— We kicked off the week shooting around some scenarios with John Cena’s future as a part-timer, retiring The Undertaker, and moving the WWE into a younger generation. We learned that Shelton Benjamin was injured and his WWE future is questionable at this particular point in time. He will most likely need surgery and may be on the injured list for several months.
— Monday Night Raw gave us the go home show leading up to tonight’s pay-per-view. We saw a women’s tag match, Rusev taking on Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns versus Kevin Owens in a steel cage! Plus, the introduction of the Cruiserweights. All this and more in our full review of RAW.
— Smackdown Live came at us on Tuesday and featured The Usos can full dark side, American Alpha’s return, The Miz forced to defend his Intercontinental Championship, and The Viper, Randy Orton, in action. The main event was John Cena against Dean Ambrose in singles competition. Read all about it HERE.
— Taped from Full Sail, NXT arrived on the WWE Network on Wednesday. Samoa Joe gave William Regal a very stern ultimatum about Shinsuke Nakamura and the rest of the locker room. Cruiserweight Classic Tournament competitor, Cedric Alexander, made his NXT in-ring debut. And Austin Aries called out Hideo Itami. Read all about the latest taping right HERE.
— Dixie Carter won the week with yet another fantastic episode of TNA’s Impact Wrestling. The stage is slowly being set for Bound For Glory. We saw the Grand Championship tournament finals lock in their last two, Maria Kanellis-Bennett public training, an X-Division Championship match, and a four-man tag team match for the main event featuring Lashley, EC3, Moose, and The Miracle. Read about the entire stellar broadcast HERE.
— The last NJPW before Wrestle Kingdom came to us from AXSTV on Friday, featuring a CMLL World Welterweight Championship title defense, and a tag match between four warring competitors. The main event was Hiroshi Tanahashi and Katsuyori Shibata taking on Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii, and boy did they go to war. Read the full play-by-play HERE.
— And of course, tonight is WWE’s Clash of Champions PPV live from Indianapolis, IN. Face To Heel will be live from the arena! We will try to Tweet, get lots of photos, and soak in every wonderful moment. Read all about our full match predictions HERE and be sure to follow our site and our writers on twitter: @FaceToHeel, @OhhhTweener, @MrNotWell. Enjoy the show everybody and we’ll see you tomorrow for Monday Night Raw!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
If you missed last week’s episode, check out our full review featuring Shinsuke Nakamura being carried out on a stretcher and a GLORIOUS match from Bobby Roode. This article is being posted a day late because the WWE Network in the Face to Heel household was not working at all last night.
The show starts with a recap of Samoa Joe taking out Shinsuke Nakamura. After the video, Joe comes down to the ring. Joe somehow has a copy of Shinsuke’s medical report. He has contusions in his lower lumbar, a clavicle separation, and shoulder and elbow injuries. His injuries will not require surgery, but he will need rest for 6-12 weeks. Crowd boos. I have already lost interest in this segment. Even if I bought into kayfabe, pretty sure reading someone’s medical report on live television is something close to a felony. So it just wouldn’t happen. But whatever, the Full Sail crowd is buying it hook, line and sinker. Joe calls out William Regal and demands the title be stripped and given back to Joe.
He comes out and confirms Shinsuke is seriously hurt. He says he will take care of the problems Joe cause. Crowd chants his name. Joe leaves the ring and goes for Regal. He gets in his face and says Regal either makes the situation right or the entire NXT roster will be hurt like Shinsuke. At least the segment ended exciting. I look forward to Samoa Joe hurting a bunch of people. That’s always fun.
Cedric Alexander interviewed backstage. He is set to have his NXT in-ring debut tonight against Cien. He asked Regal for the best and got what he asked for, he says. Liv Morgan is interviewed, says she came to NXT to leap hurtles. She says she wants to do whatever she needs to in order to prepare to take the NXT Women’s Championship. Asuka interrupts. She says lets find out if she has what it takes.
