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The Wrap Up: End of the Line

Updated: Sep 7, 2022

Reverse Hipster's Highlights

10. (Impact) Masha Slamovich

Masha racked up another win. This time she destroyed Madison Rayne. Masha ripped off Madison's face gear, picked her up by her neck, and dumped her on her spine. Then, after the match, Gisele Shaw was announced as Masha’s next target. I think Shaw knew Masha wanted her so she tried to hide behind The Influence, but Masha just ran through them. Now, there is nowhere to hide.

9. (Impact) VXT vs. Mia Yim and Jordynne Grace

Mia and Jordynne came in with all the momentum. Jordynne suplexed both members of VXT (Deonna Purrazzo and Chelsea Green), and Mia Yim was also able to fight both members of VXT by herself. However, the team of VXT was too much for Mia and Jordynne. They took out Jordynne on the outside, then used a tag team Dueling Dragon Slam on Mia Yim to get the victory. VXT is a force to be reckoned with. Hopefully, they will win the tag titles.

8. (Dynamite) Dax Harwood

FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood) had a great promo ahead of their match at Death Defore Dishonor. Dax specifically talked about his daughter, who overcame a hole in her heart, and how he would make her proud. He said he would fight like a little girl and everyone popped. Dax keeps leveling up, and he’s one of the most valuable active wrestlers.

7. (SmackDown) SummerSlam Build

WWE upped their SummerSlam build this week. Happy Corbin jumped Pat McAfee on commentary and they brawled, which was overdue. It was exciting, but also kind of funny to watch Michael Cole call Corbin a fool as Corbin punted Pat out of his chair.

Liv Morgan and Ronda Rousey also had a good segment. Ronda was arrogant as hell, saying she respected Liv, but she knew she would beat her. Ronda also demanded that Liv shake her hand when she beats her. Super condescending, but Liv didn’t back down. She said she would beat Ronda not because she is better, but because she wants this more as she is more passionate. I love that WWE is using Ronda being perceived as uninterested in WWE for their story.

6. (NXT) Brooks Jensen, Josh Briggs and Fallon Henley vs. Pretty Deadly, NXT Tag Championship Match

I'm a big fan of Brooks Jensen, Josh Briggs, and Fallon Henley. I like their characters, and I’m glad they became U.K. Tag Champions. They had a good match. It looked like Pretty Deadly would screw them out of the titles by using the title belts as a weapon. However, Fallon stopped them, and then Briggs and Jensen hit their finisher and retained the titles.

5. (Impact) Deaner vs. Mike Bailey

Deaner surprised me in this match. He definitely surpassed my expectations. This match was a banger out of nowhere. The best spot of the match had to be Mike Bailey dodging a baseball slide on the apron and immediately going into a moonsault. Bailey won the match, and if he keeps having matches like this, he will put the X-Division back on the map.

4. (Impact) Alex Shelley vs. Chris Sabin

Alex Shelley beat Chris Sabin in a tremendous main event match. There was reversal on top of reversal, and you could really tell these two knew each other well. The smoothness of the transitions between sequences was especially impressive. Although, I will say, there was a move where Sabin was dropped backward on his head, on purpose. I know these guys trust each other and know what they are doing, but that just looked way too risky. Otherwise, it was a great match. It didn’t matter who won because both were great options.

3. (SmackDown) Hot Opening and Closing

SmackDown started off hot with an energetic promo by The Street Profits after Stephanie McMahon thanked Vince McMahon for his time in WWE. Then, Austin Theory came out to a big reaction of boos. Next, The Usos came and started jaw-jacking. It turned into a giant brawl. Madcap Moss ran out and things got even crazier. Angelo Dawkins flipped over the top rope after leapfrogging Moss and his side stood tall. I like seeing a big run-in brawl at the beginning of SmackDown. It's exciting and reminds me of the golden age of SmackDown.

