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31 Days of Wrestling (12/9/19): The Fall of Bray Wyatt, and the Rise of the Fiend

Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies, and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2019 produced for us.

The character of Bray Wyatt has had an interesting arc ever since his debut on NXT with the Wyatt Family. Appearing a Manson-like cult leader Bray Wyatt—alongside Luke Harper & Erick Rowan—reigned supreme in NXT clinching the NXT tag team champions before soon being called up to raise hell on the main roster.

The Wyatt Family would then enter significant feuds with the likes of Daniel Bryan, the New Day, and the Shield, but pretty soon, Creative would have their way and the Wyatt Family would spli…
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The Grapevine (12/9/19): Losing A Smile

Welcome to the Grapevine! This section of Smark Henry is where we round up all the founded and unfounded rumors abound the pro wrestling scene that you may have missed over the week. Remember to take everything with a grain of salt!

It's true, ACH is apparently quitting pro wrestling:

ACH announced that he is canceling his shows and quitting pro wrestling. This comes after intense scrutiny from social media following his statements about WWE and Jay Lethal, leaving the company, signing with Major League Wrestling, and cutting a promo about what he's been through.We say: The truth is what ACH was saying wasn't wrong. If he says there is a lack of racial sensitivity in the WWE, if there are bad elements in the entire industry, then those things are absolutely true. It seems he's just completely fed up with everything, and it certainly doesn't help that the internet amplifies every emotion, and as a result he went about everything without the savvy that would have kep…

SmackDown RunDown (12/6/19): I Used to Have a Family

Finally, a family-centric storyline I can get behind. If you’re an avid reader of SmackDown RunDown (which is technically sad, but hey, thanks for your patronage), Superstars targeting other Superstars’ wives and families is one of my storyline turnoffs. Remember when DDP tried to stalk Undertaker’s first wife? Remember when Samoa Joe tried to do an NXT TakeOver on AJ Styles’ family? Hell, the Rusev/Lana/Lashley thing gets an eye-roll from me.

But somehow, Bray Wyatt trying to do the same thing to Miz’s family makes all the sense in the world. For one thing, targeting families, playing mind games, and generally acting like a goddamn creep are so on-brand with the Bray Wyatt/Fiend character. Samoa Joe, DDP, Bestiality Sex Kurt Angle, or literally anyone else couldn't pull off something like this without looking like a sleazeball. Call me biased, but Bray earned his right to be creepy and I’m all for it. 



And it’s not like Bray is targeting The Miz for no apparent reason. Miz was the …

31 Days of Wrestling (12/8/19): It Takes a Bird and a Villain (G1 Climax Finals: Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White)

Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies, and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2019 produced for us.

The conflict between heroes and villains is the most basic storytelling archetype of all time. New Japan Pro Wrestling knows that, and in the culminating match of the G1 Climax this year, they even helpfully color-coded who the good and bad guys are.


On the one hand, you have Kota Ibushi, clad in his signature blue, white, and golden tights. The inexplicable genius-nomad of wrestling finally settled down in New Japan after years of wandering around the world and/or breaking his neck. Ibushi was a hot …

31 Days of Wrestling (12/7/19) For You And Me! For All Of Us! (Jake De Leon vs. TJP, PWR Homecoming)

Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2019 produced for us.

When Philippine Wrestling Revolution announced that TJ Perkins vs. Jake De Leon would headline PWR Special: Homecoming, it sent shockwaves throughout the Revo-Nation. The 2016 Cruiserweight Classic Tournament Champion was set to make his way to his motherland. Facing him was none other than the country's best homegrown talent, the undeniably amazing Senyorito, Mr. Philippine Wrestling himself, Jake De Leon. The news alone was enticing, but what made it even better was the buildup.

Fans of Jake De Leo…

Reviewing the Elite (12/4/19): Welcome to the Jungle, Boy

Thank God, AEW Dynamite is good again.
Last week was the weakest episode of AEW Dynamite to date, in terms of its quality and performance in the ratings, so fans were curious about the show getting its mojo back. While there are still a few kinks that need to be worked on, this week’s episode was a huge improvement over last week and is a welcome return to form.
While we did get the usual mix of great wrestling, slow-burn storytelling, and new star-making, AEW also surprised by focusing on the women more than they usually do. Granted, they aren’t at the same level as STARDOM, NXT, or even Impact Wrestling when it comes to their women’s division but we’ll take baby steps over burying your head in the sand. Out of This World

After she impressed us in AEW Dark and last week’s episode of Dynamite, it’s nice to see AEW finally get behind a woman like Kris Statlander—and they did so in impressive fashion. Most of us would have been okay with her getting a squash victory over a local talent …

The Hourrr of Powerrr (12/3/19): Old Dogs, Old Tricks

I really wanted to like this episode of Powerrr. I really did.

For those still following, the show's still a mess. To minimize the presence of Jim Cornette as much as they can, Joe Galli anchors the show from backstage. This time, they use a couple of matches they originally taped with Cornette, so the man still appears on the show, especially in the main event. The post-main event spot, where he celebrates with the Rock 'n' Roll Express, is the biggest problem, as not only do they keep the man around—they also end up glorifying him, essentially doubling down on their stance against critics calling for their head.

Honestly, if they were going to keep this moment and give him a heartfelt tribute from Joe Galli, what was the point of forcing him to resign, or whatever happened that led to his departure? NWA now looks weak as hell for letting public outcry influence them in the first place (which was the right move to begin with) and then do a complete 180 the week after. No…

#FinisherFriday (12/6/19): Cattle Mutilation

Welcome to another edition of #FinisherFriday! This is Wreddit_Regal giving his thoughts on everyone's favorite underdog's former finisher (sorry Johnny Gargano, this time it's not you).

Daniel Bryan is awesome. The story of an underdog fighting against all odds and winning gold on the grandest stage of them all—as well as starting a worldwide movement of positivity along the way—will forever be one of the greatest moments in professional wrestling history. Sustaining an injury which threatened his in-ring career, he has since returned to action, picked up the pieces that he left, became World Champion again (before losing to Kofi Kingston at WrestleMania), and is now feuding with the current Universal Champion Bray Wyatt.

Strikes, suplexes, submissions—one would think he's as badass as a high-caliber wrestler would get. Let me add something to that: the current Daniel Bryan was NOWHERE as badass as his previous persona. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you "…

31 Days of Wrestling (12/6/19): Let's Start A War (The Premiere of NXT On The USA Network)

Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2019 produced for us.

Moving to a brand new network isn't such a big gamechanger for a promotion like WWE. Both RAW and SmackDown Live have done it a couple of times, and while time slot and roster changes are somewhat normal, the content remains mostly the same. Two things make the USA Network's acquisition of NXT a big deal in wrestling history: 1) the shift to two hours really gave the Superstars a platform to showcase their skills on a regular basis, and 2) it was the official start of what we now dub as the #We…

31 Days of Wrestling (12/5/19): Starting With a Bang (The Premiere of AEW Dynamite)

Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2019 produced for us.

Does anyone remember the build to the AEW Dynamite premiere? The anticipation of its first episode? The fear that it might not be as good as we want it to be?
Even after a couple of successful pay-per-views that built to the debut of AEW Dynamite, fans were nervous about how the show would do. After all, a weekly wrestling show is something The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, and a ton of the superstars AEW signed weren’t used to, though the presence of Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley, Cody, and Dustin Rhodes help…