Pleased New Yr, TJRWrestling trustworthy! A fortnight of pre-tapes is now behind us and WWE kicks off its reside weekly broadcasting for 2019 in Orlando tonight. Welcome to the Week In Preview for World Wrestling Leisure, January seventh 2019.
Uncooked (Amway Middle, Orlando FL)
Introduced: Bobby Roode & Chad Gable (c) vs The Revival in a Lumberjack Match for the Uncooked Tag Workforce Championships. Elias vs Baron Corbin. Hulk Hogan will seem to discuss ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund. Alexa Bliss launches a brand new speak present phase entitled ‘A Moment of Bliss’, with Ronda Rousey as a visitor. John Cena and Brock Lesnar are additionally listed to seem tonight.
What to anticipate: No matter your opinion of Hulk Hogan, having him return to Uncooked to honor his late pal and interview sparring associate Gene Okerlund is a becoming transfer. Although this coincidentally type of breaks the taboo of WWE utilizing Hogan on tv once more, I don’t anticipate any angle to piggyback off his look; his will in all probability be one of some real tributes to Okerlund on the present. WWE has loaded different huge names onto this present in any case, and whereas we don’t know at press time what John Cena will probably be doing, Brock Lesnar clashing together with his Royal Rumble opponent Braun Strowman is being teased by WWE.com for tonight. I’ll tackle ‘A Moment of Bliss’ additional in a second, however the fascinating factor to look out for here’s what path (if any path) it units Ronda Rousey in, given earlier rumors she may face Charlotte Aptitude at Royal Rumble.
Of the 2 introduced matches, there’s comparatively little to say about Elias vs Baron Corbin; Corbin’s authority determine run has lent him some residual heel warmth, however a recent begin is perhaps good. The tag titles match, with different groups surrounding the ring (notably AOP) has a whiff of interference and shenanigans about it. Not introduced however potential could possibly be a rematch between Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley, whereas Triple H’s effort to deliver out the extra ruthless aspect of Rollins ought to develop. One other challenger for Dean Ambrose’s Intercontinental Championship would proceed a very good development from final week, whereas additional dominant shows and/or robust promos for Drew McIntyre would even be welcome. Extra individuals will probably declare themselves for his or her respective Royal Rumble matches too. Uncooked was fairly good final Monday; let’s hope tonight retains it going.
Highlight: I don’t assume it’s a stretch to say that, out of WWE’s two primary exhibits, it was Monday Night time Uncooked that was in larger want of the artistic overhaul introduced to a lot storyline fanfare in December. It’s nonetheless too early to guage how deep the modifications go and the way profitable they’re proving to be for the corporate’s flagship present, however there are sufficient fascinating indicators – substantial doubt UFC-bound Brock Lesnar can stay Common Champion to WrestleMania, an obvious re-focus on competitors for the tag division, ladies’s tag belts which may raise Sasha Banks and Bayley out of purgatory and cohesive, character-based pushes for Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins – to have earned the endurance of viewers till the Royal Rumble (in three weeks’ time) at the least.
For many of this stuff, my evaluation at present boils right down to ‘let’s wait and see’. There are indications that a couple of damaged elements of Uncooked might certainly be beginning rehabilitation within the first couple of months of this yr. In the brief time period, nevertheless, there’s one announcement for this week’s Uncooked that I’m but to be satisfied gained’t be a rehash of previous errors. It provides me no nice pleasure to say my first ‘Have I Mentioned I’m A Large Fan Of Alexa Bliss’ column of 2019 is to boost the priority that current Bliss-led promo segments on Uncooked are a worrying precedent for tonight’s Piper/Jericho/Edge/Miz-style branded speak present that WWE likes to relaunch so typically. A snazzy identify or set wouldn’t have rescued, as an example, the ‘audience Q&A’ with Bayley and Sasha Banks.
I feel it’s truthful to say that whereas most would agree Bliss is among the many higher talkers in WWE proper now, few (if any) would put her within the class of these previously-mentioned names from speak present segments in WWE historical past. Helming this kind of phase is a step up from the professional wrestling staples of promos to digital camera and even face-to-face; although sure, most of the time the phase is merely a way to start out a brawl of some type, the setup essentially modifications based mostly on the visitors and the host wants the vary to facilitate totally different sorts of situations, riffing on and responding to the opposite individuals. As with all speak present on tv, actually, being an elite-level talker is simply the entry degree; the perfect of the most effective are additionally elite conversationalists.
