This week in pro wrestling, there were tournaments everywhere. Qualifying for Money in the bank PPV. There were more matches for the AEW TNT Championship title. Even NXT had the interim Cruiserweight tournament for the title. If you love the tournament style of pro wrestling, this was your week for it. Will Tampa Bay get another chance at WrestleMania? Let’s dive in!
The Performance Center in Orlando, FL, once again hosts Raw this week on 4/20/20.
We continue with empty arena shows once again this week as the world battles through these trying times and we immediately start the broadcast with a ray of sunshine.
World champion Drew McIntyre becomes the greatest of all time by channeling his inner Carole Baskine by welcoming all the “cool cats and kittens” to the show.
He cuts a promo before he is attacked from behind by the US champ, Andrade, trying to soften the champ up before his match with Angel Garza later tonight. Zelina Vega tries to motivate Garza and Austin Theory to attack the champ, but after he lays out Andrade with a Claymore, they want none of it at the moment.
McIntyre tells parents watching at home to put the kids to bed, because later tonight, he’s going to slaughter Angel Garza. Damn.
Aleister Black defeats Austin Theory via pin fall with Black mass to qualify for Money In The Bank.
Zelina Vega was gold on commentary once again this week.
They gave these two young talents plenty of time to ply their craft and they had a really competitive match. Theory got to hone his skills on the main roster, teasing a victory on several occasions.
The end came when Black missed a first Black Mass, which Theory ducked, and then he nailed a back elbow, staggering Theory before putting him away and moving on to climb the “corporate ladder”.
Black is interviewed after the bout and says he doesn’t know much about corporate life, but he will make sure that each floor of the WWE headquarters becomes the other competitors personal hell.
Shayna Baszler is interviewed before her match about what she did last week, as it relates to going too far against Sarah Logan. She states that she broke Logan’s arm, not the rules.
Baszler then goes on to defeat an enhancement talent with the exact move she used on Logan last week before her release. Baszler goes further by setting up a ladder against the steel ring steps and she places the talent’s arm inside before charging in with a kick. Wow.
Ricochet and Cedric Alexander defeat Shane Thorne and Brendan Vink via pin fall with the Recoil/Lumbar Check combo.
After narrowly losing one heck of a contest against the Viking Raiders last week, this hot new tag team gets back in the win column after disposing of the young NXT talent.
Both men are on full display with aerial acrobatics before Ricochet hits the Recoil after tagging in Alexander. Cedric hits the Lumbar Check and the two men call it a day. It’s nice to see solid tag team wrestling again on Raw. Too bad they didn’t decide to keep the OC, who would have added much, including veteran experience, to that division.
Asuka and Kairi Sane win our hearts with a backstage interview and we find out that Kairi Sane is having a rematch against the returning Nia Jax, and that’s up next. Yikes.
Nia Jax defeats Kairi Sane via pin fall with a samoan drop.
Don’t even get me started on this one. Sane actually had some offense in the bout, hitting her sliding elbow in the corner and even going up top for the InSane elbow, which Jax moved away from.
Jax hit the Samoan drop and that was that. Let’s have a quick chat here in the comments. Nia Jax isn’t safe. She hasn’t been safe, she still isn’t. You’d think a year of recovery time would have helped further learning the craft, but this week, we got to see her toss Kairi Sane, who just recovered from a concussion, get tossed neck first into the bottom turnbuckle on a lazy display of strength.
Jax would later brag about doing this to Ronda Rousey on social media later. Is it time to bring back the Brawl For All for the ladies this go round? This was so uncalled for and something that needs to be looked at, it’s not the first time this has happened.
“The Monday Night Messiah” Seth Rollins enlightens us as to why he attacked the world champion last week. He accepts the challenge for Money In The Bank. He said the Universe needs a proven leader and he is that man.
The Viking Raiders are shown doing carpool karaoke. Oh boy. That wasn’t needed.
Apollo Crews defeats MVP via pin fall with a tigerbomb to qualify for MITB.
Crews getting a look is something that he’s got to take advantage of this time around. He’s been given a few opportunities, but after his match with Aleister Black a few weeks back, he really turned some heads and it looks like they’re investing in him.
He worked a solid match with the veteran MVP and at the end, it was all Crews. he hits a standing moonsault, a standing shooting star press and then a sitout tigerbomb to put this one away. Could Crews be a surprise winner in MITB? It doesn’t seem likely, but you never know. I’m glad he’s in the match.
Ruby Riott cuts a promo about how she carried the Riott Squad and that’s what hurt her shoulders. She states that Logan has a broken arm and that Liv Morgan is a failure. They’re up next.