This, of course, led to a six-man tag match in the main event with good wrestling, but even better booking. The Usos planned to turn on Theory, but then Theory turned on them, refusing to tag. However, then one of The Usos blocked Theory from leaving, and they beat him up and tagged him in. But, when The Usos tried to abandon Theory, they got taken out by The Street Profits. Then, it came down to Moss and Theory, and Theory caused a DQ with the briefcase. Just when it looked like the crowd was going home on a sour ending, Brock Lesnar came out. Brock, who was rumored to have walked out, which never made sense. I don’t know whether he came back or it was a fake story from the beginning, but, either way, the crowd popped hard. Brock beating up Theory was the perfect way to end SmackDown.

2. (Dynamite) Eddie Kingston vs. Chris Jericho

This barbed wire match had everything. It reminded me of ECW because of the run-ins, interference, and violence. Anna Jay turned heel, stole the key that locked the Jericho Appreciation Society in the shark cage, and gave it to Tay Conti. I believe Tay and Anna are at their best together, so this is good. Jericho and Eddie went to war, slamming each other through barbed wire tables and generally having no regard for physical pain. However, Sammy Guevara made his return and helped Jericho steal the victory. Eddie threw Jericho through a bed of barbed wire after the match. This felt like the moment where Eddie should have won. I’m interested to see how they can try and top this.

1. (Dynamite) Darby Allin vs. Brody King

This match was brutal. It was a regular match on the same card as a barbed wire match, and I cringed more in this one. Darby Allin put up a good fight. It even looked like he might tap King out at one point, but King powered out and went to work, destroying Darby's back. Darby has the strongest back in wrestling, but King tested it. He flipped into the corner with Darby on his back, choked Darby out, and slammed Darby vertically on his spine to win the match. It was vicious. Sting ran in to help Darby, but he got hit by Malakai Black's mist and choked out. However, Miro showed up to confront the House of Black as well. I’m interested to see that play out.

Rob’s Highlights

8. Subtle Storytelling, AEW Dynamite

AEW didn’t have the Dynamite matches we’ve come to expect from these bigger shows, but they did do a good job advancing stories. Darby Allin and Brody King’s one-on-one match continued the feud between House of Black and Allin/Sting. A tag team match played with the story of Wheeler Yuta leaving Best Friends. Jungle Boy returned, and Luchasaurus stepped aside, revealing his alliance with Christian Cage wasn’t as strong as we thought. Ricky Starks retained the FTW title and set up a future match with Danhausen, creating intrigue about who Hook might side with.

7. Diamond Mine, NXT 2.0

Roderick Strong took on Damon Kemp this week, and I love the slow-burn storytelling. With Strong’s “my way or the highway” style of leadership, everyone in Diamond Mine is slowly turning against him, and Strong is losing his grip on his followers. I hope Strong gets kicked out in the end, as the Diamond Mine group is perfect for the other stars and never quite fit Strong.

6. Logan Paul on MizTV, WWE Raw

I know many people aren’t going to buy into Logan Paul as a credible WWE star, but this celebrity model is starting to be a proven truth for WWE. Paul clearly took his in-ring training and debut seriously, and Paul and the Miz put in above-average work on the mic in the closing segment of Raw. Paul’s character not taking no for an answer and working extra hard to prove the haters wrong provides a direct comparison to the Miz- a recipe for a good first feud.

5. Theory vs. Everybody, WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown

Sometimes, the best stories are a little muddy and less defined than a one-on-one rivalry. On Raw, Theory is feuding with AJ Styles and Dolph Ziggler. The story is interesting because I think they both hold resentment toward Theory but for different reasons. Theory is like a younger version of both of them, but Styles is mad because Theory is too cocky, while Ziggler is mad because he still feels passed over. On SmackDown, Theory was basically against Madcap Moss, the Street Profits, and The Usos. By the end, Theory even got Brock Lesnar to come out and rock him with an F-5. Theory’s persona is causing everybody to be after him, and he still has matches looming with Bobby Lashley and potentially a world championship cash-in against Roman Reigns or Lesnar.