Bliss excels at character work and the natural-looking supply of scripted promos, however little of what’s written for her is beneficiant to or participatory for the character reverse her. Additionally, proof for her elevating common materials – and crucially, carrying different performers concerned alongside together with her – is patchy at greatest (all of us recall ‘Bayley This Is Your Life’ lengthy earlier than we obtained Q&A segments). We wait to see how a lot thought – if any – has gone into how the format of this new phase could be deliberate to assist her, but when it’s primarily extra of what we’ve seen within the final couple of months and Bliss retains her present distance from any physicality (reportedly resulting from concussion considerations), our greatest hope for ‘A Moment of Bliss’ going ahead is the presence of raconteur visitors that the Uncooked ladies’s division isn’t in any other case overburdened with.
SmackDown Reside (Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Area, Jacksonville FL)
Introduced: Charlotte Aptitude vs Becky Lynch vs Carmella to determine the primary contender for the SmackDown Ladies’s Championship. The Bar vs The Usos in a non-title match; Jimmy and Jey will get a future title shot in the event that they win.
What to anticipate: The introduced three-way is, in fact, a rematch from SummerSlam and one other level on the map in the direction of a potential WrestleMania fundamental occasion. Winner faces Asuka at Royal Rumble, the identical night time as Uncooked champion Ronda Rousey’s opponent is more likely to be named. With automated rematches already apparently a relic of the previous in WWE, it’s a pleasant contact that the ‘winning a non-title match grants you a future shot’ is being particularly famous within the WWE.com previews for The Bar vs The Usos fairly than simply left to assumption; the stipulation does seem like it exists with a purpose to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, although. Nevertheless there’s a probability, hypothesis has it, that the peculiar storyline between The Miz and Shane McMahon is main in the direction of the pair turning into tag champions, so maybe they’ll be The Bar’s subsequent challengers?
Discovering different methods to get round WWE’s new guidelines that dictate when title photographs are and aren’t handed out, final week’s SmackDown noticed Lana get ‘injured’ in a scuffle between Rusev and the person he beat for the USA Championship, Shinsuke Nakamura. I’d think about we’d discover out this week whether or not that’s sufficient for Rusev to problem Nakamura to a different title match (I’d think about it is going to be). With a WWE Championship rematch already secured, the main target for AJ Types this week might return to the McMahon household making an attempt to convey extra aggression out of him (in a storyline that’s began out wanting fairly just like that of Seth Rollins on Uncooked). We also needs to get an concept of what’s subsequent for the 4 males who have been unsuccessful in final Tuesday’s five-way important occasion – a minimum of a few of whom will in all probability declare themselves for the Royal Rumble, as with Uncooked. The angle between Mandy Rose and Naomi also needs to proceed right here.
Highlight: When you could have a boatload of McMahons saying their set up as omnipresent on-screen authority figures and video packages for a sextet of NXT call-ups, it might be straightforward for Mustafa Ali’s motion right into a full-time berth on the SmackDown Reside roster to fall down an inventory of current personnel-related speaking factors. This may be a disgrace, because it’s much more notable and memorable than the individuals who run the exhibits behind the digital camera showing in entrance of the digital camera, or a developmental commencement class whose faces match WWE’s stereotypical fundamental roster template fairly comfortably. Ali’s transfer is way extra fascinating for various causes.
Firstly, it’s an unprecedented bounce from 205 Reside. That is nothing like the primary roster exploits of Lio Rush (primarily the hype man for a heavyweight), Drake Maverick (pant-pissing supervisor) and Lucha Home Celebration (who’re so strongly packaged collectively that Uncooked created new match guidelines that allowed all of them to compete collectively). Ali has confirmed for the primary time that a member of WWE’s cruiserweight division can escape that labelling and emerge as a fundamental roster singles competitor outdoors of weight courses. Take into consideration how a lot of a glass ceiling we thought that was when the likes of Neville and Austin Aries have been heading up the division (earlier than heading for the exit).
