NXT Takeover: New Orleans 2018 Review

It’s WrestleMania weekend which means we kick off with NXT Takeover: New Orleans. The card looked to be a very solid show on paper, so did it live up to the hype? Let’s break it down and take an in-depth look at how the night went.

1) Adam Cole (BAY BAY) def. Ricochet, EC3, Velveteen Dream, Killian Dain and Lars Sullivan in a Ladder Match to capture the NXT North American Championship. Holy sh*t this match awesome! Everyone had their moments to shine and they all took advantage of it. The action was constant and fast paced. I didn’t know the match went for thirty minutes until a mate pointed it out. There were a few odd spots which was mainly on EC3’s part, but there were enough exciting moves and moments in the match to let it slide. This has easily been one of the best ladder matches in the past fifteen, maybe twenty years. It’s up there in my favourite ladder matches of all time.

Cole winning was a shock to me. I honestly thought it would be Ricochet or Velveteen Dream winning the match. Regardless, I was happy to see Cole win it. I knew Lars, Killian or EC3 weren’t going to win. Speaking of EC3, he really didn’t do much for me in the match, especially seeing some of the awkward moves he hit as I mentioned above. I’ll need more time to see what he’s got since I never watched him wrestle in TNA (or watch TNA at all for that matter). I watched Ricochet wrestle in Lucha Underground as Prince Puma, so I know he’s a great in-ring performer. It’ll be interesting to see him in the WWE and so far, he’s been a huge hit with the crowd.

I love the look of the North American Championship belt. It’s very old school and there’s something about red leather straps make it look, as the Iconic Duo say, schmick!

2) Shayna Baszler def. Ember Moon to capture the NXT Women’s Championship. Coming off a big, exciting match hurt Ember and Baszler more than it should’ve. We received another average match between the two which had some throwbacks to their previous match, such as Ember being the one to damage Baszler’s arm. I’ll give props to Baszler for finally learning about “ring psychology”, even if she did ram her arm multiple times into the ring post to “put her dislocated shoulder back into it’s socket”.

The main problem with the match was the ending. Baszler had Ember locked in a one-armed chokehold and Ember’s foot touched the rope multiple times. The referee told Baszler to break the hold. She didn’t, rolled Ember away and continued to choke out the NXT Women’s Champion. The referee allowed this and awarded Shayna the win, pissing off every fan around the world. I seriously think the only two people excited about Shayna’s win was Ronda Rousey and the Mongo McMichael of the UFC Horsewoman.

Ember’s run as Women’s Champion wasn’t good, considering her main opponent was always Shayna. Maybe Ember’s not a good fit for Shayna, or maybe Shayna isn’t a good fit for Ember. I hope Shayna’s run as champion is an improvement, otherwise we’re looking at the end of the NXT Women’s Division, especially your newly crowned champion says “I’m the best wrestler you’ve seen in forever.”

shayna
No, Shayna, there’ve been better wrestlers than you in forever.

The match was average and was never going to be anything amazing. With Cole winning and Bobby Fish not able to wrestler for several months, many assumed it was going to be Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong winning the match. It makes sense for Undisputed Era to drop the tag team titles to them, right? Wrong! Strong shocked everyone and “shocked the system” (sorry, couldn’t help myself) by turning on Dunne and joining Undisputed Era! Everyone watching collectively lost their sh*t when Strong broke up Dunne’s pinfall attempt, attacked him then dragged Kyle O’Reilly on top for the pin.

It’s great to finally see Strong develop a character and joining Undisputed Era is the perfect start. While Strong’s turn was a good highlight, the best highlight had to go to Kyle O’Reilly. There was a great moment when he took a German Suplex from Akam and/or Rezar. He got up and mildly “hulked up” before tumbling out of the ring and down to the arena floor. Going at it alone for his team allowed Kyle to really showcase his stuff to the world.

