clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Weekly Wrestling Viewing Guide: Jan. 14 - 20, 2018

WWE Mixed Match Challenge on Facebook

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.


Monday Night Raw (USA Network)

Both Raw and SmackDown are in the same boat building two mutli-person matches at the Royal Rumble. Raw seems to be doing better with it.

They’re continuing to tell the story about Jason Jordan trying to fit in with the Shield guys (minus Dean) and Roman Reigns not having it. They’ve also chosen this time to reunite Finn Bálor with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, something much needed for all three men.

The Miz is back and he’s awesome. He’s gunning for the Intercontinental championship that he lost to Reigns.

Asuka will face Nia Jax after Champion Alexa Bliss lied to Jax telling her Asuka was talking trash. (Nia didn’t even seem to believe it but opted to attack the Empress anyway.)

Verdict: Raw’s been good lately. It’s worth keeping an eye on.


SmackDown Live (USA Network)

Unfortunately, the blue brand is getting lazy in their PPV build, spinning the wheels in almost all of their stories as they head to the Rumble.

Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan continue their weird antagonism, which includes using the roster as pawns. It started out strong but has really slumped as of late. The women’s side is spinning their wheels as well.

The one thing that is worth looking forward to is the continuation of the United States title tournament, with Xavier Woods trying his hand at Jinder Mahal this week. Mahal’s insurance policy, the Singh Brothers, should be neutralized since Xavier has two guys he rides with as well. And those two guys are much more threatening than the Singhs.

Verdict: Honestly, SmackDown has been slumping lately and there hasn’t been much going on that’s worth recommending. That’ll change at some point, I’m sure.

Mixed Match Challenge (Facebook Live)

This is the first of 12 episodes of the 20- minute Facebook exclusive where intergender teams will face off in a tournament.

The build up has been fun with the reveal videos and some creative twitter videos from certain teams.

I wonder how well the matches are going to come off since the mixed tag format, where the men fight the men and the women fight the women, is really like two separate matches happening in turns. The entire crux of a tag match is when a face is in peril due to quick tags by the other team. That is out the door here. They’ll have to lean on the personalities and unique interactions to help sell these bouts.

Nonetheless, I’m still at least intrigued and the build up has been enjoyable so in that sense, I’m looking forward to it.

Check out the bracket here.

This week is Finn Bálor and Sasha Banks vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Natalya.

Here’s how to watch on Facebook Watch if you do not know.

Verdict: It’s new and in that sense, it’s worth checking out to see if it lives up to the Twitter/on-line build.

205 Live (WWE Network)

This will likely air after the Mixed Match Challenge, meaning their crowd is going to be even more burned out.

Verdict: If you know you dig it, watch it. but there’s nothing they’re doing to build their audience.


NXT (WWE Network)

Last week, NXT had a great episode, which was the first from their most recent set of tapings. That has me hopeful that all the episodes that lead up to TakeOver: Philadelphia are going to be good.

This week, the Authors of Pain will face the Street Profits in a #1 contenders match. This would be the biggest win of the Profits young career.

Speaking of tag teams, TM61 finally are returning as the tag division starts to get some depth.

Verdict: NXT continues to be one of the most consistent wrestling shows on TV.


Impact Wrestling (Pop TV)

Before Thursday, I was ready to write this show off. Ever since Impact announced that Austin Aries won the title at their newest set of tapings, all the episodes from the last set of tapings entered a lame duck state.

But then they announced a barbed wire match for next week and I was so curious that this was going to be my show to watch this week. We never see such matches on TV.

Then word came out via Konnan’s twitter and PWInsider that the match won’t be aired on Pop TV and instead on Twitch. If that’s true, not only is that match not on TV, but they will need filler they have to cobble together to replace that spot. Meaning this could be a skinny episode.

There are other matches advertised, some with title implications:

  • Eli Drake will defend his title against Johnny Mundo and Alberto El Patron. This will take place at a promotion in Detroit. In that sense, we knew there wouldn’t be a title change. But with the Aries news, we definitely know that now.
  • Taiji Ishimori will defend his X Division title against Dezmond Xavier. This should be good.
  • Chandler Park will face Kongo Kong. This could be a squash or we can learn that Chandler Park has his own Abyss in him.

Verdict: It depends. If they do end up airing that barbed wire match, I’d definitely recommend checking it out given the teams and unique stipulation. However, if they pulled it because Pop TV deemed it too violent, and that’s what Konnan said, this is a skippable episode that will have decent amount of filler.

If I could only watch one thing this week, it’d be:

Mixed Match Challenge

As I said above, if there weren’t a huge question mark surrounding that barbed wire match, I’d choose that. But that very well may not air on TV so I will go with the MMC. It’s something new and the talent seem to be having a ton of fun with 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!

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats