This week in pro wrestling, #SpeakingOut is one of the most concerning events in pro wrestling. *editors note* We pre wrote this article early in the week and did not realize the impact of what was to come. Our coverage of #SpeakingOut will be included with our recap.
The road to AEW’s Fyter Fest is almost complete! Initially an AEW PPV, now will be a special two part AEW Dynamite show! Christian returns to the ring against Randy Orton! Bobby Lashley and Lana splitting up? Billy Gunn returns to the ring against MJF! AEW vs NWA match! Will there be new NXT tag team champions? Huge North American title match booked for next week! AJ Styles has a new contender. Bray Wyatt returns! Let’s dive in to this week in pro wrestling.
A Charismatic Captain returns to sail the ship of retribution for a fallen friend.
June 15th, 2020 was the date for this week’s edition of Monday Night Raw, live from the Performance Center once again.
A crowd of NXT developmental and on-air talent hyped the broadcast as “The Viper” Randy Orton comes out and gloats after having bested Edge and putting him on the shelf for several months after their match at Backlash. Orton says basically by proxy, the win makes him the greatest ever. He says he truly succeeded because he sent “Adam” home to be a loving father and husband and he’s scheduled to return, in July, of 2029.
As Orton heels it up, we hear the infamous “Go!” and we get the Raw return of “Captain Charisma” Christian. Christian stands up for his best friend and says that Edge’s career is far from over despite what Orton says, and Orton counters with a claim that Christian is jealous because unlike Edge he can’t have “one more match” because of his concussion history.
He asks for an unsanctioned match and Christian has until the end of the night to accept.
Kevin Owens defeats Angel Garza via pin fall after a stunner.
It’s come out recently that Vince McMahon sees Garza as a young Eddie Guerrero. That is high praise, but you can definitely see a star in the making before your very eyes. I still believe Andrade can head to the top as well, but Garza has truly become the standout if we’re being honest.
Owens and Garza did business once again and the end came after Andrade grabbed KO’s foot and the referee chastised him instead of allowing Garza to capitalize. Garza grabbed his attention and turned right into a stunner as KO seized the victory.
Garza and Andrade bickered after the match before Zelina Vega shut it down. I hope they don’t split these two up since they already lost Theory to Rollins stable, but it seems like it will happen eventually, we shall see.
MVP and Bobby Lashley made their way to the ring and gave an account of the reasons they lost in the title match last night. It was supposed to be Lashley’s time and this leads to Lana coming out and there’s a whole back and forth about Lashley telling Lana that she was supposed to stay in the back.
Lana tries to say that it’s MVP’s fault and Lashley says all she ever tried to do was use him to further her own ambitions and get bigger on social media. She then said if she wanted to do that, she’d have gotten with somebody more famous, like Drew.
Lashley doesn’t even crack and says he wants a divorce. Thank goodness. The Lashley/MVP pairing has been fantastic ands it’s either time to let Lana do other things with a new performer or maybe even Rusev if he comes back, or maybe let her out of her contract to follow Rusev to his next destination.
It was obvious from day one that this wasn’t going to work, but we all gave it time.
The Street Profits and Viking Raiders are backstage and state that they had a common enemy last night, ninjas. Akira Tozawa and this tall drink of water show up again and we find out we’re having a match next.
The Street Profits/Viking Raiders defeat Akira Tozawa/Ninjas via pin fall after a frogsplash from Ford onto a ninja.
What in the blue hell did I just type for the Scrum? Surely this has to be time for Vinnie Mac to call it a day because I was forced to type that headline out.
Nevertheless, the tall man enters the ring and cooler heads prevail before fists are thrown. We’ll eventually see this big man in action. Let’s hope he’s more Big Show than Great Khali as it relates to his in ring acumen.
Wow, speaking of which, we hear the music of the Big Show and he shows up to confront this big man. I wanna say I willed that into existence. The heels make their exit as the faces celebrate with the legendary Big Show.
Christian is shown on the phone getting advice or bantering with someone about the decision he should make as it relates to the match later.
“The Monday Night Messiah” Seth Rollins leads out Murphy and Theory as they head to the ring to meet Dominick, Rey Mysterio’s son was has accepted Seth’s invitation on his behalf.
Rey Mysterio appears on the video wall and Rollins thanks him for his sacrifice and Rey deflects only to say he couldn’t talk his son out of showing up tonight.
Rollins states that he will show him the way and if Dominick isn’t part of the greater good, he will be sacrificed as well. Rollins has Murphy and Theory keeping their eyes peeled, but we see Rollins attacked with a savage clothesline from behind. He is then attacked with a flurry of lefts and rights by Dominick, who moved very well.
Murphy and Theory try to come to the aide of Rollins, but Dominick escapes behind the plexiglass before they can get revenge for Rolliins. This should lead to a tag team affair, but this was incredibly well done. Rollins was great and Mysterio, Dominic and the others have really built this story well.
