Another week has moved on and we now look forward to the start of a new month and a new week.
Earlier this week it was announced that Randy Orton will be the challenger for WWE Champion Drew McIntyre at Summerslam. Drew defeated Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania and since then has had to prove himself as a worthy champion. Last year Kofi had to go through the same prove yourself period including a feud with Randy Orton. At this point Summerslam is set for August 23 and will likely put into motion the plans the WWE have for the reminder of 2020 or at least it should.
On this past edition of Dynamite we saw the AEW debut of a former WWE star now known as Matt Cardona formerly Zack Ryder. At one point it was rumored that Zack would be making the move to Impact Wrestling, but various other names decided to head north to Impact and Zack instead headed south. In the past decade Ryder has seen any chance he might've had to become a reliable star in WWE dry up in favor of him remaining an enhancement talent instead.
It is clear from his arrival on Dynamite that Matt will be watching the back of his friend the fighting champion Cody. However, to avoid Matt being stuck in Cody's shadow he needs to establish and identity for himself relatively quickly as just another friend of Cody's. I think they should either establish the friendship and then pull Matt away from Cody or leave it alone for now to establish Matt on his own first. They have options they just can't take to long to make the choice.
I haven't been the best with keeping this weekly in the month of July, but we will be getting back on track starting now.
At Extreme Rules, Rey Mysterio lost his match against Seth Rollins and it seemed like this will be the last time we see him in WWE for the foreseeable future. According to recent news the reason for writing him off is he has been working without a contract recently. Right now his contract has officially expired and is working on finishing a new contract with the promotion. Mysterio wanted more money and at first Vince denied the request, but it has been reported that Mysterio will be meeting with WWE in the next couple of weeks to try and finalize the contract. Clearly one of the main reasons Rey would resign with WWE to try and give his son Dominik the best chance to get his foot in the door as a wrestler.
According a recent edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter at this time Vince McMahon has suddenly wanted to start pushing new stars due to the current environment in society and Wrestlemania in the past it's time to build for the future. The puzzling part about this is Randy Orton vs Big Show being a focus of programming in recent weeks and them seemingly not even trying to build new talent up at all. Even with a number of veterans on the shelf right now it seems like the only time WWE is interested in putting someone new a main event spot is if they need a challenger for the World Champion, because they don't have a long term plan. I don't mean this to rip on WWE it's just ironic how they say one thing and then end up doing the exact opposite even when they know they have a problem that needs fixing!
Another week is done and some interesting events took place including more bad press for WWE that doesn't seem to want to end.
I came across a report that said Kairi Sane will be returning to Japan with her husband and will only wrestle in Japan for another year or so before retiring. If this does turn out to be true it will be an unfortunate turn of events considering she defeated Charlotte and Rhea for the title and just started getting her shot on top of NXT. Fact is though with the current situation and her earlier desire to return to Japan after being miss used by WWE it was clear Sane wasn't long for the WWE or NXT.
Consider this at Fyer Fest the match between Cody and Jack Swagger ends with an interesting turn of events after Swagger jumps the referee for the poor job he did in the match. Swagger would get suspended 10 days for his actions and joining a list of talent that disappeared. Swagger's suspension reeks of inconsistency though, because they take better care of the referees then the refs enforce the rules. One of my minor gripes with AEW and in some cases WWE is that if a referee doesn't look like he knows what he is doing we as fans notice and it happens often it can take you out of the match. Especially if from inconsistent enforcement of the pre-existing rules that the company had made the official rules (for example: 10 count outside the ring).
Often in tag matches especially previously enforced rules were not enforced as a tool to keep the action going. The reality is if you don't enforce a rule or twice it's fine, but if you do it over and over then the fans will begin to think "okay that rule doesn't matter." Rules are in place in wrestling to help with the immersion and is ways for heels to make you hate them. The way things use to be is that it was up to the referee to know when to look and not for plausible deniability would sometimes help get the match back on track if needed. A good referee is as important to a wrestling show as wrestlers that know the craft. I dig to deep to find a gripe sometimes, but the fact is if a rule worked once and it was established as a rule then it must be for enforced time and again to prove it matters and isn't something that is changed at a moments notice cause it fit shortsighted thinking. In wrestling though it needs to be look at from a bigger picture and not a shortsighted lens, because then you'd only see part of the picture and may not know how to proceed.
Last week we were given the last part of the "Last Ride" documentary detailing the journey for The Undertaker's career specifically focusing on the last four years of his career. It gave us an unprecedented glance into the career of one of the most protected gimmicks and talent in wrestling history. I will not spoil much of the documentary to avoid stopping someone from watching the documentary themselves, but I will say that The Undertaker has never been one to share his private life in front of the camera. I admire Undertaker for being super private and that fans actually respect his privacy and how he doesn't want to share some aspects of his life outside the ring.
