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.
EVOLVE 85 (FloSlam)
As usually, ReverendKain has you covered with his preview of both EVOLVE 84 (which happened yesterday) and 85. Check it out and you can decide from that if you’re feeling it.
Backlash (WWE Network)
Backlash definitely feels like an underwhelming pay-per-view (PPV). The main event of Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal isn’t rocking the world and SmackDown in general has been in a bit of a slump. Plus, if the Cageside predictions are any indication (and they’re often not), this could shape up to be a very predictable show. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be a good show.
It wasn’t too long ago I was saying that Payback felt like an extremely underwhelming show and they ended up delivering a really solid PPV. WWE has the ability to surprise us when it comes to shows that are be overlooked. They may not completely blow our minds, but they’ll often end up putting on a show that’s worth checking out.
And this show has matches and feuds to pay attention to. I think the Usos and Breezango are going to have a superb match. And despite a minimal build, there’s no doubt that AJ Styles and Kevin Owens can tear the roof off. There’s storyline intrigue regarding the women’s division whether someone will reveal themselves as a turncoat. So there are certainly things to watch for.
On paper, this isn’t something that is must watch. But it doesn’t mean it can’t deliver.
Verdict: It is probably skippable or something to save for later but can very well be a fun show
Monday Night Raw (USA Network)
Raw has been pretty enjoyable since the Superstar Shake-Up. The loss of Braun Strowman hurts, but they still have a pretty buff roster without the big man.
Last week, a fatal 5-way was made for Extreme Rules involving Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Finn Bálor, Bray Wyatt, and Samoa Joe where the winner gets to challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal title. That led to a really fun one on one match between Reigns and Bálor. Now they will likely not add much more to this feud and just run more random one on one matches between the participants, but that can be fun.
Also, Dean Ambrose is feuding with the Miz for the Intercontinental title, Bayley is feuding with Alexa Bliss over the Women’s gold, the Hardys are still dealing with a meaner Cesaro & Sheamus, and Goldust just turned on R-Truth.
Nothing has been specifically advertised for Raw this week.
Verdict: While nothing that’s absolutely “Must watch,” Raw has been solid since the Shake-Up
SmackDown Live (USA Network)
This will be the fallout show from Backlash so nothing has been advertised. What happens on Backlash will impact how much we’ll want to tune into this show.
They’ll likely be moving past the Orton/Mahal feud and it’s possible Rusev will show up soon to get into the mix. That should be interesting.
Verdict: It’ll depend on what happens on Backlash, but fallout shows will set new feuds.
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 post TakeOver episodes of NXT are filmed prior to the special. Meaning these matches have already been taped. Because of that, it won’t have plot implications and all fallout from TakeOver will be via fallout video that have already been released on YouTube.
However, both Drew McIntyre and Aleister Black will be in action (not against each other) and they have both been great.
Verdict: Post TakeOver episodes are usually skippable, but you may want to check out the matches at one point.
Impact Wrestling (Pop TV)
This week has the advertised main event of Magnus vs. EC3 vs. James Storm to decide who gets to main event Slammiversary. With two world titles floating around though (an Impact one and a GFW one), we don’t know who their opponent will be. Overall the main event scene has been a poorly told story for the promotion, one that’s all over the place, makes little sense, and has little to attach to.
On the other hand, Rockstar Spud and Swoggle finally confront each other as part of a comedy feud that may be the best thing Impact has going now. It’s not worth sitting through two hours for, but may be worthing finding the video.
Impact has things that are cool such as a stronger tag team division and X Division. But they keep shooting themselves in the foot with dumb storytelling with many of their stories (especially with all the GFW titles floating around now).
Verdict: Look out for video of the Spud/Swoggle bit. But it’s not worth turning in for the two hours of Impact right now.
Overall, it feels like a down week. Sure there are plenty of shows that could be really good but nothing that feels hot. The WWE shows in the UK could be fun, but they usually don’t plan anything very surprising due to the spoilers. Impact is still only starting to find its footing and can slip at any moment. It’s a week that you can probably take a breather from wrestling if you need and not miss much. But of course, you never know.
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!