Wrestler of the Week – Dean Ambrose
I doubt I can write any more glowingly about Ambrose than I already did in Monday’s Raw Review. Suffice to say, I think he is on his way to being the sort of lightning in a bottle that carries WWE at the top of the card. His in-ring work gets better the longer and higher-profile his matches get. His personality is distinctive and unpredictable that makes it impossible to look away when he’s on the screen. He has a magnetism that draws a crazy response from the crowd, even when he’s losing matches. He looked good at Payback, despite the fact that he did not factor in Seth Rollins ultimately pinning Randy Orton. He looked even better on Raw, when he pinned Rollins to a pile of cinderblocks to compel Stephanie McMahon to give him a title shot at Elimination Chamber. Even if Ambrose isn’t a favorite, a short title reign for him could help catapult him into permanent superstar status.
Match of the Week – New Day def. Kidd and Cesaro
In the two-of-three falls Tag Team Title Match at Payback, these four innovators continued to find new ways to match up and create an interesting story. Often times, repeat matches in WWE do not grow on one another because there are so many fan-service spots that there is no originality from match to match. Kofi Kingston, Big E, Kidd, and Cesaro have avoided that fate and wretled totally distinctive matches every time they are matched up with each other. New Day got a clever and infuriating heel victory when Xavier Woods rolled up Kidd and the referee could not see his face. It was a non-twin Twin Magic finish, and it made fans dislike New Day even more, despite their outstanding showing in the ring.
Quote of the Week – Xavier Woods
“We are well aware,” in response to the fans’ “this is awesome” chant.
Must See Wrestling
1. ROH Midcard Breaks Through
As much as we have talked and written about the emerging young generation of ROH stars- Kyle O’Reilly, Jay Lethal, Donovan Dijak, Cedric Alexander- it was impressive to see some other faces step up on last week’s episode. ACH finally ended his losing streak in big matches with an outstanding win over Adam Page that cast both wrestlers in a flattering light. Hanson and Rowe later put up a hell of a fight against the Briscoes to show that War Machine is a vialbe main event tag team. A few months ago, ROH’s future looked murky, but it looks better and better with each passing week.
2. Cena Dispatches Rusev
After a thirty minute war that alternated between brutal and frustratingly sloppy, Cena finally retained his US Title when Lana quit on his behalf. What came next for each wrestler was possibly even more intersting. Lana abandoned Rusev, essentially turned babyface, and sided with Dolph Ziggler to hint at a possible new rival. Cena issued another open challenge and got verbally smacked down by Kevin Owens to lead to an unexpected dream match at Elimination Chamber. After four months together, it will be fun to see Cena and Rusev go in new directions.
3. TNA Tag Team Series Kicks Off
The Wolves and the Dirty Heels wrestled their first match in the best-of-five series for the vacant Tag Team Titles. As Scott and I discussed on the Going Over Podcast (non-WWE edition), sometimes it’s best to kick back and enjoy watching a good wrestling match. Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, Davey Richards, and Eddie Edwards are four of the best TNA has to offer, so putting them in the ring together is bound to yield a good outcome.