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Week in pro wrestling 3/30/20 Isolated road to WrestleMania

This week in pro wrestling, an isolated road to WrestleMania. What will happen towards the most unique Mania of all time? AEW shifts operations to an undisclosed locations. A new AEW title and the tournament to win it announced. NXT adapts to having TakeOver canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Can Keith Lee retain his North American title? Let’s dive in to this week in pro wrestling.


Raw presents a different kind of go home show heading into Wrestlemania weekend

These are strange times to say the least. What normally is one of the most exciting weeks in pro-wrestling has been anything but the norm during these tumultuous times during the COVID-19 era.

The finish line is in sight, but it doesn’t feel like we are truly less than a week away from Wrestlemania. The Raw after ‘Mania, which is always an opportunity to develop fresh stories and new faces on the red brand, may be something delayed due to the Florida lock-down, but nevertheless, here we go.

My Wife Does It Better

AJ Styles and The Undertaker absolutely knock it out of the park to start the show and that ball is still sailing. Styles continues to mock “Mark Calloway” and his twitter pics and the penchant to please his wife and pay the bills at the expense of his health.

Taker then comes out and destroys Styles, mentioning that he was a little fish in the TNA pond where the likes of Austin, Rock, Michaels, HHH, Guerrero, Booker T, Mick Foley and Kurt Angle were having their best matches with Taker. Taker says his wife does Styles finish better than he does.

He says, even as a seasoned veteran past his prime, it’s more than enough to bury Styles in the Boneyard match. Looking forward to this one for sure. This was a great promo exchange between two of the very best.

Choked Up

“The Man” Becky Lynch comes out and introduces a full replay of last year’s world title main event between herself, Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair. Lynch won and thus began her domination as the Women’s champion, heading into her match with Shayna Baszler.

Lynch cuts a promo after the match before Baszler attacks her from behind, applying the Kirafuda Clutch. She then slings Lynch into the announce table in a brutal spot. She takes the world title and drops it on Lynch before leaving. That match should turn some heads.

Aleister Black easily handles Jason Cade in the first in-ring match of the evening, putting the enhancement talent out in short order with the Black Mass. He’ll do business with Bobby Lashley this weekend.

Winning the battle, not the war

Kevin Owens and The Street Profits defeat the team of Seth Rollins, Austin Theory and Angel Garza via pin fall after a stunner from Owens on Garza.

Theory, who cut his teeth in Evolve, is introduced by Zelina Vega as the replacement for Andrade in the tag title match this weekend. These six men give it their all, including a brilliant spot where Montez Ford attempts a somersault senton to the outside and he gets nothing but ramp, ouch.

The distraction allows Owens to strike with the stunner. He secures the pin fall before Rollins hits the Blackout Stomp, not caring about taking the loss, but instead, rubbing dirt in the wound before he and Owens finally get after it this weekend. That match needs time, it should be great.

Great to see Theory on the main roster too. He’s got all the potential to be a big star if given time to shine. Don’t give him a tarantula in a cage and he’ll be fine.

Owens cuts a magnificent promo on Rollins after the commercial to sell the match with the “Monday Night Messiah” and one thing I can say about Raw’s during these trying times are the fact that some of the best promo work has come out of it.

“The Rated R Superstar” Edge, comes out and holds court, cutting another outstanding promo, carrying water for his match with “The Viper” Randy Orton this weekend. That’s another match that needs time, and hopefully, it’s on night two, so it really gets a chance to hold it’s place atop the card where it belongs.

Asuka defeats Kayden Carter via submission with Asuka Lock. Asuka has been red hot and entertaining as heck. She and Kairi Sane will defend their world’s titles against Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross this weekend.

Charlotte Flair attacks Rhea Ripley before their match for the NXT Title this weekend. Another match that could be really fun.

Just Another Name

We see Brock Lesnar’s title defense against Rey Mysterio after this, which was fun, and another great performance from the WWE Champion.

