It’s been a while, wait…isn’t that a Staind song?
…ANYWAYS, I haven’t done this in a few months, because the industry kind of…well, reverted to its usual stagnant status. PWI was the only game in town for most of the first quarter of 2023, and to say that I didn’t have much material would be quite the understatement. Even so, BWM Inc. and Murrey Entertainment have finally given me something to work with, and that’s what leads me to this…the thirteenth installment of “Wrestling with Lenny” in your favorite incarnation thereof: the Top Ten!
10. Grimes & Riddle = Show Stealers
In the debut weeks of WWE, Murrey has given us a gem that we didn’t know we needed with the dual clashes of Matt Riddle and Cameron Grimes. The two of them first tore it up just over a week ago to crown the first European Champion of the era and then we were treated with a classic rematch just 11 days later as part of the WWE Title Tournament. They have traded wins in their first two encounters and with a rubber match a certainty in the near future, I am absolutely looking forward to seeing what they give us next time around!
9. AEW’s Angry Women
On the first two episodes of Dynamite for the year there has been a common theme: the Knockouts want to knock everyone out! They are spitting mad and the announce team is pussy-footing around the reason why. I mean, come on, do we really need to HINT at THE REASON? This extremely talented roster of top-tier women in wrestling have been deprived the spotlight for the better part of this era because of the most inept managerial staff for any promotion in history. Did Megan seriously think she could right the ship with a changing of the guard atop the company and a name change of the promotion?
Still, I don’t want to take away from the intriguing nature of this story and how it will play out…if we actually get a chance to watch it play out. Who knows? Maybe this time next year the Knockouts will be wearing yellow vests and threatening a revolution French-style. Time will tell.
8. Murrey gets his groove back
For the better part of the last two decades Jeff Murrey has been a fixture in Mmouse Enterprises. Not since he launched the revolutionary LWF has he actually tried to pose as a competitive alternative to Mmouse Enterprises or even BWM Inc., and what we’ve seen from Murrey since he took over Camden Cross’s company and renamed it as WWE is that Murrey hasn’t forgotten how to entertain. The early numbers for Raw’s April 10th and Smackdown’s April 21st debuts show that Murrey is back on track to dominating the industry again if he continues in his current trajectory.
Well done, sir.
7. Bischoff in control
With the chaos ensuing in AEW’s management scene, Eric Bischoff has stepped straight out of LWF in 2004 and into this newfound role as if he never missed a beat 19 years later. Eric was especially prominent on the April 17th installment of Dynamite, making a handful of blockbuster matches and confronting a number of the top names in the company. I will say here that this drama between him and Megan has me hooked, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t giving Eric the side-eye out of suspicion that his hands may not be clean in the near-vehicular murder that we almost saw last week.
Either way, it’s good TV!
6. Mouse Mystery Theater
The ratings have consistently shown over the past almost 3 decades that the most solid and reliable ratings draw is a good slice of drama from my extremely dysfunctional family. I don’t know why, but the people just love to see us Mouse Family members falling apart. Sigh.
Regardless of my apprehension to say “YAY, MOUSE FAMILY DRAMA”, the fact remains that this latest installment from the ongoing saga is very interesting and hard to turn off. Where is Benny? Who tried to run over Megan? Is Megan getting drunk with power? You simply can’t go wrong with this.
5. Not To Be Forgotten: Aiden English
Aiden English has been a never-ending source of gut-laughs since the summer, and his stint in the young WWE has been no different. From openly yelling at creative writers who are experiencing issues outside of work to attacking newcomers to WWE who happen to be former PWI employees, I always lean in when Aiden emerges, and I am always ready to see what crazy antics he will be up to next!
4. Lesnar Destroys Connor
I am partially torn on the Lesnar squash of Connor McGregor on the 2023 Premiere of Dynamite. I mean, yes, it was awesome, but really??? We introduced Connor McGregor as a serious threat to Brock with the debut of AEW in the fall as he cost Brock the World Title, and Connor torments Brock through to the end of 2022. All of that just for Brock to absolutely obliterate Connor as if he was an overskilled Mortal Kombat player competing against a toddler getting a flawless victory for shits and giggles.
Don’t get me wrong: this makes sense. Brock Lesnar is twice the size of Connor McGregor, and we don’t call Lesnar the “Beast Incarnate” for no reason, but I expected this to be a little more of a slugfest than what we got. Again, I reiterate that what we got was awesome, but I remain a little conflicted in my reaction. Either way, Lesnar is dead-set on pursuing the world title…so AJ needs to keep eyes in the back of his head.
3. Angle Jumps Ship!
2023 has had a number of awesome roster surprises so far, and the latest twist featuring former PWI World Champion Kurt Angle moving from AEW to WWE is the thing that headlines are made of! I was absolutely beside myself when I heard that iconic Olympic music of Angle’s as he headed to the ring…to lose.
Ok, forget the fact that he lost his debut match (we will give him a break here, since it was a tournament match for the WWE Title, and at least he lost to Damien Priest), I’m just happy that Angle is enjoying the career rebirth that he so deserved. He was literally being written off as a washed-up veteran three years ago, taking a series of losses in PWI. He was teetering on the sunset of his legendary career, and then he captured the Immunity Title, cashed it in on Scott Nash to become PWI Champion at Wrestle Mania VII two years ago, and then reigned for a very long time.
He rejuvenated his career so much in 2021, that he was sought after by the EWA in the draft last summer, was featured in an iconic match for the AEW World Title against AJ Styles this past fall, and is now an incredibly high-profile pick-up for the startup WWE! Well done. Not bad for a washed-up vet!
2. Hogan the Menace
Hulk Hogan has become the AEW answer for Aiden English. No joke, brother! Hulk has been a yellow-haired and balding thorn in the aging side of Kevin Nash ever since they were ambushed by the Legend Killer late last year. While Nash was trying to recover, Hogan became his annoying “friend” constantly seeking his approval, starting with an unwelcome visit in the hospital, and then taking a camera crew to visit Nash and family during dinner, and now the latest: gifting Nash a segway!
Hogan said bye-bye to his in-ring prime a long time ago, but now he is demonstrating his latest talent: stealing the show with some legitimately funny segments!
1. WWE Co-World Champions (Priest & Perry)
And now, for the MAIN EVENT! The final stop on this incarnation of the top ten is the biggest moment to happen in the industry in the past week, in my estimation: the naming of co-world champions. I sincerely don’t think we’ve ever had co-world champions before. The closest thing the industry had to my recollection was on February 4th, 2002 when Slammu and Soultaker pinned Slammer to take the USWA Title from him, but that triggered a tournament at Wrestle Mania VI. In the 21 years since, we haven’t seen anything close to dual champions, but this is actually the first time there have ever been two people holding the same world title.
Honestly, Damien Priest and Jungle Boy are two men who are so different. Their styles contrast in many ways, and that will make for an interesting dynamic. The real question, though, is how will Murrey choose to resolve this? If either man gets pinned or submitted in a title defense, do they both lose the title, or do we have a new co-champion arrangement? Will there be a unification match of sorts down the line? How will it end?
Regardless, Murrey has my attention here, and that’s something we all need to get used to saying in the months to come. Yep, this era is shaping up to be the most unpredictable ever!
Catch you all next time!