By Andrew Berg
Wrestler of the Week – Seth Rollins
It has been a banner year for Rollins and the final week was no exception. Part of what has made him so good is that he has found a way to be both really entertaining and intensely unlikable at the same time- a difficult combination to pull off. His unlikability was on display on Smackdown when Dolph Ziggler and Roman Reigns teamed against him because they both have problems with him. Even with Big Show on his team, Reigns was able to spear Rollins and get the win. On Monday, Rollins was even better. He and Reigns wrestled a very good singles match that ended when Big Show attacked Reigns to prevent a spear on Rollins. As the guest on Edge and Christian’s talk show, he made even more enemies. He threatened to Curb Stomp Edge into the Money in the Bank briefcase if John Cena did not reinstate HHH and Stephanie McMahon as the authority figures on Raw. When Cena relented, Rollins delivered one of the best lines of his career, “I’m going to kill him anyway.” If you’re scoring at home, that means that Rollins now has believable, personal feuds going with Dean Ambrose, Reigns, Cena, Ziggler, Randy Orton, and Edge, with lingering tension toward champion Brock Lesnar. That’s no small accomplishment.
I was away last week, but for the sake of posterity, Dolph Ziggler won Wrestler of the Week for 12/24.
Match of the Week – Charlotte def. Sasha Banks
There were several good matches on TV in the last week but few great ones. My personal favorite was the only new match on NXT’s highlight show. Charlotte had Ric Flair in her corner, which is always a nice way to make her matches feel extra special. She and Sasha easily rekindled the heat from their match at R(E)volution and put on another excellent match that the main roster will have trouble matching. Charlotte fought through a large number of creative attacks from Sasha and eventually made her tap out to the Figure Four. It was a fun match that serves as a reminder that Charlotte is on her way to being one of the top women wrestlers on the main roster very soon.
Quote of the Week – Daniel Bryan
“Is my career over? No.” Bryan’s twist on his catchphrase swerved what sounded like a retirement announcement. Instead, he entered the Royal Rumble in the feel good moment of the week.
Must See Moments
1. The Authority Returns
Raw was full of big returns. In addition to Bryan’s entrance in the Royal Rumble and Bad News Barrett’s return to the ring, HHH and Stephanie McMahon came back into power through Seth Rollins’s violent manipulation. The timing is just right for The Authority to return. Enough time has passed that Dolph Ziggler’s Survivor Series accomplishment still feels meaningful, yet there is plenty of time to build a storyline centered around The Authority for Wrestlemania. The natural progression would see the next step from Sting, so it will be fun to anticipate his involvement in the weeks to come.
2. Redragon Retains ROH Tag Team Titles
ROH wrapped up its televised year with two excellent matches. First, Adam Cole beat Brian Kendrick in a match that reminded everyone how great he is in spite of his loss to Jay Briscoe at Final Battle. The main event of the show was the finals of Tag Wars- a four-team elimination match for the ROH Tag Team Titles. Matt Sydal and ACH upset the Young Bucks in the qualifiers and had an equally strong showing in this match. They took out the Briscoes then The Addiction to come within a pin of the Tag Team Titles. Redragon showed their tag team skill and isolated ACH to win the match and retain their titles, but it was a very fun match that helped get the new team over. Sydal and ACH could be highly entertaining challengers in the New Year.
3. Wrestle Kingdom 9 Approaches
For 24 years, New Japan Pro Wrestling has put its biggest show of the year on January 4. For the last nine years, that show has been known as Wrestle Kingdom. This year, the show will be distributed live in North America with English commentary for the first time. The first major venture for Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling will be the North American presentation with Jim Ross and Matt Striker on commentary. The show will be available live at 2 AM Eastern Time or on delay on Sunday night. NJPW is in a golden age for business with two legitimate main eventers going head to head for the IWGP Heavyweight Title. Tanahashi and Okada have had great matches in the past and this one could top them all. American fans can also look forward to seeing the DX-style Bullet Club faction featuring AJ Styles and other American wrestlers. Redragon will defend the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles against Timesplitters, the Young Bucks, and Forever Hooligans in what is sure to be an insane match.