This week Raw actually had a fairly solid show and I have no complaints as to what was shown on the Hulu replay versus what was not. Roman Reigns came out and interupted Stephanie McMahon in the opening promo and that was kind of lame, but from there everything went pretty well.
Kevin Owens defeated AJ Styles when Chris Jericho once again cost him the match. I'm not sure what it is about Chris Jericho, but regardless of what Quentin is doing (He was coloring at the time here) whenever Chris Jericho comes out and says "AJ Styles" repeatedly, Quentin has to look up and see. He really likes that part and he starts saying it too. This lead to everyone wanting an IC Title shot at Wrestlemania, but more on that later.
Big E defeated Rusev and it's like WWE read my last edition of Loose Cannon Fodder and decided to book this match at the last minute because of my wanting to see it. Or they just realized watching the two big men battle would be fun and it was. This doesn't have the makings of a great Wrestlemania match but it will be fun to see the New Day's entrance and they should be way over with the crowd.
Chris Jericho defeated Fandango but just barely. Remember that time Fandango actually defeated Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania? It was nice how Jericho made reference to that here. Yet, sadly, Fandango can't even get into the Social Outcasts right now. So AJ Styles came out and tried to distract Jericho by saying "Y2Jackass" and this lead to Styles saying he wanted a match with Jericho at 'Mania and so that might happen now, which if given enough time could be the match of the night so it will probably be booked like that eight second Sheamus-Daniel Bryan match. (A quick roll up and pin by Y2J seems about right)
Kevin Owens brought out his version of The Miz- Stardust- his version of Sami Zayn- Sin Cara and his version of Dolph Ziggler- Zack Ryder- but when the real versions of themselves came out it all broke down into this huge fight and no one won. So Stephanie McMahon was getting mad and she made it Kevin Owens vs. all six of those guys in a ladder match for the IC Title at Wrestlemania. Just imagine if Neville was in this instead of Ryder or if The Miz simply wasn't in it. Oh well. KO will destroy them all.
I actually liked the part where Stephanie got into the limo with HHH and then Roman Reigns came and attacked HHH. You have to think, Roman Reigns was WWE Champion and he only lost the title because HHH had him defend it in the Royal Rumble and now that he's facing HHH at Wrestlemania he has one source to direct all of his anger and frustration. This was one of those times where I felt like Roman Reigns wasn't a cartoon but rather a man with a plan and that plan was to inflict violence, the way it should be.
Charlotte defeated Natalya with Becky and Sasha on commentary. Mr. McMahon said that if The Undertaker loses at Wrestlemania he'll never wrestle in WWE again but, you know, how long does something like that ever stick in professional wrestling? I still think The Undertaker will lose and somehow find a way to wrestle again should he choose to do so. And then in the main event Dean Ambrose, who was given a chainsaw earlier in the night by Terry Funk, took out the Wyatt Family with a chair. I'm just hoping before Wrestlemania we see The Sandman officially give Dean Ambrose the kendo stick. That'd be rad.
So the Wrestlemania card is shaping up and I kind of feel like the Ambrose-Lesnar match could go all over the place and that seems good plus Jericho-Styles has potential and, well, Kevin Owens destroying the midcard should be awesome as well. Even though every match on Wrestlemania should be awesome, I'll settle for what is the first time Wrestlemania is being given away for free.
Typically I watch Impact Wrestling before Lucha Underground but I was excited for Aztec Warfare this week. As soon as I woke up on Thursday morning I put this on and here are some random thoughts from it.
Even though we knew Fenix was starting things off at # 1, I wasn't surprised to see Rey Mysterio at # 2 since he's won the Royal Rumble from that spot. Plus, this gave him the extended entrance he needed with Matt Striker and Vampiro able to play up the importance of his career properly. This would have felt weird if they did it halfway during the match so it makes sense now looking back at it.
Johnny Mundo was the first non-masked wrestler to appear in this match at spot # 5. So for a brief moment, we had four masked luchadors going at it and it was fun.
Prince Puma hit this huge move off the top rope to the outside and Matt Striker quoted Jimi Hendrix while I was wishing we could see Prince Puma vs. Neville. I'll eventually end up on YouTube searching for "Ricochet vs. PAC".
This was supposed to be Aztec Warfare. There is no place for the comedy of Mascarita Sagrada here!
The somewhat early elimination of Johnny Mundo was rather shocking. He was an odds on favorite to be champion and win it all, I'd think.
Vampiro confirmed what I said about the shock value of Johnny Mundo being eliminated so early while Matt Striker cracked cliche short jokes which we really could have done without.
Joey Ryan handcuffed himself to a barricade during the match and has only been beaten up since doing so. I think Jerry Lawler would tell him that this strategy is not going to pay off for him.
The rest of this match was all right but I would have liked to see a more even playing field where you really thought anyone could win the match and become champion and yet there were so many participants you just knew weren't going to win. Then the whole thing came down to Dario Cueto's brother winning it but, hey, I'm okay with that because it should lead to a lot more feuds and chaos over everything else. Fenix will want a rematch, eventually Mil Muertes will get back in line and so on... So this does seem to be a good move from Lucha Underground and yet again I am excited for next week.
