Rob’s Highlights 7. War Games, WWE Raw, and WWE SmackDown
Finally, WWE started building the teams for their Survivor Series: War Games event, which is only a few weeks away. Damage CTRL, with help from Nikki Cross, will face Bianca Belair, Asuka, and Alexa Bliss. Even though these teams have seen each other a lot, this was the best choice for the Women’s War Games match. The men’s match will see the Bloodline face the Brawling Brutes and Drew McIntyre. The teams involved have well-established chemistry and can have a slobber knocker in this unique stipulation.
6. Joe Hendry Wins the Digital Media Championship, Impact Wrestling
Joe Hendry has been a highlight of Impact since his vignettes started. He showcased more of what he could do in-ring here, won one of my favorite championships in wrestling, and set up a longer feud with Brian Myers and Matt Cardona that I predict to be tremendously entertaining.
5. JD McDonagh vs. Axiom, NXT
There is a weird subsection of the NXT roster right now that can steal the show in-ring on any night. JD McDonough and Axiom are two members of that subsection, and their match was the highlight of NXT for me. McDonough is the rising star to watch on NXT for me right now, and Axiom is making an unenviable gimmick work.
4. Jordynne Grace vs. Gisele Shaw, Impact Wrestling
Some stars in Impact fly under the radar, and Giselle Shaw is one in that category. I thought this match was the best we have seen from Shaw in the ring. Jordynne Grace continues to be a great standard bearer for the Impact Women’s Division, which is still strong but slowly losing talent. They showed what they can do when they let the division main event here.
3. MJF and Jon Moxley, AEW Dynamite
These two are setting up a worthy main event at Full Gear for AEW. At every opportunity, MJF is making his case for being the superstar of the year in any company. In a promo this week, Jon Moxley did a great job illustrating the differences between them, building up MJF, and talking about what this match means to him. I haven’t loved Moxley’s in-ring work as champion, but when he has to sell a feud on the mic, he’s exactly what AEW needs.
2. The New Day and The Bloodline, WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown
The New Day and The Usos opened Raw with a great back and forth promo going over their storied rivalry and why the championship match on SmackDown is important to both teams. Riddle interrupted, and I was ready to write off the three vs. three on Raw, but the chemistry and in-ring work were so impressive I loved it. Riddle is proving to be a wild card in WWE- you add him to any hand, and he finds a way to make the segment/match better. On SmackDown, they leveraged the story of the New Day trying to defend their longest-reigning championship streak and had the match of the night in the opening of SmackDown. It’s no doubt these teams have generational
chemistry and it was a fun nod by WWE to let them work long matches on both shows this week.
1. Saraya and Britt Baker, AEW Dynamite
This was a home run in setting up a match fans weren’t even sure would happen. AEW has made Britt Baker a big enough star that she is a target for incoming women and able to make a meaningful women’s match on a stacked AEW PPV card without a woman’s championship on the line. Baker played the brash heel role perfectly here, and Saraya still managed to win the promo. Amid doubts about her mic skills, Saraya cut an earnest promo that nearly moved me to tears. She talked about all the things she has overcome in her career and her life as a young woman in a male-dominated industry. Saraya is cleared to compete, and this instantly became the match to watch for me.
Reverse Hipster's Lowlights
6. (Impact) Nonsensical Skits
It's safe to say the audience understands that Bully Ray is untrustworthy. We don't need anyone else to tell Josh Alexander this fact. At this point, Josh looks stupid for even giving Bully a chance because of the overwhelming amount of people who told him Bully couldn't be trusted. Also, Rhyno was probably the worst yet. In the middle of a promo, Rhyno stopped as if he was under a spell that kicked in as soon as he saw Josh Alexander and went to tell him Bully couldn't be trusted.
Also, the Alisha Edwards skits need to be clarified. Why should Eddie Edwards have had to choose between Honor No More and Alisha? It seems like she forced him to lose a dominant faction, and she still isn't satisfied even after Eddie fulfilled her ridiculous request. It's hard to buy into this ultimatum of Alisha or Honor No More when I don't understand why Alisha has given Eddie the ultimatum in the first place.
5. (Raw) The 100 Years WarGames
Bianca Belair announced that Alexa Bliss, Asuka, and herself would be facing Damage CTRL at WarGames, and I couldn't care less. This feud should have been over a long time ago. Just Iyo Sky and Asuka in a singles feud would be better than this. It's a shame, but it seems like Triple H has no real plans for the Raw Women's Division. Just like in the Diva's Era, they are being thrown into a six-woman tag feud so they have something to do. At this point, what would a WarGames win mean for either side?
