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Falls Count Anywhere 005: Hulk Hogan, An Emotional RAW & An Excellent Smackdown
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It’s that time of week again folks! It’s time to unpack the hottest stories from the week in professional wrestling! There are tons of WWE happenings this week, so without further delay, let’s get into it!

Is Hulk Hogan Returning To The Fold?

Hulk Hogan

According to Dave Meltzer, the Hulkster could be returning to WWE much “sooner than later.” If this rumor turns out to be true, it’ll mark the fastest turnaround in history from the time someone gets exiled from the company to the point they return. WWE essentially wiped Hogan off the books following the leak of a highly controversial sex tape featuring the Hall Of Famer. Hogan subsequently sued Gawker, the site that ran the tape, and won. He’s kept a relatively low profile since then, but with Wrestlemania happening in his backyard this year (Orlando, FL), it only makes sense for him to make an appearance.

Monday Night RAW Was A Glass Case Of Emotions

Festival Of Friendship

This week’s edition of RAW was one of the best of the year. Several big moments went down, but none bigger than the Festival of Friendship between Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens. The segment was pure gold from start to finish, and it essentially laid the foundation for a Jericho V Owens match at Wrestlemania. Eerily enough, the segment ended very simliar to a segment from RAW’s past that saw Jericho throw Shawn Michaels through the Jeritron.

The Tag Team division on RAW is finally starting to pick up steam. Lead by Gallows and Anderson as champs, the division is starting to look really strong, and has the potential to be the best of the two brands. Enzo and Cass, Sheamus and Cesaro, and The New Day are all still potential challengers, and we could be marching towards a multi-team match at Mania.

Charlotte’s string of bad luck from RAW continued this week as she dropped the RAW Women’s Title to Bayley. The finish left room for some storyline questionability, as Sasha Banks struck Charlotte with a crutch. This allowed Bayley to regroup and nail Charlotte with a Bayley to Bayley, securing the win and the title in the process. Interesting scenario heading into the biggest PPV of the year.

Brock Lesnar announced his retirement from MMA, and in turn set the internet ablaze. This holds significant weight because we know Lesnar is on a collision course with Goldberg at Wrestlemania. With this revelation, and the events that went down on RAW, we can all but be guaranteed that their showdown will be for the WWE Universal Title, and it looks like Brock may finally get his win back. 

Smackdown Continues To Excel

Bray Wyatt

The blue brand put on another stellar show this week, and has a ton of momentum as we continue on the Road to Wrestlemania. Following the solid Smackdown exclusive Elimination Chamber, several pieces for the next few weeks of programming. 

Naomi’s win at Elimination Chamber was a well deserved one, as she’s been one of the more consistent Women wrestlers in the company. It appears it may have come at a cost though, as she announced on Smackdown that she’d suffered a knee injury during the match. WWE or Naomi have yet to specify if the injury is severe enough to keep her out of Mania, but Alexa Bliss wasted no time trying to capitalize on it, challenging Naomi to a rematch for the title on next week’s Smackdown.

The Smackdown Tag division could use a little reinvigorating. American Alpha are a great team, but they don’t have the talent around them to truly make their run special. I’d expect to see them drop the titles to the recharged Usos sometime soon, but it’s not a sure thing just yet. I’d love to see The Revival get called up, as they are the perfect foils for American Alpha, and could give them the competition they so desperately need.

Bray Wyatt emerged from Elimination Chamber as the new WWE Champ. It’s been a long time coming, and fans showered him with “you deserve it” chants during his promo on Smackdown. His promo was then interrupted by both John Cena AJ Styles, with both men claiming to have rights to challenge for the title. The trio had a solid triple threat match in the main event, but it was Wyatt who emerged victorious. The most important thing here, is that not only did Wyatt win against the two biggest stars in the company, but he did it impressively. Wyatt had been bulldozed by Cena, and put through a table by Styles, AND STILL WON CLEAN. This is a tremendous show of faith in Wyatt by the WWE, and I’m hoping this is the start of a lengthy run with the title.

We’re still about a month and a half away from Wrestlemania, and there’s tons of story to be told. Who knows where we’ll end up before then!

 

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Rob Boggan

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