TJR Best WWE PPVs of the Decade: Money in the Bank 2016 Review

Welcome to another look back at one of WWE’s best pay-per-views of this decade. As I mentioned last time when I posted the SummerSlam 2013 review, I’m going to be re-posting some of the best WWE PPVs of the last ten years. This version of TJRWrestling (the .net period) started in February 2015. Everything I wrote before that was on the .com site, which unfortunately we lost because I trusted somebody that ended up screwing me over and we lost everything. The good news is I was writing at other sites too, plus I have everything saved going back to around 2006 or so, which means I can re-post older stuff once in a while.

Today, I’m posting my review of WWE Money in the Bank 2016 as one of the best WWE PPVs this decade. They aren’t going to be posted in any particular order. I don’t know if I’m going to post five of them or ten of them or what I might do. It’s just a way to look back on a good show. At the end of the month, I’ll post the ranking of the top 10 or maybe 20 WWE PPVs this decade. I think there’s a very good chance that I’ll be doing that column.

Here’s Money in the Bank 2016, which is the PPV that took place right before the 2016 WWE draft/brand split that occurred because Smackdown moved to Tuesday nights live on USA Network.  What you’ll see here is the play by play, my reactions at the time, my star ratings and then I’m going to add some 2019 thoughts in blue as well. Let’s roll.

WWE Money in the Bank
T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada
June 20, 2016

The opening video package focused on the three key matches that have the most interest.

There’s no elaborate set other than a bunch of ladders around the entrance.

Enzo Amore and Big Cass made their entrance. Enzo said he had a mean poker face saying that you couldn’t read that even if you were on Hooked on Phonics. He said he was love-struck by lady luck and he’s a little tired. Amore said that he and lady luck were up all night long. Cass said if anybody gets in their way they are going broke. He ended it with the SAWFT bit with the crowd chanting along.

(It was smart to start the PPV with Enzo and Cass because they were so popular with the crowd thanks to their catchphrases.)

The Vaudevillains made their entrance. The announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show. The Spanish and German announce teams were ringside as well. Gallows and Anderson made their entrance.

The New Day did a promo prior to the match saying all Enzo does is talk while Cass does all the work. Then Woods did a Chewbacca impression. Big E called The Vaudevillains the Monopoly men. Kingston said they’re going to send the hereditary baldness of G&A back to Japan. Xavier said they’ll show us why they are “the elite” team in the industry today.

Analysis: The reason “the elite” part is interesting is because that’s what Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks call themselves in New Japan and Ring of Honor. Those guys like to mention New Day, so nice job by the champs teasing something down the road.

Fatal 4-Way for the Tag Team Titles: The New Day (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Enzo & Cass vs. The Vaudevillains vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson

For this match, two guys are in the ring while the other six watch on the apron. Kingston with the double boots to Gallows and he nailed a cross body block while Enzo did one at the same time. Double dropkick by Kofi and Enzo on the Vaudevillains with Kofi and Enzo as the legal guys. Big E and Cass got the tags with the announcers getting excited for it as a showdown. English tagged himself in, right into a belly to belly suplex by Big E. Apron splash by E on English. All eight guys were in the ring at the same time after that pin attempt. They brawled in the ring. The four faces all hit clotheslines over the top to knock the heels out. The face teams started brawling. English and Gotch worked over Kingston in their corner. Anderson tagged in and he did a double clothesline spot with Anderson. Enzo was legal against English. Gallows sent Enzo to the floor and Gallows nailed a kick to Enzo’s head for two. Tornado DDT by Enzo on Gallows. Cass tagged in against Anderson with a body slam, clotheslines for the others, back body drop sent E over the top to the floor and a body slam on Anderson. Gallows hit the Empire Elbow on Anderson. Big boot by Cass sent English off the apron onto the floor. Cass launched Enzo over the top onto a bunch of guys on the floor. Cass big boot to Anderson. Enzo with the Rocket Launcher splash, but Gallows pulled him out of the ring. Great spot. Cass got sent into the ring post. There was a mistake when Enzo was pinning Gotch, Kingston went for the Trouble in Paradise and Enzo went down before getting hit because he may not have known it was coming. Oops. English was legal with Kingston. The Vaudevillains hit their Whirling Dervish finisher as Anderson made the save. Big E hit a Spear on Gotch on the apron leading to them crashing to the floor. Kingston with a floatover DDT on English. Anderson blind tag on English and Anderson kicked Big E in the back. They took out Woods on the floor too. Gallows and Anderson hit the Magic Killer on English. The ref counted the pin and Big E broke it up. Cass with a big boot on Gallows sent them both to the floor. Big E and Kofi hit the Big Ending on Anderson. Kingston covered English for the win at 11:43.

Winners by pinfall: The New Day

Analysis: **1/2 It was a pretty good tag match with a hot ending although there were a few spots that were messed up in there. I’m not a huge fan of the fatal fourway rules for a tag match because it’s too difficult to build up the big spots like they would in a regular tag match. The spot where Enzo almost won was pretty cool and the crowd was into it. As for New Day winning, I thought it might be a good time to put G&A over for the titles. I guess WWE disagreed because they chose to keep the gold on New Day. There’s nothing wrong with them. It’s been ten months with them as the champs. I still think G&A will win the titles soon.

(This match was average, but it’s still a good choice for the opener because New Day and Enzo/Cass were so popular. That New Day title reign was a record-breaker that continued for 483 days until Cesaro and Sheamus beat them for the titles in December 2016. Gallows and Anderson won the titles in January 2017 while Enzo and Cass never won tag team titles in WWE. That’s surprising considering how popular they were.)

Kevin Owens was interviewed backstage by Tom Phillips. Owens said that last year he Powerbombed Cena on the apron at Money in the Bank. He said he’s very special – that’s what his mom tells him. Chris Jericho showed up with the scarf. Jericho told Owens he’ll get another chipped tooth. Jericho said that he is the spotlight and he’s the genius that created the Money in the Bank ladder match – Owens said he knew. Owens mocked Jericho for not winning a MITB ladder match. They kept on arguing as Alberto Del Rio walked in. Owens said here’s Del Rio to speak Spanish. Del Rio was trying to say the same thing he always does, so Owens cut him off saying both of them just repeat themselves all the time. Owens said he’s actually interesting. Del Rio said he’s going to rip off his shoulders. Owens said he’s shocked Del Rio didn’t call him a perro – that’s a dog in Spanish as they mentioned. Jericho said the only perro he sees are the “perro idiots” that will see him win the contract. He said he’ll give us the gift he wants – the gift of Jericho. “Drink it in, maaaan.” Owens said he’ll stick to water. Jericho held his arm pose as the other two left. Jericho: “Stupid idiots!”

Analysis:  That was pretty funny with Owens and Jericho typically doing great in comedy segments while Del Rio is usually not in that situation. It worked because of how serious he is, though. I also find it comical that they point out that wrestlers repeat themselves all the time because that’s what all wrestlers do. Repetitiveness is their job (Simpsons reference, people). Well done by everybody.

(Owens and Jericho had amazing chemistry together. This was in the early stages of what became an alliance that led to a betrayal by Owens in February 2017.)

As Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler made their entrances, Cole mentioned other announce teams in the arena. They showed the Portuguese announcers, then the Russian announcers and the Japanese announcers featuring Funaki.

Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler

This is match #247 in their series. I may have made up that number. Ziggler went for a superkick early, so Corbin bailed to the floor. Big punch by Corbin gave him control. Huge clothesline gets two for him. Corbin sent Ziggler stomach first onto the top rope to keep him grounded. Some fans were chanting “boring” as Corbin did his methodical offense. The announcers talked about Corbin being a Gold Gloves champion. Ziggler with a couple of clotheslines, a neckbreaker and an elbow drop. Corbin escaped the Fameasser, blocked the superkick and nailed a huge clothesline for two. Corbin sent Ziggler into the turnbuckle, Ziggler moved on a Corbin charge attempt and Ziggler nailed the Fameasser for a two count. Outside the ring, Ziggler stumbled on the ring steps a bit, but they went right into the next spot as Corbin hit the Deep Six slam on the floor. They both got in the ring before the ten count. They each went for moves and Ziggler nailed a superkick for two. Good action here. Corbin hit Ziggler with a forearm shot while Ziggler was on the turnbuckle. Ziggler tried to fight him off. Ziggler was trying to hit something off the top, but Corbin tripped him up. Corbin hit the End of Days for the pinfall win at 12:25.

Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin

Analysis: **3/4 That was a solid match that was very competitive. Corbin winning was no surprise. They told a good story in a big man/little man type match. This was their longest match or at least the longest one I can remember. That’s probably why they did it again because they felt like giving Corbin more of a chance to have a good match. Those “boring” chants aren’t a good thing, though. Ziggler’s the right kind of opponent for Corbin because he’s one of the best in WWE in terms of selling moves and making people look great in the ring. This feud has been about elevating Corbin. I think it definitely helped him, but whether he’s elevated that much depends on what he does next.

(I don’t have much to add here. It’s a solid match done to elevate Corbin, who was newer on the main roster.)

Seth Rollins was backstage getting ready for the main event.

A commercial for Gold Bond aired because it’s a sponsor for the show.

Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs. Natalya & Becky Lynch

As Natalya and Brooke locked up, the fans chanted “We Want Sasha.” Me too. I like the other faces in this match, but I miss Sasha. Seated dropkick by Natalya on Brooke. Nice Hart Attack clothesline by Natalya and Lynch. Brooke held onto the leg of Natalya, so Charlotte nailed a boot to the face. The heels worked over Natalya in their corner. Charlotte did the dreaded hair whip on Natalya and then knocked Lynch off the apron. Natalya came back with a forearm on Brooke, she avoided a Charlotte charge and here’s the hot tag to Lynch against Charlotte. Lynch with a forearm smash, then a corner kick and a Bexploder suplex for two on Charlotte as Brooke made the save. Lynch with a missile dropkick on both heels gets two on Charlotte. Natalya tagged in with the Nattie by Nature clothesline. Charlotte came back with a rollup using the ropes for two. Sharpshooter by Natalya on Charlotte, but Brooke broke it up. Brooke tossed Lynch into Natalya so they collided and both went down. Charlotte hit Natural Selection for the pinfall win on Natalya at 7:00.

Winners by pinfall: Charlotte & Dana Brooke

After the match, Brooke was calling herself the best protégé ever.

Analysis: ** It was a basic tag match that really didn’t get enough time to allow them to stand out. It’s pretty obvious that Brooke has a lot of work to do compared to the other three women. I don’t mind Brooke, though. She’s done pretty well and keeps improving. The outcome surprised me a bit…until what happened after the match.

(I almost forgot about Charlotte/Brooke alliance. They did nothing with it when Brooke split from her. It was too short to be anything memorable, but the work was fine.) 

Natalya was sad after the match with tears in her eyes. Then Natalya nailed Lynch in the back with a forearm smash! Heel turn! The crowd let out a big “ohhh” for that. Natalya pounded her with hard punches in the corner. The crowd was booing her. Natalya walked away from the ring wiping the tears from her face while Lynch sold pain in the ring.

Analysis: I enjoyed that a lot. It was a very believable attack with Natalya throwing some believable punches. The Natalya character had become a bit boring through no fault of her own. They just didn’t give her much to do or say. Turning heel after a loss is a good time for it. I think a heel turn is exactly what she needs at this point. Plus, the women’s division needed more heels, so this evens things out a bit. As for Lynch, she seems to be locked in as the girl that loses friends all the time because they turn on her.

(This was a great turn. I didn’t see it coming although there were obvious signs for it since Natalya wasn’t doing much at that point. Natalya and Becky went on to be two of the best women on the Smackdown brand over the next couple of years.)

There was a plug for AJ Styles on the Stone Cold Podcast on WWE Network after Raw this week.

Dean Ambrose was interviewed by Tom Phillips. He said Money in the Bank is the jungle and he said the briefcase is his. He said there’s no fear or hesitation. He said all the times he’s been beaten up is going to be worth it because he’s the king of the jungle. When asked about Reigns vs. Rollins, he said beating up Seth is fun – trust me I know.

Analysis: If I watched this live I would have wondered if that last part could be considered foreshadowing. We found out later.

Sheamus vs. Apollo Crews

They were aggressive at the start with Crews hitting a dropkick a clothesline over the top to the floor. Sheamus with a backbreaker on the floor gave him control. Back in the ring, Sheamus wore him down with a chinlock. Forearms by Sheamus leading to another chinlock. Crews tried a comeback, but Sheamus nailed a running senton. Another chinlock by Sheamus. Crews with clotheslines, then a corner splash, a cross body block and an enziguri kick gets two. Big spot as Crews hit a belly to belly suplex over the top to the floor. Crews nailed a perfect moonsault on Sheamus on the floor. Crews with an Angle Olympic Slam (not called by Cole) that gets two. Sheamus came back with a powerslam for two. They battled on the top rope with Sheamus coming down with White Noise off the middle rope for two. Sheamus was stunned that it wasn’t enough. Crews rolled him up with a crucifix pin for the victory at 8:36.

Winner by pinfall: Apollo Crews

Post match, Sheamus was angry with the referee after the loss. JBL put it over as Crews’ biggest win and a big loss for Sheamus.

