The Wrap Up: Pipebombs and Potential
Updated: Jul 2, 2022
Reverse Hipster's Highlights
10. (Impact) Honor No More
I'm really enjoying the progression of Honor No More. They are around at the perfect time. Impact is celebrating their anniversary and bringing back Impact wrestling greats, and Honor No More is just eating them up. Last week, Honor No More ruined Frankie Kazarian and Chris Sabin's match when they jumped Kazarian and Sabin. This week, Honor No More beat Heath and Rhyno, and jumped Rhyno. They injured Rhyno leg, and now there's a five-on-five with two mystery partners set to join team Impact. All this match needs now is some big stakes.
9. (SmackDown) Max Dupri
I never really liked LA Knight's character in NXT. Max Dupri is hilarious, though. I love how he always gets right in Adam Pearce's face and acts as if it's normal. Plus, the pronunciation has gotten over with me. I'm interested if he will be the male model he reveals or if he has a tag partner. I hope Max isn't just a manager.
8. (Raw) All is Fair in Love and 24/7 Championships
The Miz completely lost control of his show. First to the Street Profits, then to the 24/7 title gang. This week, Apollo Crews and T-Bar went for the 24/7 title until the Street Profits knocked them out, and Tamina beat Dana Brooke for it. Then, Tamina celebrated with Akira Tozawa, giving him a big kiss, before he pinned her for the title and ran away. I'm happy to see Akira win the title.
7. (NXT 2.0) Wes Lee Beats Xyon Quinn
Wes has been picking fights with big superstars, trying to prove size doesn't matter. Thus far, he has looked great, but lost every matchup. It looked like Wes was going to lose again when Quinn threw him like a human dart into the corner. However, when Wes got up, he dodged Quinn's finisher and pinned him, picking up his first win. Wes has a bright future ahead of him.
6. (SmackDown) Women's Six-Pack Challenge
First, I would just like to say we clearly didn't need Sasha Banks and Naomi to do WWE's six-pack challenge or find viable challengers for the titles. WWE clearly did need them for those women's tag titles that are still vacant with no tag tournament in sight. The women's six-pack challenge between Shotzi, Aliyah, Shayna Baszler, Xia Li, Natalya, and Raquel Rodriguez delivered. Natalya winning the match was a great surprise, and it builds off her momentum from NXT. Also, Raquel still looked like a star because she dominated the match and even dealt the final blow to Shotzi, who Natalya pinned while Shayna tried to choke Raquel out. Despite the size and strength difference, Shayna looked tough for continually going after Raquel. I can't wait to see Shayna and Ronda Rousey down the line.
5. (NXT 2.0) Character Work
I feel so stupid. I've kept Thea Hail off my list because I wasn't sure where WWE was going with her. What could the plan be if she was going to college? However, as soon as she sat down to pick colleges, it was obvious she would go to Chase U. All I have to say to WWE is bravo. What an excellent introduction for Thea and excellent use of their underrated gimmick stable Chase U. This is the upside of having your wrestling show heavily based on story. You create tons of avenues to tell new stories.
Speaking of story, Roxanne Perez did a great job with her promo about the final. I already liked her, and so did the crowd. Still, we learned so much more about her. Cora Jade helped Roxanne get to WWE. She was obsessed with wrestling, and skipped prom and took a ten hour bus ride to train with Booker T. She even met The Bella Twins, and Natalya when she was younger outside a WWE event. Also, she built up Tiffany Stratton well, talking about how much bigger and stronger Tiffany is, which sets up a classic underdog style match.
4. (SmackDown) Nakamura and Riddle vs. The Usos
This story was getting boring, but SmackDown saved it. The Usos injured Shinsuke Nakamura's leg and added fuel to the fire of Riddle's vendetta. The Usos have now taken out Rick Boogz, Randy Orton, and Nakamura. After Nakamura went down, Riddle wrestled for the tag championships by himself, and it was great storytelling. Riddle still almost pulled an upset when Sami Zayn, of all people, distracted Riddle by playing Roman Reigns' music. The Usos got the win, and Sami and Riddle started brawling, but then The Bloodline beatdown Riddle. I can't wait to see what happens next.
