Updated: Oct 11
Reverse Hipster's Highlights
11. (SmackDown) Braun Strowman vs. Otis
I was excited to see these two monsters brawl, and they did not disappoint. This is the first time in a long time I have seen someone challenge Braun physically. Otis was so good in this match I ended up rooting for him. Otis World Strongest slammed Braun and Vader Bombed Braun, but couldn't get the job done. Braun powerbombed Otis for the win, but after failing to pick him up once, there was so much drama about whether or not Braun could pick Otis up. This was a great undercard match-up.
10. (Impact) Joe Hendry
Joe Hendry does these bizarre skits, where people are going through messed up situations. Then, Hendry shows up and makes everything worse, but because he is playing his theme song, everyone smiles and claps like everything is going great. I'm not sure if Joe Hendry is supposed to be like a sinister hypnotist or if this is a hilarious joke about motivational speakers, but either way, I'm intrigued.
9. (Raw) Bobby Lashley Retains U.S. Title Against Seth Rollins
Bobby Lashley and Seth should have main evented. They had a great back and forth match. Seth tried to curb stomp Lashley, but his neck was too strong, and Lashley just no sold it. That was a creative way to show off Bobby Lashley's strength. Bobby caught Seth in the Hurt Lock, and Seth barely escaped. In the end, it was Matt Riddle's interference that led to Bobby spearing Seth for the win. I love this finish because this way Bobby gets to keep his title and look strong, Riddle and Seth progress their feud, and Seth avoids looking weak.
8. (NXT) JD McDonagh Defeats Tyler Bate in No. 1 Contenders Match
This match stood head and shoulders above the rest of the night's wrestling in terms of match quality. JD has been built up for weeks, and Tyler Bate has tons of momentum from NXT Worlds Collide. What I loved about this match was that it was unpredictable. I didn't know what move was coming next. The action was spectacular and smooth, yet it still felt like a fight. Plus, the momentum of the match bounced back and forth like a seesaw until JD won. Then, after it was over, Iija Dragunov appeared and did a stare down with the champ. This is a fantastic development. Dragunov alone would have been great, but a triple threat will be incredible.
7. (SmackDown) Champion Development
Liv Morgan proved she could go extreme this week by beating ex-military superstar Lacey Evans, brutalizing Lacey with kendo sticks, and then jumping off the top turnbuckle to the outside and crushing Lacey through a table. I love Liv's new edge.
I also loved what WWE did with The Bloodline. I laughed out loud when Jey Uso ripped apart Sami Zayn's Bloodline shirt, thinking Sami would be kicked out of the group only for Roman Reigns to give him an Honorary Uce shirt. Jey's face made the entire segment. Then, later that night, The Usos had a great title defense against The Brawling Brutes that really showed off what The Brutes could do. Also, Imperium got involved, so it appears they aren't done with The Brutes yet.
6. (Impact) Better Matches
Last week, Impact had a lackluster show that effectively promoted their PPV, but was completely left in the dust by the five other weekly wrestling shows. This week, Impact improved by putting on way better matchups. They had an intergender five-way with Black Taurus, Mia Yim, Trey Miguel, Alex Zayne, and Laredo Kid. Black Taurus won, but the highlight was watching Mia mix it up with the guys.
Brian Myers defeated Bhupinder Gujjar in an excellent ladder match for the Social Media Title. I loved the finish of Myers trapping Gujjar with ducktape. It was very creative.
Heath got a huge win over PCO in a Street Fight that advanced his story with Honor No More and PCO's story with Eddie Edwards because PCO defied Eddie to even be in this match. Plus, Josh Alexander came out and helped Heath, progressing his story with Eddie Edwards.
Also, the Motor City Machine Guns defeated Aussie Open to earn a shot at the Impact Titles. The tag match was great, showing of athleticism and ingenuity.
5. (Dynamite) The Acclaimed Win the AEW Tag Titles
Once again, Tony Khan has course corrected. For a long time, it felt like The Acclaimed had been one of the most over groups, but they had a ceiling because they weren't the superstars being focused on. Finally, they got their moment, and it felt like the fans won. The Acclaimed slayed Swerve In Our Glory with some assistance from Daddy Ass. It was a career-defining moment for The Acclaimed, who not only won their first titles, but, in doing so, crowned Anthony Bowens the first gay wrestler to win a title in AEW. I can't wait to see what The Acclaimed do with the titles.