In my opinion, the spur of the moment arrival of this documentary kinda shows how important Undertaker has been for the WWE. Also the question is if this was the only way that someone like The Undertaker could put an end to his career. Ric Flair retired and was given a celebration worth a legend like Ric Flair and since they really couldn't give Undertaker the same sent off this was the best way to go with it.
Undertaker could be calling it a career after this and it seems like if this is the end of it for Undertaker then he has more than earned his time to relax and his chance to ride off in the sunset. I highly recommend watching this documentary if you haven't already, because this shows how good WWE is at producing documentaries like this. I firmly believe that this documentary will win awards when it comes to the year end awards from 2020. If this is the end for Undertaker then I will say thank you for everything and I honestly will always remember being able to grow up watching another legend from my time that I had the honor to watch for a lot longer then I should've but that shows how much Undertaker cares about wrestling.
After a week off from the normal it's given time for more new stuff to happen in the world of wrestling.
New Japan seems to be making another step forward into some interesting ground with another television show set to begin next month. It is unclear about the program but instead of trying to figure I will let New Japan's website tell the story for me.
"NJPW of America’s Lion’s Break Project saw bright future prospects battle NJPW’s best in the Anaheim Convention Center in 2018 and 2019. Now, we are thrilled to announce an evolution of Lion’s Break with “Collision”, a weekly broadcast event on NJPW World through July."
"Starting on Independence Day Eve, Friday nights at 10PMe/9c see the present collide with the future, as the best young stars take on big established names, and new figures step up to the plate!"
The main event of week one on Collision will pit Rocky Romero and Jeff Cobb against Karl Fredericks and TJP. Winner of the 2019 Young Lion Cup, Fredericks was also on the winning team of NJPW’s first match of the 2020s, when he teamed with Alex Coughlin, Clark Connors and Toa Henare to emerge victorious on the Wrestle Kingdom 14 night one opening match. Now with a keen slate on NJPW’s return, Fredericks seeks to make a huge mark on 2020 at Collision.
TJP made his return to NJPW rings in the Super J-Cup last year, and took Clark Connors under his wing in the Super Junior Tag League. This veteran and up-and-comer team could make a huge impact, but Romero and Cobb could present a combination of power and technique too tough for anyone to overcome!
LION’S BREAK COLLISION
JULY 4 – 25 NJPW WORLD
Ep #1: Friday July 3 10PMe/9c (Saturday July 4 3AM BST, 11AM JST)
Ep #2: Friday July 10 10PMe/9c (Saturday July 11 3AM BST, 11AM JST)
Ep #3: Friday July 17 10PMe/9c (Saturday July 18 3AM BST, 11AM JST)
Ep #4: Friday July 24 10PMe/9c (Saturday July 25 3AM BST, 11AM JST)
Another week is completed and even though this a day early it is still another report.
On Sunday June 7, NXT will return with another Takeover event and this one will be unlike any other they've done before. We will see the return of the In Your House brand which hasn't been attached to a PPV event since St Valentine's Day Massacre in February 1999. Below are some quotes taken from an article done by wrestlinginc.com
"As noted earlier today, former WWE on-air talent Todd Pettengill appeared in a new retro promo for Sunday's WWE NXT "Takeover: In Your House" event. We may be seeing more of Pettengill this weekend as PWInsider reports that word going around says this is likely not the only presence Pettengill will have in relation to Sunday's big event.
Furthermore, it was noted by @Wrestlevotes that there will be more old school themes used on Sunday at Takeover, including retro graphic and sounds. Production is said to be "phenomenal" for the event."
"There's still no word on if the original house set will be used this Sunday, but it has been heavily speculated on. The classic house stage and set has been a hot topic on social media with many fans asking to see it return at Takeover."
According to recent reports it seems like Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows will likely be heading back to New Japan once their respective 90 day no compete clauses expire on July 15. It is unclear who they might sign with in the United States, but they will likely sign with another promotion to work with in between New Japan tours. I don't know about you, but I'd rather them stay out of All Elite Wrestling at least for now to keep them a part from the pack and make them seem different, because they don't need to go All Elite right away or in the near future.
Another week is finished and we have hit another milestone with the series. This week will be a little different!
Recently there has been a number of reports explaining that WWE will finally be making some more call ups to the main roster. The reason I say finally is because NXT in a way has become just as bloated as the main roster. I've heard plenty of stories about them not having enough lockers for everyone at the performance center which is a problem. How do you fix the problem? Call people up and take them out of the performance center.