Liv Morgan defeats Ruby Riott via pin fall with a middle rope STO.
And that’s how you kill a feud before it even begins. The face came away with this and rather quickly. Riott was in control, taunting Morgan and teasing the finish before Morgan caught her with her finish off the ropes.
Riott sorely needs momentum as if booked right, she is a very credible threat for the world title held by Becky Lynch. She’s being treated as enhancement talent right now and that’s just sad. They need to rethink this story and soon.
All night, we witnessed a segment that eventually saw us watching Bobby Lashley, with Lana, flipping over a massive tire. He’s strong, we know that. Get him a solid story. Rusev is no longer on the roster. Use this immense talent in a quality feud.
Rey Mysterio defeats Murphy via pin fall with a top rope splash to qualify for MITB.
There is never a time where I’ve ever doubted what Rey can do in that ring.
He and Murphy led us down the path of a quality match that teased Murphy besting the “old veteran” and we’ve seen Mysterio say that he’s going to win MITB because he’s never done it before.
Murphy went to the top rope and after Mysterio blocked a sunset flip attempt, he hit the 619 and then took to the skies with his patented splash to earn a chance at the briefcase.
With AoP being shelved with injury, they need another tag team to join Murphy and Rollins to fill that void within his stable. These guys were great TV.
Charlotte Flair defeats Kayden Carter via submission with the Figure Eight.
Flair talked about competing against Io Shirai for the NXT Women’s championship before the bout and she even referenced having a singles bout against the veteran Mia Yim, which we’d find out would occur next week after Wednesday’s broadcast.
She competed against the young Carter and eventually got her in position for the submission, ending this one quickly.
Andrade defeats Akira Tozawa via pin fall with the Hammerlock DDT.
Tozawa won a hell of a contest last week on NXT and he was riding that momentum into this bout against the US Champ.
After being embarrassed by the world champ earlier, Andrade recovered here, having his way with the former Cruiserweight Champion, catching him with his signature hammerlock DDT for a quality win.
We are joined on commentary after a break by the world tag team champions as Montez Ford is excited to watch his wife, the great Bianca Belair, in singles action. Ford and Dawkins are just amazing and they brought us all great joy tonight.
Bianca Belair defeats Santana Garrett via pin fall with KOD.
It’s always nice to see the veteran Garrett on TV and she and Belair only had a few moment, but made the best of it.
This was really a showcase for the arrival of Belair to Raw and after hitting several power moves, she hit the KOD for the victory. I think once fans get back into the arena once we recover from everything going on, they are going to love the hair smack spot. That’s amazing to see live.
Drew McIntyre defeats Angel Garza via pin fall with the Claymore Kick.
The world champion continues his dominance in the main event.
He fights off the US Champ as well as Austin Theory before finally hitting his finish on Garza.
They two definitely had some time to compete and Angel Garza has all the tools to be a major star on the red brand. McIntyre is being booked like a dominant champion should and he’s basking in the glory of it all. He’s brash, confident and delivers on his promises to dominate.
A solid broadcast again this week to say the least.
This week on Dynamite, The Dark Order has a new recruit. Darby Allin faces ooff against the Spanish God, Sammy Guevara. MJF is out due to injury. Matt Hardy invites more fighters to his compound. Dustin Rhodes faces off against Kip Sabian. If Dustin loses, he will retire from pro wrestling. What was the results? Let’s dive in. because this is DYNAMITE!
Cody Wayne. An absurdly great opening match! The duality of Matt Hardy.
Does Cody have a cave too?
The opening of Dynamite featured The American Nightmare sitting in front of a bunch of monitors, ala’ Batman. Cody breaks down every wrestler left in the TNT championship tournament. Including his brother Dustin, in which he seemed more distraught about. The younger Rhodes plays a segment, that Dustin had a great run and winning this title will mean the world to him. However, he knows he is at the end of his road at age 51. If Dustin loses to Kip Sabian, he will retire. Great opening to set the stage for tonight.
Darby Allin vs Sammy Guevara in the TNT championship tournament. Darby wins via Last Supper pin fall.
WOW… What an insane start for the show! The match started off like Darby and Sammy’s Revolution PPV. However, this time Sammy started the attack on Darby, before he could enter the ring. The Spanish God did not hold back even hitting a Frog Splash on Darby, who was on a ladder, that was place between the apron and the barricades. The match cuts to commercial.
After the break, both men finally are in the ring and the match officially starts. Sammy resumed the beating of Darby and sets up a Super Hurricanrana. Yet Allin had different plans and counters it. It was not a normal counter, as Darby strips Guevara’s boot away and locks in an ankle lock. The match broke down like this, Sammy regains control with one boot on. Darby targets the exposed ankle, but the final exchange was beautiful. After failing to put Darby away with a one boot 450 Splash, Guevara attempts a GTO. Allin counters the knee, strike and locks in the Last Supper pinning move.
