Another week of WWE wrestling saw a few major free agents heading to the Performance Center, an excellent main event of RAW, and a lazy episode of Smackdown. The writers of Win Column Sports take a look at the last seven days of professional wrestling and give their top moments of the week!
Best: As a hockey fan, one of my favourite times of year is the annual Free Agent Frenzy on July 1st. While there’s no set date like that on the wrestling calendar, January 16th was definitely a great day for free agents in the WWE. Four major names from the independent circuit - Ricochet, Candice LeRae, and the team of War Machine (“War Beard” Hanson and Raymond Rowe) - were officially announced as reporting to the Performance Centre on Tuesday. All four individuals should make a major impact in NXT, with LeRae perhaps being the most intriguing of the signings. With more names rumoured to be coming to WWE in the near future, can we expect a few debuts at this month’s Royal Rumble?
Worst: Smackdown really sucked, you guys. While I can appreciate the amount of time devoted to the United States Title tournament, where was your WWE Champion AJ Styles? Where were Kevin Owens? Sami Zayn? Rusev Day?! Backstage vignettes are a great tool when used properly; however, no one benefited from their booking on Tuesday night, save for Bobby Roode. Let’s get to the Rumble and move on, people.
Best: I think I’m in the majority here and have to agree with all the free agent signings this week. WWE signed Ricochet, War Machine and Candice LeRae. As Parker mentions below, WWE has the best in - ring roster at the moment, and it’s time for creative to give these phenomenal wrestlers proper story lines. I’m not too familiar with two of the signings, but I have seen Ricochet’s work as Prince Puma in Lucha Underground. Hopefully he doesn’t get stuck to being on 205 live and I hope all three signings excel in NXT and eventually on the main roster.
Worst: Smackdown Live. I think you’ll read enough about how much the show sucked this week, but this was one of the weakest shows in quite a while. It progressed no feuds and on top of that they rush the United States Championship Tournament. No knock on Bobby Roode or Jinder Mahal, but to see them each wrestle twice? A bit of a overkill. I am happy with the result of the tournament, just not how WWE rushed it. Hopefully things reset after the Royal Rumble because Smackdown Live is going to get killed by the RAW 25th anniversary next week anyways.
Best: It’s a tie for me - On one hand, Seth Rollins feels complete again with the return of the curb stomp. In my opinion, this move defined Seth for so long in the main event scene. The pedigree was OK, but the knee finisher just never felt right. Now, the curb stomp is back: I never thought that I’d be typing that. The other best for me is the signings of Ricochet, War Machine and Candice LeRae. This is probably the best in-ring talent the WWE has ever had, and these four only bolster that. Yes, I worry about their booking, but these are some of the best in their respective divisions. Excited to see where they go!
Worst: I can be lazy and just say Smackdown in general was the worst of the week. Raw had a layered, exciting show, while Smackdown felt like it was treading water. The US title tournament was pretty disappointing; they failed to creatively build towards any feuds for the Royal Rumble, and the whole show just felt like filler. We’re two weeks away from a big 4 PPV, and this show had zero urgency. I love Bobby Roode, but I don’t believe he should have won the title this way. If you’re dead set on him as a face (In that case, WHY?), then have him cheated out of the championship & build him up. It’s time to admit it, Smackdown Live has some pretty serious problems.
Best: The Mixed Match Challenge. This takes my “Best of the Week” spot not only because of the wrestling - because at the end of the day, a mixed tag team format in itself is not the most exciting type of match to watch - but takes the top spot for me because it took advantage of a platform that WWE until, now, only used for airing PPV Kickoffs: Facebook Live.
Worst: The finals of the U.S Championship Tournament. It’s polar opposites for me of last week. The entire thing felt rushed, and while I get that the Royal Rumble is getting closer by the day, but if you move something ahead like they did the finals, at least try to build a few storylines out of it. WWE’s blue brand has absolutely nothing going on en route to the Royal Rumble. Next week does not look all that promising for Smackdown either, as they will go head to head with the Raw 25th Anniversary show.
Best: Rollins vs Balor. Was it every really in doubt that this would take the top slot? A stellar match with many implications. Rollins doesn’t hold a clean win over Balor, the Good Brothers are mixed up in the tag team title feud, and Jason Jordan is showing his true colours. It’s got me seriously excited for RAW next week.
Worst: Braun Strowman’s Night of Destruction. Don’t jump to conclusions; Braun McStrongMan put on another masterclass in screaming at people and destroying inanimate objects, this time at the expense of 12 million dollar production trucks. Why did he do this? He was fired promptly at the beginning of the program. My brother Parker and I were buzzing. Does Strowman move to Smackdown and take on Styles? Does he become a free agent? Or, for me, will KANE pin Lesnar clean and begin a new era of demonic domination? Yet, an hour later he was rehired & placed back in the Universal title match. All this after doing the same things he was punished for doing last week. It’s a little odd and unfulfilling.
That’s our list! Agree with it? What were your favourite - or least favourite - moments of the week? Let us know on twitter @WCSports - you may just be part of our next article!
WWE Last 5:
- BREAKING: Former Impact Champion Returning to WWE?
- Smackdown Live Preview: January 16, 2021
- Monday Night Spencer: January 15, 2021
- 5 things I want to see from WWE in 2018
- Breaking: Paige “Done” as WWE In-Ring Performer