WWE Wrestlers of the Week (23/11/18): What A Waste

It's not often that both Raw and Smackdown phone it in, but they definitely did this past week.

Daniel Bryan

Fuck me, this was a bad week for WWE. Poor matches, weird booking decisions, and a stupid Thanksgiving food fight. I really did not have a good time watching WWE this week.

Remember, getting on WWE Wrestlers of the Week only happens when superstars win matches, cut decent promos and be all-round great sports entertainers. Barely anyone managed to do that this week, but I was able to salvage something from the wreckage of Raw, SmackDown and NXT.

Before I begin with the list, I apologise for not including NXT UK in my decisions this week. I simply didn’t have time to watch it, and I thought it wasn’t fair to pass judgement on a show I didn’t watch. Sorry, NXT UK.


10. Nia Jax & Tamina

Nia Jax continued her streak of dominance this week on Raw in a tag match with Tamina against the duo of Sasha Banks & Bayley.

This was a slow, plodding match that wasn’t very enjoyable. Every time it looked like Sasha & Bayley were about to build some momentum, the bigger tandem put them back in their place. As annoying as it is, I think we all knew the face team would be leaving as the losers. Nia Jax launched Bayley into the ropes, scooped her up for the Samoan Drop, and WWE’s, ahem, #Facebreaker got the 1,2,3.

Booking wise, I understand why WWE are rolling with Nia Jax thanks to her putting Becky Lynch out of action, and I don’t mind Jax picking up wins as she goes on to face Ronda Rousey at TLC. The problem is the pairing of Nia Jax & Tamina is just boring, and there’s no way Bayley & Sasha Banks should be losing to them.

Nia Jax joins WWE Wrestlers of the Week not for her great performance but for being booked as the winner. We know Nia Jax works well with Ronda Rousey, so hopefully their Raw Women’s Championship match at TLC will have a lot more to offer than this drivel.


9. Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley

Baron Corbin thought he would be praised for days by Stephanie McMahon for Raw’s “clean sweep” at Survivor Series. Instead, McMahon booked Corbin in a six-man elimination tag match with Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley to face the team of Elias, Finn Bálor & The Monster Among Men, Braun Strowman.

The wrestling in this match was good but it went on for way too long. It took nearly 20 minutes for Finn Bálor and Elias to get eliminated, and they were the only two superstars to be ejected in the whole match.

Realising they had Braun Strowman at a huge disadvantage, Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley destroyed The Monster and the whole match was waved off. They took the savage beatdown to a new level when Corbin smashed Strowman’s elbow with the steel steps to end the attack.

Since Raw ended, it’s come to light the attack on Strowman was a way to write the big man off TV so he can undergo elbow surgery, and this was done well by WWE. But without the beatdown, this was just a very long match that didn’t have much to offer. The heels join WWE Wrestlers of the Week for taking out Strowman, but they would’ve made it much higher on the list if they’d have done it 15 minutes earlier.


8. Ronda Rousey

Just a few hours after receiving one of the best brutal attacks in WWE history at Survivor Series, Ronda Rousey showed up on Raw to defend her Raw Women’s Title. Who says she ain’t committed to the wrestling business?

Furious at how her match with Charlotte Flair ended at Survivor Series, Rousey demanded an opponent so she could take out all her frustrations. Reluctantly, Baron Corbin sent out Mickie James to be the sacrificial lamb.

As you’d expect, this was a solid yet predictable match with Ronda Rousey wrecking Mickie James. After three Piper’s Pits, Rousey locked in the armbar, and James was forced to tap. Nia Jax came out as Ronda reached the top of the ramp to remind everyone who the real danger is on the Raw women’s roster.

This wasn’t bad by any means, but I think Ronda Rousey could’ve done a lot more to sell the beating by Charlotte Flair. I’m looking forward to seeing how Ronda will deal with Nia Jax during the TLC run-up, but really, I just want to see more Rousey Vs. Flair.


7. The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E & Xavier Woods)

Food fights and silly gimmick matches: the two things I well and truly hate about sports entertainment. The New Day threw a lot of food at The Bar & Big Show on SmackDown to celebrate Thanksgiving, and dem silli bois picked up the win.

Like I’ve already said, this was just silly. I know it’s a bit of fun and all, but Sheamus & Cesaro are the SmackDown Tag Team Champions; why are they getting humiliated like this? The Big Show fell through a table of food, Sheamus got pinned after being whacked in the head twice by a turkey, and every member of The New Day chucked crap at Cesaro to celebrate their victory. A feel good moment for someone, I’m sure.

I really doubt this match will have any repercussions towards the SD Tag Titles, so we can probably just chalk this up as non-canon “fun.” While this sort of thing is not to my taste, the crowd seemed to be enjoying the antics of Kofi Kingston, Big E & Xavier Woods, and a win over the Tag Team Champions is nothing to laugh at. Seriously, it’s nothing to laugh at. Let’s move on to something else already.


6. Charlotte Flair

To quote the late, great Eddie Guerrero’s theme song, “One woman isn’t enough, amigo.” For Charlotte, that definitely rings true as she took out Billie Kay & Peyton Royce in back-to-back matches.

To make a long story short, Charlotte Flair took out Billie Kay within minutes with a Natural Selection. The Queen then goaded Peyton Royce into accepting a match, but Billie Kay interfered to give Flair a DQ victory.