Oney Lorcan comes to the ring, set to take on Austin Aries. Grappling to start, which Aries takes control of. Oney recovers with a couple of headlocks. Aries escapes, but Oney locks it back on. He rides Aries down to the mat, not removing the headlock. Crowd at Full Sail is pretty quiet tonight. Aries slaps Oney in the face in the corner. Oney shoves him to the mat, locks in a headlock, but Aries dumps him outside the ring. Back in the ring, Aries drops an elbow and tries a cover. Oney kicks out at two. Oney takes control with some strikes and throwing himself into Aries in the corner. Aries again spills him out of the ring, hits the top rope and jumps off with an elbow. Aries rolls Oney back into the ring, who turns and hits Aries with two uppercuts. He covers, but Aries barely kicks out. Rolling elbow and running dropkick by Aries. On the mat Oney meets the Last Chancery up close and personal and has no choice but to tap. Austin Aries wins via submission. Not my favorite match. Pretty standard, run-of-the-mill, and I personally feel like Oney Lorcan needs a lot of work on the NXT stage.
After the match, Austin Aries gets on the mic and calls Hideo Itmai a “big coward.” Hideo’s music hits and he comes out. He gets in the ring and Austin Aries turns and rolls out of the ring. He jogs up the ramp with his arms raised and leaves. Crowd boos. Hideo stands in the ring angry. Man, that surgery scar on his arm is ugly as hell. Dan Matha promo package after. He is set to debut in two weeks.
Aliyah and Billie Kay wrestling next for some NXT women’s action. Aliyah is really impressive the first couple of minutes, utilizing the ropes and puling out some nice moves. Crowd is still flat for this one, too. I hate a quiet audience. Billie turns the tables and stomps Aliyah in the corner. Neckbreaker by Aliyah leads to a cover, but Billie kicks out. Billie hits a big boot to the face and covers for the pinfall. Just not enough time given to these ladies. They are good, but just when you get into a match they wrap it up. I really like Aliyah. She is a great worker.
Mandy Rose backstage interviewed about Ember Moon. She says she looks like The Hunger Games. When she gets in the ring with her, she will make sure she is, “totally eclipsed.” Okay. That was terrible.
Cruiserweight Cedric Alexander is coming down to take on Andrade “Cien” Almas. On a sidenote, can we just pick one name for the guy? The roster refers to him as Andrade, Cien, or Almas. Just call him Andrade and lose the rest, or call him Cien and lose the rest. He is billed as a name with a nickname. Grappling to start. The crowd finally wakes up, cheering for Cedric. A flurry of offense from Cien gets the crowd fired up. Cien dumps Cedric out of the ring and then corkscrew flips off the top rope to knock him down. Back in the ring, Cedric and Cien trade chops. Cedric off the ropes connects with a vicious kick and Cien rolls out of the ring. Cedric off the ropes again and this time he goes flying over the top rope to take down Cien. This one is evenly matched in the final moments. Both men score great offense but neither can keep the other down for a full three count. Huge backbreaker out of the corner by Cedric and he wins his NXT debut! Wow. That was great of Cien to put him over. Fun match to watch. Cedric will have a great future with WWE.
After the match the pair shake hands and hug. An alright episode. The Samoa Joe ultimatum at the start of the show seems anti-climatic now that he didn’t come back out again the rest of the show. The addition of some of the Cruiserweights from the CWC tournament is going to help the dwindling lack of talent in NXT. The problem with main roster call-ups is that it sometimes leaves giant holes.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Greetings, pro-wrestling fans! This has been a very interesting week in the world of sports entertainment! We shit the bed on Monday and Tuesday and missed our weekly Raw and Smackdown Live episodes. Our sincere apologies. Our laptop bit the bullet and left us stranded. We had to improvise most of the week but we are finally back and better than ever! So here’s what you may have missed this week in wrestling.