3. (Dynamite) The Undisputed Elite vs. Hardy Boyz, Jurassic Express, and Darby Allin & Jon Moxley vs. Daniel Garcia
This match was at about 11/10. There was so much happening that you literally couldn't look away for a second, or you would miss a fantastic sequence. It was incredible that they were able to keep up the pace until the end when The Undisputed Elite won with the Meltzer Driver on Jungle Boy.
Earlier in the night, Eddie Kingston challenged the entire Jericho Appreciation Society by himself to a Blood & Guts match. Moxley fought Garcia and provided a great preview of Blood & Guts. There was blood and gruesome spots, and it's probably my favorite Daniel Garcia match since we began covering AEW. Moxley eventually won with a paradigm shift and his submission move. After the match, Mox signed up to join Kingston in his fight at Blood & Guts.
2. (Rampage) Young Bucks vs. Lucha Bros
This match was fantastic. These two teams know each other so well, and they both have incredible athleticism and creativity. They pulled some moves off in this match that I've never seen before. They were mind-blowing. A doomsday device turned into a drop kick poisonrana. Rey Fenix jumped off Penta El Zero Miedo's shoulders while Penta was standing on the corner rope. The Young Bucks unmasked Penta before finishing Fenix. The match was insanity. The Bucks got a huge win, and it feels like they are being built to be the next tag champs.
1. (Dynamite) MJF's Pipebomb
I don't know if this whole MJF and Tony Khan thing is a work or not, but I love it, regardless. MJF is the biggest star in AEW, and he constantly blurs the line between reality and kayfabe. He called Tony out for undervaluing him and not paying him more despite him being the biggest draw. He accused Tony of paying ex-WWE guys instead. I'm not going to lie, Tony does give attention to the wrong talents at times. MJF called Tony a mark and begged him to fire him. The explicit words of MJF make me think he is for real. However, Tony has empowered MJF to run him down, which makes me think it's a work. Either way, it's entertaining.
10. Athena’s Jacket, AEW Rampage
Look, sometimes, you don’t have much to say about a segment, but you just want to draw everyone’s attention to it. Athena’s jacket was simply sick- it looked cool enough before I realized it had mechanical components. A+.
9. Madcap Moss Attitude Adjustment, WWE SmackDown
Madcap Moss finally brought the attitude he should have to this feud. He delivered a believable, passionate promo against Happy Corbin. When he got a match, Moss just went for the kill. I’m hopeful this means he can drop the name and gimmick in favor of something that will allow him to have a higher ceiling in line with his physical potential.
8. Miro Returns, AEW Dynamite
This return gave the AEW Dynamite the feel of a “Raw after WrestleMania” that every weekly show after a major PPV should strive to be. The crowd gave him a grand welcome in his return, and he made it look easy to beat Johnny Elite. This is a good showing by AEW to show there are still places for their talent who haven’t been on TV in a while.
7. Rhodes And Rollins Are Ready To Go To Hell, WWE Raw
This is an overdone trope, but it was well executed by Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins, exchanging words until it boiled over to a brawl throughout the arena. Even without a championship to fight over, this is the most exciting feud on WWE right now. It’s a rare good use of the Hell in a Cell at the premium live event. I’m willing to say this should be the main event of HIAC, and it should have been the last segment on Raw.
6. Diamond Mine Barely Holding Together, NXT 2.0
Roderick Strong and Damon Kemp had a good match with Pretty Deadly. The Creed Brothers came out to help them but ultimately distracted Strong, costing him the match. A segment backstage emphasized the great storytelling. Now, the Creed Brothers have to win at In Your House to stay in Diamond Mine.
5. Blood And Guts, AEW Dynamite
AEW did a good job following up on the open-ended stories from Anarchy in the Arena. Eddie Kingston with William Regal called out the Jericho Appreciation Society to a Blood and Guts match. Ortiz attacked Jericho, so it seems like he will be in that match too. Jon Moxley had a good match with Daniel Garcia in the main event, and I couldn’t help but think that Garcia was on Bryan Danielson’s initial list of potential recruits for this faction. It looks a lot like how they recruited Wheeler Yuta already. Moxley announced he would join Kingston in the Blood and Guts match, and I am more than down for a sequel to Anarchy in the Arena in the structure.
