Reverse Hipster's Highlights
10. (Dynamite & Rampage) Making an Impact
The Motor City Machine Guns made their presence felt on Rampage. They came in and disrespected FTR and Wardlow, and pointed out they were a real team with history, not just a ragtag team that was thrown together like Wardlow and FTR. Sonjay Dutt, producer and manager, even went further by making fun of Dax Harwood's daughter, and Dax had to be restrained by his teammates.
Also, on Dynamite, W. Morrissey is joining Stokely Hathaway. He took Stokely's card after beating up four people in the ring. Finally, the Stokely family has a giant.
9. (Impact) Honor No More
Honor No More finally justified their faction as a force by winning the Impact Tag Championships in the night's opening bout. I'm so happy the faction finally has gold. This was absolutely the right move by Impact.
8. (SmackDown) Don't Call It a Comeback
The New Day fought The Viking Raiders in a Vikings Rule Match, which was awesome. The match was great spot after great spot. Both teams got a chance to shine, but in the end, The Viking Raiders won with a double powerbomb to Xavier Woods through two tables stacked on top of each other. This feud has slowly, but surely been raised from the dead over the last few weeks.
Ronda Rousey seemed to be turning heel at SummerSlam. However, the change was poorly booked by WWE, and it just made fans love Ronda. Now, Ronda is like a colossal antihero. She is basically 2019 Becky Lynch. This week, Adam Pearce went off on Ronda and called her the biggest bitch he had ever seen, and Ronda easily beat him up and took his arm. I'm not sure where the Ronda character is going, but I'm in as long she keeps having moments like this on TV.
7. (NXT) New Challengers Arrive
NXT Women's Champions didn't have anyone to face in NXT, but then the perfect challengers arrived. Doudrop, who came from NXT U.K., and Nikki A.S.H., who is from Scotland. This is an excellent challenge for Kayden Carter. A chance and the fact that Doudrop and Nikki A.S.H. are main roster stars makes the match feel even bigger.
Ricochet also challenged Carmelo Hayes. Ricochet was spicier than he had been in a long time. He promised Melo a match people would actually remember. I love this feud for both guys. This will be a huge notch in Melo's belt, and Ricochet can get back to being the guy he was in NXT.
6. (Dynamite & Rampage) The Elite vs. The United Empire & Dark Order vs. The Best Friends
The Elite beat United Empire to advance to All Out. The match was incredible. It was a barrage of phenomenal trios wrestling with the momentum switching back and forth until The Elite finally took out United Empire one by one.
Dark Order beat Best Friends on Rampage to advance to the trio finals. The match was excellent, and I'm happy Dark Order won because they are so talented, but Dark Order gets so little credit. Also, I like the idea of Adam Page facing his friends, The Elite, in the finale.
5. (Raw) New Women's Tag Champions
Aliyah and Raquel Rodriguez won the Women's Tag Team Championship. I'm not going to lie, I struggled with whether to mark this as a highlight or a lowlight. Bayley's faction losing this match makes them look weak, in a moment where they could have looked dominant.
However, in the long run, Bayley's faction will be more relevant in the singles division and will be fine. Plus, this was an extraordinary moment for Raquel, former NXT champion. She has been on the main roster for a few months, and she is already a champion. Also, I'm so proud of Aliyah. I remember watching her on breaking ground when she was the youngest superstar in NXT, fighting for a roster spot and trying to get on TV for years. Now, she's a Women's Tag Team Champion and she got the winning pin. It was a huge moment.
4. (Raw) Advanced Storytelling
Raw is getting better and better each week. It's still not in peak form, but the weekly progression is happening. This week, Raw really showed off its advanced storytelling. The Miz is a victim of kidnapping by Dexter Lumis, who is still stalking him, and we have to tune in every week to get more information. I'm very interested in seeing what the end goal for this story will be.
Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle just made their nontitle feud way more personal and interesting when Seth brought up Riddle's divorce and called him a loser whose family and wife left him. These are the gripping angles I grew up watching, and I'm glad to see them return. Kevin Owens is being built stronger and stronger, but as he gets closer to his rematch with Roman Reigns, he has to confront his relationship with Sami Zayn. I love the new layer of story on Raw. Tell me in the comments what you think about it.
3. (Raw) Kurt Angle
Raw continued its trend of bringing back stars to enhance the current stars and make Raw feel important. I enjoyed seeing Edge prank Kurt again, but where Kurt made his impact was in the tag division.
The Street Profits and Alpha Academy had a great match with Kurt's freedom on the line. If The Street Profits lost, Kurt would have to enroll in Alpha Academy. This stipulation made an already great match feel important. The Street Profits won and chugged some milk with Kurt afterward. It was a great match/moment.