R-Truth has a run-in with Lashley and MVP backstage before Drew McIntyre shows up.
Let me unpack this very quickly, as it was a very funny segment, but ultimately this led to our main event being a “winner take all” match for the 24/7 and world titles, which R-Truth later changed to only for the world title unintentionally.
McIntyre is frantic, but he gets a moment of real talk from R-Truth and he tells him he believes in him as a partner. We’ll see what happens there later.
The Iiconics defeated Natalya/Liv Morgan via pin fall after a sideout double team finish on Morgan.
The faces had a cup of coffee with some offense, but this was over quick.
Morgan got a hot tag and had a flurry of offense but a distraction at ringside led to Morgan falling prey to the double team finish as Natalya was dumped outside to the floor.
The Iiconics called out Bayley and Sasha Banks for a title match this week and we’d find out that it was accepted later in the show.
Natalya berates Morgan backstage for losing and Liv walks off. Lana enters the scene and has a moment with Natalya. That seems like an odd pairing. if they really want to ruin our lives and potentially build a great heel tandem, put her with Nia Jax, that could work.
Christian and The Big Show has a moment backstage where Show tried to talk sense into him. I’m gonna speed things along for the sake of timing, we’d have another segment later where Ric Flair tried to talk sense into him too. Christian would confront Orton in this clash later, it’s been booked.
Asuka has a backstage interview before her rematch with Nia Jax shortly and she’s amazing as always.
The Street Profits and Viking Raiders will finally do business next week.
Apollo Crews defeats Shelton Benjamin via pin fall with a rope-aided rollup.
This was interesting. The veteran “gold standard” and Crews only had a few minutes, but gave a solid account of themselves. Benjamin would try to cheat his way to the title with a leg-aided rollup, but the referee caught him and broke it up.
Crews would rollup the veteran and he’d actually trap the rope with his arm, a form of cheating himself. Crews celebrated by holding his title and Samoa Joe congratulating him from commentary. This is something to watch as weeks progress.
Drew McIntyre and R-Truth defeat Bobby Lashley and MVP via pin fall after a splash from Truth on MVP.
This was fantastic. After many backstage segments this evening, we had a really enjoyable tag team affair between two really great teams.
The heels are tremendous and despite the loss, Lashley will still feature in the title pictuire and we saw both some great comedy and sensational face work from Truth and McIntyre.
Lashley was dumped to the outside at one point and McIntyre struck with the Claymore, but he opted to tag in R-Truth who he launched off the top rope with a splash on MVP for the victory. Both men keep their titles, namely Drew after the changes.
Bayley and Sasha Banks would answer the challenge of the Iiconics in this next segment which I eluded too earlier. The title match will be next week.
Asuka defeats Nia Jax via pin fall with a rollup after a questionable count.
Nia Jax pushed referee John Cone down after he warned her of her underhanded tactics.
This led to Asuka hitting a rollup and Copne administering the count to allow the champ to retain. Obviously this development will see this feud continuing, maybe with Charlotte Flair in the midst of it after she’s lost her NXT title to the vibrant Io Shirai.
The summer should hopefully see Asuka finally getting over the hump with Charlotte, but she has to handle Jax before that.
Randy Orton defeats Christian via pin fall after a punt kick after a low blow from Ric Flair.
Wow. Christian made his triumphant return in street clothes and before hands were even thrown, the “Nature Boy’s” music hits and he heads down to the ring to talk Christian out of putting himself in harm’s way.
Christian says he’s got this and he turns around only for Flair to sink to his knees, issuing the low blow that made him a lot of money over the years.
“The CLB” collapses and Orton winds up, striking with his vicious punt kick before covering Christian fior the victory after a very short segment. Orton drops down and apologizes to Christian, but this is his livelihood and if it’s between he and “Jay”, it’ll be him every time.
This is the best Orton we’ve seen in years. This is the one we fell in love during the Triple H/Legacy storyline. Let’s put him in a title match with Drew McIntyre at Summerslam and sell some tickets. That should be fantastic.
A decent show this week, not the greatest of all time, but watchable.
The path to Fyter Fest becomes clearer. Big matches are being booked for the once PPV event. Cody defends the TNT titles against anyone, including ones that are not in AEW! Cassidy serves up some Orange Justice. Creepy Dynamite debut in the women’s division. Does Billy Gunn still have it? Dr Britt Baker is kidnapped! Does The Dark Order become bigger and stronger? The tag team division is taking over Dynamite. Let’s get started, because this is DYNAMITE!
AEW tag team title match. The Star of the Show arrives. Dark Order recruits. Does Billy Gunn still have it?
Kenny Omega/Adam Page vs Dustin Rhodes/QT Marshall for the AEW Tag Team titles. Omega/Page retain titles via Last Call pin fall.