— The late, great Mr. Fuji got his own Collection added to the WWE Network featuring his work as a solo competitor, tag partner, and manager. Alberto Del Rio officially got released by the WWE. Fans around the world were left wondering if his girlfriend, WWE Superstar Paige, was transitioning out of the company as well. The beloved fan favorites American Alpha took their tag team antics to Sportscenter’s Off The Top Rope Wednesday night to discuss their start as partners, amateur careers, and future as a team. The Coach kept it light and it was just a likable interview for the pair of future Smackdown Tag Team Champions.
— Wednesday night gave us some serious wrestling action as NXT saw four matches during the hour long broadcast including: Shinsuke Nakamura, Austin Aries, Ember Moon, and TM61. It was a fun show and the Full Sail Crowd was lively. Read all about it HERE. Following NXT, the WWE Network gave us the final round of quarter-final matches for the Cruiserweight Classic. Zack Sabre Jr. took on Noam Dar and T.J. Perkins wrestled Rich Swann. It was two more classic matches for the CWC and set the stage for next week’s live two hour finale. See who made the Final Four in our full review.
— Thursday Night! I knew you’d come! Yes, TNA brought us a brand new episode of Impact Wrestling. And yes, Broken Matt Hardy treated the entire world to another fantastically epic moment in pro-wrestling history. Decay (Rosemary, Abyss, Crazzy Steve) invaded Cameron, North Carolina and tried to steal King Maxell. It was one for the history books as Decay or Delete gave us more fireworks, more green mist, and more insane Hardy moments than ever before. And if that wasn’t enough, Gail Kim tagged with Jade, the King of the Mountain Championship was retired, and The Miracle got an opponent for Bound For Glory. Don’t hesitate to read all about #ImpactOnPOP!
— AXSTV brought us some killer tag team action on Friday’s new episode of New Japan Pro Wrestling. It was worth watching and featured some of Japan’s biggest names. Read all about the phenomenal hour long broadcast HERE. We don’t typically cover UFC on here, but we did this past Saturday as UFC 203 saw the debut of former WWE World Champion CM Punk in the octagon. Unfortunately it was a brutal first fight. Mickey Gall tapped Punk out in the first round. We covered the event briefly HERE.
— And of course, last night Smackdown Live presented the 2016 Backlash pay-per-view. It was a premiere event and was arguably one of the best live WWE Network shows put on so far this year. We crowned a first time ever Smackdown Women’s Champion, first time ever Smackdown Tag Team Champions, and both the Intercontinental and World titles were defended. Who won? Who retained? Well, you don’t think we’re gonna give that information away here do ya?! You have to go read our article with full match results and feedback. That’s all for now. See you tonight for Monday Night Raw!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
I’m excited to be back among the living on Wednesday nights and able to watch NXT live. With Shinsuke Nakamura as our champion and Bayley off on Raw, the entire landscape has changed. Tonight, we’ll get an interview with Asuka, but first, we have a tag match with Shane Thorne and Nick Miller of TM61 and Tony Nese and Ariya Daivari of the Cruiserweight Classic. Thorne and Nese start things off, with Nese effortlessly flying around the ring to out-maneuver Thorne. Daivari and Miller are tagged in, Miller gets pinned in the wrong corner as our CWC competitors dominate TM61.
Nese makes an amazing dive out of the ring, but not to be shown up, Thorne takes a dive of his own and shows that TM61 can fly with the best of them. With the distraction by Daivari, Nese takes a cheap shot on Thorne. Nese lifts Thorne high, throws him on the ropes, then hits a high knee into a pin. Miller is desperate for a pin, but Nese and Daivari won’t allow it. Daivari taunts Miller, allowing Thorne to sneak in an uppercut. Nese and Miller are tagged in, and Miller starts delivering slaps to the face, then a forearm into an unsuccessful pin. TM61 is getting their footing back, nearly getting the win but Daivari breaks it up. Daivari hits a frogsplash into a pin, but can’t get it done. TM61 tag team Daivari with Thunder Valley, allowing Miller to get the pin and win the match. An absolutely phenomenal showing by all four athletes.