Brock Lesnar and “The Advocate” Paul Heyman end the show with another sensational promo. They state that Drew McIntyre will be just another name in a long list of those who have fallen at the hands of the beast at ‘Mania this weekend. Saturday and Sunday will tell the tale.-Joel 

AEW Dynamite:

This week on Dynamite, AEW shifts the show to an undisclosed location. A day before Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis issued a state wide stay at home order. With the new order, may put a strain on pro wrestling and taping shows. AEW seemed to be one step ahead and now films somewhere else. A new AEW title announced and the way to win it. Murder Hawk, Lance Archer debuts and a new tag team! Cody/Darby Allin team up to take on Sammy Guevara/Shawn Spears. Let’s get started, because this is Dynamite!

Brawling start. Shida has trouble with unknown. Muder Hawk debuts.

Kenny Omega vs Trent from Best Friends. Omega wins via One-Winged Angel pin fall.

I honestly was giggled in watching a technical engagement between these two guys. However, what we got was a a borderline bar brawl. In which was a pleasant surprise for me, now there was technical aspects but more of a brawl. Trent targeted Kenny’s broken hand in a non face fashion and Omega went Bullet Club heel on Trent. Since watching AEW’s inception, I was not use to seeing these guys behave in this fashion.

However, as a long time follower of Kenny and Trent in NJPW.. it didn’t seem out of place for me. But to casual AEW fans, their story could’ve been better explained. There was a pretty fun spot when Omega hits a Tope Suicida on the entire Best Friends stable. Kenny wanted to reenact the Best Friends hug spot, Orange Cassidy breaks down and attempts to hug Omega. Yet Chuck Taylor stops its and asks Cassidy dod you know what you are doing? Funny stuff for me. Great match that displayed the guys other styles and being able to adapt. Omega hits a V-Trigger and a One-Winged Angel for the win.

Hikaru Shida vs Anna Jayy. Shida wins via Falcon Arrow pin fall.

I didn’t mentioned this before, but there was actually a crowd at ringside again, comprised of heels and faces. It seemed that the heels got the exclusive tickets, because they outnumbered the faces. This match was to elevate Shida in her hunt for Nyla Rose and her title. It did… to a point. I am just bewildered on why Shida struggled with a relative jobber. I get that AEW loves to promote the indie scene, but to have your top contender struggle against a no-name is confusing. The action was spot on and Britt Baker was at ringside taunting Hikaru. In the closing seconds, the striker Shida actually used a move to win. The Falcon Arrow… after the win Baker again taunts Shida, maybe leading to a program between the two.

Murder Hawk Lance Archer vs Marko Stunt. Lance wins via Chockslam pin fall.

Poor ol’ Marko. Actually, this was a good fit for Stunt. Lance came in and straight up murdered the poor fella. However, the resilient Marko gave a flash of offense and I mean a flash. Other then that it was Archer on full display of his power. Tossing and slamming stunt like he was a Dollar Store rag doll. The pain ended with a stupid easy and high up Chokeslam for the pin. Colt Cabana was on commentary and vowed to give the Murder Hawk his first loss. By the way, about that…

New AEW title! New tag team! Disappointment and frustration leads to lashing out.

There is new gold to be won.

Announced earlier this week, AEW will have a new title. The title will be the “TNT Championship”, I know this is not the title most were hoping for, like a Trios title. Yet, this is what we get and I am not that angry. The TNT title is something that can be called as a “TV title”, a la WCW. The winner must go through a tournament. On one side it will be Shawn Spears vs Cody and Darby Allin vs Sammy Guevara. The other side will be Dustin Rhodes vs Kip Sabian and Lance Archer vs Colt Cabana. My money is on either Cody or Darby to face off against Lance Archer, with the winner being Cody or Lance.

Remember, Cody can not challenge for the AEW title even being ranked third.. due to his loss to MJF. Yet, I would’ve had enjoyed a Trios title more, especially when there is many contenders for it. The Death Triangle, Jurassic Express, Best Friends, The Elite, The Inner Circle, MJF/Butcher/Blade, etc.

The Natural Nightmares (Dustin Rhodes/QT Marshall with Brandi Rhodes) vs The Dark Order’s number Eight and Nine. Via Double Team Flapjack pin fall.

This was the inaugural squash match for The Natural Nightmares and was refreshing. Yes, Dustin and QT probably squashed jobbers, but the action was akin to some 80’s southern wrestling. It was a nice touch and way to promote this tag team. Eight and Nine had me thinking it was Jack Evans and Angelico, but I kept questioning myself. If Evans and Angelico joined the Dark Order, what a game changer! The match had Dustin pulling off his greatest hits and a Cannonball flip! In the closing seconds, Rhodes and QT hit a Double Flapjack, which looked lie a Flapjack Stunner combo.

Afterwards, The Exalted One Brodie Lee makes his way to the ring. After staring down the Natural Nightmares and Dustin not backing down, Lee attends to the ring and hits big Powerbomb on Eight or Nine. Honestly, they look the same. I am digging the Brodie parody of Vince McMahon, but would love to see him evolve from being a former WWE talent and sour grapes performer.

Le Champion is the best.

Chris Jericho is having his self isolation time. The Pain Maker uses this time to cut a promo and insult The Elite and Matt Hardy. What makes this so great is Jericho has his character just go bonkers, while intertwining reality. Chris spoke about Nick Jackson’s injury, but then congratulates him on his new born child, which is the real reason Nick is off air. All of the sudden Vanguard-1 arrives. Yet again, Le Champion tries to recruit a drone!!

This time Jericho attempts to talk “drone” and offers Vanguard a baby tee for the Inner Circle. Again, Vanguard-1 declines, which made The List Maker to “RELEASE THE HOUNDS!”. The “hounds” were his pack of dogs in his home, which some of them were very small dogs. I can not express how much I am loving this. It is like Broken Matt has influenced Le Champion and both have become over the top absurd. While this may not be the cup of tea for everyone, I enjoy it as a welcome craziness.. that has near top billing in a reality based show. Sue me.

Shawn Spears/Sammy Guevara vs Cody/Darby Allin. Shawn wins via roll up pin fall.

The main event was quite interesting. All four men are in the newly announced TNT title bracket and there was a lot of bad blood between the four men. Ranging from Cody taking Darby to a time limit, Shawn clocking Cody with a horrific chair shot, to Sammy being in the Inner Circle, this had all hands in. The match was very entertaining, with all the tying in of story lines. In in one had, you had the faces, in which they battled. The other hand, you had the heels, in which one loses a lot  and the other hasn’t been on TV a lot.

The action was intriguing as the four men went all out in selling the story for the TNT title tournament. There was crafty tactics from the heels and the never give up from the faces. Yes. I am a big Darby Allin mark, but he pulled off the move of the night! While Cody and the heels were fighting outside the ring, Darby climbed to the top of a pole and COFFIN DROP on them! This guy has no care in bumps! However, it was the beginning of the end. After the drop, Shawn calls for a chair from Sammy. The Spanish God provides one and Spears goe to give Cody a chair shot. However, Darby steals the chair, but is distracted by Sammy and Shawn rolls Allin up for the win.

Afterwards, Cody attempts to console Darby in the loss. Allin is not having it, just like the beginning of the match. A frustrated and tired Darby lashes out on Cody with a right hook! The lines have been drawn for the TNT Championship and there are no allies, it’s every man for themselves and I love it.


This episode was really good, I credit AEW for having a “crowd” at ringside. I do not care if they are Girl Scouts, “Noise” during a match will improve a bout. There was only two talents on the face side for awhile. Guess what? They were the loudest ones there! The heels just played their part, but mostly was quiet. The stint when Sammy and Shawn starting to bet in the middle of the match was hilarious! Proving that a little “noise” and some off the cuff comedy goes a long way. Damn good show.David G.


With the cancellation of Takeover: Tampa due to COVID-19, we get to watch these matches play out on NXT TV. Tonight, Velveteen Dream takes a step closer to challenging Adam Cole for the NXT Championship as he takes on Undisputed Era member Bobby Fish. Also on the card, the Women’s #1 Contender Ladder Match lineup is set after a six-woman gauntlet match. And in the Main Event, Keith Lee defends his NXT North American Championship against both Dominik Dijakovic and Damian Priest in a Triple Threat Match! 

