My Top Wrestling Moments of the Week: Brock Lesnar, Abyss Returns, NXT and More
Another week of professional wrestling has come to an end, and it was an overall good week.
TNA Wrestling’s second One Night Only Event, Joker’s Wild, started things out with a fun show. With 12 teams of randomly selected wrestlers, and a $100,000 Gauntlet match, TNA delivered once again.
I thought that WWE Monday Night Raw was a boring show. As I watched it, only one match ended up being any good and very few moments did anything for me. One moment from the show did make it on the list, though.
From there, the week went pretty smoothly. WWE Main Event, NXT, the May 4 episode of ROH Wrestling and TNA Xplosion and Impact Wrestling were all quite good. Impact Wrestling was the highlight of them with a few good matches and great storyline development.
The show started out a bit slow, but things picked up as time went by, and it all ended in a big way. Add in a crowd that was hot all night, and TNA had quite the show.
The week ended with WWE SmackDown, which I couldn’t really get into. There were a few good matches, but nothing else really caught my eye.
Next week, I plan on getting ROH Border Wars on the list. I didn’t have the time to watch it this week, but I will be making time to watch it within the next few days. I didn’t have the time to watch WWE Superstars either, unfortunately. I hope to make time for it next week.
Crimson and Gunner as a Team at Joker’s Wild
At TNA’s latest One Night Only event, Joker’s Wild, 24 wrestlers were paired together as teams by random drawing. There were a couple of interesting teams, but there was one that really caught my eye.
That was the team of Crimson and Gunner, neither of which has been seen in TNA for months. They faced James Storm and Christian York in the opening contest of the event, and they make a very good team.
Their similar styles and intensity really meshes well together; they could become quite the force to be reckoned with if kept together. If their backstage interview later on was any indication, they very well could be. Both wrestlers talked about being gone for six months, how they were tired of being overlooked and were sick of being held back. Both of them delivered solid promos and exhibited more chemistry by doing so.
TNA’s tag team division consists of three teams: Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez, Austin Aries and Bobby Roode and Bad Influence. I suppose you could throw in a few pairings from the Aces & Eights in there as well, but the fact remains that the division is way too small. Utilizing Crimson and Gunner as a team would not only be great for them, but also great for the division.
Extreme Rules Getting Extreme
Extreme Rules is the one night of the year that WWE gets “extreme.” Sometimes matches aren’t very extreme, such as a 2-out-of-3 Falls match or a match where somebody’s hair is on the line, but this year is looking quite good.
A Triple Threat Ladder match for the World Heavyweight Championship and a Steel Cage match have been set for the card for a few weeks now, with the WWE Championship match just being a normal singles match.
This past Monday on Raw, though, the match got an official stipulation. In addition to a Ladder and Steel Cage match, Last Man Standing will now be coming to the event as John Cena defends his WWE Championship against Ryback. WWE wasn’t done quite yet, though.
On Raw, Sheamus vs. Mark Henry was made official, but on Main Event, the stipulation for the match was revealed. Sheamus and Henry will be going at it in a good, old-fashioned Strap Match. On SmackDown, WWE made Randy Orton vs. The Big Show official with the stipulation of Extreme Rules. What’s the Extreme Rules pay-per-view without an Extreme Rules match, right?
This year’s Extreme Rules is shaping up to be very extreme, and I’m very much looking forward to the event as a result!
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman Invade WWE Headquarters
On Raw, Paul Heyman revealed footage of him and Brock Lesnar invading WWE Headquarters. After harassing some employees, Lesnar destroyed the office of Triple H. I thought this was great.
It’s been a while since WWE has done something like this, at least in recent memory. This takes me back to when Triple H broke into Randy Orton’s home and ultimately threw him through a window. There are obviously some major differences, but this shows that Lesnar is willing to do anything to get into the head of Triple H.
As seen from the Game’s in-ring promo, Triple H didn’t really care. So at the end of the day, Lesnar harassing WWE employees and vandalizing a top official’s office didn’t do anything for him.
It did a lot for Triple H, though. Lesnar’s invasion was well done, and it gave fans more of a reason to back Triple H when it comes time for the Steel Cage match at Extreme Rules.
Damien Sandow Challenges Big E Langston for the NXT Championship
In December 2012, Big E Langston dethroned Seth Rollins as NXT champion. He has held that title ever since and has defeated the likes of Bo Dallas, Conor O’Brian and Corey Graves to keep it.
