Thank you to Twitter user MangaGirl232 for that intro, taken from last night’s QuizzleMania, where I came last yet again, meaning I had to wax my very hairy chest in punishment. The streak doesn’t just live in my loss record. But also from the bloody tears crying from my now hairless nipples. And even with all that pain and punishment, all everyone’s talking about is David Starr’s mum.
But the real story here is that because to all of your incredible support, we raised almost $7,000 for the mental health charity CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably. From all of us here at WrestleTalk and our QuizzleMania guests, thank you so, so much for helping support each other.
Now – news!
Released stars returning?
After last night’s episode of NXT saw …Drake Maverick – Maverick-ception worked! – win his job back with WWE, he might not be the only wrestler fired in April re-signing with the company.
According to Bryan Alvarez on Wrestling Observer Live yesterday, several wrestlers who were part of WWE’s mass releases “have been offered deals to come back”. However, their pay will be significantly reduced, with Alvarez calling it “a fraction of what they were making”.
Interestingly, IMPACT Wrestling teased on this week’s episode that practically all of those let go would soon be heading to the IMPACT zone with their first and last names switched round – running a promo showing TNA clips of Anderson & Gallows, Mike & Maria Kanellis, Eric Young, EC3, Curt Hawkins, a Bulgarian flag for Rusev in lieu of any actual footage, and …Drake Maverick.
He’s gone from having no jobs to all the jobs.
While Maverick staying with NXT rules him out of a Slammiversary appearance next month, Bryan Alvarez points out that the lower money offers from WWE means the majority will choose Impact.
“The offers that I’ve seen, we may be seeing a fair number of people showing up at Impact. I don’t know that but I just know that based on what I’ve seen – some renewal offers – there are definitely people that would definitely go to Impact Wrestling.”
Who would you like to see turn up in Impact? Let me know in the comments because I’ll be replying to people FROM OUTTA MY SMOOTH CHEST.
Speaking of IMPACT, that’s where Jeff Hardy re-invigorated his career after leaving WWE in 2009 amidst substance abuse controversy, to then have more substance abuse controversy… that segue got real dark, real fast. And it’s an issue that CM Punk has publicly criticised WWE for exploiting.
CM Punk Shoots On Controversial Angle
Last Friday’s SmackDown opened on a very controversial angle, where Hardy was framed for an intoxicated hit-and-run on Elias. Jeff was arrested, but later cleared and seemingly dropped back off at SmackDown once they realised he wasn’t drunk. Which still, in kayfabe, doesn’t excuse running over a guy as Hardy was still their main suspect, drunk or not.
Hardy was arrested twice last year for substance-related incidents – the latter of which was a DWI only in October.
It’s a storyline that’s meant to be exploitative, which has made many viewers feel uncomfortable. Jeff’s brother Matt seemingly disapproved of the angle tweeting as it happened on SmackDown: “Just to reiterate.. I’m happy to be working at @AEWrestling for @TonyKhan on Wednesdays.”
And now Jeff’s once rival CM Punk – who actually used Hardy’s substance abuse issues as heel promo material throughout their 2009 feud in WWE – has said on WWE Backstage:
“My thing with this segment and this story is that I believe somebody’s sobriety is very fragile and very important…I think cleaning your life up and being sober is something to be proud of. We can champion that in different ways. I think this is the wrong way to go about it. You just don’t put him in front of that moving car.”
But that isn’t the only controversy WWE has experienced over the last week…
More Jaxson Ryker Controversy
Forgotten Sons leader Jaxson Ryker posted a tweet supporting Donald Trump following the US President’s address earlier this week, which drew significant heat from several WWE wrestlers – with Kevin Owens, Ricochet, Batista and even his own stablemates Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake calling him out for the post on Twitter. Then, the following day, a Facebook post Ryker made in 2019 resurfaced again criticising the Black Lives Matter movement.
Another post has been found from 2017, where Ryker posted a picture of himself with a very dark tan for a bodybuilding competition and called himself “soul man”. Because of this, Ryker has now made all his social media accounts private.
Now it’s time for a review of last night’s AEW Dynamite in about 5 minutes…
After a sensitively done Black Lives Matter graphic, Dynamite opened on Kenny Omega and Hangman Page – I’ve missed you so much Hangman Page! – defending their tag team titles against Jimmy Havoc and Kip Sabian. With not just the freshly debuted FTR watching on from the stands. Far Away The Revival. But also Britt Baker in a pimp my wheelchair.
With the referee distracted ejecting Penelope Ford, Havoc worked over Page with a wrench – which Page didn’t even sell that much – for the match to level up into back-and-forth craziness for the final third and Page and Omega ultimately retaining. This was a fantastic opener, not just seeing a welcome return of the tag team titles to TV, but also elevating Havoc and Sabian – although they’re momentum will likely be lost in the shuffle of an increasingly STACKED tag division.
