Wrestler of the Week – Cesaro
It’s easy to overlook Cesaro because he is so dependably excellent. What he has done over the last several weeks in the process of becoming a fan favorite is distinctive and exciting. While Cesaro minimized some of the most fan friendly parts of his offensive arsenal as a heel, he has been uncaged. The result has been an assortment of new moves every week. Cesaro is using moves that we have never seen him execute in WWE. It’s almost as if he sees a move and automatically knows how to execute it in the ring. On Raw, he finished Big E with the Dos Caras Clutch. Obviously, a lot more goes into wrestling than an impressive set of moves, but Cesaro is amazing in how many different ways he can work a great match.
Match of the Week – Neville def. John Cena by DQ
The latest installment of Cena’s U.S. Open Challenge was quite possibly the best. Given the list of submissions to date, that’s high praise. After Sami Zayn answered the challenge in his home town of Montreal last week, his NXT compatriot Neville took his turn this week. Neville and Cena both broke out moves we have not seen them use in WWE- a Phoenix Splash by Neville and a Michinoku Driver by Cena, among other things. More impressively, Neville withstood Cena’s attack so well that it often felt like h had a chance to win, storyline limitations be damned. He even hit the Red Arrow to presumably beat Cena when Rusev interfered. Fans often complain about the effect of outside interference in wrestling matches, but this was an instance where it added to the drama and made both wrestlers look outstanding for the finish.
Quote of the Week – HHH
“Daddy’s home,” HHH’s ominous warning to his feuding Authority faction. It also served as a symbolic transition out of the post-Wrestlemania break as WWE starts preparing for SummerSlam.
Must See Wrestling
- Lucha Underground Delivers its Highest-Profile Matchup
Ever since Alberto El Patron arrived in LU, American wrestling fans have anticipated when he would face Johnny Mundo. They finally crossed paths this week to see who would face Hernandez in a #1 Contender’s match. While there were little bits of sloppiness (Mundo hooking the wrong leg and then re-hooking the other on a late cover, for instance) the storytelling and athleticism were first rate. Patron eventually got the win with a big superkick, though it’s likely that we’ll see these two in a LU ring again in the future.
- Daniel Bryan Relinquishes Intercontinental Title
First, the bad news. Continued uncertainty over Bryan’s long-term health forced him to give up his Intercontinental Title on Raw. His pursuit of the title and ultimate win in a great ladder match at Wrestlemania helped make the title feel more important. The elevated stature for the belt makes it worthy of a match in the Elimination Chamber. That non-PPV WWE Network special has as much promise as some of the lesser PPVs on the schedule, and the match for the vacant title could be the headliner. Although it’s not how anyone envisioned it happening, Bryan’s pursuit and win made the Intercontinental Title the semi-main event feature WWE hoped it would.
- ROH Features All-Star Showcase
On the subject of dream matches for Alberto El Patron, ROH fans have waited to see him face Jay Briscoe since his debut with the company. Although ROH didn’t book that fantasy matchup, it did pit them on opposite sides of a six-man tag. El Patron sided with ACH and Matt Sydal against Mark Briscoe and Roderick Strong. They shared the ring briefly, but the story of the match was ACH, who overcame his recent losing streak to pin Mark Briscoe. ACH is a wrestler on the rise for ROH and wins in matches like this one help him gain credibility in the fans’ eyes.