The Wrap Up: Is There No One Left?
Updated: Jul 18, 2022
Reverse Hipster's Highlights
9. (Dynamite) Dax Harwood vs. Will Ospreay
Will defeated Dax in a great match. This is how Will should be portrayed as a great wrestler and a winner. Dax was the perfect opponent because he is known to put on fantastic matches, but he could also afford to lose. Hopefully, AEW has big plans for Dax down the road.
8. (Rampage) Jade Cargill vs. Willow Nightingale, TBS Championship
Jade won again and remained undefeated. Jade looked good. This is probably her third-best title defense. I hope some company does more with Willow because she doesn’t have bad matches. She always presents a challenge to her opponents. Despite her losses, I always walk away impressed with her performance.
7. (Rampage) Jon Moxley vs. Dante Martin
Jon Moxley defeated Dante. The match didn’t have stakes, but it was so entertaining that I had to put it on the list. Dante took it to Moxley. So many times it felt like Dante would get the upset victory. However, Moxley proved to be too tough and experienced. This was a great look for Moxley, who needed some momentum.
6. (Impact) Masha Slamovich vs. Alisha Edwards
Masha defeated Alisha with ease. Alisha came out swinging, but Masha neutralized her with a single back fist. Then, the fun began with back-to-back slams. Until, mercifully, Masha delivered her finisher. Masha is 11-0.
5. (Impact) Honor No More vs. Aces & Eights
Honor No More wins again, proving they are a severe threat. However, they were thwarted when they tried to take out D'Lo Brown. Seeing D'Lo fight again and pull out a sky-high was fun. Also, Team Impact helped D'Lo and stood tall against Honor No More for the first time in a long time.
4. (Impact) Jordynne Grace & Mia Yim vs. Tasha Steelz & Savannah Evans
Tasha and Savannah defeated Grace and Yim. Grace and Yim dominated early, but then Savannah interfered, laying them out. However, then Savannah was taken out, and it seemed like Steelz was done. However, the champ single-handedly took out Yim and Grace, showing why she is the Impact Champion. Queen of the Mountain should be great, if this match is any indication.
3. (NXT) Wes Lee vs. Xyon Quinn
Wes Lee defeated Xyon Quinn again. Xyon called the first match a fluke, and it kind of was. However, this time there was no fluky rollup. Wes knocked Xyon out cold with a backflip kick, and then he hit him with the X Marks the Spot, the spot off the top rope. Wes has an exciting in-ring style and good look, and he isn’t a bad promo either. If WWE handles Wes Lee correctly, he could become a star.
2. (Dynamite) Young Bucks vs. Jurassic Express, AEW Tag Team Championship Ladder Match
The Young Bucks captured AEW Tag Titles, becoming the first two-time AEW Tag Champs. The match was above average and had many good table and ladder spots. In the end, Jurassic Express was systematically destroyed by the Young Bucks. Luchasaurus was thrown through multiple tables, and Jungle Boy was BTE Trigger. Who can stop the Young Bucks?
1. (SmackDown) Roman Reigns vs. Riddle
Roman defeated Riddle clean on SmackDown and retained his titles. The match itself was excellent and probably one of the most entertaining WWE TV main events of the year. Roman was top tier as usual, but I think Riddle proved to any remaining doubters that he is a top guy.
7. Revealing the Next Challengers, NXT 2.0
After some dominance from Bron Breakker, it was revealed that Cameron Grimes would be his next challenger. I’ve never liked the trope of losing a mid-card championship to challenge for the main championship, but Grimes will be the best in-ring opponent for Breakker in recent memory. For the North American Championship, Tony D’Angelo said it was time to get some gold and challenged Carmelo Hayes for the championship. This is a good long-term payoff for two of the men who represented the future of 2.0 in War Games last fall.
6. Tiffany Stratton and Wendy Choo, NXT 2.0
I’m in danger of being biased with these two, but I like everything they are doing on NXT 2.0. I like that Wrestling can be fun and silly sometimes. I like that NXT 2.0 puts energy into the characters so there can be meaningful feuds in the undercard. Wendy Choo bouncing on a ball in the background of Tiffany Stratton’s entrance made me laugh out loud. Stratton should be pissed that Choo cost her this match, as she is becoming a real contender in NXT 2.0.
5. Toxic Attraction vs. Roxanne Perez, Cora Jade, and Indi Hartwell, NXT 2.0
This seems like the new promising trio to challenge Toxic Attraction; maybe this is the time to dethrone them. I liked this match because there were many stories to tell. Roxanne Perez has the power to challenge Mandy Rose or team with her friend Cora Jade to challenge for the tag team championships. How will Jade feel if Perez abandons her in pursuit of singles gold? How does Indi Hartwell play into all of this, considering her past history against Toxic Attraction, and how does she feel after being left behind by a faction/tag partner again?
