WWE is rolling towards Worlds Collide and the Royal Rumble this weekend, where it will be every person for themselves, but their message this week is about family, friends, and the people you love. More specifically, it’s about how you and your friends should group together to beat up everyone you don’t like.
The Rollins Side of History
The Messiah started out Monday night by talking about fate, destiny, and the universe bringing him and Buddy Murphy together to save the world. I had no idea he was such a YA romance fan, but I support him. He invited the rest of the locker room to join him on his quest and be part of history. Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens interrupted to challenge the burgeoning cult, with the help of the second biggest boys they know—the Viking Raiders. Rollins ditched his friends, and the foursome beat down AOP and Murphy. Later in the night, Seth issued a challenge to Erik and Ivar for the Raw Tag Team titles, but it would be he and Buddy facing them. AOP was super cool about this, because it’s not like they were already an established tag team and also could have done this. The patron saint of thrown together tag teams then managed to stomp his way to victory alongside his new BFF, securing yet another tag team championship. The match between the two teams was solid, with Murphy and Rollins’ newfound chemistry working together. As much as I’d rather see AOP and the Viking Raiders toss each other around, I imagine they’re still saving that one for Mania. The Messiah is the most fun Rollins has been in a long, long time, as he’s two steps away from kissing Buddy’s forehead and calling him “my special boy.”
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Marriage Conquers All
It’s late January, and the Lashley/Lana/Rusev saga is still happening. Who’d have thunk it? Now they’ve roped in poor Liv Morgan, who deserves better, but so does literally everyone who’s been mentioned in this five month long feud. Things really peaked with the bonkers wedding, and I’ve accepted it’s all downhill from here. Lashley and Lana took on Rusev and Liv, both former lovers of Lana who now want to beat her up, in a mixed tag match. At least the crowd was vocally behind the faces, which made this main event slightly more bearable as the reaction to Morgan in particular suggested how over she is, despite not performing on TV for several months. After being throw out by Liv, Lana clung to Rusev’s leg, delaying him to let Lashley hit a spear, and somehow WWE’s most questionable power couple keeps moving forward. If this feud ends with Lana and Lashley as the victors the whole thing will feel wildly pointless, but at least we got that vignette of Rusev in a Hawaiian shirt one time. That was pretty cool. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Morgan in this new character, but I can only hope it’s far away from this never ending love triangle.
UE Takes an L (Or Two)
Wednesday was just bad all around for poor UE. First, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish lost to Grizzled Young Veterans, due to a distraction from Imperium, who appeared standing on the balcony to give Fish and O’Reilly those dead eyes. A surprising result as the Dusty Classic moves forward, but one that doesn’t really hurt UE, who are heading into Worlds Collide to face Imperium. The bigger loss came later in the night, when Roderick Strong lost to everybody’s favorite father figure Keith Lee. Lee is a crowd favorite and made a huge impression in Survivor Series a few months ago, so it’s no surprise to see him get an NXT belt. Strong gave a good effort, focusing on wearing down Lee’s ankles, but Lee managed to knock down all 3 other members of UE and planted Strong with the Big Bang Catastrophe. After Lee left to celebrate his win, UE was met in ring by Imperium, where Walter chopped the soul out of Adam Cole’s chest. Just a difficult two hours for all four of our favorite terrible boys.
Queen of Spades Meets Queen of the Black Lagoon
After Shotzi Blackheart eliminated former champ Shayna Baszler in the women’s battle royal last week, I was psyched to see the two go one on one. Blackheart was one of my favorites on the indie scene; her punk aesthetic and sweet horned helmet are somehow everything I wanted to be in early high school. There are plenty of enticing match ups to be had with the women of NXT, and she and Baszler were very good together here. Shayna controlled much of the match, but it was less one sided than I expected, with Shotzi getting to show off some of her quick, athletic style. The crowd was very into her, and Mauro put her over for being a fan of Joan Jett, so her future in NXT looks pretty bright right now. Baszler got the win with the Kirifuda Clutch. I’m unsure where Baszler goes from here with Ripley as champ, but wherever it is, I just hope it doesn’t involve a t-shirt that says ‘Let’s play.’
Family Sticks Together
Did you know The Usos and Roman Reigns are cousins? Wild, unheard of stuff being revealed on SmackDown this week. The trio teamed up to take on King Corbin and the everlasting ZigRoode in a 6 man tag to open the show. Jimmy Uso was injured early on when Ziggler threw him into the stairs, and had to be lead to the back. Corbin and co took advantage, keeping Reigns from Jey and beating him down 2-on-1 when Ziggler distracted the ref. Mean dudes doing mean things to a very nice dog. Luckily for the big dog, Jimmy’s head and neck bones had healed in a quick ten minutes, and he came back to get the hot tag and make the save. He hit a splash on Roode to win, but Reigns and Corbin continued their fight through the crowd, which, as luck would have it, is the stipulation for their match this Sunday. Really coming full circle here. This was a good tag match, but after Sunday night, if I never see Corbin and Reigns wrestle again, I will be one happy lady.
Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?
During an interview with Michale Cole, Lacey Evans talked about her tough childhood and her family problems and a bunch of things that I guess are meant to make her relatable, but only made me remember I need to call my dad back. Sorry Dad, I’ll get right on that. Bayley ambushed from behind just as we were hearing about what the sassy southern belle was going to do to bullies. Bayley asked if Evans knew where her daughter was, which would have been a very alarming question in any other sport, but is somehow par for the course in wrestling, where all your loved ones are constantly in danger. As usual, thinking about America and her family made Lacey hulk out, and she and Bayley brawled through the backstage for a while, before making their way back to the ring and interrupting a tag match between Fire and Desire and Bliss and Cross. It’s okay though, because it’s women interrupting women, so it cancels out. Bayley and Lacey should be a solid match, even if they’ve really harped on the daughter angle for a long time. Starting to believe Lacey might be the only mother in WWE with the way they’re putting her over for giving birth and not much else.
Bring Your Own Strap
Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt were set to have a good old fashioned contract signing, but Wyatt didn’t show. Instead, video from the Funhouse showed him try to fax a contract, because I guess in the imaginary world of talking puppets and immortal rabbits, it’s still 2004. Bryan demanded they meet face to face, so the lights went out, and Wyatt got on his best terrifying mask and reddest light gel for the occasion. The Fiend, carrying his homemade strap, choked Bryan with the claw before hitting him with Sister Abigail. He then ripped Bryan’s shirt and whipped him with the strap. These are real things that happened on live television and not a colorful fic on AO3. Wyatt ended the show by signing the contract in—wait for it—his own blood. Bryan probably could have appreciated the eco friendly style of blood writing, if he hadn’t been laid out in the ring in a ripped t shirt. I’m super excited to see these two go at it on Sunday, and I hope they don’t listen to the internet and never drop the red lighting. It’s campy and stupid and I love it.
Pretty Stays Winning
Tyler Breeze returned to 205 Live this week to take on Ariya Daivari in a rematch from last week. The results here weren’t much different, with Breeze scoring a quick win, despite both men being fairly evenly matched throughout. Daivari was furious, possibly because he didn’t think of the tassels on the boots first, and now it would definitely seem like copying if he ordered some with the Versace print. Brian Kendrick offered Daivari some words of wisdom backstage, saying he “needs a friend.” Don’t we all. Kendrick then had a match with Danny Burch, where Daivari decided he would like a buddy, and came out to cause the distraction so Kendrick could win. What will these nefarious new pals get up to next week? I don’t know, but I hope it involves another makeover for Kendrick. If anyone can teach him there are other leather jackets out there in the world, it’s Daivari.
WWE Banger of the Week: Andrade vs Rey Mysterio (Ladder match)
United States Champion Andrade is living the absolute life, between being Charlotte Flair’s personal photographer and coming up with sexy sequined outfits for him and his pal Zelina Vega to wear. Remember when they were teasing a breakup? Neither does WWE, they’re closer than ever so just don’t worry about it. This week, Andrade took on former champ Rey Mysterio in a ladder match. This banged, because of course how could it not, it’s Mysterio and Andrade, plus there’s ladders involved. Both men had some really great moves here; early on Mysterio gave Andrade a rana off the top rope, delivering him neck first onto a ladder, which made me feel like I needed a massage just watching it. Mysterio was in charge for most of the match, and looked set to win after throwing Andrade to the outside, but Zelina Vega remembered how to climb ladders at the speed of a normal person, and beat him to the top. She slapped Mysterio and gave Andrade the chance to catch up, throwing himself and Mysterio through a ladder, before climbing to grab the belt. After the match, Andrade was attacked by an assailant in a Mysterio mask, who turned out to be Humberto Carrillo, and we were all very hurt by the fact that he hid his face even for ninety seconds. This set up Andrade vs Carrillo on Sunday, which should also be a very good time.