10/16/15 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
Wrestler of the Week – Apollo Crews
You can never be sure how a successful independent wrestler will look when he gets to NXT. While Kevin Owens lit the promotion on fire, there were clear adjustment periods for Hideo Itami and Finn Balor. Even the well-seasoned Samoa Joe took a few weeks to find his stride. That’s why it should not be taken for granted that Crews has ascended so far, so fast. In his first three months in NXT, he has not had even a minor misstep. Every match, every interview, and every highlight package has been at least good and many of them have been better. His win in the #1 Contender’s Battle Royal this week came early in his tenure, but it was deserved. Crews still has plenty of personality development to come, and it will be interesting to see what he’s like if he ever functions as a heel. Nonetheless, he has made the most of his chances so far and looks to be on a fast-track to stardom.
Match of the Week – Matt Sydal def. ACH
I wrote extensively about this match in this week’s ROH review, but the two most impressive elements were Sydal meeting his potential and the perfect timing of the match. Sydal has often seemed like a missed opportunity- he was exiled from WWE just as he started to find his niche, and none of his other endeavors have put him in the spotlight he could seemingly handle. This best-of-five series with ACH has been the opportunity and the delivery I have always wanted from him. The reason this match stood out was its pacing. They built steadily from a slow start and mixed in big spots at the right times. By the time ACH missed his Midnight Star and Sydal answered with a Shooting Star, anyone paying attention was sucked into the match emotionally.
Quote of the Week – ROH Sign
“Boys Lives Matter” The Silas Young-Dalton Castle feud has been as fun and entertaining as a comedy angle can be. It’s great to see the fans getting in on the action.
Must See Wrestling
- New Day Remains the Best of WWE
In a promo at the top of Smackdown, New Day pointed out that they have dominated John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, the Dudley Boys, Randy Orton, and Dean Ambrose in recent weeks. They’re not lying, and whether they’re in the ring or on the mic, every segment of theirs is essential.
- Kevin Owens vs. The World
Some of the shine came off of Owens with a series of losses following his impressive debut against John Cena. Lately, WWE has been slowly rebuilding that legitimacy with wins over the entire bottom half of the roster. Wins this week over Kalisto and Zack Ryder don’t have the same value as his initial win over Cena, but every victory is a reminder of how dangerous he is.
- WWE Gets Meta with Rusev
The Rusev-Lana romance in WWE was oringially art imitating life, but their breakup and Rusev’s romance with Summer Rae took creative license. That’s why it was so mind-bending for WWE to embrace the off-screen engagement of the original couple while the fictional storyline continued to play out. As a fan, I’m very willing to accept that what happens on TV is not real life. I hope WWE doesn’t run from that central principle of wrestling.