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Weekly Wrestling Write-Up: Happy New Year!

This past week of wrestling saw the last wrestling show of 2019, and the first shows of 2020. Happy New Year, everyone! May your resolutions hold and your goals come to fruition. Most of all, live your best lives. On to the wrestling!


The Good

-Seth/AOP/Owens/Joe opening segment- It's becoming a recurring theme, but everyone involved in this storyline has struck gold. Seth is at his slimy heel best, AOP are growing in confidence standing alongside an established star in Rollins, and both Owens and Joe are great as badass babyfaces. It's so refreshing to see good guys in WWE that aren't squeaky clean superheroes. I particularly liked the effort made by Owens to tie Rey Mysterio losing the US Title to Andrade at MSG into their storyline, it's nice when feuds and stories can logically intermingle.

-Black vs. Murphy. They billed it as "the match that stole the TLC PPV" (and it did, it even made my Top 40 Matches Of The Decade- on the home page), but the Raw match was another excellent outing. A feud mostly just sold on being two dangerous dudes that like to fight... and both are getting over great with it.

-Charlotte vs. Natalya- nicely wrestled match, called back to their Takeover match 5 years ago. Not as good, but it reminded me of that. Nattie's mid match heel turn was a little weird, though.

-Randy Orton's "injury" angle- This was fantastic. It didn't tug on the heartstrings quite as much as when Mark Henry teased retirement- no salmon jacket, see. But Orton was excellent at toying with the crowd's emotions. The only slight negative was Orton teasing retirement one sentence, then the next saying he'd be back at Wrestlemania. AJ was beautifully antagonistic in his role, and seeing him get RKOed was incredibly satisfying.

The Bad

-Lana & Lashley Wedding- I could have put this in the "bad" section before the show started. But this was the cringiest of soap opera bullshit, with a "husband" that used up Raw's "bitch" quota in 10 seconds, and a "wife" that couldn't keep a straight face at the "Jerry" chants, then Lana and Lashley, whose acting has been woeful since day one. Also, why was Rusev breaking the wedding up? Like he said the other week, Lana getting re-married means he doesn't have to pay alimony. Let the idiots get married and get your money back, Ru-Ru.


The Good

-Best Matches of 2019- So, it was a taped Year-End Awards show. That meant they played the best NXT matches that happened over the past 12 months. So, I can't knock the show for the quality of the wrestling matches. The Women's War Games especially seemed even better on a second viewing.

The Bad

-It was a taped show. By definition it's not going to be as exciting as a live show, especially when most of it is footage we've seen before.

-Dusty Classic 2020 Brackets. Here...

This just highlighted how dire the NXT Tag Division currently is. At a quick glance, it looks like they're trying to give NXT UK more exposure, especially in advance of Worlds Collide on Rumble weekend, by giving them half the field here. But then you look a little closer at the NXT US side of things, and the only two real teams in the brand are Undisputed Era and the Forgotten Sons. I was hoping Lorcan and Burch would be there, but I believe Burch is injured (and if I'm wrong and he's not, seriously, what the fuck?). Riddle and Dunne are just two top guys thrown together- I hope they don't win the tournament like Balor and Joe did in the first one, or Ricochet and Black did last year. And finally, Kushida with a mystery partner... which is only okay if WWE are bringing in Alex Shelley to reunite the Time Splitters (Shelley did have a guest NXT coach role a few months ago, I believe). Apparently Fandango got hurt, removing Breezango from the running- so I guess Breeze could go with Kushida. Not really a "mystery partner"-worthy choice though.


The Good

-The Elite vs. Lucha Bros and Pac. Just an awesome main event. The Young Bucks and Omega have spent most of 2019 in AEW losing, I suppose to show that they weren't going to abuse their power and put themselves over endlessly just because they're EVPs in the company. But they are world-class talent and deserve to be featured as such, regardless of their executive roles in AEW.

-Cody vs. Darby Allin- Great action to kick off AEW's 2020. Not sure what Arn Anderson really adds to Cody's act, but it was a nice touch having him coach Cody to the win. Allin showed exceptional chemistry with Cody, and might be the best guy they have at showing that babyface fire on the comeback sequence. Just an excellent bout.