While everyone he has defended the title against are great in-ring performers, neither of them could be seen as a big a threat as a main roster Superstar. For as long as he has had the belt, Langston has yet to defend his title against someone from Raw or SmackDown. All of that changed this week on NXT.
After Damien Sandow won a quick match, he issued the challenge for the title. Langston accepted the challenge and the match was made for next week.
Putting the title on the line against a Superstar from the main roster is going to bring some major legitimacy to the belt. Rollins may have defended the title against Jinder Mahal, but Mahal is a comedy character on Raw and SmackDown. While not a top star, Sandow could be seen as the “real deal.” Defeating him will not only bring some legitimacy to the title, but also to Langston.
Langston’s NXT and main roster characters are very much different, though. On the main roster, he’s the heel lackey of Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee, but on NXT, he a babyface champion that the fans absolutely love. I was surprised when WWE didn’t carry over the gimmick, at least the heel part of it, especially since Rollins changed gimmicks during his reign after The Shield debuted.
I’ve been waiting for Langston to lose the title since he got called up, but I doubt it’ll be Sandow who will take it from him.
The Wyatt Family Win the NXT Tag Team Championship
When Luke Harper and Erick Rowan of the Wyatt Family attacked and injured NXT Tag Team champion Oliver Grey, I expected the titles to be vacated. Instead, the other half of the champions, Adrian Neville, kept the belt around his waist.
On last week’s show, WWE finally announced the fate of the titles. Neville was given the opportunity to choose his own partner, and he went with Bo Dallas. On this week’s show, though, Bray Wyatt’s Wyatt Family took the titles away from them after trying to get the belts since they lost the finals in the tournament to crown the first champions.
I think this was a good call by WWE. Both Neville and Dallas are great wrestlers, but Dallas is only serving as a fill-in. When Grey returns, Dallas will get pushed to the side so that he can resume his spot as Neville’s partner. The Wyatt Family are good heels, thanks mainly to Bray Wyatt. The gimmick is weird, but it works very well.
Harper and Rowan are also monsters, so that helps them with their heel personas. Seeing the stable take over NXT would be quite interesting. Giving Harper and Rowan the belts are the first step in that. With NXT champion Big E Langston a babyface and Bray Wyatt a heel, it may be safe to say that Wyatt could be the one to dethrone Langston.
The Wyatt Family is on its way to NXT supremacy, and it all started this week!
The Potential for a Fatal 4-Way TNA Tag Team Championship Match at Slammiversary
There has been a war over the TNA World Tag Team Championship for months now. Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez took the titles from Bad Influence, Austin Aries and Bobby Roode dethroned Guerrero and Hernandez, but now they have the titles back.
Despite only having three teams, the TNA tag team division has been quite exciting as of late.
This past Thursday on Impact Wrestling saw a No. 1 contender’s match between Aries and Roode and the team of Bad Influence. James Storm was stuck in the middle of the two as special referee, and that led to the match ending in a no-contest after he gave the Last Call superkick to both Aries and Christopher Daniels.
I thought that the ending was great as it left things wide open. A Triple Threat match for the TNA World Tag Team Championship is looking likely now for Slammiversary, and I absolutely love it because I’m going to the event! Seeing both of these teams compete live will certainly be a treat.
What does this all mean for Storm, though? I’m thinking he’s going to grab a partner and possibly make it a Fatal 4-Way for the belts. Is an America’s Most Wanted reunion on the horizon? I wouldn’t get my hopes up that high, but seeing Storm being a part of the title match is a big possibility.
Seeing as both teams attacked Storm later on backstage, a four-way match seems to be the route they’re going in.
The Kenny King/Chris Sabin Segment
This segment really put the X Division in the spotlight. Both King and Sabin gave strong promos here as King advanced his cocky heel persona and Sabin reminded fans that he’s quite good on the mic.
Since the new rule went into effect, there hasn’t really been any storylines within the X Division. A winner of a Triple Threat match would gain a title shot while the third guy enters into the match because he wasn’t pinned in the previous title match. I like the concept, but it doesn’t really leave much room for storylines.
Sabin’s return gave TNA the perfect opportunity to develop one. Even if he loses, Sabin will remain in the title picture as long as he’s not pinned. TNA could really build that, and it seems like that’s what they’re doing.
