It’s not that I’ve been avoiding the Fave Five. It’s one of my favorite columns to do! It’s just that people keep asking me to do things reviewing 2020, which puts me in a dark place. Tough to go positive and rank my favorite current wrestlers after writing about the worst year we ever lived in.
Not like 2021 is off to a much better start so far, but there’s still hope for a babyface comeback! So let’s do that current Fave Five!
5. Drew McIntyre
I’ve been a fan of Drew’s run throughout 2020, and I’m also a fan of him being the first person in WWE to admit to getting the coronavirus and not getting heat for it. We’ve seen some others mention it on social media and get hushed down. Obviously, it took the WWE Champion testing positive for the company to recognize the virus. This says a lot more about WWE than it does about Drew, but he handled it like a champ.
What is it about Goldberg that makes people want to go away? I think I have an idea.
4. Oney Lorcan
With all due respect to Oney’s tag team partner Danny Burch, who is also a fine competitor, I don’t see Danny out on Twitter making videos scouting potential competition. This is the best NXT content I’ve seen in years.
— ONEY LORCAN (@ONEYLORCAN) January 11, 2021
Oney with an in-depth breakdown of Breezango. The second one, which takes a look at Roderick Strong & Adam Cole, is even better, and the accuracy is something to behold.
— ONEY LORCAN (@ONEYLORCAN) January 11, 2021
Amazing. I demand much more of this content in 2021.
3. Billie Kay
Everybody was telling me about how Peyton Royce was the strong link in the IIconics, and would surely move on to singles stardom after the team was broken up. That could still happen, but so far Peyton has only managed to become Lacey Evans’ second banana in a tag team on Raw that isn’t exactly setting the world on fire, even with a controversial win over the Women’s Tag Team Champions. It’s a team that could certainly use some advice.
Ironically enough, Billie is offering advice to tag teams on SmackDown. As her resume highlights, she’s very experienced in tag team wrestling.
— NattieByNature (@NatbyNature) November 28, 2020
After passing out her resume to everybody under the sun, Billie has targeted the Riott Squad as who she’d like to work with. Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan would be wise to take Billie on as management, as they’ve come close to being champions before but haven’t quite gotten over the hump yet. Billie’s been there before. Also, my idea to bring Rhea Ripley into the group is free for WWE to take. Won’t charge them a penny.
Anyway, Billie is hilarious and I love whenever she gets a chance to show it.
2. Kenny Omega
I know I’m supposed to dislike Kenny because I’ve been watching pro wrestling for a long time. That’s what people like Jim Cornette and his followers tell me. See, he wrestled a blow up doll many years ago. He also wrestled an eight year old girl, he apparently does weird things with his hands, and Dave Meltzer gives his matches way too many stars. All of these things should add up to him not being in this column.
Thing is, Kenny’s pretty interesting right now. Since he won the AEW Championship and officially turned heel, he’s found his proper place in the scheme of things. He’s also getting to appear on more programming, since his buddy Don Callis has been using him to bump up the Impact Wrestling show. Big 6-man on Saturday night featuring Kenny Omega & the Good Brothers! Gonna cover it for 411mania, so don’tcha dare miss it!
People complained about Kenny taking a back seat early in the AEW experiment. Even if he was pretty damn good with Adam Page in a tag team. Now, he’s taking the wheel. Gonna be an interesting year.
1. The Dark Order
I talked about this pretty recently. While everybody was sleeping on this group after their ridiculous segment to end 2019, they got better in 2020. Added some great young talent in Alan “5” Angels, Pres10 Vance & Anna “99” Jay. Alex Reynolds & John Silver got more familiar to AEW viewers and got to show more personality. Colt Cabana & Hangman Page got involved as side characters that were kinda in and kinda out. And, of course, there was the Exalted One.
Brodie Lee lended a certain amount of gravitas to Dark Order upon his arrival. Smart fans had an appreciation of his talent going in, he’d been under-utilized by WWE for years. Then he came into AEW and played a character completely opposite to what Luke Harper had been. It took some reps, but Brodie made it work. He became the singles star we knew he could be, while elevating the other members of Dark Order in the process, making us forget the joke they had been at the beginning of 2020.
The big question is what happens in 2021. There is a leadership void. Cabana is positioning himself as the group’s Dad, which lends itself to some good comedy. Anna is still trying to bring Tay Conti into the fold with assistance from Recruitment Specialists Silver & Reynolds. Page isn’t officially in, but it seems like his commitment is coming pretty soon.
Squad 💜💖 pic.twitter.com/jyoKUkksGL
— Anna Jay (@annajay___) January 7, 2021
This is gonna be a fun group to watch this year. No idea what to expect, which is part of the fun!
Steve Cook’s Fave Five: March 2021
Cook gives us his quick snapshot of early storylines that might be the important things through the month of March!
