What’s up, CF’ers? Yeah, so I said I’d write The Week in Review Daily normally this week, but time has really been hard to come by of late. So, instead, this week I have to write a full edition with all the 5 shows in one post. Bear in mind that this would be a bit different than usual as I’d ditch the long description of the matches and put more focus on what I thought about them. And also remember that I’d post my TweetReview for Payback in a few hours; so check back for that as well.
This was an up and down week in wrestling world, so let’s get right down to it and review the week that was…
(Credits to Wrestlinsight Gav!)
Week iN Review
Talking Point of the Night: Triple H returned to RAW this past week and immediately laid down the law by putting the 4 competitors of the Payback main event in individual matches. He also raised the stakes for Kane by putting the latter’s job on the line should Seth Rollins fail to defend his WWE World Heavyweight Title on Sunday.
Dean Ambrose had a 2-on-1 Handicap Match versus J&J Security, and though Mercury and Noble used their numbers advantage to get some in on Dean, it was ultimately an easy win for the Lunatic Fringe. What was cool to see was the reaction that Ambrose got in his home town of Cincinnati, Ohio. After the string of matches with Bray Wyatt last year, Dean had lost a fair bit of crowd support. He was still popular in some sections, but he wasn’t getting nearly the amount of reactions he got when he was tearing it up with Rollins last year. The past couple of weeks have truly helped to cement him as a credible threat to the champ and his reactions speak for that improvement. After the ascent of Roman Reigns and Rollins throughout the latter half of last year, Dean’s future was in a state of bother. Both Dean and WWE proved here that they were just sitting in on his potential, and only a small spark has reignited his fire in the eyes of the fans.
Reigns had to battle Kane, but was attacked by the Demon before he could barely enter ringside. That ultimately led to Reigns spearing Kane over the announce table, but they would get a chance to settle the scores in a No DQ Match on SmackDown.
Finally, Seth Rollins battled Randy Orton, in a match that was uncharacteristically bland for the pair. I’ve greatly enjoyed their past couple matches on PPV, but they explicitly made it seem here that they were killing time before the ensuing brawl broke out. It had their usual spots, but failed to really get going and mean something apart from just being filler. The brawl led to Rollins eating finishers from all his Payback opponents, with Kane refusing to get involved even though he had a chair in his hands. Taking revenge from last week, Reigns speared Orton, but was taken out by Ambrose moments later.
Honorable Mentions: The US Title Open Challenge of the week was answered by none other than Neville, who put up quite a fight to John Cena. What I’ve noticed with Cena’s matches recently that he, more often than not, tries to end matches quickly. It really suits well with the role he’s playing here – a veteran trying to stand firm against the tides of the new generation. Cena knows that he out powers his opponents 90% of times, so it’s logically appropriate. Neville actually came the closest anyone has ever did to beating Cena, as he hit the Red Arrow, but his hopes were dashed by Rusev who attacked immediately after. That was a nice nod for Neville to have as I was dreading the possibility of John kicking out of the Red Arrow so early in Neville’s main roster career, but the agents chose a better path for the match up. Rusev’s interaction with Cena also went down well with this fan, as I feel he’s been too distant from Cena, seeing as how an “I Quit” Match is in store for them at the PPV. Come to think of it – this has been one of the most poorly built, high profile “I Quit” matches that I can remember, and both Rusev and Cena should have been more up each other’s alley. It also proves true the thoughts of those who felt this match was largely unnecessary and the bookers would have a hard time to make both the competitors come out looking strong from this match.
Daniel Bryan also made his return this week, but he had some bad news for his fans. Because of an injury, Bryan has had to relinquish the Intercontinental Championship and his future is in jeopardy as the doctors cannot say for sure if he’ll ever be able to wrestle again. It’d truly suck to be Bryan right now as he had to sacrifice two titles now in as many years because of injury. Daniel evaded a surgery last year and that choice might be what has ultimately come back to haunt him. I’m a fan of Bryan - as a wrestler and as a person in general – and I truly feel bad for what he’s had to go through. Bryan needs to revaluate his position right now, and WWE is even open to giving him a non-wrestling role within the company. He’d be a Class A trainer, but I, along with many of his fans, haven’t given up on his in-ring career just yet. I respect Bryan’s choices of straying away from normal medical practices, but it seems like that is the best course of action right now. Whatever happens, though, I’m sure we’ll all agree that Bryan deserves a better send off than to be restricted because of his injuries.
Making his first appearance since losing the Best of 5 Series to Drago, AeroStar had to face a new face in the Temple – Jack Evans. The two gelled really quickly as kicks and high risk maneuvers were thrown all around. This was one of the best openers in recent memory and was exactly what the past few, story driven LU shows were missing. After setting up the big angles, it was highly required for LU to showcase a couple of new faces that can become a big deal in the weeks to come. AeroStar is big proof of that as he was seen as just a jobber initially, but some strong performances have set him up quite nicely. It also helps that he was paired with a more than able Evans. The latter has a great upside, and though he’s a bit of a showoff, like Angelico, it fits his character to a T and he has great moves, like the 450 off the balcony and a standing Red Arrow in his arsenal. AeroStar did get the win with a Canadian Destroyer from the top rope! This was an excellent match, I felt, that raised the quality of this week instantly.
Dario Cueto then came out with another “unique” opportunity with 7 Luchadores – Killshot, Cage, King Cuerno, Sexy Star, Fenix, Cousin Mack and Pentagon, Jr. – fighting for one of 7 Aztec medallions, which apparently gives the holder immortality. Only in LU! The best things about this match – which was a bit tough to follow at times – are the great pairings that seemed to come out of it. Sexy Star was hell bent of targeting revenge on Pentagon, but it was Fenix’s interactions with the dark one that caught my fancy. One of the best spots even saw Pentagon land a Spine-Crusher on Star and a Package Piledriver on Fenix simultaneously. Killshot and Cuerno & Cage and Mack also had some nice sequences and the 4 of them seem to have embroiled in a tag team war. This was a bit too gimmicky, maybe, but in turn set up some nice matches for the future. The winner was eventually Fenix, who hit a reverse ‘rana and a moonsault on Pentagon after Sexy broke up an attempt at an arm break. But, Fenix’s victory was spoiled by a returning Catrina, who visited the Man of a 1,000 Lives in the locker room and informed him that Mil Muertes had been resurrected and that Fenix was merely a pawn to make him stronger. Just as she left, angels of death descended on Fenix!
The main event saw Alberto El Patron face off against Hernandez, in a match where there had to be a winner. The match never really got going as Johnny Mundo interfered just 5 minutes into it, and sent him crashing through a window pane at ringside that turned out to be Dario Cueto’s office! Holy Jaboly! Mundo then dragged Alberto’s lifeless body to the ring, allowing Hernandez to become the #1 Contender for Prince Puma’s LU Title. I couldn’t be happier for this because Mundo was wandering aimlessly for far too long even when it seemed in the first few months that the promotion will be built around him. He’s had a couple of big wins, yes, but the losers have rather come out with the better storylines. This allows Mundo to have a properly defined role where he wouldn’t have to make time for other people and just fend for his own. He should have been a bigger deal by now in LU, and now he’s going to make sure that he captures it himself. And what can I say, the sight of Alberto crashing through the glass was excellent. There’s also something to be said about Mundo following the footsteps of his idol, Shawn Michaels.
Talking Points of the Night: Sami Zayn came to the ring this week to ask Kevin Owens, once and for all, the reasons for his attacks on his former best friend. Zayn went through with his own thought processes, saying that Owens did it just because he was jealous. Jealous because of the success Zayn has had so far, and how KO’s son would rather wear Sami’s shirt to school than his own dad’s. Owens, though, had nothing to say and just walked out of the ring. But, before he went to the back, Kevin retorted by saying that only he knows why he attacked Sami, and that was enough. Zayn said he went home after RIVAL to clear his head, but Kevin knows that it was because he was injured. And after Unstoppable, Sami would go home again, but never to return. I thought sparks would fly here, but it was a strongly delivered promo from both of them at least. After Zayn was legit (?) injured on RAW, this puts even more weight to KO’s words and the match is more intriguing as a result. Kevin decimated Sami even without a prior injury at RIVAL; now, with a real injury in his sight, Owens is going to be literally… unstoppable.