Analysis: **1/4 It was a solid match to put over the younger guy in less than ten minutes. Crews showed his incredible athleticism a few times. In my preview of the match, I wrote about how I thought Crews was going to win in a manner that wasn’t decisive, but could be considered more of a crafty win. Sheamus can call it a fluke. It’s a way to keep the rivalry going. That’s exactly what happened. Sometimes WWE is predictable. That’s not a bad thing, though. That finish made sense for this storyline.

(This was one of WWE’s attempts to get Crews over. I didn’t even remember this match taking place on this show until I read about it. Crews has so much potential physically, but character-wise they have done nothing with the guy and it’s over three years since this match. They need to figure out something for him to do that’s more meaningful than not being used at all. Good job by Sheamus working hard and putting over Crews clean like this.)

The WWE Champion Roman Reigns was shown getting ready for the main event.

A commercial aired for Battleground on July 24. It’s five weeks away.

Analysis: The brand extension starts on the July 19 edition of Smackdown, so it will be interesting to see how they set it up with the draft.

An excellent video package aired to set up Cena vs. Styles.

The heel AJ Styles made his entrance alone. It’s interesting to see a streamer tossed into the ring by a fan. That doesn’t happen in WWE. JBL said this is the biggest match of AJ’s career. That’s an arguable point since he was just in two WWE Title matches the last two PPVs, but I get why he’s saying it.

John Cena made his entrance wearing his new shirt. Fans chanted “John Cena suuucks” for his entrance as he said he’s been waiting for this for a long time. His first televised match in over five months. Cole said that he will unabashedly say that Cena is the greatest of all time.

Analysis: Now that Cena’s at 39 years of age and may not have that many years left as a full-timer, they are probably going to throw that “greatest of all time” phrase around often. I’m not saying I agree with it, but it doesn’t bother me either.

AJ Styles vs. John Cena

The crowd was really loud for this one. It felt right for Cole to call it “electric” because it was. Dueling chants from the crowd. Slow start to the match since they are getting a lot of time. Cena launched Styles across the ring with a monkey flip. When Cena did his “you can’t see me” gesture, Styles nailed him with a forearm shot to the face. Another dueling chant from the crowd as Styles used his speed and then Cena slowed it down with a belly to belly suplex. When Cena tried to toss Styles into the steps, Styles jumped over them to avoid them. Styles was in control in the ring with a knee drop and then a suplex. Styles was cocky: “Is that all he’s got?” Cena missed a corner charge as he sold a left arm injury. Cena started a comeback with a back body drop. Cena with a shoulder tackle, but Styles came back with a dropkick. Styles with a chinlock for about one minute. You could see Cena calling spots with him. Cena with two shoulder tackles, but then Styles came back with an enziguri kick. Cena with his suplex into a slam. Cena paused, so Styles sent him out of the ring with a headscissors takedown that sent Cena to the floor. Styles launched himself over the top with a Phenomenal Forearm smash. Styles went for a corkscrew dive through the ropes, but Cena moved and Styles took a hard bump on the floor.

Back in the ring, Styles fought out of an Attitude Adjustment attempt from Cena. Styles with a corner clothesline, then he missed a forearm as Cena applied the STF in the middle of the ring. Styles got out of it. Cena was able to slow Styles down by sending him crashing into the ropes. Cena was heard calling a spot against the ropes. Cena caught Styles, was looking for the AA and Styles turned it into the Calf Crusher. That was a sweet transition. Really well done. Cena got to the ropes. Styles kicked Cena in the left knee repeatedly, but then he ran the ropes and Cena crushed him with a clothesline. Cena with a weak version of the Five Knuckle Shuffle as he didn’t bounce off the ropes. Cena connected with the Attitude Adjustment and Styles kicked out at two. Awesome nearfall! Cena went up top for his leg drop move, but Styles caught him and dropped him with a Powerbomb for two. Another very good nearfall. Styles connected with a Pele Kick. That’s such a cool move. Styles Clash hits! One…two…no! Cena out at two. That was an even better nearfall than the other two. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them.

Styles went up top for a springboard 450 Splash (Cole called it a shooting star for some reason), but Cena got his knees up to counter it. Cena went for AA, Styles landed on his feet, Styles went for Pele Kick and Cena avoided it. They kept going for big moves. Cena had Styles on his shoulders when Styles hit the ref with his feet leading to a ref bump to the floor. Cena connected with the AA and went for a cover, but the ref was out of the ring. Styles wasn’t moving. Gallows and Anderson went into the ring. They hit a Magic Killer on Cena. They put Styles on top and then they left. The ref crawled back into the ring, counted the one…two…and three. Styles wins at 24:10.

Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles

Analysis: ****1/4 That was an outstanding match as expected. It wasn’t the match of the year, but it’s another incredible match by Styles on PPV. He’s on quite a roll while Cena hasn’t missed a beat. I liked the pacing of the match because they were given nearly 25 minutes. Both guys have a lot of experience in a long match, so they took their time to make it work. I liked all of the great nearfalls they had like when Styles kicked out of the AA and Cena kicked out of a Styles Clash. The right man went over too as I predicted because Styles lost three straight PPV matches in a row, so he should have won. I’m not surprised that it was a cheap win because Styles is the heel and that’s how he should win a match like this. That finish also sets up the obvious rematch that should be just as good if not better than this one.

(This was an excellent, but it’s the third-best in the Cena/Styles trilogy of matches that existed during this time period. The Cena/Styles match at SummerSlam 2016 is one of the best matches of the decade and then I think they might have topped it at Royal Rumble 2017 as well. I rated both of those matches at five stars out of five, so that tells how much I love these Cena/Styles matches. The finish to this match was fine with Gallows and Anderson getting involved, but I found it so strange that WWE would put Styles on a different show from Gallows & Anderson for the next few years. Anyway, these guys had natural chemistry together. I think you can argue about who the best opponent is in Cena’s career whether it’s CM Punk, Edge or AJ Styles, but I think I might go with Styles just because of how special their matches were.) 

Post match, both guys were selling fatigue after the match. JBL was ranting about Gallows & Anderson robbing the crowd of a fair match. They wonder if AJ even knows what happened. JBL kept on ranting saying it was a BS way to finish it.

Analysis: It’s weird for the heel announcer to be ranting about it. I guess WWE felt like he could do a better job of putting it over compared to the other guys.

They aired the Gold Bond powder spray commercial with Shaquille O’Neil again.

A commercial aired for the second season of Swerved on WWE Network. I’ve seen all the episodes. It had some funny moments.

An excellent video package aired about the Money in the Bank ladder match. That was really well done.

Order of entry for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Chris Jericho, Cesaro, Sami Zayn, Alberto Del Rio, Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose. As a reminder, the way to win the match is climbing the ladder and pulling down the briefcase.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Chris Jericho vs. Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose

Ambrose took out Owens with a suicide dive on the floor. Cesaro with two backbreakers to Del Rio. Cesaro with a running attack on Jericho on a ladder on the floor. Four guys brawled on the floor, so Zayn hit a somersault dive over the top to take them out. Owens nailed Zayn with a superkick on the floor. Jericho attacked Cesaro in the ring with a ladder. Ambrose slammed Jericho on a ladder that was in the ring and then Jericho suplexed Ambrose’s legs into the ladder. Jericho repeatedly slammed a side of the ladder onto Ambrose’s head. Cesaro with the uppercut train on Del Rio, Jericho and Ambrose. Then Owens nailed a superkick on him and tossed him into a ladder that was on the top rope. Owens with cannonball splashes on Jericho, Ambrose and Del Rio. Zayn with an overhead suplex on Owens onto Jericho. Zayn with a Helluva Kick on Ambrose and then a Helluva Kick to both Owens and Jericho. Zayn set up a ladder in the ring. Del Rio pulled him off the ladder and nailed a kick. Del Rio hit Ambrose with a ladder on the floor. Del Rio trapped Zayn upside down against the ladder as Del Rio dropkicked the ladder into Zayn. Del Rio hit his double foot stomp on Cesaro against the ladder. Del Rio did the slow climb, Jericho stopped him and Del Rio did a double foot stomp to his back. Cesaro went up the ladder with Del Rio, so Del Rio put the Cross Armbreaker on Cesaro on the ladder. Owens kicked Del Rio in the face. Cesaro came back with a springboard uppercut to knock Owens down. Cesaro up, but Ambrose gave him Dirty Deeds. Jericho sent Ambrose out of the ring, he climbed up and Ambrose climbed up. Jericho with a Codebreaker on Ambrose.

Jericho climbed the ladder. He got his hands on it, but Zayn stopped him. They were both on the ladder, so Owens shoved the ladder and they went crashing into the top rope. Del Rio with a Backstabber on Owens. Cesaro uppercut to the back sent Del Rio into the ladder. Cesaro Swing time on Del Rio. Cesaro did the Swing to Jericho and tossed him head first into a ladder. Ouch. A ladder was set up by the turnbuckle, so Ambrose jumped off with a flying elbow smash on Cesaro. Owens tossed a ladder into the back of Ambrose. Owens with a Six Star Frog Splash (his name for it) onto Ambrose on a ladder. Owens and Zayn battled in the ring. Zayn nailed Owens with a Michinoku Driver into the side of a ladder. Ouch! That one looked brutal. The crowd chanted “Holy Shit” for that. I agree with that sentiment. Zayn climbed up and got his hand on the bottom of the briefcase. Del Rio attacked him with a ladder to knock him down and then hit a DDT. Del Rio set up a ladder bridge from the turnbuckle to the ladder in the ring. Cesaro did it on the other side of the ladder. All six guys were on ladders throwing punches. Cesaro and Del Rio were knocked off. Cesaro set up another ladder beside them. All six men were reaching for the briefcase. Cesaro got knocked down and crotched on the top rope. Del Rio landed with his feet on the top rope and then he crashed on the mat. That looked bad.  Zayn and Owens were left to fight on the ladder. Zayn climbed up and got his hand on the briefcase. Jericho knocked him down. Ambrose nailed Jericho with Dirty Deeds.

Zayn climbed the ladder. He was close again. Owens pulled him down and Owens nailed a Powerbomb on a ladder that was bridged from the turnbuckle to a vertical ladder. Ambrose climbed up and slammed Owens face first into the ladder. Ambrose was all alone at the top of the ladder. He reached up, unclipped the briefcase and he grabbed it. Ambrose wins at 21:38. Huge pop for him.

Winner: Dean Ambrose

Post match, Ambrose held up the briefcase. I noticed Del Rio getting helped to the back by some refs and a doctor. Hopefully he’s not injured. JBL was ranting on about how if you put Ambrose’s face on a billboard, children would cry. JBL said this is bad because the idea is Ambrose is crazy.

Analysis: ****1/4 Wow that was awesome. I loved that match. I don’t remember my ratings for every MITB match, but that was definitely on the high end of MITB matches. It’s one of the better ones for sure. They built it up really well with all six guys looking like they had a legit shot to win. I thought one of the better false finishes was Zayn’s climb when he had his hand on the briefcase, which led to others getting involved. He came so close a few times. Others did as well. As for the result, I have no problem with Ambrose winning. For weeks I said it was probably going to be Owens or Ambrose. I ended up picking Ambrose because typically WWE doesn’t book a guy to win matches before a big match, but in Dean’s case he won on both Raw and Smackdown. I’m actually surprised they booked a guy to win matches leading up to a PPV win because it’s so rare. That’s what they should do more often, though. Great match. Awesome job by all six men.

(This was an excellent match. That shouldn’t be a surprise since there were four World Champions and then guys like Zayn/Cesaro are two of the better in-ring performers in WWE this decade that just haven’t got that big push. You know they’ll always have a good match, though. This was when Ambrose was the most over during his WWE career and at the end of the night, it would become an even better night for him.) 

A commercial aired for SummerSlam on August 21. It’s in Brooklyn.

The Kickoff Panel consisting of Renee Young, Corey Graves, Lita and Booker T discussed what happened so far.

The ravishing Russian Lana introduced the US Champion and her fiancé Rusev. This is a tough spot for this match following the two matches we just saw. Titus O’Neil greeted his two sons at ringside on Father’s Day.

United States Champion: Rusev vs. Titus O’Neil

Rusev talked trash to O’Neil’s sons at ringside. They started with a double clothesline spot on the floor. O’Neil tossed Rusev into the barricade. Rusev slowed him down outside the ring using the steps. Rusev with a spin kick knocked O’Neil down in the ring. Rusev grabbed a chinlock for a minute to slow it down. It’s already slow. O’Neil with shoulder tackles, then he avoided a corner splash and a slam gets two. No reaction for that nearfall. O’Neil with a boot to the face followed by a spinebuster for two. Rusev went for the Accolade and O’Neil fought out of it. Powerslam by O’Neil gets two. Not much of a reaction. O’Neil sent Rusev into the steps on the floor. Rusev with a kick to the head and then a running superkick. Rusev applied the Accolade submission. O’Neil passed out. That’s it after 9 minutes.

Winner by submission: Rusev

Analysis: *3/4 It was just okay. Going into it I thought O’Neil was just a guy for Rusev to beat and that’s really all he was. I don’t see this feud continuing past this show. It’s really not necessary. It’s not like the crowd cares much either because there was no reaction to the nearfalls that O’Neil was getting.

Post match, Rusev had a microphone. He went over to O’Neil’s kids and told them that O’Neil is a loser. Rusev: “Happy Father’s Day.”

Analysis: I’m a Rusev fan and I’m glad he’s getting more comfortable talking. He can be a top heel in WWE.

(They were just lining up guys for Rusev to beat, basically. Too bad Rusev’s heel run didn’t lead to him becoming a World Champion.) 

A commercial aired for WWE Network shows.

The video package aired for the WWE Title match between Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. Another awesome video. That’s no surprise.

The challenger Seth Rollins made his entrance first. There were mostly boos, but definitely some cheers. Roman Reigns entered last. More boos for him even though he’s the face champion. They had Lilian Garcia do the in-ring intros.

(When Rollins came back from his knee injury, WWE should have booked him as a face, but they had him act like a heel again. He would become a face fairly soon after this.)

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins

Reigns was aggressive early while Rollins kept going into the ropes to avoid him. The pacing was really slow early on. Rollins with a dropkick, then a knee sent him to the floor and a suicide drive to the floor. Rollins nailed Reigns with a couple of forearms, but then Reigns came back with a Samoan Drop. Reigns with a suplex. Reigns with a leaping clothesline. Reigns with a tilt-a-whirl slam for two. The PPV broadcast was right around three hours at this point, so they are going past the three-hour mark. It turned into a bit of a slugfest with Rollins getting in some slaps to the face. Reigns with an uppercut on Rollins sent him outside the ring. Reigns tossed Rollins over the Spanish announce table and into the chairs. Reigns broke the ref’s count to continue the attack. Rollins sent Reigns shoulder first into the steps. They went back into the ring as Reigns did a Razor’s Edge into a sitout Powerbomb. That was sweet. Rollins came back with a kick to the face and then a dropkick that sent Reigns to the floor. Rollins with a suicide dive into the barricade. Then Rollins ran the ropes and hit a somersault dive over the top to take out Reigns. That was awesome. So glad seeing Rollins back in the ring. Rollins hit a Sling Blade takedown that Finn Balor uses. Reigns backed out of a Pedigree attempt and connected with a Superman Punch for two.

Reigns talked trash to Rollins by telling him to quit. Rollins came back with a kick to the head and a flying knee attack off the top rope. Rollins hit a perfect Frog Splash for a two count. Rollins nailed a Buckle Bomb (powerbomb into the turnbuckle) and a standing side kick for a two count. Rollins with a forearm smash in the corner. Rollins with a superplex followed by a Falcon Arrow suplex into a pin for two. Amazing offense by Rollins all match long. Reigns came back with a rollup into a one armed Powerbomb for two. Great power shown by Reigns.

They had a staredown as they were on their knees. Rollins with a forearm smash. Rollins hit a Buckle Bomb again, but Reigns came back with a Superman Punch for two. Rollins went outside the ring. Reigns charged in, Rollins moved and Reigns went crashing into the barricade at ringside. The referee checked on Reigns and then a doctor checked him as well. That’s likely a work just to sell the idea of a possible head injury. Rollins attacked Reigns and rolled him back into the ring. Reigns drove Rollins back first into the ref Mike Chioda in the corner. Reigns hit a Spear. Reigns covered, Chioda was still groggy and made a slow count, so Rollins kicked out at two. Reigns ran in for another Spear, but Rollins countered it into a Pedigree. That gets one…two…no! Wow that was really cool. That was so unique. Rollins hit another Pedigree on Reigns. Rollins covered for the one…two…three! Rollins wins the WWE Title at 26:01.

Winner by pinfall and New WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Seth Rollins

Analysis: **** That was a great match. I liked how they went back and forth throughout the match with all kinds of believable nearfalls. Rollins was very impressive in his first back match since returning from injury. I’m so glad he’s back in action because he’s one of the best performers in the company. Reigns did his best to keep up with Rollins, but it was pretty clear who was carrying this match. That’s not a knock on Reigns at all. I just think Rollins is at such a high level even after missing seven months with a serious knee injury. Reigns also worked like a heel for much of the match. Finishers were kicked out of just like in the Cena/Styles match. Reigns losing clean is a big shock and also losing the title in less than three months is an even bigger shock. I just figured it would be a lengthy title run for Reigns. I was actually surprised that Rollins won in a clean manner because I was expecting Reigns to kick out there. The surprise left me pretty quickly because of what was next.

(I think it’s fair to say that this was a match that is forgotten by a lot of fans now because of what happened after the match. That’s understandable, but give these credit for working their asses off. What’s also noteworthy about this match is that it was when Roman Reigns was suspended for 30 days for a Wellness Policy violation. It was reported two days after Money in the Bank and WWE knew about it before this show. I think it’s fair to say Reigns wasn’t punished that much since he got to drop the WWE Title after going over 25 minutes with one of his best friends.) 

Rollins celebrated with the WWE Title. Before he could really celebrate a lot, Dean Ambrose’s music played.

Rollins looked at the entrance waiting for Ambrose. Instead, Ambrose showed up from behind with the briefcase in his hands. The crowd was going crazy as Ambrose nailed Rollins in the head with the briefcase. Ambrose gave the briefcase to ref Mike Chioda for the cash-in attempt.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins

Rollins was groggy with a shocked look on his face. Chioda called for the bell to be rung. Ambrose hooked Rollins in his arms and Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds. One…two…three! Ambrose wins the WWE Title! It went 0:09.

Winner by pinfall and New WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Dean Ambrose

Ambrose celebrated with the title. Ambrose was on his knees in the ring with the WWE Title by his side. JBL was doing over the top commentary about how this is the “darkest day in WWE history.”

(The reason for JBL’s commentary being like that was because he was a heel announcer reacting to a “lunatic fringe” babyface like Ambrose winning the title. JBL didn’t like a guy that was like Ambrose.)

Ambrose celebrated with the WWE Title by walking across the announce table and holding it up in the air for the crowd to see. Rollins was furious in the ring. Ambrose held up the WWE Title again. The show went off the air at the 3 hour, 23-minute mark with Ambrose holding the WWE Title in his hands.

Analysis: This was excellent. No rating for the match since it was so short and simple. What a moment for Ambrose. I didn’t see it coming, but I’m glad they did it. The crowd went wild for it while I’m sitting here smiling because it was the right time for a change. While I’m not a Reigns hater like some people are, it was pretty obvious that he wasn’t connecting that well as champion. Ratings are down, attendance numbers aren’t great and crowd reactions also show that people are tired of Reigns in this role. Moving the title onto Ambrose is the right move for right now.

As for the future, it’s likely going to lead to the Shield triple threat match for the first time. Former champions usually get rematches, so they can easily set up a triple threat for both guys getting rematches. I just think it would be better to do that at SummerSlam rather than Battleground, but I’m not sure what they might do at Battleground.

(They did do it at Battleground 2016 and Ambrose retained the title. I always felt like the first Shield triple threat match should be at a WrestleMania or even a SummerSlam, but instead, it happened at Battleground 2016. I don’t think that was the right call by WWE.)

I’m genuinely happy for Ambrose because he’s such a hard-working guy that has won over the crowd. While I will maintain that he would do even better as a heel, if they keep him as a face champion that would work well too.

(I didn’t have anything against Ambrose as a heel. I just knew he could succeed as a heel. A few years later when Ambrose went heel, it was underwhelming and ultimately led to him being so frustrated with the company he went on to work for AEW instead. It was smart to keep him as a face during this time because was very popular with the fans and he was an easy guy to root for. This was one of the best moments of his career for sure.)


Five Stars of the Show

1. Dean Ambrose

2. AJ Styles

3. Seth Rollins

4. John Cena

5. Roman Reigns


Final Thoughts

It gets an 8 out of 10 from me.

That’s the best WWE PPV of 2016 so far. Three matches got over 20 minutes and all of them hit the four star (out of five) level. If you would have told me before the show that all three Shield guys would have the title on the same show I would have said no, so I’m glad they did something memorable.

It was nearly a four hour show if you count the Kickoff Matches. That’s a long night of action and I’m not sure if it was really necessary. The three big matches were placed in the second half of the show, which meant the first half was a little slow. I just think the quality of the three matches was so strong that it really carried the show.

There’s a lot to be said about ending on a high note. Ambrose cashing in that briefcase and winning the WWE Title is a big deal that will get people talking. I’m excited for the next Raw just because I don’t know what’s next. Plus, as I said earlier I’m pretty happy for the guy. WWE knows they needed to change things up, so I’m glad they did.

I enjoyed Money in the Bank like I usually do. Great work by the WWE crew, especially the men in the three big matches that carried this show.

(I think my rating is justified. When you have three matches at the four star level on the same card, plus a memorable ending with a Money in the Bank cash-in for Ambrose’s first WWE Title, I think that’s an outstanding wrestling show. Was everything great? Of course not. That’s why it’s an 8 and not a 9 or 9.5 out of 10. I enjoyed this show a lot.)


That’s all for now. Check out the Best WWE PPVs of the Decade archive right here to catch up on the others and I’ll be adding more to that section all month long.

The post TJR Best WWE PPVs of the Decade: Money in the Bank 2016 Review appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

TJRWrestling WWE Tables, Ladders & Chairs (TLC) 2019 Preview

John: Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE Tables, Ladders & Chairs (TLC) preview. This is the 11th consecutive year where WWE has had a PPV named TLC. It has taken place in the month of December for every one of those years except for an October 2017 event.

This year’s card is a bit of a mixed bag to me. It’s an odd lineup for a PPV. For a company that has six singles titles between Raw and Smackdown, they have decided to put none of them on the line on this show. If you want fans to care about the wrestlers, the matches and the stories, you need to involve the titles. By ignoring those six titles on this show, you’re telling the fans you can skip this one because you’re not going to miss a damn thing. At least they remembered the two tag team titles and those are going to be contested in what should be some great matches.

As I write this on Saturday morning, there is a possibility that they could add more matches like Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles from the Raw brand or Bayley defending the Smackdown Women’s Title against Lacey Evans. It’s weird there is no Seth Rollins match on the show, but it appears as though he won’t have a match with Kevin Owens, who did a stretcher job on Raw. WWE has seven advertised matches and I don’t know if anything else will be added. All we can do is predict what has been promoted, so that’s what we’ll do.

Joining me for the preview are Mike Holland and Mike Sanchez. Mike is a popular name.

Mike Sanchez: The last WWE PPV of 2019 is almost upon us and it looks promising. TLC has that extra element of the tables, ladders and chairs which usually means a high spot or two that will steal the spotlight, however the added danger and unpredictability element can be overplayed and if done repeatedly throughout the night, can dilute some of the shock value as the evening progresses. However, I remain hopeful that the PPV will be good and I’m looking forward to it – God knows I needs some positivity after the politics that’s drowned the UK this week.

(Note: All graphics are from WWE. The banner up top is courtesy of our friend Melo Man.)


Raw Tag Team Championships: The Viking Raiders issue an open challenge  

Mike Holland: If you issue an open challenge to a division with almost nobody in it, does it count? I have no issue whatsoever with The Viking Raiders being booked as dominant titleholders, but it takes a bit of steam out of a setup like this when there’s only a few known options and one of them lost in pretty short order Monday. (Sorry, Street Profits, stick with the comedy.) There are a couple of reasons why you wouldn’t just announce an opponent here, and honestly with the slapdash nature of this card, any of them might be valid. Perhaps they have a team return from hiatus (Usos) or perhaps they pin together a couple of singles talents as an impromptu team. There certainly are enough people without anything to do to make that work.​

Those strategies would likely lead to a title change, though, and I feel like the “TBA” was done just to create drama in an area that has precious little. If I had my druthers, I’d have Authors of Pain answer the call and win to add another dimension to Seth Rollins and his heel turn. Instead, we’ll have the obvious: The OC answers the challenge and the song stays the same.

Winners (and STILL Raw Tag Team Champions): The Viking Raiders

Mike Sanchez: I’ve liked the booking of the Viking Raiders since they’ve held the belts. I’ve always been a fan of using jobbers enhancement talent on TV, especially when the division isn’t all that stacked so without the local wresters, the Viking Raiders would’ve been forced to fight a recognised tag team over and over again, or a mish-mash of singles stars thrust together to make up the numbers. Enhancement talent also provide a great opportunity for the champs to build a winning streak and dominate opponents, which is all good in the long run for themselves.

As for opponents, I was going to pick a veteran team to answer the open challenge but with no Jeff Hardy (injured) and Dudley Boys in pastures new, it only leaves a random team who would probably draw a nice reaction but would be squashed by the all conquering Viking Raiders. A returning Sheamus would be nice, but with his traditional tag partner Cesaro on Smackdown (and Sheamus returning to Smackdown), that pair aren’t an option either. That leaves the OC who would be very credible challengers in their own right and with AJ Styles at ringside, would definitely have an edge and a great chance to walk away with the belts. Would this be good for the Viking Raiders going forward? Who knows, but it would certainly be beneficial for the OC who could assert their dominance even more on Raw. AOP would be a surprise pick, but perhaps this is too soon for them right now and they still need building up on TV.

Winners and NEW Raw Tag Champions – The OC (Gallows & Anderson)

John: I think when you do the “open challenge” idea it is done to make fans a bit more interested. What we don’t know is if it is only open to the Raw brand tag teams or if there might be a surprise where NXT’s Undisputed Era shows up to answer the challenge. I don’t expect that to happen. I’m starting to think that maybe it will be The Usos because they aren’t currently on Raw or Smackdown after being on a break all summer (due to Jimmy Uso’s DUI earlier this year), so maybe that’s why it’s an open challenge. I think the most obvious thing is for The OC duo of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson to challenge for the titles and I would be very surprised if they won the titles.

