if that leads to more changes ahead.
- Smackdown Women’s Championship Match – Bayley defeated Carmella to retain the title
- Sheamus defeated Shorty G & Apollo Crews
- Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan defeated The Miz & John Morrison
Heavy on the sports entertainment and not much of the wrestling this week. Just two matches of any consequence as the night gave us just three overall.
What we loved:
Oh, Canada! – Lovin’ that Vancouver crowd! They were into everything all night!
Naomi’s hair – Holy glow indeed! That hair is beyond words! That thing should have its own Twitter account!
FWO – The Firefly World Order was, well, fly! Bray Wyatt going toe-to-toe on the mic with Hulk Hogan was Too Sweet trying to hype up The Fiend vs. Goldberg at Super Showdown. Here’s hoping it’s not the last we see of these two together.
No love for Otis – So much build up just to see Otis walk out on his date with Mandy because Dolph Ziggler was there! Sorry, but I needed more! I get they’re building up to a major moment, but on Valentine’s Day, you must give me more than the 60 seconds we got. Still, breaks my heart!
Main event, huh! – I know Roman Reigns is the chosen one and the face of Smackdown. But how do the #1 contenders to the Smackdown Tag Team Titles, with a title match looming, lose to a team that’s been together only once or twice? Makes little sense to me.
WrestleMania goes Hollywood again! WrestleMania will be in Los Angeles in 2021 in the new SoFi Stadium. Expect the WWE and FOX to go all out for that one!
Killer Kross signs with the WWE. It should only be a matter of time before we get Kross and Scarlet Bordeaux in a ring together, right!
Charlotte Flair and CM Punk talking on WWE Backstage was really good stuff. I wish they would give Punk a meatier role than just one-liners. I could’ve listened to more of Punk and Flair one-on-one for the full hour. That insight into the nerves and also Simone Johnson was really good! Too bad no one sees the show with it being on FS1 each week to the tune of under 200,000 viewers a week. Why not give it a weekend spot on FOX too?
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 and Red Sox fan! If you’re not down with that, I’ve got TWO WORDS for you… NEW ENGLAND!