This Week in WWE Newsletter (April 2nd, 2018)

This Week in WWE
April 2nd, 2018

Table of Contents:

  1. Shane McMahon Health
  2. Andre the Giant Documentary
    • Triple H at Andre Documentary
  3. Matches Added to WrestleMania This Week
  4. WWE Championship Landscape
  5. WrestleMania 34 Lineup
  6. AJ Styles Injury Update
  7. Rey Mysterio Ruled Out For WrestleMania
  8. Paul Heyman Reality TV Show
    • Spoiler Free Wrestling: ECW 25 Years Ago Today Show
  9. Wrestlers and More Defend the Fabulous Moolah
  10. Vader Health
  11. Charlotte Flair Dental Surgery
  12. Matches Added to Takeover: New Orleans
  13. NXT Championship Landscape
  14. NXT North American Championship
  15. Results & Rankings

1. Shane McMahon Health Update

Two weeks ago on Smackdown, Shane McMahon announced he was stepping away from Smackdown for a bit. He was then promptly beaten up by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, whom he had just booked in a WrestleMania match against one another.

This week it was revealed that Shane was rushed to hospital with diverticulitis while on holiday with his family. Doctors also discovered an umbilical hernia. WWE is using the beatdown by Owens and Zayn as the cause of his hernia but whether it was or not is unknown.

Despite his medical status, WWE said on their programming this week that Shane is still scheduled for WrestleMania. Shane and Bryan will face Owens and Zayn with the stipulation if Owens and Zayn win they get their jobs on Smackdown back.

WWE stated McMahon will need surgery for his hernia but did not indicate if he will be getting that before or after WrestleMania.

It sounds as though it will be tough for Shane to be medically fit in time but perhaps he is not scheduled to do much in his match with Bryan against Owens and Zayn.

2. Andre the Giant Documentary

HBO’s documentary on Andre the Giant premiered this week in Los Angeles. The film was produced and directed by HBO’s, Bill Simmons, who is also the creator of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. A falling out between Simmons and ESPN led to him signing with HBO in 2015.

An Andre the Giant Collection is scheduled to land on the WWE Network on Monday to commemorate the documentary’s release.

The documentary is supposed to hit HBO on April 10th, 2018.

Triple H at the Andre the Giant Documentary Premiere

“It’s something special,” said Triple H. “Anybody that’s a fan of what we do and Andre, even my wife, who was friends with him her whole childhood and everything like that, there was a lot of stuff in there that she didn’t know. It’s a really fascinating look at, just in every single way possible, a larger-than-life man.”

WWE’s Triple H was in attendance at the event as were several WWE stars. Hulk Hogan was in attendance at the event and posed for a picture with the Big Show Cameras also caught Hogan standing face-to-face with Hulk Hogan though Triple H’s guarded demeanor during this photo clearly communicates he was not engaging with Hulk on anything more than a professional level. They were photographed shaking hands, however.

In the previous edition of this newsletter, we discussed Mark Henry’s efforts working with a delegation to determine how and when Hogan is able to redeem himself from the comments he made.

“We have had discussions with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan) about how he can help others learn from his mistakes. However, he is not under any contract with WWE.” WWE Statement on Hulk Hogan

Mark Henry is believed to have been in attendance for the premiere as well.

3. Matches Added to WrestleMania This Week

Two matches were added to WrestleMania on Smackdown this week. Daniel Bryan issued a challenge to Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. If Owens and Zayn can defeat Bryan and Shane at WrestleMania then they get their jobs on Smackdown back.

The other match added this week is for the Smackdown tag-team championships. The Usos will defend their titles in a triple threat match against the Bludgeon Brothers and the New Day. If the match takes place on the main card it will be the first time ever the Usos have performed on the main WrestleMania show.

4. WWE Championship Landscape

WWE Universal Championship
Current Champion: Brock Lesnar
Defenses: 4

This rivalry started out with Lesnar no-showing a couple of Raws and Reigns seemingly sticking up for WWE. Now for two weeks in a row, Lesnar and Reigns have gotten physical with Lesnar having gotten the upper hand each time.

