Updated: Sep 16, 2022
10. Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler, WWE SmackDown
Ronda Rousey came through the crowd and fended off security to a huge reaction from the crowd. This badass rule breaker persona is more over with the crowd than PG champion Rousey ever was. On the ramp, she had a brief tease interaction with Shayna Baszler, reminding fans of the history between those two and noting that a longer feud would be very intriguing.
9. Retribution, WWE Raw/SmackDown
Triple H is working fast to undo all the harm caused by Vince McMahon releasing promising talent that was over with the crowd. Dexter Lumis appeared in the crowd at the end of WWE Raw, getting taken away by security. On SmackDown, we saw the return of Hit Row, and the crowd seemed to love it. Original NXT superstars are being built back up, and fired superstars (most notably Karrion Kross) are returning to make an immediate splash.
8. Kevin Owens is Back, WWE Raw
With all the changes under Triple H’s creative, I knew they had to be planning something for Kevin Owens. This week, he returned to face Ezekiel, and he destroyed him with powerbombs on the apron, a signature of his vicious NXT character. This Owens has the potential to carry the main event picture.
7. Bayley, Dakota Kai, and Iyo Sky, WWE Raw
The new trio opened Raw and is making the Women’s Division the best part of Raw again. Bayley was hilarious on the mic, and Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky backed it up in the ring in the Women’s Tag Team Championship tournament. Their upcoming match with Bianca Belair, Alexa Bliss, and Asuka could steal the show at a stacked Clash in the Castle card.
6. Contract Signing, Impact Wrestling
Josh Alexander and Alex Shelley gave a master class in quickly putting together a nuanced story when two babyfaces have a match coming up. They clearly respected each other, but they mixed in zingers and clearly thought they were better than the other guy. It made me want to watch Impact’s PPV after ending the show with this segment.
5. Bryan Danielson and Daniel Garcia, AEW Rampage
This quick-opening promo set up what should be an excellent match between Bryan Danielson and Daniel Garcia. Danielson revealed that he never feels at 100%, and Garcia revealed he looked up to Danielson but wanted to cause him pain. In the back of everyone’s mind should be what Danielson said about wanting to recruit Garcia. Right now, Garcia is going through the same process that Wheeler Yuta did before joining Blackpool Combat Club.
4. The Young Bucks/Adam Page, AEW Dynamite
In a backstage segment, the Young Bucks put themselves out there and asked Adam Page to be their trios partner. Page rejected them in the most respectful way possible, saying he had to be loyal to his friends in the Dark Order. They acted the hell out of this segment because it was genuinely awkward to watch, a similar vibe to seeing someone get rejected asking someone to prom. The crowd is going to go crazy if Kenny Omega or Page is revealed to be the Buck's partner next week.
3. Edge, Mysterios, and the Judgment Day, WWE Raw
I didn’t think they had any new story to tell, but I love that the story this week is packed with nuance. Dominick Mysterio refused to accept Edge’s apology for the accidental spear last week, which caused Rey Mysterio to go up against Finn Balor alone. Instead of just attacking Mysterio in ring, the Judgment Day targeted him psychologically when Rhea Ripley brought out an unresponsive Dominick, which cost Rey the win.
2. Gunther vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, WWE SmackDown
From out of nowhere, this was the best match of the week, in my opinion. Gunther and Shinsuke Nakamura both looked more confident in the ring, working a style more similar to their pre-WWE days. This was a main-event-worthy match, and it made the Intercontinental Championship feel prestigious and important.
1. CM Punk Returns, AEW Dynamite
In the most consequential news of the week, CM Punk returned to go face to face with Jon Moxley. It was the shot in the arm that AEW needed, finally some payoff to keeping the title on Punk to start with. How AEW handles the Punk vs. Moxley feud will decide everything for them as WWE is picking up steam.