4) Aleister Black def. Andrade Almas to capture the NXT Championship. The second great match of the night. Almas and Black have great ring chemistry, and everything was on point. There were some nice moments where Almas hit moves he’s put people away with, but Black would kick out at the last second. I love watching how precise Black is with ever move he hits, especially the Black Mass he delivered to Almas when he had Zelina Vega in his hands.

This match was basically a handicap match due to the amount of times Vega got involved. She’s the best manager WWE has had for a very, very long time. Her style of management mirrors Sensational Sherri: the microphone work, the way she gets involved in her client’s matches, right down to the emotion she shows for every near-fall both men were taking. Vega losing it because Almas lost the title was great.

Black’s going to be a great NXT Champion. He hasn’t had a dull, boring match (yet) and his Takeover matches almost always steal the show. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next for Black, Almas, and Vega.

black
Nailed it!

5) Johnny Gargano def. Tommaso Ciampa. What happens when the year-long storyline you’ve been running culminates with an unsanctioned match? You get yourself a God damn match of the year, that’s what. This match was an emotional, wild rollercoaster ride from start to finish. I haven’t seen a heel receive this much heat for a long time. The fans HATED Ciampa so much his new theme song is officially the crowd chanting “Asshole” and “F#$% You Ciampa”.

Words can’t explain just how fantastic this match was. Every single fan invested in this storyline was not let down. Ciampa lived up to his promise of becoming NXT’s most dangerous son of a bitch when he returned, and Gargano delivered punishment just as much as he received it. These two men beat the absolute hell out of one another. Ciampa’s eye was swollen. Gargano was left with some vicious marks all over his body. They did not hold back. You could feel the intensity and the hatred behind every strike and move delivered.

Everyone couldn’t keep up with the number of near-falls happening. Just as you thought the match was over, they kept going for another minute or so. I loved Ciampa playing on his knee injury. I loved how Gargano hesitated so badly not to stab Ciampa (yes, you read that right) with the broken crutch. I loved how they almost recreated that moment the two had at the Cruiserweight Classic. I loved how Ciampa tried to take advantage of Gargano’s vulnerability, but ultimately failed.

The only (slight) issue I had was Gargano winning the match. While a lot of people think it’s great to see Gargano sticking around in NXT, I think he’s time in NXT is over. He had a great solo run when Ciampa was injured and he should move on to the main roster (probably 205 Live at this stage). Ciampa should’ve won this match. He would’ve cemented himself for life as the most hated person in WWE and could’ve used the momentum moving forward as NXT’s residential Psycho Killer. Regardless, Gargano’s win was the fairy-tale ending to the heartbreak we all suffered at NXT Takeover: Chicago. Congratulations Gargano and Ciampa. This was awesome.

DIY
You know Senator Palpatine was watching on from the Death Star saying “Do it”.

In all, NXT Takeover: New Orleans was a fantastic way to start off WrestleMania weekend. Match of the night was extremely hard to pick, but I think Gargano/Ciampa just took it over the 6-Way Ladder Match. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the show so leave your comments below! 

And now, we wait for the grandest stage of them all – WrestleMania! See you tomorrow!

Weekly Rassling Rundown 19 – 21 Feb

Welcome to this week’s Weekly Rassling Rundown. I’ve decided to stick to last week’s formula permanently as it’s much quicker for me to write and easier for everyone to digest. That being said, let’s dive into this week’s WWE Raw, SmackDown, and NXT shows!

