Top 10 Wrestling Stories of the Week 1/6: Vince McMahon Wants To Sell WWE, Mercedes Moné in NJPW, Charlotte Flair Wins Gold, More
Welcome back, TJR readers! Did you spend all day Friday trying to find Rogaine and missed WWE Smackdown? Perhaps you spent all day Monday praying for Damar Hamlin and missed Raw.
Worry not for I have returned with another edition of the Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week.
Before starting the top ten list this week I would like to take a moment to remember Don West. West was well known by wrestling fans as one of the original TNA announcers along with Mike Tenay. West passed away this week at the age of 59, after a long battle with lymphoma. Condolences to Don West’s friends and family, as his contributions to the wrestling world will always be remembered.
10. AJ Styles Suffers A Broken Ankle
WWE is going to have to start out 2023 without one of its biggest superstars. During a live event on December 29th, AJ Styles appeared to hurt his ankle while teaming with Gallows & Anderson against The Judgement Day. This past Saturday on New Year’s Eve, Styles tweeted that he had in fact broken his ankle in the match. There is no timetable for Styles’s return at this time, but he will likely at least miss the Royal Rumble at the end of this month. Hopefully, Styles will be able to return for WrestleMania in April, as without him The Club is just two guys in their 40’s hanging out together. (TJRWrestling)
Just want you guys to know that I’m ok. Broken ankle is what I’m dealing with. No surgery, this just takes some time to recover. This will be the longest I've ever been out of the ring. Thanks for the prayers and get well wishes.
— AJ Styles (@AJStylesOrg) December 31, 2022
9. Bryan Danielson to Face MJF for AEW World Title in an IronMan Match at AEW Revolution
Bryan Danielson and MJF are planning on taking a full hour to try to settle their feud. This past Wednesday on Dynamite, Danielson defeated Tony Nese during the show. After the match, AEW World Champion MJF came out to interrupt Danielson. MJF then told Danielson can face him at AEW Revolution, only if he wins all his matches every week for a month on Dynamite before then. Danielson accepted this challenge, before adding that the match at Revolution will be a 60-Minute Iron Man Match as well. AEW Revolution is scheduled to take place on March 5th, and after this announcement possibly March 6th and 7th as well. (TJRWrestling)
This match will never take place. https://t.co/XKtTkE2TcH
— Maxwell Jacob Friedman™️ (@The_MJF) January 5, 2023
8. WWE Money in the Bank to Take Place in the UK
Fans in the UK will not have to wait for another 30 years to see a WWE PLE in their country. This week it was announced that WWE Money in the Bank will take place at the O2 arena in London England on July 1st. WWE Clash at the Castle took place in Cardiff, Wales this past September, bringing a PLE to the country for the first time in 30 years. It is unknown at this time if competitors will have to climb on the other side of the ladder. (TJRWrestling)
Huge news from @WWEUK!
Money In The Bank 2023 Coming to the UK!https://t.co/z4bQrtfckt
— Inside The Ropes (@Inside_TheRopes) January 5, 2023
7. Uncle Howdy Attacks Bray Wyatt
The mysterious Uncle Howdy continued to make an impact this week. This past Friday on Smackdown, Bray Wyatt opened the show with an in-ring promo. Wyatt was soon interrupted by LA Knight, who proceeded to challenge Wyatt to a Pitch Black match at the Royal Rumble. After Wyatt accepted the challenge, both men were suddenly interrupted by Howdy coming to the ring. Howdy then shockingly hit Wyatt with the Sister Abigail to end the segment. Although not confirmed, Howdy is rumored to be Wyatt’s actual brother Bo Dallas. What is confirmed, however, is that Howdy definitely is not John Cena since he has a full head of hair. (TJRWrestling)
6. Multiple Title Changes at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17
Night one of Japan’s biggest wrestling show of the year took place this past Wednesday. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17 featured 12 matches, including six title changes. Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Ren Narita to become the inaugural NJPW World Television Champion. Bishamon defeated FTR to end their reign as IWGP Tag Team Champions. Tama Tonga defeated Karl Anderson to become the NEVER Open Weight Champion. Hiromu Takahashi defeated Taiji Ishimori, El Desparado and Master Wato to become the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. Kenny Omega defeated Will Osprey to become the IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion. Finally, Kazuchika Okada defeated Jay White to once again become IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. Night Two of Wrestle Kingdom 17 does not take place until January 21st, likely to give Dave Meltzer’s hands time to heal from writing all those stars. (TJRWrestling)
Highlights from ’WRESTLE KINGDOM 17 in TOKYO DOME’ (Jan. 4th)
Watch Now: https://t.co/KXoy9k1jr3
8th match: 【IWGP US HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP/DOUBLE MAIN EVENT】@WillOspreay 🆚 @KennyOmegamanX#NJPW#wk17#njpwworldpic.twitter.com/9vhYOzkGj6
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) January 5, 2023
5. John Cena Victorious on Smackdown with Kevin Owens