It was announced on the most recent edition of Smackdown that Matt Riddle will finally be making the jump to the main roster after wrapping up his feud with Timothy Thatcher on NXT. Riddle has been one talent that a lot of fans have wanted to see make the move, but have had doubts in some cases, because of his attitude when we would see that happening. Either way though Kurt Angle endorsed him before the vignette started which is special in itself, but one has to wonder would a feud with Pete Dunne been in the cards if things were different and not Timothy Thatcher. Basically if Dunne was stuck in the UK due to the pandemic would they have still moved Riddle up to Smackdown now or would it have been longer down the line.
However, Riddle isn't the only NXT star set to get the call up to the main roster, because if Smackdown is getting a new star then Raw needs one as well. According to the recent edition of the Wrestling Observer current NXT star Dominik Dijakovic will be getting called up soon with him being expected to join Raw. Dominik had been having show stealing matches recently with North American Champion Keith Lee and has proven himself time and again as someone who could make the jump which is something I mentioned earlier. It has taken a while, but NXT once again has a deep roster and needs to make some room to allow other stars to shine and start getting some new faces over again. Overall the main roster needs some new blood and NXT needs a shot in the arm so these call ups benefit both parties for once and I think there should be more to come.
Another week down and it's time to look back at the news from the last week that didn't get the spotlight.
This past Tuesday saw the season finale of the Dark Side of the Ring which told the story of the final days of Owen Hart. For the first time to my knowledge since the tragic event twenty one years ago his family spoke on his passing in this documentary. I will not spoil anything of what was said for that you need to go back and watch it. It has changed my opinion on the entire situation and I'm happy his family finally got the chance to speak.
The episode being the final episode of the season had high expectations and the subject of the episode raised expectations even more. They more than delivered with the season finale drawing a record rating and viewers for the finale. The final tally puts it at 349,000 people up 32% from the previous week's episode on the Road Warriors which might bound well for a season 3. Fact is I would love to see them return next year, but we won't know until probably the fall what the fate is of our favorite wrestling docu series.
Unfortunately we also lost a valued member of the wrestling family yesterday as youngster Hana Kimura passed away at the age of 22. I don't know the first thing about her, but this when I look to Ring of Honor's website for help: "Hana was one of the top young stars in STARDOM, the premier women’s professional wrestling organization in the sport. She also competed in several matches in ROH, including a six-woman tag match at G1 Supercard before a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden.Hana followed in her mother Kyoko Kimura’s footsteps into pro wrestling, making her official in-ring debut in 2016 at the age of 18. She won STARDOM’s prestigious Five Star Grand Prix in 2019. In 2018, Hana participated in the tournament to crown the inaugural Women of Honor Champion. This past January, Hana competed in a tag match at New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 14 before more than 40,000 fans at the Tokyo Dome. It was the first women’s match at the Tokyo Dome in nearly 20 years."
It is always a horrible tragedy when something like this happens and we can only hope that people learn how much words can hurt and cause push people to the very brink. I want to offer my deepest condolences to Hana's family, friends, and fans. Rest in Peace!! Gone far to soon!!!
Another week is done and we look back before we move forward to a new week.
By far the biggest coming out of this week is the announcement made earlier this week by now former Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch. It absolutely was unexpected headline when I saw that Becky was pregnant and not just, because I know her Seth are together it's more I didn't expect it at all. In wrestling it often very difficult to know when a performer will decide it's time to start a family and put their career on hold especially when they are at the top of their game like Becky Lynch. The amount of emotion during the speech made it seem like she was going to retire. It was one of Becky's best promo's in a long time and this will be a blessing, because it will give Becky some needed time off for people to start missing her.
It was reported earlier this week that "Iron" Mike Tyson will be a special guest at the upcoming AEW Double or Nothing event. Tyson will not be physically involved in anything at this point and will be the man to present the new TNT Championship belt to the winner of Lance Archer vs Cody. Tyson has been pretty absent from the public eye in recent years, but was making headlines recently with the talk of his return to boxing gaining attention. The one thing we knew is that when "Iron" Mike is around we can truly expect the unexpected.
A week has come to an end and we need to look back again but a day earlier this time around.
In an interesting turn of events the publisher of WWE games 2K tweeted about the future of the game this coming after the universally panned failure that the recent installment in the series was considered. I for one haven't played a WWE game in a few years based on the series lacking in the last few years and just not really being a game I thought was worth spending money on. In the past the WWE game was a yearly purchase, but I think after 2K17 the interest hit a low and we stop really wasting the money.
On this week's edition of Dynamite we were treated to a street fight and the debut of Matt Hardy. Hardy & Kenny Omega fought Sammy Guevara and Chris Jericho in an interesting match to say the least and a few sights I never thought I would see in a wrestling match. I think there is a line and even though we are in a time unlike any other there is still a line that shouldn't be crossed with wrestling and this hovered on that line I'm not really sure how I feel about this match, but I am intrigued enough to see the follow up.