Wrestler of the Week – Daniel Bryan
It did not take long for Bryan to get back in the swing of things. He wrestled two matches on his first night back to Smackdown. His singles match with Kane was derailed by interference, so he ended up in a six-man tag match with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns against The Authority. If Bryan had any ring rust at all, it was basically imperceptible. On Raw, he echoed back to his year-old feud with Bray Wyatt in a match that he might have won without Kane’s interference. That makes three very strong matches in two shows for Bryan. Combined with the outstanding reaction he has received from the fans, there is no doubt he is still at the top of the food chain.
Match of the Week – The Hardys def. The Wolves
While I have been critical of the scattershot main event booking in TNA, the key to the company’s success remains the in-ring wrestling. The Hardys and Wolves delivered, as usual, on that account in a Tag Team #1 Contender’s match. The veteran teams did a good job starting at a manageable pace and building to a frenzy at the end. The Wolves are always fun to watch with their double-team aerial offense and the Hardys kept pace. It looked like the Wolves had the match won, but Jeff broke up a cover with a well-timed Swanton. He and Matt combined for a variation on the Twist of Fate and the Hardys earned a shot at James Storm’s Revolution and their tag title belts.
Quote of the Week – JBL
“Putting on face paint and shoulder pads does not make you a legendary tag team,” JBL, to The Ascension. It was gratifying to see that JBL’s hatred toward the team went somewhere. The nWo, APA, and New Age Outlaws teamed up to give the youngsters a great rub on Raw Reunion.
Must See Wrestling
- Brock Lesnar Goes on a Rampage
One of the reasons Lesnar has worked so well as a heel is that he has not given fans the unleashed beast that they love to see for a very long time. Naturally, the fans got behind him this week when he showed up at Raw itching for a fight with Seth Rollins. When Sting’s appearance caused Rollins to fail to remove John Cena from the Royal Rumble main event, Lesnar had no reason to stay away from him. He barely got his hands on Rollins, but he gave a big F5 to each of Kane and the Big Show. Lesnar’s power and aggression are unique and always fun to watch.
- Sami Zayn def. Adrian Neville
There was no way for Zayn and Neville to replicate their phenomenal title match from (R)Evolution, but they did a solid job nonetheless. There were fewer hints at animosity between the friends this time around and Zayn once again one cleanly. Kevin Owens attacked him after the match to make it clear that their ROH rivalry will be rekindled in NXT, which is a great thing for wrestling fans.
- Alberto El Patron Debuts in ROH
I was never a big fan of the babyface version of Alberto Del Rio in WWE, so I was surprised at how well El Patron came off as a good guy in his ROH debut. Jay Lethal planted the seeds of a future match- possibly for the ROH TV Title- with a confrontation that made both wrestlers look vibrant. Before he gets to Lethal, El Patron will take on Christopher Daniels in his ROH debut this weekend. Even without title implications, it is a must-see match.