Raw Logo
Welcome everyone, to Monday Night RAW!
  • When I found out all seven competitors in the Elimination Chamber match would be going against one another in a gauntlet match, I was worried we’d see six very quick matches. Instead, we were treated to a solid two-hour wrestling block! Solid from start to finish.
  • The gauntlet match would’ve been just a bit better if something were on the line for the winner of the gauntlet like, oh I don’t know, winning the chance to come out last at Elimination Chamber?
  • Judging by Seth Rollins’ new “Monday Night Rollins” t-shirt, I’m guessing he’ll be staying put on Raw after this year’s roster shake up.
  • Judging the “Burn It Down” chant, I’m guessing the people of Phoenix are big fans of arson. Maybe Rollins should change his nickname from “The Architect” to “The Arsonist”.
  • Good to see WWE finally named Rollins’ knee finisher, although a bit too late now he’s using the Curb Stomp again. Instead of calling it “Revolution Knee”, WWE should’ve named it “V-Maker” or “Rain-Trigger” just to annoyed NJPW fans.
  • If there’s one thing I’ve learn from watching NJPW it’s that if you wrestle with your t-shirt on, you’re not taking the match seriously. I’m looking at you, John Cena.
  • Cena’s gotten more sluggish in his matches. The belly-to-back suplexes he delivered were worse than Bayley’s.
  • Michael Cole makes mention of Triple H being “the only man” to wrestle for over an hour on Raw. This would mean he’d have to be wrestling against someone else, which means there would be two people who have that honour. I wonder who *cough Chris Benoit cough* that might be?
  • Rollins picking up the win against Cena was both shocking and awesome. Props to Rollins for going over an hour and wrestling three different people.
  • In a backstage interview, Cena says Rollins only has to focus on his wrestling career, but Cena has lots of other things he has to deal with. Yes, Cena implied he lost because he’s a very busy person. Maybe Cena should just quit wrestling and go work on his failing movie career.
  • Good to see Elias is improving in the ring, especially with the push he’s received lately.
  • If I were The Miz, I’d just get myself disqualified so I wouldn’t have to face Braun Strowman. This is something Miz realises after beating Balor.
  • Michael Cole laughs about the time Strowman hurled him into a group of security guards. He wasn’t laughing when Brock Lesnar destroyed him a few years ago.
  • Coles mentioned repeatedly throughout the gauntlet match that the winner of Elimination Chamber will be going on to main event WrestleMania. I’m guessing Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles will be opening the PPV.
  • JEFF JARRETT IS GETTING INDUCTED INTO THE WWE HALL OF FAME?! Seriously, when they played the video package both my housemate and I almost died in shock.
  • Asuka shouldn’t be allowed to speak on the microphone for that long. Her English isn’t that good. Triple H knew this in NXT so her time on the microphone was very minimum.
  • Nia Jax still thinks she’s going to beat Asuka.
  • The Bar face off against Titus Worldwide (again) and get up losing to them in an upset (again).
  • “Titus and Apollo gel well together,” said Corey Graves. The commentator spoke too soon, as Titus and Apollo would proceed to botch a basic double Irish whip into the ropes. “Well, starting to gel at the very least.”
  • Please let this Bray Wyatt/Matt Hardy feud end at Elimination Chamber.
  • The Women’s 6-Man Tag was a mess of a match. If this is how the six women work together, their match at Elimination Chamber is going to be a disaster.

 

Smackdown Logo
Welcome to SmackDown – The Land of Opportunity!
  • WWE Champion AJ Styles gives Renee Young a tour of the ring and the surrounding area as if he were trying to sell her a house. He has a promising career in real estate once his wrestling career is over.
  • AJ jokes about Kevin Owens looking great after having his boil (Sami Zayn) removed from his back. In truth, Owens does look good. He appears to be losing weight and is getting in better shape.
  • Thanks Shane McMahon for reminding us we’re in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • The crowd is finally over Shane. Time for Shane to disappear for another five years again so he can come back to a “Holy Sh*t” chant like he did last time.
  • This stupid, pointless, SmackDown Top 10 List is still being talked about! The only list that should ever receive this must airtime is Chris Jericho’s.
  • Jinder Mahal comes out saying he has big dirt on WWE US Champion Bobby Roode. The big dirt? Jinder reveals “Bobby’s Top 10 list” where Roode allegedly ranked himself as number one as well as removing Randy Orton from the list. Yes, this is an actual promo.
  • WHY ARE WE STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS DUMB LIST?!
  • No RKO Outta Nowhere after Jinder’s dragged out segment.
  • Shane books Roode vs Orton for the US Title at Fastlane, because Orton accepted Roode’s challenge last week but Jinder prevented the match from happening. Daniel Bryan disagrees. For once, Shane’s judgement makes a bit of sense.
  • SmackDown’s 6-Women Tag Team match was much better than Raw’s 6-Women Tag Team match.
  • WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair will be defending her title against Ruby at Fastlane. I saw this coming and I’m totally cool with it. We should get a really good match out of the two.
  • Sami Zayn is totally setting Kevin Owens for a screw job. I can’t wait for it.
  • New Day gets yet another shot at the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Titles. Joy…
  • Seriously, will the Bludgeon Brothers destroying tag teams ever get old? No, it never will.
  • “You can’t beat me!” said Baron Corbin to AJ Styles. AJ promptly beats Corbin in a moment that my housemate described as “a scene from the Power Rangers”.
  • The lack of Shinsuke Nakamura (again) disturbs me.
  • The lack of Rusev Day (AGAIN) disturbs me more.

