Welcome to the latest edition of Strange Things In Wrestling This Week with Marc Madison. This edition returns with a new and fresh outlook for 2018. It has flash and flair not unlike what we proved fans last year. We address things that happened over the past week, things that may have been missed, forgotten or initially ignored. We want to bring these events to the forefront! Once again we showcase the odd, unique, quirky or possibly bizarre qualities of events in wrestling because that’s what makes them stand out. We’ll dive deep into a handful of different things, stories whose strange nature is something that should be featured.

You can anticipate something outside normal online wrestling culture when it comes to this bi-weekly edition. We may focus on a tweet from a wrestler, an image, a scenario, a match, or even a storyline. In this month’s edition, we discuss an online spat between a former WWE superstar and a former…actress?; an unlikely win from a tandem; the beatdown of an empress this past week (not tomorrow); and what appeared to be a slightly unsure phenomenal world champion; plus more! Without further ado, here are Strange Things in Wrestling This Week for the week ending January 12th, 2018.

Shane Helms and Mia Khalifa online spat?

This is a rather interesting… well, not really interesting…but a developing story that’s happened over the past couple of months. For those not aware, Mia Khalifa is active on social media and often shows her support for MMA, but not WWE or even professional wrestling in general. When it became clear that she not only didn’t like wrestling but rather mocked it, it, of course, meant that others were going to take shots back at her. Another thing to note is that her background is as an adult film actress. So when comments were made about wrestlers jobbing and being on their back, well, you can see the direction that the jokes and reports would take.

What was even more amusing about this was that it has managed to get the ire of former WWE star Shane ‘Hurricane’ Helms. He started off by saying he was finished with her on social media last month, but when the topic came up again with her mocking of professional wrestling, she was met with not only comments by Helms, but an invitation by a local independent promoter to attend a show. The move is either strange or brilliant, depending on how you want to look at it. The move brings attention to the independent show by possibly bringing in a quasi-celebrity. She has garnered a great deal of attention for her comments, showing support for her team while dismissing others and insulting them in process. Is any publicity good publicity? We aren’t quite sure.

Titus Worldwide…won?

Titus O’Neil has been heading up his own ‘group,’ what had been Titus Brand before being renamed Titus Worldwide, for some time. For a number of weeks, he wasn’t competing on television, or only sporadically. Fans may recall he opened it up to becoming ‘worldwide’ when he brought Akira Tozawa into the fold, which was intended to make the faction a global group. Well, after Tozawa lost the Cruiserweight title it seemed that he didn’t fit into Titus’ plans and went off in another direction. So it’s pretty much has been Titus and Apollo Crews working alongside each other either as a team, or having one as the mentor and the other as the mentoree.

The dynamic has typically been that Crews would have a match and, despite being encouraged by O’Neil, ultimately come out with the short end of the stick. Funny enough it seems like they simply gave the mentor gimmick to O’Neil and took it away from Bob Backlund, who had been the mentor for O’Neil’s former tag team partner and ex-WWE employee Darren Young. This past week, maybe there was something in the air, but in a match against former Raw tag team champions Cesaro and Sheamus, Titus Worldwide was victorious. This may read like a misprint, but that isn’t the case. It was among the stranger incidents to happen over the course of the week, one that fans would have to tune in and see it to believe.

Asuka gets wiped out on Monday, not tomorrow

She is the empress of tomorrow and the longest reigning champion in NXT history. During her time on the brand Asuka held the NXT women’s championship longer than any champion, female or male. After joining the Raw brand this past fall, Asuka appears to be the greatest challenge for anyone on the roster. She has faced and defeated the likes of Emma and Alexa Bliss. However, this past week we witnessed Asuka being blindsided by Nia Jax. What made it so strange was that fans had never seen Asuka completely wiped out by anyone at any point, so to see her beaten down was an unfamiliar sight.

It was not unlike a superhero being wounded by their greatest foe after being seemingly indestructible. Asuka has been in fatal four ways and triple threats, and always come out as the winner. She may have been battered, beaten and bruised, but in the end she came out the other side better for it. When we see something that has never been done before, it can be described as a rather strange situation.