Tom Phillips shows us his interview with Asuka from earlier today. Asuka says she was excited by the Brooklyn crowd during her title match with Bayley. She calls Bayley the heart of NXT and says she fought hard, but Asuka fought harder. Our current champion is still undefeated, and Phillips goes through the list of competitors she has destroyed. Asuka says she cleared out the women’s division; the women who went to Raw and Smackdown got saved because they don’t have to fight her anymore. The championship is of the utmost importance to Asuka. She defends it for herself and for her country, then addresses her fans in Japan in her foreign . Finally, Asuka says that no one is ready for her. She will be hard to dethrone.
Ember Moon is set to compete next against Leah Von, who to her credit, isn’t looking intimidated in the least. Von is able to get Moon into a headlock, but Moon launches herself off the ropes and into a crossbody on Von. Moon is struggling a bit to get her footing, as Von launches her into a corner, then shows off with a cartwheel. Moon gets Von into the corner and flips into a clothesline. She goes to the top rope as the crowd cheers, and grabs Von’s head to deliver a stunner and pin her for the victory. Moon is a serious competitor and I’m glad she’s a part of the NXT roster.
Backstage, No Way Jose addresses the disrespect he received from Bobby Roode. He promises to make sure that Roode finds out that no one messes with No Way Jose. Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano are also backstage discussing injuries. They will get a chance to compete next week at the Cruiserweight Classic to prove that they are back at 100% and able to take on The Revival.
Our next match is Andrade “Cien” Almas versus Austin Aries. Cien gets Aries to his knees quickly with a wrist lock, but Aries is able to counter with an arm bar. Aries goes into a handstand and then hits a dropkick before taking a break and lounging on the ropes. After Cien gets a few good hits in and tries for a pin, Aries takes a break outside of the ring. He tries to throw Cien from the ring, but he catches himself on the ropes and then throws Aries towards the barricade. Cien goes to the top rope, then Aries shoves him off, sending him head first into the ramp.
After the short commercial break, both men are back in the ring with Aries in control. Half the crowd is chanting for Aries, the other half thinks he sucks. Hugn up on the ropes, Cien manages to get a kick in to get Aries down. He is trying to get the crowd behind him, but Aries sneaks in a dropkick into a pin. Both men are on the ropes, with Cien able to elbow Aries off of him. He flips off and gets Aries down for a near pinfall. The two begin trading punches, then Aries delivers a deafening chop. Cien tries for a hurricanrana, but Aries counters it into a powerbomb to a Last Chancery, and gets the win via tap out. The crowd wasn’t as into this match as they should have been; it was a killer match.
Our main event is Shinsuke Nakamura versus Steve Cutler, with Samoa Joe on commentary. Nakamura’s entrance gets me every single time; I’m never getting sick of this. I love the crowd participation in his song, I love his charisma; he has that special something that only comes around once in a blue. Samoa Joe doesn’t seem as impressed, but he does say that Nakamura was the better man in Brooklyn and he deserves that championship. The crowd starts chanting “Shinsuke’s gonna kill you” as the bell rings and the two men approach each other.
Cutler tries to get close, but Nakamura won’t allow it, with well times kicks. They eventually lock up, and Nakamura sneaks in a kick to his head. The crowd is chanting for Cutler to take the count out, as Nakamura hits him with a hard knee before pinning him in the corner. He charges Cutler, who is able to counter and throw Nakamura into the corner and deliver some hard hits. He pins the champ, but Nakamura is out quick. Cutler tries for a Suplex, but Nakamura hits him with a knee and then gives us a clinic on why he is King of Strong Style. He throws Cutler over his head, then hits the Kinshasa for the win! Man, that title looks good on Nakamura. We close out the show with our champion holding his title high.
Next week, No Way Jose will face off with Bobby Roode, which I’m anxious to see. This was an absolutely amazing episode of NXT; if you missed it tonight, get on the network now and watch! It was much better than last week’s episode. What did you think of tonight’s episode? Let us know what you thought in the comments below!
Article by Mrs. Jamie Baker
Last week gave us a pretty dull episode of NXT, post-Takeover. But the card was on fire in Brooklyn and we now have Shinsuke Nakamura as our champion. Let’s see what the WWE Network has in store for us tonight.
