WWE Review by Shayne Merriman
Well, Raw got the week off to a hot start, didn’t it? This was one of the best Raws in a long time. From the opening segment that included Reigns, Rollins and Jordan, being placed in a six-man tag match with newly formed Balor Club.
All the way to Braun Strowman pulling a part of the stage down on both Brock Lesnar, and Kane.
I loved this segment, it showed how vicious Braun Strowman is, and it showed that Lesnar is vulnerable. But it leaves me with one question: Why is that piece of that stage right there?
Granted we never see that area of the WWE stage, but something tells me that part of the stage was a unique addition for tonight only. I could be wrong, but that seems feasible.
The show also had a really good Cruiserweight Championship match, that ended when Cedric Alexander landed awkwardly on Enzo Amore’s ankle on the outside of the ring, and Enzo wasn’t able to make it back into the ring to beat the ten count. It legitimately looked like Amore was hurt, which isn’t good, but hopefully, he’s able to come back for the Royal Rumble. Enzo was also busted open by a kick from Alexander.
The main event was also epic. It pitted newly formed Balor Club, against the team of Reigns, Rollins, and Jordan. Jordan played a minimal role in the actual match itself until the end when he cost Reigns being able to get in the match, that eventually led to Rollins getting pinned after being beaten up for most of the match.
After the match The Miz and the Miztourage attacked Reigns, Rollins, and Jordan, hitting Reigns with the Skull Crushing Finale, and the “Shield Bomb.”
All in all, it was an excellent episode of Raw. You can tell WWE is in “Road to WrestleMania” mode because everything is making sense, and the storylines are starting to come together. If this show is any indicator than the build to the Royal Rumble is going to be fun to watch.
SmackDown Live Review
I’m not sure if it was because Raw the night before was so good, but this was probably they worst SmackDown Live in the last year. The show just didn’t work well.
It opened with Renee Young interviewing AJ Styles about the events that unfolded last week, and how he let his attitude and mouth get the better of him, and how he regretted giving Daniel Bryan the idea of a handicap match.
He was then interrupted by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, and they talked about being the first ever co-WWE-champions in the history of the company when they beat Styles at the Royal Rumble.
Zayn and Owens were then interrupted but SmackDown Live commissioner Shane McMahon who put the pair in a handicap match in the main event of the show against Styles, Randy Orton, and Shinsuke Nakamura.
The show would then go on, and aside from Mojo Rawley putting in a good performance in his new heel role, and advancing to face Bobby Roode in the United States Tournament next week. There was nothing special about it. It was as generic as it comes, and no new storylines came out of the show.
Daniel Bryan also announced that The Uso’s will be taking on American Alpha 2.0 in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match for the SmackDown Live Tag Team Championships at the Royal Rumble.
Bryan and Shane continued their back and forth, and the build for whatever is going to happen between them is getting better and better. The Internet Wrestling Community is hoping that Daniel Bryan returns to the WWE ring as the payoff to this storyline.
The main event was as clustered as they come too. Sami and Kevin tried on two separate occasions to get out of the match, as heels should do when they are outnumbered, and both times Shane McMahon came out and restarted the match.
The first time Owens and Zayn tried to get counted out, and leave the match early. Until Shane came out and took away the ability to be counted out, and restarted the match. Then Kevin Owens grabbed a chair to hit Orton, Nakamura, and Styles with and they then tried to escape again. And once again Shane came out and made the match a No DQ match.
After Shane restarted the match, Styles took the chair to Owens chasing him backstage and out of the arena. This would be the last we saw of Owens and Styles. Zayn then made his way back to ringside where he was cornered by Orton and Shinsuke, and hit with a Kinshasa and an RKO and then pinned to close out SmackDown Live for this week.
Samoa Joe Injured
During Raw, WWE announced that fans could vote on Bayley’s tag team partner for the Mixed Match Challenge that will air on Facebook Watch on January 16th. The choices were between Samoa Joe, Elias, and Jason Jordan. Fans overwhelmingly voted Samoa Joe, only to find out the next day that Samoa Joe had injured his foot at Raw the night before.
The news came as a shock to everyone because Joe seemed fine the night before during his match. He hit all the standard moves and didn’t hold back at all in his match. So, unless part of the stage equipment that Braun Strowman pulled down onto Kane and Strowman somehow landed on Joe too, the injury is highly unlikely.
It seems more likely that WWE didn’t expect fans to pick Samoa Joe, and made up the angle to keep Joe away from the overly goody-two-shoes Bayley since Joe is supposed to be seen as the destructive heel. But only time will tell.
Paige Injured by Brendan Mizgala
As I was writing this with Shayne on Friday afternoon, right as we were about to finish, the phone alerts began. First being reported by PWInsider, it seems that the stinger Paige suffered recently was worse than we could’ve imagined. Though nothing has been said by the WWE of Paige herself, it’s hard to see this ending well.
Returning from neck surgery in any walk of life at any age is tough enough as it is. But with how demanding professional wrestling is on the body, it’s also not surprising. Even being as careful as possible, accidents happen, rings hurt and bumps suck.
We at Wrestleaholic wish the best for Paige in every aspect of her life. We were all so excited to see her back and loved her work with Absolution. I for one hope this isn’t the end for Paige, but I also don’t want to see her get injured worse.
Changes in Impact
TNA kicked off the new year by starting their TV tapings earlier this week. These tapings signal the beginning of the Don Callis and Scott D’Amore era. We’ll have to wait and see how the change works for Impact because these episodes won’t be airing for a couple more weeks. Callis has said that they won’t be changing things right away, instead aiming for a more gradual approach.
The only thing that Impact is changing right away apparently is the ring.
Austin Aries Returns
Former WWE Superstar and Commentator Austin Aries made his Impact Wrestling return on Wednesday night. In his return to where he garnered most of his popularity, Aries won the most prestigious championship Impact has to offer on his first night back with the company, the Global Championship.
NJPW/Indie Review by Brendan Mizgala
In the week since the Wrestle Kingdom, NJPW has begun to run towards their next event, New Beginning. Also, Dave Meltzer is reporting that Kenny Omega has re-signed with NJPW. It looks like the face of the American expansion will be staying in the Land of the Rising Sun for the meantime.
Also, this week in what may be some of the biggest independent news is the event being funded by The Elite. The Young Bucks, Cody, Marty Scurll and Kenny Omega have officially given the date of their super event, “All In.” The location has yet to be revealed, but fans have already circled 9-1-2018 on their calendars.
It is still to be known whether or not this will simply be a major live event or if it will be some sort of iPPV or aired on a platform like Twitch. Also, there at this time is no backing by any major promotions. The Elite are paying fully out of pocket for this event in the effort to show that wrestling is thriving outside of the WWE. In the next few weeks, we may see which city and venue get the call and anticipation will build for the match card as time goes on.
In other exciting news from the independent circuit, it is vigorously reported by Pro Wrestling Sheet, that Candice LeRae has been signed by the WWE. Though there is no confirmation from either side yet, the buzz is heavy from those that know Candice on social media.
WWE fans will remember LeRae from her time in the Mae Young Classic as well as numerous NXT appearances. She is also the Wife of current NXT superstar, Johnny Gargano. I think I can comfortably speak for many wrestling fans, that we are not only excited for LeRae but proud as she’s worked hard her entire career and has earned the call.