WWE Championship
Current Champion: AJ Styles
Defenses (Current): 3
Defenses (All-Time): 8

Styles wrestled on house shows last weekend which should confirm his current injury won’t keep him out of WrestleMania. He could still have to work through an injury at WM34 but he’ll be there.

The last couple of weeks, Nakamura and Styles have been in each other’s corners or tagging up. There’s just one Smackdown left until AJ Styles attempts to defend the WWE Championship for a 9th time on WWE programming at WrestleMania 34.

WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Current Champion: Alexa Bliss
Defenses (Current): 4
Defenses (All-Time): 8 (2x champ)

Nia Jax defeated Mickie James this week on Raw. If she defeats Bliss at WrestleMania, it will be her first championship in WWE.

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
Current Champion: Charlotte Flair
Defenses: 3

Charlotte Flair didn’t wrestle this week due to dental surgery. Her Robe Warriors team with Bobby Roode made it to the finals of the tournament with Becky Lynch serving as Charlotte’s replacement.

Asuka vs Charlotte Flair takes place at WrestleMania 34 in less than two weeks.

WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Vacant

Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali will both make their WrestleMania debuts this year as they face each other for the vacant Cruiserweight Championship. The first time this version of the Cruiserweight division appeared at WrestleMania, Neville defeated Austin Aries to retain the title. Neither Alexander or Ali have won the championship previously.

Raw Tag-Team Championships
Current Champions: the Bar
Defenses (current): 4
Defenses (all-time): 9  (4x champs)

We still don’t know who Braun Strowman’s tag-team partner will be when he faces the Bar at WrestleMania 34. We only have one more week to find out or perhaps his partner will be an unadvertised surprise.

Smackdown Tag-Team Championships
Current Champions: the Usos
Defenses (current): 5
Defenses (all-Time): 9 (3x champs)

Smackdown GM, Daniel Bryan, announced this week that the Usos will defend their Smackdown tag-team championships against both the Bludgeon Brothers and the New Day and a triple threat match at WrestleMania 34.

If the match appears on the main show, it will be the first time a match featuring the Usos has done so.

Intercontinental Championship
Current Champion: The Miz
Defenses (current reign):  1
Defenses (all-time): 22 (8x champ)

If Miz gets through WrestleMania as still champion, it will be the last PPV he needs to retain the title through in order to break Pedro Morales’ record of days spent as champion. Miz will face both Seth Rollins and Finn Balor in a triple threat match at WrestleMania 34.

United States Championship
Current Champion: Randy Orton
Defenses: 0

This week Rusev and Jinder Mahal defeated Bobby Roode and Randy Orton in a tag match. Rusev pinned Randy Orton after a Matchka kick and was subsequently added to the United States Championship match at WrestleMania.

Randy Orton will look to defend the title for the first time at WM34 in a fatal 4-way match against Rusev, Bobby Roode, and Jinder Mahal.

5. WrestleMania 34 Lineup

  1. Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
  2. WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal
  3. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan
  4. Kurt Angle & Ronda Rousey vs Triple H & Stephanie McMahon
  5. Smackdown Tag Team Championships
    the Usos (c) vs the New Day vs the Bludgeon Brothers
  6. Raw Tag Team Championships
    the Bar (c) vs. Braun Strowman & ???
  7. United States Championship
    Randy Orton (c) vs. Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal
  8. Cruiserweight Championship 
    Mustafa Ali vs Cedric Alexander
  9. Intercontinental Championship
    The Miz (c) vs Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins
  10. Raw Women’s Championship
    Alexa Bliss (c) vs Nia Jax
  11. WWE Championship
    AJ Styles (c) vs Shinsuke Nakamura
  12. Smackdown Women’s Championship
    Charlotte Flair (c) vs Asuka
  13. WWE Universal Championship
    Brock Lesnar (c) vs Roman Reigns

** John Cena currently has no path to WrestleMania 34…

6. AJ Styles Health Update

AJ Styles has been cleared by WWE doctors to compete so there shouldn’t be any problem with him being cleared for WrestleMania. While he was on the house shows last weekend, he is said to have not done much. Whether he goes into WrestleMania working hurt or not is something only those close to the situation are going to know ahead of time.

