By Charlie ScottEmbed from Getty Images
Hello everyone and welcome to the second edition of Top Turnbuckle Weekly, where we take a look at all the wrestling from the last week and discuss the biggest talking points, match of the week, my views on things and much more!
With the entire sporting world in crisis due to the worldwide pandemic that is the Coronavirus, one sport continues its weekly schedule, professional wrestling. Which is great news for any fans of both WWE and Top Turnbuckle Weekly! So, let’s get started dissecting this week of wrestling!
Last week’s Friday Night Smackdown aired from the Performance Centre with only essential personnel in attendance. The shows biggest talking point was the revelation of having Triple H on commentary. The duo of Hunter and Michael Cole was a new injection of life into the show that was lacking without the crowd in attendance. With the highlight being when Mojo Rawley joined the two on commentary to announce Rob Gronkowski would be on Smackdown next week, (more on that later), and both Rawley and Hunter ganged up on Cole to ‘Get Hyped!’.
Two of the most technical wrestlers in the company locked horns during the show, as Daniel Bryan took on Cesaro for only the second time in WWE history. We also bore witness to the return of former WWE Champion Jeff Hardy on Friday night, as he returned against King Corbin. This return comes just as his brother Matt left WWE for pastures new, who debuted in AEW just five days after Smackdown.
The controversy that surrounded Jeff’s return came in the form of WWE changing his finishing move from ‘The Twist of Fate’ to the ‘Twist of Fury’. Which could be their way of potentially trying to distance themselves from defector Matt, who they will have known was heading to their top competitor. This really comes across as a bitter move from WWE, as a guy who 10 years ago would cut holes into their Dad’s socks to make Hardy sleeves it is such a jarring name change that seems extremely unnecessary.
Smackdown had Wrestlemania on its mind too, with Roman Reigns speaking to Cole, who told the WWE Universe that he would take the Universal Title from Goldberg at ‘Mania. The Big Dog told Cole that while he respects the former WCW Champion, he doesn’t fear him because he’s only a part timer.
This echoed what a lot of fans have been saying ever since Goldberg won the title from the Fiend. But this promo was almost an exact opposite to what the other part-time Smackdown superstar John Cena had to say. Cena claimed he would come back to WWE to take down The Fiend because he believes that younger superstars deserve a chance in WWE.
The 16-time World Champion named stars such as Adam Cole, Matt Riddle, Velveteen Dream and Rhea Ripley as all deserving of having a chance at the top of the ladder over Wyatt. Which is interesting when you look back at the last decade at all the wrestlers that Cena has buried who were deserving of the opportunities.
Rolling onto Monday Night Raw now and we start with the topic of last week’s Top Turnbuckle, click here to read, Edge vs Randy Orton. The build for this feud has been nothing short of perfect and they finally set their match stipulation on Monday.
The two men with a combined 24 World Title reigns between them will square off in a Last Man Standing match at Wrestlemania. A fitting stipulation for the conclusion to this build, whilst a lot of fans including myself will be watching behind their pillow in the hope that Edge doesn’t hurt himself, this really stands out as the match I am most excited for on the card.
— WWE (@WWE) March 17, 2020
Two more Wrestlemania matches were confirmed this week on Raw too, with AJ Styles and The Undertaker signing their contract, with Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens also setting their match in stone as well. Both matches will be strong additions to the card, with the two former NXT Champions Rollins and Owens sure to put on a great match if they are given the time.
— WWE (@WWE) March 17, 2020
Monday Night Raw also saw the return of the greatest wrestler to ever lace his boots up in WWE, Stone Cold Steve Austin. On 316 day the former six-time WWE Champion returned to help promote Wrestlemania and shared a few cold cans with Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch.
Stone Cold delivered a few stunners, which ultimately just felt flat and had nowhere near the same effect that they would if there were an arena full of fans cheering. But nonetheless it was still a joy to see Austin on our screens again, especially seeing him kick Byron Saxton clean in the balls when delivering a stunner.
— WWE (@WWE) March 17, 2020
This brings me to our topic of this week, is Wrestlemania still going ahead a good idea? For 35 years Wrestlemania has been the biggest date in WWE’s calendar, and I personally have stayed up and watch the event live every year for the past 11 years. But this year just feels… a waste of time.
WWE announced this week that the show would now be a two-day event, across both the Saturday and the Sunday, dubbing it ‘too big for one night’. This for me isn’t so bad, it helps split up the show and they can try and make it a lot more of a fast-paced show rather than the seven-hour slog that it sometimes can be.
WWE also made the announcement that Rob Gronkowski would be hosting the two-day event, causing further eyes to be rolled amongst fans. The entire thing just seems very unnecessary to me, WWE should’ve done what every other sport around the world is doing any suspended their event.
It’s official! I’m hosting @WrestleMania this year…and it’s gonna be too big for just one night. For the 1st time, #WrestleMania will be a 🚨2-NIGHT🚨event: Saturday, April 4 AND Sunday, April 5 on @WWENetwork! Tell you more this Friday night on #SmackDown at 8 ET on @FOXTV.
— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) March 18, 2020
Wrestlemania is all about the pyro, huge matches, 80,000 people packed into the arena and the atmosphere that they create. So having the event in an empty Performance Centre is just going to cause it to fall completely flat. Wrestlemania is known for having huge entrances from guys like The Undertaker, Triple H and John Cena, but this year they just won’t be able to do that.
If I were Vince McMahon, and trust me I wish I was, I would postpone the event and replace this year’s Summerslam with it. By the time the end of August rolls around they may be able to hold the show with a full arena, or at least I hope it’ll all be over then, and Wrestlemania can still be the spectacle that it is meant to be. Just please, don’t have ‘The Gronk’ host it.
Match of the week
This week’s match of the week is Wrestlemania themed, I won’t sit here and recommend a match from either Raw or Smackdown because they just aren’t the same at the moment. Instead I’ll link a match that is what Wrestlemania is all about, Shawn Michaels vs Ric Flair from Wrestlemania 24.
16-time World Champion Flair put his career on the line against Mr Wrestlemania Michaels, these are two of the greatest to ever enter the ring and this match is a prime example of the perfect Wrestlemania match for anyone to see.