The long term plan for the Raw Tag Team Titles should be a feud between the unbeatable teams with the Viking Raiders as the champions and AOP as the challengers. Perhaps it will happen at Royal Rumble or maybe WrestleMania if WWE can wait that long. For this show I’ll say it’s the Viking Raiders over Gallows and Anderson. If it’s something else, I hope it’s interesting at least.

Winners: The Viking Raiders


Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy  

Mike Holland: I feel like we can attribute some of the success of both of these talents recently to Raw’s overseer, Paul Heyman, and we as viewers are the better for it. Aleister Black’s gimmick of sitting in the broom closet waiting for someone to pick a fight with him is a tad silly, sure, but Heyman killed with way odder stuff in ECW when he was handling creative. And if the end result is Black getting both more screen time AND more wins, who am I to argue?​

As for Buddy Murphy, he’s just done a great job all year long in my view. I had the normal concerns when he made the jump to the main roster, as WWE has overall done a lackluster job capitalizing on those sorts of things after the initial shine wears off, but Murphy has attacked anything he’s been asked to do with gusto and shown some versatility in the ring. That is why I am hopeful these two guys get a while to tell a story, especially on a card with some less-than-scintillating options. In terms of a prediction, it truly could go either way. I feel like Black’s due for a lengthy run.

Winner: Aleister Black

Mike Sanchez: This could be the sleeper match and be the best on the card. Black came onto the main roster with a good run alongside Ricochet, yet hasn’t been on our screens of late. His timely return should be the foundation to build him up to a mid-card title contender at least. Murphy will be a fantastic foil here for the Dutchman and will make Black look like a star. This will be no squash match and Murphy will get a few near falls in himself. Expect high-flying, hard-hitting action from the moment the bell rings. Both men have a great charisma and swagger in the ring that will only serve to compliment one another. I doubt this will be the last we’ll see of this pairing and it could well leave us wanting more in the future.

Winner – Aleister Black

John: Aleister Black has been doing the gimmick where he wants somebody to “pick a fight” with him since May. Seven months later, this is his second PPV match after he dispatched Cesaro earlier in the year. When the draft happened in October, there were reports that Paul Heyman was a big fan of Black and Murphy, so it’s fair to say these two Heyman guys have a lot to prove on Sunday. I think technically speaking it should be one of the best matches of the night. If this was an NXT Takeover show I know they would get 15+ minutes to have an incredible match. Since it’s a regular WWE PPV, I’m less confident in them getting that much time, but I sure it happens.

I think Black has the chance to be a major player in WWE. The fans respond to him very well with positive reactions for his entrance, for his offensive moves that include a lot of kicks, that sit in the ring spot he does works very well and the Black Mass spin kick is one of the most protected finishing moves in all of WWE. I’m expecting Murphy to put up a good fight in a match between two guys very capable of hard knees and kicks during the match, but Black should get the win. I would love to see Black get built up for a feud with a top heel on Raw like AJ Styles or Seth Rollins. That would be fun.

Winner: Aleister Black


Ladder Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles: The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Big E (c) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder)  

Mike Holland: The challenging thing about TLC matches in their various iterations is that the talent has to work that much harder to make things stand out. Piling some foreign objects in is an easy way to up the stakes, but makes it much less likely you’ll be watching a classic. Ladder matches, however, are a sure bet in the right hands when you’ve got the goods, and both teams certainly do. Considering Kofi Kingston makes his athleticism front row and center at almost every Royal Rumble, you can guarantee it will be on display here. Mix in the Revival’s schtick of not liking gimmicks but being versatile enough to handle them and we’re in good hands here.

Unfortunately for all of that, though, I’m just not that enthused to see this match again. I feel like The New Day and The Revival have been feuding for the last half a year, and there’s really been very little added in new build to raise the stakes. It reads to me like a safe bet for a solid match, but in terms of the unexpected, we’d be reaching to expect anything out of the ordinary here. A title change would be a shock. 

Winners (and STILL Smackdown Tag Team Champions): The New Day

Mike Sanchez: I love the chemistry these two teams have. Both teams and this feud would work no matter the era in WWE history as they transcend so well with the crowd and wider audience. The Revival hark back to a bygone era of wrestling and the New Day are everything pro wrestling is supposed to be; loud, colourful, over the top and talented. Their styles, look and mannerisms contrast so well that I’m not surprised their paths have crossed so often. The Revival will always be serious contenders for Tag Team Titles, so expect a close match here with the ladder element being the deciding factor. I can’t see Big E being the one to clamber up the ladder to retrieve the belts, so the onus will be on Kofi to hop, skip & jump around the ring and up to grab the gold. The Revival will put on a good show here and come close to taking gold, but I think will fall just short. Match of the Night? Possibly, but I think another will get that title.

Winners – The New Day

John: I think this should be an awesome match. The ladder stipulation could have been set up better, but it makes sense given the fact that these teams have had several regular matches in the last few months. It makes sense to “up the ante” so to speak by having a ladder match where the winner has to retrieve the tag team titles


Tables Match: Rusev vs. Bobby Lashley (w/Lana) 

Mike Holland: It’s a love it or leave it thing with this whole storyline, I suppose, and that’s appropriate given the content. WWE’s fetishizing of their own real life relationships is the stuff therapy is made of, and this has been no exception. While the back-and-forth has produced a few fun moments, overall I personally have found it very cringe-worthy indeed. The only goal for me in this match is to have it end as quickly as possible so that all involved can move on and do something more interesting. That is, naturally, a goal that won’t be realized.​

I feel like an undercurrent of WWE’s current storytelling is that the more people say how much they hate something, the more WWE runs with it. It’s like reverse psychology gone nuts, ironically enough. The whole idea of a tables stipulation is that you can generally be guaranteed that the loser will go through the table in some way as to be protected in the loss. They didn’t get pinned, so nothing much to see here. That’s why it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a very good Rusev Day for the Bulgarian Brute. Lana distracts, Rusev loses, makeout sesh, feud continues, gargle and rinse.

Winner: Bobby Lashley

Mike Sanchez: I’m so not interested in this feud and want it to end. It does nothing to pique my interest. Lashley and especially Rusev could and should be doing so much more. I don’t care about divorces being on TV. I don’t care about turbulent love lives and restraining orders. I want to watch wrestling. If I wanted to see ‘drama’ like this, I’d watch a soap opera or Total Divas.

Winner – Rusev (Please just end it.)

John: This prediction is going to piss some people off probably, but I don’t think this is the blowoff match for them. As soon as this match was announced, my prediction was that Lana was going to do a bump where she gets knocked off the apron and put through a table at ringside. It will be one of those “accidental” bumps, which should pop the crowd in a big way. Rusev will show concern for his soon to be ex-wife (in the storyline) and then Lashley will capitalize on the situation to give Rusev a spinebuster through the table to win the match. The feud will probably continue from there with Rusev winning the blowoff match either on the first Raw of 2020 or perhaps the Royal Rumble. It wouldn’t shock me if there’s a Rusev/Lana reunion at WrestleMania either. They are still happily married in real life, so I doubt an on-screen divorce angle is going to last that long.

The match should have a lot of heat because the fans are reacting to Rusev as a big-time superstar, so that’s a positive we can take out of this. I’m going with Lashley for the win after about 12 minutes.

Winner: Bobby Lashley


The Miz vs. Bray Wyatt

(Note: This is not for Wyatt’s WWE Universal Title. It hasn’t been promoted as a Universal Title match on television. It is not mentioned as a title match on as well.)

Mike Holland: Well, okay. This entire match feels like incorrect GPS directions on the way to The Fiend vs. Daniel Bryan, doesn’t it? I’m not sure which is the worse decision: having Bray Wyatt temporarily ditch the Fiend gimmick in order to do battle with the (generally underwhelming as a face) Miz, or having the whole thing not even be for Wyatt’s Universal Title on a card with precious little action involving major titles. The easy inference here would be that it sets up very well for a Miz win, given that he doesn’t bag the gold in so doing. The more likely conclusion is that it’s just more slipshod short-term booking while you keep the big deal on simmer.​

I don’t think there is any doubt that Daniel Bryan shows up here, likely sporting whatever new look he’s agreed to courtesy of The Fiend’s tactics. Anyone who wrestles Wyatt in that iteration ends up a changed man, I suppose, and given Bryan’s lengthy history with Miz, there’s a decent enough story to tell in there somewhere. I figure he comes down ostensibly to face off with Won’t You Be My Neighbor Wyatt and instead costs Miz the match. At least there won’t be a red light?

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Mike Sanchez: Hmmmm, this intrigues me. Though I like The Fiend character and his impressive title run so far, WWE definitely needs to tweak some elements and especially get rid of the stupid red lighting. Like Finn Balor, WWE has two for the price of one in Wyatt; the man and the monster.  If we get the man at TLC, then this could be a good move. Miz has been on the sidelines for too long and is far too talented to be ignored. I predict a good match where Miz begins to be on top until Bray is incapacitated in some way and disappears from view (under the ring or something) only for the red lights to kick in and have him emerge as the Fiend where he will proceed to destroy Miz in a fit of rage. This story is reminding me of the AJ Styles / Samoa Joe feud where it crossed the line into the personal lives of the stars in a way that benefits the long-term storytelling (not like Rusev/Lashley). Does it have long-term potential? I don’t know, but on his day, The Miz can be something special, so I hope this pans out well for him.

Winner – Bray Wyatt as the Fiend

John: This has been such a weird year for The Miz because they turned him face, then he lost two PPV matches to Shane McMahon (including at WrestleMania) and he never got his win back even though he should have in that story. Since then, he hasn’t done much including being off several PPVs this year due to not having a storyline. I looked it up on ProfightDB and found out that his last singles match victory on television was on the September 10 edition of Raw when he beat Andrade. It’s been three months since he won a singles match on WWE TV and now he’s getting to face Bray Wyatt, who is the Universal Champion even though the title isn’t on the line.

I have liked most of the build with Wyatt doing everything he can to make it personal by involving The Miz’s family including the lovely Maryse and one of the Miz daughters Monroe. That should help the match because I expect The Miz to come out very aggressive, nearly win a few times and then Wyatt should capitalize on a mistake to win the match. I’m interested to see if Daniel Bryan shows up without any hair on his head and maybe without a beard, but if I was him, I would keep the beard. Perhaps Bryan shows up after the match. I think it would be better to save Bryan’s return for Smackdown. As for this match, I’ll go with a Wyatt win after 13 minutes or so.

Winner: Bray Wyatt


Tables, Ladders & Chairs (TLC) Match for the Women’s Tag Team Titles: The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) (c) vs. Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch  

Mike Holland: You can be certain that WWE will remind us multiple times during this match about how groundbreaking and glass-ceiling-shattering this action is, and during those times I’d suggest you remember it’s all a cover for allowing women to hit each other with a bunch of stuff. I’m fine with this match, mostly because Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch seem to really resent each other in a bunch of passive-aggressive ways that are far more nuanced and entertaining than anything they’re scripted to do. From a logic standpoint (sorry!), however, things are much worse. Given that The Kabuki Warriors together barely managed to beat one of their competitors here and actually lost (as a team) to the other, anyone could be forgiven for wondering how in the heck they have a ghost of a chance here.​

I think the hook here would be to have the challengers win, as WWE loves to do the “tag team champions who hate each other and soon will collapse” angle as often as humanly possible. You can definitely make a case for having the rivals “surprisingly” win the belts just in time to self-destruct for a WrestleMania showdown. I have seen enough of Flair vs. Lynch for a while, though, and would much prefer that the challengers self-destruct during this encounter and allow the solid Kabuki Warriors to win without putting a damper on either of them individually. Personally, I’d just have Shayna Baszler come down and annihilate everything that moves, but I don’t think my Christmas wishes get answered here.

Winners (and STILL Women’s Tag Team Champions): The Kabuki Warriors

Mike Sanchez: Here’s the match I’m looking forward to the most. This should be epic and match of the night. I get that some people gripe and moan about Charlotte being in the big matches all the time, but in my view, she’s one of the best women’s wrestlers out there, so WWE should be putting her in these matches. I like the story that there’s an uneasy alliance with Becky Lynch and that their fragile partnership could fracture at any moment and there will be plenty of opportunities to do that here.

Asuka and Kari Sane are my favourite tag team in wrestling right now. They have an incredible chemistry and look like a legit, solid and dangerous team. There’s no teasing of fall-out, no arguments between themselves and no fighting for the spotlight. They work as a unit and have the titles to prove how successful they are. I think it would be wrong to have them lose the belts here or at any point in the near future as they’re being built as a tough team to beat. With Becky being over-protected, I can see Charlotte taking the fall off the ladder that leads to Asuka grabbing the titles. That or a mix up by the Kabuki Warriors that leaves Becky grabbing the belts. I think the outcome will all depend on who is on the receiving end of the dreaded Green Mist. I’m going to have faith that WWE will keep the titles on the Japanese superstars.

