Top 10 Wrestling Stories of the Week 4/21: WWE Backlash Matches, New AEW Show, TNT Title Change, More
Welcome back, TJR readers! Did you spend all day Friday trying to convince a TV station that one of your top stars is really coming back, and miss WWE Smackdown? Perhaps you spent all day Monday celebrating being the highest-paid player in the NFL, and missed Raw.
Worry not for I have returned with another edition of The Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week.
10. WWE Reportedly Working on New Show for USA Network
If you have ever dreamed of watching your favorite WWE superstars answer trivia questions, then I have some good news for you! This week it was reported that WWE is working on a new trivia show for the USA network called WWE Tall vs. Small. The show will reportedly be a new game show that sees kids compete against WWE superstars in a trivia challenge. This new show will reportedly be targeted to the eight kids who still watch network television instead of YouTube. (TJRWrestling)
9. Shinsuke Nakamura Returns to Smackdown
For the first time since November of 2022, Shinsuke Nakamura appeared on WWE television. This past Friday on Smackdown, Nakamura returned and defeated Madcap Moss in a quick match. After the match Scarlet was shown backstage, displaying a Tarot card that had Nakamura on it. Karrion Kross then arrived to say “tick tock” to end the segment. This either means that Kross and Nakamura are set to feud or like me, Kross was just trying to figure out what the hell Tik Tok is. (TJRWrestling)
I’m back ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/c9NWrQAw2u
— Shinsuke Nakamura (@ShinsukeN) April 15, 2023
8. Drew McIntyre and Becky Lynch Change Twitter Accounts
Two of WWE’s biggest stars both mysteriously changed their Twitter accounts this week. First, former WWE World Champion Drew McIntyre deleted his profile and header pictures along with any reference to the WWE. McIntyre’s contract with the WWE is up at the end of this year, with the two sides reported to not be close to a new deal.
Also, former WWE Women’s Champion Becky Lynch changed her Twitter handle to her real name, before Tweeting that she would not be at Raw this week. Lynch is currently feuding with WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus and is reportedly dealing with a foot injury, which could explain her absence. All of this of course caused the pro wrestling community to go into a speculative frenzy, as well as Tony Khan to immediately tell his father what he wants for his birthday. (TJRWrestling)
I won’t be coming to Raw today.
— Rebecca Quin (@BeckyLynchWWE) April 17, 2023
7. Three Title Matches Scheduled for Upcoming Smackdown Episodes
Two huge title matches have been announced for tonight’s episode of Smackdown. Xavier Woods will attempt to win the first singles title of his WWE career, when he challenges Gunther for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Also, Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez will have their first defense of the WWE Women’s Championship, when they face the team of Chelsea Green and Sonia Deville.
If that was not enough, the following week’s Smackdown on April 28th, will feature a huge WrestleMania 39 rematch. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will defend the WWE Tag Team Championships against the former champions The Usos. Owens, Zayn and The Usos had one of the greatest tag matches in history at WrestleMania 39, making this rematch a must-watch. At this time, WWE has no plans on having a Shane McMahon vs. The Miz rematch from Mania, likely as they don’t think they can approve on perfection. (TJRWrestling)
IN TWO WEEKS on #SmackDown:
🤝 @SamiZayn and @FightOwensFight will defend their Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships against The @WWEUsos in a #WrestleMania rematch!
📺 APRIL 28 at 8/7c on @FOXTVpic.twitter.com/mFoeBLuCl3
— WWE (@WWE) April 15, 2023
6. Aggressive Cuts Coming to WWE
WWE’s $21 billion deal with Endeavor may not be a positive for everyone within the WWE. This week, WWE’s CEO Nick Khan stated in an interview that aggressive cuts are coming, with savings of over $50 million being expected. Khan went on to explain that these cuts will be coming from backstage and office staff, and not necessarily on-air talent. These cuts will happen as WWE and Endeavor look to integrate their services, and in Khan’s words become as “lean and mean as possible.” Interestingly, that is exactly the same personal goal I set for myself, but then I remembered that I liked food. (TJRWrestling)
5. Wardlow Recaptures the AEW TNT Championship
For a third time, Wardlow is the AEW TNT Champion. This past Wednesday on Dynamite, Wardlow challenged Powerhouse Hobbs for the TNT Title, just a little over a month after losing the title to Hobbs. Wardlow did not come to the ring alone this time however, as he revealed that WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson would be in his corner. Anderson’s presence ended up being the difference in the match, as he helped overcome cheating by Hobbs and QT Marshall to get the win.