John Cena’s first and only match of 2022 was a successful one. This past Friday on Smackdown, Cena and Kevin Owens defeated Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn in the main event of the evening. The finish of the match saw Owens hit Zayn with the Stunner, before pinning him for the win. As for Cena, he only entered the ring for less than one minute to do a few signature moves. Perhaps unfortunately for Cena, what wrestling fans seemed to remember the most from the match was his noticeable bald spot. We shall have to see if Cena competes in 2023 and if he can sweep all this talk about hair loss under the rug. (TJRWrestling)
Thank you @WWEUniverse for investing your time and energy with me. I never overlook how lucky I am to have 2 decades of moments filled with your voice and passion. To everyone behind the scenes, in the ring, live and around the world @WWE#ThankYou. #Smackdown
— John Cena (@JohnCena) December 31, 2022
4. Darby Allin Captures the AEW TNT Championship
It was a successful return to his hometown for Darby Allin this week. This past Wednesday on Dynamite, Darby Allin defeated Samoa Joe in the main event to capture the AEW TNT Championship. Dynamite was held in Darby’s hometown of Seattle, Washington, making the win all the more special. Unfortunately in related news, Tony Khan has continuously ignored my request to hold and let me main event a Dynamite in my hometown of Oswego NY. (TJRWrestling)
3. Mercedes Moné Debuts for NJPW
After weeks of rumors, Sasha Banks appeared for NJPW this week. Banks, now going by Mercedes Mone, appeared live at Wrestle Kingdom 17 this past Wednesday. Mone came out after IWGP Women’s Champion KAIRI successfully defended her title against Tam Nakano. Mone would then proceed to attack KAIRI, before declaring that she would be challenging for the title at Battle Of The Valley on February 18th. Mone also declared herself the CEO of the NJPW women’s division, although at this time there is no indication that she will have to pay any hush money to any of the women. (TJRWrestling)
IT’S MERCEDES MONÉ!@mercedesvarnado is in the Tokyo Dome!!!#wk17#njpwpic.twitter.com/PD54lqLr1L
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) January 4, 2023
2. Charlotte Flair Captures the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
Charlotte Flair returned to the WWE in a big way this week. This past Friday on Smackdown, Ronda Rousey defended the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship against Raquel Rodriquez. After the match Rousey went to give a promo, but was suddenly interrupted by Flair. Flair then proceeded to challenge Rousey to a title match right then and there, with Rousey accepting the challenge. Flair pinned Rousey 40 seconds with a handful of tights and the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! to capture the title. Flair had not been seen in the WWE since losing the title to Rousey over seven months ago at WrestleMania Backlash. With the win Flair becomes a 14-time world champion, making her just two World title reigns from tying her father Ric Flair and John Cena’s record 16 reigns. With the win, Flair has also now officially had four more title reigns than her husband Andrade El Idolo has had matches on AEW Dynamite. (TJRWrestling)
— Charlotte Flair (@MsCharlotteWWE) December 31, 2022
1. Vince McMahon Returning to WWE to Oversee Sale of the Company
The year 2023 is starting off right where 2022 left off when it comes to big wrestling news. On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Vince McMahon is planning to return as Executive Chairman of the company. Shortly afterward McMahon released a statement stating:
“WWE is entering a critical juncture in its history with the upcoming media rights negotiations coinciding with increased industry-wide demand for quality content and live events and with more companies seeking to own the intellectual property on their platforms. The only way for WWE to fully capitalize on this opportunity is for me to return as Executive Chairman and support the management team in the negotiations for our media rights and to combine that with a review of strategic alternatives. My return will allow WWE, as well as any transaction counterparties, to engage in these processes knowing they will have the support of the controlling shareholder”
Shortly soon after it was reported that McMahon along with George Barrios, Michelle Wilson rejoined the WWE’s Board of Directors. Due to McMahon, Barrios and Wilson returning, three current board members also stepped down from their positions. McMahon has also stated that he does not intend for his return to have any impact on the current management teams roles, duties or responsibilities. It is heavily rumored that McMahon is looking to sell the WWE entirely and returned to be involved in the sale. Potential buyers for the WWE include Comcast/NBC, Disney and Mandy Rose if she sells a few more pictures. (TJRWrestling)
That concludes another edition of The Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week. Although I often joke, I have recently started refereeing with NYCW and FCWA, and respect more than ever what wrestlers do every week. I wrote an article all about it all right here. If you like what I do, despite my jokes being almost as bad as coming up short in the House speaker vote. Then follow me on Twitter @Fowlerwrestlin1. Thank you for taking the time to read this each week.