WWE LOVE, LIKE, AND HATE THIS WEEK

Coming off WWE Elimination Chamber, the road to Wrestlemania still has some things to clear up. How does Becky Lynch officially get into the Main Event? Who will challenge Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship? Is Asuka still alive? Some of these answers came on Monday and Tuesday. Other answers will come in the next few weeks. Here’s what I Loved, Liked, and Hated from RAW and Smackdown Live this week.

I type these opinions as I see them. Chronological order need not apply.

LOVED IT

TOMMASO CIAMPA ON SMACKDOWN

The NXT Champion took a nasty landing on a sunset powerbomb. Looked like it could’ve been a devastating knee injury. Yet, somehow, he was able to complete the match and pickup the win for him and Gargano over The Bar. After the match, it was Sheamus that had some knee trouble himself. The Celtic Warrior’s knee injury was told or sold during the match. Hopefully both Sheamus’ and Ciampa’s knees are okay. … UPDATE: Both guys are fine¬†via Fightful

MANDY IS MORE THAN SEX

Mandy Rose can actually wrestle. She had a good performance with Sonya Deville in the Elimination Chamber Tag Team Title match on Sunday. Tuesday, she challenged Asuka to a non-title match. This could have, and for Asuka’s sake, should have been easy work for the Smackdown Women’s Champion. Instead, Mandy controlled most of the match. Her bicycle knee is a great looking move. This seemingly nothing match may have given us some clues to Asuka’s upcoming future. Maybe we see Mandy vs Asuka at Fastlane. Lacey Evans appeared briefly. According to Dave Meltzer, Evans may or may not be in line for a Mania match with The Empress.

Report: Asuka’s Original WrestleMania 35 Opponent Was Lacey Evans, Match Up In The Air

LIKED IT

KOFI GETS HIS WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Smackdown ended with a six man tag match featuring all of Sunday’s Chamber participants. The finish came with Kofi Kingston hitting Trouble in Paradise on Daniel Bryan for the victory. Remember, TIP will kill you on Tuesdays, but is ineffective on Sundays. Finisher powers aside, Kofi getting the win for his team made Shane McMahon announce that Kofi will receive a WWE Championship match at Fastlane.

I’m happy that Kofi is getting his opportunity to challenge for the Championship one-on-one. The WWE Championship match will most likely headline Fastlane, as the Universal Champion won’t appear. This is great for Kofi. However, I seriously doubt Kofi walks out of Fastlane with the Championship. The only way that could happen is if there is a rematch at Wrestlemania. I just don’t see a rematch being as special at Mania.¬†And WWE probably has a bigger plan for Bryan’s mania match¬†via Dave Meltzer courtesy of Wrestling Inc

Kofi getting his shot at Fastlane seems like a consolation prize. It’s like WWE throwing Kofi and the fans a bone. Good for WWE to at least do that. But I’d like to see this story get some time to build and culminate at Mania. I’d also like to abolish Fastlane and move Elimination Chamber back a couple of weeks. Keep Rumble in its place. Have Fastlane at the last week of February/first week of March. Then Mania. But $$$$ I suppose.

NO BECKY LYNCH

Becky was mentioned several times on both shows. HHH, Charlotte, and Asuka all spoke of The Man. There was video from WWE Live events as well as WWE Elimination Chamber of Becky’s appearances. But The Man did not appear on RAW or Smackdown. This is good. If Becky is suspended, she needs to miss at least a week of TV. Bringing her up keeps her on the fans mind. But if The Man is to be “special” she can’t be on TV every week. On both shows to boot! We still have some time until Mania. Let The Man simmer before she boils over in New York.

HATED IT

LAFAYETTE LOUISIANA CROWD 

This is partially WWE’s fault. Why debut a bunch of NXT roster members in Lafayette, Louisiana of all places? I think too many fans, insiders, and WWE officials think there are many crossover fans of the main roster and the developmental brand. That just doesn’t seem to be the case. People that love NXT love it because it’s different than the main roster. People that watch RAW and Smackdown don’t also spend hours of the week devoted to NXT or the independent scene.

That said, this crowd SUCKED. The Revival vs DIY was an awesome match. The crowd should have appreciated the in-ring work of the members involved, even if the crowd didn’t exactly know the competitors in the ring. Especially considering The Revival are the RAW Tag Champs. And Ciampa and Gargano are two of the highest profile NXT members available.

It wasn’t just the NXT crew that got the silent treatment. Newly crowned Women’s Tag Team Champions Bayley and Sasha Banks didn’t get more than a brief but underwhelming “Yes!” chant. This was a crowd that seemed like it was waiting on The Undertaker or Stone Cold Steve Austin to show up. Hard to push new talent when the crowd is¬†this¬†bad.

MOST OF MONDAY NIGHT RAW

Braun vs Baron… seen it a million times. Paul Heyman speaking for the absent Brock Lesnar… Same. Finn Balor vs Bobby Lashley… Again, seen it. These repetitive matches combined with the aforementioned horrible crowd combined to make a dismal Monday Night Raw. WWE better step up the Monday night magic on the road to Wrestlemania. Wrestlemania sells itself, this is true. But to gain new fans, WWE better get some hot storylines other than Lynch/Rousey/Flair going. Otherwise, Wrestlemania will be a very top heavy card.

NXT CLEAN SWEEP

The NXT crew won EVERY MATCH they were involved in on Monday AND Tuesday. I know WWE wants to showcase upcoming talent. I like the these NXT guys are getting some main roster shine. But to have them win every match? I’m not so sure. New Superstars can boost their stock with a competitive loss. I guess I’m old school but wins and losses do matter to me. If I’m allowing myself to pretend this shit matters, the outcome should also matter. I just think this makes the main roster crew look weak.

This week on The Show. Monday Podcast. Tuesday NFL Combine Hot Takes (we didn’t get our credential..) Wednesday WWE LLH. Thursday #WGG. Friday Oscars Preview and Visual #WGG. Saturday Visual Oscars Preview (hopefully)

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Thanks for the support! If you heard on my podcast, my sister had surgery today. I’m happy to report she survived surgery. She’s currently in stable condition in ICU. Long road to go. But at least we have a road to travel.