A recap was shown of last week's not-worst-ever episode of Impact. Drew Galloway came out and cut a similar promo as he did when he won the EVOLVE Championship, though Drew Galloway didn't face talent like Chris Hero, Roderick Strong and so many others in TNA that EVOLVE has to offer. How has WWE had such a good working relationship with EVOLVE through NXT but TNA seems to be dropping the ball despite bringing in Drew Galloway and now making him the top guy? Why the fuck isn't Chris Hero a main star in TNA right now?
Matt Hardy came out and basically called out Drew Galloway on his heel move. Matt had two men beaten when Drew cashed in and, yeah, it was a heel move so why doesn't anyone else care? Jeff Hardy came out and said there is a line for a title shot and it starts with Jeff, but shouldn't Matt have a rematch clause? Is Jeff back on the drugs. Thankfully, Eric Young and Bram came out and beat up Jeff Hardy, which is probably the best thing that the duo has done together and now I'm sad since I know Eric Young is leaving TNA. Do you think Bram would be allowed back in WWE?
As Tyrus, Matt Hardy and Rockstar Spud beat up Drew Galloway it was obvious that the "good guys" were outnumbered. So Jeff Hardy was about to take the piledriver through a table again and TNA cuts to commercial because why the hell not. They come back and say Jeff somehow got out of trouble and guess what? The whole time they were away at commercial NO ONE came to help Drew Galloway and Jeff Hardy. Where are Beer Money?? Does The Pope only fight for the love of Josh Mathews???
Eventually, EC3 comes out and cleans the ring with a chair, which is funny because someone should tell the heels that they still outnumbered the good guys. Ah well. EC3 says he's lost the title twice without being pinned or submitted and, wow, bad booking by TNA but it's true. EC3 wants a title shot and here comes Mike Bennett. So, fatal fourway for Number One Contender then? Drew Galloway literally said "Miracle, shut up!!" But he's "The Miracle" Mike Bennett. Would you tell Rick Rude "Ravishing, shut up!!" It just sounds so awkward.
Dixie Carter comes out and not to answer my questions about her action figures and voodoo. The D-Cart decides it will be a gauntlet match but I liked my idea of a Fatal Fourway better. Back to the toilet and night terrors for you, Dixie Carter!!
James Storm and Bobby Roode are shown discussing former tag team champions they might face and they name drop Pacman Jones. Apparently they are unaware that Ron Killings became R-Truth in WWE? That's just dumb. Mike Bennett draws a number for the gauntlet and apparently they're treating this like the Royal Rumble now. O.... K....
James Storm is out riding the ridiculous Boozer Cruiser and Bobby Roode is there as well... for now. BroMans- the only two former tag team champions still on the active roster- are the answer to the mystery and apparently it would have broken the budget of TNA to bring in someone from the outside. BroMans is really the worst thing to ever happen to professional wrestling and by bringing them back it's like TNA is asking to be hated by wrestling fans. Luckily, Beer Money retained and it does appear to be dark days ahead for TNA. You can almost see Bobby Roode choking back his vomit during the post match "celebration".
Eric Young is seeing Willow in the background again and then Eddie Edwards calls out The Decay. I have an IWA-MS DVD in which Dave Prazak says he's tired of all the wrestlers with the same first and last name (At the time there was Brad Bradley and one other guy I can't remember right now) and yet I always find it funny that Eddie Edwards has made it so far without having to change his name to something less ridiculous. Also, Shawn Michaels once told Rad Radford that his momma knew better than to name him "Mike Michaels", so there's that. Eddie took on Crazzy Steve who spells his name with two z's because he's extra crazy. Eddie Edwards wins without even taking his shirt off.
Everyone keeps cutting promos about the main event and Gail Kim is defending the Knockouts Title apparently. Maria ends up having a talk with The Dollhouse and she tells them to break up. I'd like to see all three Dollhouse members beat up Maria, actually. Wasn't Maria once in a mud wrestling match of some kind in WWE? Why should anyone respect the things that she has done? So Maria- pulling a page from Veda Scott's book in ROH- instead sets up a triple threat match between The Dollhouse with the winner to get her title shot against Gail Kim. You know, Stone Cold always said if you didn't want to be the champion you had no place in WWE, so can we apply the same here to Maria and TNA?
Jade wins the match and becomes number one contender to Gail Kim... again. At this point, if Jade wins she's just going to be buried too far to save in TNA but if she wins then you have to wonder why they didn't just give her the title when she attacked Gail Kim as opposed to got put into a title match with the help of Maria. Still, Maria was running from Gail Kim when Jade blindsided Gail Kim so this might lead to something interesting. Or just be coincidental and end up going down the crapper. Tune in next week to find out!
When they said at the beginning of the show there would be a gauntlet I assumed it'd be like the tag team one that took up that entire ROH TV episode. As it turns out it was closer to being a Royal Rumble with two men starting and one coming out every two minutes and over-the-top-rope eliminations. It could also be a lesser version of Aztec Warfare since that happened within the same week.