-Moxley vs. Trent. I liked that Trent held his own, but I especially like that Moxley still definitively won. Especially in relatively short order. AEW sometimes falls into the trap of having every match go 15+ minutes, because longer is better. Except it's not. When it comes to wrestling matches, anyway.

-Sammy Guevara vs. Dustin Rhodes. Dustin's absolute refusal to age doesn't get talked about enough. Every time you think he's past it or winding down, he comes back in better shape and puts on a performance like this. Dustin looked great, but Sammy got the win, so both guys left that match better than when they came in. Top marks.

The Bad

-Moxley answers next week. With the Christmas break, we've been waiting for Mox to give his answer regarding joining the Inner Circle for 2 weeks. The way it was set up, we were led to believe that it would happen on this episode. So, for Jjjjjjoooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnn to say he'd tell everyone next week was a big downer, and the Jacksonville crowd let him know it.

-MJF promo. I feel bad putting it here, because MJF's promo's aren't inherently bad. He's an excellent talker and a top level heel, when most bad guys still want to be cool and liked these days. It was more a material issue here. MJF putting these hoops/stipulations/obstacles in front of Cody would be great storytelling... except why does MJF have the power to do that? We know Cody is an executive. Why can't he just turn around, tell MJF to fuck off with his demands, and book Cody vs. MJF for Revolution?


The Good

-Bayley/Sasha vs. Lacey/Dana vs. Alexa/Nikki. This triple threat tag was a good watch. First, Alexa and Lacey in the same match (insert drooling emoji here), but it was genuinely a fun match that never slowed down due to the triple threat rules. And Dana has improved greatly. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Dana looked the best she ever had in the ring, well on this show, her confidence and sharpness was on another level. Well done.

-Otis/Mandy/Ziggler- this is a love story I can get behind. Mostly because I relate to Otis, and it's looking like God's Greatest Creation, Mandy Rose is warming up to him. Unless it's all a ruse... but I want to believe in love, dammit.

-Sheamus returns. Fella! I was glad he swerved and ended up kicking Shorty G's head off. He's much better as a heel, and Smackdown could use some top level heels that aren't Baron Corbin.

-The Usos' return. This made for a newsworthy end to the show. And finally Roman has friends? Well, family. It's been weird for weeks that he's been getting the shit kicked out of him, but apparently no one in the locker room likes him enough to help. Even though he's meant to be "the locker room leader". The Usos looked re-energised, here's hoping they keep their noses clean and can get back to being one of the best acts in WWE.

The Bad

-John Morrison's return. There was a million different ways to bring back the Guru of Greatness. We knew he was back, WWE announced his re-signing, but his actual return still could have occured with a lot more excitement and fanfare than that. On screen for about 10 seconds in a throwaway backstage segment? I've seen some Tweets suggesting that the crowd reaction wasn't the greatest for Morrison... yeah, because half the crowd were probably tuned out checking their phones or something! It was a blink and miss it kind of deal. Such a shame.


Well, that does it for this week of wrestling. Tonight, I'm going to commence a weekend of wrestling greatness with the first major event of the year! It's New Japan Pro Wrestling. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14. A two night event, where four men- Okada, Ibushi, White and Naito- battle in a mini-tournament of sorts, and the winner when all the dust settles will be both the IWGP Heavyweight Champion and the IWGP Intercontinental Champion. Also, the return of the Time Bomb, Hiromu Takahashi, facing the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Will Ospreay. Also also, the retirement of Japanese pro wrestling legend Jushin Liger. Also also also, a dream match on Night 2 as the Painmaker, Chris Jericho, challenges the Ace of New Japan, Hiroshi Tanahashi! Oh, it's going to be glorious (shout out to the currently suspended Robert Roode). Expect WrestleWatch reviews on both Wrestle Kingdom nights early next week!

Until next time, take care,


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Image of Mick Robson, founder of The Arena Media

Mick Robson is a freelance writer from Australia. A lifelong fan of pro wrestling and MMA, he endeavours to bring that passion through his coverage in news, reviews and opinion pieces.

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