Wrestler of the Week – Sasha Banks
Banks has already had quite a few roles in NXT in her relatively short career. She has been a heel accomplice, a chicken heel who cheats to win, a crafty tweener, and now a full-blown babyface who can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. At last week’s Takeover: Unstoppable, her match with Becky Lynch stole the show and added itself to the long list of outstanding women’s matches at major NXT shows. The most impressive part of the match was that none of it felt predictable or inevitable. I was on the edge of my seat while Sasha finally made Becky tap out to the Banks Statement. It was a well-deserved win and another notch in the belt for a woman with a ceiling much higher than anyone expected a year ago.
Match of the Week – Jay Lethal and Kyle O’Reilly Wrestled to a Time Limit Draw
I won’t take credit for the reintroduction of the time limit draw on national TV, but our Going Over Podcast has certainly endorsed that booking decision on a regular basis. O’Reilly got a rare major singles opportunity in ROH in this TV Title shot and absolutely made the most of it. He targeted Lethal’s left arm relentlessly and Lethal expertly sold the damage to keep the story at the front of fans’ minds. For his part, Lethal took advantage of every opportunity and controlled large stretches of the match. The interaction between Lethal and Jay Briscoe at the end of the match was icing on the cake. O’Reilly emerges as a viable singles threat to anyone in ROH, while Lethal and Briscoe have a hot rivalry to headline the Best in the World PPV.
Quote of the Week – Lana
“You are a liar and a quitter,” part of Lana’s full face-turn speech to Rusev, in which she treated him like a chronic domestic abuser.
Must See Wrestling
- Samoa Joe Confronts Kevin Owens
Although Sami Zayn’s bum shoulder did not allow him to work a full match with Owens at Takeover: Unstoppable, NXT found a way to end the show with a bang. After Owens annihilated his old friend and challenger, Joe emerged in his debut to force Owens to back down. The interaction created more anticipation than anything because Owens wisely retreated to reinforce his heel bona fides. With Zayn, Hideo Itami, and Alex Riley on the shelf, Joe could not have come in at a better time to keep Owens on his toes.
- Dean Ambrose Secures Title Shot
WWE reprised an old Austin-McMahon angle to build for Elimination Chamber and it played like a fun acoustic cover of a classic rock song. HHH and Stephanie McMahon told Ambrose he had to sign a contract by the end of the night to make his match official, but had him arrested when he inadvertently made contact with a cameraman. Naturally, he drove the police vehicle back into the arena at the last second and triumphantly signed the contract. Even if the broad strokes of the segment weren’t totally original, the execution was inventive and, above all, fun. The fans are squarely behind Ambrose because the time he spends on screen is typically enjoyable. It will be interesting to see where that support takes him on Sunday.
- Angelico Pushes the Limits, Again
Lucha Underground focused on the Trios Titles a week before its huge upcoming show. Angelico, Son of Havoc, and Ivelisse had a rematch with The Crew despite Ivelisse having her leg in a hard cast. Angelico and Son of Havoc kept themselves in the match long enough for Angelico to hit an insane missile dropkick off the top of the office structure to a ladder in the ring to disrupt a climb. The Jeff Hardy-like spot allowed Ivelisse to hop her way up the ladder and retrieve the belts for her team to retain.