Welcome to the second installment of TJF’s Weekly Wednesday, a weekly recap of WWE’s Wednesday night brands; the NXT and CWC, found on the WWE network.
First up, most of you probably know that this week we saw a WWE draft, something that hasn’t happened in a bit, and as a result WWE has officially ushered in what is being called the New Era. Just in case you haven’t heard, WWE chose to draft 6 NXT wrestlers or tag teams into their Raw and Smack Down brands. I will cut to the quick for those that already have been updated on that situation.
Balor was the first NXT draft, going to Monday Night Raw, American Alpha was taken to the now Tuesday evening Smack Down brand as a complete tag team, Nia Jax was drafted to Raw, Alexa Bliss chosen to represent Smack Down, Mojo Raley the fifth pick and Carmella the sixth, also moving to Tuesday night’s Smack Down.
Did I mention Mick Foley is the new GM of Raw, and Daniel Bryan the GM of Smack Down? I thought I was forgetting something.
Tonight’s NXT was good, four bouts instead of a single headliner, and tonight’s Women’s Division match was very impressive, something that has come to be expected from the current NXT branding. Out of the four matches in this taping, the tag team American Alpha and Nia Jax have had their last matches on NXT, and despite the outcomes they had good final brand matches.
First on tonight card we found Samoa Joe, the self proclaimed ‘King of the Throne of Broken Bones’, defeating Rhyno in a quick match as promised last week. It really was a hard hitting battle of brawn, so to speak, with Samoa Joe actually meeting a competitor that is about his size. As a result it changed everything, it was a match expected of two brute forces, with Samoa Joe the more aerial of the two, and Rhyno being a more grounded wrestler. It was a quick match at under six minutes, and Joe took the win in the end despite fighting someone his own size. He didn’t leave his quick striking Kodiak Bear Paws at home either, or his more technical maneuvering that has come to be expected from Samoa Joe over the years.
The next match was a tag team match, American Alpha lacing up against a newer tag team to the roster, the Authors of Pain or AoP, managed by the legendary Paul Ellering who has also managed Legion of Doom, Arn Anderson, King Kong Bundy, The Iron Sheik and Abdullah the Butcher of all people. Straight out of the gate American Alpha was attacked from behind by AoP, with a possible injury to Jason Jordan hitting his head on a metal bar after being pushed off the ring entrance, but the match went ahead and happened after William Regal himself came out and declared it so. Despite American Alpha falling to AoP in the end, this shows fans another reason they were drafted, even after possible injury they are there for one reason, to brawl.
Overall it was a good match, with AoP showing they have a strong ability to work as a team, with a strong bearhug to the front and armbar to the back maneuver that will floor any opponent. Jason Jordan took out both members of the Authors of Pain at one point easily and Chad Gable, former Olympian, easily held his own with great aerial maneuvering. I think tonight showed how fresh the Authors of Pain are to NXT, with one of the competitors being referred to as the one with the tattoos, in a horrible stereotypical fashion.
The third match on the card was Austin Aries and Patrick Clark. I feel like Aries is really on the verge of coming into his own on the NXT roster, he must fill very large shoes as he has branded himself ‘the greatest aquisition in NXT history’, and now that Balor has been drafted he may try to take ‘The Demon’s’ throne. With his background in TNA though, he he tons of experience in working with a larger roster, and is likely the best man for the job. Overall, he made quick work of Clark, the match could have been missed with not much more than a few blinks of an eye, and afterward No Way Jose came back for retribution before Aries jumped a gate and scuttled away through the crowd, after seemingly being run over by his main competitor at the moment. The situation really mapped No Way Jose as well, and showed that he’s able to rumble hard and is not just an entertainer.
The last match of the night and the headliner on the card was a great match between Bayley and Nia Jax with Bayley taking the win with all smiles and tons of abdomenal pains. The size difference between the two really got the best of Bayley, who took a strong offensive from Jax with a slow build throughout most of the bout. She attempted to mount a strong defense attempting to out muscle Jax at times, and use her quick fists and elbows at other times to the competitor Jax, unfortunately Bayley took most of the pain throughout the event. As stated, Bayley did win in the end with a Bayley to Belly of the second rope, but at the end of the match I honestly felt bad for her, hoping she didn’t crack a rib throughout the match up. It was a great match though despite, and while I’m surprised Bayley wasn’t drafted, it is obvious how important of an asset she is to the NXT brand and an ex title holder. She was very reminant of competitors like Cena who will take a beating throughout most of the match and then turn the odds in their favor in the end. I’m hoping we will see a title rematch between Asuka and Bayley sooner than later.
As far as CWC competitors are concerned, it seems WWE has signed Gran Metalik and Ibushi to long term contracts. Ibushi with a NXT level contract and Metalik with a WWE contract. Obviously with the CWC still happening it will be a bit before they are worked into any roster positions, but both competitors are definitely great additions to the company itself. Whether we will see one of these two actually winning the CWC it’s hard to tell, but they are both great competitors and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them do take the CWC title.