Reverse Hipster's Highlights
9. (Impact) Spicy Contract Signing
The Walking Weapon, Josh Alexander, roasted Alex Shelley this week, saying he wanted to face better than the best version of Alex because the best version of Alex hasn't been good enough. Shelley fired back by signing the contract and saying he took Josh's title, but he could keep the autograph. I like spicy contract signings. The signing was short and to the point, and got me hyped for the title match between the two.
8. (Raw) Dexter Lumis Debut
I loved Dexter Lumis's debut. He tried to enter the ring like a crazed fan, and was arrested and taken away. I think the fact that people didn't know who he was led people to buy into the moment, like when Santino Marella debuted against Umaga.
7. (SmackDown) New Arrivals
The Women's Tag Team Tournament is off to a great start. The title seems important, the matches are good, and this title was always meant to go across brands. Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark from NXT are entering the tournament. Hit Row also appeared on SmackDown. Just like the Women's Tag Titles, Hit Row is finally getting the run they deserve.
Karrion Kross carried SmackDown, and he has made this feud between Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns interesting. Drew taking on Roman's proxies, The Usos, would have been boring if not for Kross & Scarlett.
6. (Rampage) Potential
Daniel Garcia and Bryan Danielson had a great promo segment where Garcia revealed he looked up to Bryan, but Garcia was going to put Bryan down. I honestly didn't realize Garcia could promo this well. Bryan was excellent, as usual. Bryan asked if Garcia looked up to him, and if he wants to be the best sports entertainer or professional wrestler.
Sammy Guevara and Tay Melo also had a good mixed tag match with Skye Blue and Dante Martin. I would love to see more mixed tag matches in the future. The only problem I had with this match was a lot of waiting for spots, which sometimes took me out of the match.
5. (Dynamite) Darby Allin 3-0 in Coffin Matches
This match was fun to watch, and it elevated everyone involved. Watching House of Black team up on Darby in a high-profile match made House of Black seem more relevant. Brody King looked good, even in defeat. Also, Sting and Black's feud gets more interesting with every encounter. Plus, of course, Darby looked like a stud by not only remaining undefeated, but choking out Brody the same way Brody had choked him out.
4. (Raw) The Cerebral COO
Triple H really showed his prowess with this Raw. The WWE's match philosophy has clearly changed for the better. Without really putting anything crazy on the line, most matches felt meaningful. The tag tournament between Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai, and Dana Brooke and Tamina was great. Iyo and Dakota won in a physical match, and Tamina looked the best she has looked in years.
Angelo Dawkins had a great match with Seth Rollins. Seth won, but Dawkins showed he is as good as or better than Montez Ford. Dolph Ziggler and Chad Gable had what could have been a filler match, but it was made interesting by them leaning into their amateur wrestling backgrounds and grappling each other, and Dolph actually won. Bobby Lashley and Ciampa also had a great match, and Ciampa was built as a serious challenger in a single night.
3. (NXT) New Alliances and Old Grudges
NXT put on a superb show. I like all the new alliances on the show. Apollo Crews is challenging for control of Diamond Mine. I think not only will Apollo be great with Diamond Mine, but the feud between Apollo and Roderick Strong is also entertaining. Lash Legend joined Pretty Deadly, which should elevate both parties.
Also, NXT has a lot of momentum heading into Heatwave. Cora Jade and Roxanne Perez's feud is hot, and Zoey Stark looks unstoppable. Trick Williams and Wes Lee had an excellent match, and now Carmelo Hayes has Wes and Giovanni Vinci gunning for the North American Title. Santos Escobar and Tony D'Angelo stole the show with their segment announcing a street fight. If Santos loses, he loses his group and has to leave NXT. If Santos wins, he frees his crew from Tony D.
2. (Dynamite) Andrade El Idolo and Rush vs.The Lucha Bros, Tornado Tag
This match was excellent. I love tornado tag matches, and I wish we would see more of them. I like the way the wrestlers told a story in the ring. They kept hitting each other with great offense, but they couldn't gain momentum on either side, which created great moments of the two teams topping each other to gain the advantage. Andrade tied Penta El Zero Miedo's mask to the ring, and he dove out of his mask to break up a pin, which became the spot of the match. However, in the end, Rush and Andre got the win and looked incredible.