Adam Rose and Tyler Breeze picked up a win over Hideo Itami and Finn Bálor after Breeze took advantage of the growing dissension between Itami and Bálor. After last week set the foundation for the tension, with a couple of mistimed kicks, putting them as a tag team worked really well here. Bálor and Itami came to NXT together… well, almost, but it was their friendship that made then make a name for themselves together. But, one would have had to guess that sooner, rather than later, they’d definitely come to blows. Breeze’s own ascent is helped by this as he’s just frothing at the mouth to pick up the pieces next week. I feel a little bad for Rose, though, who has lost all favors with the NXT crowd as well, and didn’t even have his Rosebuds to accompany him. The E:60 Special truly made me care a lot more about him, but perhaps a change in focus is needed right now. Pairing him with Rosa Mendes on the main roster isn’t doing him any favors either.
Honorable Mention: Sasha Banks picked up a statement win over the debutant, KC Cassidy, but Becky Lynch was conspicuous by her absence. Despite this, the Women’s Title match at Unstoppable has a lot going for it, and it provides a fresh pairing that can easily steal the show. On the other side, Dana Brooke and Emma seem to on a collision course with Charlotte and Bayley. Dana is just not doing it for me. She needs to stay far away from the mic, but NXT insists on giving her regular time. Emma, though, had something good going for it and I might just live through this match because of her involvement. I do dislike her explicit turn here, as I felt that could have been done in a more logical manner, but she needs to get totally unleashed in her new found heel character.
Talking Point of the Night: Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns looked to clear things up following RAW, but Kane instead put Ambrose in a match versus Sheamus. These two have always had great chemistry, and that was on display here as well. Their styles just work together, and it creates a hard hitting kind of match that is rarely seen in today’s WWE. The finish here was a roll-up win for Ambrose, as Sheamus collided with the ring-post. It protected Sheamus, even in a loss, and gave Ambrose another credible win. Again, Ambrose has been handled really well ever since that win over Rollins, and one wouldn’t even have imagined how fast this actually happened.
Seth Rollins was put in another disadvantage, with a match versus Ryback. The latter has really impressed of late with a string of nice performances versus Rusev and last week’s tag team affair with The New Day. He has learned how to mask his weaknesses in the ring, and is gelling well with a variety of opponents now. His character limits him, but if he keeps improving on his in-ring work, a better future is definitely in store. What also worked here was Bray Wyatt’s brief attack before the start of the match that allowed Ryback to work from underneath. Rollins and he worked well, but the champ picked up the win with a couple of Avada Kedavras. This is a far better finisher for Rollins, and also has a bit of history. Like Ambrose, Rollins also needs a bit of a push, and maybe getting rid of Kane would be the first step to that.
Roman Reigns then picked up a win over Kane in a No DQ Match, which was your usual Reigns affair. There were a couple of good spots with the table, but that is all that can be said about it. Post match, Rollins conducted an interview with Renee Young backstage, but Ambrose attacked. As the heels got advantage, Reigns smashed through with an equipment table. Ultimately, Reigns and Ambrose were left staring at each other with the WWEWHC laying in the middle of them. That was nice.
Honorable Mention: Some other developments saw Tyson Kidd win over Kofi Kingston in an entertaining match, while Neville picked one over Bo Dallas. People have started to notice that the tag team division is suddenly filled with a lot of entertaining parts, but WWE still needs to learn to properly highlight them on a weekly basis. There are a lot of stars right now that can be helped with some involvement in the division – Dallas and Rose is a pairing that can be cool, for instance – and with the WWE Network getting more and more exposure as time goes on, it’s time to tap into those resources. Elimination Chamber can be a major event for the division with the first ever Tag Team Chamber Match scheduled to take place. The two weeks till then should be used to properly build the 3, or maybe even 6, teams that’ll be used at the Network Exclusive.
Talking Point of the Night: Team Angle and Team Young faced off in a Hardcore War this week, with the rules being similar to Lethal Lockdown, but without the cage involved. Angle had The Rising’s Drew Galloway and Mika, Chris Melendez and a returning Bobby Lashley in tow, while Young took in BDC and Bram. This had the potential to be really good, but didn’t seem to work for some reason. I’m guessing that it’s because of the many number of times we’ve seen such pairings already. In fact, the most interesting piece of this match was Bobby Lashley, whom we haven’t seen in recent weeks, and he looked really good dodging and ducking Kenny King’s offense. What was also unexplained here was Bram’s involvement as him just being ‘crazy’ isn’t going to cut out for a long time. He’s switched alliances far too quickly ever since his turn on Magnus, and he just needs to tie his feet down and choose one way or the other.