This was incredibly the fifth time the TNT Title has changed hands this year alone, and the 18th time in less than three years. Interestingly, no one has ever held the title longer than six months, which is still five months and three weeks longer than Tony Khan has ever gone without signing a new wrestler. (TJRWrestling)
4. WWE and Twitch Reach Streaming Deal for Talent
You will soon be able to watch your favorite WWE superstars play video games once again. This week it was reported that WWE and Twitch have come to an agreement that allows WWE employees to return to the platform with “almost” no restrictions. WWE released a rule in August 2020, banning its superstars from using third-party platforms like Cameo and Twitch. This angered multiple superstars, with Zelina Vega actually getting released over it before getting rehired eight months later. Now if WWE would change their policy on nudity on OnlyFans, John Canton could finally write about Mandy Rose again. (TJRWrestling)
3. Four Pillars Tournament Being Held to Determine Who Faces MJF at AEW Double or Nothing
This coming Wednesday on Dynamite, a match will be held to determine who will face MJF for the AEW World Championship at Double or Nothing on May 28th. This past Wednesday on Dynamite, MJF interrupted a talking segment between Sammy Guevara, “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry and Darby Allin. MJF announced that a Four Pillars tournament would be held between the three men, with the winner getting to face him at Double or Nothing. MJF then randomly drew Darby Allin’s name out of a hat, meaning he got a first-round bye while the other two would compete in the main event of the show.
Later in the show during a backstage segment, MJF and Guevara were shown collaborating to attempt to eliminate both Allin and Perry. During the main event, MJF snuck down and hit Perry with the Dynamite Diamond Ring to help Guevara get the win. Guevara and Allin will now face each other on this week’s episode of Dynamite in the finals of the tournament. It is unclear at this time if Tony Khan will now hold a tournament to crown new pillars among the other 180 wrestlers on their roster. (That is the real number!) (TJRWrestling)
FRIENDS ! ! pic.twitter.com/tLFeQNyRJc
— Samuel Guevara (@sammyguevara) April 20, 2023
2. AEW’s New Show to Reportedly Begin on June 17th
It looks like wrestling fans will have even more to try to watch. This week it was reported that the rumored third wrestling show for AEW is scheduled to begin on Saturday, June 17th. The show is reported to air every Saturday night on TNT from 8-10 PM ET and will be titled AEW Collision. Interestingly, CM Punk will reportedly be the main star of the new show, with AEW starting its own version of the brand split. Tony Khan’s first comment when attempting to split the roster was: “Wait, all of these guys still work here?” (TJRWrestling)
1. Two Matches Added to WWE Backlash
With WWE Backlash being a little more than two weeks away, two huge matches were made official for the event this week. This past Monday on Raw, it was announced that Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Matt Riddle will face Bloodline members Solo Sokia and The Usos in a six-man tag team match. Also this week on Raw, Brock Lesnar appeared and accepted Cody Rhodes’s challenge to a match at Backlash. Rhodes then tried to get to the ring to fight Lesnar, but was held back by security.
Backlash will be held in Puerto Rico on May 6th with Bad Bunny hosting the event. Bad Bunny also recently became the first Latino to headline the Coachella festival, with the remaining attendees who weren’t passed out on drugs seemingly enjoying it. (TJRWrestling)
It IS official.@CodyRhodes clashes with @BrockLesnar one-on-one for the first time ever at #WWEBacklash! pic.twitter.com/OXlII4hiEU
— WWE (@WWE) April 18, 2023
That concludes another edition of The Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week. Although I often joke, I have recently started refereeing with GroundZero and training at the Institute of Professional Wrestling, and now 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 an exploding rocket then follow me on Twitter @Fowlerwrestlin1 and listen to my Podcast The Smark and the Noob. Thank you to all of those who read this every week.