These guys have wicked chemistry, and I would not care if the “Fight Forever” chant rung out. Because, I can watch these two fight forever. Both Sammy and Darby are very young, but have so much talent. AEW is blessed to have these two to lead the future of AEW.
Multiple Matt Hardy’s.
Yes, we know Matt is a chameleon like Chris Jericho. However, in this promo.. he used multiple personalities. Up first was Broken Matt and he understands that a Broken Matt may be too much for some. Also, if Jericho will not accept his invitation to the Hardy compound, Matt invites Sammy Guevara to take his place and the rest of The Inner Circle. Just then, Broken gave way to his mortal vessel Matt Hardy and normal Matt cuts a promo. The two promos in the end were the same results, just from different personalities.
I personally love the direction Matt is taking his characters. We all know they ALL live in Matt Hardy’s mind, but this is the first time, I believe that he has brought more than one in a promo. It is like Bruce Banner/multiple Hulks or James McAvoy in the movie Split. How many entities live in the vessel of one, Matt Hardy? I am very interested in how many Matt can create, maybe one for the entire Inner Circle?
Kenny Omega looking past an opponent. The Scorpio Sky story. Orange Cassidy in action!
Kenny Omega vs Alan Angels. Omega wins via V-Trigger pin fall.
When first looking at the match, it would assume to be a quick squash. However, things took a different turn as Alan actually had some offense in the bout. Angel seemed to do his homework on Kenny, dodging a V-Trigger and blasting some kicks on Omega. The ending result had Omega having to hit two V-Triggers to put away Alan. Not sure if this was an one off or Alan won some TV time during the mass taping of Dynamite. Whatever the case, it seemed nice that Kenny and AEW didn’t totally squash a development talent.
Sky is the limit.
A video package was shown about the early years of Scropio Sky’s career. The story goes how Sky injured his back pretty bad, a collapse and destruction of his L2 and L3 space. I am not a doctor, but that seems to be a painful injury. His choices were surgery or pain management, but not pro wrestling. Sky opted neither and with much luck, his back began to heal. As soon as Sky was able to test his back out, he got back into the ring. Even when fully healed, Scorpio never got a shot in a promotion.
Finally deciding to give pro wrestling one more shot, he, Frankie Kazarian, and Christopher Daniels formed SCU. That was part one and man did it give the fans a connection to Sky. This will further help fans to invest in Scorpio, if hadn’t before. We can probably thank Vice TV’s brilliant show, “Dark Side of the Ring”, for WWE/AEW now producing these segments. Not that the promotions haven’t done it before, but the newer ones have almost the same tone as the show now.
Orange Cassidy vs Jimmy Havoc. Cassidy wins via Crucifix Roll Up pin fall.
This was a bit forced, the sarcastic Cassidy from Revolution was gone. Orange seemed like a hapless jobber as Havoc just literally destroys Cassidy. The super chill one, then gets in some dives and of course soft hits. Penelope Ford and Kip Sabian then decided to help out Jimmy, for some reason. Maybe because Kip and Jimmy are British? In the end The Best Friends come to help out their best friend and a distracted Havoc is pinned by a Crucifix Roll up. Later on a match was booked for next week, Best Friends vs Jimmy/Kip in a no DQ match. That seems like it’ll be a blast.
MJF’s injury. Squashes aplenty. The Bubbly Bunch returns!
A sad day for the world. Wardlow vs Lee Johnson. Wardlow wins via Helicopter Slam pin fall.
Before the match, MJF addresses his absence from Dynamite. It turns out the world has never been worse, MFJ suffered a severe hang nail. The injury was sustained when MJF was throwing cash as he was betting AEW matches. Don’t ever change Maxwell.
The match just was to prove how much a beast Wardlow is, more so then the Cody match. Poor Lee Johnson was just sack of meat to the behemoth. Wardlow threw hard knees and just toss Lee around, it wasn’t as boring as it reads. The air Johnson had from the throws were pretty high. The massive Wardlow ended the match in a Helicopter like slam. Kind of like a F-5 on steroids, for the win. Simple and to the point, keep building this monster Warlow. AS he needs something after the loss to Cody in the spectacular cage match awhile ago.
Brodie Lee vs Justin Law. Lee wins via Discus Lariat pin fall.
