Top 10 Wrestling Stories of the Week 3/24: Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens vs. The Usos At WWE WrestleMania, CM Punk Rants Again, More
Welcome back, TJR readers! Did you spend all day Friday trying to find a new bank, and missed WWE Smackdown? Perhaps you spent all day Monday wondering if you were getting arrested tomorrow, and missed Raw.
Worry not for I have returned with another edition of the Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week.
10. Two Big Debuts set for NXT Stand and Deliver
Two highly anticipated debuts are set to occur at NXT Stand and Deliver on April 1st. First Ava, the daughter of WWE legend The Rock, will make her television in-ring debut. Ava will team with her Schism cohorts of Joe Gacy, Rip Fowler and Jagger Reid to face the Chase U team of Andrea Chase, Duke Hudson, Thea Hail and Tyler Bate. Also, Dragon Lee will be making his NXT in-ring debut, when he joins three other men to challenge Wes Lee for the NXT North American Championship. Ilja Dragunov and JD McDonagh have already been announced for the match as well, with the final participant being decided this week on NXT. Stand and Deliver is scheduled to take place just a few hours before night one of WrestleMania 39, which means that John Canton will now have an excuse to avoid his family for the entire day. (TJRWrestling)
better savor what you have left of that university.
see you at stand & deliver. https://t.co/KJ5KfGyiMf
— A V A (@AvaRaineWWE) March 22, 2023
9. Two Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Matches announced for WrestleMania 39
Sixteen more wrestlers are going to get a chance to compete on the biggest show of the year. This week it was announced that there will be both a Men’s and Women’s Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match at WrestleMania 39. So far on the Women’s side, only Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan have been announced for the match with three other teams still to be determined. On the men’s side however, it is a different case, with all four teams being announced for the match. The match will feature The Street Profits facing Braun Strowman & Ricochet, Alpha Academy and the Viking Raiders. So far, no stakes have been mentioned for either match, but on the bright side at least whoever wins doesn’t have to carry around a huge Andre the Giant Trophy for a few months. (TJRWrestling)
8. Adam Cole to Return to the Ring This Coming Wednesday on Dynamite
For the first time in over nine months, Adam Cole will be competing in a wrestling match. Cole is set to make his in-ring return this coming Wednesday night on Dynamite against Daniel Garcia. Cole has not competed in a match since facing Adam Page, Kazuchika Okada, and Jay White for the IWGP World Championship at Forbidden Door last June. Cole has been dealing with concussion issues since then, with him finally being cleared for in-ring action. AEW fans were excited and a little surprised to see Cole returning to Dynamite, as they assumed he had just been wrestling exclusively on Dark for the last nine months. (TJRWrestling)
7. Bray Wyatt Likely to Miss WrestleMania 39
With WrestleMania 39 being a little over a week away, it appears that Bray Wyatt will not be appearing on the show. Last month, Wyatt had challenged the winner of the Elimination Chamber match between Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley to a match at Mania. When Lashley won that matchup by disqualification, it appeared that Lashley and Wyatt would in fact start a program together. However, for reasons unclear, Wyatt has been completely absent from WWE television for the last few weeks with any feud with Lashley coming to a complete halt. Since returning to the WWE almost six months ago, Wyatt has only competed in one match on television. Interestingly, Wyatt was reportedly originally supposed to face Brock Lesnar at Mania, but Lesnar turned the match down possibly in protest of Wyatt working to light off a schedule. (TJRWrestling)
6. El Hijo Del Vikingo Debuts for AEW Against Kenny Omega
One of Mexico’s biggest stars debuted for AEW this week. AAA Mega Champion El Hijo Del Vikingo faced Kenny Omega this past Wednesday on Dynamite, in what was advertised as a “Dream Match” by Tony Khan. Omega and Vikingo were originally scheduled to face each other in 2021, but the match had to be canceled due to injuries to Omega. Vikingo was not successful in his AEW debut, however, as Omega pinned him after hitting the One-Winged Angel. Some wrestling fans were critical of Tony Khan having such a big match with no hype or build behind it, with Khan Tweeting that most of the complaints are coming from fake accounts. Personally, I find this incredibly ironic, as people are taking way more time to create these accounts than Khan is on the creative for his matches. (TJRWrestling)
El Hijo Del Vikingo making his long-awaited #AEW debut RIGHT now@vikingo_aaa
Watch #AEWDynamite LIVE on TBS! pic.twitter.com/5fg4X6MVAx
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) March 23, 2023
5. FTR to put AEW Careers on the Line Against The Gunns
FTR will finally get their chance to once again become AEW Tag Team Champions, but not without great risk on their part. This past Wednesday on Dynamite, FTR challenged The Gunns to a match for their AEW Tag Titles. When the Gunns first refused to accept the match however, FTR upped the stakes by stating they would quit AEW if they lose. The Gunns then accepted the match, with no date for the match being announced as of this writing. FTR’s contract with AEW is set to expire next month, with it being unknown if they have decided to resign with AEW or possibly return to the WWE. FTR is sure to make an impact no matter which company they sign with, assuming of course that none of the EVP’s in the company decide to get jealous. (TJRWrestling)
Just got off the phone with Cash. We’ve decided what we’re going to do come April. NOTHING is official yet, so legally, can’t speak on it, but in the next couple of weeks, we’ll let all of our fans know. We owe it to y’all for the opportunities we have in front of us. Love y’all.
— Uncle Dax FTR (@DaxFTR) March 19, 2023
4. Gunther to Defend the WWE Intercontinental Championship in a Triple Threat Match at WrestleMania 39
Gunther will now have two challengers for his WWE Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania 39. This past Friday on Smackdown, Drew McIntyre and Sheamus faced off to see who would be facing Gunther at Mania. Gunther ended up interfering in the match, however, with the match ending in a no contest. WWE official Adam Pearce then appeared on the video screen and announced that Gunther would now be facing both McIntyre and Sheamus at Mania. Currently, Gunther is the second-longest-reigning Intercontinental champion of all time, with only 174 more days left on the Honk-A-Meter to break the record. (TJRWrestling)
Wrestlemania Main Event Night One: Sheamus V Backstabber V Sandbagger.. these weak men won’t prevail. #ICTitlepic.twitter.com/IrjPhBpuTY
— Sheamus (@WWESheamus) March 18, 2023
3. Andy Kaufman to be Inducted Into the WWE Hall of Fame
One week after the Great Muta was announced for the WWE Hall of Fame, another person who never stepped foot into a WWE ring is set to be inducted. This week it was announced that former Taxi star and Memphis wrestling legend Andy Kaufman will be inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame. Kaufman became part of wrestling lore in the early 1980s by feuding with Jerry Lawler in the Memphis wrestling territory, with the two having a memorable fight on the Late Night with David Letterman Show. Kaufman, unfortunately, died from cancer at the age of 35, with Jim Carrey playing Kaufman in the 1999 film Man on the Moon. Both Kaufman and Muta getting inducted is personally very exciting to me, as it means I still have a chance of being inducted as well. (TJRWrestling)
BREAKING: @ndykaufman will be inducted into the #WWEHOF Class of 2023, as first reported by @Variety! pic.twitter.com/8emfaH5dhm
— WWE (@WWE) March 20, 2023
2. CM Punk Attacks Jon Moxley and Chris Jericho on Instagram
For any fans that are waiting for CM Punk to make his triumphant return to AEW, you may be waiting a while. Yesterday, Punk posted and then deleted a long rant on Instagram. Punk proceed to trash Jon Moxley, Chris Jericho as well claim that Tony Khan wanted him to work while injured.
“I wasn’t cleared to wrestle yet. Then the plan was to wrestle at the PPV. I sat and listened to Moxley’s Rocky three idea. I’d explained how I’d never a Rocky movie.I and thought the idea sucked but if the boss wanted to do it whatever. He said he wouldn’t lose to me. I’d never experienced someone refusing to lose to me. I just laughed. I asked Tony if this is what he wanted. He said yes. He’s the boss so I said okay but I’d need to be cleared first. They kept saying it could just be a squash so I didn’t need to be cleared. I scoffed at that. My health is more important. Dave Meltzer is a liar. [Chris] Jericho is a liar and a stooge. There were plans but plans always change but I’ll never put a company above my health ever again.”
Punk’s rant seemingly is in response to a post by Dave Meltzer that stated.
“Do you know why they didn’t advertise Punk vs. Moxley longer and why it had a short build? Because Punk agreed to it, then AEW got a legal letter saying he wasn’t down with it and wasn’t doing it and they didn’t know if he’d come until Tony put his foot down. There are a lot of nice things I can say about him, and you can absolutely argue his position on Moxley was correct, but you can’t argue he willingly did what he was asked in that scenario.”
This whole scenario is obviously frustrating and very disappointing, I mean come on who hasn’t seen Rocky???!!! (TJRWrestling)
Such an interesting IG Story delete here. pic.twitter.com/989N3FkJMT
— John Canton (TJRWrestling) (@johnreport) March 23, 2023
1. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn to Challenge The Usos at WrestleMania 39
After weeks of anticipation, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn finally hugged it out this past Friday on Smackdown. Smackdown opened with an in-ring promo with Cody Rhodes playing the role of peacemaker between Rhodes and Zayn. In spite of Rhodes’s best efforts, however, Owens still refused to “hug it out” with Zayn. Later in the show, Zayn was shown talking to Owens backstage and telling him that they aren’t just friends, they are brothers. This all leads to the end of the show, with Owens finally saving Zayn from a beat down from The Usos. Zayn and Owens then finally did “hug it out” to end the show. This past Monday on Raw, it was finally announced after months of speculation that Zayn and Owens will face The Usos for the WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania 39. Interestingly, neither Owens or Zayn have ever held tag team gold in the WWE, although you can join a whooping 12,000 other fans and pay $9.99 USD a month to watch old matches of them winning the ROH Tag Titles on HonorClub. (TJRWrestling)
After reuniting on #SmackDown to repel a @WWEUsos attack, @FightOwensFight and @SamiZayn come before the WWE Universe to talk about their renewed friendship and #TheBloodline.#WWERawpic.twitter.com/oBZlfzPdl1
— WWE (@WWE) March 22, 2023
That concludes another edition of The Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week. Although I often joke, I have recently started refereeing with and GroundZero 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 a presidential indictment, 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.