Winners and Still Women’s Tag Team Champions – The Kabuki Warriors

John: This should be an awesome match. I think these four women are talented enough to have the best match of the night depending on how it is laid out for them. Last year at TLC, Becky Lynch, Asuka and Charlotte Flair had an awesome match that main evented that show. Kairi Sane is an outstanding wrestler just like the other three women and they all have chemistry, so I’m excited to see what they can do. It wouldn’t surprise me if this match went on last especially if Lynch and Flair win the titles. That’s my prediction, by the way.

The way the feud has been built up has put the Kabuki Warriors in a dominant position for most of the rivalry. They beat Charlotte Flair in a handicap match, then they put Becky Lynch through a table after getting disqualified in a handicap match. They also attacked Charlotte backstage. While I don’t rely on the “get beat up on TV, win on PPV” theory as much as I used to, it sure makes a lot of sense in this match. What doesn’t make sense is that Natalya and Charlotte Flair beat The Kabuki Warriors non-title on November 4th and then they never got a title shot, but here’s Flair and Lynch getting another shot at the titles. It’s not like WWE remembers their own storylines, though.

I don’t expect Flair and Lynch to have a long reign as Women’s Tag Team Champions. It may only last one or two months, but I think they’re going to win here. The story makes sense for a title change and I think the babyfaces Flair and Lynch owe the heel champions an ass kicking.  Remember also that the Women’s Tag Team Champions can go on Smackdown and NXT as well, so it wouldn’t surprise me if WWE did a title change in order to get their two top women defending the titles on the other shows as well. I hope they get close to 20 minutes because if they do, we could be looking at the match of the night and maybe one of the best WWE women’s matches of the year.

Winners AND NEW Women’s Tag Team Champions: Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch


Tables, Ladders & Chairs (TLC) Match: Roman Reigns vs. “King” Baron Corbin

Mike Holland: WWE’s infatuation with King Corbin is getting ridiculous. I confess that the company has used the “King” gimmick as easy heel heat over the years, particularly with workers like Mabel who were one-dimensional and needed the rub. In Corbin’s case, though, it’s almost like a joke that nobody is laughing at. He’s decent enough in the ring, but these high-profile matches serve to remind me that there are far more talented folks waiting in the wings eminently capable of delivering a solid effort. It’s not a reminder I enjoy.

In terms of this match itself, here’s all you need to know: The build involves dog food. I don’t know that there’s a world where Dolph Ziggler (involved in said nonsense) wakes up and wonders what his life has come to when asked to do stuff like that, but hey, at least he does stand-up. That has to give you the bravery to bomb and a sense of humor. There’s little doubt this match will be competent enough, especially since Corbin has some backup and a variety of weapons to use. There’s also little doubt to me that he is getting vanquished here. I really can’t think of a less compelling potential main event. At least it’s not taking place in a kennel. It isn’t, is it?

Winner: Roman Reigns

Mike Sanchez: I’ll give Baron Corbin his due; he does work hard to get other people over, although WWE does rely on him to use promos more than his wrestling ability. If the long-term goal here is to get Roman Reigns back to the top of the tree and more importantly, over with the crowd, then Corbin will be a very important factor in that rise and his influence shouldn’t be overlooked. I think Corbin will take the loss here, but he will make Reigns look like the star we all know he is.

I like the story WWE are telling with Reigns. They’ve removed his superhuman qualities and powers of instant recovery and allowed him to become vulnerable – this is a key element in building sympathy for a character, especially someone you want to portray as a good guy and the face of the company. He’s been humiliated and ridiculed in equal measure. Bullied by his peers and made to look like as loser. I like it as it gives a natural feel and a connection with fans that we want to see Reigns kick ass and get revenge on his tormentors. This is just another step on the road to recovery for Reigns.

Winner – Roman Reigns

John: I think in terms of the amount of time that WWE has spent in building up a match at TLC, this one is right up there along with the Rusev/Lashley story. This Reigns/Corbin issue went all the way back to Crown Jewel in late October when they were on opposite teams, then it continued at Survivor Series when they were on the same team and here we go with the TLC match where the winner is decided by pinfall.

The question I ask is, has this been a great feud? I don’t think so. The dog food thing with Corbin and Dolph Ziggler smearing it all over Reigns was an old school way of drawing heat I guess, but I’m just not that interested in the rivalry. Corbin feuded for months with Seth Rollins on Raw, switched shows and now it’s the same thing with Reigns. Neither rivalry was that compelling. I don’t think Corbin is a bad heel. I just can’t see the average wrestling fan being that interested in it. To WWE’s credit, they have booked Reigns well in terms of not having on Smackdown this week until the last five minutes that saw him beat up all the heels and put Ziggler through a table.

I think Reigns winning this match is the obvious outcome. That’s my pick, but I wouldn’t be shocked by a Corbin win because clearly WWE management loves Corbin and if he won this match, it would be the biggest win in his career. They can use Ziggler to help Corbin get a couple of nearfalls, but then I would expect Reigns to take out Ziggler again. I just think it makes more sense for Reigns to win every match he has between now and WrestleMania where he’ll probably be against The Fiend in a Universal Title match. They’ll likely get 15-20 minutes for this match and do a good job utilizing the weapons at ringside to have a solid match.

Winner: Roman Reigns



The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most

Mike Holland: Without a doubt, it’s Black vs. Murphy. Might be the only thing really worth watching here.

Mike Sanchez: Women’s Tag Tiles – I’m expecting big things from this.

John: I think the Women’s Tag Team Title match is my favorite. Black/Murphy will be a lot of fun too.


The Match I Care About The Least

Mike Holland: Nobody can accuse WWE of not being spoiled for choice. Corbin/Reigns.

Mike Sanchez: Lashley vs Rusev – Just end the torment. Won’t somebody please think of the children?

John: Raw Tag Team Titles defended in an open challenge.


Longest Match

Mike Holland: Women’s Tag Title match seems likely given the number of competitors and items.

Mike Sanchez: Women’s Tag Match / Men’s Smackdown Tag Match – it’s a tie between these.

John: I think Reigns/Corbin has the best chance to go over 20 minutes, so that’s my pick.


Shortest Match

Mike Holland: Viking Raiders title defense.

Mike Sanchez: Lashley vs Rusev (please).

John: The Viking Raiders defending the Raw Tag Team Titles.


Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)

Mike Holland: It’s pretty tough for me to get amped up for this card. I feel like WWE has put less and less work into the front end of these of late, and it shows. It could end up being better than it looks (hopefully!) but I’m giving this a very-missable 4.5. Go caroling instead.

Mike Sanchez: A solid 7. Though I don’t think the whole card looks incredible, but there are certainly some gems hidden in there. The Women’s Tag should be great and I think Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy could be the sleeper on the card. I think there may be a couple of title changes too, so all in all, a promising PPV.

John: I’ll go with a 6. If you guys read my reviews with any regularity then you know I care about having good matches and using star ratings to grade those matches. I think for this show, there are three or four matches that could reach the four star level (out of five), so if that happens where we see several matches that high level then TLC will be one of the best PPVs of the year. The problem with the show is that none of the matches feel like that big of a deal. It’s just like any card, though. If the biggest matches are the best matches that deliver the goods, so to speak, then it’s going to be a fun show.


John: I’ll be back with a review of WWE TLC on most likely on Monday morning because I won’t be watching it live, so check it out when it gets posted.

Mike Holland – @DharmanRockwell

Mike Sanchez – @MikeSanchez1878

John – @johnreport

If you want to send an email, send it to me at as well. Thanks for reading.



The post TJRWrestling WWE Tables, Ladders & Chairs (TLC) 2019 Preview appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

The John Report: WWE Smackdown 12/13/19 Review

This is the last WWE Smackdown before Sunday’s TLC pay-per-view. They need to add a few more matches and build to the ones already advertised as well. I didn’t like last week’s Smackdown episode very much at all, so let’s hope for a nice bounce back this week.

Live from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this is Smackdown for episode #1061. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.

The opening video package showed highlights from last week when Roman Reigns beat Dolph Ziggler in a long match. After the match, King Corbin and Ziggler beat up Reigns and then handcuffed him to the turnbuckle. Corbin and Ziggler followed that by humiliating Reigns by pouring dog food all over the “Big Dog” Reigns, so that’s how Smackdown ended last week.

The opening video package showed highlights from last week when Roman Reigns beat Dolph Ziggler in a long match. After the match, King Corbin and Ziggler beat up Reigns and then handcuffed him to the turnbuckle. Corbin and Ziggler followed that by humiliating Reigns by pouring dog food all over the “Big Dog” Reigns, so that’s how Smackdown ended last week.

The show began with a shot of the crowd in Milwaukee. No Smackdown introduction video or pyro to start the show this week. King Corbin was carried down to the ring on his throne by six minions and there was security around the ring while Dolph Ziggler was already in the ring. The announce team of Michael Cole and Corey Graves welcomed us to the show.

Let’s Hear from King Corbin

Corbin and Ziggler began the promo talking about how they humiliated Roman Reigns last week. Corbin bragged about how great his 2019 has been like when he retired Kurt Angle at WrestleMania, he won King of the Ring and he’s going to beat Roman Reigns at the TLC pay-per-view. Corbin said he’ll use tables, ladders and chairs and make Reigns to bow down to the king. Corbin said that Smackdown will be his place to rule as the sole leader.

Corbin said he saw the promos on Fox and nonsense on Twitter that the Big Dog Reigns is going to be there. Corbin said he’s already proven that Reigns is a shell of the man that he used to be. Corbin said that if Reigns shows up, Corbin has the entire arena covered and Reigns will show up to a fate far worse than last week. The fans chanted “you look stupid” at Corbin, who told the fans that Reigns isn’t showing up tonight. Corbin claimed that the entire Smackdown locker room approves what they did to Reigns last week and here to speak on their behalf is Dolph Ziggler.

Ziggler said for once in his life, Reigns was that locker room leader he said he was when he stood up to Corbin and Corbin put him down. Corbin said it’s the dawn of a new day where they have proven that anybody that steps in their way will be forced to bow down. Ziggler told the fans to join him as they all hail King Corbin. Most of the fans booed, but a few fans were cheering.

The New Day’s Big E and Kofi Kingston showed up for an interruption. Kingston asked if somebody said New Day. Big E say they were sitting in the back of the beautiful Fiser Forum watching Greek Freak highlights (hey Milwaukee Bucks remember when my Toronto Raptors beat you last year?) and Big E commented that they heard their name, so they decided to come out there. Corbin trashed Kofi Kingston for losing the WWE Championship to Brock Lesnar in seven seconds and Kofi said it was more like seconds while adding he’s still a champion of the people and he’s proud of it.

Kingston said that Corbin had a heck of a year, but Kofi won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. Kofi said for nearly six months he defended that title, anybody that stepped up to them he beat them including the “court jester” Dolph Ziggler. That led to some “Kofi” chants. Kofi said when he lost, he picked himself up and kept on marching forward where they stand before you here as your seven-time WWE World Tag Team Champions.

Kingston and Big E went into the ring with the heels. Kingston said if Corbin was a true king he would have more class, but Corbin can’t do that. Kofi said that what they did to Roman Reigns last week was disrespectful and he didn’t like it. Corbin mocked Kingston for having one good day in his career, so Kingston punched Corbin in the jaw. Corbin said he heard him.

Corbin said that if Kofi wants to step up and be a locker room leader like Roman Reigns then he’ll be humiliated like Reigns. Corbin shoved the microphone in Kofi’s chest and left. That ended the talking after 15 minutes.

Analysis: Smackdown beginning with Corbin promos needs to stop. It is too repetitive. I don’t even mind Corbin as a talker or a wrestler, but it’s such a boring way to begin the show. Give us a match or something. Let’s be a little creative instead of the same thing every week. This has been happening on Raw and Smackdown for over 20 years now. The formula is so tired. Anyway, Kingston and Big E did a good job of trying to shut up Corbin and of course, it’s going to lead to a match. They could have done all of this in half the time and it would have been just as effective.

Coming up later is an interview with The Miz.


The match is official for later: Kofi Kingston vs. King Corbin.

King Corbin and Dolph Ziggler were shown walking backstage. When they got to their dressing room, there was a security guy that was down. In the locker room, there was a security guy laying on a broken table. They wondered who did this.

Analysis: The idea behind that is that Roman Reigns was looking for revenge, so he beat up the security guys.

Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville were in the ring for a match. I like when Mandy’s entrance is shown. Just saying. Anyway, they showed a replay of last week when Alexa Bliss saved Nikki Cross two weeks ago. Last week, Bliss beat Rose in a singles match where Rose ripped off Bliss’ fake eyelashes during the match.

There was an interview with Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross in the Gorilla Position area with Kayla Braxton. Before it could get going, Rose and Deville attacked them backstage. The women brawled onto the stage, referees broke it up and the match began from there.

Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose vs. Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss

Deville was in control early with a kick to Cross and a sliding knee. Rose tagged in followed by a running knee lift to the face of Cross. Deville back in, Bliss tripped up Rose to save her partner and Cross countered Deville with the neckbreaker for the pinfall win after two minutes. The live broadcast missed the finishing move of Cross, but they showed it on the replay.

Winners by pinfall: Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss

Analysis: 1/2* A quick match that never got going. At least they tried to do something different with the backstage attack before the match. It feels like Mandy and Sonya lose 80% of their matches. I don’t know if that’s an accurate guess, but it just seems like WWE is reluctant to pull the trigger on them getting any kind of push.

