The Wrap Up: Booking Makes & Misses

Updated: Jul 14

Reverse Hipster's Highlights

10. (Impact) Honor No More Rolls On

Honor No More defeated Frankie Kazarian and the Motor City Machine Guns in a six-man tag match. The match was explosive and fun to watch. The match was a fantastic preview of what will come in the five-on-five at Slammiversary. Honor No More continued to get heat by winning via low blow. Then, Heath came out to avenge his partner Rhino and whooped Honor No More by himself. It was the best he had looked in a long time. However, Honor No More's numbers caught up to Heath. They beat him down and mercilessly took turns smashing his ankle with a chair. Honor No More is looking great going into Slammiversary.


9. (Raw) Edge Falls Off His Mountain of Omnipotence

On Raw, it was revealed that Edge is out of Judgment Day and Finn Balor is in. I am not sure if this will benefit the group long-term. However, it was good this week. It was an exciting development, and what is more heel than turning on your Hall of Fame leader. It is definitely what a young Edge would do. Edge may have taught them too well. They absolutely destroyed Edge throwing him through a table and hitting him with a conchairto. It will be interesting to see how the group does without Edge, who is better off as a face.


8. (Raw) Street Profits vs. The Usos

The Street Profits beat The Usos via count-out. The match was perfect. The Street Profits honestly had The Usos on the ropes for most of the fight. They almost pinned The Usos with their From the Heavens finisher. However, the gutsy win by the Street Profits means they should be in line for a title match at Money in the Bank. The Street Profits have had to step back for RK-Bro in the past, but they kept putting on great matches, and now it is their turn.


7. (NXT) Apollo's Return and the North American Championship Feud

Some might look at wrestlers going back to NXT as a demotion. However, as far back as I can remember, going back to NXT has only raised the profile of the returning wrestler. In Apollo's one promo on NXT, he dropped the accent, and got more love and screen time than he had in months on the main roster. Apollo said that he left a lot on the table and left NXT too soon, and he was right. Apollo is a perfect athlete, but he did not get to develop as much as he could have in NXT.

This week Solo Sikoa tried to claim he was next. Grayson Waller got in Solo's way, and Grayson, Carmelo Hayes, and Trick Williams jumped Solo. Apollo Crews aided Solo against Carmelo and Grayson Waller. Solo and Apollo beat Carmelo and Grayson in a tag match. Apollo's debut looked great, and I like the feud between Solo and Carmelo Hayes. Solo is probably the greatest challenge Carmelo has ever faced. Solo is simmering right now. The crowds want him badly. Can Carmelo weather the storm and put out Solo's fire?

6. (Rampage) Momentum Matches

Trent Beretta and FTR defeated Will Ospreay and Aussie Open. The match was fast-paced, and the action was impressive. The match, quality-wise, was easily one of, if not, the best matches of the night. However, I think the wrong team won. Trent had an injured leg during the match, yet he got the winning pin. Will Ospreay and Aussie Open should have gotten the victory to establish them as threats going into the Forbidden Door PPV. For the Forbidden Door concept to be impactful, wrestlers need to be able to win in enemy territory.

In the women's Rampage match, Kris Statlander defeated Red Velvet via pinfall. This match was exactly what Statlander needed after losing the Owen Hart Tournament. It was hard-hitting and competitive, and Statlander dominated. Statlander should be the next challenger for the TBS title. My only complaint was that the after-the-match brawl did not make sense. Jade Cargill and the Baddies came and attacked Statlander, but when Athena tried to help, she was held back by the refs.


5. (Impact) PCO vs. Steve Maclin

Maclin defeated PCO. Some matches draw you in and make you chant fight forever. However, there are other matches where you want one of the stars to stay down. That was this match. Maclin busted PCO open and even visibly dislocated PCO's arm. However, PCO finished the match. The fight was incredibly brutal and entertaining. Even after Maclin got the pin, PCO kept coming for him. I think both wrestlers came away looking better. PCO is quickly becoming one of my favorites.