4. AJ Styles vs. Seth Rollins, WWE Raw
Money in the Bank Qualifying Matches have always been an excuse to have stakes on a regular Raw match. AJ Styles and Seth Rollins brought it to the next level with this match, which was even better than you’d expect, considering it was just on an average Raw. I was surprised we haven’t seen a longer program between these two. In winning, Seth Rollins becomes the instant favorite to win the Men’s Money in the Bank.
3. Dax Harwood vs. Will Ospreay, AEW Dynamite
Dax Harwood is in a fascinating spot in AEW where they can put him in a match like this with a minimal build. Harwood will always put together a match that gets fans on the edge of their seat. It brought the best out of Will Ospreay, too: this is the Ospreay I was excited to see wrestle in AEW. The pinpoint execution and sequences from both competitors made this a match worth watching.
2. Roman Reigns vs. Riddle (The Match), WWE SmackDown
This should have been on a PPV. That’s my only complaint about this match. Roman Reigns, despite rarely Wrestling, is wrestling the WWE main event style at a high level. Riddle is an excellent wrestler, credible and exciting to watch. Riddle put so much passion into this performance, and it showed. Reigns winning was predictable but necessary for the character.
1. Jurassic Express vs. the Young Bucks, AEW Dynamite
This was a great main event even without the Hardys. I kind of wish they would have added another tag team into the mix, but Jurassic Express and the Young Bucks put together a great match without it. Even in a loss, Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy shined in this match. They have been impressive at every in-ring opportunity. Seeing them lose the championships was disappointing, but the Young Bucks have more stories to tell going forward. The turn by Christian at the end gives something for Jungle Boy to do, and I would like to see a Luchasaurus singles run. Maybe it is time to see what they can do independently. For today, this was an excellent ladder match with memorable AEW signature spots.
Reverse Hipster’s Lowlights
5. (Raw) 24/7 Title
Last week, I praised Becky Lynch for helping the 24/7 Division. This week, I think she tried too hard to recover from her protected loss to Dana Brooke. They had a rematch that never started because Becky attacked Dana leading to a brawl with Asuka. All of that was good, except for when Becky grabbed a mic and told Dana this isn’t about the 24/7 Title, you can keep it. Becky undid her work and made the 24/7 Title seem so worthless it wasn’t even worth her time to pursue.
4. (Dynamite) Forbidden Door
The build for Forbidden Door has been very lackluster. Everyone always craps on WWE's invasion angle, but I’d take that over this. AEW actually had another company cooperating with them, and they had a chance to do a believable invasion storyline, and they blew it. Instead of getting a story, we are just getting cool matches, and the idea is falling apart. Also, Okada won’t even be there. This PPV is in critical condition.
3. (Dynamite) Jurassic Express
Jurassic Express was completely wasted. They had so much potential when they won the titles. However, now that they have lost the titles, I can’t remember a single memorable feud from their run. They didn't even get to have a meaningful feud with the Young Bucks, and it was done on free TV. After the match, their manager, Christian Cage, turned on Jungle Boy, which seemed more random than anything.
2. (SmackDown) Vince McMahon
Vince came out to SmackDown, and with all the controversy swirling around him, he said nothing. He just said, "Then, now, forever together." A strange and vague cooperate plea to the public. There wasn’t much point in Vince coming out for the fans, and it seemed like he tried to minimize his troubles with a pop from the crowd that didn't come.
1. (SmackDown) Riddle
WWE has shot themselves in the foot again. Having Riddle not only lose, but lose on regular TV in what could have been a PPV match wasn’t smart. Then, WWE booked themselves even further in a corner by taking the hottest star in the company, Riddle, and forbidding him from challenging for the titles. Also, after the match, WWE brought Brock Lesnar back to feud with Roman Reigns…again. It’s one of the most uninspiring things WWE could have done. We don’t need another Brock vs. Roman match, and we definitely don’t need Brock to get his win back and become the second part-time champion.
6. Filler, NXT 2.0
NXT 2.0 is guilty of having some stars that don’t even feel like they are on the roster. Think about the filler matches like Wes Lee vs. Xyon Quinn. It feels like these stars don’t really interact with anyone in the main scene of NXT, and when they do, it’s just to be squashed. This week felt particularly full of that type of star.
5. You Both Win, WWE SmackDown
WWE used up a whole segment here to tell us that both Drew McIntyre and Sheamus would be in the Money in the Bank match. Any WWE fan could have told you that was coming already. In kayfabe, why would Adam Pearce announce it in such a dumb way, knowing the conflict between these two? What is stopping future stars from doing this to ensure they both get into a match like this? There was little explanation, and it kind of ruins the implicit stakes of these matches.
4. No Okada, AEW Dynamite
With stars like Will Ospreay, Jay White, and Hiroshi Tanahashi on AEW, we started to get a better idea of the Forbidden Door card. I would love to see Jay White vs. Adam Page for the IWGP Championship, but I noted that Adam Cole said Kazuchika Okada isn’t even going to be on the show. For me, Okada is THE guy in NJPW, and if he is actually missing from the card, I think that will be the biggest failure on this PPV.
3. Posers, WWE Raw
The pose-off between Theory and Bobby Lashley was an average segment, and it was okay in terms of the feud, but to make it the main event of Raw was abysmal. You could have made a point for many matches over this, and I certainly would have picked the AJ Styles/Seth Rollins match over this. I think this was an attempt to highlight the United States Championship, which failed miserably. If Roman Reigns is going to remain absent, Lashley needs to win this championship and turn it into THE championship on Raw.
2. There’s No One Left, WWE SmackDown
The downside of Roman Reigns vs. Riddle is that I could never buy into the challenger. I knew it was over as soon as SmackDown started, and WWE portrayed Riddle’s entire persona as “Randy Orton’s Friend.” It’s a shame because Riddle is so excellent. After winning, Reigns said there was nobody left, and he is kind of right. WWE has booked themselves into a horrible corner where there are no credible challengers for Reigns, and it’s entirely their own fault and unwillingness to commit to rising stars. Now, we are strapped in for the millionth not-exciting Brock Lesnar return, and Reigns/Lesnar will main event a PPV for the millionth time too. Reigns has all the momentum in the world to transition to someone, and I hope WWE isn’t seriously considering Lesnar. If they’re not considering him, there’s no reason for us to see this match again.
1. Vince McMahon, WWE SmackDown
WWE is toeing the line between work and shoot in the worst way possible. After a reported cover-up of an old affair and Vince McMahon stepped down as CEO, it was announced he would open SmackDown. Like most people, I was curious to see if he would address it or if there would be a bigger announcement. It ended up being a complete work to draw ratings, as McMahon didn’t address the conflict at all, using typical WWE catchphrases to welcome the fans to SmackDown. It’s hard to continue to support SmackDown when McMahon is so clearly unethical. There are real-life people affected by the real-life actions of McMahon. In addition to this, as fans, we should still have questions about past missteps by the WWE with questionable superstars, drug abuse in the WWE, and their current arrangement with Saudi Arabia. To have McMahon show up at a time like this just to draw ratings was symbolic of everything unethical about a company that values ratings over ethics.
Reverse Hipster’s Winner Of The Week
All the shows were pretty average this week. Raw is in last place because it had zero highlights. SmackDown is fifth because it had multiple lowlights, despite having the number one moment of the week. Fourth is NXT, which was just an okay show. They didn’t do anything terrible, but they only had one match that stood out as a highlight. Third place goes to Dynamite. It had a few highlights, but it also had quite a few lowlights as well. In second place is Rampage, which had a really solid showing. Everything on the show was pretty good. The one thing that held it back was that there wasn’t enough exciting story development. Impact takes the number one spot. They had the most highlights and did a great job hyping up Slammiversary.
Rob’s Winners Of The Week
6. WWE Raw
After some momentum last week, WWE Raw was largely uneventful filler. It was a terribly managed card, and the night could have been saved if they would have put more stock into the Money in the Bank Qualifying Matches.
5. AEW Rampage
AEW Rampage had good but not great matches. It’s hard to compare it against Dynamite or other shows with more storytelling. It seems like AEW is still looking for the perfect formula to utilize this extra hour.
4. WWE SmackDown
Unsure where to rank this show, I ended up settling here. It was a bad show, but the Roman Reigns and Riddle match was one of the best in a week of a few good matches.
3. Impact Wrestling
This week's show was about building the Slammiversary PPV for the upcoming weekend. I like the focus on Impact history; everything was solid, but nothing noteworthy or unsurprising went into the PPV.
2. NXT 2.0
NXT 2.0 had more filler than usual, but they started building their next major card. As usual, they are doing a solid job doing it.
1. AEW Dynamite
Whenever AEW has a special show like Road Rager, it will be hard to beat them that week. In addition to the great matches, they did a better job addressing my criticism from last week and started to build the Forbidden Door card.