I’ll get this out of the way early: Tom Phillips is joined by Sam Roberts on commentary this week, and it’s absolutely awful. They were constantly out of sync, Roberts’ timing was way off, and there was a lot of dead air as both guys struggled to find a rhythm with each other. Phillips is fine as a lead guy, and Roberts works well when he can interject his subtle jabs and knocks on the talent. They really needed a third guy in the booth, and that’s something I don’t say very often.

Dream Over, Lumis Reintroduced, Running the Gauntlet

Velveteen Dream vs. Bobby Fish

I did not care for this match at all. This was very similar to Dream’s first match back after injury, when he faced Roderick Strong. The pace was slow, the moves were sloppy and took forever to develop, and the finish was dead. I don’t know if the reason Dream is struggling because he feeds off the energy of the crowd, but something is amiss here.

Fish dominated for much of the match, working on the leg of Dream. But then, literally out of nowhere, Dream hits the Dream Valley Driver, and gets the pin, and it’s over. Seriously? No buildup to the finish at all? Maybe it’s me, being used to listening to the crowd as the finish builds up. Man, I miss the audience.

Winner – Velveteen Dream

After a quick recap of last week’s attack on Matt Riddle, Malcolm Bivens formally introduces us to his associates, Rinku and Saurav. Together, they are Bivens Enterprises. Malcolm says they are waiting for the Broserweights. Not much else to discuss here. At least we have a name for these guys.

Dexter Lumis vs. Jake Atlas

This is the first time Lumis has been on TV since the NXT Breakout Tournament last summer, and man was he impressive. He’s got a serial killer glare, with dead eyes that pierce your soul. His moveset is impressive, by not being too powerful but ultra agressive.

I was informed after the show that Jake Atlas was a star on the episode of Undercover Boss that featured Stephanie McMahon. Apparently he was offered a contract shortly afterward, and has been training in the Performance Center ever since. This was his TV debut, and he put up a valiant effort, but was no match for the force that is Dexter Lumis, who submitted Atlas with an arm triangle chokehold.

Winner – Dexter Lumis

Next week, we get Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano. Black Heart vs. Rebel Heart. Gargano pointed out on Twitter that he and Ciampa are 2-2 against each other in singles matches. This will be the final match, the end of this fantastic rivalry.

Six Woman Gauntlet Match – Shotzi Blackheart vs. Deonna Purrazzo vs. Xia Li vs. Aliyah vs. Kayden Carter vs. Dakota Kai

We knew Shotzi Blackheart was going to be a star in the NXT Women’s division prior to this outing, but this match made it even more evident. Instead of running down each match in the gauntlet, I’ll discuss a few things that happened as it progressed.

As we got deeper into the match, we saw more of the resilience and tenacity of Blackheart, as she evolved her style to adapt to each competitor. She was quick out of the gate with Purrazzo, but as she got to Xia Li, she became more technical, and busted out a very unique submission to get the Chinese superstar to tap.

The grind of having to face multiple opponents had really taken its toll on Shotzi as she faced Carter in her fourth match. Shotzi’s mannerisms and expressions were on point as she sold the effects of having to endure through the gauntlet, but she still managed to beat Carter to go on to face Dakota Kai for a chance to run the table and secure her spot in the ladder match.

That finish, though. It’s been pretty obvious for a while that Kai was going to find her way into the ladder match, but using such a weak, outright awful-looking finish is appalling. The “Go To Kick”? Really? I digress, Kai wins the gauntlet match with that finish, which came after Raquel Gonzalez interjected herself, distracting Shotzi long enough for Dakota to get the upper hand.

Winner – Dakota Kai

Kushida in Action, Another Kidnapping, Triple Threat Main Event

Kushida vs. Joaquin Wilde

I’ve been pretty vocal about how much I dislike the character that Joaquin Wilde has portrayed on NXT TV. I just don’t get the ridiculous headset or the DJ horn that plays during his intro. That said, I was pleasantly surprised at the match Wilde and Kushida had this week. While it was a friendly bout, with respect shown between the two both before and after, neither man held anything back once the bell rang.

Kushida seems to have been lost in the shuffle after returning from a broken wrist. He has no real direction, isn’t involved in any storylines, but he has improved greatly in the ring. Seems that he’s found his footing and adapted to the pace in NXT. And the way he can slap on the Hoverboard Lock from practically any position is impressive, as Wilde learned this week.

