Hey there wrestling pals, and welcome to a brand new feature where I look back on the past month in wrestling.
Every week, at least 18 hours of wrestling is available here in the United States, either on television or YouTube, across six different promotions (WWE, AEW, Impact, NWA, MLW, and ROH). If you add in PPVs (including NJPW), you’re looking at over 80 hours of wrestling on average every month.
So, with nearly 5,000 minutes of professional wrestling at my fingertips each month it takes a little something extra to stand out amongst this crowded scene. It’s not about how often you’re in the ring, or how many segments you’re in. No, it’s about taking the time you’re given and making the most of it. Let’s look at some of the people who made the most of their time on-screen this past month, and maximized their minutes!
Edge is the perfect person to place in the top spot this month, since he really does epitomize the idea of not needing to take up a ton of minutes to make an impact. Edge didn’t appear on any WWE programming for the first 25 days (or 36,000 minutes if you will) of January, yet his 23 minutes and 43 seconds in the Royal Rumble match will go down as one of the most memorable moments in WWE.
His career was over. He retired, as World Champion, on April 12, 2011 at a SmackDown taping in Albany, New York. And yet, nearly 9 years later (about 4,623,840 minutes) Edge was back in the ring in the main event of a WWE PPV. That would’ve been enough to put him on this list for maximizing his minutes, but the final segment of the January 27thRaw added fuel to the fire.
After his emotional return speech, Randy Orton beat down Edge in a segment that seemed a bit more complex than most WWE backstab beatdowns. Orton decided against “pillmanizing” Edge’s neck, but did give him a one man ConChairTo. Where does this lead? I guess we’ll have to wait until next month to see what they do with the minutes they’re given.
One man who always makes the most of the minutes he’s given time and time again is one Maxwell Jacob Friedman. His antics of late, stacking the deck against Cody en route to a potential match between the two, have been immensely entertaining. MJF is often the most entertaining parts of AEW’s weekly shows which itself is filled with plenty of entertaining moments, but he seems to always rise above everyone else when he’s given the opportunity to appear on our televisions.
His segment on the January 22nd episode, which saw him thrown in a pool, was not only well done, but followed up brilliantly a week later as MJF railed against the Dynamite commentary team for making light of the situation, lambasting Tony Schiavone for his $5 suit, and informing the announcers that he can’t swim. As we move closer to a potential MJF vs. Cody match, I look forward to the minutes MJF gets to build towards that meeting.
I loved MLW’s decision to bring in the Opera Cup for a revival tournament after Stu Hart last won the cup in 1948. While the tournament itself was held in December, the majority of the tournament was aired this past month, with the final match for the Cup coming down to two members of the new era Hart Foundation; Davey Boy Smith Jr and Brian Pillman Jr.
I thought the drama built between these two, the story told about Smith Jr. wanting to retain his family’s property, and the chemistry between the two former tag champs made it a worthwhile finish to the tournament. Davey Boy Smith Jr. winning was the right call and made for a great moment.
These two have made some great television as of late. Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley work well together, and their time on screen this month has proved that. Jericho has looked like a killer by trying to put Moxley’s eye out, while Moxley looked like a badass coming back with an eye patch and competing against PAC to become the number one contender to Jericho’s AEW title.
These two are great on the mic and the build thus far has been excellent to watch. We’ll have all of next month to get ready for their matchup on the February 29th, and I’m looking forward to what is yet to come.
Imperium vs Undisputed Era was an amazing match at the World’s Collide event the night before the Royal Rumble. These two factions proved that they are worthy of being at the top of their respective brands. What impressed me the most with this match was that they lost Alexander Wolfe to an unfortunate injury early in the match, yet the remaining competitors pulled off the match without missing a step, in my eyes. It was a definite highlight in a jam-packed Rumble weekend.
I have stated in the past that I think Will Ospreay is the best wrestler today, and that opinion hasn’t changed during the first month of 2020. Ospreay’s match with Hiromu Takahashi at the first night of WrestleKingdom was, in my opinion, the best match I’ve seen in New Japan. The fact that Ospreay isn’t in the main event picture in NJPW right now shocks me. Can we get him an IWGP Heavyweight title match? I’ll start a petition, I guess.
Daniel Bryan vs The Fiend‘s encounter the Royal Rumble was the best strap match I’ve ever seen in WWE. The fact that they made this a normal fall match, and not the stupid four corner thing helped tremendously. These two beat the living hell out of each other and Bryan came away looking absolutely ragged. I thought the strap added to the match, which isn’t always the case with this gimmick. I have no idea where each man goes from here (as I’m sure they’ll part ways going towards Mania) but this program definitely maximized the minutes they were given.
Buddy Murphy has made the most of the time he’s been given of late (along with Aleister Black). Not only did he have a killer match with Black on the 13th in my home state of Kentucky, but that same night he joined a main event tier stable. Since then, he’s been booked pretty well and is currently one-half of the tag team champions with Seth Rollins.
I love most things about the NWA, but one thing in particular that I enjoyed watching this month was the TV Title tournament, which saw the introduction of the 6:05 time limit. The shorter time limit lead to a quicker pace for the matches and played into the psychology of the matches quite well. I’d love to see this type of TV Title concept carry over to other promotions.
I really enjoyed the look and feel of the Dynamite episode on Jericho’s cruise, but my favourite thing was the Tony Schiavone gif that came out of it. I have to say it’s weird that, in 2020, my favorite current announcer is Tony Schiavone. I didn’t see that one coming prior to AEW, but here we are.
There you have it, those are the people, promotions, and programs that are maximizing their minutes. Did I miss something you think should be added? Disagree with my assessments? Yell at me about them on Twitter! And until next time, remember to maximize your minutes and make good decisions.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @THExWilliam. Thanks for reading!