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. This won’t cover your indie needs, but ReverendKain always has you covered in his weekly Sermon on the Mat for that.
Bear in mind, matches could be added after this posts that would definitely change how worth a show is to watch.
No Mercy (WWE Network)
For a variety of reasons, WWE’s decided to load up what is traditionally a ‘B’ pay-per-view (PPV) from a down period on their schedule. Whether it’s because some of the players will be taking time off after tonight’s show in Los Angeles or they want folks to subscribe to the Network for more than a couple months a year, we’ll be seeing big names in hot feuds at No Mercy.
And I’m not just talking about Enzo Amore and Neville.
Verdict: Roman Reigns vs. John Cena and Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar alone are worth $9.99, and the rest of the show is pretty intriguing, too. Plus, you don’t have to sit (or fast-forward) through a four-to-seven hour event like WrestleMania to see them!
Monday Night Raw (USA Network)
Hard to predict what we’ll get here, but as No Mercy is a Red Brand show, the fallout will happen here. We’ll want to know whether Cena or Lesnar - neither of whom are advertised - show up, for sure. We’re also waiting for Asuka.
Verdict: Big matches mean big ramifications, at least in theory. The direction of Monday nights from now until Survivor Series should start to be established in Ontario, California. You probably at least want to keep an eye on it.
SmackDown Live (USA Network)
Hooooo boy. Tuesday nights have lost some of there luster, but WWE managed to get us talking about SmackDown again the past two weeks. Unfortunately, “should 70 year olds be subjecting themselves to blunt force head trauma?” and “why is this company so racist?” aren’t really the discussions you want fans to be having.
No matches announced as of now, but the build to Hell in a Cell continues.
Verdict: Either tune in because you’re dying to see if/how they address the backlash to the script Jinder Mahal was given last week, or boycott because of the script Jinder Mahal was given last week.
As you consider what to do from a moral and ethical standpoint, remember we’re overdue for new “Fashion Files”.
205 Live (WWE Network)
We won’t know the Cruiserweight title scene is doing (howudoin?) until after No Mercy, but this show has numerous storylines running now - and most of them are good. If you like TJP more than I do, you might even think all of them are good.
Verdict: Where else are you gonna find out about Drew Gulak’s proposals for a “Better 205 Live”? He’s not gonna post the PowerPoint, so you have to watch.
NXT (WWE Network)
The last episode ended with Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly’s first losing battle, to the unlikely alliance of NXT champ Drew McIntyre and tag titleholders SAnitY. Even if they tease out the “what’s next?” portion of that story, this is the first show from a new taping, which usually means an interesting show. We should definitely start finding out who will face Kairi Sane for the Women’s title.
Verdict: The black-and-yellow have been on a roll since Brooklyn, and there’s ever reason to think they’re only going to keep picking up momentum as we get closer to Houston.
Lucha Underground (El Rey Network)
Ultima Lucha Tres begins!
Verdict: Even if it wasn’t the culmination of the season’s stories in what’s essentially the promotion’s WrestleMania (if ‘Mania was strung out over several weeks), this might be one of the last four episodes of the series. LU’s not nearly as hot as it was in 2015, and there have definitely been missteps in writing and promoting it, but it was still a worthy attempt at delivering something different using the art form of pro wrestling. Enjoy it while we have it.
Impact Wrestling (Pop TV)
While the build to Bound for Glory continues, this is one of those episodes that used to be a pay-per-view (PPV) but is now just a loaded show. Here comes “Victory Road”!
Three title matches, including Johnny Impact going after Eli Drake’s Global(?) championship and a six-woman tag featuring the awesomely weird babyface team of Allie, Gail Kim and Rosemary!
Verdict: If you’re a regular viewer, you’d have to be a dummy (yeah) to skip this one.
If I could only watch one thing this week, it’d be:
This is actually tough, as I’m looking forward to watching all these shows (albeit, in the case of SmackDown, with some trepidation). Almost said No Mercy, and NXT is always near and dear to me. But the purple show has been consistently entertaining since SummerSlam and I’m having fun not only with the stories they’re telling, but also with watching the performers and creative-types behind the scenes figure out how to make a WWE cruiserweight show work.
It’s not even whatever the Enzo/Neville angle is coming out of Sunday, as that will probably be addressed just as much on Raw as here. I’m on board, if a little heartbroken, by heel Jack Gallagher and his alliance with The Brian Kendrick. AND I AM HERE FOR AKIRA TOZAWA VS. THIS ANTI-CHANTING CRUSADER...
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!