While most pro wrestling fans have already begun looking forward to WrestleMania 35, thanks in part to WWE’s annual promotion of the Royal Rumble as the starting point for heading down that road, there is still the matter of two pay per views with the Elimination Chamber next Sunday and Fastlane next month to be held before the April spectacular at MetLife Stadium.
Consequently, this is a tricky time for Creative as it has to develop and advance storylines for numerous wrestlers that create interest in the match-ups for the upcoming shows while keeping in mind where some seeds have already been planted for planned Mania bouts. The real trick is to be able to keep track of everything so that there is some semblance of logic and continuity, things the company has struggled with at times.
Becky Lynch showed up at Raw this past Monday and they did an angle with Stephanie McMahon coming out to appear to be worried about Lynch’s knee injury, insisting she get checked by a doctor or she would have to be suspended. Lynch eventually hauled off and punched Steph on the premise that Becky believed Mrs. Triple H was trying to deprive her of her opportunity against Ronda at Mania. So, Becky is now suspended pending medical clearance and perhaps a seed has been planted for something down the road between the two, maybe even a crock pot slow cooker that takes until SummerSlam as many people feel confident Mania will be a three-way with Lynch, Rousey and Charlotte Flair, who may work her way into the match that as of now is a title defense for Rousey against only Smackdown’s main man, Lynch.
With Seth Rollins reportedly dealing with a back injury that is going to keep him out wrestling action for a few weeks so that he can be fully recovered in time for WM, they did one of those lame verge of retirement deals with Kurt Angle questioning if he still “had it” anymore. Taking on Baron Corbin was the plan until Drew McIntyre showed up and the two looked to do damage to the former Olympic champion until Braun Strowman came down to even the odds. That was later made into the night’s main event which had a disqualification finish.
EC 3 squared off with Dean Ambrose and got a clean pin on him in about a minute and a half. Announcing in advance that you are soon leaving at the end of your contract does not seem to help your push, does it? Elias pinned Jeff Jarrett and clobbered Road Dog for good measure in their encounter and Bayley and Sasha bested Alicia Fox and Nikki to gain entry into the chamber match for the new women’s tag team titles. Sasha never actually got into the ring to wrestle as she was not cleared from an recent unspecified injury, but is expected back for the PPV next week.
It was announced that there will be a Ric Flair 70th birthday celebration on Raw from Atlanta in a couple of weeks. Finn Balor beat Lio Rush with Lashley barred from ringside. No surprise there.
Smackdown saw Nakamura team with Rusev to defeat Anderson and Gallows. One might think they would be candidates to head to AEW when their WWE contracts expire. Randy Orton took the measure of a game Mustafa Ali and Samoa Joe came out and attacked both of them. He appeared headed to do the same to Bryan when he came down, but Erik Rowan interceded and Joe decided to walk away at that point.
Bryan and Rowan did a strong promo and the hometown crowd in Everett, Washington cheered their beloved son despite his heel persona. Bryan later survived a match with Jeff Hardy via disqualification and Samoa Joe returned to attack Rowan. Orton came out to join the fight, as did AJ Styles, who is also reportedly battling an injury.
AEW held a big party in Las Vegas this past week to announce, to the surprise of virtually no one, the addition of Kenny Omega to their roster. Jericho was there to do a little face-off with him and tease a match between the two for Double or Nothing on the May 29th kick-off card for the promotion. Bret Hart and Sting are announced for the corresponding Starcast get together. The Hart Foundation, the late Jim the Anvil, Bret and Jimmy Hart are expected to be going into the WWE Hall of Fame this year.
Sad to report the passing of former NWA world junior heavyweight champion Les Thorton this past week at the age of 84. He was an excellent worker and genuine shooter who had some great matches back in the 1970s in Florida on CWF when it aired here on Channel 29 out of Philadelphia. The legendary Gordon Solie called the action for some of Thorton’s mat classics with Tony Charles that are still vividly etched in the minds of those who saw them.