Sami Zayn was shown walking backstage where Heavy Machinery was standing there with a gift for him. It was mentioned that Zayn’s buddies Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura are facing Heavy Machinery in a match. Zayn opened it and it was ham. Zayn said this was the worst gift he has ever seen since he’s a Vegan. Otis said he’s sorry. Zayn said that sorry is not good enough and Zayn asked Tucker how he deals with this guy. Zayn said Otis is a dumb oaf, so they got mad at Zayn. That’s when Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro showed up with Zayn saying that his boys will take out Heavy Machinery in the tag team match. Zayn and Nakamura left while Cesaro tossed the ham down. Otis was mad about that.

Analysis: That was longer than the match before it. There were some good lines in there from Zayn while Otis continues to be the meat loving guy that grunts a lot. At least he knows his gimmick. I like ham. I would accept that gift.

Shorty G and Mustafa Ali entered for a tag team match.


The Revival made their entrance. It was announced earlier today that The Revival’s Smackdown Tag Team Title match against The New Day is now a Ladder Match. That’s going to be awesome.

Shorty G and Mustafa Ali vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder)

Shorty did some mat wrestling to trip up Wilder, then Shorty was sent into the ropes where Dawson pulled down the ropes and Shorty bumped over the top to the floor. Dawson decked Ali with a clothesline. The Revival hit a double team slam onto the top of the announce table. Back in the ring, Dawson got a two count on Shorty and then he grabbed a headlock. Wilder got the tag as Shorty hit a German Suplex on Dawson. Gable used his legs to hold Wilder down for a two count and then a rolling pin attempt got another two count. Wilder slammed Shorty off the shoulders into a backbreaker for two. Wilder picked Shorty up, Dawson jumped off the top and it looked like Shorty turned it so he slammed Dawson down. Ali hit a hurricanrana on Wilder that sent both them over the top to the floor.


The match returned with Gable and Ali making the babyface comeback. They did a double dive onto The Revival guys on the floor. Ali tagged in with a double stomp off the top into a suplex for a two count. Wilder took out Ali on the floor. Dawson hit a sitout Powerbomb on Shorty for a two count. The fans were chanting “this is awesome” for the effort showed by the two teams. Shorty hit a rolling German Suplex on Dawson, Wilder jumped off the top with a splash and he rolled right into place for Ali to hit him with a 450 Splash on Wilder. All four guys were down. It was nice of Wilder to roll into position there. At least he didn’t make it that obvious. Ali tagged in, Dawson blocked a DDT attempt, Ali jumped off the ropes and Dawson sent Ali into the double knees of Wilder for the Shatter Machine double team move. That led to the pinfall win for The Revival. Gable was out of the ring, so he couldn’t make the save. It went about 10 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Revival

Analysis: ***1/4 That was a very good example of WWE tag team wrestling at its best. The heels controlled most of it, the faces made the comeback and they came up with a creative finish. I liked that counter by The Revival to put away Ali with the Shatter Machine. Gable and Ali work really well together. The announcers kept referring to them as a team, so perhaps we’ll see them together more regularly in the future. I’m fine with that. There’s a lot of chemistry there. The result was expected since The Revival are getting the SD Tag Team Title match at TLC on Sunday.

Bayley was interviewed by Kayla Braxton in the interview area. Bayley talked about Lacey Evans picked a fight with the wrong person. Bayley mentioned that Sasha Banks was off doing a rap album. Elias was playing the guitar nearby, so Bayley went over there where Dana Brooke was standing by in her ring gear. Elias said he got Bayley in the Secret Santa this year and had a line about how ever since Bayley got the haircut, she looks like a dude. The fans in the arena laughed at that. Brooke laughed about it, so Bayley told Brooke to meet her in the ring and Dana said challenge accepted.

Analysis: It was a way to set up a match. Saying Bayley’s hair looks like a dude is mean, but when it’s a face like Elias mocking a heel like Bayley, the fans are going to like it.


There was a plug for the WWE Backstage show on Tuesday nights. Alexa Bliss is a guest that is on next week.

The end of Dana Brooke’s entrance was shown. Bayley made her entrance with the Smackdown Women’s Title for this non-title match. They showed highlights from last week when Bayley and Sasha Banks beat up their new rival Lacey Evans.

Bayley vs. Dana Brooke

Bayley slapped Brooke in the face, then Brooke sent her to the turnbuckle and stomped on her. Brooke with a handspring into a back elbow onto Bayley on the floor. Brooke with another elbow in the ring, but Bayley came back with a clothesline. Bayley sent up Brooke on the top, Brooke powered out of that and hit a sitout Powerbomb (or a Batista Bomb since she is trying to date Batista) for a two count. Brooke with a rollup for two followed by another flipping pin attempt for two. Bayley kicked the knee, Brooke bumped into the ropes and Bayley drove Brooke face first into the mat for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bayley

Analysis: 1/2* A quick win to put over the champion. At least it’s not a champion losing a non-title match like WWE does too often. Brooke got in some decent offense, but the result was obvious. The two women’s matches on this show got about four minutes total. Not good for a company that brags about their “women’s evolution” all the time. I know that some weeks are going to have short matches. I’m just saying Smackdown has been disappointing with how they have used the women’s division since the draft in October.

A video package aired showing Bray Wyatt tormenting The Miz on Smackdown last week, which set up their match at TLC that is not for Wyatt’s Universal Title.

Up next is an interview at The Miz’s home in Los Angeles that will be conducted by Renee Young. That’s the end of the first hour.












The next WWE PPV is Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC) this Sunday, December 15. Here’s what we know so far.

Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC) Match: Roman Reigns vs. Baron Corbin

Bray Wyatt vs. The Miz – This is not for Wyatt’s WWE Universal Title

Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC) Match for the Women’s Tag Team Titles: The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) (c) vs. Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch

Tables Match: Rusev vs. Bobby Lashley

Ladder Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles: The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Big E (c) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder)

Raw Tag Team Titles: The Viking Raiders (c) vs. TBA

Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy

Our TJRWrestling preview will be posted on Saturday morning. My review of the show will go up late Sunday night or Monday morning.

The post The John Report: WWE Smackdown 12/13/19 Review appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

Looking at 19 WWE Records That Were Broken in 2019 (VIDEO)

A video was posted on WWE’s Youtube channel as part of their “WWE List This” series. I don’t normally write about them, but this one was interesting. It’s a video looking at some of the records that were broken this year. Here’s a recap of the 19 records (fitting for 2019) that they came up with.

1. Charlotte Flair passed Trish Stratus to hold the most Women’s Titles in WWE history. Flair won her 8th, 9th and 10th Women’s Titles this year. Stratus had the record with seven Women’s Titles in her career.

2. Bayley became the first woman to hold the Raw Women’s Title, Smackdown Women’s Title and Women’s Tag Team Titles (with Sasha Banks), which means she was the first to complete the Women’s Title Triple Crown. Alexa Bliss did it as well when she won the Women’s Tag Team Titles with Nikki Cross.

3. Seth Rollins won the Universal Title at WrestleMania and SummerSlam. That meant he was the first superstar to win a “World Title” at WrestleMania and SummerSlam in the same year.

4. Kofi Kingston became the first superstar born in the content of Africa to win the WWE Championship when he won the title from Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania.

5. When Dolph Ziggler lost to Kofi Kingston at the Smackville special earlier this year, Ziggler competed in his 10th televised WWE Title match. That’s the most televised opportunities without winning the title. Poor Dolph.

6. Brock Lesnar became the first superstar to win the WWE Title twice on Smackdown when he defeated Kofi Kingston to win the WWE Title in October. The first time Lesnar won the WWE Title on Smackdown was in September 2003. That was an Ironman match against Kurt Angle, which is the best match in Smackdown history in my opinion. Read my review of that 2003 match here. 

7. Kofi Kingston became the first WWE superstar to make it to 1000 days as a Tag Team Champion.

8. Shayna Baszler’s days as NXT Champion set a new record when she passed Asuka’s record of 522 days in November.

9. The first-ever women’s WarGames match took place in November and it was won by a team led by Rhea Ripley.

10. Ronda Rousey held the Raw Women’s Championship from SummerSlam 2018 to WrestleMania 35 for a grand total of 231 days, which broke the record held by Alexa Bliss. That record by Rousey was broken because current Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch now has the longest reign with the Raw Women’s Title. Lynch is at 242 days right now.

11. Becky Lynch won the first-ever women’s main event match at WrestleMania.

12. At Crown Jewel on October 31, Natalya and Lacey Evans became the first female superstars to compete in a match in Saudi Arabia.

13. Seth Rollins became the first superstar to win the Royal Rumble match as the #10 entrant.

14. Liv Morgan broke the record for the shortest time in the women’s Royal Rumble match at just 8 seconds. Poor Liv.

15. Nia Jax became the first superstar to compete in the Men’s and Women’s Royal Rumble match in the same night.

16. Jeff Jarrett competed in a match on Raw eight days after the Royal Rumble. It was his first match on Raw since September 27, 1999. That’s a record of 19 years, 4 months and 8 days since his last match on Raw. Great stat.

17. Maria Kanellis became the first pregnant champion in WWE history when she was the 24/7 Title. Now that’s a phrase I didn’t expect to write this year!

18. When the “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase bought the 24/7 Title from Madusa to become the 24/7 Champion, it meant there was the longest gap between title reigns in WWE history at 26 years when he was WWE Tag Team Champion with Irwin R. Shyster in 1993.

19. Pat Patterson became the most senior champion in WWE history by winning the 24/7 Title at 78 years old.

That was interesting. I think they picked some pretty good ones. You can check out the video below.

The post Looking at 19 WWE Records That Were Broken in 2019 (VIDEO) appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

The John Report: WWE NXT 12/11/19 Reaction

Welcome to another WWE NXT Reaction column where I cover what happened on this week’s NXT show. As a reminder, this is not a play by play review of the show. Instead, it’s more of a reaction that will include my star ratings for the matches as well as my analysis. I’m going to try to do it every week, but some days it will be later on Thursdays or even Fridays. Part of that is because NXT isn’t shown on Canadian TV on Wednesday nights. That means I have to download it on an illegal streaming site or wait until it goes on WWE Network on Thursday night. (This is the same intro as last week. I write so much in a week that I think I’m allowed to copy and paste!)

It’s now Friday morning and I’m watching on WWE Network. You can check out our review by Jim Kress as well.

Live from Full Sail University in Orlando, FL. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s roll.

The show began with Adam Cole doing a promo from the production truck talking about the main event with Finn Balor, Keith Lee and Tommaso Ciampa battling in a triple threat match for the right to face him for the NXT Title next week.

The announcers for the show were Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness and Beth Phoenix as usual.

Angel Garza defeated Lio Rush to win the NXT Cruiserweight Championship

The story going in was that Garza made it personal by taunting Rush and his family. The pacing of the match was fast-paced right from the start. They brawled in the ring, then out of the ring and then Garza sent Rush face-first into the edge of the ring apron. The fans rooted for both guys, but there was a lot of support for Garza, who was the heel in the scenario. They had some great sequences where they countered moves. It’s good to be able to practice these matches at the WWE PC. Garza was in full control as they went to a commercial.

The counter wrestling continued when Garza was going for a Powerbomb, but Rush countered it with a hurricanrana out of the ring and then he hit an incredible moonsault onto Garza on the floor. They did a spot on the turnbuckle where Garza hit an Avalanche Spanish Fly for a two count and it looked like the finish, but Rush kicked out. The crowd popped huge for that nearfall. They followed that with more strikes, headbutts, each guy connected with big kicks and they each fell face first to the mat. The fans gave them a standing ovation along with “NXT” chants for this incredible action. They even had moments in the match where they hit each other’s moves for nearfalls. Rush hit the Come Up stunner for a two count for another believable nearfall. Rush hit a Final Hour frog splash on Garza for a two count. With Garza on the floor, Rush jumped off the top, Garza blocked with the knees and Garza hit the Wing Clipper in the ring for a two count. That was an even better nearfall than what they did before! Garza slapped on a reverse Full Nelson submission and Rush tapped out to give Garza the victory and the title after 15 minutes. Big pop from the crowd for the title change even though Garza is a heel.

Match Analysis: **** This was great – a four star match out of five. I think it was one of the best Cruiserweight Title matches this year, if not the best. I can’t remember a better match for that title. It felt like a fight, they had some good highspots and I thought the finish of the match was very well done too. It was the best WWE match I’ve seen from both guys, so if they want to do it again in the future, that would be fine with me. The story was that Rush took too much of a risk with the splash attempt on the floor, Garza blocked it and finished him off. This match is also a reminder of what WWE needs to do on Raw and Smackdown some weeks. Start the show with an exciting match like this. It’s better than doing a 15-minute promo like we have seen so many times over the last twenty years.

Garza held up the Cruiserweight Title and Ranallo noted that he is the first Mexican Cruiserweight Champion.

They showed a video package about Shayna Baszler to set up her NXT Women’s Title match next week against Rhea Ripley on the last NXT show of the year. Baszler bragged about all the women she has beaten as the champion.

Finn Balor did a promo talking about all that he has accomplished in WWE as NXT Champion, two-time Intercontinental Champion and first ever Universal Champion.

They showed a clip from during the commercial break where Angel Garza talked about his family. Garza brought his girlfriend in the ring and he proposed marriage to her. She said yes, so she is now his fiancée. Congrats Angel and his lady on the engagement.