4. (Dynamite) Jon Moxley Defeats Bryan Danielson For the AEW Title
Tony Khan should have done this the first time CM Punk relinquished the title, with Moxley and Wheeler Yuta. At least Tony learns from his mistakes. This match was excellent. Far more technical a match than I expected, but I appreciated all the counters to show how well Moxley and Bryan knew each other. I was rooting for Bryan, but Moxley deserved this win too. Moxley was one of the first WWE guys to jump ship and carry the AEW banner. When Punk went down, Moxley did it again, and then he came back from vacation to do it again. When AEW was at a crossroads, Moxley guided them through. That's just one layer. The character, Moxley, got knocked down by Punk and literally climbed back up to win the title again. That's a champion. Plus, he finally beat Bryan Danielson as well. It was just such a great moment.
3. (Dynamite) Pac Defeats Orange Cassidy to Retain the Mid-Atlantic Title
This might have been the most insignificant match storywise, but it was the night's best match. Pac is a machine, and Orange Cassidy is on a tear right now. I wish Orange Cassidy would have won, but I'm glad that if he had to lose, it was because Pac cheated by hitting him with a foreign object. This way, Orange Cassidy gained a moral victory. Pac walked in thinking Orange Cassidy was just a joke who was beneath him, but, in the end, Pac had to cheat to escape with his title.
2. (Dynamite) Toni Storm Retains and Saraya Returns
The women's division has been a weak point for AEW for the longest time. They lost free agents to Impact wrestling because of their weak women's division/booking, keeping them from competing with WWE. However, at Grand Slam, I sensed a change in the air.
Serena Deeb, Athena, Toni Storm, and Britt Baker had an excellent fatal 4-way. The action was innovative and fast-paced, and highlighted a growing women's roster. In the end, Toni won after pinning a busted open Britt Baker. However, when the heels started beating down the faces after the match, Saraya, formerly known as Paige in WWE, made her debut. It took a little longer than predicted, but Rob's prediction finally came true. Saraya's debut is not only a monumental wrestling return to feel the void of CM Punk's exit, it's also a culture change that shows AEW will start moving the needle with the women's roster.
Rampage was terrific this week. Just like SmackDown last week, Rampage didn't miss a beat. Jungle Boy got a signature win over Rey Fenix in an incredible match. Then, Jungle Boy was brutally attacked by Luchasaurus and Christian Cage, progressing their feud.
Wardlow finally got his hands on Smart Mark Sterling, which was cathartic.
Adam Page earned a title shot in an entertaining Battle Royal, and it just felt right. Adam Page didn't get another shot at his title after the CM Punk injury, and Moxley didn't have the opportunity to beat Page. Moxley and Page is a money matchup.
Jade Cargill had an excellent match on Rampage against Diamante. I don't know who Diamante is, but she wrestled like I should know who she is. I think AEW booked Jade well by having her have one big spot before earning her victory. Also, getting Trina to come out and acknowledge Jade was such a moment.
Trina wasn't the only musical guest, though. Action Bronson came out and wrestled with HOOK, and they won with simultaneous Redrum submissions. Bronson actually looked really good in his debut match, and he performed their entrance song before the match.
Darby and Sting had an amazing brawl with the last two members of the House of Black. It was complete carnage, everything you want from a no-DQ match. Plus, The Great Muta returned to help Sting get the win.
Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs finally gave us the match they should have had at All Out. It was a war that looked painful as hell, but in the end, Starks won. This was the right choice because he is the rising star, and AEW needs to keep stoking his flame. Sammy Guevara and Eddie Kingston had a very physical matchup that played off their real-life fight backstage. The actual match was great, but it also showed that the AEW locker room is healing and moving forward, and the finish was great. Eddie won the match, but wouldn't let go of the hold, so he was disqualified, and Sammy got the win.
10. Jungle Boy vs. Rey Fenix, AEW Rampage
Can Rey Fenix have a bad match? I know I’m biased, but the things he does in the ring are just unreal. Jungle Boy looked better being in the ring with him, and I just hope Fenix gets a singles push at some point in his AEW career. Jungle Boy got set up with Christian and Luchasaurus, and there are still legs to that feud.
