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. Lucha Underground is on midseason break until the summer.
Bear in mind, matches could be added after this posts that would definitely change how worth a show is to watch.
Payback (WWE Network)
Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve forgotten that this show is happening at least 10 times the last week. It’s a pay-per-view (PPV) where neither main title is being defended (the House of Horrors match looks to be non-title but it’s not clear). The US title is a lame duck match with Owens having moved to SmackDown and Jericho leaving to tour with Fozzy in the immediate future.
Braun vs. Roman should be fun and I’m looking forward to the tag title match, but nothing on this pay-per-view screams must watch. Unless you want to see if the House of Horrors match is an absolute train wreck.
Verdict: WWE has been known to hit on PPVs that feel underwhelming, but there’s nothing about this show that is must watch.
Monday Night Raw (USA Network)
This show will depend on much of the outcome of the Payback PPV. We can only hope that once all the WrestleMania fallout is finished the night prior, that Raw can get going. We saw last week how disappointing Raw was and some of that can be attributed to the fact that there are a bunch of lame duck matches that they had to get past. Wyatt can’t start his next feud until he finishes up with Orton. That leaves whoever his next feud is (rumor has either Finn Bálor or the Miz) treading water until he’s done. And without Brock Lesnar, who is the top champion, they really need to be able to focus on that upper midcard.
Now that Payback is in the rearview mirror, we can only hope that both Raw and SmackDown can get down to business focusing on their new stories. However, this is the post Mania season and those have been known for long lulls. We’ll find out this week which ends up happening.
Verdict: If Payback is really good, this will be more worth checking out. If Payback is average, this is probably skippable. But you never know with a fallout show.
SmackDown Live (USA Network)
SmackDown is suffering from the same issues Raw is, though a bit less since their PPV is a month away. But they still have Randy Orton addressing Bray Wyatt while also having a title match with Jinder Mahal in the future. Plus, if (when) Kevin Owens retains against Jericho, he has AJ Styles as his next contender. This week the Backlash feuds can finally take front and center.
The last couple weeks of SmackDown have been underwhelming. And if you think that’s case and part of the reason is thrusting Jinder Mahal too fast into the main event picture, then it may continue to feel underwhelming. As for other stories, there is a stable of women who don’t like how quickly Charlotte got a title shot and attacked both her and Naomi at the end of their championship match last week. That could be an interesting story, especially with where Becky Lynch aligns, but it’s just getting started.
Verdict: For a change, SmackDown doesn’t really feel must-watch. Probably worth keeping an eye on though.
205 Live (WWE Network)
As long as the main stories of the cruiserweight division are represented on Raw as well, this isn’t essential viewing. It’s usually a fun show though.
Verdict: If you like the cruisers, check it out.
NXT (WWE Network)
The new look NXT has been really fun. Drew McIntyre has been fantastic since his return. Aleister Black’s roll out has been great. Ruby Riot’s feud with Nikki Cross has been quite enjoyable. This really feels like the time to get back into NXT if you’ve fallen off from their weekly show.
This week, there will be an battle royal to crowd Asuka’s next challenger for her Women’s title. Will Ember Moon earn the right to face Asuka again or will someone new step to the plate?
Verdict: NXT is on the rise again and it’s worth tuning in for.
Impact Wrestling (Pop TV)
Impact was a bit better last week, especially since them calming down on the announcers feud, but it still isn’t there where it’s something we can strongly recommend. They are rebuilding their tag division and X Division and EC3 has turned heel, which are both good for the brand. But there’s still a lack of stories and the main event scene is still a cluster. Keep an eye on it, but it’s not worth tuning in for live every week.
Verdict: It’ll need a couple consistent weeks before I can recommend watching this.
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!