It’s one of those weeks. Every now and then, a week comes along where there’s nothing that really jumps out enough to warrant its own full column. However, since there’s always multiple stories going on throughout the world of wrestling, there are enough things going on to make for a series of shorter ones. That’s what we’re doing this week: taking a look at some stories or individual things from wrestling TV shows this week that got my attention. This will be a combination of behind the scenes news stories and things that aired on TV, meaning it’s going to be kind of all over the place.
These are in no particular order and may be good or bad.
Major League Wrestling Is Pretty Good
Earlier this year, Major League Wrestling made a return after about fourteen years away (and not being the biggest promotion in the world in the first place). Their new series, called Fusion, followed a series of one off specials. While there are a lot of familiar names on the show, it’s turned into one of the better wrestling shows from week to week. That’s not something you would expect on a new show but they actually pull it off quite well.
This is one of their top stories.The idea of the show is a mixture of all the styles you can get in wrestling (a fusion of them if you will) and that’s what you get. The stories are interesting, the wrestling is good, the show doesn’t overstay its welcome and there are some fresh characters that you probably don’t know much about. Tom Lawlor has turned into the star of the show as a great heel that you want to see get what’s coming to him but as a former UFC fighter, that’s kind of hard to make happen. Check the show out as it’s worth a look.
Ricochet Is A Draw
According to Wrestling Observer Live by way of Wrestlinginc.com, Ricochet has been helping sell tickets on the NXT house show circuit. Really, that’s not the most surprising result in the world as Ricochet has proven himself to be quite the star. There’s something to be said about having someone who can talk, has a great look and can do running flip dives over the top rope and land on his feet on the ramp.
Maybe it’s because he can do this.In other words, Ricochet is a star and is presented like one, which isn’t something you can fake. It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen Ricochet elsewhere as you just get the star vibe off of him. He’s a bit smaller than some of the other names on the roster but he’s a great example of size not mattering. The flying is going to leave an impression and the superhero pose makes it that much better. Ricochet is a star, and you can’t teach that.
After All This Time
Over the last few weeks, the pair has come over to the right side with Lana leaving her Russian accent at the border. As it turns out, it’s not that hard to cheer for someone who looks like Lana and someone who has the natural charisma of Rusev. Throw in Aiden English’s great singing entrances and there’s no way this couldn’t be a great success. Now why has it been such a ridiculous ride to get here?
Unless they’re not ready to work together?Think about this for a second. About two years ago, Rusev was heating up and the fans were starting to cheer for Lana. With a face turn seemingly inevitable, the pair was split up in the Superstar Shakeup with Lana as a dancer who couldn’t wrestle and Rusev just kind of flailing around. Then Rusev hooked up with English, whose songs were enough to set up RUSEV DAY, which became one of the hottest things in the promotion. For some reason the pair seems to be splitting up and getting back to Rusev and Lana, where it should have been in the first place. Hopefully it still works, even though it’s been a long time in the making.
If You Smell What They’re Hinting At
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but there were three references to the Rock on this week’s Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live. Elias mentioned him during his song, the Usos used a Rock line in their pre-match promo and Daniel Bryan referenced Rock when he was arguing with Miz. You’ll occasionally get a reference to Rock but that’s a lot in a row. Now does this mean something?
Did you catch it?Over the weekend, Dave Meltzer mentioned that the Rock is interested in wrestling at WrestleMania 35. While there’s a lot more to it than Rock just wanting to wrestle (insurance, movie scheduling etc.), it seems that they might be setting the stage for Rock to appear. It would make sense to mention him over and over to get the fans used to hearing about him and while I’m not expecting to see him, it seems to be a possibilty that WWE is ready to capitalize on.
Safe And Sound
Since most people don’t seem to watch it, let me catch you up a little bit on 205 Live. Cedric Alexander is still Cruiserweight Champion after winning the title at WrestleMania, but now he’s running out of challengers. There is one more person to come after the title though, and he’s going to be getting his shot at Summerslam. That would be Drew Gulak, who has slowly become one of the best things about the show.
How can you not like this guy?Gulak has gone from being a funny guy who produces amazing PowerPoints to a submission master who takes people down with the aptly named Gulock. It’s fun to watch him hurting people as only he can and I’d love to see him become champion. The title hasn’t been in an actual pay per view match this year and it would be great to see someone who has worked so hard win the title on the big stage.
The Unnecessary Sequel
One of the bigger feuds on Monday Night Raw at the moment is Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin in a classic “I’m big and you’re small” story. Their first pay per view match took place at Extreme Rules with Balor winning off a small package in 8:20. The feud continued and this week on Monday Night Raw, Corbin won a rematch that lasted 20:14. When you think about it and consider how the match went, this story has been completely backwards.
How many chinlocks can you use?The point of the story is Corbin thinking he’s better than Balor because of his size. Balor defeating him should have sent Corbin over the edge, but he wrestled his standard match when they fought again. Only once or twice during the match did Corbin show any kind of aggression and then he won with his usual finisher. It was like the pay per view match didn’t mean anything, and that’s the problem. If Corbin doesn’t act like the match meant anything, why should I care about watching it? Be upset or more aggressive or have the long match on pay per view or something else that makes sense. That applies to so much anymore.
The Mae Young Classic is going to be taking place next week and with the finals already set for Evolution, there’s a lot of hope to be had here. The roster is already filled in for the most part and the names are getting more and more interesting every week. After last year’s edition, I have reason to believe that this year’s could be excellent.
There are some people you may recognize.Just like last year, this tournament has a wide variety of independent wrestlers, Japanese stars and familiar names. Several of these people are going to become the future stars of NXT and the independent circuit (How many times have you seen someone billed as being in the Mae Young Classic?) and that makes for some nearly important action. If the wrestling is as good as it was last year we’re in for a treat, which is one of the biggest reasons we watch wrestling in the first place.
I’ve mentioned this guy a few times now but I’m getting more and more interested in where Mojo Rawley is going. He’s not the greatest promo or match in the world but he’s someone who is getting better and better every time he’s out there. WWE is clearly interested in pushing him by putting Rawley vs. Bobby Roode, which is quite the upgrade over the long running No Way Jose feud.
The better company can help you grow.I’m not saying Rawley is going to be one of the big breakout stars or anything like that but it’s nice to see someone getting a chance like this. He wasn’t exactly a big star down in NXT with his overhyped character but now he’s starting to find his niche as a heel. There’s nothing wrong with getting a nice midcard push and that’s what he’s managing to pull off here. Maybe it goes somewhere and maybe it doesn’t, but at least he’s being given the chance.
Impact Wrestling Is Awesome
Yeah I said it and it’s true. Since Don Callis took over booking Impact Wrestling, the show has become one of the best things to watch on wrestling TV every single week. The wrestling has gotten better as various new stars have been coming up and taking spots away from a bunch of people who have left the promotion in recent years, but the stories are what matters.
This guy has something to do with it.Things are actually making sense, but more importantly I actually want to know where they’re going. For years on end, Impact Wrestling was the promotion that came and went with almost nothing worth getting behind. Now though it’s become a place where things are getting better and better every single week, which is the kind of thing that almost no promotion can pull off. The show is good now and if you haven’t watched it in a long time (or ever), take a chance at it now because it’s worth the time.
It’s an interesting time in the wrestling world at the moment as Summerslam is coming up but it’s not exactly the most thrilling show in the world. You can only talk about Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar so many times and every now and then it’s worth looking at something else. There are some other things going on at the moment and if you give them the time, you might find something worth checking out.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 28 wrestling books. His latest book is the the Complete 2003 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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