Is Balor Club searching for the sugar?

Over the past couple of weeks, we saw the reuniting of three guys that have had a long friendship behind the scenes that superseded what happens in the ring. Finn Balor, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson were put together as a result of the actions of Kurt Angle, and it was clearly ‘too sweet’. While fans have been anticipating it for a long time, it has taken some time to align these men, and it was a bit of a surprise to see it materialize the way it did.

Finn’s role isn’t as well defined as Gallows and Anderson. Since their arrival to WWE, the ‘Good Brothers’ have been built as heels. However, Balor, since his arrival in the company back in NXT, has always been a face. It didn’t matter who it was against or when it was, Balor was the consummate ‘good guy.’

This past week, their interaction with the trio of Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Jason Jordan was rather unusual because it was uncharacteristic to see Balor with aligned with he heels. Does this mean he’s going heel? Will he be a tweener? Or is it just a case of a guy having fun with his friends? There really doesn’t appear to be a clear indication of what exactly is taking place, which makes it just seem a little bit strange. It’s worth noting that during his time in Japan together, Gallows would paint his face as well. It isn’t clear whether or not that will take place now, but in the meantime, it appears that they are united as Balor Club.

Make up your mind, AJ

He says he doesn’t want none, or that he can’t get some, or is it that they don’t want some? In any event, while I may be messing up the lyrics of AJ Styles theme song, this week was similarly confusing as it felt as though he was asked questions but didn‘t want to pick sides, even though he actually sounded like he was picking sides. During an in-ring sit-down interview with Renee Young, Styles was asked about his upcoming title defense against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, which will be a handicap match for the WWE championship. It’s peculiar because regardless of whether Zayn or Owens pins Styles, they would both be considered the WWE champion. While that sounds strange and looks strange, the strangest thing this particular week wasn’t Owens or Zayn (although Zayn’s goofy yep chants are pretty amusing).

It was Styles not wanting to get in the middle of Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan’s issues with one another, when in fact he was. He said he didn’t want to be involved with the two of them, but at the same time, he also wondered what is going on in Bryan’s head. Does questioning someone’s choices mean he’s picking sides in the saga of the Commissioner and the General Manager? Not exactly, but it means he can’t say he’s not involved. When the decision was made to put Styles, Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura together in a handicap match against Owens and Zayn, it was more a case of, we’ll settle this our way. The entire incident was a bit of a head-scratcher.

So ends this edition of Strange Things In Wrestling This Week with Marc Madison. Over the past week, we welcomed the new year with a variety of new and unique actions that caught us off guard. We won’t comment on and certainly wouldn’t make light of, the recent events taking place with the #timesup hashtag, which touched on wrestling as well. (A wrestling promoter was recently accused regarding an incident sixteen years ago, and we can’t say it’s that surprising).

As per usual, we featured some odd and unusual suspects, and social media played a major part in many of the stories. We could have talked about other things that caught our attention, but we didn’t focus on hard-hitting issues in the world of sports entertainment because that’s what everyone else does (like what was mentioned in the previous paragraph). We are above that here with our Strange Things in Wrestling series! We hit you with the fun that comes from putting things in a blender and testing the result. Did we miss something or should we have talked about something else in this month’s edition? For Strange Things in Wrestling This Month, this is Marc Madison saying, see you next month…and if it’s strange, there is a pretty good chance we’ll discuss it.

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Feel Free to check out my blog The Wrestling News Hub Magazine include interviews with ROH top prospect tournament entrant, Curt Stallion, Sebastian Suave, Ring of Honor’s Frankie Kazarian, “All Good” Anthony Greene, ‘The Green Machine’ Mike Orlando, Josh Briggs, ROH top prospect finalist John Skyler and current rising Ring of Honor star Flip Gordon with interviews with Tyson Dux, Ivalisse and Madman Fulton (former WWE NXT superstar Sawyer Fulton) still to come.