My masterpiece went up today. Link in bio.
My masterpiece went up today. Link in bio.
Oh what a week. In short: WrestleMania Weekend isn’t just about WWE. When WrestleMania comes to town, it draws in more other promotions than any fan can manage to see. Which means so many promotions are active at the same damn time.
In a way, that means these weekends might be best viewed at home. I was able to stream more than enough (but not all, we’ll get to that) wrestling, thanks to FloSlam, the FITE app and the WWE network. As someone who attended WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans, I can say that seeing all of the shows in any city without public transit (such as New York) will require significant pre-trip mapping and plotting and familiarity with taxis and ubers. Or, getting a rental car.
So while I will have watched around 42 hours of wrestling for this edition, there was even more. So, if you find yourself looking for more than what I list, the HighSpots network has the stuff that even I missed. Let this be a warning to you, kiddos, if you go to WrestleMania in New Orleans next year, which I hope to, you might need to take a time management class first.
You might have noticed that I didn’t list WWNLive.com when I talked about streaming services, which is weird considering I did use it for Progress. Going forward, you ought to be wary of live events from there, as the promotion fell on its face trying to stream Progress: Orlando. It claimed that a denial of service attack was involved, but I’m suspicious that the company couldn’t handle the stress of Progress fans. Refunds for that event are due some time this week(!).
Lastly, a note. You might notice that the dates on this week are a little shorter than a full week. Looking at when exactly the graps take place, I’ve decided that future roundups will start on Thursday and end on Wednesday. Think it might help get this thing up faster.
As always, a list of what I watched for this week’s edition and what I’m planning to watch next week. If I’m missing anything that can be accessed without too much trouble, @ me on twitter: henrytcasey.
EVOLVE 81, 3/31
So, damn it was hard to pick just the non-WWE match of the week, so boy are there a ton of suggestions below. But yeah, this match is a delight.
A hoss fight, if you don’t know, is when you take two (or more) big boy wrestlers and have them settle their differences in the ring. Keith Lee and Donovan Dijak, though, was an ultra hoss fight. They were doing all kinds of moves you don’t expect from such huge dudes. Like Keith Lee’s monkey flip, or his corkscrew plancha off the apron.
The match was so intense that the crowd started an “OH! Bask in, his gloooorrrrry!” chant ala Zack Sabre Jr.’s “Seven Nation Army” chant. A much watch if you like big dudes, and still something you should check out to see what they can do when they’re not a bunch of Great Khalis.
EVOLVE 81 is available on the FloSlam network.
YouTube / Ethan Page, 3/31
One of two back-to-back award winners this week, Ethan Page’s YouTube channel continues to reward those who know about it. This week, that means we’re treated to a tirade about WrestleMania Weekend. Specifically, Page goes after the smart fans who constantly put themselves over in the stands and annoy him for not keeping kayfabe going at the merch booth.
Maybe some day he’ll be in the WWE and complain about how shitty it is that fans bring beach balls to the shows of WrestleMania week.
NXT TakeOver: Orlando, 4/1
As should be expected, the WWE tag team match featuring The Revival was the best damn match from the promotion, writ-large.
The story going into this match was that Akam and Rezar, The Authors of Pain, a pair of impossibly thick, big boys are just unbeatable. Not only are they good at fighting, but they’ve got the tag team wrestling genius, the former Road Warriors manager, Paul Ellering giving them orders.
That combination led to them beating fan favorites DIY (Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa) for the titles, and then getting in the targets of former champs The Revival (Scott Dawson, Dash Wilder). Also, The Revival and DIY are true rivals, so everyone comes into this with reason to hate the other teams.
So while this match begins as a triple-threat, the two smaller teams unite and turn it into a 4 on 2. From the differing combinations (Gargano & Dawson; Ciampa & Wilder) to the powerbomb spot, it’s all just glorious. Also, the moment with the air getting sucked out of the room is practically a tiny tribute to first eliminated team’s ability.
Monday Night Raw, 4/3
Absent from the above list is Roman Reigns vs The Undertaker in a Battle for The Yard match. What may not have been obvious at the start, but feels like it now, is the fact that this was the most hamfisted retirement stip ever.
And so Monday Night Raw began with the most iconic moment in years. Following a replay of the retirement of the most beloved zombie ever, the crowd let loose with chants.
The following chants take place, in this order:
Roman Reigns’ music hits. Roman enters the arena, and then the ring.
A torrential downpour of boos hits.
“Fuck! You! Roman!”
Reigns mouths the words, “I’ve got you in the palm of my hand”
“YOU SUCK!” (not ironically, as with Kurt Angle)
Every time Reigns moves the mic to his mouth, the crowd boos harder and harder.
“RO! MAN! SUCKS!”, in the key of “New Day Rocks”
“SHUT! THE! FUCK! UP!” (to a man who hasn’t said a word yet)
Roman Reigns: “This is my yard now.”
End Scene. And with that, the WWE may have accepted Roman Reigns’ place as a heel. We’ll know better next week but this was a very good sign.
This week’s going to be kind of an abridged edition, because I’ll be publishing the next week’s edition very soon after this. So, no Upcoming Watch List, as most of that’s already happened.
If I’m missing anything @ me on twitter: @henrytcasey.
YouTube / Ethan Page
Most indie shows don’t give promos a lot of time in the ring, so it can be on the talent to make it happen. Ethan Page’s YouTube, therefore, is something that Evolve should be sponsoring for its benefit to the company.
Remember when Undertaker started crafting videos and sending them in as teasers? Remember how that didn’t really make much sense? Who taught this guy how to edit? Page, as the obsessive asshole looking to ruin moments for Johnny Gargano and Zack Sabre Jr., and spending all his time crafting and cutting these videos and rants, works in a very easy way.
EVOLVE 80, 3/30
In a surprise move, Lio Rush was added to this match at bell-time, turning it into a Three-way freestyle match. And while the meditating Kincaid and yelling Jaka can both go, the addition of Rush turned this match into hyper-mode.
And if anyone hadn’t seen Mr. Rush Hour before, now they know who to keep an eye out for going forward. Love the teased team-ups and backstabbing, and how his speed contrasted with Jaka’s size and strength and how his cocky charisma worked with Kincaid’s nonsense. Proved that he’s able to work with all type.
Evolve 80 can be found on the FloSlam subscription service.
Monday Night Raw, 3/27
The Seth Rollins Face Turn had been a catastrophe. For months, crowds limply cheered for the guy as he yelled at Stephanie about Triple H. Then Rollins gets injured, and the heat gets transferred to Samoa Joe, and it becomes about Joe and Triple H.
But then on the go-home Raw before Mania, everything finally snapped into place. Seth danced around the topic of betraying Roman and Dean, but sold his humble state of mind with regret about selling out to Trips. Sure this match could end his career, but that’s how much he needs redemption.
In a solid tease of what’s likely the following week’s WWE Match of the Week, NXT gave a triple-threat version of its tag team titles match. Everything here shows the creativity of the superstars at work, especially the teased team-up between Wilder and Gargano and the sneaky chicanery of The Revival.