Well, you know what the ending was going to be. I mean there’s a number 1 contenders match later on, but hey rankings *eye roll*. Even with predictable out come, this was a solid fun match. Omega and Rhodes get the match started and Kenny almost hit a One-Winged Angle early. The two exchange with a Hurricanrana by Dustin ends it, while the two men shake hands. On to QT and Page, Marshall eats a big boot and the duo tag in and out.
This type of great action goes throughout the match, and this is the best QT Marshall has looked since starting in AEW. Allie eventually makes her way out to cheer on QT, Brandi makes sure she stays on the ramp. Honestly, since I have not enough time to watch Dark, I am still confused over this angle. Thankfully, neither ladies pulled any shenanigans during the match. The closing moments of the match had Marshall go for a Twisting Moonsault, but no one is home. Dustin is thrown out, QT eats the Last Call and the champs retain their titles.
Afterwards, Allie wants to check on her new interest, but Brandi shoos her away. Again, confusing… Allie did not disrupt the match one bit. Why can’t Allie check on her new man? Hopefully, the story can be fleshed out on Dynamite. A Neat little thing was added to Dynamite, a scroll banner was added to let the TV audience know who won or loss on AEW Dark. That’s a step in the right direction, I would like to see a 30 second recap, if the story needs it though.
Abadon vs Anna Jay. Abadon wins Step-Up Hurricanrana.
Before the bout, AEW shows a big hype package for Anna Jay. If you were watching this, you would’ve assume The Star of the Show was going to win. By the end, you probably was left scratching your head and was terrified of Abadon. AEW pulled a debut swerve here, hyping up the face only to have Anna get demolished. Ho, boy… it worked really well! Taking a look at Abadon, she has a very disturbing look and I am intrigued to see more of her. The style of the nightmarish wrestler is power stance with horror like intimidation.
The match was short as Abadon hits a Step-Up Hurricanrana, which SLAMS Anna’s face into the mat. That actually looked really harsh and Abadon wins her debut Dynamite match. With the women’s division taking an injury hit, it’s nice to see the rest of the locker room stepping up and getting time on TV.
The recruiting will not stop.
A broken Anna Jay lays in the ring as The Dark Order arrive. Also, Colt Cabana is at ringside, on the face side of course. Grayson is trash talking Isiah from Private Party and Evil Uno hands Colt an envelope containing Dark Order paperwork. Brodie Lee and the rest of the Dark Order help Anna up and backstage. Setting up maybe the 1st woman in the Dark Order. I think that is a very intriguing angle, since The Dark Order wants to rule all of AEW. Also, it can make for a very interesting Jay. As she comes out as a face, but quickly is turned to the Dark Order.
MJF vs Billy Gunn. MJF wins via Dynamite diamond ring punch and roll up pin fall.
This was an ok match, Gunn can still move in the ring and tell a story. The heel work from MJF is what you would expect, just not as heinous. Maxwell targeted Billy’s knee after Wardlow help in it’s injury. No matter what Friedman threw at Gunn, the Hall of Famer had enough strength to kick out. MJF at one point took to mock Billy’s finisher, The Fameasser. However, Gunn knowing the move too well countered it and lands his own, only for two. The match breaks down like Billy’s knee, as Gunn’s son is knocked out by Wardlow. This distracts Billy and he attacks Wardlow, but not before Wardlow tosses MJF the Dynamite Diamond ring. After Gunn takes care of Wardlow, MJF is laying in the ring like a Deadite from the Evil Dead. Faking being out, MJF then clocks Billy with the ring and gets the win.
In post-match, Jungle Boy calls out MJF for using the ring and the two start a locker room clearing brawl. You can still feel the intense hatred between the two men as the wrestlers can not keep them apart. Also, more teasing as Luchasaurus and Wardlow trade shots. Man, I need to see that match! This match felt like this was all to further Jurassic Express taking in MJF and Wardlow and I am so ok with that.
The Doctor is… kidnapped. A former NWA champion takes on Cody. Tag team destruction.
Big Swole has plans.
Dr Britt Baker is interviewed by her good friend, Tony Schiavone. Tony informs Britt that Penelope Ford will take on Hikaru Shida at Fyter Fest. Schiavone goes on how that Ford sky rocketed in the rankings with a pin over Shida and her recent wins. This angers Baker as she states that Ford is only there because Britt is injured. The Doctor then puts Tony on a friendship time out and wants to leave. Baker tells Reba (Rebel) to drive her out of there, but it is Big Swole driving the Role’s Royce. Swole speeds off with a distraught Baker in the back.
Later on in the night, Rebel tracks down Baker. The DMD is found in a trash bin, make up smeared and just filthy. Britt barks at Rebel and tells her to do many tasks at once, confusing her. At one point, Britt fires Rebel and she says “I’m free?!”, only to have Britt quickly hire her back. Britt tells Big Swole that she will receive payback for this stunt and much more, all this with a banana peel on her head. Honestly, Britt Baker is golden right now. It’s fantastic having to be part of the show, even without actually being in the ring. Baker’s presence is enough.