I like how The Pope got off commentary to eliminated Bobby Lashley but it took him two tries to get him over when it felt like it should have been one fluid movement. Oh, Pope. I don't want you to commentate but I don't want you to wrestle either. It was also weird hearing the crowd sing "Matt Hardy sucks" to the John Cena theme. In any case, EC3 eliminated Mike Bennett and then Bennett helped Matt Hardy dump EC3 out so that looks like another feud which is building along with Lashley vs. The Pope. I was assuming this would bring about Matt's rematch and yet somehow Jeff Hardy won. Okay. Let's just not have the title change hands yet, okay?
I'm not sure what to do with Matt Hardy, but EC3 vs. Mike Bennett, Drew Galloway vs. Jeff Hardy and Gail Kim vs. Jade should be good for next week, assuming the first of those matches happens. Still, knowing Eric Young and Bobby Roode are on their way out makes this that much more exciting. It's kind of a good time to be watching TNA right now, unless BroMans wins the tag titles, so let's just go ahead and keep Robbie E off of television.
This week on NXT we actually saw some flat out great wrestling matches with the real superstars of tomorrow- not a lot of the wrestlers in NXT I don't really like. The action started with Johnny Gargano defeating Elias Samson and I thought this might just be another squash to build up Samson but hopefully Samson can go back to the drawing board now. Well, Samson had a post-match beatdown on Gargano who was saved by Apollo Crews. So after an eventual Samson-Crews match we can send Samson back to where from which he came. I hope. Seriously, what good is a post-match beatdown from a guy who carries around a guitar when he doesn't even El Kabong Johnny Gargano??
Up next, Rich Swann put up a great effort against Finn Balor. You knew Balor had to win going into TO:D but the amount of action they gave Swann was impressive. This was a much better match than it had any right to be given that it was Swann's second televised match and Balor was on his way to defending his title, but for that I am happy with NXT.
Alexa Bliss defeated Sarah "Crazy Mary" Dobson for some reason and this is another example as to what TNA could be doing with their women. If Dobson isn't signed to WWE then why doesn't TNA try and sign her? Unless they have and she's just said no, but I really think Dobson needs a contract with either WWE or TNA before this year is over.
The third match saw Bull Dempsey come out with Danny Burch or whoever already in the ring. I thought that Bull Dempsey had his last match against Apollo Crews and so I was wondering what he was doing here since I thought that this was a new set of tapings- since his release- and so as I thought about that Samoa Joe came out and destroyed both Bull and the other guy in the ring. There was a small "Thank You Joe" chant and I have to say it as well. I didn't want to see that match and Joe couldn't have picked two better people to take out before a match. He's trying so hard to be a heel but I just can't quit him.
In the main event Asuka defeated Emma because she is on her way to challenge Bayley for the Women's Championship and Emma is... Umm... Probably on her way back to a Walmart to steal some more. This was actually a really good match as well and as much as I'm torn between Finn Balor and Samoa Joe winning at TO:D I'm 100% in for wanting Asuka to capture the title from Bayley. But again, this just had all of the right players on it and none of those I didn't really want to see and, yes, I am referring to the graphic that showed Alex Riley coming back next week. Ugh.
Since next week is Wrestlemania and I'm going to be building up to it with predictions and thoughts for NXT Takeover: Dallas and Wrestlemania 32 itself (maybe even live-tweeting it) and then struggling to figure out how to put together the non-WWE content and make Loose Cannon Fodder # 13 (I'm aiming/hoping for it to be done by and published by Saturday) I shall keep things brief with Smack Down! this week and simply say that I enjoyed seeing the AJ Styles vs. Tyler Breeze match most of all because it almost gave us a glimpse into what AJ Styles might have done in NXT and I just like the idea of AJ Styles fighting newer talent such as Tyler Breeze which he might not have otherwise been able to face. For some reason, the idea of AJ Styles vs. Rusev really appeals to me as well, but perhaps more so when Rusev was an undefeated, unstoppable force.
And for the record, if Zack Ryder is only in the IC Title Ladder Match at Wrestlemania because Neville got injured then why couldn't Tyler Breeze be in it instead? He seems like a more natural fit but perhaps WWE just isn't quite ready for that yet.
We finished up this week with Main Event, as we usually do, and aside from Zack Ryder vs. Stardust, Ryback vs. Sin Cara and Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas vs. Big Show & Kane we saw Emma make her way back up to the main roster- sort of- as it looks like she will be part of Team B.A.D. with Naomi, Tamina, Lana and Summer Rae, presumably to face Paige, Natalya, Alicia Fox, Brie Bella and I have no idea who else if this becomes five on five somehow. Maybe it can be four on four and Lana just won't actually be an official part of it? I'm still not sure. But I'll be glad to see Emma out of NXT and this should be interesting for Dana Brooke as well since she probably won't be coming up to the main roster right yet since she is injured still. But let's get excited because we are now on the Road to Wrestlemania! And by that, I mean it is this week.