4. (NXT) I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

Pretty Deadly defeated Chase U in a tag match, which NXT booked perfectly. Pretty Deadly and Chase U exchanged words, and Pretty Deadly got embarrassed. So, they attacked Bodhi Hayward ahead of their match to get back at him. Andre Chase tried to get revenge alone, and he looked more dominant than ever, but the numbers game caught up to him. Bodhi heroically tried to crawl out there to help Andre. However, Thea Hail stopped Bodhi and took his place in the match. She slapped Pretty Deadly and begged Andre Chase to tag her. However, Thea never got the chance to come in. Pretty Deadly looked good and heelish for their nefarious victory. Andre Chase and Bodhi look valiant, and Thea Hail looked gutsy. Now, people are dying to see Thea Hail get in the ring.

In another well-booked NXT match, Josh Briggs defeated Von Wagner. Karma is sweet. Von Wagner has been beating down superstars for months, but this week it beautifully backfired. Von Wagner slammed Brooks Jensen's injured wrist against the ring. So, Fallon Henley distracted the ref, and Jensen slid his cast to Briggs, who bludgeoned Von Wagner with it to win the match. Chef's kiss.

3. (NXT) Tiffany Stratton vs. Roxanne Perez

Roxanne defeated Tiffany and won the Breakout Tournament. I am so glad WWE did the right thing and put over Roxanne Perez. I love Tiffany, but it was Roxanne's time. The match was exhilarating. Both women brought it. Roxanne's highlight of the match was her unique suicide dive, where she sprang up from the bottom rope. Tiffany's highlight was jumping into a sit-down powerbomb. It looked crazy powerful. Unfortunately, at the end of the match, there were two minor botches, but the match was good enough to overlook that. After the match, Cora Jade came out and praised Roxanne. However, Toxic Attraction came out and tried to ruin the moment, and a brawl ensued. Indi Hartwell came out to even the odds, and Indi, Roxanne, and Cora stood tall. I love how the Breakout Tournament immediately fed into the women's title scene. It shows that the tournament mattered.

2. (SmackDown) Championships and Contender Matches

Riddle defeated Sami Zayn and earned a shot at Roman Reigns' WWE Undisputed Universal Title. I thought this was exceptionally well booked. Sami got a lot of heat last week after costing Riddle the tag titles. Then, this week, Riddle got his revenge in a superb match. After the match, Riddle got his revenge on The Usos, who beat him down. After getting beat up, Riddle attacked The Usos with a kendo stick and broke it on their bodies. My only problem with this is that it seems too fast. Riddle would be an excellent Money in the Bank candidate, but, instead, he is getting a title shot on SmackDown next week. Why not have such a massive match on PPV? It feels pretty much guaranteed that we will not get a clean finish to the Riddle vs. Roman match, and Roman will walk away with the titles.

In the midcard scene, Gunther defeated Ricochet for the Intercontinental Title. Anybody who saw Ricochet's run knew there was no way in hell he was retaining that title. However, Gunther and Ricochet did the title justice in their match. Ricochet wrestled well and presented a legit threat to Gunther. It was the best IC match in a while. Hopefully, the belt will be more relevant now that someone WWE presumably wants to push has it.

1. (Raw) Women's Division

Dana Brooke defeated Becky Lynch and Akira Tozawa on the same night for the 24/7 title. I said a while ago that the 24/7 title elevates the women's division. Becky wrestling Dana for the 24/7 title is just more validation. The 24/7 title gets screen time and story. Besides the Bayley and Sasha Banks run, it is booked better than the Women's Tag Belts ever were. Dana's excellent work with the belt led her to get a victory over Becky for the 24/7 Title with help from Asuka. This is not only a great moment for the 24/7 title, but for Asuka and Becky as well, who are developing their feud without using the Raw Women's Title.

Rhea Ripley beat Liv Morgan, Doudrop, and Alexa Bliss in the Raw Women's Division to earn the right to face Bianca Belair. The match was fantastic, and each woman had moments where they looked terrific. Liv looked like she might win, if not for Nikki A.S.H's interference. Doudrop flattened competitors with splashes and sentons. Also, WWE used this fatal four-way to preview Alexa and Liv as a tag team, and they looked great together. They already have so many tag moves they can pull out. Rhea winning was the right choice, and she looked strong when she executed a Riptide on Doudrop.


