So it was a weird week in WWE. Raw nearly became a one-match show, SmackDown finally went over the cliff edge for a lack of actual happenings, and NXT returned to it’s spot as the best storytelling show WWE has to offer. Not that it was really saying much this week. Let’s get to the important parts of this week’s WWE TV!
Monday Night Rollins
When I say Raw nearly became a one-match show, that actually looked feasible at one point. They opened with the gauntlet match featuring all seven of this Sunday’s Elimination Chamber participants, and that one match lasted for nearly two hours of the show. Seth Rollins was without a doubt the star performer, winning the first fall against Roman Reigns, and also winning the second against John Cena in PPV-quality matches. Rollins eventually wound up lasting for one hour and five minutes, breaking the record for the longest time one man has spent in a match in Raw (and likely WWE) history.
H-A-Double L, O-F, F-A-M-E
If you were putting together a list of people who Vince McMahon was least likely to honour with a WWE Hall of Fame berth, Jeff Jarrett would’ve been right up there at the top of that list. Behind the scenes controversy surrounding Double-J’s WWE departure in 1999 and Jarrett founding WWE’s main competitor in 2002 meant many people never thought they would see this sight, but as the old adage goes: “never say never”. That especially holds true for the world of professional wrestling, as Jeff Jarrett was announced as the next inductee in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2018!
A golden Viper?
SmackDown has become painfully slow of late, with no major storyline development for a while now. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan are spinning their wheels, the WWE Title picture has been the same thing every week for two months, and I can’t remember the last time Charlotte defended her Women’s Championship. This is supposed to be the hottest time of the year, but SmackDown has become inherently missable again. Remember last year when they made John Cena vs The Miz must see? Those were the days. Oh yeah, Randy Orton faces Bobby Roode for the United States Championship at Fastlane. Whatever.
The Dusty Classic returns…
I was very aware that 2017 didn’t see the return of the supposedly annual Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament, and I had feared WWE had abandoned the concept after only two outings. But happily, this week on NXT William Regal announced the tournament will return in two weeks’ time, with the winners this year getting an NXT Tag Team Championship match the night before Wrestlemania at TakeOver: New Orleans! This is the tournament that sparked the feud between Finn Balor and Samoa Joe, that DIY debuted in, and last time out that the Authors of Pain dominated. Who will be the next duo to cement their place in history?
The Rebel Heart says goodbye
Title vs Career. Andrade “Cien” Almas vs Johnny Gargano. Johnny Wrestling just can’t catch a break. A month ago he put on the match of a lifetime, still went 0-3 against Almas, and then was attacked from behind by his former partner Tommaso Ciampa. Well, history has a funny way of repeating itself. With his NXT career in the balance, the referee knocked down and Zelina Vega removed from the equation one more time by Candice LeRae, Johnny Gargano looked to be building momentum to finally capture NXT’s biggest prize – when Ciampa interfered, smacking Gargano with a crutch. Almas capitalised to hit the 1-2-3, retaining his cherished championship, and forcing Gargano to leave the yellow and black brand.
And there we have it for one more week. This Sunday sees Raw present Elimination Chamber, and from there they are on a one track road heading straight for Wrestlemania. SmackDown are a couple of weeks away from Fastlane, which at this rate could be the most forgettable PPV in a long time. NXT feels on the cusp of something, with various storylines progressing nicely. What’s going to happen next? I’ll be back next week to fill you in!