 

NXT Logo
Meanwhile, at NXT…
  • I keep forgetting No Way Jose is still in NXT.
  • Stop teasing Velveteen Dream vs. Tyler Bate and give us the damn match already!
  • Good to see the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic is back.
  • Johnny Gargano and Andrade “Cien” Almas put on yet another good match. The ending was surprising as I thought Johnny would’ve won via DQ.
  • It sucks to see Johnny leave NXT. No doubt he’ll be 205 Live bound, which will make me want to watch the show.
  • By costing Johnny his career in NXT, Tommaso Ciampa will never be cheered by an NXT crowd again.

That’s all for this edition of WRR! Let me know when you thought of this week’s shows. Feedback is welcomed too! Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week!

Weekly Rassling Rundown 12 – 14 Feb

Welcome to this week’s Weekly Rassling Rundown. As mentioned in my NJPW Melbourne review, I’m going to be making this week’s rundown a quick one. Let’s not waste any time and dive right into it!

Raw Logo
Welcome everyone, to Monday Night RAW!
  • For some reason, Michael Cole tells us John Cena is really annoyed about his loss last week. Not sure why he’s the one annoyed. It should be Braun since Elias stole the win.
  • Cena’s newest t-shirt coincidently matches the WrestleMania sign. Cena going to Mania confirmed.
  • Cena tells us WrestleMania is a very important event, especially for new superstars so they can make a lasting impact. Of course, Cena still wants to bury all the new talent and headline WrestleMania yet again.
  • Kurt Angle agrees with Cena to add a “loser enters the Elimination Chamber first” situation in his impromptu match against The Miz. Cena, naturally, makes up for his loss last week with a win.
  • Cena’s happy to not be entering first but there’s still a chance he could enter second, which means he’ll STILL be starting off the match regardless.
  • Angle’s still getting worse on a live mic. At least he remembered the name of the Elimination Chamber match at Elimination Chamber.
  • I swear I heard The Young Bucks shout “F*ck The Revival” when Dash & Dawson beat The Club.
  • Kurt Angle’s announcement that Ronda Rousey’s Raw contract signing will take place at Elimination Chamber gets boos from the crowd. Looks like Rhonda’s going to be taking the spotlight away from another women’s first match.
  • Also, it’s never explained as to why Ronda is going to Raw considering Asuka was Raw’s most recent signing. I’m guessing working on Tuesdays doesn’t appeal to Ronda.
  • When telling people Jason Jordan is going to be out for a while with a severe neck injury, (legit, not fake), the crowd cheers and starts a yes chant. Angle turns on the crowd (legit, not fake) for cheering about the news of a wrestler being injured. Good on Angle. I don’t care if a wrestler is liked or disliked – an injury can be career threating and even life threating.
  • Get well soon, Jason Jordan.
  • Seth Rollins comes out and gets himself into the qualifying match for the final spot in the Elimination Chamber. How? Angle said he doesn’t call the shots, it was the WWE fans who do. Angle forgot less than an hour earlier, HE made the call with the Cena/Miz match stipulation.
  • I’m guessing Angle’s being nice to Seth for him playing with his son lately.
  • Bayley & Sasha finally get to have a good match. Nia comes out after to destroy them. She still thinks she can beat Asuka. Everyone laughs.
  • Roman Reigns thinks Cesaro’s teeth were broken due to him running into the Shield. They were broken by the ring post, proving both Reigns wrong and that it’s the ring post is the hardest part of the ring, not the ring apron.
  • The crowd was that into the Roman Reigns/Sheamus match they were chanting “Rusev Day”.
  • Mandy Rose wants to be referred to as Lex Luger, sorry I mean the “Total Package”.
  • Braun Strowman interrupting Elias by playing a gigantic upright bass was amazing. By play, I mean breaking the strings with a single stroke. Braun then annihilating Elias by smashing the bass over his back then topped this. Seriously, if this doesn’t top the Raw 30 Year Best Of list in 5 years, I’ll quit watching Raw all together.
  • Braun also has a good singing voice.
  • Ivory is getting inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Good on her!
  • The Fatal 5-Way match was great. The desperation from all five wrestlers was clear and the match wasn’t dull at all. Fast paced with lots of action. Interesting finish with both Seth Rollins and Finn Balor getting the double pin.
  • The suspense leading up to next week to find out what’s going to happen is going to be killing you, right? Wrong. On Facebook right after Raw, Kurt Angle tells Rollins and Balor they’re both are going into the Elimination Chamber match.
  • Looks like we’ll be getting a new chamber. Or will three people start off instead of two? I’d say tune into Raw next week to find out, but I’m sure WWE will just inform us via Twitter. Or Snapchat. Or Instagram.