And in addition, let’s mirror on the truth that Ali hasn’t simply made the primary roster; he’s made the primary occasion scene of the primary roster. The truth that an thrilling, principal event-level expertise on 205 Reside can translate on to SmackDown Stay is heartening information. Simply contemplate the lads concerned in final Tuesday’s five-way major occasion – two future WWE Corridor of Famers in Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton, two of the most important self-made names outdoors of WWE in North American professional wrestling since WCW folded in AJ Types and Samoa Joe, plus Mustafa Ali. That’s exceptional firm for any performer to maintain, notably contemplating what matches Ali may’ve thought he’d be wrestling on New Yr’s Day as lately as the beginning of December.
The range angle right here can also be worthy of a constructive notice too. I’m excited for the way forward for the NXT call-ups, however for probably the most half their potential to succeed seems to be fairly evident. EC3 is a wonderful talker with the physique of a Greek deity. Lacey Evans is a statuesque, engaging blonde who served within the U.S. army. Even when Heavy Equipment solely find yourself wrestling comedy matches on home exhibits and Primary Occasion, they’d be an ideal match. The truth that a Muslim high-flyer billed at 182 kilos is among the prime babyfaces on WWE’s most important roster in 2019 would’ve appeared deeply unlikely ten, even 5 years in the past. At first it’s a testomony to Ali’s expertise and work ethic, although it’s additionally a reminder that WWE acknowledges true capacity extra typically than it’d get credit score for (even when the alternatives provided to ‘smaller’ expertise may need higher limits). 2019 may turn into a second successive breakout yr for Mustafa Ali.
Additionally This Week
We’ll get onto this week’s huge United Kingdom occasion in a second, however elsewhere NXT (Wednesday) leads with Adam Cole vs EC3 and Bianca Belair vs Nikki Cross, in what seems to be like being the ultimate NXT matches for 2 of the skills quickly to reach on WWE’s premier exhibits. In the meantime on 205 Reside (Wednesday, not stay) Cedric Alexander va Hideo Itami will determine who joins Kalisto, Akira Tozawa and champion Buddy Murphy in a four-way Cruiserweight Championship match at Royal Rumble.
So to NXT UK, which has its regular double-bill of latest episodes on Wednesday – that includes Zack Gibson & James Drake vs Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews, plus a six-man tag between British Robust Fashion (Dunne, Bate, Seven) and Gallus (Coffey brothers, Wolfgang) – in addition to NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool on Saturday (2pm Japanese, 7pm GMT). The cardboard for the latter, because it at present stands, is as follows:
- WWE United Kingdom Championship: Pete Dunne (c) vs Joe Coffey
- NXT UK Ladies’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs Toni Storm
- NXT UK Tag Staff Championships: Moustache Mountain vs TBC
- Eddie Dennis vs Dave Mastiff (No Disqualification)
There have, in fact, been one-off specials for the UK model earlier than, however that is the primary within the near-perfected format of the mum or dad NXT model of four-to-five matches paying off a number of weeks of episodic tv. It is perhaps optimistic to recommend it might attain the excessive commonplace of different TakeOvers, however the presence of Dunne and Moustache Mountain – no strangers to an enormous NXT card – is reassuring, whereas veteran viewers of the Mae Younger Basic gained’t want any additional gross sales pitch for Ripley vs Storm.
The present ought to be value catching (or no less than – delicate plug – studying the recap right here at TJRWrestling and taking our suggestions for highlights). The large query, in my thoughts, is whether or not that is the purpose at which Pete Dunne and his UK title go their separate methods; you possibly can argue that every already belong somewhere else, with Dunne an enormous determine on the primary NXT model and a potential lengthy shot to make the primary roster inside the yr. He’ll cross 600 days as UK Champion this week, however how for much longer will that reign go? Is Joe Coffey actually the man to topple him? But when not Coffey, who?
Three Burning Questions
A few of this week’s most urgent however least publicized speaking factors. Throw down your solutions within the feedback part as traditional!
- What – if something – do you are feeling extra optimistic about on Uncooked than you may’ve been a month in the past?
- What must be subsequent for the 4 males who have been unsuccessful in final Tuesday’s SmackDown fundamental occasion?
- Will you be watching NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool this Saturday?
Till subsequent week, strap in, benefit from the journey and keep in mind to stay with TJRWrestling.internet on your present recaps and evaluation.