Another segment before the match in where a wrestler is being interviewed by The Exalted One. A favorite to win the Heisman Trophy is asked by Lee on how tall he is and his weight, another nod to Vince McMahon. After hearing his story he offers him a mask and a spot in the Dark Order. The person was Preston Vance, now going by the name “10”. AEW may strike gold with this segement, if they decide to use it on the WWE talent that was released. Imagine having a nationally televised platform on how WWE treated you and now you are joining AEW. Vince would be so hot you can fry an egg on his head.
The match was another squash, Brodie manhandles Justin Law and hits the Discus Lariat for the win. However, Brodie kept staring down Marko Stunt again. They’re going to have another match next week for some reason. This does nothing for Lee. The Exalted one already destroyed Stunt, why do it again? Also, if Marko sneaks a win in against Lee, it would make Brodie look really bad. No win what so ever.
Flim Flam time!
Another Bubbly Bunch episode. This time, they are not insulting The Elite. The Inner Circle are trying to cheer up a sad Sammy Guevara. The Spanish God is in a sad mood, because The Inner Circle is in a slump. Ortiz and Jake Hagar attempt to cheer Sammy up. Jake even tells Guevara that he is far too beautiful to be looking so sad and sadness is for ugly people. I lost it from there on, this group is fantastic.Sammy poses with a sad face and his cat. Jericho jumps in for the perfect “cheer me up”, dancing! Santana adds on to the moral building and suggest a Flim Flam video.
Sammy still bummed out, but Le Champion offers a prize to the best Flim Flam. A bottle of hand sanitizer! The Inner Circle proceed to Flim Flam, and almost every member did it like your embarrassing dad at a block party. The standouts were Santana and Sammy, The Spanish God took it to the next level. Leading for praises from Santana and Ortiz, but not Jericho. Le Champion calls Sammy a show off and slams the hand sanitizer into his phone. Telling Sammy that he hopes he enjoys it. Whether you are a fan of zany segments or not, you can not deny the way these five guys play off each other. I love the way The Inner Circle are redefining on what a heel faction should be and can’t wait for more.
Will Dustin retire?
Dustin Rhodes vs Kip Sabian for the TNT Championship tournament. Dustin wins via Code Red pin fall.
In surprise announcement during The Elite’s YouTube channel, Being The Elite. Dustin made the claim that if he did not win tonight, he will retire. There was snippets throughout the show on building this match up. I originally knew that Dustin wasn’t going to retire, but as the night went on, i question myself. Alas, Dustin moved on to face The Murder Hawk, Lance Archer. Now I am stuck in a dilemma, will Dustin and Cody face off in the finals or will it be Darby vs Archer? Either match will be great, but it has to be those options. If Dustin wants to retire, Cody should be the one to do it. Also, there is nothing like newer talent grabbing the title for a run.
The match itself was pretty good, giving into the suspense of Dustin’s retirement. Again, Penelope Ford attempted to help her boyfriend, Kip. However, Dustin had his sister-in-law, Brandi watching his back. Just when Ford made her way into the match, Brandi cut her off and hit a Spear. This allowed Dustin to land a Code Red for the win.
This was a very good episode of Dynamite. Stories progressed, the opening match was fantastic and the Bubbly Bunch continue to excel. Yes, there was a few spinning wheels. Like squashes and Brodie wanting to fight Marko again. However, despite this being a mass taped event, the long term stories still are still intact. One the best quarantine Dynamite shows so far.-David G.
This week on NXT, Dream’s date goes missing, the Interim Cruiserweight Championship Tournament continues, we hear from Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Wrestling, and much more! Let’s get to the action!
Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton welcome us to another jam-packed week of NXT from the WWE Performance Center. After a brief recap of last week’s happenings, Tom sends us backstage to the locker room, where apparently Finn Balor has gone missing. Phillips tells us that due to these circumstances, the main event match between Balor and Velveteen Dream has been cancelled.
Dream Gets Stood Up
Perched atop the turnbuckle, Dream says that he’s upset that his date with Balor is off. Before he can continue, NXT Champion Adam Cole comes out. Cole says it’s convenient that Balor is missing, so now Dream doesn’t have any way to prove himself worthy of a title shot. Cole continues to berate Dream, allowing Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong to sneak attack Dream from behind.
NXT North American Champion Keith Lee comes out to make the save for Velveteen Dream, as he single-handedly clears the ring of the Undisputed Era. Dream and Lee stand tall as the UE retreats.
Solid opening segment. I had my concerns about a match between Velveteen Dream and Finn Balor. My biggest worry was that a loss for either man would hurt their momentum in their respective title pursuits. However, taking Balor out of the equation negates that possibility, while opening up the “whodunnit” story to give Finn something to focus on while he awaits his opportunity at NXT UK Champion Walter.
Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez vs. Shotzi Blackheart & Tegan Nox
Gonzalez dominates the opening moments of the match, overpowering the much smaller Nox. Kai gets tagged in, and gets taken down with a pair of sentons from Shotzi and Tegan. Gonzalez attempts to break up the attack on her partner, but is disposed of through the ropes and taken down by a suicide dive by Blackheart.
Later in the match, Nox is standing toe to toe with the towering Gonzalez, trying to chop down the towering female to no avail. Shot after shot, and Gonzalez still won’t fall. Nox goes for a diving cross body, but is caught by Raquel and taken down with a fallaway slam.
Blackheart takes down Gonzalez with a top rope attack, but the pinfall attempt is broken up by Kai. Nox intervenes, taking Dakota out of the ring. Amidst the distraction, Gonzalez gets the upper hand on Shotzi, planting her with a single arm powerbomb to pick up the win for her team.
Winners – Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez
Everything that I complained about last week was made up for in this match. Gonzalez was booked perfectly here, showcasing her dominance and power by basically carrying this whole match. Kai was only there to break up pinfall attempts, and didn’t get a lot of offense in. Blackheart and Nox worked very well together, so it wouldn’t surprise me if we see them team up again in the future.
Tom Phillips announces the main event for tonight: Velveteen Dream & Keith Lee vs. Adam Cole & Roderick Strong. Up next, we see the emotional video of Drake Maverick after he was released from WWE, followed by a hype video of Drake saying that if he’s going out, he’s going as NXT Cruiserweight Champion.
Wow, we’re really going to play off the real life events of Drake Maverick being let go from the company? I really don’t know how I feel about this. On one hand, it almost makes it feel like the release was a work, or that the company changed their mind and decided to give him another shot. On the other, I feel like it’s a slap in the face to Drake, by bringing his real life emotions into the fold, and trying to capitalize on the reactions that his video got on social media.
Drake Maverick vs. Jake Atlas
Atlas clearly has the strength advantage, overpowering the smaller Maverick in the collar-and-elbow tie-up. However, Maverick uses the edge in speed to work into a headlock, followed by a sunset flip attempt for a two count. Drake even attempts the Tequila Sunrise, but Jake powers out. Atlas attempts a powerbomb, only for Maverick to reverse it with a hurricanrana to send his opponent through the ropes to the outside.
Drake continues to work the legs of Atlas, loosening him up for the submission attempt again, but can’t get it fully locked in. As Atlas retreats to the outside, Maverick nails him with a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Maverick drops an elbow from the top rope to get a two count, followed by an attempted Sliced Bread. Atlas counters by tossing Maverick over and connecting with a superkick.
The closing moments see Atlas going for a top rope attack, but he is slowed down by Maverick. Drake goes for a top-rope hurricanrana, but is tossed away by Atlas, who cartwheels across the top rope and drops Maverick with a DDT to take the win.
Winner – Jake Atlas
Post-match, Atlas is interviewed, saying he was pulling for Drake, and Drake put up a hell of a fight, but it’s two down and one to go.
Great showing by both guys in this one, but it’s exactly what I was worried about. They incorporated the real life happenings of Drake Maverick into the story, only for him to take the loss. Starting to feel like he’s being embarassed on his way out the door.
Damian Priest is featured in a video package, targeting NXT North American Champion Keith Lee. Priest calls out Lee for only going after guys he knows he can beat, such as Cameron Grimes and Dominik Dijakovic. Priest tells Lee that he didn’t beat him in the triple threat, because Lee knows he can’t beat Priest. He says that he will put limits on the Limitless One, and he will take the North American Championship, and then his name will truly live forever.
Fantastic promo by the Archer of Infamy. We haven’t heard him on the mic much in recent weeks, but after the attacks, he’s made it clear that he’s coming for the title.
Kushida vs. Tony Nese
Fun exchange between Kushida and Nese to start the match, as each man taunts the other after a sequence of take-downs. Kushida counters an ankle lock attempt into a headlock on Nese. As both men get to their feet, Nese chops Kushida in the throat, then takes him down with a bulldog. Outside of the ring, Nese whips Kushida into the barricade, then tosses him back inside.
Kushida attempts a handspring elbow, but Nese counters and drags Kushida outside, and again throws him into the barricade. Nese locks in the body scissors, but Kushida strikes his way out of the submission. A springboard moonsault attempt from the Premiere Athlete hits nothing, allowing the Time Splitter to connect this time with the handspring back elbow.
Nese goes for a pumphandle slam, but Kushida works out of the hold and locks in the Octopus Lock, which Nese counters with a suplex for a near fall. After a 450 splash from Nese that very nearly ends the match, Kushida hits the SHOTEI! open palm strike on Nese, a tribute to new WWE Hall of Famer Jushin Thunder Liger. Kushida goes to the top rope, but is struck by a rolling palm strike from Nese.
Atop the corner, Nese hoists Kushida up into a fireman’s carry, but Kushida counters, locks in the Sakuraba Lock, then takes Nese down to the mat, keeping the wristlock held, ultimately leading to the tapout victory.
Wow, what a match! Best match I’ve seen from Kushida in his short NXT career. Hopefully this leads to more fantastic showings from the Japanese superstar, as he has floundered since returning from injury. The chemistry between Nese and Kushida was on point, and every move and transition was sharp. Great showing from both guys here.
Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher are interviewed backstage, talking about their big win last week. Thatcher comments on the team only being temporary, and Riddle says that next week, they’re going to show the NXT Universe what they can do as a team. Riddle tells Thatcher, “You’re a beautiful man, Timothy, and every time I look into those beautiful blue eyes, you remind me of Stallion Pete.” Timothy: “My eyes are brown.”
Heart and Soul
Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae are shown at their home, reveling in their victory over Tommaso Ciampa. Gargano says that being a good person was never leading him to success, and his kindness was taken advantage of. He says that he was tired of being unappreciated. Candice says that she also was unappreciated, as she sacrificed for all of the other women.
She says that when she needed help, no one was there for her to help her. She says she was sick of eating second so that everyone else could eat first. Johnny says that they are going to take what they deserve. They said that they let everyone walk over them.
Gargano talks about how they were stabbed in the back by people they trust, and they can’t trust anyone else anymore. He says that they need to tear NXT down and rebuild it in their image. Johnny continues by saying that they will make history as the first-ever married couple to reign as NXT Women’s Champion and NXT Champion, and they will get what they deserve.
Great video package showing a new side to Candice, along with the changes in personality of Johnny. It’s about time Candice got to show more character than just being a bubbly, happy-go-lucky woman who’s there to be a “big sister” to the roster. Interested to see where this goes.
Mia Yim vs. Jessi Kamea
Relatively brief match here, with the newcomer getting some shots of offense in before ultimately falling to the HBIC.
Winner – Mia Yim
Post-match, as Mia is celebrating her win, Charlotte Flair comes to ringside. The Queen reminds Mia that she offered her the first shot at the title. Charlotte says that Mia was the first to help her get to where she is today, and that Charlotte wants to return the favor by helping make Mia into a star. Mia looks on, flabbergasted at the backhanded compliment.
Not much to say about the match. The story afterwards was done well. The arrogance of Charlotte really shone through, as she thanked Mia for helping her get her start, and then basically tore Mia down by saying she’s not a star. Great heel work from the champ.
El Hijo de Fantasma vs. Jack Gallagher
Gallagher and Fantasma lock up early, and Gentleman Jack tries to work at tearing away the mask of Fantasma, before being fought off. Fantasma takes down Gallagher with a dropkick, then transitions into a chinlock. Gallagher counters with a fireman’s carry slam and goes for the cover, but only gets two.
On the apron, Gallagher locks in an armbar from inside the ring. Fantasma fights out and hits a series of flying clotheslines. Gallagher fights back by cornering Fantasma, but El Hijo counters with a superkick, taking Jack outside, then a suicide dive.
Gallagher charges at Fantasma, but is caught in the fireman’s carry. As Jack goes for the mask again, El Hijo continues to hold on, knees Gallagher in the face, then hits the Samoan Driver to pick up the win.
Winner – El Hijo de Fantasma
Fairly underwhelming debut for the masked luchador. To me, it didn’t live up to the hype that they’ve put out for him. But, it’s only one match, so things could turn around.
Next week, Mia Yim gets a shot at the NXT Women’s Championship as she takes on Charlotte Flair. Also, Keith Lee will defend the NXT North American Championship against Damian Priest.
During the commercial break, Fantasma was interviewed in the parking lot. As has happened a lot recently, an SUV pulls up, and masked men attempt to abduct Fantasma. However, Fantasma is able to fight them off and send them speeding away.
Velveteen Dream & Keith Lee vs. Adam Cole & Roderick Strong
Things break down quickly as the Undisputed Era attack Dream and Lee before the match begins. The three on one assault causes the referee to eject Bobby Fish from ringside. During the distraction, Damian Priest appears and nails Keith Lee in the throat twice with his nightstick, taking out the Limitless One.
Back from commercial, the match has started, but Dream is alone, so this appears to be a handicap match. Strong and Cole are working over Dream with kicks, slams, and backbreakers. Dream seems to be outnumbered when a partner mysteriously shows up in his corner, and it’s…Dexter Lumis??