Eric Young was also awesome as ever, though, picking up the win over his team by Piledriving Chris Melendez. EY then went onto take out Chris’ prosthetic leg, and smacked Angle around his head with it, and locked in a choke later on. This kind of line crossing heel work is what has made Young one of the better characters ever since TNA’s debut on Destination America back in January. Over the months, he has eased onto his character with such finesse that it’s become hard to imagine anything else for him. What he needs, then, are strong wins like this, and Lashley should be an able opponent for him in the coming weeks. TNA also needs to choose what it wants to do with BDC and Rising, as all these “wars” tend to take a toll on the regular viewer. It’s apparent that not much is at stake with those two, so something needs to be done to raise those. As Slammiversary inches closer, it’s time to end things and begin anew.
Honorable Mentions: The Wolves and the Dirty Heels met in Match 1 of their Best of 5 Series for the Tag Titles, and it was as good as was expected. The 4 men seemed to click from the sound of the bell, and they never let up in all the time that they got. The Dirty Heels played up to their moniker, and used a couple of cheap tactics to gain control over the relatively less experienced duo. But, The Wolves were far too quick, and that factor helped them pick up a surprise win as Davey rolled up Bobby Roode. This is the formula that needs to be followed for the tenure of this series. The Heels haven’t paired up as much as the Wolves have in recent times, and their singles desires are bound to affect them in a tag team scenario. The Wolves excel in that, and they should definitely take advantage of it. What Eddie and Davey would do now is to quickly cash in on this momentum, and they’d have a stranglehold of the series. This was a brilliant start, surely.
The Dollhouse’s Jade and Marti Bell defeated Brooke and Rebel, but its better left not talked about. The slightly better development followed later in the night as Taryn came to the ring to talk about how she spent some quality time with Gail Kim’s stepdaughters. She then showcased the skimpy attire she was going to wear for her meeting with Gail’s husband. There’s certainly a way to look at this critically and it can be said that TNA needs to step away from the objectification of their more than able women wrestlers. But, true success lies in the balance of the two sides and the Dollhouse faction is something that can aid such growth. The KnockOuts put on great matches every week, but some character development would help them a great deal. It definitely needs to handled carefully, though, but as long as the ring work remains strong, I don’t mind a bit of spice to support it.
1. John Cena © vs. Neville for the United States Championship
2. Lucha Underground – 05/13/15
3. Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus
4. Seth Rollins vs. Ryback
5. The Wolves vs. The Dirty Heels
Hey, Sub, Who Impressed You the Most This Week?
Dean Ambrose wins in a week full of development. I hope WWE can carry on this momentum post Payback, and Dean has become the favorite to win the Money in the Bank by a mile.
Hey, Sub, Which Was The Best Show Of The Week?
Lucha Underground bounced back strongly this week with 3 important, and entertaining matches/segments.
Quick Predictions for Payback
With just a few hours left to go for the PPV, let’s see where I stand with my predictions:
1. Damien Sandow and Curtis Axel should win the KickOff match and kickstart what might be one of the most interesting tag teams to come out in quite a while.
2. Sheamus should defeat Dolph Ziggler as the former’s gimmick is in the danger of being neutered with too many losses.
3. Same for Bad News Barrett who should defeat Neville and make the King of the Ring win mean something ahead of Elimination Chamber.
4. Naomi and Tamina are an interesting pairing and while void of character, they have been toughing it out recently. Paige might also return during the PPV, so expect the heels to win beforehand.
5. The New Day should retain the Tag Titles in a match that’d allow them to use their numbers advantage by swapping who the 2 men in the ring will be.
6. John Cena’s winning the “I Quit” Match, but the question remains as to how Rusev will be protected.
7. Ryback and Bray Wyatt should be intriguing and while both of them need a win here, Wyatt coming out on top will allow Ryback to retaliate.
8. Seth Rollins needs to retain the WWEWHC – not enough has been done for him, but Dean Ambrose walking out with the title might just be the shot that the product needs right now.
I’m a little excited for the PPV – not as much as I had hoped I’d be, but the WWEWHC match has certainly become more interesting than what it initially seemed. The Tag Title match might just turn out to be the best of the night, and I’m most eager to watch that. Sandow and Axel as a tag team is also something I look forward to.
What is your range of excitement for the PPV? I look forward to comments on that and the Week in Review, and hopefully, you’ll join me for the PPV review as well. See ya!