2. (Dynamite) Promos
Jon Moxley went to Chicago and danced on CM Punk's grave. He made fun of how quickly he beat CM Punk. Moxley apologized that CM Punk wasn't what everyone wanted, including what AEW wanted. It was a great promo that could have been half a shoot, but worked just as well as a kayfabe promo. Moxley accused Punk of having a weak spirit, fragile body, mind, and ego. This is one of Moxley's best promos in a while. CM Punk looked like he was ready to leave wrestling behind in his promo until CM Punk's coach came out and gave him a rousing speech. The speech was so good that I got chills. CM Punk felt it too because he got fired up and accepted Jon Moxley's open challenge for the title.
1. (Impact) Women's Division
Masha Slamovich had her best match with Deonna Purrazzo. Masha has brutally run through her opponents, but, finally, she has been put to the test. Masha was just too strong for Deonna, and she defeated Deonna with the Snow Plow. I love watching Masha rise to the top and get a match with Jordynne Grace. They should steal the show at Bound for Glory.
Another future contender made a huge announcement. Mickie James announced this week that she would be going on a retirement run. She will be doing open challenges on her way to the Impact Women's Championship. However, if she loses, she will retire. This will be great for Mickie's career and for the division.
Rob's Highlights 7. Dante Martin vs. Rey Fenix vs. RUSH vs. Wheeler Yuta, AEW Dynamite
This was an excellent thrown-together match that shows the explosive and high-flying ability of everyone in the Casino Ladder Match. If these competitors showed anything, this is a potential match of the night at All Out.
6. Hangman Page And The Dark Order vs. Best Friends, AEW Rampage
Continuing the great matches of the trios' tournament, this is the best that the Dark Order has looked in a long time. I love that they are riding the momentum of Hangman Adam Page's story with the Elite, but I think this time in the ring has made fans realize how talented John Silver and Alex Reynolds are too.
5. The Elite vs. Aussie Open, AEW Dynamite
This match was a lot of fun and played upon the angle of Will Ospreay being a Kenny Omega wannabe. The jabs at Ospreay during Omega's entrance were hilarious, but it also played out logically in the ring too. If AEW wants to set up a future Ospreay/Omega match, this is how you do it. The result was correct as the Elite propelled to the Trios Championship finals to face old friend Hangman Adam Page and the Dark Order.
4. Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, And The Bloodline, WWE Raw
WWE is excellently booking nuance in this story between long-time friends Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Zayn's character the last year has led him to be a lackey for the Bloodline, but it's clear Owens thinks he can be so much more. Roman Reigns is using Zayn to try to keep Owens away from the championship, and the Usos are growing impatient with Zayn's behavior and incompetence in following the plan. Everyone excellently executed this segment, and it continued to make Owens look strong.
3. Mickie James, Impact Wrestling
Mickie James cut a promo to remind everyone that she was a living legend. She was emotional, real, and purpose-driven. Her promo also set up the interesting stipulation that James will earn her way to challenge for the title and retire if she loses at any point on the way. It's reminiscent of Ric Flair's run to WrestleMania 24 and a golden stipulation to have built-in stakes for the entirety of the potential last ride of James's career.
2. Drew McIntyre, WWE SmackDown
Drew McIntyre outsmarted the Bloodline by jumping them during what was supposed to be Roman Reigns' two-year championship celebration. McIntyre ran over all of them, making him look as strong as anyone in that period. He has all the momentum going into Clash at the Castle, and now is the time to pull the trigger on him again and transfer Reigns' credibility to him.
1. Familiar Faces, NXT 2.0
NXT 2.0 had lots of appearances from stars across all branches of WWE. I thought this was an incredible way to make the Worlds Collide show seem more important and add some depth to the Labor Day weekend of shows. Ricochet entered to a big ovation to challenge Carmelo Hayes. Appearances by now-established WWE stars like Finn Balor, Rhea Ripley, Tomasso Ciampa, Shayna Baszler, and Butch played up the legacy of the respective brands of NXT and NXT UK. This was the best thing NXT could do to make the Worlds Collide show feel HUGE on short notice.
Reverse Hipster's Lowlights
4. (SmackDown) Happy Corbin vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Then Now Forever
This ref is everybody. We never need to see Corbin vs. Nakamura again. Especially with zero stakes. I don't know why they get matched up so often.