Winner – Kushida

Later in the night, Wilde is interviewed in the parking lot, and asked about coming up short against Kushida. Before he can say anything, we see the same masked Luchadores from a few weeks back that “kidnapped” Raul Mendoza. They force Wilde into their SUV and speed off. I’m intrigued at where this could be going.

Triple Threat Match for the NXT North American Championship – Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic vs. Damian Priest

How many times can we sing the praises of Keith Lee? The man truly is Limitless! Not only do we get to see his amazing show of agility, but his strength is on showcase tonight as well, as he’s in the ring with two other agile big men in Priest and Dijakovic.

All three men get the upper hand at different points in the match, but the highlight of the contest (and of the night, for that matter) is Keith Lee powerbombing Damian Priest multiple times ON TOP of Dominik Dijakovic, before hoisiting Priest up in the air and delivering a devastating Spirit Bomb! What a sight to see!

The closing segment of the match sees Priest brandishing his retractable nightstick once again, and targeting Dijakovic. The towering Croatian counters by hitting the Feast Your Eyes on the Archer Of Infamy, although Priest blocks the knee strike with his nightstick. This allows Keith Lee to pounce Priest out of the ring, deliver the Big Bang Catastrophe to Dijakovic, and pick up the pinfall to retain his championship.

Winner and STILL NXT North American Champion – Keith Lee

At this point, I feel that the only direction left to go for these men is for Dominik Dijakovic to turn heel and attack Keith Lee, setting up a Heel vs. Face rivalry that would have the makings of being a classic.


NXT is doing their best to make the best out of the situation. Granted, most, if not all, of these matches would have more impact if there were crowd reactions involved. That being said, it was a great night of both in-ring action and continuation of stories. Heading into Wrestlemania weekend, where we should be getting these matches on a Takeover presentation, we’re instead getting them on weekly television. I appreciate the efforts being shown by all talent, and look forward to what comes next week, as we get the culmination of Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa. Should be fun!

Friday Night SmackDown:

The final go home show before WrestleMania featured a new contender for the Universal title. The SmackDown hacker debut, sort of. Daniel Bryan has a final tune up with Shinsuke before Mania. Will John Cena accept Bray Wyatt’s challenge? Let’s find put and have our final stop to a one of a kind WrestleMania!

Miz TV climbs the ladder. Triple Threat match. A classic replay.

The opening.

It was slated that Miz TV was going to kick things off, but The Usos had a different plan. They cut a quick promo leading for the New Day to interrupt. After they bicker, Miz and Morrison enter the fray. Leading for the Usos and New Day to attack Miz and Morrison. A slip of a Superkick, lead to the New Day and Usos to attack each other. Miz and Morrison tale the opportunity to lay out both teams. Climbing the ladders and standing tall. This was short, sweet, and effective. The segment did not need to eat up twenty minutes, it did it’s job and time to move on.

Tamina vs Naomi vs Lacey Evans. Tamina wins via Superkick pin fall.

This was just to get Tamina look like a legit threat, nothing more.. again.  The three ladies brawled while Sasha Banks and Bayley sat on commentary. Bayley and Sasha on commentary was probably more entertaining then the match. The bout was your standard Triple Threat and when Banks decided to get involved, it was stated that it is a no disqualification match as well. Super… The ending had Bayley get involved enough for Tamina to hit a Superkick on Naomi for the win. Bayley then tries to recruit Tamina only to get Superkicked. Same went for Banks, trying to stoke the Team Bad memories. This was meh.

 WrestleMania XXIV: Shawn Michaels vs Ric Flair.

I haven’t sat through a WWE replay since they have been showing them. Why? Because I’ve watched them numerous times. However, this was different. No matter how many times I see this match, the effect is the same, I get sucked in. Two uber talented guys go at it and it was Flair’s last WWE match. The match was epic, emotional, and must be watched if you never saw it. The way Michaels mouths “I’m sorry… I love you.” gets you in the feels every time. No matter if you a longtime fans or just picked up on the story. Like I said, the end result is the same.. it catches your attention.

A change in the title match. The truth is revealed. A dream match without a crowd. John Cena’s answer.

