Welcome to a new column for Nerdly. I used to do regular WWE reviews here and I’m back to do more once again. I will be reviewing the week of WWE television in one review each week. Raw, Smackdown and NXT. I’ll also review other WWE content including PPV’s.
This week in WWE began with Monday Night Raw on, well… Monday (11th April).
- Cesaro defeated Kevin Owens (Cesaro is now number one contender for the I-C title).
- Tag Tournament 1st Round: The Dudleys beat The Lucha Dragons
- WWE Womens Title: Natalya beat Charlotte by DQ (Charlotte retains)
- Tag Tournament 1st Round: The Usos beat Social Outcasts
- AJ Styles defeated Sami Zayn (AJ is now the sole number one contender for WWE Title)
- Apollo Crews beat Adam Rose
- Bray Wyatt & Roman Reigns defeated Alberto Del Rio & Sheamus
This was one of the best RAW’s of 2016 so far. In the ring we had two incredible matches (Owens/Cesaro and Styles/Zayn) that really lit a fire in the crowd and showed that WWE are in a very healthy place when it comes to their talent roster even though it is sadly plagued with injuries right now. The women’s match was enjoyable and the debut of Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows was cool. Seeing them hit their finger-pistols together as a hint at The Bullet Club is also interesting. Let’s hope it leads to something bigger.
We saw a few mediocre or “nothing” matches too, but it’s RAW so that’s to be expected. The tag tournament should get more interesting at the semi-finals and finals. Let’s hope we see Big Cass and Enzo or The Vaudevillains pick up the W at the end of the tourney. It’s nice to see some focus given to the tag division again.
The in-ring segment involving Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho was alright, and starts a feud that might result in a couple of cool matches. It’s important that Ambrose goes over in this feud though after losing to Brock at Mania.
The main event was pretty tepid when you look at the great matches we had earlier. The crowd were behind Wyatt though and it’s intriguing that he has kicked off a run as a babyface now. If his recent possible injury isn’t too bad, hopefully we will see his run turn into something big for him. If not, let’s hope he can pick up where he left off when he returns. Roman is still being booed a great deal by the fans. They need to try something with the guy if he is to remain a babyface champion. A heel turn doesn’t seem like something they want to do. Oh well.
Next up we have WWE NXT (13th April)
- Austin Aries beat Angelo Dawkins
- Alexa Bliss defeated Tessa Blanchard
- Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa beat The Vaudevillains
- Baron Corbin squashed Tucker Knight
- Bayley beat Liv Morgan
- Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Tye Dillinger
This week’s NXT had quite a few matches in the hour it lasted. It wasn’t the best show as far as in-ring content, but still had some nice moments and featured some great names on the NXT roster.
Aries is over but he needs to kick off a proper feud now. I hope we get to see him work as a heel soon too, I feel he works much better in that role. It was a nice surprise to see Gargano and Ciampa back as a team and picking up a win. With Enzo and Cass and The Vaudevillains now on RAW/SD, NXT are ready for some new blood in their excellent tag division.
Bayley got a great pop as usual and I feel a need to mention her opponent, Liv Morgan. Morgan has only been wrestling for a few months and is already making waves in the ring. She is still a bit green but considering the limited amount of time she’s been working, I think she’s improving at a great rate. She has a marketable look and a fun energy. I’d like to see her keep getting better and in turn, featured more often.
Anyone familiar with Nakamura from his work in Japan, or even from his incredible match with Sami Zayn at the recent NXT Takeover: Dallas, should know that the guy is a special talent. He has charisma spilling from his fingertips and he is just fantastic to watch. His match with Dillinger was a fun but short one, and the fans were chanting “this is awesome” within moments of it starting. The guy is “money”. I’m excited to see what happens with him in WWE.
Finally, we have WWE Smackdown (15th April)
- Baron Corbin beat Zack Ryder
- Emma defeated Paige
- Tag Tournament 1st Round: Enzo & Cass beat The Ascension
- AJ Styles beat Alberto Del Rio
- Tag Tournament 1st Round: The Vaudevillains defeated Goldust & Fandango
- Sami Zayn beat Chris Jericho by DQ
Smackdown was a mixed bag. There were some good and some bad and in the end it paled in comparison to this week’s RAW. Still, this is a heck of a lot better than some of the Smackdown shows a year ago, and the commentary on WWE’s “B-Show” is superior to RAW, so there are some positives.
Zayn and Jericho had the match of the night, without a doubt. We saw interference from Kevin Owens and Ambrose who were on commentary during the match. This was a cool way to keep both feuds going without the guys wrestling each other. A trend I hate in today’s WWE is when we see people having matches repeatedly on television and then on the months PPV too. This is the way to book things, and I hope WWE keep it going in this manner.
The AJ/Del Rio match was decent too and it was nice to see Emma pick up a victory over Paige. Emma is one talented wrestler and she deserves a shot on the main roster. We also got a Miz TV segment featuring Maryse (who has recently returned as The Miz’s manager). This was pretty entertaining. The Miz has been enjoyable recently. Let’s hope they get behind him and give him a feud that fans can be interested in.
The tag tournament matches were run-of-the-mill, but we now have the semi-finals set. Enzo and Cass will take on The Dudleys and The Vaudevillains will face The Usos. I hope the two NXT alumni-teams head to the finals. It would be a shame for them to lose momentum this early on.
A decent show, but nothing incredible.
Overall, this week in WWE has been a good one. RAW was excellent in many ways, NXT was enjoyable and highlights what the future may hold for the brand, and Smackdown continues to improve on what it was not too long ago.
Wrestler of the Week: Sami Zayn
Match of the Week: Sami Zayn vs. AJ Styles (RAW)
Segment of the Week: Shane Opening for RAW
Dud of the Week: Zack Ryders Post-WrestleMania Descent
Crowd Chant of the Week: “He’s 11” (towards Nakamura as he took on “Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger)