WWE’s Mixed Match Challenge begins this Tuesday (January 16), with 12 teams of men and women competing on Facebook Watch (US-only, for now) over the course of 12 weeks.
It’s a novel concept, both in terms of in ring competition and in how it is being delivered. If it succeeds, expect to see a lot more social media professional wrestling in the future. And while it’s unlikely to reach the levels of the WWE Cruiserweight Classic, or even the Mae Young Classic, it should be a fun, alternative look into WWE. Also, Beth Phoenix is on commentary, so that should be neat.
Braun Strowman & Alexa Bliss
If Alexa Bliss doesn’t ride down to the ring on Braun’s shoulders, this will be a missed opportunity. Bliss has the championship pedigree, and Braun has the muscles. Both are used to winning, and should be a favorite in this tournament.
Bobby Roode & Charlotte Flair
The members of Team Sparkly Bathrobe make natural allies. Having similar style of dress isn’t the only thing these two have in common though. Both are championship wrestlers, though only Flair has gold at the moment. A win for these would be … (wait for it…) … GLORIOUS!!!!
Finn Balor & Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks is well known as a fan of Japanese wrestling. Finn Balor wrestled in Japan. Really the team makes itself. The team is one of the more decorated in the tournament, and this whole thing is worth it for the image of Finn wearing Sasha’s BOSS glasses.
Rusev & Lana
While Rusev is a treasure, he may be letting his family life obscure his wrestling goals in this one. Lana is the weak link in this team. She has the fewest matches of any of the competitors, and generally ends up on the losing side. It’s going to be a sad Rusev Day when this team is eliminated.
Jimmy Uso & Naomi
The second of married team, Jimmy and Naomi are certainly more prepared for winning a wrestling match than the previous team. The athleticism, championship history, and natural chemistry between the two are going to make them a tough matchup for any team.
Apollo Crews & Nia Jax
Nia does not seem terribly pleased with her partnership with Titus Worldwide. While she is one of the most intimidating women in the tournament, her lack of enthusiasm and her bitterness in not teaming with Enzo Amore will probably outweigh Apollo’s eagerness and natural ability.
The Miz & Asuka
In my opinion, this is the team to beat. The Miz is one of the most accomplished wrestlers in WWE. Love him or hate him, he knows how to win. And Asuka, what more needs to be said about Asuka? The most dominant WWE wrestler, man or woman, teaming up with one of the smartest performers makes this my pick to win the Mixed Match Challenge.
Elias & Bayley
Though Samoa Joe won the fan vote to become Bayley’s partner, a foot injury will keep him out of action His replacement is Elias, and though the drifter and the hugger don’t have a lot in common, both are consistently on the cusp of breaking out in their respective divisions. A lack of cohesion may doom this team to an early exit.
Shinsuke Nakamura & Natalya
These two do not have a lot in common except being two of the top talents in their divisions. It’s to be determined on whether this is enough to propel them to mixed tag team victory.
Sami Zayn & Becky Lynch
Sami and Becky both bring a lot of energy to every match, and certainly seem very excited to team together. If Sami can keep his personal issues with management aside, they could prove to be a dangerous, and fun, combination.
Big E & Carmella
Big E beat both New Day members in an online poll to become Carmella’s tag team partner. If nothing else comes from this tournament, it at least shows that it’s time for Big E to be the breakout star he’s meant to be. Carmella couldn’t have gotten a better partner, but holding up her end of the team may be too much to ask.
That’s all twelve teams. While some are destined for early exits, all hope is not lost. The week 11 match will feature a “2nd Chance Fan Vote,” so if you’re really into the team of Crews/Jax, you’ll still have a chance to see them in the finals.