Hello fellow fans of professional wrestling! Lenny here and we are back for our TENTH installment of everyone’s favorite wrestling column: Wrestling with Lenny! In this tenth volume, we will assess the world of professional wrestling outside the turmoil of PWI. Unfortunately, I only have had a chance to see what happened in AXW and AEW up until the 14th since there PWI did just have a PPV, after all. I will happily talk about whatever has happened after this period on the next installment.
Ready for the top ten again? Thought so!
10. AXW’s Rising Tag Division
AXW has struggled in two major areas since launching in the summer: the women’s division (there is presently only three women in the entire roster, after AEW and PWI plucked the industry clean of fresh talent, so this isn’t really on Camden), and the tag team division (where they maybe have had three teams at any given time).
Well, Cross has tried in recent weeks to prioritize building his tag team division, and has led it to balloon to a decent number to make the division truly competitive. For a company which relies on the credo of “less is more” this isn’t a bad start. In fact, they may not need any more tag teams at all (though, it wouldn’t hurt to add a couple more for good measure).
Still, the signing of Jurassic Express and now the team called “Best Friends” has made this division something for the audience (and the reigning champions, Beer Money Inc.) to keep an eye on. Now, if only the company could get ahead of the PWI in the race for the women.
9. Nash and Hogan
You almost never fail with any TV time given to Randy Orton, but this story with Kevin Nash, Hogan, and their little posse of legends being targeted by Orton has been great. I especially loved watching Hogan trying to reason with an aging Kevin Nash whose thunder was stolen by his half-brother Scott earlier in their careers. Nash wants desperately to become a champion (something that has long eluded him), but Hogan sees Nash for what he is: past his prime.
Enter Orton. One brutal match later Hogan’s pleas to the logical side of Nash is proven right. Hogan saw the threat posed by Randy – who is annoyed with the presence of legendary figures hogging up precious TV time, and who wants to see himself back in the title picture as well – and Nash ignored him at his own peril.
8. Monster Mash: Vader v. Henry
Word has it that the creative team in AEW was not confident in this match at all, but a good bout between beasts is always good for business. Seeing these two veteran big men tear it up in the ring was nice to see. Vader had a long and successful career in the old ECW and WCW days of the second era and you can see that his brief partnership with MJF has rejuvenated his determination to win. Mark Henry, though, should never be underestimated. This is especially since the “world’s strongest man” is arguably in the best shape of his life!
7. To the MOON!: Cameron Grimes Arrives!
Team Cardona experienced a massive boost on the 14th of December’s installment of “Warfare” when independent circuit darling Cameron Grimes – who struck it rich investing in GameStop shares a couple years ago – came waving his wads of cash down the aisle way to join Big Cass and Trevor Murdoch in defeating the Tag Team Champions and Cardona’s newest threat for the world title in a six man tag! This match was an exciting display capped off with Grimes getting the pinfall and Team Cardona getting ever stronger!
I would watch out if I was Cardona, though, as Grimes has a great deal of charisma, and that’s a dangerous thing to let loose on the roster if you want to maintain your dominance. Cameron has a bright future ahead of him, and if AXW does enter the draft this summer I think it would be wise of Cross to put Grimes on the exemption list lest he risks losing the young millionaire!
6. Rousey’s War Path
Insensitive remarks about sexual identity aside, Ronda Rousey is a force to be reckoned with in the industry. She was livid on Dynamite last week because Megan Mouse did not slate her to compete for a chance to reclaim the title that she never lost. Look, I know that we all wanted to see Sasha versus Star, but Rousey actually has a point here. Upon being informed that she will get to take some frustration out on Nyla Rose, Rousey makes the aforementioned controversial remark (which set social media ablaze!) and forced an apology for Miss Young.
Looking ahead, I don’t personally see Rousey retaking the Knockout’s Championship any time soon. Rather, I can see Sasha snatching it first and then subsequently opening the door to a lengthy reign which includes a defense against Rousey. This anger on the part of Rousey will only continue to fester, though, as she rips the other women limb from limb on her way back to the top. This could get messy.
5. AJ & Danielson
The show started last week with the World Champion of AEW – AJ Styles – reminiscing with Bryan Danielson about their time together in the independent circuit. Styles broke into the mainstream of the industry around 15 years ago and Danielson was left behind holding the fort down until he caught the eye of promoters in this era. As “Daniel Bryan” here in PWI, Danielson was immensely popular, and he was always in the conversation about future world champions. For this reason, I won’t be surprised to see a competitive series between these two in-ring experts. Then again, I can’t sit here and say that Danielson is going to dethrone AJ, as it is much too soon in the current champions reign to make such a prediction.
Stranger things have happened, though.
4. Barrett Keeps Winning
In a recent discussion with a fellow expert in the industry (the name of whom I will keep to myself), it was brought up that Wade Barrett actually appears to have the best win-loss record of anyone in AXW. Despite losing his Main Event title to Mr. Cassidy and despite Cardona’s incredible reign, Barrett looks like THE guy to beat. We just need someone to be able to beat him.
I will talk more later about the latest attempt to defeat Mr. “Bad News”, but for now we have to hand it to this guy. He started the era as a baby face guy from the United Kingdom looking to become the first Premier Athlete in PWI. When his career in this company stumbled a little, he was traded to the EWA in 2020 and was sadly forgotten among the rest of the roster. Now, Camden Cross has made it clear that the “It Factor” that he sees in Wade will not be wasted. Much like with the decision to trade MJF to AEW, I am sure that Mickey and the Board are kicking themselves over this loss as well.
3. Megan Takes Charge
Following the disappearance of Benny and her incredible takeover and makeover of BWM Inc. during the summer, Megan Mouse has asserted herself as the woman of the decade in professional wrestling! Her latest decision making has led her to put Benny’s old field of henchmen on notice as she has effectively replaced Benny’s “Establishment” with the Authors of Pain!
I watched in horror as AOP came to the ring each time in PWI and obliterated all in their sight. Losing them to the EWA in the 2021 Draft sucked in large part because there are few big man tag teams which promise to be as good as Akam and Rezar!
Back to Megan, though. Megan has put Rob Amick on a mission: find Benny, now! This episode of Dynamite showed us that Megan learned a thing or two growing up in this power-hungry family of ours. Blood or not, she is a Mouse!
2. Sami Helps Aiden
I can’t stress enough how awesome the pairing of Sami Zayn and Aiden English is! I had almost forgotten that Sami worked for AXW when he first appeared as an ally of Aiden, and then seeing him trying to advocate for English (as Aiden creepily stalked from behind a trash can) was great. I have no idea what to expect in the weeks and months to come from this duo, but all I can say is that is has “GOLD” written all over it!
Wade Barrett demanded that he face off against the best possible opponent. When the music hit and we were teased with “MJF”, I almost lost my mind! I was raging at my TV, screaming about how stupid Megan had to have been to give up such a talent for whom she sacrificed so much in this past summer’s blockbuster draft. I was bracing for a massive ratings surge for AXW until I started dying laughing seeing that Barrett was about to go toe to toe with Michael J. Fox!
Barrett won, easily, but this was in no way a disappointment. Fox remains one of the best contributors to this new company, and putting him in the ring with Barrett was perfect! It made sense that this match was not booked to be the main event, but I was nervous that the actual main event wouldn’t able to follow this (it delivered as well, though).
Camden Cross, I tip my hat again to you, sir. Well done.
There is a slight possibility of one more volume before 2023, but if I don’t have anything to review, I might offer a New Year’s Eve Countdown of sorts!