Top 10 Wrestling Stories of the Week 4/28: New WWE World Championship, CM Punk Visits Raw, Backlash Matches More
Welcome back, TJR readers! Did you spend all day Friday trying to find the most random opponent for Seth Rollins, and miss WWE Smackdown? Perhaps you spent all day Monday realizing that you now had to live and play football in New Jersey, and missed Raw.
Worry not for I have returned with another edition of the Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week.
10. Mercedes Mone Loses the IWGP Women’s Championship
Mercedes Mone’s reign as first reign as IWGP Women’s Champion ended quickly and abruptly this week. Just 64 days after capturing the title from Kairi at NJPW Battle in the Valley, Mone lost the title this week to Maya Iwatani. After the loss it was reported that Mone had signed an extension with New Japan Wrestling, but will be a free agent very soon. It will be surprising if Moné’s time in NJPW is ending so quickly, but at least NJPW‘s head of talent relations will not have to worry about keeping his office locked anymore. (TJRWrestling)
Mayu Iwatani captured IWGP Women's Championship gold last night in Yokohama, as Mercedes Moné vowed revenge. #STARDOM report: https://t.co/SicRUxZ7Cj#njpwpic.twitter.com/mNrTfH8dvQ
— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) April 24, 2023
9. Tag Team Match to Decide MJF’s Double or Nothing Opponents to Take Place on Dynamite
AEW fans will have to wait one more week to find out who will be facing MJF for the AEW World Championship at AEW Double or Nothing. This past Wednesday on Dynamite, Sammy Guevara and Darby Allin faced off to see who gets match at Double or Nothing. The finish of the match saw MJF toss Allin’s skateboard over to him while Guevara pretended to be hit by it and dropped to the canvas. The referee then turned around and saw Allin with the skateboard, disqualifying him and declaring Guevara the winner. Guevara and MJF then attacked Allin, until “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry made the save. Commentator Tony Schiavone then received a message through his headset from Tony Khan. Schiavone then announced that this Wednesday on Dynamite Allin and Perry will team up to face Guevara and MJF in a tag team match. If Allin and Perry are victorious in the match, they will be added to the Double or Nothing title match making it a 4-Way Match. All of this feels like a very convoluted way to announce a 4-Way Match, with one wondering if it would have been way easier for Tony Khan to just have made a huge announcement. (TJRWrestling)
THE 4 WAY WILL NOT HAPPEN!!!!!
THE SYSTEM IS FLAWED!!!!
— Maxwell Jacob Friedman™️ (@The_MJF) April 27, 2023
8. Owen Hart Cup to Return to AEW
Tony Khan appeared on AEW Dynamite this week to make his weekly huge announcement. This week’s announcement was that the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament’s will be returning in 2023. The tournaments were started last year to honor Owen Hart, with Adam Cole winning the men’s and Britt Baker the women’s tournament last year. The opening ceremony of the tournament is scheduled to take place at Double Or Nothing at the end of May, with the finals occurring in Hart’s hometown of Calgary, Alberta, Canada at AEW’s House Rules event on July 15th (it will likely turn into a Collision taping since it’s a Saturday, but that show hasn’t been announced yet. No competitors have been announced for the tournament at this time, but it is pretty likely that Goldberg will not be invited. (TJRWrestling)
.@TonyKhan with BIG NEWS about the 2023 Owen Hart Cup Tournament!#AEWDynamitepic.twitter.com/oq6jqjfsFZ
— AEW on TV (@AEWonTV) April 27, 2023
7. Three Matches Added to WWE Backlash on Smackdown
With WWE Backlash being a little over a week away, three more matches were added to the card this past Friday on Smackdown. First Zelina Vega will try to capture the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship in her home country of Puerto Rico, when she challenges champion Rhea Ripley. Also, Austin Theory will defend the WWE United States Championship in a Triple Threat Match against Bobby Lashley and Bronson Reed. Finally, it was announced that Seth Rollins will face Omos, even though the two had no interactions with each other prior to the announcement. Many fans were perplexed and angry that this match is happening with absolutely no build, but I just assumed that Rollins must have drawn the smallest straw. (TJRWrestling)
ACTION PACKED #WWEBacklash!#SmackDownpic.twitter.com/TDGcklRcCz
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) April 22, 2023
6. Naomi Reportedly Joining Impact Wrestling
Almost a year after walking out of WWE with her tag team partner Sasha Banks/Mercedes Mone, Naomi is reportedly finally signing with another wrestling company. It was reported this week that Naomi is set to debut for Impact Wrestling at their next set of tapings happening today and tomorrow. This is obviously a huge pickup for Impact Wrestling and will be a great addition to their already stacked women’s division. This is, of course, great news for all of Impact Wrestling’s 47 fans. (TJRWrestling)
5. Roderick Strong Debuts for AEW Wrestling