Strong goes for a backbreaker, but Dream counters it and drops Roddy with the Dream Valley Driver. Strong tags in Cole, but Dream fights him off and tags in Lumis. Dexter takes out Strong then hits a Lou Thesz Press on Cole. Bobby Fish runs out from backstage, but Lumis tags in Dream and then takes out Fish with a suicide dive. Dream goes up top and drops the Purple Rainmaker elbow on Cole, and manages to pin the NXT Champion.
Winners – Velveteen Dream & Dexter Lumis
After the match, Dream and Lumis share a long staredown as Lumis leaves the ring for Dream to celebrate as NXT goes off the air.
Hectic start to the match, tying in the story of Priest pursuing Keith Lee and the North American Championship. Dexter Lumis though! He’s quickly developing into a major player in NXT. Showing up to help Dream take on the UE leads me to think that he’s also targeting the NXT Champion. Lumis was seen last week observing the NXT Tag Team Championship match from the shadows, so maybe he’s going after the Undisputed Era as a whole? Lots of mystery and intrigue in this story.
Pretty great show overall. The continuation of the Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship led to some decent matches, with Kushida vs. Tony Nese being absolutely stellar. Fantasma vs. Gallagher left more to be desired, but it’s still too early to be down on Fantasma. The inclusion of the real life turmoils of Drake Maverick makes me somewhat uncomfortable, as it’s almost insulting to treat a talent like Maverick in that fashion on his way out.
Again, Dexter Lumis though! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: ever since returning to TV, he has shown that he’s got the total package. His in-ring work has been solid, the character is stellar, and it always leaves me wanting to see more. Can’t wait to see what the future holds for Dexter Lumis!
Friday Night SmackDown:
Tonight on SmackDown,the 25th anniversary of HHH’s WWE career! Qualification matches for M.I.T.B. A SmackDown Women’s title match! The Forgotten Sons make an impact to the tag team division. A history lesson of Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt’s connection. Let’s find out all that happened, right here!
They will not be forgotten. Men’s qualifying MITB match. Celtic Squash, Jeff Hardy’s redemption.
The start of something.
New Day opens the show with their newly won titles. Lucha House Party arrives to challenge the New Day.. hmm, ok. Then the expected challengers show up, Miz and Morrison. Banter between the three teams ensued, with Grand Metalik yelling in to the mic. If I was fluent in Spanish, I still would have not understood him.. it was that bad. All of the sudden, The Forgotten Sons make an appearance and all makes perfect sense. The Forgotten Sons made their pledge on not to be overlooked and calling Miz a poser Marine. I was actually waiting for that and would’ve been disappointed if it wasn’t called out. A brawl takes place and the Forgotten Sons stand tall over New Day.
All four teams did their job well, except Grand Metalik. Renee Young interviews Miz and Morrison backstage, and the A-Lister states how dare they. When Renee questions about the Forgotten Sons, Miz cuts her off and said he was talking about Lucha House Party, hilarious. So now there will be a match, Lucha House Party vs Miz and Morrison.
King Corbin vs Drew Gulak. Corbin wins via End of Days pin fall.
Initially I was on the fence on who was going to win, then I remember who has punched their ticket in for MITB. The list so far was Apollo Crew, Rey Mysterio, Daniel Bryan, and Aleister Black. Notice something? Yup, that is a list of baby faces. So, immediately the ending was clear, but the journey wasn’t. Baron actually put on a good show and Drew is fantastic every time. King Corbin displayed his boxing background, in which I hope he continues to do. Eventually it was clear on how Corbin was going to win, as Shinsuke and Cesaro attack Daniel Bryan. Causing Drew to get distracted and Corbin hitting the end of Days for the win.
Sheamus rolls and part three of the Jeff Hardy story.
The Celtic Warrior again shows dominance over enhancement talent. This weeks victim.. umm sparring partner is Daniel Vidot. The match was quickly over with a Brogue Kick, again. Unlike last week, Sheamus just went to the back as Michael Cole spoke about Jeff Hardy.
Part three of The enigmatic one was about his return to WWE with his brother Matt. Jeff tells of him realizing his addiction and striving to return. The moment WWE used was WrestleMania 33. If you want to see a crazy pop from the crowd, you should look it up. I remember me and friends losing it when they showed up. Unlike Edge’s return, The Hardy Boyz and WWE did very well in covering up their return, which made for a massive pop. Good stuff there.
Upset win! Womens MITB match. Women’s SmackDown tag team title match.
