The Wrap Up: Rising Stars
Updated: Sep 10, 2022
Reverse Hipster's Highlights
10. (Impact) Funny Moments
Impact had a lot of good comedy that helped move the show along. I thought it was hilarious when Johnny Swinger and Zicky Dice tried to pull off The Bella Twins magic just because they were both wearing the same mask. Also, Tasha Steelz on commentary during Killer Kelly's debut was pretty funny. The best moment was at the end of the segment when Tom Hannifan said, "The Knockouts Division is about to change forever," and Tasha replied, "No, it won't Tom, the flava division is forever." Also, Brian Myers refusing to defend the Social Media Championship was pretty funny as well. He lied and told Bhupinder Gujjar that he had already accepted someone else's challenge for the Social Media Title, but that just allowed Black Taurus to pretend to be that challenger, and now Myers has to fight him. Lastly, I'm still enjoying Jessicka. This week, she comically attempted to get invited to the women's tag team number one contender VXT (Deonna Purrazzo and Chelsea Green) bachelorette party.
9. (Impact) Honor No More
Honor No More had a good showing on Impact this week. Eddie Edwards beat Ace Austin in a good match to start the show. Later in the night, Honor No More forced Scott D'Amore to give them a chance to be Impact contenders by sabotaging the production truck. I'm glad Honor No More is finally acting like rebels. Also, I love the match Scott set up. It's Bullet Club vs. Honor No More. If Honor No More wins, they get a shot at the tag title. If they lose, they have to disband. These are huge stakes.
8. (Rampage) Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta
AEW allowed Claudio a chance to soak in his world title win on Rampage. This was a really special moment for Claudio and fans, but it worked as a PR move as well. The landscape of WWE has changed, making it more desirable to free agents, but AEW is showing with Claudio that you can come to AEW and be champion. However, it's kind of mixed PR since Gresham, the man who kept that title relevant, lost it without much consideration from AEW. Yuta also got some flowers and started a feud with Chris Jericho, who he will face at Dynamite for a chance to fight Jon Moxley for the title. This is exciting because Moxley and Yuta should have been the ones fighting for the interim title in the first place.
7. (NXT) Wes Lee vs. Grayson Waller
Wes Lee put up a good fight and was very impressive in this match. Also, it looks like he bulked up a bit. However, it didn't matter because Grayson Waller and Trick Williams concocted a creative scheme to cost Wes Lee the match. Trick disguised himself as a fan in the front row and then hit Wes Lee with a padded glove. Wes Lee barely beat the ten count back in the ring, and then Grayson Waller finished him off. Grayson Waller did a great job milking his cheap victory.
6. (Dynamite) AEW Champions
Jon Moxley had an exceptional match with Rush. The crowd was super into it, and the wrestlers definitely delivered, but the match was a little random. In my opinion, there was no way Rush was going to shock Moxley. Moxley's promo to Chris Jericho is what got him to the highlight section. He declared that he was the first two-time champion, forget that interim bs. I'm glad he said it. Moxley's promo to Jericho after his match with Rush establishing himself as the best in the world and calling out the old Jericho is the Moxley I want to see.
Thunder Rosa vs. Miyu Yamashita AEW Women's Title was kind of underbuilt for a title match, but ended up being a net positive. The challenger got a few near falls and looked imposing, and the champion got a hard-fought win against a good opponent.
5. (SmackDown) Go Home Show
SmackDown did an excellent job of delivering an entertaining product while also promoting SummerSlam. I liked Liv Morgan and Ronda Rousey's tag team match. Liv, not wanting to tag Ronda in to prove how tough she was, made for an interesting match story. Also, Ronda being no-nonsense and wanting to prove why she and Liv are better than the other women in a match was cool.
Drew McIntyre opened SmackDown by winning a great match with Sheamus because, as we know, it's impossible for Sheamus and Drew to have a bad match.
Theory came out and jumped Drew to get revenge for Drew beating him up on Raw, but also because Drew is a contender now. After the attack, Theory cut a fiery promo about how nobody could stop him from cashing in. Then, Paul Heyman, of all people, got in Theory's ear like he was courting a new client. Later that night, Brock Lesnar returned to attack Paul. Theory saved Paul only to get dog-walked by Brock and then Claymored out of nowhere by Drew.
