3/25/16 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
Wrestler of the Week – Kevin Owens
The second-to-last Raw before Wrestlemania was not one a great show, but Owens is not to blame for its shortcomings. First, he wrestled a very good match with AJ Styles that led into a confrontation with Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, and The Miz. He tried to circumvent those challengers when he used permission from Stephanie McMahon to make a #1 Contender’s match between Stardust, Sin Cara, and Zack Ryder. Stephanie punished him for his mockery and told him he would be defending against all six opponents in a ladder match at Wrestlemania. On Smackdown he teamed with Miz against Zayn and Ziggler, and repeatedly tried to leave the match. The other three challengers chased him back to the ring and created a brawl that ended with a Rough Ryder on Owens. Altogether, he made the most of a bad situation. I would rather see Owens wrestle a match in which he can show off at Wrestlemania, but I trust that he will find a way to make the seven-man spot fest fun.
Match of the Week – Matanza Wins Aztec Warfare
Lucha Underground is on fire once again. A solid start to season two dialed up several levels of intensity over the last three weeks and crested at the second Aztec Warfare. The highlight of the match was the dual debuts of Rey Mysterio and Dario Cueto’s brother, Matanza. Matanza consecutively eliminated the last six contestants to win the match and Fenix’s LU Title in dominating fashion. The way the match was booked was pure brilliance. Cueto’s return was completely unexpected and the fans were so squarely behind Mysterio that his showdown with Matanza at the end evoked an emotional response. It should no longer be surprising, but the work LU is doing every week is changing pro wrestling.
Must See Wrestling
- Hiroshi Tanahashi and Michael Elgin def. The Young Bucks
Elgin looks good any time he pairs with Tanahashi because Tanahashi knows how to deliver in big matches like few others. ROH continues to take advantage of its relationship with NJPW by dialing up the star power. The power advantage for Tanahashi and Elgin eventually allowed Tanahashi to get the win off of a High Fly Flow, but the benefit of the match was the progression for Elgin.
- Dean Ambrose Continues to Evolve
Although Wrestlemania looks like an event designed to coronate Roman Reigns as the face of WWE, it’s his Shield partner Ambrose who looks more like a giant star by the day. He met up with Terry Funk, survived Braun Strowman, and brawled with Brock Lesnar this week as he continues to be the most popular full-time wrestler on the roster.
- Asuka def. Emma
It wasn’t the strongest episode of NXT, but I appreciate that the promotion continues to feature its talented women wrestlers. Asuka forced Emma to tap out, which further builds her aura of invincibility as she readies to challenge Bayley at Takeover: Dallas.