Cody vs Ricky Starks for the TNT title. Cody wins via Cross Rhodes pin fall.
Now this is what I’m talking about! Not that first two TNT title defenses were bad, they both were great. However, putting this type of booking as cannon for the TNT title, opens up a whole new world. Imagine this for being a set up for big cross promotion fights! Fighters from NJPW, AAA, Ring of Honor, JOHN CENA! Ok, not John Cena, but you get the point. Also, a little side note.. Cody started a promo about how his friends didn’t come out to help when he was getting beat down last week. Questioning if he is even Elite anymore, nice touch. Now we don’t know if this is Cody being arrogant or slowly turning heel, like I questioned for a couple weeks. Now on to the match.
Ricky Starks is a hot free agent in the pro wrestling world and a former NWA TV Champion. The young man has all the skills to be a big name in the ring. The two put on a great performance as Starks made Cody work for his title tonight. Even Arn had to get involved, pushing Cody off the rope as Stroke Daddy was zeroing in on him. The American Nightmare looks for the worse after taking a Superplex. Cody goes for the Disaster Kick, but Ricky counters with a big Spear! Next the duo desperately exchange pin fall combinations, all for two counts. Finally, Rhodes catches Starks in the Cross Rhodes and retains the TNT title. Great match between the two and Ricky proves he has what it takes to hang with the big boys.
Young Bucks vs Super Bad Squad. Young Bucks win via Double Knee Stike pin fall.
Fantastic spot match with dirty heel tactics is the story of the match. Before the match, the ref patted down Jimmie Havoc and found a set of pliers, hilarious. Matt still recouping from his rib/back injury took most of the beating in this match. While Matt is getting a beating, FTR, Butcher and Blade make their way to the ring. Eventually, the older Jackson hits a Powerbomb on Kip Sabian. A hot tag to Nick and the younger brother goes on a one man wrecking crew stint.
Nick with a series of kicks, a Bulldog/Clothesline combo to Jimmie and Kip, climbing rope like a jungle cat, ending with locking in a Sharpshooter on Kip. Havoc hilariously tried to break up the hold, charging in with a mallet. Tref stops him, but the distraction allows Penelope to wack Nick with a wet floor sign. Kip hits a Twisting DDT on Nick and somehow Sabian is bleeding. I didn’t see where it happen and later on in the match it seem to clear up, so I am guessing blood capsule.
The last moments of the match had that Bucks spot fest feel to it. Stomps, Superkicks, and a Looney Toon like finish. Matt somehow with a back injury hits a Double Suplex on Havoc and Kipe, tags in Nick and the both hit a Super Kick. Jimmie is thrown in to Piledriver position with Kip holding him. The Young Bucks kick out Kips legs, making Sabian deliver the Powerdriver to Jimmie. Lastly, the Bucks hit a Double Knee strike for the win.
Butcher and Blade immediately attack Matt and Nick, FTR then joins in on the fracas. An eight-man battle ensues as FTR hits the Good Night Express on Blade. Then in a moment of thinking the same, FTR and the Bucks set up for a Spiked Piledriver on the Blade and Butcher. Both teams looking at each other in a bit of shock and respect, the hit the Spiked Powerdriver and end it. I’m digging the subtle one-upmanship between FTR and Bucks, it doesn’t feel forced and the expressions seem genuine. When they finally lock up, it is going to be an instant classic.
Orange Justice is served cold.
Best Friends vs Le Sex Gods (Chris Jericho/Sammy Guevara), winner is the number one contender for the AEW Tag Team titles. Trent wins via Belly to Back Suplex pin fall.
Best Friends came out super aggressive, wanting to avenge their friend Orange Cassidy’s attack from the Inner Circle. I mean this was borderline heel stuff from Best friends, choking out Jericho with a t-shirt and waxing Sammy to no end. The changing point came as Trent kicked Chris outside and goes for a dive. At that moment, Jercicho catches Baker in mid-air with Floyd the bat. From there on it was a beat down showing for Trent.
Sammy and Jericho work over Trent and hit their trademark pose. However, Trent crawls hos way back to Taylor and he gets the hot tag. Chuck knocks Chris off the apron and a lands a Falcon’s Arrow on Guevara. Chuck then hits a Powerbomb on Sammy, with Jericho barely braking up the count. Best Friends go for the hug, yet Jericho breaks that up too. Sammy lands a Super Kick on Trent’s jaw, heads to the top rope and gets crotched by Trent. Things break down as Sammy is tripped up by a cameraman. This lead Sammy to get smacked by a Belly to Back Suplex and Best Friends take on Omega/Page at Fyter Fest. Good match, I liked the very aggressive Best Friends, plus Sammy and Jericho always good in the ring. It seems that Best Friends may have gotten their momentum back at just the right time.
Nice cold cup of Orange.