The Street Profits also had a great promo segment, where they took turns insulting each other, and the tension was palatable. Jeff Jarrett let them erupt into a brawl, but Jeff ended up getting hit with a superkick. What impact, if any, will that have on Jeff's officiating?
Also, Happy Corbin heckled Pat McAfee, and it was hilarious. He had a bad picture of Pat on a poster, and he was seated in the crowd right behind Pat and kicked Pat in the balls. I'm not even sure if Corbin and Pat are trying to be funny, but their feud is hilarious.
4. (NXT) Giovanni Vinci vs. Andre Chase
Andre Chase has always been a great character, but his in-ring work has seemed limited. In this match, he showed he had a way higher in-ring ceiling than many people would have thought. Also, who would have thought Vinci would have a better match with Andre Chase than Apollo Crews? Vinci showed off more of his athleticism and ring prowess, and got the win after a very hard-fought match. The match highlight had to be Vinci catching Andre Chase off the ropes into a vertical suplex.
3. (NXT) The Women's Division is on Fire
Everywhere you look in the Women's Division, something interesting is happening. Kiana James is on a crusade against Nikkita Lyons, and Tiffany Stratton has antagonized Wendy Choo to get serious in order to get revenge. Cora Jade has arguably become the top heel that fans and the Women's Division hate alike. Roxanne Perez is on a quest to get revenge on Cora Jade while Cora is carrying on that feud and trying to find a way to get a title shot.
Toxic Attraction is trying to take out Zoey Stark to preserve Mandy Rose's historic reign. At the same time, Toxic Attraction is trying to win back their Tag Titles. The Tag Titles will be won in a fatal four-way elimination match next week. The match will be Yulisa Leon & Valentina Feroz vs. Toxic Attraction vs. Ivy Nile & Tatum Paxley vs. Kayden Carter & Katana Chance.
That's not all NXT brought in. They also brought in Alundra Blayze, WWE Hall of Famer and women's wrestling trailblazer, to announce the news and make sure the Women's Tag Titles feel important. This was incredibly cool because she threw the WWF Women's Title in the trash when she switched over to WCW.
Plus, Elektra Lopez has beef with Tatum and Ivy since the D'Angelo Family and Diamond Mine are feuding, so she might get involved in the fatal four-way somehow. Additionally, Sarray has returned, and she wants the title opportunity she missed while she was in the U.K. Indi Hartwell is starting a feud with Arianna Grace. There is so much happening in the NXT Women's Division, and I love it.
2. (NXT) Diamond Mine vs. The D'Angelo Family, 8-Man Tag
This match was awesome. Diamond's teamwork and athletic ability were on full display. They ran through the D'Angelo Family most of the match, but one misplaced knee by Roderick Strong gave Tony D. the opening he needed to steal the victory. I love the way the match was booked because it kept both teams strong and furthered the story of Diamond Mine falling apart.
1. (Dynamite) Rising Stars
Jungle Boy gave his rebuttal to Christian Cage, and it was a lot harsher than I expected. Jungle Boy insulted Christian's manhood and made light of Christian's divorce. Jungle Boy said Christian was so mad about missing out on a bonus from the Battle Royal because he was strapped for cash from the divorce. Christian actually interrupted Jungle Boy while he was talking about his late father and threatened to put Jungle Boy right next to his dad. It was insane. I can't wait to see what happens next in this feud.
This week, Ricky Starks and Danhausen had their title match, and Ricky Starks won. Then, Starks asked for another challenger, and HOOK came out. Ricky put up a good fight, but, in the end, HOOK got the win. Finally, we saw HOOK against real competition, and he looked great. HOOK is on the rise as the new FTW champion. However, despite Hook's Money in the Bank-like win, Ricky Starks is arguably the bigger story. He looks like a beast. Even in a loss, it took two people to get the title off of him. He cut a terrific promo afterward, saying he took a leather belt and made it into gold. Ricky claims he made that FTW belt relevant again, and it's 200% true. Ricky has the mic skills and the in-ring talent to be a star. However, just when the crowd was feeling warm and fuzzy about Ricky, Powerhouse Hobbs betrayed him out of nowhere. These matches and segments are what AEW should be doing more of. This storyline twisted in multiple ways leading to satisfying moments and memorable TV. Also, everyone must tune in next week to see why Hobbs betrayed Ricky.
