5/20/16 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
Wrestler of the Week – New Day
Sure it was corny, but New Day’s time machine (the New Day-lorean) was a very clever way to engage with the Vaudevillains. The bygone age gimmick often gets lost in feuds because it is difficult to make it the basis of a conflict. New Day is nothing if not creative, so going back in time to learn more about their adversaries was effective. It was also a lot more fun than a singles match between one of them and one of the Vaudevillains. New Day also participated in an eight-man tag on Smackdown with Big Cass against the Vaudevillains and Dudley Boys. It was my favorite match on the show and Big Cass looked great once again. His association with New Day has helped keep him relevant with Enzo on the shelf.
Match of the Week – Austin Aries and Shinsuke Nakamura def. Blake and Murphy
Aries introduced Nakamura as his surprise partner to take on Blake and Murphy. It’s easy to forget, since so many of his iconic matches have been singles matches, but NJPW’s road show style mean that most of Nakamura’s matches with the company were tag matches. He showed great tag psychology and even some teamwork against Aries. Meanwhile, the rapidly improving Blake and Murphy held up their end of the bargain. There was plenty of embedded narrative, too. Aries looked angry when Nakamura hit the Kinshasa for the pin rather than tagging him in. After the finish, Alexa Bliss and then Blake walked out on Murphy, possibly ending the alliance.
Must See Wrestling
- The Club Wages War
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows have brought a tougher side out of the Usos and Roman Reigns. Their match on Raw was hard-hitting and intense. Gallows had a similar match with Reigns on Smackdown that ended with a beat down on the champion. I have two hopes for The Club- the first is that I hope they do not waste AJ Styles’s immense popularity by turning him heel rather than Reigns. The second is that Anderson and Gallows get a win here and there to validate their position.
- Chavo Guerrero Wins Gold
Although Chavo only got in the Lucha Underground Gift of the Gods match because he stole Cage’s Aztec Medallion, he walked away with the belt. He did almost nothing throughout the match until Cage appeared and cleaned house. He dragged Chavo into a cover and then announced that they would face one another next week. Cage is physically impressive and LU has built fan support for him this season.
- Ambrose Introduces the Asylum
Dean Ambrose challenged Chris Jericho to an Asylum Match, the first of its kind. The match will take place in a cage with various weapons hanging above the cage walls. I thoroughly enjoyed the promos by both Jericho and Ambrose to lay out the stakes for the match and Jericho took it to another level on Smackdown. Their match has had a strong build as part of a quietly solid Extreme Rules card.