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.
Impact Wrestling Redemption (PPV, FiteTV)
This is Impact’s first pay-per-view (PPV) since Bound for Glory last year and the first of the new Don Callis/Scott D’Amore regime.
Unfortunately, the regime had to deal with a bit of old regime bad developments as they had to change their main event from Alberto El Patron vs. Austin Aries for the world title to Aries vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix for the title. That was because they released Patron after no-showing their WrestleCon show.
In the long run, cutting ties with the former Del Rio will probably be the better move. However, it left them to promote a match with no television taped to build it. The match may be better but there was a lack of build.
Here’s the full card:
- Austin Aries (c) vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix for the Impact world title
- Allie (c) vs. Su Yung for the Knockouts title
- Matt Sydal (c) vs. Petey Williams for the X Division title
- LAX (c) vs. Scott Steiner & Eli Drake for the tag team titles
- Eddie Edwards, Moose, & Tommy Dreamer vs. oVe (The Crist brothers and Sami Callihan) in a House of Hardcore match
- Brian Cage vs. Taiji Ishimori vs. Trevor Lee vs. DJZ vs. El Hijo de Fantasma vs. Dezmond Xavier
- Aerostar vs. Drago
Check back to Cageside in an hour and we’ll have a full breakdown of the show for you.
Verdict: I’m torn on this. I mean, I’ll be watching this because I cover Impact. But the card isn’t jumping off the page for me. It’s also disappointing that talent such as Johnny Impact, Rosemary, and Taya Valkyrie don’t have scheduled matches. On the other hand, I expect Impact to try to make a splash with this show and the may be some great in-ring action. I don’t strongly recommend it, but I wouldn’t advise against it either.
Raw (USA Network)
This week will be the first post shakeup episode of both Raw and SmackDown.
Those shows will also serve as the final shows prior to the Greatest Royal Rumble, but I honestly don’t know how much that event is going to be built on TV outside announcing the matches and the video adverts they play for it.
The new look Raw is interesting and this is the first chance to see what it will look like, though until the GRR and Backlash are done, there will likely be some interbrand feuds they need to finish up as WrestleMania fallout.
Brock Lesnar is back this week since they need to build his cage match against Roman in Saudi Arabia on Friday.
Verdict: The new landscape will be interesting, though I don’t know if it will be as much of a focus while they finish up WrestleMania fallout. It’s surely worth keeping an eye on, but nothing must watch.
Bruno Sammartino documentary (WWE Network)
This isn’t an in-ring program so not something I’d normally cover, but I felt it should be mentioned.
After Raw, WWE Network will be airing their documentary on Bruno Sammartino, who just passed last week. He’s such a legend in the biz that it’s worth watching a program about him if you don’t know much about him.
It’s WWE Network, so it’ll also be on On Demand.
SmackDown Live (USA Network)
What applies to Raw applies here outside one thing: I think the SmackDown roster is super loaded. I wasn’t feeling some of the people they moved to Raw (and hopefully the change in scenery will hope those wrestlers) but those they moved to SmackDown were all talent I enjoyed.
Now SDLive has talent such as Samoa Joe and Daniel Bryan to work alongside Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles. They’ve added Asuka to the women’s division. SAnitY and Andrade Almas, with Zelina Vega at his side, will be joining the main roster. That’s something to get hyped about.
There’s one match advertised so far for this week, and that’s a tag match between the IIconis of Peyton Royce and Billie Kay against Asuka and Becky Lynch.
Also, the Miz is back and Daniel Bryan hates him!
Verdict: I’m more excited about the new blue roster than I am the red brand so in that sense, I’m more interested in SmackDown.
205 Live (WWE Network)
Buddy Murphy didn’t make weight last week, so DRAKE MAVERICK has booked a gauntlet match to decide who will face the Cruiserweight champ Cedric Alexander at the Greatest Royal Rumble special.
Verdict: I think 205 lost a little of its momentum after the tournament ended, but it’s still a show with a lot of quality in-ring action.
NXT (WWE Network)
NXT last week ended with NXT Champion Aleister Black seemingly accepting Johnny Gargano’s challenge for the NXT title for this week.
Will it happen? Maybe. If it does, it probably won’t have a finish. But either way, it’ll have major main event implications.
Speaking of titles, Oney Lorcan will challenge Adam Cole for the North American title and we’ll hear from the tag champs of Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong after Strong turned on his partner Pete Dunne to join the Undisputed ERA.
Verdict: This seems like a pretty big episode so those who follow NXT should check it out.
Impact Wrestling (Pop TV)
This is going to be all the fallout for Redemption.
Verdict: This will all depend on the results of Redemption. Fallout shows are always eventful though.
Greatest Royal Rumble (WWE Network)
This is an odd one. It feels half WrestleMania and half house show.
It’s in a massive stadium in Saudi Arabia Every men’s title is on the line. (None of the women are allowed to participate.) Some of those matches are getting builds. Others are barely mentioned.
There will be at least one new champion as the vacated Raw tag titles will be decided between the Bar and the Deleter of Worlds.
Roman Reigns gets another shot at Brock Lesnar and the Universal title in a steel cage. It’s entirely possible the finally do the title change in front of a more favorable crowd. But it’s also possible none of the titles change hands.
Jericho and Undertaker will be involved in some capacity. Right now it’s Taker vs. Rusev in a casket match but it’ll probably have changed by the time this publishes.
And that’s not to mention the 50-man Royal Rumble that has nothing on the line.
You can find the entire card here.
Verdict: Well, I won’t be watching it because it airs at noon on Friday and like most people in the United States, I’ll be working at that time. I would watch it if I didn’t, but it’s not something I’m devastated that I’m missing. I get the impression this is going to play more like a house show than a big event with major storyline implications. I wouldn’t be super shocked if Reigns wins the title, but my bet is no title changes hands.
If I could only watch one thing this week, it’d be:
I’m just so excited about the new roster that I want to see it even though it may be a few weeks until the major rivalries get established.
NXT is a close second because there are going to be a lot of major storyline implications with the Garagno/Black match and all the bits surrounding the Undisputed ERA.
Greatest Royal Rumble feels like too much of a house show for me to really want to see. If I were to watch it, it’d be more out of curiosity than because I am really excited for it. Plus, I like women’s wrestling on my shows.
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!