Rob’s Highlights

10. Riddle, The Miz, and Tommaso Ciampa,WWE Raw

A feud with the Miz would be a great single’s feud for Riddle coming out of RKBro. They had excellent promo chemistry, and the contrast between them was hilarious. Typical sophomoric ball humor from WWE made me laugh out loud when executed by the Miz, Maryse, and Riddle. When Tommaso Ciampa came in and hit a vicious knee, it changed the dynamic entirely. Having all of them in the Money in the Bank match this year would be good, exciting, and fresh.


9. Apollo Crews, NXT 2.0

Some excellent wrestlers in WWE just need a fresh start and opportunities. You can tell there is still so much potential for Apollo Crews just based on the reaction he got on NXT when confronting champion Bron Breakker. Later in the night, he got to join Solo Sikoa against Carmelo Hayes and Grayson Waller. He showed a lot of the same moves and swagger he used to have on NXT, and I’m excited to see what he does next.

8. PCO vs. Steve Maclin, Impact Wrestling

I’ve been on the fence regarding PCO’s gimmick, but he won me over. His character work was believable, and Steve Maclin beat the crap out of him. PCO was bleeding in the early match, but the spot that put it over for me was PCO’s shoulder protruding from his body. It was a spot of body horror that, like the best of wrestling, made you question if it was a work or not.


7. All-Atlantic Championship, AEW Dynamite

AEW has to be careful of undervaluing championships if they add too many, but for now, this was a much-needed addition to their deep roster. The matches revealed for the tournament should all be great and reveal why some stars were missing from the Battle Royale. The tournament featured a great start with Buddy Matthews and Pac, who should be the favorite to be the inaugural champion. The final, fatal four-way could be the highlight of Forbidden Door.


6. The Family Business, NXT 2.0

This was a highlight of NXT this week and a good payoff from the Tony D’Angelo and Santos Escobar feud. They had good funny backstage segments with D’Angelo making sure that Legado del Fantasma did all the chores he asked them to do. There was good character work and storytelling in their entrance centering on D’Angelo even though Escobar was having the match. Escobar is so great in the ring, yet D’Angelo constantly criticized how he was wrestling. Everything they did was a good representation of the difference between their characters, and I’m intrigued to see what happens next in the story.


5. The Good Brothers and Dem Boys, Impact Wrestling

This was up there with the best of pre-taped segments. The Good Brothers traveled to the Briscoes farm in Sandy Fork, Delaware, making everything they did hilarious. They ran into the Briscoe's Dad and got into a brawl that involved a moving truck and tying up one of the Briscoes in a tree. This reminded me of the days of Impact Wrestling pre-taped segments with Matt Hardy. More of this, please!


4. Will Ospreay, AEW Dynamite and AEW Rampage

Will Ospreay appearing on AEW Dynamite should be some of the week's biggest news, even though it was sort of anticipated in line with the Forbidden Door PPV. Ospreay is one of the few remaining stars with limited wrestling appearances for big companies in the United States. He should be one of the most anticipated matches at Forbidden Door. Personally, I’m rooting for Ospreay vs. Rey Fenix, but they have a lot of options on the table still. On Rampage, Ospreay played all the hits in a good, not great main event. He had really good chemistry with Trent Beretta, who continued to impress when the pressure was on. I was surprised Ospreay’s squad lost, but it leaves room for storytelling going forward.


3. The Judgment Day, WWE Raw

Storylines in WWE lately have been awfully predictable, and their big “swerves” have been more of a when than if. In this case, I didn’t see this coming at all. Edge did some good promo work to get the crowd on his side somewhat, praising his stablemates' growth in a genuine moment from the veteran. Finn Balor was revealed as the new member of Judgment Day, and Balor and Damian Priest slowly revealed they thought Edge was holding them back before the other three ganged up on Edge. Ignoring that it doesn’t make sense with the story of Balor fighting them just a few days ago, it was one of those genuinely surprising moments in wrestling. It opens up new opportunities for everyone involved in the stable.

Later, the Women’s Contendership Fatal Four Way was a great match where it felt like anyone could win, and they were all exciting challengers for Bianca Belair. I think the women’s wrestlers in WWE shine when they are given time to wrestle and a spotlight like this. Rhea Ripley won, continuing the good night for Judgment Day. That persona makes Ripley as a challenger the most exciting option, and Ripley and Belair have a lot of storytelling they can do as two championship-quality stars that broke into the WWE around the same time with the Mae Young Classic and final two in the 2021 Women’s Royal Rumble.


2. Riddle vs. Sami Zayn, WWE SmackDown

This wasn’t the best match of the week, but this is how you build stakes for the main event. Riddle has been doing the most wrestling on both brands, so it made sense for him to put his ability to wrestle on SmackDown on the line. Sami Zayn’s entertaining build with the Bloodline was on the line here, as Paul Heyman wanted him to stop Riddle from challenging for the Undisputed WWE Championship. With Riddle’s win, he has a chance to dethrone Roman Reigns in the main event next week. Even though it would be an unlikely victory, everybody should be rooting for him as WWE has been stale with a champion who is on leave for part of the summer.


1. Roxanne Perez vs. Tiffany Stratton, NXT 2.0

My only complaint is that I think this match should have been on In Your House this weekend. After a good build, Roxanne Perez and Tiffany Stratton delivered in their match. This is the best Stratton has looked in-ring, and Perez continued to look like the heir apparent women’s star of NXT. For that reason, Perez was the right choice to win, and she has options of what is next with all of Toxic Attraction against her and Cora Jade and Indi Hartwell on her side. Stratton kept her momentum by interrupting Wendy Choo’s interview backstage, hinting at a future feud between the two.


Reverse Hipster's Lowlights

8. (Raw) Bobby Lashley vs.Theory

Bobby challenged Theory to a United States Title match. This segment was not terrible, and it actually had a lot of good elements. For example, I think a Bobby Lashley vs. Theory feud is inspired, and I like Theory's arrogance. However, this feels like a diversion from the big title for Bobby, which is fine if he gets a shot at SummerSlam. However, Bobby's character needs to be shown more respect. Theory talked down to Bobby and even turned his back on Bobby. Bobby should have split him in half with a spear. Bobby humored Theory's tough talk for too long for someone who is supposed to be as tough as Bobby.


7. (Dynamite) The Casino Battle Royale

Kyle O'Reilly won the Casino Battle Royale and then lost to Jon Moxley. I am not going to lie, I was 50/50 on whether this was a highlight or a lowlight. It was not a terrible Battle Royale. It was fun to watch, and Kyle was a good winner. However, he was not the best winner, and I felt the problems of the match outweighed the benefits.

First off, why would Swerve Strickland turn on Keith Lee? They are one of the division's most exciting teams, and it is way too early for them to break up. Also, if they were going to break up, why not have Keith Lee win the Battle Royale? He would be an unexpected winner, who would be a credible and exciting challenge for any opponent. Instead, he lost. Onto the next best winner. What about Darby Allin, pillar of AEW and one of their biggest stars? People would go insane for a Darby title run. The fans were very much on his side, and the feud he could have with CM Punk when he returns would be great. Darby lost too. It was not even Kyle who eliminated Darby. It was Swerve. Then, there was the third option, Wheeler Yuta. It would have been an excellent comeback for Yuta to win and then face his mentor, Moxley, for a title shot. That would be a match with story. Also, it would have elevated the Blackpool Combat Club, and a loss would not have even hurt Yuta because he is Moxley's protege. Lastly, why did the winner of the Battle Royale have to face Moxley that same night? Why not next week or on Rampage? It was incredibly unfair and made the Casino Battle Royale feel like a contest to see who would lose to Moxley.


6. (Dynamite) Adam Page

Adam Page won his match against David Finlay and declared that he was going for the International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP) Championship. However, I think it is laughable that Adam Page would not be considered for the Interim Championship. I get that CM Punk's injury was unexpected, but how does the former champion not get a chance at the abandoned title? Then, AEW could have Adam Page win it back and then challenge Kazuchika, champion vs. champion.