Jericho is standing in the ring in disbelief, as a cameraman gets closer to get that perfect shot. However, this cameraman is thinking of a different perfect shot, as it is reveled it was Orange Cassidy all along. The bruised and bandaged Cassidy sets his sights on Le Champion and delivers a fiery bashing. There was nothing technical about it, just ground and pound on the former AEW champion. Jericho had no answer for it and had to escape with his life. Orange Cassidy stands lazily tall in the ring with his half cocked thumbs up. Seeing Cassidy explode on Jericho is a welcome sight, as it adds another layer to the nonchalant wrestler. Right before going off air, it is announced that Tony Kahn has booked Jericho vs Cassidy at Fyter Fest. That could be a dark horse show stealing match, if done correct.
Another solid show with a good swerve. The whole Abadon vs Anna Jay, got me and I am ashamed that I fell for it. Ok, just a little ashamed.. ok, ok, they got me! For so many years I’ve been conditioned to see a hype video for a new wrestler and seeing them win their match. Not this time, plus I wager the whole character of Abadon surely made viewers feel uncomfortable. Great work, since it is hard to make modern viewers cringe from a gimmick nowadays. The brooding rivalry between Young Bucks and FTR is building, and without throwing a single punch. CCopule that in with The Dark Order growing bigger every week and looks to be seemingly unstoppable soon, all adds up to a good build towards Fyter Fest.-David G.
The battle at the top is getting crowded, as we unravel the web being spun around the NXT North American Championship and the NXT Championship this week! Also, NXT Legends and current WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Bayley and Sasha Banks come to defend their gold, NXT Tag Team Champions Imperium prove “the mat is sacred”, Roderick Strong gets “Undisputed Therapy”, and much more! Let’s go!
Tag Team Turmoil. The Reckoning. Stone’s Throw(ing up)
Imperium (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel) vs. “Emporium” (aka Breezango, Tyler Breeze & Fandango). Imperium wins via DDT.
First off, the mockery of the Imperium’s entrance by Breeze and Fandango was absolutely hilarious, and brilliantly done. The remix of the Imperium theme was perfectly fitting for the duo, who still prove to be one of the most entertaining teams in ALL of WWE. That said, they still have to prove they can go with the top guys in the division, and they manage to hold their own for a while, until chaos breaks out.
In the closing moments of the match, Indus Sher make their way to ringside, but are attacked by Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch before even getting to the ring. The brawl outside is broken up after Barthel knocks Breeze off the apron and onto the mob. Inside, Fandango tries to roll up Barthel, but Aichner is the legal man. Aichner capitalizes on the confusion, planting Fandango with a DDT to pick up the win.
We finally have some development in the division, as it seemed for the longest time that Undisputed Era would have to be there to carry it for a long time. Indus Sher is still relatively green, but with some work, can mold into a powerhouse team similar to what the Authors of Pain were. Lorcan and Burch have had small tastes of the top, but never have been able to reach the summit. Things certainly are heating up for the NXT Tag Teams!
Dream…or a fantasy?
Tom Phillips interviews Velveteen Dream via video. Phillips asks Dream about losing the Backlot Brawl and not being able to challenge for the NXT Championship as long as Adam Cole is champion. Dream says he has no recollection of that, in typical Dream fashion. Dexter Lumis appears behind the couch and slips a drawing onto the cushion. Dream finds the drawing, which is him and Lumis together, holding the Tag Team titles. Dream says no thanks, he’s a solo act.
Interesting story brewing here with Dream and Lumis. They have been involved in each other’s stories for a few weeks, but now that Dream is out of the title picture, will we see a program between the two enigmatic superstars? Perhaps something along the lines of Lumis being obsessed with Dream, but Dream constantly brushing him off? Could be fun…
Damian Priest vs. Killian Dain. Priest wins with The Reckoning
Oh hey, Killian Dain still exists! Glad to see that he hasn’t been forgotten…again. Unfortunately, this match against Priest was very lackluster from both guys. There was a lot of poor timing and sloppy transitions between Priest and Dain. I will say that I appreciated the story that was told with Priest’s injured back, and with Dain consistently targeting the injury. At least there’s some positive there. Other than that, the match had a hard time holding my attention.
Priest counters out of the Electric Chair position with a victory roll, followed by a spin kick and then The Reckoning to pick up the win. After the commercial break, we get a flashback to Dain leaving the ring. Dain sees Robert Stone in the crowd, leaning against the plexiglass, and Stone is DRUNK. Dain slams into the barricade, knocking Stone to the ground, which leads into the next match…
Aliyah vs. Xia Li. Aliyah wins with a roll-up pin
If I never see this match again, it’ll be too soon. NXT keeps wanting to capitalize on the feud that they had late last year, when Aliyah’s nose was accidentally broken by Li. It doesn’t work, because Aliyah has been playing too timid ever since coming back from injury. I don’t even want to talk about the match, because it was that bad. The story, though, that’s something different…
Aliyah sees Robert Stone as she makes her entrance, and helps Stone stagger to his feet, bringing him down to ringside to be her “manager”. As Li and Aliyah battle, Stone slowly makes his way to the apron, still stumbling drunk. He gets Li’s attention, calls timeout, then proceeds to blow chunks all over the ring. The vomit distraction allows Aliyah to roll up Li to steal the win.
