The Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week 12/25: Charlotte Flair Returns, Orton Sets The Fiend on Fire, Slammy Awards, More

Merry Christmas TJR readers! Did you realize that you better start Christmas shopping, and miss Smackdown? Perhaps you spent all day Monday figuring out what to spend your stimulus money on, and missed Raw. Worry not, for I have returned with another edition of The Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week to catch you up.

10. Mercedes Martinez Returns to NXT

Mercedes Martinez’s time on the main roster ended up being short-lived. Martinez debuted with the rest of Retribution under the name Retaliation. Martinez never wrestled a match, however, and unexplainably left the group last October. Martinez reappeared in NXT this week, brutally attacking NXT Women’s Champion Io Shari. It has been reported that Martinez asked to return to NXT, as she no longer wanted to be a part of the Retribution storyline. It is good to see that WWE didn’t Retaliate against Martinez for her decision, and has allowed her to go seek Retribution in NXT. (TJRWrestling)

9. WWE Royal Rumble Set to Take Place on January 31st

WWE finally announced when one of their biggest events of the year will take place. WWE announced during the TLC PPV that the Royal Rumble will be taking place on Sunday, January 31st in 2021. Noticeably missing from the announcement was a location, with the assumption at this time being that it will take place in the Thunderdome’s new home in Tropicana Field. Along with currently not knowing the location, we also do not know at this time if WWE will be able to have any live fans at the big event. What is known is that if Lana doesn’t win the Rumble this year and go on to main event Wrestlemania, then WWE has made a huge mistake. (TJRWrestling)

8. Raw Legends Night Announced

After Raw suffered its lowest viewership of all time last week, Vince McMahon has decided to do what he always does to try to boost ratings. It was announced this week that the first Raw of the year on January 4th will now be a legends night. More than 20 “Legends” have been announced for the show including such big names as Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Kurt Angle. Using past superstars may give WWE a temporary boost in its TV ratings, but will not be a permanent solution; unless of course they have signed a big TV contract in Saudi Arabia. (TJRWrestling)

7. AEW New Years Smash to be Held Over the Next Two Weeks

AEW is planning to start the new year off in a big way. Over the next two weeks, AEW will hold a New Year’s Smash special on Dynamite. Next Wednesday two big title matches will be held. Abandon will try to capture the AEW Women’s Championship against champion Hikaru Shida. Also the hardest working man in wrestling, Kenny Omega will defend the AEW Heavyweight Championship against Fenix. The Smash will then continue the following week, headlined with Darby Allen defending the TNT Championship against Brian Cage. If all of that was not enough reason to watch, AEW President Tony Khan appeared on Impact Wrestling this week and invited the Impact roster to appear on Dynamite. We will have to wait and see if any Impact wrestlers show up, or if Tony Khan’s father gave him enough Christmas money to sign any of them to contracts. (TJRWrestling)

6. WWE Holds The Slammy Awards

The second biggest wrestling awards show of the year happened this week when WWE held the 2020 Slammy Awards on the WWE Network. Multiple awards were given out; including Edge winning return of the year, AJ Styles and The Undertaker winning match of the year and Drew McIntyre winning Superstar of the Year. The wrestling world will now wait until this Monday for the much more important WWE Johnny Awards to be announced. I personally will be keeping a close eye on the prestigious Weekly Wrestling Column of the Year Award. (TJRWrestling)

5. Three Title Matches on Smackdown This Week

WWE is hoping that you end your Christmas day with them this year. WWE has loaded today’s Christmas edition of Smackdown with three title matches. New WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Charlotte and Asuka will have their first title offense against opponents to be announced. Sami Zayn will defend his WWE Intercontinental Championship against Big E. And finally, the WWE Universal Championship will be on the line inside a steel cage, when Roman Reigns defends against Kevin Owens. Watching professional wrestling on Christmas Day may seem like a strange tradition to some, but it still beats the hell out of having to spend time with some of my family. (TJRWrestling)

4. The Miz Cashes in the MITB Briefcase and Fails to Win WWE Title

The Men’s Money in the Bank Briefcase has finally been cashed in this year. The Miz officially cashed in the briefcase during the WWE Heavyweight Championship TLC ladder match between AJ Styles and Drew McIntyre, making the match a triple threat. It looked like The Miz was going to win the WWE Title, but while climbing the ladder to claim the title, he was interrupted by Styles’ bodyguard Omos. Omos then grabbed Miz from the ladder and dumped him over the top rope, through a table at ringside. The match then continued for a few more minutes, before McIntyre was able to climb the ladder and retain the title. This is the third time in the last four years that the Men’s MITB Briefcase was NOT successfully cashed in. This year things were even more convoluted, as Otis originally won the briefcase (in a match where he didn’t even climb the ladder to win the briefcase) before losing it to The Miz. Hopefully WWE can do something next year to right this ship, as the only thing dropping faster right now then the prestige of the Money In The Bank Briefcase is Raw’s ratings. (TJRWrestling)

3. Randy Orton Sets The Fiend on Fire

Anyone who was looking to roast some chestnuts for the holidays would have had a great opportunity to do it this past Sunday at TLC. In the main event of the evening, Randy Orton and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt competed in a Firefly Funhouse Inferno Match. The match ended with Fiend catching on fire before taking an RKO from Orton. The night did not end there, however, as Orton then proceeded to cover Fiend in gasoline before lighting a match and setting him on fire. Watching a man being burnt alive was certainly a shocking way to end a PPV, and did get people talking. The following night on Raw in a new segment called Alexa’s Playground, Alexa Bliss warned Orton that when Fiend returns: “It will be like nothing we have ever seen before.” For everyone’s sake, let’s hope that when Wyatt/Fiend does return that “we” can all have the opportunity to experience this never before seen thing live and in person. (TJRWrestling)

2. The Hurt Business Wins The Raw Tag Team Championship

New Raw Tag Team Champions were crowned this past Sunday night at TLC. The Hurt Business duo of Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin defeated The New Day to capture the titles for the first time. This win gives even more titles to The Hurt Business, with fellow member Bobby Lashley currently being the United States Champion. This is actually the third time that Shelton Benjamin has been a WWE Tag Team Champion, with his last tag title reign before this one being all the way back in 2004. The year 2004 was a completely different time in the wrestling world of course, with Edge being the comeback wrestler of the year and fans constantly discussing how ratings are going down. (TJRWrestling)

1. Charlotte Flair Returns and Wins the Women’s Tag Team Championships with Asuka

When Lana was “injured” on Raw on December 14, Asuka was given the impossible task of finding a suitable replacement partner for her match at TLC this past Sunday. Although clearly, you will never truly replace someone with the in-ring ability of a Lana, Asuka was able to find a decent substitution. Charlotte Flair returned after a six-month absence to team up with Asuka and successfully defeat Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax; thus becoming the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. With the win Charlotte joins Bayley, Asuka and Sasha Banks as the only WWE women to have won the Raw Women’s, Smackdown Women’s, NXT Women’s and the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship. Charlotte is actually the only woman to have won all those championships as well as the now-retired WWE Divas Championship. Shockingly, Lana has yet to win a single championship in the WWE, proving without a shadow of a doubt that some wrestlers are so great that they don’t need a championship. (TJRWrestling)

That will conclude another edition of The Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week. As always, if you like what I do, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter @BackseatBookers and listen to my podcast The BackseatBookers. (Please be aware that it is explicit as Santa gave me nothing but coal due to my language.)