Smackdown Wins The Superstar Shake-up

Smackdown to RAW:
Jinder Mahal, Singh Brothers, Ruby Riott – Liv Morgan – Sarah Logan (Riott Squad), Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Tyler Breeze & Fandango (Breezango), Natalya, Dolph Ziggler, Baron Corbin, Zack Ryder, Mojo Rawley, Mike Kanellis, Chad Gable, Bobby Roode, Konnor & Viktor (The Ascension)

RAW to Smackdown:
The Miz, Jeff Hardy, Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose, Samoa Joe, Big Cass, Asuka, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Sheamus, Cesaro, R-Truth

NXT to RAW:
Drew McIntyre

NXT to Smackdown:
Eric Young – Alexander Wolfe – Killian Dain (Sanity), Andrade “Cien” Almas (with Zelina Vega)

The RAW and Smackdown after Wrestlemania brought us another Superstar Shake-up and it looks like Smackdown came out on top. RAW got some good talent, and they’ll be fine, but Smackdown set up some great feuds/matches. The most exciting (my opinion) move is The Miz to Smackdown. This reunites him a newly cleared to wrestle, Daniel Bryan. We never did get that resolution to their verbal feud that started on Talking Smack. This should be fun. I just hope WWE doesn’t hot-shot it, but gives us a nice, slow burn. Damn, bring back Talking Smack while we’re at it. The Miz and Daniel Bryan should not touch each other for months. This should last until SummerSlam or, if we’re lucky and it’s done right, it should culminate at next year’s Wrestlemania. Please WWE, don’t mess this up. It could be something very special.

Samoa Joe joining Smackdown is huge. Along with The Miz, Joe elevates Smackdown’s promo game. He’s as good as anyone on the mic right now. Think of the possible feuds between Joe and Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev, Cesaro, Almas, or Jeff Hardy. Not to mention a match or two with Shelton Benjamin. Hell, think of the possible combination of matches between any of those guys. There should not be a Smackdown going forward where two of those guys aren’t in the ring together. The show should practically write itself.

Asuka going over to Smackdown makes the Women’s Division look pretty solid. Asuka could team up with with Charlotte for a while to keep The Iconic Duo and Absolution at bay before squaring off again. Charlotte eventually needs to be a heel because she’s such a natural at it. Asuka, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Naomi should be able to have some great matches.

On the tag team side, The Bludgeon Brothers, The Bar, The Usos, Sanity, The Club, and New Day also have the potential for some decent feuds. Sanity, specifically Killian Dane and Alexander Wolfe against The Bludgeon Brothers would be a lot of fun. Luke Harper and Killian Dane face-to-face? Yes, please.

It all looks good on paper. Now WWE needs to do the things that made Smackdown a must see show before last year’s Superstar Shake-up. Smackdown is set up to be the wrestling-centric show with RAW having more characters. There’s nothing wrong with that because RAW is three hours (one hour too long), so they need to build up characters and storylines deeper. Smackdown just needs to let the talent do what they do best, wrestle. I hope we don’t get bogged down with too many talking segments. It would be a shame to take away from so much wrestling potential.

Team Blue all the way!!!!

Advertisements

Gargano v Ciampa – The Match of Wrestlemania Weekend

Apologies to Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles, but the Johnny Gargano – Tommaso Ciampa is the match that’s gonna steal the show Wrestlemania weekend. Don’t get me wrong, Nakamura – Styles should tear the house down if AJ is anywhere near 100%. It won’t, but that match should headline Wrestlemania instead of Roman Reigns – Brock Lesnar. Gargano and Ciampa have the opportunity to have the match of the year, anywhere.

How did we get to this point where these two best friends are now enemies? Ciampa and Gargano went through a war at NXT Takeover: Chicago in a loss to the Authors of Pain in May 2017. They practically killed themselves trying to get the titles back. That was the last straw for Ciampa. He turned on Gargano and #DIY were no more. We all saw it coming, but it was still a shock the way it went down.

Tommaso Ciampa went away for a while with a knee injury. In the meantime, Johnny Gargano went on to challenge for the NXT Title and had two awesome matches with Andrade “Cien” Almas. Their second match at NXT Takeover: Philadelphia in January 2018 was epic. The match had so many ups and downs. Just when you thought the match was over, it went on for another 20 minutes. After Gargano lost that match, Ciampa finally emerged and attacked Gargano again.

Fast forward and Johnny Gargano loses another match to Almas and is forced to leave NXT. Bye Johnny Wrestling, for now. With Gargano out of the NXT picture, Tommaso Ciampa re-emerged on TV to tell his side of the story. Gargano tried to get his hands on Ciampa outside the Performance Center and even at Ciampa’s home. Good build, NXT. Why can’t the writers on the two main shows do the same thing?

Now we have an unsanctioned match between the two at NXT Takeover: New Orleans. Johnny Gargano is a madman. All he wants is to make Tommaso Ciampa pay for what he did, and all Ciampa wants is to finish what he started. This promises to be a war. These guys know each other very well. I can see this being as good or better than Gargano – Almas in Philadelphia. Johnny Gargano sells as good as anyone in the biz. You want to root for the guy. He’s got heart. He’s not big, but there’s nothing he won’t do in the ring to win. He’s got a Daniel Bryan vibe, and you know how much people love him.

Tommaso Ciampa is talented as hell. He can do pretty much anything Gargano can do, but he’s more physical. These guys are going to beat the hell out of each other and we’re going along for the ride. I don’t imagine these guys will have anything left at the end of this. Get ready for a ton of false finishes. My prediction is that these guys put on the best WWE match of the year. Gargano has to win. He didn’t win the NXT Title, but the fans will be willing him to win this.

In the end, they’ll shake hands out of respect and the past will be the past. They’ll realize that they bring out the best in each other. I don’t think this means #DIY gets back together. Johnny Gargano has done all he can in NXT. It’s time for him to move up. Smackdown would be a good place for him. I can see some nice matches between him and Nakamura/AJ Styles/Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens. If there is another shakeup, maybe Gargano could wrestle Finn Balor/Seth Rollins. My fear is that Johnny Gargano will end up in 205 Live. I know it’s a better show now, but Johnny Wrestling deserves to be on one of the main shows. Ciampa should continue in NXT, and he can be in the mix for the new NXT North American Title.

Let’s not worry too much about what happens after the match. Let’s get ready to see one crazy, emotional match. This is gonna be so much fun. Fight Forever..clap…clap…clap…clap…clap.

Physical X 1000

NXT TakeOver Philly
1-27-2018

Fact, there has never been a bad TakeOver. NXT TakeOver Philly didn’t disappoint. I was sad when this ended. What a physical PPV!

The Tag Team Titles start off the show. I liked this match, but I didn’t love it. The tag titles are usually at the top of the list of best matches for TakeOver shows. This one, not so much. Good back and forth, both sides get a chance to show off, but where was the big spot? The Undisputed Era wins with a roll-up. This match and the titles deserved better than a typical roll-up we see on RAW and Smackdown every week.

Velveteen Dream is probably one of the best NXT stars right now. He has a huge upside. He’s got the look, the attitude, and he can deliver in the ring. Please WWE, don’t mess this up. Dream guaranteed that he’d beat Kassius Ohno in thirty seconds. He didn’t, but he did win. This was a fun match. These guys beat the hell out of each other. So many big shots from both men. Huge top rope elbow from Velveteen Dream for the win.

I don’t know where Kassius Ohno is headed. He has no momentum. He looks destined to be an NXT lifer, and that would be a shame. He’s great a putting people over. Maybe that’s his role.

Ember Moon vs Shayna Baszler next. Baszler didn’t need to win this match, but she didn’t need to get pinned either. A DQ loss does her no damage while a pin makes her look weak because she lost both big matches she’s been in. Of course Ember Moon pins Baszler in the middle of the ring. They couldn’t help themselves. The match was mostly Shayna Baszler doing MMA things to Moon. Baszler took a great Eclipse from Moon. I thought she had her there. The last few minutes were Baszler trying to break Ember Moon’s arm, but the champ persevered and reversed it into a roll-up. Moon is still your NXT Women’s champ. Post-match, Shayna Baszler choked out Moon several times on the ramp while not one other women’s wrestler came out to help. Hello!!!! Where is everyone?

Aleister Black and Adam Cole spent the next match trying to mame and murder each other. An Extreme Rules stipulation is exactly what this match and PPV needed. Great spots by both men. The used everything they could find; chairs, kendo sticks, trash cans, ladders, tables, and the announcer’s table. How Adam Cole didn’t break his back on a sick double chair spot is beyond me. I winced in pain when Black delivered it. Like Velveteen Dream and Kassius Ohno, these guys beat the hell out of each other and it was great. Undisputed Era came out to save Cole, but Sanity took care of them. Black won, as he should have.

Aleister Black is so money. The sky’s the limit for this guy on the main roster if WWE doesn’t mess it up. Can you imagine Black vs Nakamura, Black vs Balor, Black vs Owens, Black vs AJ Styles, Black vs Rollins????? All of those, yes please.

Can’t believe the NXT Title match had to follow that, but that’s life. Another physical battle. Andrade Cien Almas and Johnny Gargano put on a hell of a show. So many near falls. Often, WWE does one near fall too many, but here they all worked. Zelina Vega tried to get involved only to have Johnny Wrestling’s real-life wife, Candice LeRae beat the crap out of her and have her running for the hills. Almas pinned Gargano and all the air went out of the crowd. Gargano went through a lot and the crowd went along with him. Johnny Gargano needs to eventually win this title.

As the show went off the air, Tommaso Ciampa attacked Gargano at the top of the ramp. It was expected. Although, I thought Ciampa would cost Gargano the title. I hope a Ciampa-Gargano feud doesn’t take Johnny Wrestling away from the NXT Title picture. He deserves to win gold. That being said, Gargano and Ciampa should have a fantastic feud.

  • Match of the night: Cien Almas vs Johnny Gargano
  • Pop of the night: War Machine, Ricochet and EC3 in the crowd.
  • No reaction of the night: AOP, might be time to move these guys up.