As far as the Wednesday night CWC matches are concerned they were definitely good, although some slow at moments despite.
All of the matches are at a 20 minute time limit, if a match comes to a draw both competitors automatically forfeit the next round with the future opponent automatically moves up a rank in the competition.
The first match was Tajiri representing Japan going one on one with Damon Slater representing Australia. Despite Slater’s claims of being “in it to win this thing”, he fell short and found himself on the losing end of the 46 year old veteran Tajiri’s Tarantula.
Tajiri’s in ring experience absolutely showed in this bout, if age brings you ring wisdom he definitely has some, his age working for him in the ring, not against him. He showed he is capable of some beautifully crafted rope work defensively, as well as offensively, and unfortunately the underdog in this one being Slater just couldn’t bring what he needed to the ring to move on in the competition.
During the next bout on the card we found TJ Perkins representing the Philippines, facing off with Da Mack representing Germany. Unfortunately Da Mack’s stage presence and in ring personality left a bit to be desired, and the self proclaimed ‘Michael Jackson of wrestling’ didn’t have enough to take down Perkins.
It was apparent that Perkins has tons of in ring experience and is a master of his craft on many levels, obviously he has been doing this a long time and definitely fulfills his overall goal of ‘making it look easy, look easy’. A self proclaimed ‘Yoda of wrestling’ now in his younger years, and honestly Perkins really made Da Mack look not so appealing and very underdeveloped as a talent, when locked in the same ring together. On Da Mack’s behalf I can say, at least he used the Thriller look from Michael Jackson’s various video options, although I suppose Bad wouldn’t be a terrible second choice either, at least the car would have gotten beat up too.
The third bout on the card was Mustafa Ali representing Pakistan and Lince Dorado representing Puerto Rico. Ali is a cop from Chicago and Dorado has traveled internationally, wrestling in many countries including Japan and Mexico.
It was a slow match at parts and a back and forth of technical abilities with Dorado raising his arm in the end after a shooting star press. Dorado showcased a very diverse arsenal of grounded maneuvering but his most impressive work, and the area where he one upped Ali the most was his high flying abilities. Dorado has been nicknamed “the golden lynx” in the locker room because he always lands on his feet, and he has one of the nicer Luchador masks I’ve seen in the WWE reminiscent of a lynx.
The headliner on the card and last match of the night was Akira Tozawa representing Japan and Kenneth Johnson representing the U.S. from Detroit with Akira taking the match in the end.
Tozawa is known as ‘the son of the ring’, and was the third graduate from the infamous Dragon Gate Dojo. It was questioned whether Tozawa underestimated his opponent or was overconfident, but there’s a good chance the issue was the height difference with Johnson being much taller and a more of an unusually sized opponent in Japan. This match really seemed like it may have been a draw towards the end, coming extremely close to the 20 minute time limit. It was stated Kenneth Johnson decided as a youth he wanted to become a wrestler after watching Wrestlemania 12 and seeing Shawn Michaels zip line towards the ring.
Despite Johnson’s super quick recovery time and offensive maneuvering Tozawa finished the match with a beautifully bridged German Suplex deadlifting Johnson over his head out of nowhere and making a quick ending of the match. If you only watch one of these matches after the fact I recommend it being this one for many reasons, but especially the beautiful execution at the end by Tozawa.
Other news in WWE if you haven’t heard, Cody Rhodes, son of Dusty Rhodes will soon be making his ROH debut after leaving the WWE recently. This is super exciting considering the legendary lineage and the many possible ways this could go in the end. Definitely pay attention to where this guy is going.
Brock Lesnar while drafted quickly but not immediately has failed a second drug test, this one taken on the day of his UFC bout. As well, while many superstars were drafted as a team with their managers, Paul Heyman was nowhere to be seen on the draft lists and it turns out his contract has expired. Depending on what happens with Lesnar and his dirty tests, we may not see Heyman around unless he is called on to manage another superstar like he has a couple times in the past with WWE, most notably being CM Punk.
Lastly dozens of legendary, retired WWE superstars have filed a class action lawsuit against the WWE and Vincent Kennedy McMahon claiming the company hid the knowledge of possible effects of brain injuries due to in ring action. This is not the first time the lawyer representing the talent has attempted to sue WWE for this reason, and Jim Ross foresees this lawsuit not getting the best of the company in the end, accusing the lawyer of looking for a pay day.
So what’s the deal? Do ya’ll think Brock will be hit with a 2 year ban from the UFC and released from the WWE? Will you all miss Heyman as much as me now that his contract is up? What about Rhodes? Too old or nah? Did any of you catch this week’s NXT or CWC? What did you think?
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