Segment from earlier in the day with Samoa Joe and physical trainer. The doctor tells William Regal that Joe is not cleared for tonight and won’t be anytime soon. Not good. The injuries within WWE have been staggering lately. The Perfect 10, Tye Dillinger, comes out first as the crowd cheers. He is set to take on Buddy Murphy. Slow going to start. Murphy tries to play some mind games and Dillinger takes him down to the mat. Crowd is dead silent just a few seconds in. Dillinger manages to get the audience to chant ten. Big elbow by Murphy ends that. Dillinger slams his head against the turnbuckle. Murphy leaps the ropes and slams Dillinger down. Forearm to the face and Murphy covers. Dillinger kicks out at one, garnering a one chant from the crowd. Couple of chops from Dillinger. He bounces off the ropes but Murphy tosses him over the top rope to the outside. Back in the ring, Murphy hits two knees to the face off the top rope. Dillinger barely kicks out at two. So far this one has been really standard, albeit boring. Couple of sloppy clotheslines by Dillinger. He then stomps Murphy in the corner multiple times. Dillinger removes his knee pad and hits the Tye Breaker for the pinfall and win. That one was just empty and flat. No substance, no life. Just two guys going through the motions. That shit right there won’t get you called up to the main roster, I can promise you that.
Tommaso Ciampa is interviewed backstage. He starts cutting a promo on The Revival, but they come up from behind and jump him. They beat him through the back, through the curtain, and then into the ring. Scott Dawson gets on the mic and says everybody’s a tough guy until they get their ass kicked. They hit Shatter Machine on Ciampa, as the crowd boo’s, then leave.
Steve Cutler comes to the ring; crowd could care less. His opponent, Kenneth Crawford, comes out; crowd may care even less for the second entrance. On a side note, Crawford has a really weird looking chest. He has little teabag nipples that hang off his deflated pecs. Super weird. The match starts with some minor grappling. Both these guys look like generic create-a-characters in WWE2K. Even their ring gear is basic. Steve Cutler wins this one by pinfall. Just not into this match at all. Another dud. Disappointing night so far from NXT. There’s another one of those Sanity vignettes after the match, which we are assuming might be for the soon returning Eric Young?
No Way Jose comes out and the crowd gets all fired up. I do a little dance on my couch. Fun stuff. Glad people are finally starting to come around to him. He was burned on his debut as some people didn’t like his demeanor. But he’s really awesome if you ask me. Angelo Dawkins comes down. Interesting. This should be a really great matchup. This broadcast definitely needs a pick-me-up. Fun, fast-paced start to this one. Crowd with dueling chants for both guys. When we saw Dawkins at a live show a few months ago he was really entertaining as a heel and put on a great show. Dawkins hits some strong attacks and Jose keeps the crowd invested. He is always entertaining. He ends this one with a full Nelson slam for the pinfall. Crowd sings and dances along as they play his song out. That match was just the right length. Get in, put in work, get gone. I dug it. No Way Jose jumps the barricade and heads out into the crowd, dancing with everybody.
Liv Morgan comes down to the ring next. I guess she’s cool. She just seems like a Carmella knock-off to me so I haven’t really given her a chance. Her opponent, Aliyah, skips down to the ring. Sloppy start with some soft or missed moves. Aliyah takes control and dominates with some decent offense. Both these girls are green, but the shell is there and they have potential to get better. Submission hold by Aliyah. She uses her leg to hammer the back of Morgan’s head. Cover, but kick out at two. Dropkick from Morgan followed by a pair of clotheslines. Then a running bulldog. She backs up to the corner and when Aliyah stands up, Morgan hits her with a really weird kick that doesn’t look like it even lands. Morgan covers for the pinfall victory. Wishy-washy match. But practice makes perfect, and the more matches they get, the better they’ll be come.