It was Roderick Strong’s turn to debut for AEW this week. This past Wednesday on Dynamite, the Jericho Appreciation Society once again attacked Adam Cole in the ring. The unlikely duo of Orange Cassidy and Bandido attempted to make the save, but were also overpowered by the JAS. Suddenly, Cole’s former Undisputed Era partner Roderick Strong came to the ring and saved Cole. Strong was last seen in NXT in August of 2022, with it being unknown if he was still signed to the WWE. Those questions have been answered, however, as Tony Khan announced shortly afterward that Strong has officially signed with AEW. After making the announcement, Khan immediately began working on who he can sign and debut on next week’s show. (TJRWrestling)
.@RoderickStrong is in @AEW and the JAS is in TROUBLE#AEWDynamitepic.twitter.com/J6UVtu8MWj
— AEW on TV (@AEWonTV) April 27, 2023
4. WWE & Vince McMahon Sued Over “Racist” Scripts
WWE and Vince McMahon are facing yet another lawsuit this week. This week a former writer for WWE named Britney Abrahams has filed a suit alleging that she was discriminated and retaliated against for objecting to “offensively racist” pitches and scripts. Abrahams worked for the WWE in 2020, and alleges that she was subject to offensive and racist storylines for multiple superstars including Mansoor, Bianca Belair and Apollo Crews. One particularly offensive and shocking offense mentioned in the lawsuit was a pitch that Mansoor be “behind the 9/11 attacks.” Both Stephanie McMahon and Vince McMahon were allegedly on calls when these offensive pitches were made. Abrahams was fired in 2022, for taking a commemorative chair from WrestleMania 38, a practice she claims was common and that white writers weren’t punished for. If offensive ideas like these can be considered I asked what is next, hispanic men driving tractors to the ring or a wrestler wearing blackface at WrestleMania? (TJRWrestling)
3. Bad Bunny to Face Damian Priest at WWE Backlash in a Street Fight
Bad Bunny will be returning to the ring once again. This past Monday’s Raw featured Rey Mysterio facing Damian Priest in the main event of the evening. The finish of the match saw Priest hit Mysterio with a chair, causing the disqualification. Priest then attempted to further attack Mysterio, until Bad Bunny came down to make the save. Bunny then announced that he would be facing Priest at WWE Backlash in Puerto Rico on May 6th in a San Juan Street Fight. Bunny and Priest are both from Puerto Rico, and were actually tag partners in a match at WrestleMania 37. Bunny is legitimately one of the biggest musical stars in the world right now, or at least that is what my kids tell me while I am listening to 1980’s rock. (TJRWrestling)
Bad Bunny didn’t hold back on #WWERaw@sanbenito@ArcherOfInfamy#WWEBacklashpic.twitter.com/dY6MxRPzw2
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) April 25, 2023
2. CM Punk Backstage at Monday Night Raw
Hell officially froze over this week. This past Monday’s Raw was held at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois, which is also, of course, the hometown of a controversial AEW wrestler CM Punk. Shockingly it was heavily reported that Punk was backstage prior to Monday Night Raw, speaking with several WWE superstars. Punk reportedly also spoke and cleared the air with The Miz and also had a conversation with WWE Chief Content Officer Triple H. It was also reported that Vince McMahon made the call to have someone ask Punk to leave the building, likely due to Punk still being under contract with AEW. Punk reportedly then said his goodbyes, and left without issue. This was the first time that Punk has been to a WWE show since walking out on the company back in January 2014. Punk is reportedly supposed to be the top star of AEW’s new Collision show on Saturday Nights, making his appearance backstage at Raw all the more surprising. It is unclear as to why Punk decided to now appear backstage, although he could have just heard that they had muffins in catering. (TJRWrestling)
CM PUNK AT #WWERawpic.twitter.com/aAyR7OTRLY
— Pro Wrestling Clips – WWE, AEW, ECW, WCW (@MagazinePics) April 24, 2023
1. Triple H Introduces WWE World Heavyweight Championship on Raw
WWE will soon have two world champions once again. This past Monday on Raw, Triple H appeared on screen to make a major announcement. Triple H stated that Roman Reigns has negotiated himself into a position where he does not have to defend the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship very often. Triple H then said this is great for Reigns, but not for the WWE fans who deserve more. Triple H then announced that whatever program Reigns gets drafted to on during the WWE Draft, he will be taking the Undisputed Universal Championship with him. Triple H then announced that whatever program does not get Reigns, will have a new World Heavyweight Champion. The new champion will be crowned on Saturday May 27th at Night of Champions. Triple H then introduced the new title, which looks like a variation of the “Big Gold” belt with a WWE logo on the front of it. Triple H also said that whoever wins will have earned the title of World Heavyweight Champion, which honestly seems a little obvious because it isn’t like they would ever just hand someone a new world championship. (TJRWrestling)
Behold the brand new WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP! pic.twitter.com/zQtlgDXJV6
— WWE (@WWE) April 25, 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, Immortal Championship Wrestling and training at the Institute of Professional Wrestling, and now respect more than ever what wrestlers do every week. If you like what I do, despite my jokes being almost as bad as showing up at your old place of work, 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.