Raul Mendoza defeated Cameron Grimes

This match was set up by Grimes attacking Mendoza on NXT last week. They showed a clip of Grimes attacking Kushida at the WWE PC one night earlier because Kushida beat Grimes last week. Mendoza was aggressive early on and hit a dive off the top onto Grimes on the floor. Grimes hit a spinning slam. Kushida showed up to get a closer look at Grimes. They messed up a spot initially, but then Mendoza hit a hurricanrana into a pin to win the match in just over one minute.

Match Analysis: 1/2* It was just a short match to put over the story of Kushida costing Grimes the victory, which should set up another victory for them. It also gives Mendoza a victory and that’s good for him even in a short match.

Post match, Kushida stole Grimes’ hat and walked to the back with it.

Mia Yim did a promo saying it’s not a match with Dakota Kai, it’s a fight and she’s the one that is going to be in the ambulance.

Travis Banks defeated Jaxson Ryker

Banks is from the NXT UK brand, so this was done to promote the Worlds Collide event during Royal Rumble featuring NXT and NXT UK superstars. The bigger man Ryker was in control for most of the match. Banks took a shot to the left eye early in the match and that bloodied him. Banks made a comeback with two dropkicks and a cannonball attack against the turnbuckle. Banks won with a jumping kick off the turnbuckle, Ryker kicked out right after three, but it was too late because Banks got the win after three minutes.

Match Analysis: * It was a quick match to put over Banks. They didn’t get a lot of time, but it was fine for what it intended to be. They should bring over some bigger names from NXT UK to promote the Worlds Collide show.

Dakota Kai defeated Mia Yim

I like Kai’s heel look along with carrying the knee brace of Tegan Nox as a trophy of sorts. They did a good job of fighting aggressively early in the match. Kai attacked Yim at WarGames, so it makes sense for Yim to want to get revenge against her. They had a good spot early in the match with Yim hitting a cannonball against Kai against the steel steps. It was a bit of a back and forth match with each woman getting nearfalls. Kai tried to use the knee brace as a weapon, but the referee stopped her, so Kai exposed the top turnbuckle. Kai sent Yim face first into the exposed turnbuckle and hit the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! pin for the victory. It went about 10 minutes.

Match Analysis: **3/4 The match was just a bit above average. The finish was a bit weak, but it’s not bad because it’s fitting for a heel like Kai to find a way to get the victory with the dreaded ROLLUP OF DEATH~! in a situation like that.

After the match, Yim attacked Kai and they went brawling into the crowd where Yim set up two tables. They were on platform and Yim gave Kai a belly to back suplex off the platform through two tables were about eight feet below. When they landed, the back of Kai’s head hit the edge of the table, so it looked like a brutal landing. They basically missed the second table completely. I assume the plan was to hit the middle of the two tables, so when Yim missed Kai with the placement, that’s why Kai’s head hit the edge of the table.

Kai tweeted that they put eight staples in her head to cover up the wound from the fall. She also listed dates of NXT shows this weekend, so she’s ready to go.

Analysis: That was a big spot, but it was also very risky. I understand wanting to do a table bump to put over the story. I just don’t think doing a back bump through a table is a smart move. That’s why you usually see people doing a Powerbomb or a Spinebuster through a table because then you can protect the person going through the table a lot better than if you are falling from above through the table. I’m glad that Kai is okay. I just wish they did a safer bump.

Keith Lee was featured in a video talking about how opportunity is all that he required while talking about beating Ciampa and Balor in the main event.

Breezango (Fandango and Tyler Breeze) defeated The Singh Brothers (Samir and Sunil Singh)

The Breezango duo had doctor’s outfits as part of their entrance. I don’t think the Singh Brothers are NXT regulars, but they can be used to put over teams like in a match like this. Breeze was the face in peril for a few minutes. Fandango got a good nearfall with a Falcon Arrow. Fandango gave Samir a Powerbomb on the apron as if he was Kevin Owens. Nice double team elbow by Breezango on Sunil as well. Fandango hit the top rope leg drop for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Match Analysis: *3/4 It was okay as a match to put over Breezango. Nobody watching this thought the Singh Brothers had a chance. I would like to see Breezango in a meaningful feud because they’re popular and they’re good workers. It might be time to elevate them as challengers to the Tag Team Titles held by the Undisputed Era.

There was a video about Rhea Ripley talking about how she started training for wrestling when she was 16 and she had a journey that saw her go to the Mae Young Classic, she was NXT UK Women’s Champion, she led the women’s team to victory at WarGames and now she has to get the NXT Women’s Title from Shayna Baszler. That’s going to be such an awesome match.

Bianca Belair defeated Kayden Carter

This was about putting over Belair. I don’t know much about Carter. She appears to be a great athlete and a smaller woman, but she looks pretty good technically. Belair took over the match with two backbreakers followed by a slam where she lifted Carter up by the hair and drove her to the mat. Belair hit a nice-looking slingshot suplex. After some brief offense from Carter, Belair hit a Spear and the KOD slam ended it. The match went about five minutes.

Match Analysis: *1/2 This was a showcase match for Belair. I think she needs a feud once we get to the new year. Perhaps she’ll be the first title contender if Rhea Ripley wins the NXT Women’s Title. Belair has a lot of charisma and could get over as a heel or face, but I can see her having more value as a heel long term.

Adam Cole made his entrance with the NXT Title to watch the main event.

Tommaso Ciampa got a video package to talk about the main event triple threat match. Ciampa said he is focused on getting “Goldie” (the NXT Title) back and that path goes through Lee and Balor.

Analysis: All three video packages for the three guys in the main event were well done. That’s something that WWE needs to do on Raw and Smackdown. Make us care about the big matches more. Feature the wrestlers in those matches. Don’t just throw a big match out there. Make us care about it.

Finn Balor defeated Keith Lee and Tommaso Ciampa to earn a NXT Title Match Next Week

I might do a bit of play by play for this one. Balor was the only heel in the match, so it made sense when Lee and Ciampa worked together for a bit early on. There were so many big spots in the match like when Lee hit a slingshot cross body block over the top onto both guys. That led to a break.

Lee was in control with splashes on both guys, but Balor hit him with a dropkick to the back. Ciampa clotheslined Lee out of the ring. It’s impressive how easily Lee makes those big bumps look. Ciampa hit a double draping DDT on both guys leading to the “Daddy’s Home” chants for Ciampa, who did an Air Raid Clash slam on Balor on top of Lee. That was well done. Lee battled with Ciampa, who couldn’t lift up Lee and Balor was able to get back into it with a double foot stomp on both guys. Lee came back with splashes on both guys and then he tossed Balor into Ciampa. They did a spot off the turnbuckle where Ciampa and Balor hit a double Russian legsweep to drive Lee into the mat. There was another break.

The match returned with Lee putting Ciampa on his shoulders while Ciampa had Balor on his shoulders for a slam and Lee dropped back to send both guys down. That was a brutal landing for Ciampa especially, but they got through it fine. Lee missed a moonsault, but then he hit the Jackhammer on Ciampa. When Lee tried the Jackhammer on Balor, there was an inside cradle counter by Balor. That was tremendous. Balor also countered a Lee move by a double foot stomp to the chest. Wow. Balor took out both guys including a somersault dive over the top on Lee and Balor dropkicked Ciampa into the barricade. Lee got back into it after a shoulder tackle on Balor. Ciampa picked up Lee and gave him an Air Raid Crash slam for a two count. That was impressive to see him pick up a 350 pounder like Lee. A huge spinebuster by Lee followed that and also a moonsault for a two count. Lee hit his Spirit Bomb sitout Powerbomb on Ciampa and was going for a cover, but Balor broke that up with perfect time as he hit the Coup de Grace double foot stomp on Lee and pinned him. Wow. That was the right way to end this with a big move like that.

Match Analysis: ****1/4 This was an awesome triple threat match. I’m not surprised by that given the talents of the men in this match and the fact that they were given nearly 20 minutes. What helped this match a lot is that the winner wasn’t obvious, so the fans were really into it right away and there were so many believable nearfalls. I thought Balor really stood out because this was probably the best match he had this year. Lee and Ciampa were fantastic as usual. I liked the power spots by Lee while Ciampa always impresses. I thought he finish was perfect because it wasn’t a case of Lee hitting a move and Balor stealing the pin. It was Balor being a crafty heel that was smart enough to hit his move at the right time and that’s why he won the match.

The win by Balor means that he will challenge Adam Cole for the NXT Title on next week’s show.

Cole and Balor had a staredown, then the Undisputed Era walked out to post with Cole and Balor continued the trash talk to end the show.

My predictions for the two big title matches next week:

I think Adam Cole will retain the NXT Title against Finn Balor. It’s heel vs. heel, but the crowd will be into it because they love both guys. It’s a good spot for Johnny Gargano to return and distract Balor to cost him the title win. I think the top two matches at NXT Takeover in February will be Cole vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Title and Balor vs. Gargano.

I think Rhea Ripley is going to beat Shayna Baszler to win the NXT Women’s Title. I also think the rumors of Baszler going to Raw to face Becky Lynch will happen in early 2020, so they’ll need to get the title off Baszler. It’s time for a title change with Ripley as the featured woman in NXT as the new champion.


Three Stars

  1. Finn Balor
  2. Keith Lee/Tommaso Ciampa
  3. Angel Garza/Lio Rush

I picked five guys. It happens sometimes when there are two outstanding matches.


Final Thoughts

I give this show a 7.25 out of 10.

There were two matches at the four star level on the show, so that’s impressive. There wasn’t anything else on the show that stood out that much other than the angle with Yim/Kai to continue their rivalry. Make sure you check out the Balor vs. Lee vs. Ciampa and Garza vs. Rush matches because they are two of the best WWE TV matches this month. The rest of this week’s NXT featured some people that don’t get used as much and don’t really have storylines right now. That’s why it got a 7.25 and not an even higher score this week.

Next week’s NXT has two big matches:

* Adam Cole defending the NXT Title against Finn Balor

* Shayna Baszler defending the NXT Women’s Title against Rhea Ripley

It’s a big one. That should be an outstanding episode of NXT.

Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.

John Canton


Twitter @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook




The post The John Report: WWE NXT 12/11/19 Reaction appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

Top 10 Wrestling Stories of the Week 12/12: Rollins Heel Turn, WWE Hall of Fame Announcements, More

Welcome back TJR readers. Were you too busy wrapping Christmas presents to watch Smackdown?  Maybe you were waiting in a long line to see Santa Claus and missed RAW. Well, have no concern as I am back with another edition of The Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week.

10. Primo Colon and Robert Roode Both Suspended 30 Days for Wellness Policy Violations

The WWE announced this week that both Robert Roode and Primo Colon have been suspended for 30 days for violating WWE’s Wellness Policy. These violations caused Robert Roode to miss Smackdown last week, and for Primo Colon to miss a pretty good meal back in catering. (TJRWrestling)

9. Multiple Women Make History

Multiple women made history this week in WWE. Former NXT Referee Jessika Carr made history on Friday Night Smackdown when she joined the Smackdown roster full time, refereeing the match between Mandy Rose and Alexa Bliss. Carr debuted as the first female referee on the NXT brand during the Mae Young Classic in 2017 and it was announced last month that she was being called up to the Smackdown roster. Also, Becky Lynch, Charlotte and the Kabuki Warriors are set to make history this Sunday when they all compete for the Women’s Tag Titles in a Tag Team TLC Match.  After both Charlotte and Becky Lynch were attacked by the Kabuki Warriors this week on RAW, they finally agreed to team up and face the Warriors this Sunday at WWE TLC. Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Asuka already made history last year at this event when they competed in the first Women’s TLC match, and will now do it again in a tag match. The legendary TLC tag matches of the past have set a very high bar, luckily for these women at least they will no longer have to go through a glass ceiling to reach it. (TJRWrestling)

8. Lana and Rusev Sign Divorce Papers on RAW

The Lana and Rusev saga continued during an in-ring segment on RAW this week, with resident divorce expert Jerry “The King” Lawler moderating the signing of the divorce papers between the once happy couple. After Lana signed the papers, Rusev informed Lana and her boyfriend Bobby Lashley that he would only sign if Lashley agreed to meet him in a match. Eventually, Rusev did sign the papers before putting Lashley through a table, setting up a tables match between the two for this Sunday at WWE TLC. Lashley has promised to ask Lana to marry him once this whole thing is over. Jerry Lawler may have also considered pursuing the now single Lana, before deciding that she was a little too old for him. (TJRWrestling)

 7. Angel Garza Wins NXT Cruiserweight Title 

NXT started out fast and furious this week, with Angel Garza defeating Lio Rush to win his first NXT Cruiserweight Championship. During the commercial break after the match, Garza’s incredible night continued as he brought his girlfriend into the ring and asked her to marry him, with her then saying yes to the proposal in front of the live NXT crowd. With how WWE has recently treated marriages, you can probably pencil in a TV segment with these two signing divorce papers sometime in late 2020. (TJRWrestling)

