This week we saw one of the worst episodes of Monday night Raw in recent memory.
Smackdown was significantly better thankfully, and while the main roster was busy riding a quality roller coaster the newest brand made a bunch of news. Read on to find out more.
As noted previously, WWE network has been airing 2 episodes per week of NXT UK TV in an effort to close the gap between taping and broadcast. One of the reasons for this is that they are set to put on their first NXT UK Takeover event on January 12. Tickets for the event, to be held at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, sold out MINUTES after going on sale to the public. This is a good sign for the popularity of the fledgling brand and for future UK Takeover events.
Additionally, WWE has been working on signing some of their UK talent to new deals. The new contracts are said to increase pay for those wrestlers, but also limit where they can work. Rather than being free to work anywhere they want, performers under these new deals will only be able to work shows run by WWE or by one of their partner promotions. Some sources are writing this up as a negative development. Big bad WWE coming in and taking over the territory much the way they once did decades ago in the US. Personally, I just see it as a business protecting its investments, especially now that they are truly growing the NXT UK brand with more shows and opportunities there. I don’t think it unreasonable that a performer that they see potential in be kept on shows where the NXT team has some control over how that person is used. I mean, what if someone is scheduled for a featured match at a highly publicized Takeover special, but they get hurt working a gimmick match at an indy show days before?
WWE Network finally aired the crowning of the 1st NXT UK Women’s Champion this week. Rhea Ripley defeated former Aussie and MYC2 winner Toni Storm for the honor. I think most people, myself included, expected Storm to be the inaugural champ for the brand. That said, I do like that they went another way. Storm is a star with or without being the 1st woman to hold that belt. Giving the distinction to Ripley elevates her to equal(ish) status and gives the faces of the division something to chase for a little while. It’s a shame this footage didn’t air in time to give them a featured spot at Evolution, but they will get to shine at the UK’s 1st Takeover event in January.
It seems there’s bad news on the Braun Strowman front. Reports are claiming it was a little worse than expected when the doctors got inside his arm for surgery. The original hope was for him to be well enough to at least appear at TLC and perhaps work a limited match/angle. It now appears he will not be ready for that and that there is a reshuffling of the card happening. The roster really can’t afford for another top star to be out right now, so hopefully this is only a minor set back for the Monster Among Men.
Just in case it wasn’t made clear by her return to television this Tuesday, Becky Lynch HAS been cleared to return to the ring. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them continue to to keep her out of action until TLC just as a precaution. The worst thing that can happen when you’ve recently been concussed is to suffer another soon after. Just ask Alexa Bliss.
Dec 16: TLC
We’re only a couple of weeks away from the next PPV from WWE, and here’s how the card is shaping up thus far:
Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey© vs Nia Jax
Intercontinental Title Match: Seth Rollins© vs Dean Ambrose
WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan© vs AJ Styles
TLC Match: Braun Strowman vs Baron Corbin (if Strowman is healthy)*
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch© vs Charlotte Flair vs Asuka
Final of the Mixed match Challenge
*If Strowman is not yet healthy enough to compete, expect some sort of 6 man match featuring Corbin, McIntyre and Lashley vs Finn Balor, Elias and another top face (do they have any others at the moment?)
Assorted News and Notes
The latest name that seems to be getting tossed around for a potential main roster call up is former NXT champion Aleister Black. He’s a performer who consistently delivers and has a great aura about him. Let’s just hope main roster creative doesn’t screw that up like they have with so many similarly gifted talents before him.
The team at Fox is reportedly pushing to have Ronda Rousey on the Smackdown roster by the time they begin airing Smackdown next year. Fox already has a relationship with Rousey from a previous show she did for them and they reportedly want a more “sports” feel to the overall product when it airs on their network.
In a fun bit of non-wrestling news, legendary musician Sir Elton John was forced to cancel a couple of concerts here in Florida this week due to illness. Kevin Owens, who was in attendance with his wife for the Orlando show was so upset by its cancellation that he took to twitter and challenged Sir Elton to a match at Mania. Owens claimed to have no issue with beating up old men and offered his beat down of Mr. McMahon a few years ago as proof.
- Jon Cooper: his legacy, his leash, his future April 23, 2019
- Styles and Rollins set for Universal Title match after stellar Raw broadcast April 22, 2019
- Rays regain course in series opener vs. Royals April 22, 2019
- Rays come all the way back but Benintendi and the Red Sox take the series April 20, 2019
- The Lightning won’t blow it up: so what’s next this offseason? April 20, 2019
- No more tears, no more years: the Steve Yzerman saga is over in Tampa April 19, 2019
- The Brand Rosters Were Shook This Week April 19, 2019
- Rays comeback falls just short, lose in 11 innings April 19, 2019
- What went wrong: examining the Lightning’s massive letdown April 18, 2019
- Rays crush three homers, beat Orioles 8-1 April 17, 2019