In our regular Monday column, we look back at this week in wrestling to discuss who we think has had a Phenom of a week and who will have been waking up this Monday morning wishing they could rest in peace?
On what planet would we have started this column with anything else this week?
Yesterday saw the premier of the concluding chapter of ‘The Last Ride’, a documentary that is utterly required viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in wrestling.
It was a stunning piece of television, giving us unprecedented access to the man behind the most protected character in wrestling history. It was a total triumph that will hopefully be nominated for television awards aplenty at the end of the year.
Of course the series ended, not unexpectedly, with the retirement of The Undertaker. Truly the most remarkable career in the history of the WWE and one that will have begun before most people reading this even knew what wrestling was!
What is there to say but acknowledge a wrestling and pop culture icon. Mark Calaway has given so much to the genre we all love over the last three decades. Let’s hope that officially walking away from The Undertaker allows him to finally rest in peace.
Almost quietly, Orton has been almost back to his career best this year in his feud with Edge. His old ‘Legend Killer’ persona seems to have come back to the fore and with it, Orton once again feels like the most dangerous heel in WWE.
With the match/angle with Christian and Ric Flair adding a layer of intrigue to Orton’s story, we are hugely interested to see what Orton does next. When was the last time we could say that?
He continues to kill it in his new role of a Machiavellian mastermind, looking to guide the careers of various floundering superstars on Raw. Lashley is already benefiting from the alliance and Apollo Crews is sure to follow. Who will be next? We look forward to finding out.
MVP has all the makings of a bonafide long-time heel manager that could lead a series of charges to cause problems for the WWE’s top faces for years to come in the style of The Heenan Family and its ilk.
Raw Creative Team
A seriously good start, we thought, to this new creative direction before. It felt chaotic, in a good way. In an Attitude era way.
With unexpected twists all over the card, multiple show-long storylines, twists, turns and giant ninjas, it was very entertaining and left you wanting to see what happened next. We could dig a little more of this, for sure.
Its early days but Hooked On Wrestling are no strangers to bold predictions so here’s one:
This AJ Styles Intercontinental Title reign will be the best run with that belt in 20 years.
A bold claim but not one out of left field. AJ Styles is one of the absolute best workers in the world, maybe of all time. As if we didn’t know it before, The Undertaker’s effusive praise during the last episode of ‘The Last Ride’ demonstrates just how well regarded AJ Styles is by some of the biggest icons in wrestling.
Claire Lynch feels an awfully long time ago, doesn’t it?
AJ Styles, doing the wonderful heel work he has made his calling card in the last few years, is the living embodiment of what the Intercontinental title of old was. It meant great workers, sneaky heels scraping out wins, long title reigns, a variety of opponents and brilliant matches.
Between the matches against Daniel Bryan and Matt Riddle, and the aura WWE has already given this reign, it just feels like this is more than just an emergency measure after the title became unexpectedly vacant. This feels like a specific effort to bring back the glory days of the ‘worker’s title.’
Whilst the excitement behind his debut was somewhat muted by events away from the screen, there can be no doubt that WWE has strong plans for Riddle based on the manner of his debut on Smackdown. Let’s see if he can live up to the expectations of a growing fanbase.
The New Day & Lucha House Party
Where has this match been all my life? Incredible chemistry between these two teams made for the most fun tag team match we can recall in the empty arena era. More of this please, any time you like.
A cracking debut in AEW as the latest challenger for Cody’s TNT Championship. It bodes well for what’s to come.
People will have different strengths of opinion on the matter but it does seem there is consensus that it is not OK to use Jeff Hardy’s real life issues for storyline purposes. Last week we got the drugs test and it was announced that next week Sheamus will ‘toast’ Jeff Hardy. This story isn’t helping anyone.
One step forward, two steps backwards. After enormous excitement over his new persona(s) in 2019, 2020 hasn’t been at all kind to Bray Wyatt. The Fiend was exposed in Saudi Arabia when losing to Goldberg in February and this placeholder feud with Braun Strowman has seen both men regress significantly. Now we see Wyatt go back to his old character that had previously been beaten into the ground by over-booking and over-exposure.
Clearly they see Wyatt as a new version of Mick Foley, able to switch between characters as stories and opponents require. It’s a great idea in theory but nobody cares about about Wyatt himself for the audience to give him the unsaid permission to make these changes.
A face turn begins for the Archer Of Infamy. Character-wise that seems ill thought out and inorganic. It feels like Priest is still waiting to get off the NXT starting blocks. This is unlikely to help.