The IIconics tried to deal some post-match damage to Charlotte, but Flair absolutely destroyed the duo with a little help from the SmackDown announce desk for trying their luck.

This was really enjoyable; Charlotte Flair looked like an absolute badass. The thing is, I’m sure we’ve been watching Becky Lynch do this sort of thing for months now. I found Charlotte’s segments on SmackDown very entertaining, but WWE can’t be pushing her back into Becky’s “badass” spot, can they? They’d be stupid to go down that route.


5. Dean Ambrose

Throughout the night, Dean Ambrose was teasing Seth Rollins to come and find him after cutting a promo about how he, Seth and Roman Reigns were all paying for their sins. By the end of Raw, the Intercontinental Champion caught up with Dean Ambrose, but things didn’t go the way he expected them to.

Seth started off strong taking the fight to Dean Ambrose. Rollins went for the Curb Stomp, but Dean shifted to one side and low-blowed the IC Champ. Ambrose screamed at Rollins not to interrupt him while he’s talking and struck with two Dirty Deeds to close the show.

Overall, Dean went through a lot of effort to put Seth Rollins in his place, and even though all the segments were a bit hit-and-miss, it was still one of the most entertaining things on Raw. The two are set to fight for the Intercontinental Championship at TLC, so expect a lot more back and forth between these superstars.


4. Nikki Cross

I don’t fully understand why Candice LaRae has such a big problem with Nikki Cross. It’s not like Nikki made Johnny Gargano attack Aleister Black. Still, LaRae wanted retribution in a match with Cross, but you can’t put a good Scotswoman down.

The two put on a pretty decent match. Nikki Cross got the better of Candice to start but things soon turned into a back-and-forth. After a while, Cross hit the Purge, but it wasn’t enough to put LaRae down. Mrs. Wrestling fought back and locked Cross in the Gargano Escape. NXT’s Twisted Sister got to the ropes to break the hold, and managed to hit a rope assisted Purge to end the match.

As NXT was nothing but squash matches and video promos this week, Nikki Cross Vs. Candice LaRae was definitely the highlight of the show. The two worked very well together, but I hope this is the end of the weird little feud they have going on because LaRae is clearly mad at the wrong person and I’m starting to find it infuriating.


3. TJP w/ Mike & Maria Kanellis

With Kalisto & Lince Dorado and Mike & Maria Kanellis banned from ringside, TJP and Gran Metalik finally had a chance to face each one-on-one. Now, that didn’t quite happen, but TJP certainly proved why he was once considered the best cruiserweight on 205 Live.

TJP and Metalik put on the best WWE match this week. They showcased a lot from their arsenals, trading strikes, flippy moves and technical holds. A weird distraction from Maria Kanellis on the stage gave Mike an opportunity to sneak attack Gran Metalik, ultimately giving TJP the win.

As harsh as it sounds, I much preferred this feud before the Kanellis’ got involved. TJP won the best match of the week, but Mike & Maria’s weirdness has diluted things instead of enhancing them. If it wasn’t for them, I seriously would’ve put TJP as No.1 on WWE Wrestlers of the Week. Alas, I guess he’ll have to make do with coming in third.


2. Randy Orton

Well done, Mr. Orton. Rey Mysterio had been on this list every week since returning to WWE, but you have managed to knock him from his lofty perch.

Orton and Mysterio put on a really good match that had a lot of shock value to it. When Rey had Orton on the floor outside the ring, he went for the sliding frog splash thing he does (sorry, I don’t know what on earth that move is called), but Randy turned it into the best RKO of 2018.

Randy Orton followed up by moving Mysterio into the ring while nearly ripping Rey’s mask off. The Viper hit one more RKO for the win. After the match, Orton wrapped the Master of the 619’s throat around a chair and launched it into a ring post. Randy left for the back, but took Mysterio’s mask with him as a trophy.

Heel Randy Orton is fantastic. This match was really good, had a great RKO, and Randy looks like a massive bastard for stealing Rey Mysterio’s mask. Sure, stealing Lucha masks is TJP’s gimmick, but Randy is just as good if not better at it than the 205 Live star.


1. Daniel Bryan

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; a great promo can do more to build up a superstar than a match as long as the promo is on point. The WWE Champion more than delivered with a promo this week, and it was certainly more than enough to make Daniel Bryan our Wrestler of the Week.

Daniel gave a reason as to why he turned heel to win the WWE Championship. He said his dreams took over, and instinct led to him kicking AJ Styles in the balls. We fans stopped chanting for Bryan, we live in the moment, but we weren’t there for the meetings with doctors and therapists, and we weren’t there for all the fights his dreams of getting back in the ring caused. Now, the Daniel Bryan we knew is dead. All that remains is the new Daniel Bryan, and he is the WWE Champion.

This promo had so much passion and emotion behind it; Daniel Bryan really knows how to work the mic. We have the explanation for why Daniel Bryan turned heel, and in fairness, it made a lot sense. The WWE Champ is set to defend his title against AJ Styles at TLC, and something tells me Bryan’s mental state will diminish even more as the weeks roll on.

WWE was bad this week, and that’s something that can’t be denied. There were a few gems to be thankful for (get it, because of Thanksgiving), but for post-Survivor Series shows, this was a new low.

I’m sorry to say there will be no WWE Wrestlers of the Week next week, but make sure to look out for my special Wrestlers of the Year lists that will be hitting the pages of Cultured Vultures throughout December.

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