The Wrap Up: Scorched Earth
Updated: Jul 27, 2022
Reverse Hipster's Highlights
10. (Impact) Mia Yim vs. Chelsea Green
Mia Yim defeated Chelsea Green. These two had a hard-fought match. Deonna Purrazzo tried to help Chelsea steal a victory, but Mickie James came out to even the odds. This was a pretty good match that led us to Mickie vs. Deonna, which I have been waiting to see.
9. (Impact) Violent by Design vs. Josh Alexander
Josh Alexander defeated Deaner via submission. These two had a good match that made Josh look like a machine in the ring. However, the story is what really makes this a highlight. Violent By Design is leaderless right now, and they seem to be acting independently. Nobody knows where Eric Young has gone after his defeat at Slammiversary, and it seems his crew has taken up his cause. Joe Doering is set to take on Josh at Against All Odds. This is an intriguing match-up because Doering is bigger than Josh, underrated, and the last member of Violent By Design that Josh hasn't beat. Plus, the last time they faced off, Doering won.
8. (Dynamite) Marina Shafir vs. Toni Storm
Toni Storm defeated Shafir via roll-up. The match was really physical, and you could tell Marina was a tall mountain for Toni to climb. However, Toni is comfortable in a hard-hitting fight. I like Marina, and I'm glad she was protected against Toni. Toni didn't dominate, She escaped with a victory. However, the more I see Toni fight, the more I want her to beat Thunder Rosa for the title.
7. (SmackDown) Character Development
WWE must have been reading the Wrap Up because they talked about nobody wanting to see New Day in rematch after rematch, which is what we have criticized them for. However, I love how they pump-faked a rematch, made light of it then let the New Day entertain. WWE even started a new feud with the Viking Raiders, who jumped the New Day. This was a much better use of the New Day than previous weeks. I also enjoyed the Streets Profits hanging backstage and giving characters time that otherwise may not have gotten screen time.
Also, the women's division had some real fun developments this week. Sonya Deville mouthed off to Adam Pearce and got thrown into a handicap match against Lacey Evans and Raquel Rodriguez, which she lost due to some great teamwork by Raquel and Lacey. However, the real story is Sonya's new faction, Shayna Baszler and Xia Li, who came out to the ring with her. These women all fight in a realistic style, and they could be big in WWE if they are booked correctly.
The women's title picture is heating up as well. Natalya and Ronda Rousey have been in a Twitter war that's been better than their on-screen feud. However, on SmackDown, they injected that life into the feud and elevated the women's title match. Natalya dressed up as Ronda and made fun of her. Ronda eviscerated Natalya in a very personal way. If this was scripted, WWE needs to let Natalya jab like she does on Twitter because it feels like Natalya was held back. I'm honestly rooting for Natalya at this point, based on the feud. This episode of SmackDown feels like the first time in a while that the main roster has put an NXT-like effort into the characters, and I'm here for it.
6. (NXT) Carmelo Hayes vs. Tony D'Angelo, North American Title Match
Carmelo defeated Tony D to retain his title in the main event of NXT. The match was pretty good, and I was impressed with Tony D'Angelo, who showed more athleticism than usual. However, the real story is that Santos Escobar turned on Tony D. He threw the brass knuckles, he was supposed to give to Tony, to Melo. It was a perfect end to NXT, and I wonder what the fallout will be.
5. (Raw) Omos Beats Riddle
I was utterly shocked by Omos beating Riddle, but I love it. Riddle was injured. It was the perfect time to shake things up and put Omos over. I'm interested to see what Omos can do in the Money in the Bank match now that he has qualified. I'm also curious to see what WWE has planned for Riddle.
4. (SmackDown) Money in the Bank Qualifiers
Adam Pearce kicked Drew McIntyre and Sheamus out of the Money in the Bank because Paul Heyman wanted to make sure Drew and Sheamus couldn't cash in on Roman Reigns. Pearce gave them a chance to get back in, but they had to beat the Usos in the main event. The match was fantastic. The Street Profits were ringside, and they stopped Sami Zayn from interfering. Ultimately, Drew won the match for his team, but Sheamus and Drew worked well together. WWE did a good job turning Sheamus and Drew qualifying into a story. I wish they would have given the Undisputed Tag Champs more protection, but it was still good overall.
Sami Zayn beat Nakamura and qualified for Money in the Bank. I didn't want to like this match. Sami has this annoying tendency to have a great match with someone and then fight them for the rest of his life. He did it with Kevin Owens, and now he is doing it with Nakamura. But I have to give them credit, they had a damn good match. Sami and Nakamura pushed each other the entire match. However, it was the finish that made the match a highlight. Nakamura hit the Kinshasa on the outside, but put Sami back in the ring, which gave Sami time to recover. Nakamura was nailed with a Helluva Kick as soon as he got back in, and he lost the match.
3. (Dynamite) Trent Beretta, Rocky Romero, and Orange Cassidy vs. Will Ospreay and Aussie Open/Okada's AEW Debut
Orange Cassidy's team was victorious in this surprising 6-man. I think Tony Khan knew people weren't sold on Ospreay vs. Orange Cassidy, so he gave a preview, and I have to say he reeled me in. Both teams, especially Cassidy and Will, pulled spot after spot of amazing action. I'm thrilled to see what they can do with a whole match to themselves.