9. Extreme Rules, Impact Wrestling
With the WWE show coming up, Impact Wrestling decided to get extreme early. The opening match was a high-risk ladder match between Brian Myers and Bhupinder Guijar that was consistently entertaining. Later in the night, Heath’s open challenge turned into a brawl with insane spots with PCO and continuing Heath’s vendetta against Honor No More.
8. Eddie Kingston gets his win, AEW Rampage
Eddie Kingston desperately needed some credibility in the ring, and he got it with a brutal win over Sammy Guevara. I think everything made sense in the context of the feud and match. Guevara was too cocky and pissed off Kingston to the point that he brought his a game and choked him out.
7. Long Matches, WWE Raw
WWE Raw continues to make three hours fly. They had great in-ring work, featuring longer matches from Seth Rollins/Bobby Lashley, Kevin Owens/Austin Theory, and a women’s main event in Bayley/Alexa Bliss. Playing with the formula of Raw makes it seem so fresh.
6. Ilja Dragunov Returns, NXT
The main event between JD McDonagh and Tyler Bate was solid but ultimately pointless because they have both already lost to Bron Breakker. Ilja Dragunov made the closing segment by making his return and continuing the trend of credible UK wrestlers coming to NXT. The clash of styles with Breakker should be a highlight of NXT’s next show.
5. Hangman Adam Page Becomes Number One Contender, AEW Rampage
Adam Page should still be AEW’s champion. Page had the best story of any of AEW’s championships, and a lot of drama could have been avoided if he went over CM Punk at Double or Nothing earlier in the year. Page and Jon Moxley is a fresh match, and I’m all behind Hangman to get a redemption title reign since Moxley is on his third already.
4. Chris Jericho Wins the Ocho, AEW Dynamite
Chris Jericho shocked the world by beating Claudio Castagnoli for the ROH World Championship. It felt like Castagnoli was the long plan to promote ROH, so Jericho’s win was huge for mainstream appeal. Jericho cheated to win, which goes against everything ROH stands for. It continued the feud of JAS vs. BCC and Daniel Garcia’s conflicted feelings. I also love that it continued Jericho’s character as a crafty legend who can win a big match at any time.
3. The Acclaimed Win the Tag Team Championships, AEW Dynamite
Better late than never. It wasn’t as good as their clash at All Out, but the Acclaimed have finally won the tag team championships. It feels like this is the first big moment for a homegrown AEW talent, and they absolutely deserved it. It will be interesting to see how AEW keeps the babyfaces hot in a stacked tag division moving forward.
2. Sami Zayn and The Bloodline, WWE SmackDown
The opening to SmackDown was a perfect segment. They played with our heartstrings, teasing that the Bloodline was going to kick out Sami Zayn before establishing him as an Honorary Uce. If this is any teaser for the payoff of this feud, it is going to be heartbreaking when the Bloodline betrays him and kicks him out. Later, Solo Sikoa defended Zayn in a brutal locker room attack. In the main event, the Usos retained against the Brawling Brutes, and the new and improved Bloodline stood tall to end the show. They are the premiere faction of the biggest wrestling company in the world right now.
1. Saraya, AEW Dynamite
For my money, there couldn’t be any bigger news this week. Saraya (formerly WWE’s Paige) is in AEW. AEW desperately needs more depth in its women’s division. It is unclear if Saraya will wrestle, but if so, she is that star that can bring them to the next level. If she isn’t wrestling, Saraya is still an asset to the credibility of the women’s division.
Reverse Hipster's Lowlights
2. (NXT) Carmelo No Longer a Champ
Shawn Michaels informed Solo Sikoa that he would have to relinquish the title, and a six-man ladder match for the title was set to crown a new champion. I think the championship match will be great, but I don't like the booking.
If you are going to rock with Solo, go all the way. This reminds me of Damage CTRL. Now that Solo has been stripped of the title, Carmelo Hayes has to earn his title all over.
Also, from a booking standpoint, Carmelo has to win the title, but if he does, it will be predictable. However, if he doesn't, it will undermine his credibility. Speaking of undermining his credibility. Andre Chase beat Melo in a match after a hilarious promo segment between the two. However, having just lost his title, Melo needed this win more.