Lucha House Party vs Miz and Morrison. Grand Metalik wins via Roll Up pin fall.
Yeah, you saw that right. For some reason Lucha House Party gain a win after being in the lower part of the mid card. The match was decent, but the high flyers seemed to be grounded for the most part, even Morrison. Not sure if WWE is attempting to build up the tag division again because of the Forgotten Sons or something else. The upset win gives Lucha House Party some ammunition to ask for a title match later on. That seems the only reason to have this match.
Lacey Evans vs Sasha Banks. MITB qualifying match. Lacey Evans wins via Women’s Right pin fall.
The seeds of the Bayley and Sasha feud are beginning to sprout. With Bayley costing The Boss her match, but we will get to that later on. The match started with Banks in control for the most part and Lacey selling an injured right hand. Evans did really well selling it and Banks targeted the hand often. Bayley had a fan with the picture of Lacey’s daughter’s face on it, which enraged Evans. The Role Model then goes to interfere, but it back fires as Evans grabs the fan. Here is were I had a problem, the ref sees the Southern Belle clock Banks with the fan in her hand. Um, I didn’t know this was a no DQ match.
Alas, from that small bit, it was a good match. Lacey Evans was more aggressive in this match and looked real good. This may be one her best matches yet. After Evans won, Banks and Bayley are on the ramp and Tamina Super Kicks the Role Model. The Boss just looks at her BFF on the floor and that is that. Furthering the plans of a Sasha and Bayley split.
Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross vs Carmella/Dana Brooke. Bliss/Cross win via Spiked Flapjack pin fall.
I honestly did not take this match seriously. With Bliss and Cross still in their infancy of their title reign and Brooks/Mella both attempting to be in the MITB match, the outcome was already there. What did surprise me was Cross and Little Miss Bliss finally came up with a tag team finisher. There was no name for it, but it looked like a modified 3-D. The four ladies on a good match, but the overall story felt like it was just to show off the new move.
The funny and awkward celebration of The Game, HHH.
This actually started off really hilarious! HHH came out with his trademark water bottle, only to have a stagehand take it away for safety reasons, fantastic. Next The Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels arrive to MC the event. Shawn ask what was HHH favorite part of Michaels 25th celebration, HHH could not recall, because there wasn’t one. The Game tells Michaels he will use his backstage power to fix that, again great stuff. Next The Heartbreak Kid, clebrates all of HHH’s WrestleMania accomplishments.. all of the losses. Next up, was the bloopers from DX and their antics, it great to see Chyna again and having a good time. Following that strong segment, Michaels reminisce about the great times, until The Game met “No Fun Stephanie. This spun into a comical face time phone call with her as she is watching this live and HHH attempts to cover up his best pals remarks.
Here is were the celebration starts to fall into awkwardness. Another phone call is picked up, but there is a look of anger on The Game’s face and an abrupt commercial break. Following the break it is Legendary Ric Flair on the call and it looks like he was just thrown in there. Next was Road Dogg, and I must say Road Dogg’s beard game is fierce. Lastly, the creme a’la creme arrives and this is very puzzling. None other than Vincent Kennedy McMahon arrives. Vince tells if Trip that if there was fans in the arena, the would’ve chat “Boring”. Huh, Vince? Then McMahon goes on a stumbling speech about the Gobbly Gooker, Katie Vick.. YES KATIE VICK! Then finishes the questionable dialog with “Bayley’s This is Your Life” segment. Headscratcher.
While all this nonsense that Vince is spouting, he is nervously inserting his hand into his pocket multiple times. This is not the supremely confident Vince we all have known for decades. McMahon then tells his son in law that he loves him, but wrap it up. Then walks out and cuts the lights off, it was very weird.
Well, I originally didn’t have too much, until that celebration. Vince looked like a beaten down man that is struggling to cope with the past few months. From the XFL folding again, being sued by his ex commissioner, the mass releases, not having arenas full of fans to buy merch, McMahon may be at his breaking point. Of course when Vince’s back is against the wall, he is at his best. However, that was the past… can he do it again? Only time will tell.-David G.
WrestleMania back in Tampa Bay?
There was some rumors floating around that since Mania was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tampa may get another shot at Mania. Next year’s WrestleMania is set to take place at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. However, construction has been halted and the L.A Rams new stadium may not be finished on time. That could leave an opening for Tampa as a back up. If not that year, but the following year. The McMahons have ties to the state of Florida and would still love to put on a show in Tampa. The Florida Government also seem to love the McMahons, especially after Linda McMahon pledged $18 million to state for advertising. Add in that a vast group of pro wrestlers call Florida their home, it easy to see why Tampa getting another shot at Mania.-David G.
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