1. (Dynamite) CM Punks Returns
I was not a fan of Jon Moxley as Interim Champion. I thought Adam Page and CM Punk should have had a redo, and I didn't like the interim concept in general.
However, it paid dividends this week on Dynamite. Moxley went through a war with Chris Jericho, where he bled and kicked out of moves that would put most men down until he was able to make Jericho tap. Then, there was a huge brawl with the Jericho Appreciation Society, Blackpool Combat Club, and Eddie Kingston's faction. Then, CM Punk miraculously returned, and I got chills. Punk cleared the ring until it was just Moxley and Punk left. I love the tension that was created by the interim title. Moxley has been the man, but CM Punk threatens everything he has. CM Punk has to go through Mox to get everything he lost back. It should be an epic battle.
2. Jade Cargill and Athena, AEW Dynamite
The primary feud for the TBS Championship has been the same since Double or Nothing in May, and it still hasn’t had a payoff. It’s hard to root for Athena because Jade Cargill has had numerous open challenges, and Athena is never there. Cargill feels like she isn’t ready to be champion yet; I respect that AEW is investing in her, but I haven’t really loved any of her matches yet.
1. Cora Jade, NXT 2.0
Turning heel took everything away that fans liked about Cora Jade. To me, it seems like anyone can ostracize the crowd as a heel, but only a few could connect with wrestling fans in the way that Jade could as a babyface. On top of that, Jade lost again to Zoey Starks this week, so her new attitude has gotten her nowhere. She looked cowardly backing away from Roxanne Perez, and if Perez ends up beating Jade, I will have to say that nothing good came from the Jade heel turn.
Reverse Hipster's Lowlights
1. (Raw) If It Ain't Broken
Creatively, Triple H has made many positive changes to WWE. However, there have been some casualties. I'm completely on board for Kevin Owens to return to his roots. However, squashing Ezekiel (Zeke) was a lousy move. We already saw that the two had a very good, very competitive premium live event match. So why would Zeke get destroyed in seconds now? Also, I hope WWE doesn't change Zeke cause his gimmick is actually pretty cool, and it did revitalize his career.
Rob’s Winners of the Week
6. NXT 2.0
NXT 2.0 put together an okay show with a few things that stood out as much as other promotions did this week.
5. AEW Rampage
AEW Rampage put together a fine show, but the shorter length means it has less highlights than the other shows.
4. Impact Wrestling
Impact Wrestling put together a better show this week to build for their PPV. They put together good storytelling and good matches.
3. AEW Dynamite
In another special show, is it safe to say Quake at the Lake didn’t deliver as much as we wanted it to? AEW’s shows this summer are starting to feel homogenous and inconsequential, but the work rate in-ring is too high to keep it out of the upper part of the rankings.
2. WWE SmackDown
WWE SmackDown was great this week, too, featuring the main event feud that is becoming foggier with Karrion Kross’s involvement. It had the match of the week, but it wasn’t A-Z as solid as my first place show.
1. WWE Raw
WWE Raw continued its streak of excellent shows. There was storytelling, good wrestling, and superstars being built all night. My next highlights would have all been segments on WWE Raw, which tells you how deep the show was.
Reverse Hipster's Winner of the Week
Impact is last. It was a go home show, and it was clear they were just trying to tie fans over until the PPV. SmackDown is in fifth place. It's a hard show to judge because it feels like it's a pretty great show, even in cruise control. The show wasn't bad, but the field of shows for the week was better. Rampage was above average. I hope the show can consistently be good in the future. Raw was all around really good as well and took third place. NXT combined story and wrestling to create another great show. NXT gets second place. Dynamite had the most wow moments and matches, and easily took first place.