Craig Wilson & Brian Damage
It’s that time again as we look back at This Week in Wrestling. In this edition Craig talks about AJ Styles becoming WWE Champion while Brian asks ‘Whatever Happened to‘ Fandango’s first dance partner and shares some of the more interesting pictures and videos he’s stumbled upon this week and more.
AJ Styles Deserves to be WWE Champion
I’m a big fan of Dean Ambrose. It might have been Brian that picked Ambrose as the breakout star in a Crossfire almost three years ago (I opted for Roman Reigns), but since then I’ve really become a huge fan of Ambrose.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of lulls along the way. Not always his fault, the WWE often seemed unsure what to do with him or how to book him, but overall I’ve still been behind him.
By the time Money in the Bank came around, I didn’t really expect him to win that so it was certainly a surprise to see him cash in and become WWE champion. It felt like they threw a superstar that was freezing cold into a microwave to hope that he could suddenly become red hot.
The early indications were it looked like it could work. The fans were clearly behind him, even though he doesn’t – or maybe because he doesn’t – look like your traditional WWE main eventer.
However, whatever chance he had has been overshadowed by other events: the brand split, the debut of the Universal title, the rise and injury of Finn Balor as well as the rise of Kevin Owens.
He’s never looked terribly comfortable on the top, you could argue, in no small part due to in-ring, and on the mic, work that can vary to a staggering degree on a regular basis.
On the flipside, contrary to what some argue, the WWE have been able to create a star in AJ Styles. I’m not suggesting that he wasn’t a star before – he carried TNA for a long time and his work in Japan is, by all accounts, world class. But coming into the WWE often means adapting to the ‘WWE style’.
However, really, my biggest concern was his southern drawl.
Yet, he’s starred against whoever has been put in front of him including not being hurt by being put up against John Cena.
His victory at Backlash, Smackdown Live’s first Network special, felt significant. It was a big moment that saw AJ Styles climb to the top of the mountain.
I’m now looking forward to seeing what top class matches are now in store from Styles…
Whatever Happened to Fandango’s first dance partner/valet
Before Summer Rae, Layla El and Rosa Mendes; there was Andrea Lynn. When Fandango debuted in the WWE back in 2013 he came in with an unnamed dance partner. Her real name is Andrea Lynn and she was a professional dancer and college student. She never interfered in Fandango’s matches, she just danced.
She was eventually replaced by Summer Rae after the WWE felt that he should be accompanied by someone who not only knows how to dance but also could get physical inside the ring.
Now, Andrea Lynn competes in national dance competitions and is also a teacher at a local dance school. She is currently 23 years of age and resides in Buffalo, New York.
Triple H delivering his own “pipe bomb” to CM Punk via social media…
Not to get political, but with Hillary Clinton’s recent health scare, it looks like Bernie Sanders is ready to “cash in.”
One Man Gang was Bray Wyatt before there was Bray Wyatt…
The TNA Impact turnbuckle performing a perfect power bomb on Bobby Roode…
Here’s a commercial for the late Buzz Sawyer’s wrestling school. Sawyer was known to stiff students out of their money and not show up half the time. Mark Calaway aka the Undertaker was a former student of Sawyer’s and could tell you horror stories about Buzz’s schools.
Last Week on the Blog
Last Sunday we previewed and predicted Backlash 2016; on Monday we asked ‘Whatever Happened to?‘ WCW’s Natural Born Thrillers, on Tuesday Bo Dallas got the ‘Book or Cook‘ treatment; on Wednesday we went back 20 years to look at the fake Razor Ramon and Diesel, Thursday’s Top Five looked at the worst titles; and we rounded off the week looking at Raw and Nitro from 20 years ago this week.
Next Week on the Blog
And Another Thing…
This has been a top week in wrestling. Backlash looked solid on paper but I worried about the build-up. Yet, we got a strong show – a 7/10 – with plenty of good moments. Becky Lynch becoming the first Smackdown women’s champion was the right call, The Usos are looking good as heels but Heath Slater and Rhyno winning was the right call. Finally, as above, Styles going over Ambrose was the right call. Elsewhere on the card, there was plenty to entertain. If the WWE can maintain that quality, I don’t think it will feel like overkill to have regular Smackdown live Network specials.
Elsewhere this week, a good Raw and a very solid episode of Smackdown. The WWE seem keen to rehab Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Sure, they shouldn’t have gotten to this position but hey. Also, this was by far Nia Jax’s best showing on Raw since she stepped up. She literally destroyed the established Alicia Fox and that made a welcome change from the stream of jobbers. The final segment was also good with Rollins, Owens, Reigns and the welcome return of Rusev.
Yet again, Smackdown was a better show and locked in stuff, already, for No Mercy.
On top of that a typically solid NXT and an outstanding episode of the CWC, this was a good week to be a WWE fan.
Until next week…
All previous ‘This Week in Wrestling’ pieces can be read here.