The internet criticism to Shawn Spears’ poorly received comedy match at Double or Nothing took physical form next, as Tully Blanchard screamed at him backstage, before revealing what Shawn has been missing in a lockbox – but not the lockbox – to turn this all around… a black glove. Shawn Spears joining Seth Rollins confirmed?
Who can stop the path of Cage? Unsurprisingly not random enhancement talent, with Cage squashing Shawn Dean. Taz cut a badass promo afterwards, which Mox answered promising Cage will be fighting a new kind of shark. Shark Boy return confirmed!
But, as Woody Allen will remind you, wrestling storylines are like sharks, they gotta keep moving forward. Which is what Lance Archer is trying to do following his Double or Nothing loss.
The show cut to Archer murdering some random guy outside after also presumably knocking down all the buildings in the immediate area, where he told an even more nervous than usual Alex Marvez he’s on a new mission. It was nice to see Lance do the talking over Jake, adding a new dimension to the act.
V1 Matt Hardy then hung out with Private Party in a bar to form the Hardy Party – a fantastic grouping to get over the young team – and then Matt bowed and said ‘respect’ to Sammy Guevarra while passing him in the hall. It really feels like a lot of subtle teases are being dropped for Sammy’s eventual babyface turn.
But hopefully that isn’t planned for anytime soon, because move aside Lance Archer, Sammy murdering Chris Jericho’s Judas entrance music is one of the best recurring bits on AEW.
Chris Jericho took on Colt Cabana after blaming him for letting Mike Tyson get away last week. But despite Cabana’s amazingly athletic offence, everyone falls to the Judas Elbow. It’s Judas Effective. In what was interestingly only Jericho’s third singles match of the year so far.
Jericho then called out the Baddest Man on the Planet, but be careful what you wish for, because someone far more terrifying and relaxed emerged from the entrance: Orange Cassidy.
Cassidy ran wild with his hands in his pockets, seemingly setting up an Inner Circle vs Best Friends program after the heels jumped him last week.
Britt Baker then had a brilliant training montage not really doing much on her wheelchair – complete with bonus Tony Schiavone! Which led into her giving the following Big Swole vs Nyla Rose match evils from the crowd.
Women’s champion Shida was also watching on from ringside to see Swole get a few near falls, but Rose eventually win with a spinebuster powerbomb. Swole got a bit of her heat back, chasing off Robo-Baker as her wheelchair became part of a larger moving platform.
It’s nice to see the women’s division telling multiple stories again, but this still isn’t an effective build on Double or Nothing’s momentum, not doing much at all for the women’s title, or the victorious Kris Statlander.
Tony Schiavone interviewed Darby Allin, who continued building his story with Taz and Cage – even though Taz and Cage are feuding with Moxley. I’m seeing double here, four feuds for one single act!
And then Schiavone had an excellent sit down interview with FTR, where they put over all the amazing tag teams in AEW – like how the Luchas Bros’ style is so different to theirs, because Dax and Cash actually tag in and out – but conspicuously left out the Young Bucks, saying they don’t want to have a match with them. They want to punch them in the face. Feisty The Revival.
Hopefully AEW keep them apart for a while, and have FTR run through a few other tag teams to rebuild Dax and Cash after a terrible final year in WWE. The first of which appears to be against the Butcher and the Blade, who interrupted the interview to set up FTR’s debut match next week. First Time in the Ring… FTR.
Following his loss to Jericho, and to Archer in the TNT title tournament, Brodie Lee then approached Cabana backstage about joining Dark Order – which Colt didn’t fully rule out. If this happens, please rechristen him as Scotty Goldman.
And the main event saw the first instalment of Cody doing everything he can to get over new talent, and yes, you better believe that’ll involve blading his own forehead.
Cody and Jungle Boy had a great TV match, with Cody aggressively going against one of the purest white meat, blue eyed babyfaces in recent times.
The finish came after a big top rope fall through a table spot, which was followed by Cody winning with a CrossRhodes, and the Nightmare Family celebrating with Jurassic Express for really nice feels to close the show. And right now, some good feels is what we need.
While nowhere near as newsworthy as last week’s five out of five show, this was a really solid episode. Like Raw, there were a lot of recaps on this pre-taped show, but unlike Monday night, nothing ever dragged here. And this is definitely because Tony Khan pays me all that money, not because AEW has a far more organic, naturalistic presentation. This week’s Dynamite is a high Middle of the Rhodes.
Watch last night’s QuizzleMania X, including me getting my chest waxed, and Sean Ross Sapp hitting on David Starr’s mum, by clicking the video on the right! And someone backstage in WWE has called for Nia Jax to be fired. Find out the full story by clicking the video below that. Make WrestleTalk.com your homepage for all the latest wrestling news. I’ve been Oli Davis, and that was wrestling.