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.
Raw 25 (USA Network)
This is going to be a big Raw, celebrating 25 years on television.
They’re going to have legends galore (list can be found here) and will be running from two separate locations: The Barclay’s Center and the Manhattan Center, which was the venue of the first Raw ever.
Honestly, I have no idea how this episode is going to work. Are they going to spend most time in the Barclay’s with some cuts to the Manhattan Center? Will it be pretty even? How much of the show will be current Raw talent wrestling and how much will be legends? Will they be doing a bunch of segments together?
Even without the answers, you know WWE is going to pull out all the stops for this. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler will be calling the action from the Manhattan Center. Roman Reigns will defend his Intercontinental title against the Miz and there’s a good chance Miz wins his baby back.
This will be a loaded three hours.
Verdict: Raw 25 is going to be a must watch show
SmackDown Live (USA Network)
SmackDown has been pretty rough lately, with uninspired storytelling and overall underwhelming episodes.
I don’t see the go home show being any different.
Rusev Day will face the Ascension and that will be fun, but not worth watching for. It’ll be on YouTube later.
Verdict: At this point I say skip it.
Mixed Match Challenge (Facebook Live)
The second week of the MMC will feature Miz & Asuka vs. Big E & Carmella.
Last week’s premiere was fun, but nothing Earth shattering. It was week one though and they are still going to be tinkering with what works and what doesn’t.
Verdict: It’s worth checking out if you’re not doing anything at 10 pm and you have a Facebook account. Not anything must watch though.
205 Live (WWE Network)
At this point, it’s pretty obvious WWE has given up on trying to do things to build this program. They’re still doing their thing, but there’s not going to be anything that makes this “Must watch” unless they actively start putting effort into it again. (That doesn’t include Goldust going over half the division.) Pushing it back 30 minutes due to the MMC does it no favors.
Verdict: If you know you dig it, watch it. but there’s nothing they’re doing to build their audience.
NXT (WWE Network)
This is the go home show for TakeOver: Philadelphia.
Often, I feel NXT episodes prior the TakeOver aren’t must watch, but this week, they have a match that directly impacts Saturday’s main event. Johnny Gargano will face the Velveteen Dream with his TakeOver main even title spot up for grabs.
Also, they will air the second part of the TM61 video package as they hype up the tag team’s return.
Verdict: NXT continues to be one of the most consistent wrestling shows on TV.
Impact Wrestling (Pop TV)
This is the last episode from their November set of tapings and it is dubbed their “Genesis” special, meaning they’ve stacked the card. We have:
- Eli Drake (c) vs. Johnny Impact vs. Alberto El Patron for the Global championship in a steel cage
- Laurel Van Ness (c) vs Allie for the Knockouts championship
- EC3 (c) vs. Matt Sydal for the Grand Championship, no judges/no rounds
- Moose vs. Lashley
Verdict: It is a pretty big episode though at the same time, the week after this is the first episode of the newest regime. And let’s not forget Impact spoiled the ending of this title match, making that less of a draw. It’s still worth checking out if you’re curious, but next week is the real “Must watch” Impact.
NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia (WWE Network)
It’s TakeOver time!
Here’s what we’ve got for this show:
- Johnny Gargano or Velveteen Dream vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas (c) for the NXT championship
- Ember Moon (c) vs. Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s championshp
- Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly (c) vs. the Authors of Pain for the NXT tag team championship
- Aleister Black vs. Adam Cole in an extreme rules match
If Gargano wins his match against Dream on Wednesday, I have a strong suspicion that Tommaso Ciampa will be returning at this show to screw his buddy out of the title. Maybe not though. Maybe that hot feud will be for the title, but it surely doesn’t need to be.
Verdict: TakeOvers are always must watch.
If I could only watch one thing this week, it’d be:
TakeOvers will always get this nod from me until they put on a clunker. It’s be three years and they haven’t yet. Normally, Raw 25 would get the nod easily, but not against a TakeOver.
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!