10. Giovanni Vinci vs. Andre Chase, NXT 2.0
This is the best Andre Chase match we’ve seen so far, and I hate to give too much credit to his opponent, but Giovanni Vinci seems to be a common thread in excellent matches on NXT. Vinci’s ability to have an insane match should serve him well on NXT, and his character is just hitting stride to match that.
9. Match Quality, Impact Wrestling
Continuing the feud of Honor No More and Bullet Club, Eddie Edwards and Ace Austin opened Impact with a solid match filled with creative spots and subtle storytelling. In the main event, Rich Swann and KUSHIDA faced off in a PPV-quality match. Impact should be proud it can casually put on matches like this week-to-week.
8. Lee Moriarty vs. Matt Sydal, AEW Rampage
Lee Moriarty turned on Matt Sydal on AEW Rampage to side with Stokely Hathaway. I think it was a much-needed turn for Moriarty, who is clearly a great wrestler but hasn’t endeared himself to the larger AEW audience. Hathaway is already making an impact on AEW all-around by making himself a mouthpiece for a hub of talent throughout the roster.
7. JD McDonagh, NXT 2.0
I wasn’t sure about JD McDonagh until the promo he cut on this week’s NXT 2.0. He showcased his sadistic nature as he talked to people around the arena, casually revealing ways he could badly injure or kill them. He targeted NXT favorites like the ring announcers and commentators. The whole angle made him a credible threat to Bron Breakker.
6. AJ Styles and Dolph Ziggler, WWE Raw
Sometimes, WWE pairs two guys together with nothing better going, and it shows. In this case, I think this team has a lot of potential. They work in a similar style, and they look good together. I would be down to cheer for the team of AJ Styles and Dolph Ziggler, as I think they have both been underappreciated in recent years, and a tag team run could be just what they need to get ring time.
5. Ronda Rousey and Liv Morgan vs. Natalya and Sonya Deville, WWE SmackDown
The tired trope of champion and challenger teaming up made me worried for this match, but they turned it into a story worth telling. With Ronda Rousey and Liv Morgan tagging themselves in but never getting in direct conflict, they were trying to outdo each other. Morgan refused to go in her corner for the bulk of the match, even at the risk of getting picked apart by her opponents. It was good storytelling to show that Morgan’s chip-on-her-shoulder, can-do attitude could be her biggest weakness.
4. Daniel Garcia Upsets Bryan Danielson, AEW Dynamite
AEW Dynamite’s main event saw the return of Bryan Danielson against JAS’s Daniel Garcia. They told an excellent story of Danielson returning from his injury too soon and Garcia, despite being a newer star, being smart enough to pick Danielson apart for it. The upset is huge for Garcia’s trending career, it makes sense in kayfabe, and Danielson continues to be an asset for AEW in making its whole roster more credible.
3. NXT Women’s Division, NXT 2.0
NXT Women’s Division was the highlight and thread that held NXT 2.0 together. Zoey Stark gave a passionate promo that set up a match with Gigi Dolin later in the night. Cora Jade targeted Stark, which brought back Roxanne Perez to continue their rivalry. Sarray confronted Mandy Rose to set up a match between them before Rose would ultimately defend against Stark. In one of my favorite feuds, Wendy Choo had a great vignette showing off a darker side of her character, sleeping brought her nightmares of Tiffany Stratton, and the feud will continue in the coming weeks.
2. Rey Mysterio’s 20th Anniversary, WWE Raw
There are so many wrestling legends we are blessed to see still in the ring. It’s easy to forget Rey Mysterio is a living legend, but watching his SmackDown debut 20 years ago, winning the Royal Rumble, and coming back to tag with his son, he should maybe be in the GOAT conversation. Mysterio gave a great emotional promo about his relationship with Eddie Guerrero, how much the fans have meant to him, and what to look for going forward. He played all the hits in a tag team match against Judgment Day, and I think we still have some years in the tank for the greatest luchador of all time.
