Note: This post does not take into account last night’s Backlash or tonight’s RAW. Matches from these shows will be considered for next week’s post.
WWE had a pretty lackluster week all things considered here in the early portion of September 2016. Much of last week’s RAW was cringe-inducing, and Smackdown wasn’t any better. However, the content on the WWE Network was still great, as NXT put together its most satisfying show in months and the CWC continued to deliver (if not on quite the level of last week) as it ramps up to next week’s grand finale. Below I list a couple of matches I considered for the coveted prize of Match of the Week before revealing the winner.
Contender: RAW: Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho’s great 2016 heel run continued last week as he was given a new challenge: get Seth Rollins over as a babyface. Not that it was a tough job considering that much of WWE’s audience was already giving him a hero’s welcome every night since his return from injury (after all, WWE DID put together an hour-long Network special that essentially crowned him as a badass and all around great person), but Jericho carried out his orders faithfully once again. The two had a very good match, as was expected given the talent involved. The best moment: Rollins agonizing expression of pain as he clawed for the ropes while trapped in the Walls of Jericho. It was the face of a man no longer content to let The Authority win his battles for him, and instead one that was ready to be the high-flying, no shit-taking babyface that we always knew he could be.
My Rating: ***1/2
Contender: CWC: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Noam Dar
No disrespect for Mr. Dar, but I don’t think many expected him to make it to the quarterfinals of what has been probably the greatest tournament in WWE history. Dar is far from a bad worker, but he also pales in comparison to many who were eliminated before him (we’ll see you on the main roster, Cedric), and was easily the weakest member of the Final 8 of this competition. However, as to be expected, the always phenomenal Zack Sabre Jr. brought out the best in Dar, and the two were able to put together a very good match that benefited greatly from Sabre’s technical wizardry. The final moments of the match, in particular. where Sabre utilized the most brutal submission hold I’ve ever seen was superb. The right man won here, and Sabre advances to what will likely be his WWE swan song (at least for the time being) against the fantastic Gran Metalik.
My Rating: ***1/2
Match of the Week: CWC: Rich Swann vs. TJ Perkins
As has been the case consistently since the CWC made it to Round 2, the top honors go to two of the excellent Cruiserweights currently showcased on the WWE Network’s greatest weapon. Although this charisma-heavy affair between Swann (one of my personal favorites since his star-making job to Finn Balor many months ago in NXT) and Perkins lacked the fever pitch that made last week’s match between Akira Tozawa and Gran Metalik one of the best WWE matches of the year, it was really the only match of the past week that would be worth watching again. The CWC has almost single-handedly brought back the art of selling an injury (something you simply didn’t see on the main roster just a few short months ago) and working a body part, which is something at which TJ Perkins excels. The crowd may not have felt the right man won (agreed), but that doesn’t stop this match from being my rather easy pick for Match of the Week.
My Rating: ****