5. (SmackDown) Ronda Rousey vs. Shotzi

This week, Shotzi challenged Ronda to a title match, and Ronda accepted and beat her. I get that Ronda wants to be a fighting champion because her brand is being tough. However, Ronda's brand is also being a prizefighter, and she should stop handing out matches like candy. Her title match did not do anything for anybody. We already knew Ronda was better than Shotzi, and Natalya's attack after the match also failed. Ronda refused to tap, and Natalya held Ronda in the Sharpshooter for an eon, making it look weak. Natalya would have been better off just beating Ronda up.


4. (Raw) MVP And Omos

Omos squashed Cedric Alexander. After the match, the Dirty Dawgs returned. It seemed like Cedric was getting some dignity, and his character was turning a corner at Hell in a Cell only for him to get completely squashed and discarded on Raw. MVP tried to reprimand the Dirty Dawgs for interrupting MVP and Omos, but MVP got superkicked by Dolph Ziggler. Then, MVP and Omos chased the Dirty Dawgs. First off, this made Cedric look super irrelevant. Second, how is MVP up and chasing the Dirty Dawgs when he just got superkicked off the stage? Did the simple fact that Omos caught MVP nullify the damage to his chin?


3. (Impact) Rosemary vs. Tennille Dashwood

Rosemary defeated Dashwood. I don't know Rosemary enough to comment on her potential, but I know Dashwood is capable of putting on a way better match than this. It felt like these women were holding back. The match suffered, and, on top of that, the after-match antics were poorly executed. Taya Valkyrie ran in to save Rosemary from The Influence, and the crowd went wild for it. Instead of backing away or shaking hands, they just glowered at each other, and it sucked the life out of the moment. They should have done something to build on the crowd's big reaction.


2. (Dynamite) Wardlow

This week, Wardlow revealed that he asked not to be in the Casino Battle Royale for the AEW title shot because he wanted to beat the real champ, CM Punk, for the title. Then, he challenged Scorpio Sky for the TNT title. This was an idiotic explanation. First, it craps all over the Interim Champ and makes that person, who will eventually win, look like a fraud. Second, it makes Wardlow look foolish. He would really rather go for the TNT belt? Get real, this was Tony Khan badly booking himself out of a corner. He should have had Wardlow enter the Battle Royale, but get eliminated via Smart Mark Sterling. That way, his current program would get heat, and Wardlow losing would be beyond Wardlow's control.

1. (SmackDown) Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus

Drew faced Sheamus in a Money in the Bank qualifying match, and they both lost via DQ. Yes, you read that correctly, nobody qualified. This was beyond stupid, not to mention the fact that Drew vs. Sheamus is a recycled feud from last year, evolving from a recycled feud from this year. It makes zero sense for Drew and Sheamus to be so mad at each other that they would disregard a title opportunity.


Rob’s Lowlights

4. The Usos vs. The Street Profits, WWE Raw

This was a lowlight not because it was a bad match but because of the horrible championship contender match stipulation. I already feel like I have seen these teams fight for hours in just the last six months. Now, we’ve seen them fight again. If the Street Profits can beat the Usos, they should be the champions. That shouldn’t be the way to earn a championship shot. This is particularly an issue in WWE’s less deep tag team divisions, but I put more of the pressure on creative to come up with alternative routes to title contention. Why not have this match against Alpha Academy? And if it’s for a big championship opportunity, make it the main event of a future Raw and give them 30 minutes.


3. Becky Lynch Misses Out, WWE Raw

This segment was so close to being a huge highlight for me. Becky Lynch vs. Dana Brooke is exactly the type of match that should be on Raw. Brooke is underutilized and can showcase her talent, and Lynch can get some momentum back after losing her championship. I haven’t been a big fan of the 24/7 Championship lately, but when Brooke won the title back during the match, and Lynch challenged her to it, I was ecstatic. Having Lynch win the 24/7 Championship would have been huge for both of them because it would elevate the title out of undercard hell. Becky could use the title as part of her “destiny” storyline, and it would keep her away from Bianca Belair and Asuka for a while. Instead, it was used as an excuse for another mediocre 24/7 segment and a stop on the road for a continuing Lynch/Asuka feud.


2. Gunther Wins The Intercontinental Championship, WWE SmackDown

Gunther can be a great Intercontinental Champion, but it’s hard to have faith in WWE’s booking when Ricochet hardly did anything was the title. They had a good match, but it wasn’t nearly up to what those two competitors could do. The worst part is that with Roman Reigns mostly missing, it would have been a great time to make this championship into THE title on SmackDown. For right now, I have to call this a lowlight because the mid-card championships feel more like something to keep stars busy than a title to fight over.


1. Lackluster Forbidden Door Build, AEW Dynamite

The Battle Royale kicked off the night to see who would challenge Jon Moxley and who would challenge Hiroshi Tanahashi or Hiroki Goto at Forbidden Door for the Interim AEW Championship. What started as an exciting night full of potential slowly unfolded to become less exciting. With little to no explanation, many of AEW’s most credible top stars were missing from the match. The Casino Battle Royale concept and poor pacing made the match kind of boring to watch, which is something you can’t often say about that style of match. The final participants were largely not credible threats to beat Moxley in the main event. Even though it made Kyle O’Reilly and Wheeler Yuta look strong to be the final two, it kind of ruined the rest of the night for me. O’Reilly is putting in some of the best work of his career, and it’s stunning he was never NXT Champion after watching him in an AEW ring. Moxley winning that match was another predictable choice, and he is the obvious choice to beat presumably Tanahashi and become the first two-time AEW Champion. Even though there’s some story there, it’s not as exciting as seeing a new champion crowned, it derails the Blackpool Combat Club Story, and we’ve already seen Moxley face NJPW stars in his past runs. Likewise, I’m simply not as excited to see Hangman Adam Page face Kazuchika Okada as Page is a former NJPW star himself. I’d rather see Okada face a new foe like Bryan Danielson. This is the first time in a while that I really feel like AEW has gotten the booking wrong.


Reverse Hipster's Winner Of The Week

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The last place is surprisingly Dynamite. CM Punk's injury completely threw off the show's booking, and AEW did not recover well. The best thing on Dynamite was the Hardys announcing a TLC match with the Young Bucks and the current Tag Champs, Jurassic Express, and even that felt underbaked. Fifth place goes to SmackDown. SmackDown was in a tie with some other shows in terms of highlights, but its lowlights dragged it down. Fourth place goes to Impact. Impact had a pretty decent show, but they need a little more razzle-dazzle to rank higher. Third place goes to Rampage, who had a really solid performance. There were just a few miscues that held it back from being ranked higher. Second place goes to Raw, who quietly came out of nowhere and had a better show than they have had in weeks. Raw's lowlights cost them first place. First place goes to NXT because it had so many great moments, both big and small.


Rob’s Winner of the Week

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6. AEW Rampage

Aside from Will Ospreay in the main event, AEW Rampage took a step back this week without much storytelling or important matches.

5. AEW Dynamite

AEW Dynamite was mostly uneventful this week. Because I don’t like the build to Forbidden Door, it will have to pull some booking magic off to turn it around.

4. WWE Raw

WWE Raw brings a mix of the good and the bad, with its three-hour run-time often being its biggest weakness. Judgment Day was the biggest story here, and it dominated the show.

3. WWE SmackDown

WWE SmackDown was similar to Raw, but Riddle winning a chance to challenge Roman Reigns for the Undisputed Championship was the biggest moment of the week.

2. Impact Wrestling

Impact Wrestling is a show I often feel apathetic about, but I loved two of the segments this week so much that it ended up here. Their build to Slammiversary has been solid.

1. NXT 2.0

NXT 2.0 is the best show this week. They had a fun surprise with Apollo Crews, good storytelling with Tony D’Angelo/Legado del Fantasma, and my favorite match of the week in Roxanne Perez/Tiffany Stratton.

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