 

Smackdown Logo
Welcome to SmackDown – The Land of Opportunity!
  • Baron Corbin, someone who has been unimpressive over the past several months, and Dolph Ziggler, the former WWE United States Champion who vacated the title and left SmackDown 2 months ago, somehow have a match where the winner will join Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and WWE World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles in a Fatal 4-Way. Why do they get this opportunity? Because Shane McMahon’s a moron.
  • Owens and Zayn beat the crap out of both Corbin and Ziggler, cancelling their match. This makes me worried as immediately I assume Shane will just now kick the two out of match and replace them with Corbin and Ziggler.
  • For some reason Charlotte brings Becky Lynch and Naomi out during her match against Sara Logan, despite Charlotte being totally fine last week when the Riott Squad were at ringside. I guess this is Becky and Naomi’s reward for making that God-awful SmackDown 10 Top list last week.
  • The Charlotte/Sara Logan match was good. Two down, one to go.
  • “You don’t headbutt a Samoan, and you don’t chop a Flair.” Corey Graves, 2018.
  • My fears of Owens and Zayn being dropped from the title picture are put at ease when Shane arranges singles matches between Corbin and Owens and Zayn and Ziggler. If Corbin and Ziggler, they get added to the title match. If Owens or Zayn interfere in either match, they get removed.
  • For some reason, Shane tells Daniel Bryan that Corbin and Ziggler are worthy for a title shot. Why? Because Shane McMahon’s a moron.
  • The commentators mention the SmackDown Top 10 list. Please note Corbin and Ziggler, two people who Shane said are “worthy of a main title shot”, aren’t on this list that’s meant to help determine who gets title shots.
  • Bobby Roode calls out Randy Orton and invites him to take part in an open challenge for the WWE U.S Championship. Jinder Mahal also invites himself. Jinder proceeds to give Orton crap about being ranked ninth on a list that Orton and every WWE fan doesn’t care about.
  • RKO outta nowhere that everyone saw coming!
  • There’s a New Day segment involving pancakes and eating pancakes. The crowd doesn’t care. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin come out to interrupt. The crowd still doesn’t care. They only care when Gable says pancakes suck.
  • The Bludgeon Brothers finally use their big Super Mario hammers to smash a TV.
  • Baron defeats Owens in a surprisingly good match. Ziggler defeats Zayn in a really good match. We now have a Fatal 5-Way at the Fastlane PPV in 4 weeks for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
  • The lack of both AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura disturbs me.
  • The lack of Rusev Day disturbs me more.