7. Rey Mysterio Injury Update

Rey Mysterio elected not to get surgery on his injured left bicep. That will keep him out of action passed WrestleMania and beyond. He has also committed to wrestling in New Japan Pro Wrestling before he returns to WWE. An angle was filmed at Strong Style Evolved featuring Mysterio, Will Ospreay, and Rey Mysterio.

8. Paul Heyman Project

Paul Heyman and his Looking 4 Larry Agency have signed a new deal with Banca Studio to produce unscripted content. The studio is behind reality television shows “The Apprentice” and “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?”.

The first project between the two companies will be a show featuring Heyman himself.

Heyman had this to say regarding the show:

“Against my strenuous objection, Roy Bank has decided our first collaborative project will be centered around me,” Heyman said. “I have come to the educated conclusion Roy has made this decision based on a desire when pitching from the networks that we learn how to deal with rejection.”

Spoiler Free Wrestling: ECW: 25 Years After Show (Starting April 6th, 2018)

The 25th Anniversary of ECW’s first TV show airing is April 6th. The show is available on the WWE Network and for those who would like to follow along, we will be reliving the history of ECW every week starting April 6th.

We will be starting with ECW #001 from April 6th, 1993 on April 6th, 2018. We will go through all the news that was going on in wrestling at the time and talk about where the performers are today. Extreme Championship Wrestling is often listed as one of the most influential wrestling promotions of all time and now is the perfect time to relive its history from the beginning.

If you haven’t already, subscribe to our YouTube channel at YouTube.com/c/SpoilerFreeWrestling to follow along.

9. Wrestlers and Others Defend the Fabulous Moolah

Several wrestlers who were trained by the Fabulous Moolah have come to her defense recently after Moolah’s name was removed from the Women’s WrestleMania Battle Royal. Also coming to Moolah’s defense this week is Michael McCoy, the son of wrestler Sweet Georgia Brown who lobbied several severe allegations against Moolah.

While Moolah’s name has already officially been removed from the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal, one has to wonder if social media didn’t convict Moolah without having all the necessary information.

10 Vader Health

Leon White, FKA Vader, went in for serious heart surgery this week. Vader has been dealing with health problems due to chronic heart failure. WWE sent out a post wishing Vader well and encouraging the WWE Universe to send positive wishes his way.

Vader got through the surgery but has reported he is in considerable pain at the moment. He Tweeted out that he was thankful to the hospital staff and surgeon and is thankful for getting the chance to live more.

11. Charlotte Flair Dental Surgery

Charlotte Flair was absent from Smackdown and the Mixed Match Challenge this week. She had dental surgery which left her face swollen. She is not expected to miss any additional time and is not at risk of missing WrestleMania.

Becky Lynch won a fan vote to replace Flair in the Mixed Match Challenge this week. Lynch and Bobby Roode defeated Sasha Banks and Finn Balor to advance to the finals of the tournament.

12. Matches Added to Takeover: New Orleans

Two new matches were announced for Takeover: New Orleans this week.

After the recently expelled-from-NXT Johnny Gargano showed up at Tommaso Ciampa’s house (as well as several other attacks on Ciampa) Ciampa demanded a match with Gargano at Takeover: New Orleans. The ony way Regal could make the match with Gargano being expelled from NXT is if it is a non-sanctoned match. If Gargano wins he is back in NXT but if he loses he is gone forever.

The other match made this week on NXT by Commissioner Regal was the 6-person ladder match for the North American Championship.

13. Complete NXT Championship Landscape

NXT Championship
Current Champion: Andrade “Cien” Almas
Defenses: 2

Andrade “Cien” Almas faces the biggest threat to his title yet next weekend. Aleister Black is undefeated in 1-on-1 matches and will challenge Almas at Takeover: New Orleans.

NXT Women’s Championship
Current Champion: Ember Moon
Defenses: 3

Ember Moon escaped with a near victory the last time she faced Shayna Baszler but will have to find a way to do the same at Takeover: New Orleans. Ember Moon vs Shayna Baszler II takes place on April 7th, 2018.

NXT Tag Team Championships
Current Champions: Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish (Undisputed Era)
Defenses: 2

It’s not clear at this point what is next in store for the tag champs Fish and O’Reilly. Pete Dunne & Roderic Strong vs the Authors of Pain will be the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Classic tournament and seemingly Fish and O’Reilly would defend the titles against the winners next.

United Kingdom Championship
Current Champion: Pete Dunne
Defenses: 9 (5 in NXT)

Dunne has defended the title against Adam Cole and Roderick Strong recently. Now, however, Strong and Dunne are a team and have made it all the way to the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Classic.

With the introduction of the NXT North American Championship, it’s not clear what role this title will play in the coming months.

The idea of a UK show has been teased again in recent weeks. WWE re-signed several of their UK talents and they are believed to have given some raises. UK talent such as Mark Andrews has also been given a chance to shine on shows such as 205 Live.

Noth American Championship
Current Champion: Vacant

William Regal announced they will crown a new champion in NXT at Takeover: New Orleans. Regal announced the North American Championship would be decided in a 6-person ladder match. Ec3 was the first to declare for the match and Ricochet was the last participant named later in the show.

14. Matches Confirmed for Takeover: New Orleans

  1. Unsanctioned Match
    Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa
  2. North American Championship
    Ladder Match
    Adam Cole vs EC3 vs Killian Dain vs Lars Sullivan vs Ricochet vs Velveteen Dream
  3. NXT Women’s Championship
    Ember Moon (c) vs Shayna Baszler
  4. NXT Championship
    Andrade “Cient” Almas vs Aleister Black

15. Results & Rankings

Monday Night Raw
March 26th, 2018
Quicken Loans Arena
Cleveland, OH

Main Event

  1. Heath Slater defeated Curt Hawkins
  2. the Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik, Kalisto, & Lince Dorado) defeated Tony Nese, TJP, & Ariya Daivari

Monday Night Raw

  1. Nia Jax defeated Mickie James (w/ Alexa Bliss)
  2. Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali defeated Drew Gulak & TJP
  3. Asuka defeated Jamie Frost
  4. Braun Strowman defeated Sheamus (w/ Cesaro)
  5. Bálor Club (Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson) defeated The Miztourage (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)
  6. Elias defeated Rhyno (w/ Heath Slater)
  7. No DQ Match
    John Cena defeated Kane

WWE Universal Champion: Brock Lesnar (4 title defenses)
Intercontinental Champion: the Miz (8x champion, 22 total title defenses, 1 this reign)

  1. Roman Reigns
  2. Braun Strowman
  3. Finn Balor
  4. Seth Rollins
  5. John Cena
  6. Kane
  7. Elias
  8. Matt Hardy
  9. Bray Wyatt
  10. Goldust

Women’s Champion: Alexa Bliss (2x champion, 7 total title defenses, 4 this reign)

  1. Asuka
  2. Sasha Banks
  3. Bayley
  4. Nia Jax
  5. Mickie James
  6. Sonya Deville
  7. Mandy Rose
  8. Alicia Fox
  9. Dana Brooke

Raw Tag Team Division: the Bar  (4x champions, 9 total title defenses, 4 this reign)

  1. Braun Strowman & ???
  2. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder (the Revival)
  3. Titus O’Neil & and Apollo Crews (Titus Worldwide)
  4. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows (Balor Club)
  5. Heath Slater and Rhyno 
  6. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel (Miz-tourage)