4. Alex Shelley Number One Contender; KUSHIDA debuts, Impact Wrestling

I feel like many people expected Chris Sabin to win this match and become the number one contender. Impact is at its best when it gives people like Alex Shelley a chance that they wouldn’t get in other major U.S. promotions. Shelley showed why he is still one of the best independent wrestlers. After an attack by Violent by Design, KUSHIDA debuted and returned to his alliance with the Motor City Machine Guns. KUSHIDA is another great addition to an Impact Roster that desperately needs more credible stars.

3. Women’s Battle Royal: The Good, NXT 2.0

Battle Royals are such a free way to build intrigue for a number one contender immediately. Even with many departed stars like Io Shirai, NXT has one of the best women’s rosters in wrestling. The search for Mandy Rose’s next challenger was exciting because we still don’t know who will knock off the long-reigning champion. Zoey Stark’s return and win made her immediately a player in the battle royal. We saw unique spots from Wendy Choo, Tiffany Stratton, Katana Chance, and Kayden Carter. Alba Fyre and Lash Legend took each other out. In particular, Stratton and Nikkita Lyons looked strong throughout the match. There was a lot to love about this battle royal booking.

2. FTR Promo, AEW Dynamite

Incredibly, FTR have never been babyfaces in this way before. Dax Harwood is a natural babyface, as he went through one of the best promos talking about how his daughter facing medical hardships inspired him to work harder for his family. It was a typical trope we’ve seen a thousand times in WWE, and Harwood made it feel authentic and fresh, making you want to root as hard for FTR as you have for any tag team ever.

1. Thank You, Vince, WWE SmackDown

No news matters more than Vince McMahon retiring from WWE. McMahon is a horrible person, and this is potentially monumental news opening up the creative potential for their current roster. In fairness, you have to acknowledge that this guy laid the groundwork for the company we watch for hours every week. Without McMahon, we probably wouldn’t even be wrestling fans, and some of our favorite moments would have never been on screen. WWE’s growth and size led to stable employment for some of our favorite wrestlers of the last 40 years. Moving forward, I hope they can build on WWE ethically and creatively.

Reverse Hipster's Lowlights

3. (SmackDown) Maxxine Dupri

It’s been reported by PWTorch that Max Dupri is no longer doing the Maximum Male Models gimmick. They have replaced him with Maxxine Dupri. I think this is a horrible idea. We know nothing about Maxxine, except that she is hot, and she can apply that anywhere else. This gimmick is the one that Max Dupri got over, and it completely falls apart without him. Max Dupri was funny and interesting. WWE should run with it. Max actually had a good character. It’s foolish to take it away. John Cena's gimmick got heat in the back too, but it's a good thing that didn't stop him.

2. (NXT) Cora Jade's Heel Turn

I've been somewhat mixed in my message about this. That’s because it’s not all bad, but the timing also couldn’t be worse. I was ready to get on board last week because Cora is still interesting as a heel. However, then she gives up the tag belts by throwing them in the trash. Not cool. Those belts were more credible than the main roster ones, and WWE crapped on them for no reason. But, it would have all been worth it if Cora won the Battle Royal and won the title. However, she lost in the most embarrassing way possible. She was thrown out, in like a second, in a failed sneak attack at the end. Boo.

1. Raw

Raw was pretty bad. It was overall bad. Three hours of programming and there wasn’t a single highlight. The Raw Women’s Title did not even main event, and that’s because WWE couldn’t even pretend like Carmella had a chance to beat Bianca Belair. Logan Paul and The Miz closed the show, but who cares about that feud? There is nothing on the line. I don’t mean a title either, but seriously if Logan or The Miz wins, what’s the difference? WWE has a nasty habit of throwing wrestlers together in a match, and having no stakes and no reasons for the audience to care what happens. That's what happened for most of Raw. If you disagree, tell me what important development I would have missed if I had skipped Raw this week?