I love the story that Stone is telling, being a down-trodden agent who is distraught after losing his only client, Chelsea Green. With Aliyah picking up a win with Stone in her corner, things could turn around for the Brand.
A video package featuring Timothy Thatcher teaching his trainees the art of “Thatch as Thatch Can” wrestling. I can appreciate this re-introduction to the Thatcher character, who works a very strong, mat-based game in the ring. Perhaps soon, we can forget about the failed experiment team with Matt Riddle and see what Timothy Thatcher is really all about.
The “Doctor” is in. Crowded at the top.
Adam Cole and Bobby Fish are trying to help Roderick Strong with his fear of Dexter Lumis, who has been inside Strong’s head ever since Takeover. Cole and Fish take Strong to a “therapist”, who is Kyle O’Reilly in disguise. O’Reilly stays out of Strong’s line of sight, and talks to him about confronting his fears. They show Strong a series of Rorschach Test images, and Strong freaks out at the last one, seeing the trunk that Lumis threw him and Fish into at Takeover.
Cole, Fish, and O’Reilly convince Strong to face his fear, and get into the trunk again. Outside, Strong is hesitant to get into the open trunk, with Fish and Cole encouraging him. Strong steps forward, backs away again, and then takes off running down the street. Cole and Fish yell at him to come back, but Roddy is gone like the wind. Funny segment with O’Reilly making a rare appearance as the “therapist”, and Strong still having nightmares and flashbacks of what happened.
The Stage is Set:
This is going to be a lot to process, so let’s take this one step at a time. Backstage at Full Sail, Adam Cole is interviewed, while standing next to the hourglass left by Scarlett last week. Cole is asked about Karrion Kross’ challenge, but is interrupted by Keith Lee. Lee says it won’t be Kross to take Cole’s title. Lee smashes the hourglass on the floor, looks at Cole and says it will be him. Cole storms off, and Lee chuckles, “Tick, tock”.
Cole goes to the ring to talk more about his title reign. He says he’s been the hardest working and greatest champion in the history of the business. He says Karrion Kross beat Tommaso Ciampa, and now he wants a title shot. Cole has beaten Ciampa already. As for Keith Lee, Lee may have his eyes on the NXT Championship, but Cole has his eyes on the North American Championship, as Cole was the first NA Champion. Maybe Cole wants two titles, and to be known as “Champ-Champ, Bay-Bay”.
Keith Lee comes out, but is interrupted by Johnny Gargano before he even says a word. Gargano says this is a cool moment, but he doesn’t care about moments anymore; he cares about results. Gargano pinned Lee last week, and he’s coming for the North American Championship…but why stop there? Gargano reminds us that he’s the first-ever NXT Triple Crown Champion. He reiterates his goal to have himself and Candice LeRae as the first couple to simultaneously hold the NXT Championship and NXT Women’s Championship.
Finn Balor comes out and gets straight to the point. He’s never held the North American Championship, and he wants a shot at Keith Lee. Balor says he doesn’t wait in line; he’s going to take Lee’s title, and then he’s coming for Adam Cole. Cole says he just beat Balor’s record as longest-reigning NXT Champion, and just like the rest of Balor’s career, Cole shows up and betters him.
NXT GM William Regal appears on the big screen and drops a huge bomb. Next week, Keith Lee will defend the NXT North American Championship against both Finn Balor and Johnny Gargano in a Triple Threat match. The winner of that match goes on to July 8th to face Adam Cole in a Champion vs. Champion, Winner Take All match.
Wow, this is HUGE! All the big players in NXT, gunning for each other’s titles, and now we’re going to get a tremendous series of matches to determine who the top guy really is. I don’t see any way that any of these guys will hold both titles at the same time; something shady will most likely happen at the Winner Take All match. We only have a couple short weeks to find out!
Women’s action. Thicc Boi throws out a challenge. Legacy 2.0? Golden Idols pushed to the limit.
Dakota Kai vs. Kayden Carter. Kai wins with a modified Octopus Stretch
Kai’s rivalry with Carter and Kacy Catanzaro continues in this match, with Carter having flashes of brilliance against Kai. The equalizer, Raquel Gonzalez, shows her value at ringside, distracting Carter several times throughout the match. Catanzaro tries to take down the dominant woman, but is quickly disposed of in a violent manner. Kai catches Carter with a roll-up attempt, followed by the Octopus Stretch to get the submission win. Not much else to say about this one. Not a bad performance, but nothing to write home about.
