Favourite Five

Brock Lesnar, AEW vs NXT & The Return Of Pyro | Reasons To Be Cheerful

With the ‘Wednesday Night War’, season premieres and the return of pyro to WWE, Shaun Pond gives us plenty of reasons to be cheerful this week.

In a week that has brought with it impeachment inquiries, yet more Brexit failures, and the death of Thomas Cook it may be hard to find a drama free corner of the internet.

One where you are able to just take a breath and smile at the simpler joys in life. Allow me to give you that opportunity with these five things that are happening in wrestling right now that should spark to life those cinders of happiness deep within you.

5. Brock Lesnar

Say what you want about The Beast Incarnate but there is no denying that when he is on form, he is one of the best wrestlers in the world. That’s not to say that he has the best matches of anyone – far from it usually – but he brings with him a sense of excitement and legitimacy that few others possess. This week was a prime example of what happens when this super athlete is motivated.

Coming off of the heels of his challenge to Kofi Kingston for Smackdown’s big Fox debut (which is thrilling enough), Lesnar showed up on Raw to care of some other business. As it would turn out that business was utterly decimating Rey Mysterio and his son WAL- uh, Dominick.

It was a brutal display that got Raw off to a hot start and was just undeniably fun to watch. The scuttlebutt is that this was done to lead into the debut of a certain UFC fighter who has taken to wrestling recently. Speaking of whom…

4. Cain Velasquez

AAA’s biggest event, Triplemania, took place in early August but it is only now that people are really talking about Cain Velasquez’s debut performance at the event.

In a Six-Man Tag Match Velasquez teamed with Cody and Psycho Clown to take on the team of Killer Cross, Texano Jr, and Taurus. What’s notable is not that the MMA legend went over by submitting Texano but instead that he proved himself to be very capable in the ring.

Velasquez pulled out a series of athletic moves including a Hurricanrana that nobody saw coming. Donning a luchadore mask, he looked every bit the part and impressed everyone watching. What’s most exciting though is that the WWE are now reportedly looking to make overtures to the former UFC Heavyweight Champion. This would mean a rematch with Brock Lesnar but this time it would be in a wrestling ring, meticulously planned out to deliver the most exciting contest possible.

The thought of Cain making his way into the WWE is one that tantalises everyone who hears about it. It’s not just the match with Lesnar but the possibility of him tangling with the likes of Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins, and AJ Styles too. This is something that, if McMahon can pull it off, has the potential to be huge.    

3. Pyro!

A common complaint for years has been that the WWE doesn’t do pyro anymore. As a cost saving measure, they did away with it a long while ago along with unique sets for individual shows. Well rejoice as both of those treasured vestiges of the past have finally returned.

On the all new Raw this week fans were treated to fireworks galore and a brand-new set that finally sets the brand apart from its blue counterpart. Whilst this may only seem exciting to die hard fans it actually represents the fact that the WWE are being forced to take notice and give fans what they want. This could mean that even more big, positive changes are on the horizon as the much-anticipated war with AEW has finally begun.

Here’s hoping that the giant Smackdown fist makes a comeback down the line. That thing was cool.

2. AEW Dynamite Was Great…

For the first time since 2001 wrestling has found itself a home on TNT. Ever since the announced launch of Wednesday Night Dynamite, fans have been eagerly sharing their predictions for the debut show. There were those who thought it wouldn’t be anything special (they were wrong) and there were far more who knew that this signalled a huge change in the wrestling landscape that would be felt for years to come.

It may not have been the greatest show ever – there were certainly a few low points – but overall it was an extremely good episode to start out on. From the first match where Cody and Sammy Guevara dazzled the crowd to the final moments where the former Jack Swagger stormed the ring and aligned himself with Y2J, this was an electric night that created noise from the crowd on par with Wrestlemania.

The women’s match may have had its share of botches, but it was still a solid showing from the two ladies and Riho is a deserving first champion. The future of the division and the company is looking bright at this moment and next week’s show will only build upon that. Perhaps they should never let Britt Baker do commentary again though. Also, Fite TV showing what’s happening when TNT are on ad break makes for a disjointed affair. Small criticisms, but ones to learn from nonetheless.

1. … NXT Was Better

As a direct response to AEW, NXT was moved to a prime time TV spot on Wednesday nights. Forcing fans to choose between the two shows may not be altogether fair but it did guarantee a stacked card from both companies and boy did the black and gold brand deliver.

Most weeks it would be enough to say that Adam Cole and Matt Riddle battled over the NXT Championship in a barn burner of a contest, but that’s not all that you got. The long-awaited return of Tommaso Ciampa also took place as he made it clear that he wanted Goldie back in his loving arms. Oh, you wanted more than that? Well how about the fact that Finn Balor is now back as a full-time member of the brand?! Or the fact that Shayna and Candice tore down the house with an exceptional Women’s Title match? Maybe even that The Street Profits and The Undisputed Era had another tag classic?

What I’m getting at is that this was the best episode of NXT ever for the second straight week. It won’t be able to reach these heights every week and nor should anyone expect it to but for now they are knocking it out of the park every single time.

In the long run AEW is the fresher show and so will keep the excitement going longer, but don’t ever discount NXT as they’re only ever one unbelievable match away from stealing Wednesday nights.

With luck, you’re a little cheerier after seeing all of these reasons to rejoice in your wrestling geekdom. We are all in for a wild ride for the foreseeable future and no matter what turns it takes we’re all going to benefit from it.

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