It's Tuesday afternoon and a new Knotfest Wrestling column is fresh out of the oven. Before I get started, I wanted to remind you that last night, my friends Alicia Atout, Colin Young, and Jordan Olds hosted the video version of Knotfest wrestling talking about CM Punk's return, Bray Wyatt's possible return and The Rock's new VICE series. Take a look below.
WWE RAW is fun again!
Have you been watching WWE Monday Night Raw lately? I have! I knew once Triple H took over the creative direction that there would be a slow, but hopefully positive, change. It's been about three or four weeks, and every week seems better and more exciting than the previous week.
Championship titles have become more valuable and meaningful, even the United States and Intercontinental titles. In the last two weeks, both titles were prominently featured on Raw and Smackdown respectively. Last week's Smackdown main event of Gunther defending the Intercontinental Title against Shinsuke Nakamura is a match I would suggest you go out of your way to see. We are seeing unique matches every week, and the trend continued on Raw, with the stand out segment of Kevin Owens facing Drew McIntyre. Before the match, the two of them exchanged words on the microphone and it was two top PRO WRESTLERS performing at the top of their game:
They had a great match after as well. While there was a grunt on my end because of the disqualification finish, in this particular instance, it made sense. Owens is being rebuilt (finally!) as the killer he is and Drew is about to get a big title shot. Neither guy can afford to lose, and ultimately they're building for Drew's big match with Roman at Clash at the Castle, so naturally, the Usos have to get involved. But Owens leaves the match looking strong:
Riddle and Rollins had a fun exchange to set up their match at Clash of the Castle as well:
Overall, the show is much easier to get through, especially the first two hours. Unfortunately, once we get to hour number three, the show does feel like a drag to watch a bit. It seems as though WWE is aware of this and lately have been crescendoing episodes shortly after 10pm. The Lashley/AJ US title match that went on at 9:40pm is far more of a main event than the Theory vs. Ziggler match that went on an hour later.
My review is, Raw is worth watching again, especially with the power of DVR technology!
Kenny Omega Is Probably Returning this Wednesday on AEW Dynamite
All signs point to Kenny Omega being the partner for the Young Bucks to kick off the AEW Trios Tag Title tournament this Wednesday night on AEW Dynamite. The titles have been ready to go for a while now, and backstage word for the last few months was that Khan was waiting for Omega to heal up so he could join the Bucks and be in the tournament.
Omega has been out of action since last November, healing a multitude of injuries, namely his knees, shoulder and back, and recovering after going hard since the launch of AEW, and even before that with New Japan. Rumors circulated in recent weeks that Omega was near recovery levels.
With Hangman Adam Page turning the Bucks down on TV last week, there seemed to only be one possible parter for them. And this week's episode of the Bucks' behind-the-scenes show, Being the Elite, couldn't have made things more clearer, especially the last few minutes. Matt Jackson gets a call, and while we don't hear what the person on the other line says, we hear Jackson say "Are you sure? You're sure you're ready?" Then, faintly, you can hear Kenny Omega's theme music play.
So I am really excited to see Omega return tomorrow night!
Here's what else to expect on Dynamite:
- Andrade El Idolo, Dragon Lee, and Rush vs. The Young Bucks and a mystery partner
- Two-out-of-three falls: Bryan Danielson vs. Daniel Garcia
- Toni Storm vs. KiLynn King
- Varsity Blonds vs. Gunn Club
- While not officially announced yet, expect CM Punk to make a challenge to Jon Moxley or vice-versa, for the undisputed AEW championship.
WWE NXT Heatwave tonight!
WWE NXT has a big show tonight on the USA Network starting at 8pm, they are calling NXT Heatwave, named after the classic ECW summer pay-per-views. Here is the card:
- NXT Championship: Bron Breakker (c) vs. JD McDonagh
- NXT Women's Championship: Mandy Rose (c) vs. Zoey Stark
- NXT North American Championship: Carmelo Hayes (c) vs. Giovanni Vinci
- Street Fight: Santos Escobar vs. Tony D'Angelo
- Roxanne Perez vs. Cora Jade
Here's the lineup for Thursday's Impact on AXS TV:
- Number 1 Contenders Match: Bandido vs. Steve Maclin vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Moose vs. Sami Callihan vs. Rich Swann
- Impact X-Division Championship: "Speedball" Mike Bailey (c) vs. Chris Bey
- Black Taurus vs. Laredo Kid vs. Rey Horus vs. Trey Miguel
- Heath vs. Kenny King
- BTI pre-show: Gisele Shaw vs. Rosemary
WWE Smackdown on Friday at 8pm on Fox has these segments scheduled:
- Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre will face off
The Viking Raiders to hold ‘viking funeral’ for The New Day
- WWE Women's Tag Team title tournament: Natalya & Sonya Deville vs. Zoey Stark and Nikkita Lyons
AEW Rampage on Friday at 10pm on TNT has scheduled:
- AEW World Tag Team Championship: Swerve in our Glory (Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee) (c) vs. Private Party (Isiah Kassidy & Marq Quen)
- FTW Championship: Hook (c) vs. Zack Clayton (the husband of J-Woww from Jersey Shore)
- AEW World Trios Championship tournament first round: Trustbusters (Ari Daivari, Slim J & Parker Boudreaux) vs. Best Friends (Orange Cassidy, Trent Beretta & Chuck Taylor)
News from around the internet
WWE sent out a press release touting record sales for next year's two-night WrestleMania at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, selling 90,000 tickets within the first 24 hours.
WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus will be appearing at two Ontario house shows for WWE. Stratus announced she will be at the Saturday Night's Main Event show in Kingston, Ontario on August 20, and the Sunday Stunner show in London, Ontario on August 21.
Dave Meltzer reported on Wrestling Observer Radio that he has heard of plans for "multiple" AEW stars to take part in New Japan Pro Wrestling's biggest annual show of the year, Wrestle Kingdom, which takes place January 4th and 5th. The first two names that come to my mind are Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson, but imagine if they let Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks come over too?
The G1 finals are this weekend. I am still catching up on the previous few nights of shows but it's been a fun journey. New Japan has announced they'll be returning to the UK in October for some big shows on Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2 at The Indoor Arena at Crystal Palace’s National Sports Center in London.
Bret Hart revealed what he said to Ric Flair after Flair had his last match. "I just congratulated him and let him know that I appreciated what he did and what he was trying to do," Hart said. "There's not too many guys that have the guts to go in there and do what Ric Flair did, and I admire that about him." Hart told Bill Apter "It wasn't a Bret Hart-Ric Flair match. But that's what happens when a 73-year-old guy wrestles. It's not the easiest thing to do, and I think everyone realized how hard it was for him to do it. In the end, I stand and I applaud him."
Sasha Banks and Naomi attended the Disney premiere of Marvel's She-Hulk and posted some photos and videos from the night:
The former Zack Ryder, Matt Cardona has been having a great time on the indie scene and this weekend he renewed his vows with wife Chelsea Green, naturally paying homage to the Macho Man and Elizabeth wedding at Summerslam 30 years ago (jeez, I feel old). The highlight was Green getting former J-pop sensation and current amazing pro wrestler Maki Itoh to make an appearance and sing to Cardona: