WEEKLY OVERVIEW – WWE (thru 1/2): Top stories of week, major show lineups, live event results, schedule of live events, noteworthy social media posts, more

By Zach Graham, PWTorch Contributor


The following is the latest in a new series of weekly in-depth articles exclusive to PWTorch which will help put in perspective major wrestling promotions with a weekly overview, looking at news and roster developments, results, future line-ups, social media activity, key interviews, plus a timely commentary at the end. We will be featuring similar features on other promotions each week and each will be updated weekly.


•Top Stories of the Week

  • Wrestlers started declaring their entrance to the Royal Rumble matches this week. Drew McIntyre and all three members of The New Day join R-Truth in the men’s Royal Rumble match while Natalya, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Ember Moon, Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott, and Sarah Logan all join Carmella in the women’s match.
  • A.J. Styles won a Fatal Five-way match on Smackdown to become the number one contender for the WWE Championship again. He and Daniel Bryan will face off again at the Royal Rumble for the WWE Championship.

•WWE Weekly Event Results

WWE Live Event – Raw Roster (Columbus, Ohio) 12/27/18

(1) Finn Balor beat Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre

(2) Apollo Crews won a 15-man battle royal to earn an Intercontinental Championship opportunity.

– Other entrants: Lucha House Party, The Ascension, Titus O’Neil, Rhyno, Jinder Mahal, Curt Hawkins, No Way Jose, Mojo Rawley, Zack Ryder

(3) Natalya & Ember Moon beat Ruby Riott & Sarah Logan

(4) Bobby Lashley (w/ Lio Rush) defeated Elias

(5) Dean Ambrose (c) beat Seth Rollins to retain the Intercontinental Championship after Baron Corbin interfered

(6) Bobby Roode & Chad Gable (c) beat The Revival & The Authors of Pain to retain the Raw Tag Team Championships

(7) Bayley & Sasha Banks beat Dana Brooke & Mickie James (w/ Alicia Fox)

(8) Bray Wyatt defeated Baron Corbin in a No Disqualification Match.

– Wyatt replaced the injured Braun Strowman

(9) Ronda Rousey (c) defeated Nia Jax (w/ Tamina) to retain the Raw Women’s Championship

Source: PWTorch.com

WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster (Uniondale, N.Y.) 12/27/18

(1) Mustafa Ali beat The Miz

(2) R-Truth & Carmella defeated Andrade Cien Almas & Zelina Vega

(3) Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, & Shelton Benjamin beat The Colóns & Aiden English

(4) Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows beat Sanity

(5) Rey Mysterio defeated Randy Orton

(6) The Bar beat The Usos & The New Day

(7) Daniel Bryan beat John Cena in a steel cage match

(8) Naomi & Lana defeated Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville

(9) Rusev beat Shinsuke Nakamura

(10) Asuka beat Charlotte & Becky Lynch

Source: WrestlingInc.com

WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster (Baltimore, Md.) 12/28/18

(1) Mustafa Ali defeated The Miz

(2) R-Truth & Carmella beat Andrade Cien Almas & Zelina Vega

(3) Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, & Shelton Benjamin defeated The Colóns & Aiden English

(4) Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows beat Sanity

(5) Rey Mysterio defeated Randy Orton

(6) The Bar (c) beat The Usos & The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods w/ Big E) to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships

(7) Jeff Hardy defeated Samoa Joe

(8) Daniel Bryan (c) beat John Cena in a steel cage match to retain the WWE Championship

(9) Naomi & Lana defeated Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville

(10) Rusev (c) beat Shinsuke Nakamura to retain the United States Championship

(11) Asuka (c) beat Charlotte & Becky Lynch to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championshp

Source: PWTorch.com

WWE Live Event – Raw Roster (Chicago, Ill.) 12/29/18

(1) Finn Balor beat Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre

(2) Apollo Crews won a battle royal for a future Intercontinental Championship opportunity

(3) Nia Jax (w/ Tamina) beat Ember Moon

(4) Bobby Lashley (w/ Lio Rush) beat Elias

(5) Bobby Roode & Chad Gable (c) defeated The Revival & The Authors of Pain to retain the Raw Tag Team Championships

(6) Bayley, Sasha Banks, & Natalya beat Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, & Dana Brooke (w/ Liv Morgan & Alicia Fox)

(7) Bray Wyatt defeated Baron Corbin in a No Disqualification match

(8) Dean Ambrose (c) beat Seth Rollins in a steel cage match to retain the Intercontinental Championship

Source: WrestleYard.com

WWE Live Event – Raw Roster (Buffalo, N.Y.) 12/30/18

(1) Finn Balor beat Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre

(2) Apollo Crews won a battle royal for a future Intercontinental Championship opportunity

(3) Bobby Lashley (w/ Lio Rush) beat Elias

(4) Nia Jax (w/ Tamina) beat Ember Moon

(5) Bray Wyatt defeated Baron Corbin in a No Disqualification match

(6) Bobby Roode & Chad Gable (c) defeated The Revival & The Authors of Pain to retain the Raw Tag Team Championships

(7) Bayley, Sasha Banks, & Natalya beat Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, & Dana Brooke (w/ Liv Morgan & Alicia Fox)

(8) Dean Ambrose (c) beat Seth Rollins in a steel cage match to retain the Intercontinental Championship

Source: WrestlingInc.com

WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster (Tampa, Fla.) 12/30/18

(1) The Bar beat The Usos & The New Day

(2) Titus O’Neil defeated Killian Dane

(3) Mustafa Ali beat Andrade Cien Almas

(4) Jeff Hardy beat Samoa Joe

(5) John Cena defeated The Miz

(6) Lana & Naomi beat Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville

(7) Rusev beat Shinsuke Nakamura

(8) Asuka defeated Charlotte & Becky Lynch

(9) Daniel Bryan beat A.J. Styles in a steel cage match

Source: PWTorch.com

If you attend a live event, please send results to pwtorch@pwtorch.com. Thanks!


•WWE TV Match Results

Monday Night Raw TV Results 12/31/18

(1) Drew McIntyre beat Dolph Ziggler in a Steel Cage Match

(2) Apollo Crews won a battle royal to earn an Intercontinental Championship match later in the night

(3) Sasha Banks, Ember Moon, & Bayley defeated The Riott Squad

(4) Jinder Mahal & The Singh Brothers beat Heath Slater & Rhyno in a handicap tag team match

(5) Bobby Lashley (w/ Lio Rush) beat Seth Rollins via Disqualification after Seth hit Lashley and Rush with a chair

(6) Dean Ambrose (c) defeated Apollo Crews to retain the Intercontinental Championship

(7) Ronda Rousey & Natalya beat Nia Jax & Tamina

Smackdown Live TV Results 1/1/19

(1) Samoa Joe beat Jeff Hardy to qualify for Fatal Five-way match later in the night

(2) Sonya Deville beat Naomi

(3) John Cena & Becky Lynch defeated Andrade Cien Almas & Zelina Vega

(4) A.J. Styles defeated Samoa Joe, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, & Mustafa Ali to earn a WWE Championship Match at the Royal Rumble

205 Live Results (Aired on WWE Network) 1/1/19

(1) Kalisto defeated Lio Rush to qualify for the Royal Rumble Fatal Four-way Cruiserweight Championship match

(2) Akira Tozawa beat Drew Gulak to qualify for the Royal Rumble Fatal Four-way Cruiserweight Championship match

Cedric Alexander vs. Hideo Itami will happen next week in final qualifying match for Royal Rumble Fatal Four-way.

WWE Main Event (Aired on Hulu and WWE Network) 1/2/19

(1) Titus O’Neil beat Curt Hawkins

(2) The Revival defeated Tyler Breeze & Zack Ryder

Source: PWTorch.com


•Upcoming Lineups for Stadium/PPV Events

WWE Royal Rumble on Jan. 27 from Phoenix, Ariz.

  • Men’s Royal Rumble Match – winner receives a championship match at Wrestlemania
    • Known Entrants (5): Drew McIntyre, Big E, Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, R-Truth (will enter last)
  • Women’s Royal Rumble Match – winner receives a championship match at Wrestlemania
    • Known Entrants (8): Natalya, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Ember Moon, Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Carmella (will enter last)
  • Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship
  • Buddy Murphy vs. Kalisto vs. Akira Tozawa vs. (Cedric Alexander/Hideo Itami) in a Fatal Four-way Match for the Cruiserweight Championship
  • Daniel Bryan (c) vs. A.J. Styles for the WWE Championship

•Upcoming Events

  • Fri. 1/4/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Columbus Civic Center, Columbus, Ga.
  • Sat. 1/5/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Greensboro Colliseum, Greensboro, N.C.
  • Sat. 1/5/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Donald L. Tucker Center, Tallahassee, Fla.
  • Sun. 1/6/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Crown Coliseum, Fayetteville, N.C.
  • Sun. 1/6/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Hertz Arena, Fort Myers, Fla.
  • Mon. 1/7/19 WWE Raw, Amway Center, Orlando, Fla.
  • Mon. 1/7/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, North Charleston Coliseum, North Charleston, S.C.
  • Tue. 1/8/19 WWE Smackdown, Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Fri. 1/11/19 WWE Live Event – Charleston Civic Center, Charleston, W.Va.
  • Sat. 1/12/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Knoxville Civic Coliseum, Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Sat. 1/12/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Freedom Hall Civic Center, Johnson City, Tenn.
  • Sun. 1/13/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.
  • Sun. 1/13/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Von Braun Civic Center, Huntsville, Ala.
  • Mon. 1/14/19 WWE Raw, FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tenn.
  • Mon. 1/14/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, McKenzie Arena, Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Tue. 1/15/19 WWE Smackdown, Legacy Arena, Birmingham, Ala.
  • Fri. 1/18/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
  • Sat. 1/19/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Taylor County Coliseum, Abilene, Texas
  • Sat. 1/19/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls, S.D.
  • Sun. 1/20/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Chi Health Center, Omaha, Neb.
  • Sun. 1/20/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Kay Yeager Coliseum, Wichita Falls, Texas
  • Mon. 1/21/19 WWE Raw, Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Mon. 1/21/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Landon Arena, Topeka, Kan.
  • Tue. 1/22/19 WWE Smackdown – Intrust Bank Arena, Wichita, Kan.
  • Sun. 1/27/19 WWE Royal Rumble, Chase Field, Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Mon. 1/28/19 WWE Raw, Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Mon. 1/28/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Tucson Convention Center, Tuscon, Ariz.
  • Tue.1/29/19 WWE Smackdown, Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Fri. 2/1/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Sasktel Centre, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Sat. 2/2/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Brandt Centre, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Sat. 2/2/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Sun. 2/3/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Canalta Centre, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
  • Mon. 2/4/19 WWE Raw, Moda Center, Portland, Ore.
  • Mon. 2/4/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Yakima Sundome, Yakima, Wash.
  • Tue. 2/5/19 WWE Smackdown, Angel of the Winds Arena, Everrett, Wash.
  • Fri. 2/8/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Sat. 2/9/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Tribute Communities Centre, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Sat. 2/9/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, NIU Convocation Center, Dekalb, Ill.
  • Sun. 2/10/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, The DOW Event Center, Saginaw, Mich.
  • Sun. 2/10/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, Ind.
  • Mon. 2/11/19 WWE Raw, Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Mon. 2/11/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Canton Civic Center, Canton, Ohio
  • Tue. 2/12/19 WWE Smackdown, Huntington Center, Toledo, Ohio
  • Fri. 2/15/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Bert Ogden Arena, Edinburg, Tex.
  • Sat. 2/16/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Sames Auto Arena, Laredo, Tex.
  • Sat. 2/16/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Rapides Coliseum, Alexandria, La.
  • Mon. 2/18/19 WWE Raw, Cajundome, Lafayette, La.
  • Mon. 2/18/19 WWE Live Event, Lake Charles Civic Center, Lake Charles, La.
  • Tue. 2/19/19 WWE Smackdown, Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, La.
  • Fri. 2/22/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, First National Bank Arena, Jonesboro, Ark.
  • Sat. 2/23/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Colonial Life Arena, Columbia, S.C.
  • Sat. 2/23/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Bancorpsouth Arena, Tupelo, Miss.
  • Sun. 2/24/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Garrett Coliseum, Montgomery, Ala.
  • Sun. 2/24/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, S.C.
  • Mon. 2/25/19 WWE Raw, State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Ga.
  • Tue. 2/26/19 WWE Smackdown, Spectrum Center, Charlotte, N.C.

•Latest TV Highlights

Monday Night Raw

  • Seth Rollins came to the ring looking for a rematch against Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship. Instead of Dean coming down to take on Seth, Triple H’s music interrupted Seth. Triple H said there isn’t going to be anything automatic anymore and Seth’s IC Title rematch isn’t happening. Triple H also said he doesn’t think Seth deserves that rematch. Triple H then talked about how he once believed in Seth and when he finally didn’t, Seth kicked his ass at WrestleMania and made him believe in him again. Hunter challenged Seth to stop asking for things. Seth fired back talking about carrying Raw on his back while Brock is up in Canada doing whatever he does while Seth was “churning out classics with Finn Balor, Dolph Ziggler, Mojo Rawley of all people.” Seth asked Triple H if he wants the ruthless bastard and soulless guy who will do whatever it takes to get what he wants and Hunter responded saying yes that’s what he wants. Later in the night Seth fought Bobby Lashley (w/ Lio Rush) and was disqualified in that match after using a steel chair on both of them (apparently unleashing the ruthless bastard within).
  • Apollo Crews had a notable Monday night. He won a battle royal to earn an Intercontinental Championship match later in the night. He eliminated eight people in that battle royal including Baron Corbin for the win. He did lose the championship match to Dean Ambrose, but it wasn’t a squash match by any means. This could be the start of a push for Apollo Crews.
  • WWE teased some different things taking place next week including appearances by John Cena, Brock Lesnar, and the return of Braun Strowman. The Revival will get another opportunity at the Raw Tag Team Championships. Alexa Bliss will also debut her new talk show called “A Moment of Bliss” with her guest Ronda Rousey.

Smackdown Live

  • John Cena was back on Smackdown this week. He talked about his 2018 then said he didn’t know his reason for being back on WWE television was yet, but usually about this time in his promos someone interrupts him. This week Becky Lynch would be the one to come out and confront Cena. Becky talked about her 2018 saying she wasn’t just aiming for Charlotte and to be on posters and billboards, she was aiming for John Cena too. She said it was time for someone to step into Cena’s shoes and that person was her. Becky finished off her promo by saying if Cena had a problem with that, “Nikki Bella won’t be the only woman to drop you this year.” The two would be interrupted by Andrade Cien Almas and Zelina Vega. Cena and Lynch then teamed up in a mixed tag match against Almas & Vega. Near the end of the match Becky went for a pin on Vega that was broken up by Almas, after Cena hit Almas with all of his signature moves, Becky threw Cena out of the ring as he posed. Becky would then reverse a quick pin attempt by Vega and force her to submit to the Dis-Arm-Her.
  • A.J. Styles won a Fatal Five-way match to once again become the number one contender to the WWE Championship. He will face Daniel Bryan again at the Royal Rumble. Before the main event, A.J. went to talk to Vince and Shane McMahon. A.J. asked if they were sure they wanted to see him (after he attacked Vince last week). A.J. then said he should apologize for last week, but he wouldn’t and that he will show the world who the real A.J. Styles is in the main event. A.J. then made a threat towards Vince and Shane which prompted Shane to stand up and confront Styles. After Styles left, Shane asked Vince if he’s sure he wants to see the real A.J. Styles and after he said yes Shane noted that he needs to be careful what he wished for.

•Listen to the latest Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Post-Show – Smackdown Post-Show

In today’s episode, PWTorch editor Wade Keller is joined by PWTorch.com’s Zack Heydorn for coverage of the Jan. 1 episode of WWE Smackdown including a full detailed rundown and analysis of the show and some analysis including the big John Cena-Becky Lynch segment, the New Day’s news at the start, a Fatal Five-way to determine A.J. Styles would challenge Daniel Bryan at the Royal Rumble, and more with a surprisingly newsworthy pre-taped episode. Then in a bonus segment at the end, the Wade…

-On Tune In Radio HERE
-On Apple Podcasts HERE
-Or search “Wade Keller” on your podcast app of choice


•WWE Social Media Highlights

Gene Okerlund passed away this week. WWE announced it on Wednesday morning and almost the entire roster took to Twitter to comment.

Becky Lynch was at it again this week. She exchanged tweets with the official Looney Tunes Twitter account after a fan compared a picture she posted of John Cena to Foghorn Leghorn.

Becky also had some fun with the fans in a thread of tweets pretending to be backstage during Smackdown even though it was a pre-taped show this week. She also thanked John Cena and said he’s welcome back on her show anytime.

Corey Graves took to twitter to propose a new romance angle with Bayley as well as remind Mandy Rose he’s happy to receive any messages from her if Jimmy Uso isn’t.

Corey also replied to someone who commented that he should do a romance angle with Becky. Not a good idea on Corey’s part. Like others before him, he responds to Becky and like those before him, he still loses the battle.


•Closing Commentary

– Rough start to the McMahon promised “Fresh Start” this week for me. There were two key moments on Smackdown that show me again why I think this fresh start concept is all talk. The first thing I took issue with was the Fatal Five-way match. Why did Samoa Joe or Jeff Hardy have to qualify, but Mustafa Ali, A.J. Styles, Randy Orton, and Rey Mysterio all automatically got in? I can make the argument for Ali and Styles pretty easily. Mustafa Ali pinned the Daniel Bryan, which should qualify him for that spot, and A.J. Styles just lost the championship after holding it for a very long time. While I personally don’t think being the former champion should qualify you for an opportunity to immediately fight for the championship again, WWE has always done that with the automatic rematch clause. Now that the rematch clause is no more, automatic entry to a number one contenders match is close. So by WWE logic, Styles deserves to be entered in that match too. What have Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton done lately to earn an automatic bid, though? If you want to justify why they deserve to be in the match, tell the audience why; don’t just ignore it and act like people won’t ask that type of question. I thought of this as soon as they announced Joe and Hardy would be fighting to qualify, and I can’t be alone. Even if the explanation is a bad one like “they’re legends” or something, at least you made an attempt to address the plot hole.

The other issue was the Mandy Rose/Sonya Deville vs. Naomi match. The match was scheduled to be Mandy Rose vs. Naomi, but somehow it was changed to Sonya Deville at the last possible second? Rose and Deville even walked to the ring to Rose’s music and the announcers said that the match was Rose vs. Naomi, so how did it get changed? If you didn’t watch Smackdown, Mandy Rose was in the ring posing while Naomi was trying to get her hands on Rose. Mandy then took off her Mandy Rose shirt to reveal an Usos shirt underneath. Noami was furious about this and Mandy ducked out of the ring. Meanwhile, Sonya Deville entered on the other side behind Naomi and the bell rang to start the match. The very next match on Smackdown was an impromptu mixed tag match with John Cena & Becky Lynch vs. Andrade Cien Almas & Zelina Vega. After Smackdown returned from a commercial break and this mixed tag match started, the announcers said that the McMahons made this match official during the break, which provided a quick and simple explanation as to how the match started. So who authorized Rose and Deville to switch places? It’s little things like this that will continue to drive people like me insane. It’s completely unnecessary and so easily fixable. WWE Creative or Vince McMahon just don’t take the time or don’t think it’s worth doing all the time. Clearly some of the time it’s worth doing, like the mixed tag match, so why not do it every time? Hopefully this “Fresh Start” nonsense actually begins next week when they go back to live shows, but they’ve already been flaunting this new moniker around, so I’d assume we’re already underway with the fresh start.

– Can we please resist the urge to add crowd noise on pre-taped shows WWE? Watching the shows these last two weeks it’s been laughable at how raucous the crowd is audibly, but how disinterested they are visually. This isn’t even something I was initially looking for, but it’s just so obvious and done so heavy-handed that I caught on quickly. Watching the fans opposite the hard camera sit on their hands on television while it sounds like they are going crazy for the matches was both comical and borderline sad. I think doing this makes WWE look foolish and desperate to add sound post-production like that. In a time where they say it doesn’t matter what type of reaction a wrestler is getting, just that they get one, I found it interesting that they made sure to clearly add cheers for faces and boos for heels. Quick side note: my favorite added cheer sound had to be on Smackdown when John Cena mentioned writing his children’s book and the crowd audibly went nuts over this book he wrote. I don’t mind them adding some sound to amplify the show or try to subliminally tell the television audience what they want you to think about a wrestler, but it was just done so heavy-handed and obviously that I couldn’t take any crowd noise seriously.


NOW CHECK OUT OTHER WEEKLY OVERVIEWS HERE.

OR JUMP TO LAST WEEK’S WWE OVERVIEW: WEEKLY OVERVIEW – WWE (thru 12/27): Top stories of week, major show lineups, live event results, schedule of live events, noteworthy social media posts, more

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