It’s time for the Weekly Wrestling Thread, here’s the events of the last week in wrestling.
-Backlash was last Saturday and it was a good show. The matches were mostly good but it was the crowd that made it special. The crowds can make or break an event and this was one of the best wrestling crowds in a while. My reviews of the matches on the card:
-Bianca Belair vs. IYO SKY: You know a match is good when the wrestler you’re rooting for loses and you still have a great time. IYO SKY is, zero hyperbole, the most talented women’s wrestler on the planet. She and Bianca Belair have a hell of a match, with Belair getting the win. 8/10
-Seth Rollins vs. Omos: Few things annoy me more in wrestling than when midcard wrestlers are fed to untalented giant wrestlers, which is what 99% of Omos’ matches are. Amazingly, Seth Rollins was able to get a decent match out of the Nigerian giant, defeating him. He truly is a visionary. 7/10
-Austin Theory vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Bronson Reed: Goddamn do I hate Austin Theory. 4/10
-Rhea Ripley vs. Zelina Vega: As a wrestling match, this wasn’t anything special. Rhea Ripley is easily a better wrestler and won with little trouble. But the post-match stuff was wonderful. The crowd showered Zelina Vega with praise and it clearly touched her. 7/10
-Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest: It’s genuinely wild that the best match (from a wrestling perspective) involves a singer but damn did Bad Bunny go the full nine yards. An amazing match with some magnificent heel work from Damian Priest (ending his pin on Bunny at the last second was just beautiful dickery). And I can’t praise this match without mentioning Carlito and Savio Vega’s run-in. Just amazing stuff. 9/10
-Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, and Solo Sikoa vs. Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, and Matt Riddle: We’ve seen Sami Zayn and pals battle the Bloodline almost every other week this year and it’s starting to get a little old. Thankfully, the writers seemed to realize this and the match is more devoted to the Bloodline’s continuing fracturing than anything else. The moment when Solo Sikoa almost strikes Jey Uso was a great touch and a hint of things to come. The match itself is still good (it’s hard to go wrong with six immensely guys) but the storyline stuff bumps it up a grade or two. 9/10
-Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar: In a vacuum, this is an 8/10 match. But when viewed in the context of Cody Rhodes and Brock Lesnar’s feud, it is sooooooooooo satisfying. Rhodes was ready for Lesnar, striking early and not underestimating him. The highlight of the match was Lesnar going for the Kimura Lock to finish the match but Rhodes shifted his position so Lesnar was stuck underneath him. Lesnar’s brutal beatdown on Rhodes last month was one of the most infuriating wrestling moments of the year but it made Rhodes’ winning so glorious. 10/10
-The tournament to determine who wins the newly revealed World Heavyweight Championship is underway. Seth Rollins and Finn Balor had a hell of a match to determine who represents Raw, with Rollins winning. Rollins defeated Damian Priest and Shinsuke Nakamura to get the opportunity and Balor defeated Cody Rhodes and The Miz. The men fighting to get the opportunity on Smackdown this Friday are Edge, Bobby Lashley, Rey Mysterio, Sheamus, A.J. Styles, and Austin Theory (hope Theory loses).
-Cody Rhodes seemed likely to defeat The Miz and Finn Balor for his qualifying match but he was yeeted out of the ring by an angry Brock Lesnar. Lesnar, with staples in his face from his match at Backlash, smashed Rhodes into the announcing table and challenged him to a match at WWE’s biannual Saudi blood money event. As much as I hated Lesnar brutalizing Rhodes a few weeks back, this was genuinely the best thing they could have done in regards to Rhodes and the Heavyweight Championship title. A lot of people were concerned that the title would be Rhodes’ booby prize for not defeating Roman Reigns. By taking him out of the conversation for that title (for the moment), it will allow the title to actually stand on its own and not be seen as a sympathy prize for Rhodes.
-Trish Stratus cut an amazing heel promo on Raw making fun of Becky Lynch for vanishing. She handed out missing posters with Lynch’s face and wore a shirt with the missing poster printed on it. In a wonderful act of dickery, she had Lynch’s intro music play as a joke. But then the intro started again to Stratus’ confusion. As she was telling the backstage people to knock it off, Lynch ambushed her. It was amazing.
-The Firm Deletion was on Rampage last Friday. It wasn’t as good as The Final Deletion (few things are) but it was a fun cinematic match.
-AEW Dark and AEW Dark Elevation are both ending for the time being. The contract Tony Khan signed to get AEW Collision off the ground means that AEW content will exclusively be on Warner Bros. Discovery channels.
-It’s been confirmed that AEW will have a split roster going forward, most likely so CM Punk won’t have to interact with the Elite (and vice versa). Alas, Rampage is going to be lumped in Dynamite, so it will probably still feel like leftovers instead of its own thing.
-Darby Allin and Jack Perry defeated MJF and Sammy Guevara in a tag team match on Dynamite last Wednesday. Because of this, all four will be in a fatal four way match at Double or Nothing. This should be a great match. You got a bunch of talented guys (and Sammy Guevara) facing off. Tony Khan would have to actively try to mess it up.
-Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley are having a cage match tonight on Dynamite. This is going to be great.
Matches of the week:
- Sanada vs. Hiromu Takahashi (NJPW)
- Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Jeff Cobb (NJPW)
- Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar (WWE)
- Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest (WWE)
- Seth Rollins vs. Damian Priest vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE)
- El Desperado, Minoru Suzuki, and Ren Narita vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, and Tomohiro Ishii (NJPW)
- Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor (WWE)
- Darby Allin and Jack Perry vs. MJF and Sammy Guevara (AEW)
- Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, and Solo Sikoa vs. Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, and Matt Riddle (WWE)
- Adam Cole, Bandido, Orange Cassidy, and Roderick Strong vs. Angelo Parker, Daniel Garcia, Jake Hager, and Matt Menard (AEW)
- Rey Mysterio and Zelina Vega vs. Dominick Mysterio and Rhea Ripley (WWE)
- Jonathan Gresham vs. Mike Bailey (Impact)
- Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Karrion Kross (WWE)
- Bianca Belair vs. IYO SKY (WWE)
- Finn Balor vs. The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes (WWE)
- David Finlay vs. Tama Tonga (NJPW)
- Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens vs. Giovanni Vinci and Ludwig Kaiser (WWE)
Worst match of the week: Saraya vs. Willow Nightingale (AEW)
As a programming note, I will be out of town for two weeks and won’t be able to do the wrestling thread. If anyone wants to fill in for me, it’s all yours.