Hey there, wrestling pals, and welcome to the second instalment of Maximize Your Minutes, where I look back on the past month in wrestling.
Every week, at least 18 hours of wrestling is available here in the United States, either on television or YouTube, across six different promotions (WWE, AEW, Impact, NWA, MLW, and ROH). If you add in PPVs (including NJPW), you’re looking at over 80 hours of wrestling on average every month.
So, with nearly 5,000 minutes of professional wrestling at my fingertips each month it takes a little something extra to stand out amongst this crowded scene. It’s not about how often you’re in the ring, or how many segments you’re in. No, it’s about taking the time you’re given and making the most of it. Let’s look at some of the people who made the most of their time on-screen this past month, and maximized their minutes!
For a guy that was supposedly done with WWE, Matt Hardy certainly maximized his minutes on WWE television this month. His initial confrontation with Randy Orton on the February 10th episode of Monday Night Raw saw a passionate and heartfelt promo from Hardy which led to a brutal beatdown from Orton. It appeared that that would be it for Hardy as he awaited his contract to expire, but instead, we got the news of a Hardy vs. Orton match for the February 17th Raw.
It would appear that Hardy did such an amazing job with his segment on the 10th that it was decided to go back to the well for another segment, which also knocked it out of the park. I am a bit bummed that we didn’t get the advertised match, especially if Hardy is indeed leaving for greener pastures (or darker pastures?) but the second beatdown segment was really well done and came off as even more brutal than the first.
Part of what really made these segments brilliant was the fact that it allowed the Edge/Orton feud to continue without Edge on-screen while still giving the fans entertaining and engaging content. Matt Hardy clearly resonates well with fans and it’s a shame that he had appeared so sparingly on WWE television after his brother’s latest injury.
Matt went seven months without competing on WWE television (outside of a random appearance at the Saudi show in June) before randomly popping back up in November. He showed during these two segments this month that he is more than capable of maximizing the minutes he’s given, regardless of how sparse those minutes are.
This feud between Cody and MJF produced some of the most entertaining segments on any wrestling show this month. MJF whipping Cody on the February 5th episode of Dynamite was incredible. In fact, it may have been the best non-wrestling segment I’ve seen on television in the past 5 years. Words can barely do it justice, which is why I’ve attached the clip of the segment to this entry. So much of that segment just hit it out of the park. From MJF’s arrogant attitude, to Cody showing heart, to Dustin coming out and offering to take the remaining lashes, to MJF getting in the cowardly low blow to end it all, it was just masterfully done.
Then the cage match took place the following week. I wasn’t blown away by the match itself, but Cody’s moonsault from the top of the cage was one of the most beautifully executed aerial moves I’ve ever seen. Cody had a nice babyface segment after the show was over with that was put out by AEW’s social media that really capped off the match nicely.
The match at Dynamite was probably my favorite of the night. It was obviously very story-driven and just felt like a really important match. I loved the way MJF was ruthless in his assaults on Cody, especially going after the injured foot by removing Cody’s boot. MJF getting the win in such a heel-ish way was perfect, especially since he just sort of collapsed on Cody for the pin after hitting him with the diamond ring.
I hope these guys move away from each other for a bit, just to freshen things up, but this feud is far from over. As long as AEW doesn’t do too much too soon, this feud could be measured in years rather than months.
Johnny Gargano vs Finn Balor is my current pick for match of the year. If you haven’t seen this match, stop what you’re doing and watch it right now. The back and forth between the two told a solid story that was pulled off with absolute perfection.
Seeing how the night ended at TakeOver Portland, it would seem like the Gargano/Balor feud was ended with this match, and that is fine with me. This was a perfect match to end a feud with and I’m looking forward to see what these guys do moving forward, seemingly in different directions.
SHAYNA BASZLER BITES
Shayna should’ve won the Women’s Rumble match, but WWE decided to waste that moment on Charlotte. I won’t get into the issues I have with that, nor will I lay out how they could’ve easily gotten to Rhea vs. Charlotte without the rumble win. Anyway, I thought Shayna debuting and attacking Becky Lynch in the way she did immediately made her look like a main event threat to The Man’s title.
I’m not crazy about having the number one contender spot be determined inside the Chamber match, as I feel it’s either a foregone conclusion with the result of Shayna winning or WWE will get cute (like they did with Becky’s match at Mania last year) and have someone else win just to make it a surprise. But, Shayna definitely has a chance to maximize her minutes at Elimination Chamber because running through five other women inside that structure could help lend more credibility to her challenging for the title.
As of this writing, there’s no video of the entrances from Revolution up on AEW’s youtube, but if you didn’t get a chance to see Moxley and Jericho’s respective entrances, you should know that they were awesome.
Moxley entered from the street, as the camera followed him from outside the building, through the lobby, into the crowd, and to the ring. I’d never seen that before in a continuous shot and I loved it. As for Jericho, he had an entire choir come out and sing an acapella version of Judas prior to Le Champion making his way to the ring as the crowd sang along to Fozzy, which is now customary. It was a fun way to lead into what was an intense main event match for AEW’s World Title.
I’m not sure where it’s leading, but NWA World Champion Nick Aldis attacked PCO, causing him to lose the ROH World Title at the Gateway to Honor event on the 29th of February. I’m a huge fan of the NWA and I’ve enjoyed the way the company has allowed their wrestlers to blend over with other promotions. So now Aldis has beef with Marty Scurll, Flip Gordon, and PCO all in ROH. He’s not great at making friends outside of the NWA apparently.
Speaking of not being sure where something is leading, I have no idea where the recent Drew Gulak and Daniel Bryan interactions are going, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the time Gulak has gotten on television as a result. Here’s hoping to more minutes for our Power Point expert moving into next month!
It might not have been much to some, but having Gary Michael Cappetta announce the entrances for the AEW weigh-in on Dynamite was fantastic for me. Cappetta’s voice was a big one for my childhood and is still the guy I think of when thinking about classic WCW entrances from people like Sting, Lex Lugar, Big Van Vader, Ron Simmons, etc. I’m glad AEW invited him out for that segment as it was like seeing an old friend.
There you have it, those are the people, promotions, and programs that are maximizing their minutes. Did I miss something you think should be added?
Disagree with my assessments? Yell at me about them on twitter! And until next time, remember to maximize your minutes and make good decisions.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @THExWilliam. Thanks for reading!