5/6/16 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
Wrestler of the Week – Kevin Owens
It has become redundant to point out that Owens is always entertaining, regardless of the situation he is in. This week, he was given lots of opportunities and capitalized on all of them. First, he wrestled a match with Sami Zayn at Payback that would have been an easy match of the week in most weeks. He sat in on commentary during the following Miz vs. Cesaro match and elevated that segment, as well. Over the course of Raw and Smackdown, he continued to heel it up against Zayn, but also made it clear that he is destined for a four-way Intercontinental Title rivalry with Miz, Cesaro, and Zayn. It’s rare for a wrestler to be so good both in the ring and on the mic as Owens. It takes that kind of skill level to overcome the presumption that a wrestler who looks like him can’t become a star.
Match of the Week – Sexy Star def. Mariposa
Lucha Underground was hot from start to finish this week with an Aztec Medallion on the line in each match. It build to a shocking crescendo that was both dramatic and completely unexpected. Sexy Star was one of the few things that I thought didn’t work in season one, but her imprisonment by Mariposa and Marty Martinez introduced another side. That darker side came out in their “No Mas” match this week. They brawled up to the scaffolding above the ring and Sexy fought through tremendous punishment that left her soaked in blood. When The Mack helped keep Marty at bay, Sexy was finally able to overcome Mariposa and make her quit with a cross-armbreaker. The tougher, more resolute side of her personality immediately made her significantly more interesting. Outside of the character development, the build of the match was pitch perfect and peaked at exactly the right time.
Must See Wrestling
- Dean Ambrose def. Chris Jericho
While Owens and Zayn wrestled my favorite match at Payback, Ambrose and Jericho wrestled a great match of a very different type. While Owens and Zayn came out of the gate red hot, Jericho and Ambrose built gradually. Jericho controlled much of the match, but each Ambrose comeback made more progress until he finally fought out of the Walls of Jericho to hit Dirty Deeds. Their rivalry appears to be ongoing, which will be great to watch.
- AJ Styles Stakes a Claim to the Title
The main event at Payback was overshadowed in some ways by the great matches before it, but Styles undeniably reached another level at the show. He beat Reigns twice- once by countout and once by DQ-, though the match was restarted each time. Interference by the Usos and Anderson and Gallows made it hard for them to get back into a groove. Even so, Styles came away looking like a big star and a real threat to Reigns.
- Eric Young Arrives in NXT
Just a week after Young’s final TNA match aired, he confronted old rival Samoa Joe in the ring and challenged him for the NXT Title. Joe took the challenge- though not for the belt- and they wrestled a very solid main event. Although Young was never one of my favorites in TNA, he brings experience and credibility to NXT that can only help with development.