It’s March! You know what that means.
It’s time for me to channel my inner Booker T and list my Fave Five in the world of wrestling! This list could very well change tomorrow, or whenever this ends up getting posted, but I only type it out once each calendar month. Consider it a snapshot in time.
5. Cameron Grimes
People have been telling me about Grimes for years, going back to his stint with Impact Wrestling. I never really saw it. Decent enough competitor, sure, but he always seemed like Just A Guy to me. Now that he hit it rich on the stock market, he’s the most entertaining part of NXT.
Get rid of Finn Balor & Adam Cole and put the strap on Grimes! TO THE MOON!
4. Shane Taylor
One of my criticisms of ROH television over the past several months has been a lack of defined characters. As fun as Pure Wrestling is, everybody involved in the tournament & the division tend to sound the same. Then, with a lot of the main guys, it’s tough to tell whether they’re good guys, bad guys, or shades of grey. There’s a place for shades of grey, but it’s tough to be interested in a TV show where you don’t know who to root for.
Shane Taylor’s presentation suffered from this for me for awhile. I wasn’t too familiar with his work pre-pandemic, so I’ve been getting to know him along with the rest of the ROH talent. From what I can gather, he was working one of those deals where the promotion didn’t really want to promote him, which can either make one very popular or largely ignored. The promotion tended to treat him like a heel. Either way, Shane looked pretty darn good in his matches, working a physical style that appeals to fans like me. Apparently it appeals to other people as well, since Taylor was the #1 choice of the fans to get a shot at Rush. Taylor was screwed this time around, but now has a story to sink his teeth into. Nothing wrong with that.
3. Tully Blanchard
2021 is quickly becoming the year of the olds. WWE has seen Goldberg & Edge emerge as top championship contenders. Keiji Muto won the GHC Heavyweight Championship. Tommy Dreamer celebrated his birthday by challenging for the Impact Championship. Sting will be taking part in a street fight this weekend.
Age is only a number, and Tully’s number is a little higher than these other men. He also spent more time out of the ring. Nearly fourteen years since he had any kind of match, but he went into Wednesday night with all guns blazing. J.J. Dillion was in the corner. Tully was wearing his classic robe & the silver US Heavyweight Championship, while FTR donned the classic NWA World Tag Team Championships. All the old school feels were being had before the match, and after the match as well, when Arn Anderson looked on from the entrance and flashed that familiar hand signal.
— TDE Wrestling (@tde_gif) March 4, 2021
Tully had plenty of talent around him to make the match work, but he hit his spots well. Marko Stunt’s good to have around so he can take a slingshot suplex. JJ got to give his shoe to somebody to use. It ended up being a fitting tribute on the night of Jim Crockett Jr.’s passing, and maybe a sign that Tully’s got a little more left in the tank. (Multi-man would probably be for the best though, I’m not as confident that he can hang with Kenny.)
2. Bobby Lashley
As expected, The Miz joined the likes of Ivan Koloff, Stan Stasiak, the Iron Sheik and other men whose world championship reigns merely existed to get the title from one person to the other without having them face off. In the case of Bobby Lashley, it’s because they didn’t want him to beat Drew McIntyre for the title, so their eventual match will be a first-time (in this particular WWE run) meeting. It makese sense, and Miz played his part well, as you’d expect.
Now is Lashley’s time, and one can wonder why it took so long. The guy looks like what’d you’d expect a WWE Champion to look like. Huge. Powerful. Dominant. He fits the prototype of what Vince McMahon would have seen as an appropriate champion back in the day. Is there anything there that Vince wouldn’t like?
Bob seems to be on a collision course with Drew at WrestleMania, and that should be a pretty solid piece of business.
1. Rey Fenix
Every match Rey Fenix is in, it can easily be match of the night 🔥 pic.twitter.com/wVyauFh9iV
— The Real One (@WWEREALONE) February 18, 2021
I don’t know who the “best in the world” is, but Rey Fenix is the most exciting wrestler currently gracing televisions & other viewing devices. All he does is go out there and deliver every time he’s out there, if you see him listed on a card you know it’s going to be a good match.
AEW seemed a bit slow to capitalize on Fenix’s abilities, but since 2021 began we’ve seen the masked man getting bigger matches. His win-loss record hasn’t been the best, as he’s come up short against Kenny Omega & Lance Archer and eaten the pin in some multi-man matches. He’s still making people take notice, and I’d be surprised if Fenix doesn’t jump up to the next level sometime this year.
My favorite wrestler to watch right now, which is how one tops a list like this one.
Bodeen’s Top 5 Moments: WWE NXT (3/3/21)
Bodeen breaks out his Top 5 moments of NXT this week. Did he miss anything that made your list?