6. The Miz vs. Bray Wyatt to Take Place at WWE TLC This Sunday

WWE finally got around to announcing who will be facing Bray Wyatt this Sunday at TLC. After being viciously attacked by “The Fiend” last week, Daniel Bryan failed to appear as scheduled on Smackdown this week as the guest for Miz TV.  The Miz instead came to the ring alone, stating that no one had seen Bryan since the attack, but he will not rest until he found out what happened to him. Bray Wyatt then appeared on the Titantron and told The Miz not to worry about Bryan before challenging The Miz to come play with him at TLC. When The Miz initially refused the challenge, Wyatt then showed a picture of Miz’s family before challenging him again to come play.  Later in the night, Miz was seen walking into a room with a red light on. Inside the room was a camera and a picture of The Miz’s family with Bray Wyatt photo edited into it. Suddenly Wyatt, while not dressed as The Fiend in the segment, hit The Miz with Sister Abigail before telling him “there’s no place like home for the holidays.” Bray Wyatt, wrestling as himself and not The Fiend, will now compete against The Miz in a non-title match at TLC. The Fiend is not scheduled to appear on the show, possibly due to him having to work a second job that night to help pay for his custom title belt. (TJRWrestling)

5.  King Corbin and Dolph Ziggler Smear Dog Food all Over Roman Reigns on Smackdown

King Corbin humiliated Roman Reigns ahead of their scheduled Tables, Ladders and Chairs match this Sunday at WWE TLC. After Reigns defeated Ziggler this past Friday on Smackdown, King Corbin attacked Reigns and, with the help of Ziggler, handcuffed him to the ring post. Corbin and Ziggler then proceeded to rub cans of dog food all over “The Big Dog”  Roman Reigns face. This showed that possibly the only thing worse than being handcuffed and having dog food smeared on your face, is having to watch someone get handcuffed and have dog food smeared on their face. (TJRWrestling)

4. AEW Announces Their Next PPV Event

After stating weeks ago that AEW would be doing four PPV events a year, AEW finally announced the name of their fourth event. AEW Revolution will join All Out, Double or Nothing and Full Gear as the fourth PPV for AEW. Revolution will take place on Saturday, February 29th from Chicago, Illinois, the same city that All Out occurred although it’s a different arena in Chicago. The WWE Women’s division have already been having a “Revolution” for years, let’s all hope Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley don’t have to wrestle in a series of Bra and Panties matches before AEW has theirs. (TJRWrestling)

3. WWE Announces Several Members for the 2020 Hall of Fame Class

Wrestlemania weekend may still be almost four months away, but WWE already has a jumpstart on announcing who will be going into the WWE Hall of Fame next year. WWE officially announced on their website that Batista will be inducted as well as Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Hulk Hogan and X-Pac all getting their second inductions together as the NWO. Hall, Nash and Hogan are all getting recognized for being the founding members of the legendary NWO faction, while X-Pac is getting recognized for his extraordinary job of carrying all those guys bags. Batista is a no brainer for the Hall of Fame due to his multiple world championships and years as a top guy, and most recently and perhaps most impressively convincing the much younger Dana Brooke to go on a date with him. (TJRWrestling)

2. WWE Releases Several Wrestlers

WWE lightened their roster a bit this week by releasing Luke Harper, Sin Cara and The Ascension. In the case of Harper and Sin Cara they had both publicly asked for their releases on Twitter, it is unknown if The Ascension asked to be released as well or was let go by the WWE. As is standard, WWE wished all of them the best in their future endeavors, unless those endeavors are AEW of course in which then the WWE hopes they fail miserably. (TJRWrestling)

1. Seth Rollins Finally Turns Heel on RAW

After weeks of teasing and speculation, Seth Rollins finally turned heel on RAW this week. Kevin Owens spent the majority of this week’s Raw searching for AOP to try to get revenge for the attack on him last week. Owens finally located AOP’s van and began smashing it with a lead pipe before opening the door to find a man in a hooded sweatshirt and a steel chair. AOP then showed up and began attacking Owens, beating him down. The mystery man in the sweatshirt then revealed himself to be Rollins and he joined AOP, curb-stomping Owens on the cement. Rollins then went to the stage with AOP, and with a great heel promo informed the audience that himself and AOP are now together. It is unclear why Rollins had a steel chair with him in the vehicle, but with his prior history, AOP may want to keep an eye on their backs. (TJRWrestling)

That wraps up this week’s edition of The Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week. Like always, if you like what I do then please follow me on Twitter @BackseatBookers and listen to my podcast The BackseatBookers (be forewarned it is explicit as my use of four-letter words is already in the Hall of Fame.)

The post Top 10 Wrestling Stories of the Week 12/12: Rollins Heel Turn, WWE Hall of Fame Announcements, More appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

WWE NXT Review 12/11/19 by Jim Kress

Adam Cole kicked off the show with yet another fantastic promo. This time he interrupted a replay recap of last week’s events from inside the camera control room. He believes his time has just begun as champion and that Keith Lee, Finn Balor and Tommaso Ciampa haven’t done anything to deserve a shot at the title.

NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Angel Garza vs Lio Rush (c)

The beginning of this match was sloppy. Both wrestlers came at each other like two high school kids who’ve never been in a fight before. They were wildly slapping and missing with open palms while also trying to throw fists. It wasn’t aesthetically appealing. The action cleaned up before the first PiP break. Both Garza and Rush started to focus their offense on big, clean spots. It paid off, as both competitors started to get the Full Sail Arena into the match.

Before the finale of this match, the action was so intense that the crowd reacted with a “Holy Shit!” chant. There were a few believable nearfalls and some amazing springboard work from Garza and Rush.

The match and finale were set up to be amazing, until it wasn’t. Garza and Rush had both kicked out of each other’s finishers, which led the viewer to believe something bigger was to come to finish the match. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen. After Rush kicked out of Garza’s “wing clipper” (first wrestler to do so), Garza proceeded to grab Rush in the same hold, while sitting on the mat, and Rush tapped. It was hard to see and felt anticlimactic in comparison to the rest of the match. Garza did walk away as the victor to the match, and having a new champion is exciting.

Angel Garza has had good character work and his in-ring skills continue to impress. Rush and Garza should have a rematch soon, now that they’re 1-1 against each other.

Winner AND NEW NXT Cruiserweight Champion: Angel Garza

During the commercial break, Angel Garza proposed to his girlfriend and she said yes. Congratulations to them. I know we saw it on TV and in the ring, but can we please not make Angel Garza’s fiancee a part of an angle in an upcoming feud? We don’t need to be reminded of the awful Lana/Rusev/Bobby Lashley storyline anymore.

After the match, Shayna Baszler had a video promo. I guess she really likes Ford Mustangs? She did mention her record as champ and all the notable names she has dominated. The match between her and Rhea Ripley next week should be good.

Raul Mendoza vs Cameron Grimes

Before the match, we saw footage of Grimes attacking Kushida in the locker room from the night before. During Grimes’ entrance, we learned he is not liked by the fans at Full Sail Arena. He was greeted with some pretty heavy boos. The match didn’t last long. Kushida made a quick appearance ringside. Grimes was heavily distracted by his mere presence. Mendoza countered a pop-up powerbomb attempt and turned it into an impressive hurricanrana. He got the 1-2-3. Kushida left with Grimes’ precious hat. I don’t know if it was his original intention to take the hat, he may have been influenced by a hot crowd chanting for him to “Take the hat!”

Winner: Raul Mendoza

Mia Yim was interviewed after this match. She said she wants to put Dakota Kai into an ambulance. Knowing what happens later in the night, this was a poor choice of words.

Jaxson Ryker vs Travis Banks

Jaxson Ryker is a terrifying looking human being. He looks like an absolute monster at 6’1″ 245lbs. With that in mind, it’s a shame that he isn’t very polished in the ring. He’s not great at selling, and still botches quite a bit. At one point, he knocked Travis Banks in the face and it drew blood. It wasn’t bad enough to stop the match, but these things should be avoided. Banks looked good in the ring. A bit more polished than Ryker. The match itself didn’t go very long. A few minutes into the match, Banks gained some offensive momentum. He hit Ryker with a “slice of heaven” and got the 1-2-3.

I say Ryker doesn’t sell well, because of what happened at the end of the match. Banks hit his finisher and got the pin, but Ryker’s lack of selling made the move and himself look weak. It was Banks’ first bit of offense in the match, so seeing a move that didn’t appear to hit very hard on a behemoth like Ryker who had taken no prior damage was hard to wrap your head around.

Winner: Travis Banks

Mia Yim vs Dakota Kai

The action commenced quickly between Yim and Kai. Both looked impressive, delivering heavy blows on each other. They were locked in. This match went to an ad break early, and it wasn’t PiP. Unfortunate that it wasn’t because this entire match leading up to the ad break, was great.

Dakota Kai continues to explore her in-ring skills as a heel. She faked going after Yim with a knee brace, only to get the ref distracted long enough for her to untie the turnbuckle. She threw Yim into the exposed metal, and got the roll-up pin for the win.

Winner: Dakota Kai

Yim retaliated after the match. What happened next was horrific. Yim went for a spot where she was going to suplex Kai off an elevated production area into two tables. Unfortunately, the spot missed a bit and Kai’s head went into the 2nd table, instead of breaking through. In a 2nd camera shot of her laying on the ground, there was clearly blood coming from Kai’s head. I sincerely hope she is okay after that. This is an unfortunate accident that can happen in this business. After returning from a lengthy knee injury, it would be incredibly sad to see Kai’s future in jeopardy because of this spot.

Breezango vs Singh Brothers

Breezango came out with yet another creative intro. This time they were dressed as doctors, and had the nurses rush them in as the video board was showing a heartbeat flat-lining. The Singh Brothers’ intro wasn’t quite as creative. They came out with their fake Bollywood props and danced around a bit. The match didn’t last too long, but had some solid action. The Singh Brothers fought mostly like heels throughout the match. They worked well as a team to distract the ref and get some cheap shots in on Tyler Breeze.

Fandango had some pretty nice bumps on the Singh Brothers when he was finally tagged in. He performed a powerslam/European uppercut combo outside of the ring, with the help of Tyler Breeze, that landed really well. Breezango has been a solid NXT mid-card tag team on Wednesday nights. If NXT wants to bolster their tag division and rival AEW, they’ll need to start pushing teams like Breezango. Losing the Viking Raiders and the Street Profits to Raw were big holes to fill for NXT. Breezango is a team that could excite people if booked correctly.

Winners: Breezango

After the tag match, we saw Rhea Ripley’s video promo leading to her match with Shayna Baszler. She showed off her accomplishments, like Baszler, but Ripley’s was geared more towards her own career highlights. As a recent fan of Ripley, it was nice to see what her wrestling career leading up to this match was like. It was easy babyface points for her going into next week’s match.

Kayden Carter vs Bianca Belair

Bianca Belair might be the most jacked person on the NXT roster. Kayden Carter was the first to enter, so as soon as Belair’s music followed, I thought Carter would be making a quick exit. Belair started the match by throwing her jacket into Carter’s face, distracting and beating her up. Carter made a quick counter and stabilized before Belair could fully unload on her.

I was surprised at the length this match got. If it was intended to be a squash match, Belair had to work too hard to get the victory. But if it was intended to be a showcase for Kayden Carter, it failed to do that. Carter didn’t come off as overly impressive with her offense as she has in the past. Belair did eventually get the pin after throwing Carter around like a rag doll. There are so many talented women on this roster. I’m very curious to see what direction NXT goes to help continue the women’s division’s momentum.

Winner: Bianca Belair

#1 Contender Triple Threat Match: Tommaso Ciampa vs Keith Lee vs Finn Balor

This match was so much fun to watch. The crowd was really into it, and the wrestlers involved did a great job selling for each other, while still making their own moves look solid. The talent that these three competitors have is off the charts.

Adam Cole watched the match from the elevated stage area. I thought his presence was going to lead to an interruption at some point in the match, but was shocked to see he was only a spectator. He had words with the winner of the match afterward, but nothing during the actual match.

There were so many big spots that I decided to start listing them instead of constructing a story of the match. Here were my favorite spots from this match (in no order):

  • Ciampa with double “willow’s bell” on Lee and Balor.
  • Keith Lee electric chair Ciampa while Ciampa held Balor in a suspended suplex.
  • Balor countering a pop up powerbomb with a “coup de grace” mid-air.
  • Ciampa with an “LA crash” on Keith Lee.

My favorite spot of the match was the finale. Keith Lee had Ciampa set up and ready for a popup powerbomb. The slam would’ve been enough to get the victory for Lee, but Balor timed out a top rope Coup de Grace to land on Lee as soon as he was slamming Ciampa to the mat. Balor hooked Lee’s leg and got the pin. They got nearly 20 minutes for this match.

Winner: Finn Balor


Closing Thoughts

The NXT Title chase has narrowed down to Finn Balor challenging Adam Cole on next week’s episode. This is the fantasy booking you would’ve never thought you would’ve seen a year ago. Adam Cole has been unbeatable since he became the NXT champion. I’m not sure Finn will dethrone Cole, but it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise, given how Balor has been booked since his return.

For the NXT Women’s Title, I’m not so confident for the current champion. It looks like Baszler’s days are numbered. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her make a jump to Raw or Smackdown soon. Who better to lead the NXT women’s division than Rhea Ripley? She’s been red hot since becoming a regular on Wednesday nights.

NXT posts their injury report on Thursdays when this review will post. After Kai took her bump, it was hard not to think about her health for the rest of the episode. I hope whatever damage was done doesn’t last and she makes a quick recovery both physically and mentally.

The post WWE NXT Review 12/11/19 by Jim Kress appeared first on TJR Wrestling.