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What to watch this week in wrestling

Here’s what to look for the week of Jan. 1- 7.

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 or 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 (this week looks like a clip show).


Monday Night Raw (USA Network)

The big thing advertised for Raw is the return of Goldberg, setting up his Royal Rumble involvement and his continued feud with the Beast Brock Lesnar. Lesnar is not advertised for this show. This may just be a quick promo since the Beast isn’t there to push things forward, but it is always fun watching his entrance.

The match advertised for Raw thus far is Sami Zayn vs. Braun Strowman in a Last Man Standing match. Braun Strowman is actually one of the most interesting things going in Raw now and this has been a great fit for Zayn.

Outside that, they’ll continue with their Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins vs. Jericho/Kevin Owens feud. It’s a major “Your Mileage May Vary” feud. If you’re like me and find it underwhelming, it lessens the “Must See” aspect of Raw.

Verdict: While not enough to make it must see live, there’s enough with Goldberg’s return and Strowman’s story to make it at least worth DVRing or catching those bits on-line later.


SmackDown Live (USA Network)

The Miz’s feud with Dean Ambrose continues this week when they two face off in an Intercontinental title match. But the interest isn’t around the title but how Miz has treated Dean’s girlfriend Renee Young. This match likely won’t be the end of anything but instead part of the build to something bigger. I don’t expect a title change, but on SDLive, you never know.

Last week, they also set up Styles/Cena III for the Royal Rumble. While Cena hasn’t yet been advertised for the show, this was a feud that was hot in the summer and is worth tuning in for again.

Plus, we wait to learn on the identity of Becky Lynch’s mystery attacker (is it Mickie James?) and how the Wyatt Family responds to losing their tag titles to American Alpha last week.

Verdict: There’s a lot going on that this is likely worth watching live or soon after on DVR.

205 Live (WWE Network)

205 rarely announces matches this soon. So far, it’s been a solid show advancing cruiserweight stories that also happen on Raw. The rise of Neville has been really good, and Jack Gallagher being awesome, but with the Cruisers on Raw, this isn’t a weekly must see show. It all depends what matches are announced, and that usually happens on Raw.

Verdict: Depending on what match is announced later on, this is likely skippable if you don’t love the cruisers.


Wrestle Kingdom 11 (NJPW World)

I won’t be covering NJPW much on here. ReverendKain will cover the big stuff in the Sermon. But I’d be remiss if I don’t mention New Japan’s biggest show of the year. I don’t watch New Japan so I can’t fill you into the stories going into it. (Again, Rev has you covered.) But this is New Japan’s WrestleMania so if you’ve ever wondered “Hey, what’s New Japan like?” this is a great time to get your answer. Apparently, it’s only available on New Japan World.

There is an English announce team - the Ring of Honor team of Steve Corino and Kevin Kelly. Speaking of ROH, that title will be on the line in a rematch between Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly. And the main event will be for the NJPW title between champion Okada and Kenny Omega.

Since Rev is the man I’m getting all this info from, here is his take: “Top four matches (junior/NEVER/IC/heavyweight titles), especially, kind of disappointing builds for most of them, but I think they'll all deliver strong enough to make you not regret being up at assf#!@ in the morning watching Japanese wrestling.”

Verdict: If you want to check out some New Japan, this is a great time to do it.

NXT (WWE Network)

Much like last week, NXT is showing some matches from their far east tour from recently, this time from Melbourne and it will once again be a two hour show. There will likely be some fun matches, though according to the NXT website (you can find the complete card there), one of the matches is the Joe/Nakamura cage match they’ve already replayed on NXT TV. If you’re tuning in for storyline progression heading into the next TakeOver, this sounds like a show that you could easily skip.

Verdict: The matches will likely be fun (though looks like you may have seen one already), but you won’t miss anything in story progression if you take this week off.

Lucha Underground (El Rey Network)

Lucha Underground has been sharp as of late. Last week, Brian Cage was inhabited by a god so there’s plenty of fallout from that. But this week has advertised a Sexy Star vs. Mariposa match. Last year’s No Más match between these two was great so a rematch is promising. But the big match is Willie Mack vs. Johnny Mundo for the Lucha Underground title.

They announced a midseason finale for the week after this so likely they will be building a bunch of fun stuff as they work their way to that.

Verdict: With what sounds like an even bigger episode next week, this week of Lucha Underground is definitely worth tuning in for if you have the means.


TNA Impact (Pop TV)

This will be a very interesting episode of Impact. This is the first episode of the new set of tapings, which means new storylines will launch. If they signed anyone, they usually appear here. When we last left, Eddie Edwards was feuding with EC3 for the TNA title and a Drew Galloway/Moose feud for the MMA style Grand Championship. Pop TV has run advertisements that both of those titles will be on the line. And of course there’s always what craziness Broken Matt Hardy is getting into.

The most interesting aspect to this episode is the difference in creative since last year. Billy Corgan, who had a lot of creative influence is gone. Dave Lagana, their long time head writer, is gone. It will be rather interesting to see what the creative feel is this week.

Verdict: If you’re going to check out an episode of Impact, this would be a good jump on point.

Looks like the new year is bringing a decent amount of wrestling worth tuning in for. Hopefully this guide will help you navigate all of it.

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!

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