Backstage, we see Scarlett approaching the broken hourglass, still in pieces on the floor. From the side, we see Karrion Kross’ boot step into frame, standing among the broken glass. We never see Kross’ face, but this is clearly a message that he sees what Keith Lee has done, and he now knows his next target. But first…
Bronson Reed vs. Leon Ruff. Reed wins with a diving splash
Squash match in the most literal sense of the term. Reed flattens Ruff with the top rope diving splash to pick up the win. Afterwards, Reed gets on the mic and issues a challenge to Karrion Kross. Reed hasn’t forgotten what happened to him a couple of weeks back, and wants retribution, next week.
El Legado del Fantasma.
Santos Escobar comes out with Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde, to talk about the big reveal last week. Escobar cuts a good promo, talking about what it means to be a masked luchador in the Latin culture, and what he wants to do with the platform he has at NXT. He says he’s going to make Mendoza and Wilde into leaders, and they will build a new legacy.
Drake Maverick, with more guts than brains, runs out to the ring to attack the new NXT Cruiserweight Champion. The trio take Maverick down, but not before Drake puts up a good fight. Wilde and Mendoza dump Maverick outside, and Escobar hoists him up and hits him with the Phantom Driver through a table.
I admire Drake’s heart and passion, but if he’s going to have a chance to stand against this formidable trio, he’s going to need backup. Who can Maverick get to join him in the fight against El Legado del Fantasma?
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship – Bayley & Sasha Banks vs. Shotzi Blackheart & Tegan Nox. Bayley & Banks win with the Bank Statement
This match had no business being as good as it was. From bell to bell, Nox and Blackheart brought the fire and aggression to Bayley and Banks. Obviously, I knew there was no way the champs would drop the belts, but man, did Nox and Blackheart put on a hell of a performance. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the match, and even towards the end, when it looked like there really was a chance that the titles would be changing hands.
After a “hockey fight” between Nox and Banks, Nox gets Banks up in the Electric chair and tags in Blackheart. As it appeared that Blackheart was going up top for the Doomsday Device, Sasha gets out, but eats a missile dropkick from Shotzi. Blackheart goes for the cover, but Banks counters into the Bank Statement. Blackheart counters the submission attempt into the Cattle Mutilation lock, and has Banks torqued hard! Bayley runs in with a chair, but is stopped by Nox. As the ref stops Nox, Bayley breaks up the submission on Sasha, allowing Banks to lock in the Bank Statement again, to get Blackheart to tap.
After the match, NXT Champion Io Shirai attacks Bayley from behind with a springboard dropkick, then takes down Banks with a German Suplex. Shirai chases off the Tag Team champs and stands tall in the ring. What does Shirai’s involvement with the Women’s Tag Team Champions mean? Is Io going to find herself a partner to go after Bayley and Banks?
Solid show this week, with some decent in-ring content. The main event match was clearly the standout showing, but the bombshell announcement from William Regal takes center stage. We’re set up for some huge shows going into July, and I, for one, am stoked to see how things play out! –Josh L.
Friday Night SmackDown:
This week on SnackDown, AJ Styles has a new contender for the title. Jeff Hardy refuses to let the loss to Sheamus hold him down. Mandy Rose on Miz TV and New Day vs Lucha House Party in a solid match. Bray Wyatt returns and goes to his old roots! Let’s get started, this is SmackDown!
Shocking start? Hardy will not quit. Below mid-card match for the talent. Mandy Rose on Miz TV!
Matt Riddle vs AJ Styles in a non-title match. Riddle wins via Bro-Derek pin fall.
The night started off with AJ bragging about his title win. Daniel Bryan interrupts and calls out all the great wrestlers that AJ hasn’t faced yet. Riddle’s music begins and Matt tries to introduce himself, but AJ states that he already knows him. Matt then states that he will become the “Bro that runs the show”. A match begins.
Coming off a clinic of a match with Daniel Bryan, it is easy to guess AJ will win, or does he. The duo had a great exchange in the ring, but it is Riddle that comes out the winner. Matt is receiving advice from Daniel Bryan and takes heed of it. As AJ goes for the Phenomenal Forearm, but is countered with a Bro-Derek and earning a win over the champion. Great way to introduce Matt Riddle, however during the recent movement of #SpeakingOut.. one does wonder the push of Matt Riddle after this match.
Jeff Hardy speaks.
Renee Young is set to interview Jeff Hardy. Young asks how Jeff has been holding up after the lost to Sheamus at Backlash. Hardy states that his whole live has been a roller coaster and will not give up. Jeff admits that he is a “junkie” an adrenaline junkie. Also, Jeff admits that he is an alcoholic, but has been sober for a long time. Hardy states that he has overcome bigger obstacles than Sheamus and he will do it again. This was a way better promo than the Jeff Hardy ran over Elias angle. Let’s hope WWE continues the path.
Shorty G vs Mojo Rawley. Shorty G wins via Small Package pin fall.