 

NXT Logo
Meanwhile, at NXT…
  • Pete Dunne has a great match against Roderick Strong.
  • Looks like Aleister Black is going to clash with Killian Dain for a future shot at the NXT Championship.
  • TM61’s ring attire now incorporates AFL-like jerseys.
  • Thank you Kairi Sane for ending the Ember Moon/Shayna Baszler match. Baszler still looks uninterested and can’t sell any moves Ember throws at her.
  • If Baszler is still bad despite being in pro-wrestling for a few years, I can’t help but think what Ronda Rousey going to be like in the ring with no prior experience…

That’s all for this very quick edition of WRR! Let me know when you thought of this week’s shows. Feedback is welcomed too! Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week!

Weekly Rassling Rundown 5 – 11 Feb (Part 2)

Smackdown Logo
Welcome to SmackDown – The Land of Opportunity!

SmackDown starts off with SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon coming out to remind us we’re in Kansas City this week. He summons SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan so he can repeat the same script he’s been reading for the past two months. Shane still doesn’t understand why Daniel’s still giving Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn another opportunity for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, despite it being perfectly clear to 99.99% of the world.

And this is why Stephanie McMahon and Triple H will be running WWE when Vince steps down.

Seriously what doesn’t Shane understand? KO & SZ were screwed out of their match at Royal Rumble by a bad referee decision, so Daniel arranges a match between the two for a shot at the title. As we saw from last week’s episode, the friendship between Kevin and Sami went very rocky very quick and now the two want to beat the crap outta each other.

Something you’d think Shane would like, right?

Yes. This is exactly what Daniel tells Shane. Shane, however, thinks this is a dumb idea. I’m going to assume leaping off of things with an average height of 50 feet for the past 20 years would mess with your brain.

Again, this is why Steph and Trips will be running WWE.

Shane tries to summon crocodile tears and tells Daniel he thinks he’s trying to live through Owens and Zayn. For those who don’t know, Daniel Bryan was a very good wrestler (solid B+ at best) who had to retire right at his prime due to injuries.

WWE World Heavyweight Champion and executive director of SmackDown construction, AJ Styles, comes out and tells both men to stop crying and get on with it. I agree.

AJShin
NJPW: Building hype for future WrestleMania matches since 2016.

After a commercial AJ Styles bumps into Shinsuke Nakamura. The Rockstar Artist of Strong Style tells AJ he’s gonna beat him at WrestleMania. Everyone around the world continues frothing at the mouth in anticipation.

Throughout the whole night WWE fans could ask The New Day questions via Twitter. Remember back in the 90’s when doing this over the phone would cost you $5.99 for the first minute, then $12.99 for every additional minute? Anyway, New Day continue to do what they’ve been doing for the past 5 years, thus proving WWE are capable of watering down things more than Capcom.

Match 1: Charlotte Flair def. Liv Morgan via submission. Ok match only because Queen Charlotte is wrestling goddess (sorry Alexa) capable of making everyone look good. Ruby Riott’s Riotttt Squad get involved but are ejected by the referee. I noticed the crowd are now shouting along with the referee when he tells them to get to the back. In two weeks WWE will inform their referees to quietly ask wrestlers to leave so the crowd involvement stops.

ONE FALL!

Charlotte informs us she’s going to be taking out another member of the Riott Squad. 1 down, 2 to go.

Renee Young interviews Kevin Owens and asks about his friendship with Sami Zayn being on the line. Owens says he’s going to beat Sami.

Match 2: The Bludgeon Brothers annihilate Jobber Tag Team. I really wish Harper and Rowan were doing this stuff during their run with the Wyatt Family. It would’ve been amazing. In a moment mirroring last week, the SmackDown WWE Tag Team Champions, The Usos, head to the ring as Harper & Rowan are heading to the back.

Usos
Jimmy and/or Jey Uso should invest in some grills like Jimmy and/or Jey Uso.

