4/29/16 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
Wrestler of the Week – Prince Puma and Rey Mysterio Jr
Two athletic marvels at opposite ends of their careers have become inextricably linked for the betterment of Lucha Underground. The pairing works wonders for both wrestlers because they complement one another beautifully. While Puma does not have the long track record that triggers automatic fan investment in his character, Mysterio brings that quality with him wherever he wrestlers. On the other hand, Mysterio no long has the physical ability to wrestle long singles matches at maximum effort. In a trios tag team with Puma, the younger wrestlers (including Dragon Azteca Jr) can do some of the heavy lifting before Mysterio gets involved to push the crowd over the top. It’s a brilliant partnership and fits Mysterio like a glove at this point in his career. It’s almost as if the LU trios division was designed specifically for him, even though it became a featured part of the show a year before he debuted. This week, the team survived the other top trios teams to become Trios Champions. Mysterio got the pin with a moonsault on Jack Evans, but the match would not have worked without Puma.
Match of the Week – AJ Styles def. Sheamus
Jim Ross tweeted that the first match on this week’s Raw was “a good piece of business,” and that old saying was very descriptive of this match. It stood on its own as an entertaining spectacle because Sheamus bought into the hard-hitting style that Styles proved he can take in Japan. It also worked in the medium-term because it showed that Styles can survive a physical beating from a bigger opponent in anticipation of his showdown with Roman Reigns. Lastly, it showed yet again that any match Styles has on Raw or Smackdown is worth watching carefully. He’s a tremendous worker and his assimilation to WWE has taken away none of his innate ability.
Must See Wrestling
- Samoa Joe Becomes NXT Champion
After two failed challenges to Finn Balor, Joe finally pulled off the big win at a house show in Lowell, MA. I suspect that WWE sees the title change as a way to spike interest in non-televised NXT shows as the company prepares to go on the road more often. In kayfabe, it’s a big win for Joe, who has really found his stride in his rivalry with Balor. He carries on the growing prestige of the NXT Title.
- TNA Crowns New Champions
TNA filled its annual Sacrifice special episode with title matches. The Decay beat Beer Money for the Tag Team Titles and Bram won the King of the Mountain Title from Eric Young. Both wins make some sense, but their impact is blunted by the fact that they took place because the champions were leaving the company. The biggest outcome of the show was Mike Bennett’s win over EC3 for EC3’s first pinfall loss in three years. The win is a sign for big things to come for Bennett.
- WWE Loads Up for Payback
How is it possible that WWE’s Payback PPV has a more compelling slate of matches than Wrestlemania. Even without the star power of HHH, Shane McMahon, Brock Lesnar, or the Undertaker, there are five or six matches that are as exciting as anything from the big show. I’m personally looking forward to the Kevin Owens-Sami Zayn showdown that isn’t even on the four-match preview poster.