After Adam Cole put the nail in the coffin in the Undisputed Era last week, many eyes were on NXT this week to see what the reaction from Roderick Strong would be as well as the Tag title matches after the Dusty Rhodes Classic. With all these factors it’s no surprise that NXT put on another amazing night of action that was entertaining from start to finish. So without further ado, it’s time to look at the top 5 moments from NXT this week.
5. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler beat Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez
It feels like so long ago we saw Shayna Baszler on NXT. Just a few years ago Baszler was dominating the NXT women’s division as she beats the likes of Kari Sane, Mia Yim, Bianca Belair and Io Shirai. After she lost the title to Rhea Ripley and moved to RAW, over time she lost credibility and she was slowly removed from the title picture. That’s why it was so great to see the submission magician back to her former self on NXT as she and Nia Jax beat Dakota Kai and Requel Gonzalas in a great match that ended in controversial circumstances
This was another great match for the team of Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez, with Raquel Gonzalez once again being the MVP of this match as she took a hot tag from Dakota Kai to dominate Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax. The match would end under controversial circumstances after Adam Pearce called for a referee to ring the bell after Kai was trapped in a submission despite the fact Gonzales was legal.
This finish made Kai and Gonzales look strong in defeat as they did not lose cleanly. It also sets up a storyline in the future, especially after NXT General Manager, William Regal stated he had an announcement to make that would change the NXT landscape.
4. The Way go to therapy
The Christmas with the Gargano’s vignettes were one of my favorite moments from NXT in 2020. The jokes catered to everyone and ranged from inside jokes to die-hard wrestling fans to silly, cheesy jokes that you would see in a Monty Python or Adam Sandler movie. While the Way going to therapy wasn’t near the level of Christmas with the Gargano’s it was still a fun segment that continued to highlight how good Johnny Gargano is at being a goofy heel.
Gargano’s reactions were priceless to watch as he could not believe that Austin Theory enjoyed his time with Dexter Lumis. Indi Hartwell’s innuendoes were also hilarious to watch, as this series of segments did a great job in giving all members of The Way enough lines so that no member felt pointless being there.
With Dexter Lumis most likely the next in line for Johnny Gargano’s North American Championship, it will be interesting to see the involvement of Austin Theory in what is sure to be a highly entertaining feud to watch.
3. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch beat Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher
While it was originally meant to be Dusty Rhodes Classic winners, MSK facing Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch we instead got the makeshift team of Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher facing the NXT Tag Team champions in a brutal, hard-hitting match that was intense from start to finish, with Lorcan and Burch getting the win after Imperium distracted Thatcher and Ciampa.
This match did a good job at bringing together Thatcher and Ciampa as they smiled at each other, sharing their joy for inflicting pain on their opponents. Despite sharing a moment with each other, the relationship between the two men would be tense as Ciampa seemed annoyed at Thatcher’s history with Imperium costing them the match.
2. Roderick Strong faces off against Finn Balor
After Adam Cole put the nail in the coffin of the Undisputed Era by superkicking Roderick Strong last week, Strong would open the show this week and would waste no time in calling Adam Cole out to the ring. Despite Strong calling Cole out, Finn Balor would come out, with Roderick blaming Balor for Cole’s actions. Balor would reply by saying that Roderick does not have the killer instinct that Balor has causing Roderick to attack the NXT Champion, leading to a match between the two men later in the night.
This was my favorite match of the night as Roderick Strong, pushed the NXT Champion to his limit, with Balor once again doing an amazing job of selling, as he sold the back which, Strong attacked throughout the match. The match would end after Balor hit the Coup De Grace and 1916 on Strong to win, with Adam Cole coming out to stare off at Balor ahead of their title match next week.
With Finn Balor and Adam Cole ready to face each other in a TakeOver worthy match, it will be interesting to see who will win, in what is sure to be an amazing match.
1. LA Knight makes his intentions known
While his name change has led to disagreement between fans LA Knight’s short time in NXT has been entertaining to watch. His promo skills and style remind me of a 1980s movie star as he is always the center of attention when he is on the mic. This week would be no different as LA Knight cut his first in-ring promo on NXT TV as he called out the entire roster as well as sewing the seeds for a feud with Bronson Reed.
LA Knight’s promo this week was absolute gold, as he blended cockiness, arrogance, pride and emotion brilliantly, stating that he is not in NXT to do flips and dives, but rather win regardless of style. LA Knight would make his big move against Bronson Reed, as he cost Bronson Reed a match against Cameron Grimes.
Bronson Reed is a great first feud for LA Knight, as it can perfectly show off LA Knight’s style well against a bigger man like Bronson Reed.
These were my top 5 moments from NXT this week. What were your top 5 moments and who do you think will win the NXT Championship Title match next week? Let us know in the comments below.
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