WWE Smackdown Live!
March 27th, 2018
PBG Paints Arena
Pittsburgh, PA

  1. Jinder Mahal & Rusev (w/ Aiden English) defeated Bobby Roode & Randy Orton
  2. Becky Lynch defeated Ruby Riott (w/ Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan)
  3. The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper & Rowan) vs The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) (w/ Kofi Kingston) – No Contest
  4. Dolph Ziggler defeated Tyler Breeze (w/ Fandango)
  5. Shinsuke Nakamura (w/ AJ Styles) defeated Shelton Benjamin

Smackdown Estimated Rankings (in storyline)

WWE Champion: AJ Styles (2x champion, 8 total defenses, 3 this reign)
United States Champion: Randy Orton (new)

  1. Shinsuke Nakamura (Royal Rumble Winner)
  2. John Cena
  3. Baron Corbin
  4. Dolph Ziggler
  5. Jinder Mahal
  6. Bobby Roode
  7. Rusev
  8. Tye Dillinger
  9. Mojo Rawley
  10. Aiden English
  11. Zack Ryder

Smackdown Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair (3 title defenses)

  1. Natalya
  2. Becky Lynch (+1)
  3. Ruby Riott (-1)
  4. Carmella (MITB)
  5. Naomi
  6. Liv Morgan
  7. Sarah Logan
  8. Tamina
  9. Lana

Smackdown Tag-Team Champions: The Usos (3x champions, 8 total defenses, 5 this rein)

  1. New Day
  2. the Bludgeon Brothers
  3. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin
  4. Breezeango
  5. Rusev Day
  6. the Ascension

*** Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens were removed from the rankings due to being fired…

WWE Mixed Match Challenge:

  • Bobby Roode & Becky Lynch defeated Sasha Banks & Finn Balor **

** Becky Lynch replaced Charlotte Flair (dental surgery)

205 Live:

  1. Mark Andrews defeated Tony Nese
  2. Fatal 4-Way (Winner Receives CW Title Shot)
    Buddy Murphy defeated TJP, Akira Tozawa, Kalisto

Estimated 205 Live Standings (in storyline)
Cruiserweight Champion: Vacant

  1. Cedric Alexander
  2. Mustafa Ali
  3. Buddy Murphy * (+3)
  4. Drew Gulak (-1)
  5. Roderick Strong (-1)
  6. Mark Andrews (-1)
  7. TJP
  8. Kalisto
  9. Gran Metalik
  10. Hideo Itami
  11. Tony Nese
  12. Akira Tozawa
  13. Jack Gallagher
  14. Ariya Daivari
  15. Lince Dorado

* earned a CW title shot on March 27th card.

NXT
March 28th, 2018
Full Sail University
Winter Park, Florida

Estimated NXT February Rankings (in storyline)

NXT Champion: Andrade Almas (2 title defenses)
WWE UK Champion: Pete Dunne (5 title defenses in NXT)

  1. Aleister Black
  2. Adam Cole
  3. Lars Sullivan
  4. Roderick Strong
  5. Velveteen Dream
  6. Kassius Ohno
  7. Killian Dain
  8. No Way Jose
  9. Fabian Airchner
  10. Cezar Bonani
  11. Oney Lorcan
  12. Tyler Bate
  13. Lio Rush

NXT Women’s Champion: Ember Moon (2 title defenses, +1 loss via DQ)

  1. Shayna Baszler
  2. Nikki Cross
  3. Kairi Sane
  4. Peyton Royce
  5. Billie Kay
  6. Bianca Belair
  7. Dakota Kai
  8. Lacey Evans
  9. Aliyah

NXT Tag Team Champions: Undisputed Era (2 title defense)

  1. Sanity
  2. Authors of Pain
  3. Street Profits
  4. Heavy Machinery
  5. Sabbatelli and Moss
  6. TM61