Combat roundup: AEW adds a legend, UFC adds a teenager
Saraya debuts for AEW, John Cena breaks a record, and the UFC signs a seventeen-year-old fighter in this week's combat roundup
It’s always a crazy week in the world of combat and wrestling! Here’s what was capturing my attention in combat sports this week (especially in AEW), and what to look for in the week ahead.
Saraya fka Paige makes her AEW debut
On Wednesday’s AEW “Grand Slam” edition of Dynamite, Saraya, formerly known as Paige in WWE, made a surprise debut as a run-in to aid Athena and Toni Storm after their match with Britt Baker D.M.D. and Jamie Hayter. Saraya had originally retired from in-ring competition in 2018 after a neck injury that has since vastly improved.
Saraya is part of a prominent wrestling legacy family and is known for being WWE’s youngest Divas champion, as well as for her contributions to WWE’s Women’s Evolution. It’s unclear exactly what her role will entail, but the AEW Women’s roster just got the big name they needed.
Fucking WOW! Absolutely blown away by the pop in the stadium and the reception outside of it. Been a long journey. Couldn’t be happier to be in @AEW thank you to everyone! and thank you to my babe @RonnieRadke for letting me use his song Zombified! LFG!! ❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/9czsEWUcot
— SARAYA (@Saraya) September 22, 2022
Jungleboy vs Rey Fenix was a banger
If there’s any match you rewatch this week, let it be this one. This was the first time these two high-flyers known for their acrobatic abilities have ever met in a singles match, and they surprised the audience with their well-balanced match full of strikes and beat-downs. Fans immediately hit Twitter to discuss how well Jungle Boy would do in AAA. I would like to see it.
John Cena breaks the world record for Make-A-Wish visits
In wholesome and heartbreaking news, last week John Cena broke the world record for the most Make-A-Wish visits by any celebrity ever, granting his 650th wish to a child diagnosed with a terminal illness. Cena granted his first wish through the foundation in 2002, three years after beginning his professional wrestling career.
John Cena holds the new world record for most Make-A-Wish wishes granted with 650‼️🙏 pic.twitter.com/RfnY9rWuB9
— RapTV (@Rap) September 24, 2022
The real Canelo-GGG 3 pay-per-view numbers are finally in
The ending of the Canelo-GGG trilogy was highly anticipated, but before the fight some fans were questioning if it had been marketed effectively for the current social media times. Reports began swirling last week that this pay-per-view only sold a disappointing 550,000 views, which would have vindicated that assumption
DAZN hit back, saying there were 1.06 million global buys. But that figure still comes up short, especially when compared to less-established fighters like Jake Paul who have been drawing upwards of 1.2 million buys for his matches. It still might be time for the old heads to take some social media marketing notes, as we’ve previously suggested.
UFC signs an underage fighter
UFC signed 17-year-old MMA fighter Raul Rosas Jr. after a special performance on Dana White’s Contender series – with his parent’s permission, of course. It’s a huge opportunity and historic moment for the teen, but in a sport where opponents literally pummel each other to bloody pulps, it’s left some wondering if the UFC is making an ethical decision.
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What to watch this week
WWE: Monday Night Raw, Friday Night Smackdown – 8 PM EST on USA Network
UFC: Dana White Contender Series – Tuesdays at 5 PM EST on ESPN+
UFC: Fight Night – Dern vs Yan (Women’s Main Event) – Sat at 7 PM EST on ESPN+
NXT 1.0: Tuesdays at 8 PM EST on the USA Network
AEW: Wednesday Night Dynamite, Friday Night Rampage – 8 PM EST on TBS
AAA: Every Sunday on YouTube at 7 PM