The new NXT Champion, Shinsuke Nakamura, makes a grand entrance to the excitement of the crowd. And damn don’t that title just look so good on his waist? Before he can speak, crowd starts chanting his name which then bleeds into “You Deserve It!” Nakamura says he’s accomplished everything he could. He wanted to face the best competition in the world and the only place he could do that was NXT. Crowd starts an NXT chant. “I wanted to challenge myself to see how good I was,” he says. He names off beating Sami Zayn, Finn Balor, and Samoa Joe. Nakamura says he has worn championship belts before but the NXT title means the most. He says he has respect for Samoa Joe, but that his era is over. “Now is the era of Strong Style! YEAHOH!”
The end really put a nice bow on a crappy present. Not the best NXT episode. But at least Nakamura saved it at the end. For such a language barrier he really did well on his own. You have to pay attention when he speaks, but I knew every word he was saying. Who do you think his first title defense should be against? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
Please take a moment to visit the Go Fund Me page of some fellow pro-wrestling fans and donate if you can.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
–Monday Night Raw kicked off with the shocking news that Finn Balor had gotten injured at SummerSlam and would be vacating the title. Balor had to relinquish the title to Raw General Manager, Mick Foley. He had successful surgery on Wednesday and started Day 1 of his comeback on Thursday. We wish him a speedy recovery. Meanwhile, Mick and Stephanie McMahon had a tournament to come up with four competitors next week for a Fatal-4-Way to crown a new Universal Champion. The four participants will be Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Big Cass, and Kevin Owens. After some okay matches, and some pretty weak programming, Vince gave us yet another disappointing Raw to start the week. Read our full review and all match results HERE. We’ll find out who the second all time Universal Champion is next week. Face To Heel has all their money bet on Kevin Owens.
–Meanwhile on Smackdown Live, they kicked Raw’s teeth in. To start the show Smackdown General Manager, Daniel Bryan, and Shane McMahon had all the tag teams in the ring along with all the women. They unveiled Smackdown Tag Team Championships and a Smackdown Women’s Championship that people can’t stop bitching about. Heath Slater got a tag teammate and another opportunity to try and earn a contract. The Lunatic Fringe, Dean Ambrose, got a new opponent at the Backlash pay-per-view. The show was lit and got us pretty excited for the Smackdown exclusive show on the WWE Network in a few weeks. Read our full review HERE. After the show, The Miz was on Talking Smack and ripped Daniel Bryan a new one. D-Bry called him soft and said he wrestled weak, even going so far as to call Miz a coward. What happened next, set Miz up for a career booster.
–Wednesday night gave us a pretty hollow episode of NXT. It piggy-backed off the Takeover Brooklyn show so there was a lot of recaps and only two matches. The matches themselves were decent. Here’s our full review. After NXT, however, we got yet another fantastic episode of the Cruiserweight Classic. Rich Swann fought Lince Dorado, Zack Sabre Jr took on Drew Gulak, and T.J. Perkins took on Johnny Gargano. All three matches wrapped up the quarter-finals. It was a great broadcast. You can read all about it HERE.
–Dixie Carter did it again this past Thursday with another entertaining TNA Impact Wrestling episode. We had a battle royal to get an opponent for Lashley next week, Broken Jeff Hardy fought Abyss (and Broken Matt bit somebody, naturally), we crowned a new Knockouts Champion, and Ethan Carter III took on Drew Galloway in the main event to determine the #1 Contender for the world title at Bound For Glory. Aron Rex was the special guest referee. Read all bout this great show HERE.
–And AXSTV rounded out the week with a new broadcast of NJPW. Only two matches on the card but they were terrific to watch. Karl Anderson challenged Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Later, Tomohiro Ishii and Tomoaki Honma battled for the NEVER Openweight Championship. It was a fun show and Jim Ross and Josh Barnett did wonderful on commentary, as per usual. Read all about the epic title matches HERE.
That’s all for this week. See you all tomorrow night for RAW! If you have a moment, please check out a Go Fund Me page for a woman suffering from fibromyalgia. She could use your help, donations, and a share on social media to spread the word.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker