The Wrap Up: Daggers & Dominance
Updated: Aug 7, 2022
Reverse Hipster's Highlights
10. (NXT) Chase U Studies Abroad
This week, Chase U went to London. It was a fun segment to watch. I laughed out loud at the lies Andre Chase told about the Queen being a fan of Chase U and him being knighted. Also, we got the signature Chase U ending, where Chase blows up at one of his students. Chase U is putting out the best NXT skits right now.
9. (Raw) Brock Lesnar Destroys Alpha Academy
Watching Brock beat Chad Gable and Otis in a one-on-two attack was more exciting than I expected. The lift of the belly to belly on Gable was incredible. Brock Lesnar delivered an F5 to Otis through a table like it was nothing. Hopefully, we get this intensity at SummerSlam.
8. (Impact) Honor No More vs. Bullet Club
I've been complaining that Honor No More has looked like chumps. However, that didn't happen this week. They defeated Bullet Club in the main event. The finish was exhilarating, just high spot after high spot until Doc Gallows got hit with a low blow and then taken out by a combination offense from Honor No More.
7. (NXT) Cora Jade Turns Heel
NXT opened with Roxanne Perez wincing from a beatdown from a mystery assailant, costing her the title match with Mandy Rose. This development was a good story for the night. Everyone was wondering who attacked Roxanne at the beginning of the night, and would we still see a title match? If so, would someone take her place? Cora tried to take Roxanne's place, but Roxanne showed up and gutted it out. Cora cost Roxanne the match, and then jumped her again to close the show. Even though some on Twitter suspected Cora was the mystery assailant, it was still an exciting heel turn. It was an excellent way to keep the title on Mandy, and it presents a compelling story in the future because Cora and Roxanne are still tag champions.
6. (Impact) The Undead Realm
Taya Valkyrie and Rosemary went to the Undead Realm. Rosemary told Taya not to follow the light, but she did. In the light, she found Havok, except Havok was going by the name Jessica. I love the willingness of Impact to take some creative risks and do an offbeat segment like this. I am interested in seeing this story develop.
5. (Impact) Mickie James vs. Chelsea Green
Mickie and Chelsea tried to outcrazy each other. Chelsea Green kissed Mickie James at the beginning of the match, but James was unfazed. James kissed Chelsea and took control of the matchup, but Chelsea outmaneuvered Mickie James and won the match. Mickie went home after the match and seemed to be giving up. It will be interesting to see what's next for her.
4. (Raw) Riddle and Bobby Lashley vs. Theory and Seth Rollins
This was an exciting match to end Raw. All four guys are stars with a lot of momentum right now. All four are also excellent wrestlers, and they delivered in this match. Riddle and Bobby won the match. Bobby speared Seth through the barricade, and Theory got hit with an RKO. The hottest match of Raw has been a tag match for two weeks in a row.
3. (Rampage) House of Black vs. Dark Order
House of Black and Dark Order had a surprisingly good match. Both teams are good, but Dark Order, especially John Silver, pressed the House of Black with fast-paced, explosive offense. In the end, House of Black won, but Dark Order had moments that made us think just maybe they might pull it out. Hopefully, Dark Order gets more opportunities because they are still outstanding. After the match, Darby Allin jumped Brody King, and Sting and Black had a stare down.
2. (Impact) Masha Slamovich vs. Tenille Dashwood
Masha faced her greatest competitor yet. Tenille is a very accomplished wrestler, partly responsible for starting the Women's Revolution, and Masha destroyed her. Masha is 12-0, and I love it. Many people have streaks, but Masha's brutality makes her matches stand out. She doesn't feel like someone written to win when you watch her. It just looks like she is destroying people.
1. (Dynamite) Swerve In Our Glory Captures the Tag Belts
Swerve and Keith Lee defeated Powerhouse Hobbs and Ricky Starks, and the Young Bucks to become the Tag Champions. The match started strangely. It was a little too cute with sequencing, and yet somehow slow. However, eventually, the match hit a fever pitch and started delivering on its potential. This triple threat match did an excellent job with false finishes. It felt like anybody could win, which brought me along for the ride to see who would finally get a clean three. The crowd erupted when Lee and Swerve won. This win was a massive moment for the team, which looked like they may break up just a few weeks ago. However, Tony Khan course-corrected, and now Swerve and Lee are finally being more prominently featured.
