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 ReverendClaire always has you covered in her 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.
NJPW Sakura Genesis (New Japan World)
This will have aired live prior to this posting, but I’m including this for those who may watch it delayed. Because it’s a pretty damn good card.
The main event is Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Okada for the NJPW heavyweight title.
There’s also a ton of Bullet Club drama here as they head towards the big Kenny Omega/Cody match at the end of the week. The Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi) will face Cody and Hangman Page. Also, the Young Bucks will take on lesser Bullet Club members Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi.
Also, Marty Scrull will challenge Will Ospreay for the Junior Heavyweight Championship.
Verdict: This looks like a good New Japan show with a good handful of matches that are intriguing. Even though ZSJ likely isn’t going to win, I really want to see that match. The Bullet Club drama has been really entertaining as well.
Raw (USA Network)
It’s the WrestleMania go home, baby!
This big thing is Undertaker should finally respond to John Cena’s somewhat pathetic attempts to get him to fight him at Mania. Will he be the Deadman? The American Badass? Will he look better than he did last year? We should find out!
The shows before the big one are all hands on deck shows, so expect Brock Lesnar as well.
They’ve advertised Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor as they head towards their triple threat Intercontinental title match at Mania.
Plus we will get a final Ronda Rousey/Kurt Angle showdown with the Authority before their big tag match.
Verdict: Sometimes, these go-home shows are a bit of a let down. But the fact they haven’t completed setting up the Taker/Cena match makes this one feel more noteworthy.
SmackDown Live (USA Network)
Every WWE show is a go-home show this week.
SmackDown hasn’t advertised anything big, and unlike Raw the night prior and NXT the night after, their part of the card feels pretty set. Sure, there are final touches to put on Asuka/Charlotte, the Daniel Bryan/Shane McMahon tag against Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens, and Nakamura/AJ Styles, but this show feels like the most skippable of the go-home shows.
That’s not to say it’s going to be bad, but there’s nothing major outstanding that will likely affect their part of the Mania card.
Verdict: Of all the go-home shows, this one feels like the one that you can afford to skip if you want a wrestling breather before things get really wild. Not that it won’t be a good show, but it feels like they’ve done the majority of what they are going to do for their big matches.
Mixed Match Challenge (Facebook Live)
This is the finals where the Miz and Asuka will face Charlotte and Bobby Roode. This could serve as a teaser for Asuka vs. Charlotte at Mania as well.
Verdict: It’s worth checking out if you’re not doing anything at 10 pm and you have a Facebook account. It’s not must watch overall with no impact on any greater storylines, but it’s fun.
205 Live (WWE Network)
The match advertised for this week is Drew Gulak vs. Mark Andrews. Andrews didn’t care for the fact that Gulak kept the submission locked in well after the bell rang in their tournament match, and now he’s looking for a measure of revenge.
They will also put the finishing touches on the Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali title match. They had a very entertaining sit-down interview last week. We’ll see what they bring to the table this week.
Verdict: While this week doesn’t feel like a must watch, this show has been consistently enjoyable.
NXT (WWE Network)
While most of the matches for TakeOver: New Orleans are set, the tag scene is still open. They finals of the Dusty Rhodes Classic take place this week between last year’s winner Authors of Pain and the fun, ragtag team of Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne. The winners get to face the Undisputed ERA at TakeOver for the belts. And speaking of the ERA, they still have not mentioned Bobby Fish’s knee injury so we don’t know how that’ll be addressed at TakeOver.
Also, Lars Sullivan fights Killian Dain in a mega hoss fight. Both of these men are in the North American championship ladder match on Saturday.
They will surely give us the last beats for their three big matches: Andrade Almas vs. Aleister Black for the NXT championship, Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa in an unsanctioned match, and Ember Moon vs. Shayna Baszler for the Women’s title.
Verdict: This is going to be a packed episode. While you could probably skip it and still really enjoy the TakeOver, this should be eventful.
Impact Wrestling (Pop TV)
This is the only show that isn’t building to a big PPV at the end of the week. Yes, they have a Lucha Underground vs. Impact show at WrestleCon, but that won’t be something this show is actively building to.
Advertised for this week so far:
- Ishomori vs. Johnny Impact
- Drake vs. Moose - Drake is putting his Feast or Fired “tag team opportunity” briefcase against Moose’s “world championship opportunity” case
Verdict: Impact has overall been consistent. This doesn’t feel that “much watch” this week so if you’re looking for a show to skip this week, Impact likely pulls the short straw.
NXT TakeOver: New Orleans (WWE Network)
TakeOvers pretty much always deliver. I can’t imagine this will be much different. Here’s the loaded card:
- Aleister Black vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas (c) for the NXT title
- Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa in an unsanctioned match
- Ember Moon (c) vs. Shayna Baszler for the Women’s title
- EC3 vs. Killian Dain vs. Ricochet vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Adam Cole vs. Velveteen Dream in a ladder match for the new North American championship
- Undisputed ERA (c) vs. Authors of Pain/Strong & Dunne for the tag team championships
Verdict: Gargano/Ciampa is worth your time alone, but there’s plenty of good stuff on this show. And again, TakeOvers are always good.
Ring of Honor’s Supercard of Honor XII (PPV or Honor Club)
ROH is running their own big show against TakeOver. This starts thirty minutes later, but it’s pretty much head to head.
The top match is obviously Cody vs. Kenny Omega. They’ve been building this for months now.
Also, Dalton Castle is defending his ROH title against Marty Scurll, The rest of the card can be found here.
Verdict: ROH is going to try to make this show a big one and the top of the card has some exciting matches. People are going to have a tough choice between this and NXT.
If I could only watch one thing this week, it’d be:
I’m really curious about Supercard of Honor as well, but NXT is getting the nod.
For one, I’m going to TakeOver so it’s getting chosen. But even if I weren’t, I think it’s a better top to bottom card. ROH shows have always been top heavy shows where the undercard feels more skippable. They’ve infused some NJPW talent, but those aren’t bits that have stories around it.
TakeOver is a more compact show (and shorter) and those five matches are all matches I’m really into.
Let us know what you’d choose below.
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!