3. (Dynamite) Open Challenge
The idea that Jon Moxley would need to do an open challenge as the Undisputed AEW Champion on the biggest show of the year doesn't make sense. Plus, AEW has rankings. So either way you look at it, Moxley should already have a challenge as a champion. I feel Moxley having no match ahead of time makes it feel like the biggest champion in the company almost didn't make the PPV.
2. (NXT) Too Much Toxic Attraction
I love Toxic Attraction, but having them interfere with the tag team title match between Kayden Carter & Katana Chance, and Ivy Nile & Tatum Paxley wasn't a good idea. First off, it made the champions look like they couldn't get the win on their own. Second, it made it look like they weren't a draw and needed Toxic Attraction to show up to make it interesting. Also, Carter and Chance would never just breeze by a Toxic Attraction interference like it didn't matter. They wouldn't want that kind of assistance.
1 (Impact) One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
It seemed like Honor No More was taking over when Kenny King won the X-Division Title, but it was immediately retconned by the referee restarting the match because of interference. Then, Mike Bailey beat Kenny King for the title. I hated this. Mike Bailey retaining is boring. Kenny King stealing the title and Honor No More having all but the World Championship, which Eddie Edwards is challenging for, is a story. I don't know why Impact won't go all in on Honor No More.
Rob's Lowlights 3. Aliyah And Raquel Rodriguez Win the Women's Tag Team Championships, WWE Raw
A weeks-long tournament to bring the women's tag division back led to this underwhelming finals. It rightfully main evented the night, but it was not one of the better matches we've seen. Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky seemed like the natural winner, and this was one of those cases where predictable may have been the better route. I was also frankly surprised that Sasha Banks and Naomi didn't return yet, as I assumed Triple H would find a way to make that happen. At the end of the day, Aliyah and Raquel Rodriguez are good wrestlers, but the tournament left the Women's Tag Division in the same place it was before. Our champions are a thrown-together team with little to no story, and WWE is going to have to put the effort in to make this work.
2. Ronda Rousey's Suspension Lifted, WWE SmackDown
While fans continue to cheer for "the badass" Ronda Rousey, I don't really get excited by her antics. In this segment, Adam Pearce read aloud the result of her suspension, only to find out that it was lifted. Pearce cut a surprisingly good promo about how hard his job is and how nobody is appreciative. He called out Rousey for being spoiled and unprofessional for attacking WWE officials, and he was 100 percent right. Rousey attacked him, and if WWE doesn't take action, it will make no sense. This is a copycat authority storyline with less compelling pieces at best. At worst, this is going to be one of those hypocritical storylines that makes no sense.
1. Jon Moxley and CM Punk, AEW Dynamite
AEW announced that Jon Moxley would face CM Punk again for the AEW Championship at All Out. If that's the case, I think the match last week was a huge mistake. Moxley basically buried Punk's credibility, saying it was easy to beat him. The angle of Punk learning to believe in himself again was rushed and not as impactful as it should be. Now, AEW is in a lose-lose situation. If Punk loses again, he is as weak as Moxley says he is, but if Punk beats Moxley this time, the match last week will make no sense.
Reverse Hipster's Winners of the Week
NXT comes in last place because it felt like they were just holding off until their PPV. Rampage is in fifth place for putting on a better show than usual, and SmackDown is in fourth place. They put on a hollow, but entertaining show. Third place goes to Dynamite, which had some more exciting go-home moments, but also made the lowlights list. Impact is second because while it had the number one highlight, it also had the number one lowlight. Raw wins the week for having the most solid show without lowlights.
Rob's Winners of the Week
6. WWE Raw: This show didn't do a great job promoting Clash at the Castle, and it felt like a step back from past shows. 5. AEW Rampage: This was one of the better Rampage shows in a while. Setting up meaningful matches on Rampage is clearly the formula AEW should follow.
4. WWE SmackDown: Drew McIntyre ending the show strong, did the best job selling the show this weekend, but there was nothing else super notable from SmackDown. 3. AEW Dynamite: AEW Dynamite had the best in-ring work this week, but their storylines need major help. Contrasted to Double or Nothing earlier in the year, their biggest matches are thrown-together stories. Contrasted to last year's All Out, there is no major draw to this show, and I don't expect to see big surprises like last year's Adam Cole and Bryan Danielson debuts. 2. NXT 2.0: I'm giving NXT this spot because they did the best job selling their show this weekend. Even though the matches weren't tremendously meaningful, segments throughout the night kept the fans guessing who would show up next, and it really built the stakes for Worlds Collide. 1. Impact Wrestling: In a week where every other show was trying to promote a later show, I feel like Impact focused the most on their current show. They had a title change, a near-title change, a legendary promo, story building, and declared number one contenders all in the same show.
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