8. Violent By Design, Impact Wrestling
Even in defeat, Violent by Design is telling the much more interesting long story. Disappearing after weeks and coming back to a losing faction, Eric Young is teeter-tottering between trying to save the faction and leaving them to their own self destruction.
7. Giovanni Vinci vs. Apollo Crews, NXT 2.0
Apollo Crews’s NXT singles re-debut went exactly as it should have. He had an uber-impressive match in the opening to NXT with Giovanni Vinci. His involvement made this single’s match feel important enough that I was surprised it was opening weekly TV. Even with a dusty finish, Crews put over Vinci, which makes him feel like a main event player on NXT moving forward.
6. Madcap Moss vs. Theory, WWE SmackDown
I loved everything around this match more than the match itself. Theory had an entertaining week as a spoiled heel with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Backstage segments showed Paul Heyman trying to convince Theory and Madcap Moss to help him in exchange for a prestigious match against Roman Reigns at a future show. Moss is keeping his momentum from the Corbin feud with this win, and it doesn’t hurt Theory at all (and his character knows it). Theory taunting at the end of the match led Sami Zayn out to defend Reigns and the Usos. There is a lot more entertaining story to be told here.
5. Taya Valkyrie And Rosemary Go To The Shadow Realm, Impact Wrestling
I firmly believe Impact Wrestling is at it’s best when they get to do spooky and silly character work in a cinematic universe beyond the ring. Decay has a cast of characters that give them such a good venue to do so, and even though I don’t know that much about Taya Valkyrie, Rosemary, and Havok, I think they are already stumbling upon some great potential storytelling to offer something different to Impact.
4. Tag Team Division, AEW Rampage
AEW’s Tag Team Division is easily the best in wrestling. As evidenced on Rampage, they can have matches between tag teams that aren’t even in contention that in other promotions could be champions. The Dark Order, House of Black, Private Party, and Lucha Brothers all put on great matches.
3. Konosuke Takeshita, AEW Dynamite
I don’t love Jon Moxley’s ring work, but Konosuke Takeshita forced him to bring it from a wrestling standpoint. Takeshita has shined in every opportunity, and even fans who have no clue who he is before he wrestles are rooting for him by the end.
2. Wardlow vs. Orange Cassidy, AEW Dynamite
Orange Cassidy has been consistently presented as an elite competitor and draw in AEW, so this may have been Wardlow’s biggest win to date. The involvement of Trent and Chuck Taylor made this match consistently entertaining, and Wardlow held his own in the pure wrestling parts too. I like that Wardlow showed good sportsmanship at the end of the match, as presenting him the wrong way could have forced the crowd to turn on him at this crucial moment in his push.
1. Swerve In Our Glory Win The AEW Tag Team Championships, AEW Dynamite
This match could have been in the running for match of the night on an AEW PPV. Each time I thought someone had won, we got an incredible kickout or breakup of a pin. Every team got their moves in and looked strong. Going into the match, I thought Swerve and Keith Lee were the least likely to win. In one way, they aren’t even a true tag team, and a breakup has been looming with Swerve’s heel antics, but they told a story of redemption throughout the match. By the end, the crowd erupted for their win, and they absolutely earned it. Even though I wouldn’t trust Swerve just yet, I think AEW would be smart to use this team for a while.
Reverse Hipster's Lowlights
3. (NXT) Cora Jade Heel Turn
Cora was the heir apparent to dethrone Mandy Rose, and now she is the heel. How is that supposed to work? Is NXT going to have a heel vs. heel matchup with Mandy, or have someone less experienced like Nikkita Lyons or Roxanne Perez beat Mandy for the title? In the long term, I think NXT screwed up their best babyface.
2. (SmackDown) Ronda Rousey vs. Liv Morgan Build
I don't particularly appreciate how SmackDown used Natalya to build this feud. Liv Morgan beat Natalya this week. Then, Kayla Braxton insinuated Liv wasn't as good as Ronda because she didn't win as convincingly. Yes, it's true that Ronda dominated Natalya on a bum leg, but Ronda got that bum leg in a match with Natalya that she barely won. It's stupid to ignore that match and build this SummerSlam title match at Natalya's expense. No wonder there are reports of Natalya complaining about being used like a jobber.
1. (Dynamite) Konosuke Takeshita
Konosuke lost again. He had an above-average match with Jon Moxley, but given his recent booking, there was no way I could buy into the premise he might win. Konosuke is too talented to come in second place constantly. He needs to win some credible matches.
5. Lacey Evans promo, WWE SmackDown
Lacey Evans delivered this to the best of her ability, but I can’t help but think this is an awkward character. Evans’s attitude depended entirely on the assumption that fans would hate her in her return, and the reality is that she really won people over with her life story. I don’t know where you go from here, but I think refusing to wrestle is a waste of time for everyone.
4. Indi Hartwell vs. Lash Legend, NXT 2.0
I hate criticizing wrestlers because even in botched matches, they do things that I will never be able to do. Even prior to Indi Hartwell’s notable botch, this match was uninteresting. It did nothing to make me excited to see a future feud with Lash Legend and Alba Fyre either.
3. ROH Championship, AEW Rampage
At some point soon, AEW management has to make a push to present ROH seriously. In my mind, the championship match for ROH should have been the main event of Rampage at least. It was almost certain after the heel turn that Jonathan Gresham was going to win- even more so when it was placed in the middle of the card.
2. Jeff Jarrett, WWE SmackDown
The reused trope of singles match to promote a tag team match should not have the main event of WWE SmackDown. Moreso, I don’t think Jeff Jarrett was a big enough announcement to end the night. He didn’t even care enough to actually show up. Jarrett doesn’t at all fit the tone of the Usos and Street Profits feud, so I think this was just a bad creative choice to get him on the card in Nashville.
1. Why WWE Why?, NXT 2.0
I’m not sure why WWE refuses to allow an organic babyface to stay a hero with the crowd: Johnny Gargano, Sami Zayn, and now, add Cora Jade to that list. Jade’s turn is particularly baffling because she never got to hit the heights she should have as the heir apparent to lead NXT’s industry-leading women’s division. Jade and Roxanne Perez just won the tag team championships from Toxic Attraction (who had the most credibility in NXT 2.0 to pass on), and I think Perez would have been the more natural choice to turn, as she hasn’t shown off her personality nearly as much. Even though they executed the story as well as possible, I think the idea is doomed to failure.
Rob’s Winners Of The Week
6. WWE Raw
WWE Raw really didn’t give me much of anything to talk about, which is almost statistically impossible for a three hour show.
5. NXT 2.0
Even with the biggest down of the week, I have to admit NXT 2.0 was entertaining to watch all the way through.
4. WWE SmackDown
SmackDown’s entertaining storytelling segments throughout the night kept it from a lower rank, as the wrestling certainly wasn’t what made it the best WWE show this week.
3. Impact Wrestling
Impact Wrestling was all around solid this week, though I still think they need some new stars to mix up the same feuds.
2. AEW Rampage
AEW Rampage had four wrestling matches and showed off good wrestling as a continuation of Fyter Fest.
1. AEW Dynamite
Fyter Fest Night One was incredible. At worst, the matches were average. At best, they were PPV quality.
Reverse Hipster's Winner of the Week
Last place goes to SmackDown. The show felt like it was wasting time by just pushing feuds along and recapping. Also, the Jeff Jarrett reveal made zero sense. Rampage is in fifth place, and it mostly delivered a B show material once again. Dynamite is number four, primarily due to providing the highlight of the week, Swerve and Lee winning the titles. The rest of the show was just okay. Third place goes to NXT, which came close to putting together a complete show. They had an exciting story throughout the night, and the payoff was worthwhile. Raw is in second place. It wasn't the best Raw, but it had more exciting segments than most other shows. The winner of the week is Impact. Impact had the most entertaining matches and segments of the week.