4. Women’s Wrestling, AEW Dynamite
Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter vs. Ruby Soho and Toni Storm was very good wrestling. On Double or Nothing, I feel like the women worked smarter, not harder, using more storytelling and mat work to differentiate themselves on the crowded card. On this night, I feel like the women showed that they could pull out a high work rate match just as well as any man on the card. Usually, I would complain about Soho getting the clean pin on Baker after Double or Nothing, but I think it makes sense in the story.
3. Tiffany Stratton And Roxanne Perez, NXT 2.0
NXT 2.0 had great video segments for both finalists for the NXT Women’s Breakout Tournament. Roxanne Perez has a great story of determination and love for pro wrestling. Her in-ring work has been excellent so far, and if they don’t have a singles story for either of them, I would love to see Perez and Cora Jade dominate the tag team division. Tiffany Stratton seems to have an underrated impressive background in athletics, and she tore apart Perez’s story while building herself up. In my opinion, Perez is more ready and should win the tournament. Still, Stratton should continue to get opportunities because she is an excellent character that makes it easy to tell meaningful stories. Her in-ring work is improving a lot faster than most new wrestlers too.
2. The Young Bucks vs. The Lucha Brothers, AEW Rampage
I was ecstatic to get this match on free TV, and it delivered as the best match of the week, in my opinion. The sequences between Nick Jackson and Rey Fenix were insane, and the personal touch of stealing Penta’s mask was a weird decision if this is truly just a one-off match for pride. On to the next thing for both teams, but it’s cool to know this chemistry is there and available any time for AEW to use.
1. MJF, AEW Dynamite
Time will tell if letting shoot elements pour over onto the screen is a good decision, but for now, I’m just going to enjoy this for what it was. This was the best promo of the year (likely longer), and it’s not even close. MJF let everything hang out there: he told his story, had zingers, and got the lights and mic cut off. We couldn’t even hear what he said at home, presumably partially due to language. The crazy part is that he is right. He has clearly driven the best two stories going into the last two PPVs, and when the spotlight is on, he can hold his own in the ring (see: MJF vs. Darby Allin). If there is still a dispute in that department, AEW needs to pay this man what he is asking because they can’t afford to lose him, especially if he goes elsewhere in wrestling. My assumption, for now, is that they have settled this, and it’s a work because we’re seeing it play out onscreen.
Reverse Hipster's Lowlights
3. (SmackDown) New Day vs. Fight Night
There is nothing to see here, just the weekly lowlight of New Day vs. Fight Night. If you are interested in why it's here, refer to the criticisms of the last few weeks because nothing has changed.
2. (Raw) United States Title
Mustafa Ali and Ciampa had a perfectly good contenders match set up, but WWE overbooked it. I think WWE didn't want Ciampa to look weak, but their solution was bad. They had Austin interfere early in the match to give Ali the win so Austin could beat Ali while he was compromised. WWE spent most of the United States Title match explaining why Ali would even accept in the first place. Ali lost, of course, and then Adam Pearce announced Vince McMahon wanted to have a fair fight at Hell in the Cell. But instead of having a United States Championship rematch, it could have been preserved by just doing the contenders match. WWE needs to stop giving away title matches to build title matches.
1. (RAW) Alexa Bliss
Alexa's booking since returning has been strong, but flavorless. What is she now? Who knows, maybe just herself. What's her goal? She beat Doudrop this week with a Twisted Bliss after easily kicking aside Nicki A.S.H. Doudrop, of course, stayed down the entire time. There is just nothing exciting about Alexa other than the fact that she is Alexa. She needs a story.
