Wrestling Wrap: 5-28-15

There is so much happening in the wild and wacky world of pro-wrestling right now, it’s almost difficult to keep up with it all. Here’s a rundown of just the last couple of weeks.

Samoa Joe made his NXT debut.

Samoa Joe is a huge name in pro-wrestling. He gained notoriety over a decade ago working with CM Punk and eventually became a staple of TNA. People thought that we would never see the day when he showed up in a WWE ring. Not only did he show up at the end of last week’s NXT pay per view, but he kept his name and a carbon copy of his theme song. News also came out that reported how Joe has an experimental type of deal where he can still work independent shows while still under contract with WWE. This would have been unheard of even 6 months ago and it goes to show how Triple H is willing to try different things to make NXT successful. Samoa Joe vs Kevin Owens will without a doubt be a match of the year contender.

Speaking of making NXT successful.

Sasha Banks vs. Beckly Lynch tore the house down on the aforementioned NXT show. These two girls went out there and showed up the boys in the back with some brutal looking MMA-inspired submissions and all kinds of technical prowess and high flying. Even though Becky lost, the live crowd sang her theme song and gave her a standing ovation, something that’s never happened for a female wrestler on Monday Night Raw.

Speaking of Monday Night Raw...

Kevin Owens made his Raw debut and immediately got placed into a program with John Cena, obviously showing that the WWE is high on Owens. The two have a match set for the Elimination Chamber pay per view on Sunday that I’m very excited for. So not only is Kevin Owens on the main roster feuding with one of the top guys in the company, he’s also working in NXT about to start a feud with one of the hottest free agents they’ve ever signed. Owens is a busy man.

Two weeks ago, it was announced that the WWE decided to revive the Elimination Chamber pay per view and stuff it into the last weekend in May. Their idea is that since May was a free month for the WWE Network, people will sign up for the show and get stuck into paying for June. It’s a shady tactic, but we have to remember this whole industry evolved from a carnival sideshow.

Elimination Chamber is shaping up to be great, even though it will oversaturate the amount of live wrestling shows over the course of a month and a half. It puts us at 3 live pay per views through May and June, or one every two weeks. Payback just happened on the 17th, and Money in the Bank is scheduled for June 14th. I’m not complaining though. With only two weeks in between them, the build-up for these live shows have to be shortened down and move along much more quickly.

This is how we end up with Dean Ambrose in the title picture, once again feuding with Seth Rollins.

These two have a great rivalry and can put on some great matches, so I’m glad to see this feud getting re-ignited from last summer. I don’t think it’s the right time for Ambrose to win the championship though, but his time will come. It really seems as if they’re heading towards the long-rumored SHIELD triple threat match at Summer Slam, but then there’s the elephant in the room of Brock Lesnar coming back. We’ll see where this goes.

Since Daniel Bryan’s injuries caused him to relinquish the Intercontinental championship it’s been announced that the vacant title will be up for grabs in an elimination chamber match with some high caliber talent. It’s a crazy hybrid of a cage match and a gauntlet match that always ends up providing quality results.

The Tag Team Titles will also be up for grabs in the chamber, where somehow they’ve decided to put each team into one pod. This match is going to be a ridiculous clusterfuck. Just look at these cartoon characters. Now put them all into a giant cage and make them fight over a prize.

The New Day are still highly entertaining every week. They even busted out the Lil B cooking dance last night on Raw.

Hopefully they can overcome the curse and walk out of the chamber as champions.

In other wrestling related current events, TNA continues to dig their own grave. News has come out that Destination America, an offshoot of the Discovery channel, will be cancelling them come September. In a hilarious chain of events, TNA president Dixie Carter accidentally CC’d a Destination America executive in an email and referred to them as “dummies” in response to their low ratings.

I’ve enjoyed TNA in the past and don’t want to completely throw them under the bus, but this kind of mismanagement is insane. This isn’t the first time this has happened either, with Vince Russo doing the same sort of email slip-up to get them kicked off of Spike TV last year. While I would hate to see a place for performers to work go under, TNA is getting to Old Yeller status. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like Billy Corgan will save them.

New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor teamed up this month to put on several nights of iPPV events and on-demand live shows. War of the Worlds and Global Wars took place and mixed up all of the key players from NJPW and ROH, putting on some absolutely killer matches in the process. I’ve yet to see all of the full shows but I’ve seen a few matches here and there. Hiroshi Tanahashi took on Roderick Strong in a match of the year contender. Jay Lethal and Tetsuya Naito tore the house down, while the ROH All-Stars took on NJPW’s Bullet Club in a 5on5 match that had a good mix of comedy and action. 

It’s quite the time to be a wrestling fan. The WWE is headed towards Summer Slam and their shows are seeing some drastic improvements from a month ago. NXT is a hot product right now and can only go up from here. The amount of hours of good pro-wrestling available right now is staggering and even overwhelming at times. Wouldn’t it be great if I could get paid professionally to watch this stuff 40+ hours a week? 

by Nate Dimit