Move along, nothing to see here.

In a quick preview of the WrestleMania card, it was announced that Braun Strowman will face Bill Goldberg for the Universal Championship. No explanation, no hype, nothing. I mean, almost everyone knew Roman Reigns pulled out of Mania. All due to his immune system being compromised from battling leukemia twice. However, WWE dropped the ball in spinning this match into a serviceable storyline. Naw, WWE just plugs in a worker and hopes no one remembers. I am wagering Bill retains his title and Strowman takes another fall, in which he does not need to.

Tucker vs Dolph Ziggler. Tucker wins via disqualification.

Maybe on the highlights of the night, no not the match (even though it was good).. the ending. After Tucker and Dolph battled in the squared circle. There was asurprise ending, in which I thought would be saved for Mania. Let’s recap the action first. Tucker sold a lot of moves for Ziggler, making the smaller, yet more experienced Dolph take control. The Blue Collar Solid man, almost regain control. Until Dolph hits a Zig-Zag on Tucker on the steel steps, earning a DQ. Ziggler then attempts to smash Tucker’s head with the steel steps, until Mandy Rose stops him. Tis is where it gets juicy.

Otis runs out to check on his best friend. Then static fills the big screens and the SmackDown hacker appears on screen. The hacker, displaying Ali’s (aka Mustafa Ali) signature light ring, but was still disguised. “Ali” (in quotes because we do not know for sure) then tells the truth will be revealed and shows security footage of Sonya DeVille.

This footage shows Sonya sabotaging Mandy and Otis’s Valentines date and Ziggler agreeing to her plan. The footage also showed that Mandy did really care about Otis. This led Mandy to storm off and DeVille begging for forgivness, this would’ve been great with a live crowd. I can’t imagine the cant the crowd would’ve had ready. Lastly, this gave me the old “GTV” feeling, I miss that segment and it was never finished as who was running GTV. Hopefully, this may be a spiritual successor to GTV.

Daniel Bryan vs Shinsuke Nakamura. Bryan wins via disqualification.

A dream match that was only exclusive to WWE 2K game, we finally got the American Dragon vs the King of Strong Style. This was not the over the top spectacle the match deserved, but we at least got it. The two did not disappoint, it is kind of a shame that there was no crowd and probably thrown together from the COVID-19 pandemic. Again I stress, at least we got it. Shin and Bryan looked absolutely to delivered in this match. Hard strikes, locks and holds, mat wrestling, you name it, the duo put on a show. The predictable ending was a moot point as Cesaro interfered and earned a DQ for Shin. However, if this program is reinstated after the world is back to normal… I can not wait to see these two fight again.

The Fiend gets his answer.

Let’s start this off with remember back when… the hardcore fans HATED John Cena? Super Cena could not lose a match in his sleep at one point, he destroyed an entire stable of future stars by himself. Cena was the end all be all and hardcore fans hated him. Fast forward years after he left to make movies, John returns and I bet them same fans miss him. Big match John cuts a promo that not only was good, but like he never left.. ever. Calling out Bray in saying he is not even on the level below Cena was an ‘oh snap!’ moment.

The Champ then goes on to state that no one knows what a Firefly Fun House match is. However, Cena does not care. John accepts and will put The Fiend out. Then the characters from the Fun house appear to say that “Cena will get to play with them forever”. The lights cut out and The Fiend stands on the podium and stares down The Champ, only to have Bray Wyatt appear next to Joh and say “Let me in”. A shaken John Cena is left wondering what he got himself into.

Short, sweet, and great mic skills from Cena. Funny how the absence makes the heart grow fonder. I always thought that John was one of the hardest workers when he was in WWE, some didn’t agree. However, his talent breaks through when Cena is not on TV twice a week. It proves that Cena always had that special something and earned his saturated fame in WWE.


This was a better show than Raw, again. The crowdless shows honestly works better in shorter airings. From AEW to NXT to SmackDown, those shows seem to prove that lees is best in these strange times. SmackDown did what it needed to do and it is now on to the most interesting WrestleMania EVER. John Cena did say one thing I agreed on, whether the outcome of Mania be positive or negative… it will be talked about for sometime and that is the way Vince likes it.-David G.

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