1. Powerhouse Hobbs, Ricky Starks, and HOOK, AEW Dynamite
Rarely does a segment comes along that I would give an A+, and this was one of them. Ricky Starks handled Danhousen and, following his challenge from last week, issued an open challenge again. This time, HOOK answered, and he ended up winning the title off of Starks. In a swing of surprise, the two showed respect for each other, and Starks cut an amazing promo about how he took the FTW title from nothing to meaning something, and his time was now. Powerhouse Hobbs cut it short by stabbing him in the back. In my opinion, everyone benefitted from this segment. HOOK has a title to carry while showing his dominance, Starks promo ascended him to the next level, but as a babyface, and Hobbs's turn made him a stronger heel while making Starks a stronger babyface. Three guys wandering in the midcard just got elevated by this segment.
Reverse Hipster's Lowlights
Once again, Raw was a three-hour bland advertisement masquerading as a wrestling show. However, it was especially bad because many people, including myself, tuned in live to see what the new era of WWE would be, only to see that it was the old Raw. WWE should be foraging ahead, not harkening back to the old regime, and possibly losing new and existing viewers.
3. Wildcard Rules, WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown
We saw a lot of duplicate stars on WWE TV this week: Drew McIntyre, Sheamus, Theory, The Usos, and the Street Profits all showed up on both shows. This is kind of a travesty when you consider the depth of talent WWE has to showcase. It’s something that creative needs to develop going forward instead of relying on unified championships and the same ten stars.
2. Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus, WWE SmackDown
In a good opening match, I just couldn’t bring myself to care because Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus is a match WWE just can’t help but go back to. They have great chemistry, but we’ve seen it too many times in recent memory. I felt like it was obvious McIntyre would win to go to Clash in the Castle, and WWE didn’t even care enough about it to let it be on the SummerSlam card.
1. Riddle off of SummerSlam, WWE Raw
I thought Riddle had another great showing in the main event against Roman Reigns and the Usos, which of course, he did. He’s been wrestling them on and off for months. I was looking forward to Riddle and Seth Rollins at Summerslam, maybe even as a match of the night candidate, but WWE’s attack angle wrote it off the show. It’s a darn shame, as those were two of the hottest wrestlers all year, and they should have been rewarded as such.
Reverse Hipster's Winner of the Week
Last place goes to Raw again for producing another dud. Fifth place goes to Rampage. I can tell Rampage made an attempt, but it didn't land. Sammy Guevara and Dante Martin had a great match, but it didn't mean anything. We got a music video from The Acclaimed, but the beat didn't hit. It felt like they had very little to say about the Gunn Club. Fourth place goes to Impact. It was a decent show, but it would have been much better if they featured the women more prominently. Third place goes to SmackDown because they had a banger go-home show. NXT gets second place. NXT seems to be upping the level of in-ring quality, and I wonder if it is Triple H's influence. If NXT can keep the in-ring quality on par with their storytelling, there is no stopping NXT. Number one goes to Dynamite for finally giving their champions more shine and getting back to storytelling.
Rob’s Winners of the Week
6. WWE SmackDown
SmackDown was my least favorite show of the week because they led with their best match, showcased a lot of the same things we already saw on Raw, and closed with a glorified advertisement for Summerslam.
5. Impact Wrestling
Aside from the opening and closing, Impact Wrestling didn’t give me as much to praise this week.
4. AEW Rampage
The short hour-long show always has one or two inconsequential matches that keep Rampage from breaking through, even with strong matches.
3. AEW Dynamite
The segment of the week came from AEW’s undercard. However, it wasn’t a strong card all around, especially considering the nature of their special shows this summer.
2. NXT 2.0
NXT 2.0’s Women’s Division dominated this show for me, and they had complimentary matches in the undercard, making this a great weekly show.
1. WWE Raw
This week’s Raw was one of the best in a long time, and it felt like it broke the stale formula of the three-hour show. Opening a brawl with Miz/Logan Paul, featuring a great main event from the part-time Roman Reigns, and closing with an injury angle, the show was smooth from top to bottom.
Drop a comment and tell us what you thought, and don't forget to look out for our SummerSlam Reviews!