Yeah, it seems Vince still likes his shirt jokes. This was a quick match with Shorty G winning with the Small Package., but let’s see how we got there. Mojo dominated early on, using his size advantage. However back from break, Shorty G unloads with two Overhead Suplexes and regains control. Mojo again takes control with his size, but G counters with a Sleeper. Mojo back with the intimidation, but Shorty hits a big German Suplex and a Small Package for the win. Meh, two great talents wasted away for this match.
Rose and Deville showdown on Miz TV.
Mandy Rose makes her way out to Miz TV with the Miz and John Morrison. They joke on Mandy and Rose goes to leave, but Sonya Deville music plays. Deville and Rose trade words and Sonya is waiting for the Mandy Rose treatment. Deville is tried of being overlooked and wants the spotlight, Rose is over feuding with Sonya and wants it to end. A few more words are traded and the two brawl. Miz and Morrison break the fight up as Sonya retreats. This was nothing but filler, it did not advance their story, only spun the wheels.
Match of the night. Sasha is a boss. The old Bray returns.
New Day vs Lucha House Party. New Day wins via Big Ending pin fall.
Lucha House Party is severally underrated and New Day is here to show the fans that. We get a high flying, but grounded match and it is great! Kofi is getting the wrong end early on from Lince Dorado. The engagement between the two ends in a stalemate. Eventually Big E gets the hot tag and runs over Lucha House Party. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura enter the match at ringside.
This match ate a lot of air time, in which can be thought as a way to promote Lucha House Party. The battel went back and forth with big spots from both teams. The closing moments had Kofi getting Super Kicked from the Party and Big E shoving Metalik off the top ropes. Lince then goes for a flying attack on Kingston, but Kofi counters with a Trouble in Paradise! This all lead to an assisted Big Ending for the win. Honestly, not only that this was match of the night, but probably WWE’s match of the week. It’s good to see Lucha House Party get more and more of a push, they can do amazing things!
Sasha Banks vs Nikki Cross. Banks wins via Meteora pin fall.
Well, this is what you may have expected. For weeks now, Nikki Cross has been the weak link in the Bliss/Cross connection. WWE is not stopping it now, what a shame. Cross has grown as performer and talent, however there was a sloppy DDT that makes NXT fans remember her down faults. The two really go at it with big exchanges, but it is when Banks blocks a Suplex from Cross is where the fans see it going. As the Performance Center crowd gets behinf Nikki, Sasha locks in the Bank Statement. Nikki fights out of it and secures a Roll Up, but for only two.
An exchange of Roll Up two counts ends with Banks hitting a Meteora from out of nowhere and the win. This was a meh match, you can see what is happening from a mile away. Nikki Cross actually deserves better and I was opposed for Cross being called up. However, Cross has grown into a relative safe worker and knows how to entertain. Having Nikki eat a loss in this match, further declines not only her stock.. but Bliss as well. That is not good booking.
Firefly Fun House returns!
Let me just state this, if Bray Wyatt has FULL CONTROL of his segments, then this man is a GENIUS! We get Bray looking back in to his loss to Braun Strowman, and Ramblin Rabbit makes a point on how Bray loss. Wyatt sinister thank you sets this all up. The Monster arrives and tells Bray that he had his chance and it’s over. Wyatt retorts with a vignette of the old Wyatt Family. Bray then does a Matt Hardy and return to his old self! This makes Strowman reconsider his thoughts. The Cape Fear Wyatt tells that their story is far from over
This was FANTABULOUS! Not only did we get the return of Bray Wyatt, but Bray went back to his older gimmick to intimidate Braun! You know who has success with this jumping from gimmick to gimmick? Matt Hardy… we all know Bray can be just as creative as Matt, but will WWE allow it? Only time will tell.
Pretty solid show, but one can only look at some the show in questions. If you do not know by now, the pro wrestling world has been rocked by the #SpeakingOut movement. A movement that has gain traction over a few days. This movement has grabbed the names of popular pro wrestlers and forced the fans to think. These fluid times are just fluid. Please ingest all the facts, as we will do so as well.-David G.
Late on the evening of June 18th, the hashtag #SpeakingOut started gaining some traction, with accusations of sexual abuse and misconduct towards UK wrestler David Starr by his victim. Since the first accusations came out, many other women have stepped up and spoken against their attackers. Below is a list of the more well-known wrestlers and wrestling personalities who are have been labeled as “abusers”:
- Matt Riddle
- Jordan Devlin
- Jack Gallagher (released by WWE)
- Travis Banks
- Joe Coffey
- Jimmy Havoc
- Marty Scurrl
- Will Ospreay
- Joey Ryan
- NWA VP David Lagana (resigned from his position)
- Jim Cornette
Several wrestling promotions, including WWE, Progress Wrestling, NWA Wrestling, and others, have sent out official statements, reaffirming their “zero tolerance” policies when it comes to sexual misconduct, abuse, and negligence.
While this is not the complete list, this is in no way an official indictment of anyone’s guilt. We here at TheScrumSports.com are in shock at the accusations. We do not condone any kind of abuse, and will keep everyone updated as the facts come to light. –Josh L.
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