5. Grayson Waller, NXT 2.0
When we first started reviewing NXT 2.0, Grayson Waller quickly impressed me, and he was white-hot after the Black and Gold vs. 2.0 feud. He had insane heat for taking out Johnny Gargano during his farewell and even fought AJ Styles. NXT 2.0 really hasn’t capitalized on it, and it’s a shame that Waller isn’t in a meaningful feud for In Your House.
4. Drew McIntyre And The New Day vs. The Brawling Brutes, WWE SmackDown
This feud just needs to end already. After winning last week, the New Day and Drew McIntyre lost this week, and the 50/50 booking continues. Xavier Woods says he wants to go for the Intercontinental Championship, but I don’t know how he possibly could with this opposite of momentum. Drew McIntyre likewise needs to get out of this limbo and go back to being a main event draw and championship contender in meaningful feuds.
3. Lashley, MVP, and Omos, WWE Raw
In contrast to Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins, this feud has lost its momentum going into Hell in a Cell. It absolutely did not deserve to be the last segment on Raw, and it was also underwhelming to book a handicap match after teasing that it might be a Hell in a Cell match last week. Certainly, a handicap match is a step back from their cage match on Raw.
2. The Usos vs. Riddle and Shinsuke Nakamura, WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown
I’m admitting these are great matches, but there was no chance a thrown-together team would beat the newly crowned champions. WWE needs to get the Usos and Riddle away from each other because we’ve now seen it twice a week for the last two months. Riddle and Shinsuke Nakamura teaming up because of their injured partners was a fun side-quest, but I’m ready to see Riddle go on a single’s run tear. My biggest concern with all of this is that WWE has still not explained what it means to have the unified championships with regard to the split brands, and it is already overexposing stars like these four.
1. CM Punk Injury, AEW Rampage
My understanding is that this is entirely out of everyone’s control, but it’s easily the most disappointing news of the week. I was ready to see the payoff of CM Punk’s championship win and a new summer of Punk. He gave an impassioned promo, saying he was leaving due to injury but vowed to return. He also said Tony Khan was letting him keep the title, which was confusing, but the commentary did a good job covering it up later by revealing the plan to have an interim champion that will fight Punk to unify the championships whenever Punk is again able.
Rob’s Winner of the Week
6. WWE Raw
For a go-home show to a premium live event, WWE Raw was not very entertaining to watch. Most of the matches we knew about already had mediocre matches or segments to remind us it was still happening. Matches like Theory vs. Ali were sort of thrown together and promoted at the last second.
5. WWE SmackDown
SmackDown barely edged out Raw for me. It was also a bad week considering the upcoming premium live event, but it had slightly better storytelling, and frankly, the hour less made it more bearable.
4. Impact Wrestling
Impact Wrestling did an okay job continuing to build for Slammiversary, but there are no segments I’m dying to talk about. The highlights for me right now are the depth of the woman’s division in building to the Queen of the Mountain match.
3. NXT 2.0
NXT 2.0 has good feuds going into In Your House, but this was just an okay show. They did a lot of their storytelling in prior weeks, so it made this show kind of a hold for now.
2. AEW Rampage
AEW Rampage had the match of the week in its opener. CM Punk’s announcement was disappointing, but it was crucial to let it play out on the screen. The TNT Championship match was a worthy main event, even if not one of the best matches of the week.
1. AEW Dynamite
I was most excited to see this show this week, and they delivered. They addressed all my criticisms of Double or Nothing, and they adequately capitalized on the momentum from the PPV.
Reverse Hipster's Winner Of The Week
The last place show is easily Impact. Impact had a great show last week, and they failed to capitalize on the momentum. Fifth place goes to Raw because they really just spun their wheels, and they didn't have many new exciting developments. Fourth place goes to Rampage. CM Punk's injury was a huge downer, and I hope he can come back soon. Rampage had one of the best moments of the week, but everything else was just solid. NXT is in third place. It's such a quality show every week because there are so many characters to work with. It's always a short climb for NXT to the top. SmackDown is in second place this week. They had excellent highlights from their women and The Undisputed Tag Champions. Dynamite is number one again. I don't know if it's the Punk injury or the momentum from Double or Nothing, but it feels like AEW has something to prove, and they are grabbing the brass ring.