1. (Dynamite) Jericho Wins the ROH Title
The match between Chris Jericho and Claudio Castagnoli was good, and I know this win gave Chris a title he had never attained before. I also know this win furthers his story with Daniel Garcia because now both Jericho and Garcia are ROH champs, but Chris is the antithesis of what ROH stands for. However, I still think Claudio should have kept the ROH belt. Claudio had finally become a World Champion, and in his reign, he beat the people we expected him to beat. However, as soon as he got a big kahuna like Jericho, he lost. It's not a good look for Claudio, and I think it looks like AEW gave up on Claudio. Instead of building Claudio up to his potential, they went for the easy draw. It feels like something Vince McMahon would do in WWE.
3. NXT Rebranding, NXT
Last week, WWE announced a move away from NXT 2.0 and back to NXT. They revealed a new white and gold logo, a symbol of a melding of old and new NXTs. This week, they didn’t change anything else about the branding. The ring looked the same, and animations featured the white and gold logo on the multicolored paint splotch backdrop. NXT would have been wise to delay the announcement of the new logo until they had a whole new set ready to go, as they canceled out all momentum from the announcement.
2. North American Championship, NXT
I was already uncertain about Solo Sikoa taking the championship off Carmelo Hayes last week. They made it even dumber this week, with HBK immediately taking the belt off of Sikoa. Hayes took a loss for no reason, and Sikoa doesn’t even get to promote NXT on SmackDown long-term.
1. Jon Moxley Pt. 3, AEW Dynamite
This was a good match between Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson, but not really my style of professional wrestling. AEW desperately needed a reliable leader to hold the championship, and I have to admit Moxley is that guy. But I can’t help but call this a lowlight. Moxley’s matches have been frankly boring, and he hasn’t done anything in feuds to get me excited. Danielson would have been the more exciting winner here and still a quality leader for AEW. I have to think this is setting up an MJF win off Moxley, which would be exciting.
Reverse Hipster's Winners of The Week
6th Place Raw
Raw has been steadily falling back in the rankings because they don't have enough sizzle. It's great that Raw is doing more long-term storytelling like The Miz and Dexter Lumis, but we still need exciting developments in the interim. Raw is not just competing with other wrestling shows, but also with the NFL. They need to be doing a lot more.
5th Place NXT
NXT had an awesome main event, but the rest of the show was just okay. Plus, they ended up on the lowlights list. NXT is humming at a nice pace, and I fully expect them to bounce back in the future.
4th Place SmackDown
SmackDown had a pretty solid show this week, but the top three shows went above and beyond, and SmackDown just didn't match that energy.
3rd Place Impact
Impact was terrific this week, and it felt like they were putting on a free PPV this week. They had great matches with meaningful stakes and great character development.
2nd Place Dynamite
Wow, Dynamite, this week was like AEW's WrestleMania Night One. Title changes, surprise returns, and amazing matches. It had it all. The only con was the Chris Jericho title win.
1st Place Rampage
Rampage's two-hour special was AEW's WrestleMania Night Two. It was easily the best Rampage I've ever seen. Grand Slam ended up being the best special TV show AEW has put together thus far, and I would honestly take it over all their PPVs this year. Rampage was perfect. There was nothing to nitpick. It was just banger after banger. Who would have thought in highlight reel week that Rampage would be the number one show? Rampage has gone from the bottom of my list to the top.
Rob’s Winners of the Week
6. NXT: NXT was hurt by dumb booking decisions and is risking becoming a stale product.
5. Impact Wrestling: Impact took a step in the right direction this week with more entertaining matches and feeling less stale than past weeks.
4. Raw: Raw continued their trend of good matches, but it didn’t have the depth of content that past Raw episodes have had.
3. SmackDown: SmackDown wasn’t consistently entertaining, but the presentation of the Bloodline gets an A+ from me.
2. Dynamite: Dynamite Grand Slam was the show that lived up to the hype- a big title change, big debut, and high stakes main event. AEW is great at making sure you keep tuning in.
1. Rampage: I expected Dynamite Grand Slam, but Rampage Grand Slam surprised me at every turn. I think they had a higher match quality overall, unexpected surprises like Great Muta, and more justice for AEW favorites like Adam Page and Ricky Starks.