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Photo Credit: World Wrestling Entertainment

WEEKLY GOODS (January 31)- Suddenly, Pro Wrestling is Compelling Again

Hello AW Universe,

Welcome to WEEKLY GOODS, a Friday thoughts blog that looks at the best and the worst from the week that was in the world of pro wrestling, looking at WWE, NXT, AEW, and NWA.

I’ll start off by saying this: The Wednesday Night War has worked. No, it isn’t anywhere close to the intensity– and frankly, cross-over to the mainstream consciousness– that the Monday Night Wars were in the late-90s, but it has injected the business with and intensity and creativity that hasn’t been seen in a very long time. Just between NXT and AEW, this past week had incredible in-ring work and some Attitude-Era segments. From Tommaso Ciampa signing his NXT Championship match contract against Adam Cole in his own (legitimate) blood and the final of the Dusty Rhodes Classic to Cody moving one step closer to getting ten lashes from MJF next week, it’s been awhile since it’s been this edgy on weekly television.

As far as in-ring work goes, a new star has risen to the top of the Men’s Division on Monday Night Raw, a compelling title match is set for NXT TakeOver: Portland, AEW’s next PPV is around the corner, NWA Powerrr is hitting a new stride, Becky Lynch is finding her inner cocky prick, and might be making a CM Punk-style turn as champion, and Adam Page gives no fucks.

It’s an exciting time to be a pro wrestling fan, with booking that feels focused and nuanced, with some of the best workers performing at the top of their game. It’s what we’ve been clamouring for for years, and it’s a wonderful thing to see.

2020 could be one of the best years we’ve seen in a long time.

Power Rankings

The rankings are based off of the past week of performances of both in-ring and promo work, and how that projects going forward.

On the Cusp: Becky Lynch, Asuka, Keith Lee, Aleister Black, Kenny Omega

10. Charlotte Flair

Though she may not have been the person fans overwhelmingly wanted to win the Women’s Royal Rumble match, “The Queen” is the best pure wrestler in WWE, and deserves a Rumble win on the resume. Not to mention that unlike, say, a Roman Reigns in the past, when mixed reaction was felt from the fans after she eliminated favourite Shayna Baszler, she cut a promo saying that, well, she basically didn’t care. With a tear in her eye…

9. Ricky Starks

Wrestling in relative obscurity on NWA Powerrr (which needs to change) at a young age, Starks is already the full package (not to be confused with Lex Luger’s circa-2000 WcW gimmick The Total Package). He’s witty, cocky, and engaging on the mic, and he’s equally as talented in the ring, wrestling with a quicker work-rate than what’s common in NWA; basically everything that Sammy Guevara wishes he could be. He’s currently the new Television World Champion, with only more titles for him in his future.

8. “Hangman” Adam Page

Yes, he didn’t even wrestle on this past week’s episode of Dynamite, Adam Page had one of the best segments in month; he saunters to the ring, gets Matt Jackson to hold his beer as he delivers a wicked Buckshot on The Blade, then chugs his beer and leaves. He thought last week’s Jericho Cruise was a Booze Cruise, so he just made up for it this week.

Plus, he hates The Young Bucks. Really, that deserves a permanent spot on the Power Rankings.

7. Daniel Bryan

It seems that we, as pro wrestling fans, seem to forget that we nearly robbed of this latter part of Daniel Bryan’s career. The leader of the “Yes” Movement is doing work that seemed impossible only a few short years ago. There near was really any doubt that he was going to lose in the championship strap match at Royal Rumble, but for a few minutes he had you believing that, “hey, maybe D-Bry’s gonna do this!” and that’s what counts. Plus, he took those vicious strap shots. Gotta give him props for that.

6. “The Fiend”

He’s still WWE Champion, and looked like an unstoppable monster– more props to Daniel Bryan for that– while doing it. The momentum doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon, and we only have to wait and see how’s next to try and enter the Firefly Funhouse.

5. WALTER

The current NXT UK Champion looked like a one-man wrecking crew at WWE Worlds Collide, as he came back from being driven through an announce table and helped his shorthanded Imperium team take down The Undisputed Era. The Ring General has been booked to look so strong, and just watching him deliver a chop makes the skin on your chest sting. It will be fascinating to see how Triple H and co. decide to finally bring him over to NXT in Florida.

4. Thunder Rosa

Quite possibly the best women’s wrestler not in WWE, Rosa ascended to the top of NWA’s women’s division in relative short order after joining the promotion, defeating Allysin Kay in a breath-taking match. Though she has some work to do on the mic still, she’s slowly weaning off of Melina being her mouthpiece, and is beginning to hold her own. Besides, what ever she can’t say, she makes up for in the ring.

3. Brock Lesnar

Say what you will about the “The Beast” and his work-rate over the past few years, the WWE Champion went into the Royal Rumble to work. When Brock Lesnar defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX, this was the intention of what that rub could accomplish. Sure, maybe a few years late, but by reaction and facial expressions alone he put Keith Lee over, and has helped a new star climb the mountain of glory. Not to mention that the first half of the Rumble match was booked to turn him into the ultimate heat magnet.

2. Drew McIntyre

How do you not give it up for the Royal Rumble winner? Yes, there have been times in the past that the winner has been lacklustre, and felt more like it was booked to be a swerve rather than with any sort of longterm planning going into it (looking at you Sheamus and Randy Orton). But, as I said after the event was over, McIntyre winning this year’s event was a star-making moment. Now the “Scottish Psychopath” is in a position to show-off everything that he’s put together since his first run with WWE.

1. Edge

I mean, come on. Nine years away from the ring with a neck injury that was so bad that he could’ve been paralysed had he taken one bad bump, and now he’s back. He didn’t just come back for a cheap pop in the Rumble, either; he looks to be in fantastic shape and looks to be making every moment of this comeback, booked immediately into an angle that centres around his injured neck, and against an old friend. This is what makes wrestling great, friends.