The Usos are out to tell us what the meaning of “lockdown” means. It has to do with them getting into the heads of their opponents. I assumed it was related to those cheesy, bad prison cell door graphics they were using on last week’s episode.

Those have been applied to Jimmy’s teeth now, or was it Jey?

The Usos continue to talk about how they used to be all painted up and were babyfaces years ago but now they’re correctional officers of their imaginary penitentiary. Either way, good promo. I love seeing these guys on the microphone when they’re not trying to be act like cool thugs.

Ok. Now let’s time for one most stupid, pointless segments in SmackDown history.

The SmackDown Top 10 Superstars List…

Top10
The first list to make Jericho’s list.

So last week Daniel Bryan makes an announcement that the SmackDown roster would be voting on their favourite superstars to help recognise talent deserving of future opportunities. In theory, this is good. Maybe WWE management can use this to reward people deserving of the spotlight.

Yeah sounds great! So what did the list look like?

It started off ok with some SmackDown favourites like Tye Dillinger and Becky Lynch in the bottom half of the list…

Oh surely there must be better people at the top of the list, right?

Yes, and no. Your Top 5 are:

5) Bobby Roode… He’s the US champion…

4) Naomi… I guess people like a good rave?

3) Shinsuke Nakamura… He IS awesome, but isn’t he already in the main event at WrestleMania?

2) Charlotte Flair… She’s the SmackDown Women’s Champion…

Well, surely, number one would go to someone deserving of headlining the next SmackDown show. Someone who’ll be in future WrestleMania main events but right now anre’t getting much of a chance to shine.

Tell us who number one is…

1) AJ Styles… The current WWE World Heavyweight Champion…

What is the point of this list?! How’s this meant to be helping anyone?! You announce last week the point of the list was for WWE management to get an idea of who should be given more opportunities based on their talent and likability. Basing the vote on talent will always feature your champions at the top of the list every week.

Naomi isn’t a champion though. She’s just A-May-May-May…

NO! She isn’t A-MAY-MAY-MAY-ZING! She’s one of the worst female wrestlers on the main roster. She’d be number one worst female wrestler had it not been for Liv Morgan. This list should’ve been something good. It should’ve been used to start pushing underutilised talent. Instead, they screwed up their very first list. Let’s see if things change next week because right now, I really hope they quietly drop this stupid concept.

There’s only one thing that can make us happy again…

Rusev
The greatest day of the year, every day!

Aiden English cuts a Rusev Day promo while the Bulgarian Brute, Rusev, is working out like the beast that he is. Rusev’s gonna machka Roode.

Match 3: Bobby Roode def. Rusev via pinfall to retain the US Title. Really solid match from both men. The crowd was behind both Rusev Day and Glorious Day. Corey Graves busts out some funny lines about what is going to happen when Rusev wins, the best being Bobby Roode is going to change his name to “Roode-sev”. Byron Saxton demanded to know where Corey’s imaginary sources were coming from.

After the match, Randy Orton comes out and hits a bunch of RKOs outta nowhere. Why? Because he’s Randy Orton.

Backstage Chad “Should’ve Been Kurt Angle’s Son” Gable & Shelton Benjamin (say it like the Usos) talk about bringing back prestige to the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Division, which is the same gimmick The Revival are using on Raw. As they’re on different shows there’s no copyright infringement so the gimmick is acceptable.

Match 4: Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin def. The Ascension via pinfall. Nothing fancy or special here. American Alpha 2.0 pick up a win.

Renee Young interviews Sami Zayn and asks about his upcoming match. This was a good promo from Zayn who talked about stepping out from Kevin’s shadow. He mentions how Kevin’s won tons of titles since coming to the WWE. Now, it’s Sami’s turn… After AJ and Shinsuke have their 7 star match at WrestleMania of course.

Come to think of it, it would still be awesome if Sami and Shinsuke headlined WrestleMania. Their match at NXT Takeover: Dallas was fantastic. More of that please!

KOSZ
Best friends doing what they do best: killing each other for our entertainment.

Match 5: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn ends in a no contest. Match of the night was going to go to Roode & Rusev, but these two put on an awesome match like they always do. The end comes when Sami gets in AJ Styles’s face, who is at ringside doing commentary, and spins his chair around. AJ reacts to this by attacking both Zayn and Owens causing the ref to throw the match out.

This leads to Daniel Bryan coming out to make a very logic decision: since both men technically won the match, they’re both going to face AJ Styles at the next SmackDown PPV, Fastlane, for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

SmackDown ends with Byron Saxton’s head exploding due to his brain being incapable to process logic.

NXT Logo
Meanwhile, at NXT…

NXT is meant to start off with Kyle O’Reiley and Bobby Fish of the Undisputed Era defending their NXT Tag Team Titles against Sanity, but both factions end up brawling. This leads to NXT security coming out. They’re getting a bit better this time as only two of them got the crap beat out of them (of course by Killian Dain).

NXT GM and the next King of England William Regal comes out and sets up a 6-Man Tornado Tag Team Match for the main event. I’m totally cool with this.

Match 1: Heavy Machinery def. Tino Sabbatelli & Riddick Moss via pinfall. Ok match with Heavy Machinery looking better in the ring. Otis is starting to come off as a drunk dwarf.

Now if only Tucker & Otis would stop pretending to be fat…

The crowd hates Tino Sabbatelli – a LOT. They chant “Tino Sucks” 3 or 4 times. I’m guessing it’s due to Tino’s stupidly perfect body. Tino and Riddick suddenly don’t like each other. We know this because they slap each other into the ring when they tag out. Moss walks out on Tino after the match and the crowd approves.

Johnny
Johnny Gargano, People’s Champion 2018.

Johnny Gargano AKA Johnny Wrestling talks about his awesome match against NXT Champion Andres “Cien” Almas. He cuts the typical “winning your respect means more to me than winning the title” promo, then calls out his former friend turned enemy, Tommaso Ciampa.

Instead, NXT Champion Andres “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega appear. Vega tells Johnny to stop complaining about the loss (he wasn’t) and to stop blaming Ciampa for his loss (again, he wasn’t). The crowd chants for Johnny’s wife, Candice La Rae. This reminds Johnny of how Candice beat the crap out of Vega at NXT Takeover: Philly. Candice appears Cien and Vega retreat.

Vega says she’s sick of Johnny and wants him gone from NXT.

Funny, I was just thinking the same about Shayna Baszler.

Johnny asks for one more shot at the NXT Championship. Vega agrees on behalf of Cien, only if Johnny promises to quit NXT if he loses. Johnny agrees to this, and Candice is very concerned about what her husband has agreed to.

Don’t worry Candice. Johnny will just go to 205 Live. It’s now in much better hands.

Good segment in general though a little bit clichéd. I really like Johnny’s passion and Candice’s reaction to her husband. Vega and Cien continue to work well together.

Too bad this was followed up by a boring Shayna Baszler interview. She says there’ll be no more NXT Women’s Title shoots for her because NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon is too scared of her. Well if it means not seeing you on TV, good.

Belair
Hair more dangerous than Sindel’s.

Match 2: Bianca Belair def. Jessix Hill via pinfall. Bianca destroys her opponent so fast she doesn’t get to use her hair whip. That makes me sad.

We get a nice little package of Kairi Sane. Let’s hope we see her around in NXT more moving forward. More Kairi. Less Shayna.

Match 3: Sanity def. Undisputed Era via pinfall. Great match from start to finish. These six guys work so well together. There was plenty of brawling and cool spots, including Killian Dain hurling Bobby Fish from the stage into the other four wrestlers near the ring.

After a series of nice, smooth pinfall breaks and sweet near falls, Dain picks up the win for his team. I’m really looking forward to seeing Undisputed Era defend their NXT Tag Team Titles against Sanity. It should lead to another solid match that’ll be entertaining as hell.

That’s all for the first WRR! Let me know when you thought of this week’s shows. Feedback is welcome too! Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week!