There’s a ton of wrestling content nowadays and unless you’re a hardcore pro-graps fan, you have to decide what to watch when and what to consider leaving out. That’s where we come in to help.
Every week, we are going to run down the big in-ring happenings for the easily accessible US wrestling. (“In-ring” meaning no Talking Smack nor Total Divas). This won’t cover your indie needs, but ReverendKain always has you covered in his weekly Sermon on the Mat for that. Ring of Honor won’t be making the weekly recap, but you can always find them on their website.
Bear in mind, matches could be added after this posts that would definitely change how worth a show is to watch.
Monday Night Raw (USA Network)
Raw has to go head to head against the college football National Championship this Monday. Usually, if they’re in the position, one of two things happen: They mail it in or they go all out. With the announcement of both Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker, it looks like they’re going with the latter. Not that that means these guys are going to have major parts. HBK is still retired so he’s likely just showing up to promote his new movie. Sure he’ll be a part of something, but it will be like all the other guest spots he does. The Undertaker is at least still an active talent so we may learn what the plans are for him.
Despite veteran star power, the main event scene is still unchanged and if you’re like me, you have no desire to see any version of Reigns/Rollins fight Jericho/Keven Owens for a long time. If you still enjoy it well you’re in luck because they came up with yet another combination when Roman Reigns defends his United States title in a handicapped match against Owens and Jericho.
But at least Braun has been surprisingly sports entertaining.
Verdict: Despite star power in both the Undertaker and HBK, who may or may not do something of note, that Alabama/Clemson game looks mighty good.
SmackDown Live (USA Network)
SmackDown Live has done a great job of making itself must watch every week. It’s not a perfect show. No show is. But it’s done a fantastic job of making almost every episode worth watching. Two weeks ago was a super show that saw three title matches and a title change. Last week saw Dean Ambrose win the intercontinental title, a move that I doubted here last week. This week, American Alpha defends their tag team titles against the Wyatt Family in a title rematch. Even if there is no title change, there’s enough intrigue in how the Wyatts function in a loss.
Plus, John Cena will be going one on one with one of SmackDown’s rising talents, Baron Corbin. And we’ve got a heel Ziggler, the La Luchadora mystery, and an outraged Miz who just lost his Intercontinental title.
Verdict: SmackDown is once again worth watching this week.
205 Live (WWE Network)
I have a feeling that 205 Live is going to be the same story every week. They will advertise something on Raw and you can make your decision then. Given that both Raw and 205 Live have the cruisers, you don’t know where your faves are going to show up. If you’re like me and you want to see Jack Gallagher and dark Neville, they may be on 205 Live but they may be on Raw. Mustafa Ali has been very exciting and he’s only been on 205 Live.
Verdict: Check it out if you enjoy the cruisers. There’s likely no need to watch it live unless they announce a title match.
NXT (WWE Network)
All you need to know about NXT this week is that the Revival will get their tag team rematch against champs #DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa). You know, the two teams that had a match of the year in Toronto (and in Brooklyn if you ask me). Asuka is also advertised so maybe we’ll learn her direction headed into San Antonio, but the Revival vs. DIY is worth your eyes alone.
Verdict: #DIY vs. the Revival makes this a must watch episode.
Lucha Underground (El Rey Network)
Lucha Underground let us down last week when the championship match that earned them heavy recommendation was changed to a non-title match. And it looks like the All Night Long match for that title between Mack and Johnny Mundo won’t be until after the midseason break.
Tonight being a midseason finale, if you’re a fan of Lucha, you should tune in to see what plot cliff hangers they leave us with. Nothing is yet advertised but we know the title of the show is “Gods Among Men” so it will likely give us some insight on how Cage is handling embodying a God. It’s a fun plot point that will likely bear some heavy implications for the future. If you’ve been following up to now, it’s worth tuning into the madness. But with nothing worth advertising, perhaps newcomers should just wait until after the break to jump on.
Verdict: If you’ve been following already, tune in. If not, wait until after the break.
TNA Impact (Pop TV)
While a solid show, last week’s live Impact was nothing Earth shattering. It leads me to believe that there’s nothing big in the coming weeks either. If they were planning on something big the first couple weeks of the tapings, it probably would have happened last week.
Impact is still a solid show with some decent stories and good characters. But with nothing yet advertised (granted the show will air at the end of the week) as of now there’s no reason to label this as a “must watch” episode.
Verdict: While the show will likely be its solid self, there are currently no big stories to catch to make this anything special yet.
WWE UK Tournament (WWE Network)
The end of this week is the start of the two day United Kingdom wrestling tournament featuring 16 UK wrestlers fighting to become the WWE UK champion. (There’s even a championship belt.)
This will have zero immediate bearing on the world of Raw, SmackDown, and NXT so if those are the only things in WWE that concern you, skip it. However, if you are a fan of indie wrestlers, British wrestling, or just seeing different people compete in a different style, check it out. Plus, Nigel McGuinness, who has recently been the on air GM of Ring of Honor but has an established career outside WWE, will be calling the action alongside William Regal and Michael Cole. That should be a good booth.
It airs at 3 pm eastern in the states (so it’ll air in the evening in the UK). It’ll run up against the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, but it’s on the Network so if you’re interested, put it on whenever.
Verdict: If the CWC was up your alley, give this a whirl.
There’s a ton of other wrestling out there and we can’t cover it all on here. So if there’s something you’re particularly excited for this week, let your fellow wrestling fans know in the comments.
See ya next week!