4. (Raw) Nikki Crossed the Line
Nikki Cross winning the 24/7 Title and then throwing it in the trash was stupid. As a character, why would you throw away a title you won? She is shitting on her own accomplishments. Also, the 24/7 Title had basically become the women's midcard belt. If you are going to get rid of it, then a replacement should be announced. Otherwise, you are just getting rid of the women's midcard. Dana Brooke, the previous 24/7 Champion and another NXT product, hasn't been featured in weeks and she was only used to lose her title so it could be destroyed. Booooo!
3. (Raw) Lackluster Matches
There were so many matches on Raw that just didn't matter. Why should we care that Barin Corbin beat Cedric Alexander? JBL was a legendary asshole, but he used that in epic storylines. What's Corbin's storyline? Austin Theory vs. Shelton Benjamin is a Main Event or Superstars level match. The Miz vs Johnny Gargano was bland too. Miz cheated to win. Okay, so what? What did he win? Why did the win matter? Raw must either put on excellent matches or tell stories that make the matches meaningful. Ideally, they should do both, but I'll settle for either at this point.
2. (Dynamite) TBS Title Exposed
Jade Cargill has been booked to be dominant in the ring, and her personality outside the ring has won over fans. However, for some reason, she hasn't had one good feud. Tony Khan has done nothing for her in terms of story, and it's frustrating. Right now, her story with Nyla Rose is awful.
The whole story is that Nyla stole the title, and it's been milked way too long and way too predictable. The story is ineffective because it's not convincing anyone that Nyla is the champion or that she will actually beat Jade. However, it undercuts Jade because how come this dominant champion with a faction of baddies can't get her title back? Lastly, it makes AEW look stupid. Why is AEW not only letting Nyla hold one of their titles illegally, but also actively stopping the rightful champion from reclaiming her title? It makes no sense.
1. (Raw) Triple H Hates Austin Theory
Some are afraid to admit that Triple H made a horrible booking, but there is absolutely no excuse for what he did to Theory. Having Theory cash in Money in the Bank for a midcard title he has already won during an open challenge and failing was stupid. Theory looks like one of the stupidest wrestlers of all time, and Triple H has booked the worst Money in the Bank cash in of all time.
I don't care about Triple H starting over. He still could have done right by Austin Theory, who came from NXT. Triple H should have had Theory cash in on Bron Breakker and then elevated Bron to the main roster instead of burying Austin Theory.
Reverse Hipster's Winners of the Week
6th Place Raw
Raw is boring lately. The matches are bland and the stories are on repeat. Despite the change from Vince McMahon to Triple H, Raw remains terrible.
5th Place Impact
Impact had a solid show. The X Division was popping, the Women's Division was popping, but Impact still found themselves on the lowlights list.
4th Place Rampage
Rampage had mostly awesome matches, except the TBS Women's Title feud, which should be a highlight at this point.
3rd Place NXT
NXT was really good this week. The skits made the world of NXT feel bigger than it is and gave character development to several members of NXT. Also, the matches were really good this week and the promos have gotten better as well.
2nd Place Dynamite
Between the great matches of the World Championship Eliminator Tournament and the amazing promos from MJF, Jon Moxley, Saraya, and Britt Baker, Dynamite is back to being a top show.
1st Place SmackDown
SmackDown is just dominating every week. SmackDown has the best stories and matches each week. SmackDown is the show that I want to tune into every week to see what's happening with Liv Morgan, Bray Wyatt, and The Bloodline. This week didn't disappoint. It was a stacked show from top to bottom.
Rob’s Winners of the Week
6. WWE Raw was hard to watch this week. Among boring matches and huge booking blunders, the three hours were the most challenging part of my watch through this week. 5. AEW Rampage is still hit or miss on their formula for a short one-hour show. They had some entertaining matches this week, but the show still doesn’t feel a quarter as important as Dynamite. 4. NXT put forth an average showing. I don’t love the stories they are building right now, but they have a strong roster. 3. Impact Wrestling had great in-ring work this week, but their rosters, stories, and booking don’t touch WWE and AEW still. 2. WWE SmackDown continues its hot streak. The Bloodline are the most credible and over-faction in wrestling right now. Months of storytelling have paid off and made SmackDown a must-watch WWE product. 1. AEW Dynamite finally felt like AEW was swinging for the fences in setting up for Full Gear. They built matches that I’m genuinely interested in, and the show was entertaining from start to finish.