Rob’s Lowlights

4. Opening Promo, WWE Raw

Titus O’Neil opened WWE Raw with a speech about how WWE was never political and always delivered good content. It feels weird for O’Neil to be the authority on this as a WWE ambassador when he hasn’t wrestled on TV in years. Weird segments like these continued while the Vince McMahon investigation was looming.

3. Gunther, WWE SmackDown

So far, Gunther’s Intercontinental title reign has been uneventful, and I haven’t loved any of his matches on the main roster. In addition, WWE seems to be keeping midcard titles off of premium live event cards like Summerslam, which makes him feel unimportant.

2. Women’s Battle Royal: The Bad, NXT 2.0

In a match with so many storytelling elements, a lot stopped it from being perfect. Too many stars were distracted by side feuds. It made them look bad when they worked hard to tear each other down and lost a chance at the biggest title in their division. Likewise, Cora Jade had the whole roster against here and pulled off the heel move of leaving and coming back when there was only one other woman left. Immediately getting eliminated made Jade look horrible- her heel run is the biggest story in NXT but is off to a bad start. Zoey Stark might be the worst battle royal competitor of all time- at least twice, when Tiffany Stratton was on the ropes, she took her foot off the gas and slowed down the match instead of going for the elimination or the win. Stark didn’t have any credibility with me going into the match, so I’m a little disappointed she was the winner compared to hotter options in the division, but I’m willing to give it a chance.

1. Eddie Kingston vs. Chris Jericho, AEW Dynamite

This was the match I was looking forward to most all week. Eddie Kingston and Chris Jericho’s months-long feud has revolved around Kingston proving to Jericho that he is good enough. At every big match, Kingston has been denied this moment. Anarchy in the Arena created more stories than it resolved. Blood and Guts saw Claudio Castagnoli get the win when Kingston thought he would finally get Jericho to step out. This big match didn’t resolve that feeling either. I thought the Barbed Wire stipulation would cover both wrestlers' weak spots, but the match still felt slow and poorly paced. It never felt like Kingston was trying to kill Jericho when it should have felt like that the whole time. Kingston continues to get his big moment kept from him, as Jericho won, and the bigger story coming out of the match was Anna Jay reuniting with Tay Conti. The spot at the end was a weak way to cover up what AEW knows- the chance to actually push Kingston as a main event babyface is gone.

Rob’s Winner of the Week

6. Raw

Raw was mostly mediocre again this week, aside from a few okay segments. With only one World Champion and Cody Rhodes gone, Raw is scrambling for a main event attraction and trying to force Miz/Logan Paul or Theory in that spot.

5. AEW Dynamite

AEW Dynamite had good storytelling but under-delivered on matches, namely the main event.

4. AEW Rampage

AEW Rampage continues to have average to good matches, but it needs more purpose to get higher on this list consistently.

3. Impact Wrestling

Impact Wrestling gets by most weeks by not being egregiously bad. A lot of it is boring, but the good segments, like their number one contender main event, keep it above shows with overtly bad segments.

2. NXT 2.0

NXT 2.0 had the biggest thing to talk about this week in the Women’s Battle Royal, but it came with pros and cons. The rest of NXT was solid.

1. SmackDown

With looming rumors that Brock Lesnar left the premises and SmackDown was being rewritten, it ended up being a good show. McMahon’s appreciation segment was the perfect length, and the rumors made Lesnar’s eventual entrance electric.

Reverse Hipster's Winner of The Week

Raw is in dead last. Three hours and no highlights is unacceptable. Bianca Belair is a main event talent, and their problems would be solved if creative gave her a main event storyline. Rampage was a B show, once again, with zero highlights. The Rap Battle was almost a highlight, but Lil Scrappy didn't care at all, and it ruined the segment. NXT is in fourth place. It had a great chance to be great this week, but booking hurt the show as much as it helped it. SmackDown gets bronze this week because even though their backs were against the wall, they delivered one of the most entertaining shows of the week. Dynamite comes in second. They had great matches and a great promo by Dax Harwood. Impact takes home the gold this week because it produced the most highlights.

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