Wrestler of the Week – Seth Rollins
2014 ended with Rollins on a rapid ascent toward the highest levels of WWE and he has only accelerated that growth in the first month of 2015. After a fun tag match against his old Shield partners Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns on Smackdown, Raw revolved around Rollins. He used a group of biased lumberjacks to weasel his way to a win over John Cena to start the show. At the end of the night, he shared the ring with The Authority, Cena, Paul Heyman, and Brock Lesnar. Rollins did not shrink from the moment, but excelled and actually drew his share of the spotlight in a verbal sparring match with Heyman. Rollins also stood tall as the show concluded when a brawl broke out and he Curb Stomped both of his adversaries from the Royal Rumble main event. One of the side effects of Lesnar’s part-time status is that there has been a lot of airtime freed up for young wrestlers. No one has seized the proverbial brass ring quite like Rollins.
Match of the Week – Prince Puma Wins Aztec Warfare
Lucha Underground did not crown a champion for its first two months on TV. Dario Cueto finally announced that a variation on the battle royal concept would determine the company’s first champion. The format brought 20 wrestlers to the ring, once every two minutes. Unlike WWE’s Royal Rumble, eliminations came via pin or submission rather than being thrown out of the ring. Several wrestlers stood out, including long runs from Fenix and Johnny Mundo. The match whittled down to a final two of Prince Puma and Mil Muertes. Muertes overwhelmed the smaller and tired Puma until Puma hit him with impressive 630 splash to get the pin and win the belt.
Quote of the Week – Roman Reigns
“You’re a snivelling little suck up sellout full of sufferin’ succotash [wink at camera],” Reigns, to Seth Rollins on Smackdown. After some flubbed lines in the last few weeks, WWE seemed to give Reigns a tongue twister to prove that his mouth works. It was a horrendous promo that made me physically uncomfotable to watch. I listed it here because I think it has the chance to live in infamy, like the Shockmaster or X-Pac yelling about “ripping ass.”
Must See Wrestling
1. Daniel Bryan Returns to Action
As critical as we all are of WWE, everyone involved deserves a tip of the cap for the work done on Bryan’s return so far. His retirement teaser promo was perfect, and his return to Raw this week was also fantastic. The lingering tension with Stephanie McMahon returned instantly. It was also fun to see him go after Kane and show that his body is ready to wrestle. I was going to watch the first episode of Smackdown back on Thursday anyway. Bryan’s return to the ring on that episode makes it even more exciting.
2. A Hint at a Future for Dean Ambrose
After a red hot feud with Seth Rollins over the summer that never had a proper finish, Amborse has scuffled a bit through the winter. While I am grateful that his program with Bray Wyatt did not split the baby with indecisive 50/50 results, the consistent losses have slowed Ambrose. On Raw, he got back to some of his strengths and came off as a star once again. His series of vignettes with a psychologist were more entertaining than some of Raw’s lame attempts at comedy. He also returned to his aggressive brawling roots when he abruptly challenged Rusev to a fight. His injured knee forced a ref stoppage in the match, but the ending did not hurt Ambrose. The fact that he has held up as well as he has while Wyatt has been built up is encouraging. Now it is time for Ambrose to get some shine.
3. Impact Wrestling Comes to Destination America
A new era started for TNA last week when their new TV deal landed them on Destination America. The debut show was decidedly a mixed bag. On the positive side, Josh Mathews got off to a great start on commentary, Awesome Kong returned to a huge reaction, and James Storm continued to grow into his cult leader role. Unfortunately, TNA fell victim to its old Achilles Heel- Eric Young, Samoa Joe, and Low Ki pointlessly turned on Bobby Roode to join MVP’s group in yet another swervey faction turn.