If this segment is a sign of things to come for the X Division, then it’s going to be a great year for King, Sabin and the rest of the division.
The Return of the Monster Abyss
Just before Bully Ray and Devon were going to put Sting through a table, some familiar music started to play. The Monster Abyss then made his return to TNA and ran through Bully and Devon.
Mr. Anderson ended up through the table, and a Black Hole Slam to Devon led to the Team TNA victory.
There was a six-man tag match between Sting, Kurt Angle and a mystery partner and the Aces & Eights. Hulk Hogan teased a wild card as the mystery man, and a wild card it certainly was. The match itself was pretty good, but the main focus of it was the return of Abyss.
Many names went through my head for the wild card, including Abyss, Jeff Hardy, Jeff Jarrett and even some ridiculous ones like Brutus Beefcake. I got so pumped when Abyss’ music hit. I’ve been waiting to see him return for quite some time now.
When talk of TNA needing a “hero” started, the first thing that went through my head was this: “TNA doesn’t need a hero, they need a monster.” That is exactly what happened here.
Before Abyss even came out, they showed the rest of the Aces & Eights gang taken out backstage. The Monster is exactly what the TNA army needs right now, and I am incredibly excited to see where the storyline goes from here!
This moment is more of a personal one, but I decided to add it in anyway. Last Friday, I attended my first independent event in years.
Northeast Wrestling runs shows, as their name says, throughout the Northeast. If you live in Connecticut, New York or Massachusetts, you very well may have heard of them. They feature a full card of wrestlers past, present and future, and meet-and-greets with everyone on the card before the show starts.
What attracted me to the show at first was the meet-and-greet since Mickie James, Goldust, Matt Hardy, The Godfather and Maria Kanellis were appearing. I got the chance to meet them all, as well as Robbie E. All of them were incredibly nice people, especially Mickie, Godfather and Maria.
In fact, meeting Mickie was the highlight of the night for me! My new profile picture here on Bleacher Report is actually the photo I got with her!
Meeting one person being the highlight is not putting down the show, though. The card was quite good with Mickie vs. Maria, Goldust vs. ROH’s Mike Bennett, The Godfather in a tag team match and Hardy featured in a TLC match. Also featured were a number of talented independent wrestlers, including Connecticut hardcore legend Ron Zombie.
All of the matches were very good, and it was an overall great show. If you live in the Northeast and have never attended one of their events before, I highly recommend it.
Their next event, unless they book another before it, is Wrestling Under the Stars II on Aug. 10 in Fishkill, N.Y. It’ll feature John Morrison vs. Matt Hardy with appearances by “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, Dusty Rhodes, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Jimmy Hart and more sure to be announced. For those interested, here is their website.
My Top Matches of the Week
With so much going in wrestling today, I just don’t have the time to give everything its own individual slide anymore. Actual matches will no longer get their own slide. An outcome of a particular match could, but not the match itself.
Instead, I will simple list what I found to be the top matches each week. To me, a top match includes one or more of the following: solid back-and-forth action, physicality (certain match types), chemistry between opponents, good storytelling and/or storyline development.
There are a few others as well, but those are the main ones for me. If a match in WWE, TNA Wrestling or Ring of Honor meets any of the criteria, they will be listed here.
Here are what I found to be the top matches this week:
- James Storm and Christian York vs. Crimson and Gunner (Joker’s Wild)
- Daniels and Samoa Joe vs. Chavo Guerrero and Rob Van Dam (Joker’s Wild)
- $100,000 Gauntlet Match (Joker’s Wild)
- Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler (Raw)
- Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro (Main Event)
- The Usos and Justin Gabriel vs. 3MB (Main Event)
- Paige vs. Bayley (NXT)
- Adrian Neville and Bo Dallas vs. The Wyatt Family (NXT)
- Joey Ryan vs. James Storm (Xplosion)
- Michael Elgin vs. Karl Anderson (ROH)
- Davey Richards vs. Kyle O’Reilly (ROH)
- Austin Aries and Bobby Roode vs. Bad Influence (Impact)
- Sting, Kurt Angle and Abyss vs. Aces & Eights (Impact)
- Daniel Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose (SmackDown)
- Chris Jericho vs. Ryback (SmackDown)