Last week, we criticized AEW for not building the Forbidden Door PPV well, and I feel like AEW took some meaningful steps to address those criticisms. They had a brawl between AEW and NJPW, and Okada appeared to save Adam Page from Adam Cole and Jay White. Now that AEW has Okada, they have a PPV again.
2. (Raw) Raw is Women
Carmella defeated Liv Morgan, Becky Lynch, Asuka, and Alexa Bliss. The women started Raw with a bang by having a fatal five-way to replace the suddenly injured Rhea Ripley. The crowd chanted "This is awesome!" for the match. However, it is yet to be determined how awesome Carmella will be as a challenger.
Later that night, Asuka defeated Becky in the main event of Raw to advance to Money in the Bank. With Roman Reigns out of town, WWE is forced to promote the women's titles more, and I'm here for it. Asuka and Becky pulled double duty, but you couldn't tell. They had an exceptional match. This was a big win for Asuka and an unexpected loss for Becky. I'm excited for Asuka and interested to see where this losing streak takes Becky.
1. (Dynamite) Christian Cage Goes Scorched Earth
Christian explained why he turned on Jungle Boy, and he did not disappoint. Christian said he never cared about Jungle Boy and that he was just collecting a check. Also, Christian said he held a grudge against Jungle Boy for eliminating him from the Casino Battle Royale. Christian dissed the entire locker room by saying none of them had a match that mattered, which is why he makes more than they do. Then, Christian circled back and insulted Jungle Boy's mother by saying she wanted Christian to be Jungle Boy's father before saying it's a good thing Jungle Boy's father isn't alive to see him look so weak. Luchasaurus finally came out to defend Jungle Boy when Christian told him something we couldn't hear that calmed him down. This is the best story in AEW right now.
10. Building Forbidden Door, AEW Rampage
AEW Rampage ended with a chaotic brawl to get you hype about Orange Cassidy/Will Ospreay, the triple threat tag team match, and the Eddie Kingston/Chris Jericho showdown at Blood and Guts. After the show, AEW had their signature “Road to” show, which is a must-watch if you’re unfamiliar with the talent from NJPW. AEW did a fantastic job turning around the hype for Forbidden Door this week.
9. Viking Raiders Return, SmackDown
I begrudgingly liked Shanky’s dancing gimmick, and I was excited to see him dance with the New Day. The New Day refused to face Jinder Mahal and Shanky again, in what I’m hoping was a reference to our criticisms that the New Day has been stuck in pointless feuds and a hell of rematches. The Viking Raiders saved this feud for serious fans. Their new look and upgraded gimmick appeared lethal, and maybe this means they can return to being a championship tag team. Having them face the New Day would be a great and worthwhile feud for both teams.
8. Bobby Lashley Plows Through The Gauntlet, WWE Raw
Used sparingly, the gauntlet match is one of the best plot devices for WWE storytelling. Even though we knew it was coming, Bobby Lashley looked powerful going through Alpha Academy and Theory in the gauntlet match, and it churned out some solid matches in the middle of Raw. This should be the pinpoint of the Lashley/Theory feud instead of the bad posing angle.
7. Drew McIntyre And Sheamus vs. the Usos, WWE SmackDown
This is a tried trope, but I like how they executed it on SmackDown. Drew McIntyre and Sheamus have such a rich rivalry, and it was easy to believe they had to put in lots of effort to put their differences aside. Having them face the Usos played into the idea that Roman Reigns may be afraid to face McIntyre or Sheamus. It furthered the Usos rivalry with the Street Profits, and it undid the confusion from last week when Adam Pearce let them both into the Money In The Bank match without explanation.
6. Wes Lee Promo, NXT 2.0
Wes Lee was on the way to cutting one of the most genuine, heartfelt promos of the year. He talked about the roller coaster of losing his tag team partner and trying to establish himself as a singles wrestler. Trick Williams interrupted him and got a lot of heat because you could tell the crowd was eating it up. Lee proved he could be a top NXT singles star, and with William's interruption, this should lead to a North American Championship feud with Carmelo Hayes.
5. Andrade El Idolo vs. Rey Fenix, AEW Dynamite
This match was as good as expected. Left off the card of Forbidden Door, I think both guys set out to have a PPV-level match. The difference in stature and style between the two reminded me of Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio. Andrade El Idolo finally followed up on his announcement at Double or Nothing as Rush showed up to help him win. They cheated to win, demasked Rey Fenix and announced their new faction. Penta came out to help Fenix, and we have the makings of a great new tag team feud.
4. Number One Contender Carmella, WWE Raw
Bianca Belair explained that Rhea Ripley was not cleared to compete, and Raw kicked off with a fatal five-way to declare a new number one contender. Sometimes, good wrestlers disappear on WWE TV for a bit, and Carmella is no different. Belair and Ripley had a great story to tell, and it’s disappointing to see it cut for now, but Carmella is a former champion and a great option to plug in on short notice.
3. Bryan Danielson Teases New Member, AEW Dynamite
Bryan Danielson kicked off AEW Dynamite and worked the hell out of the crowd with his promo. He announced a disappointing injury, promised an exciting surprise replacement and a new member of the Blackpool Combat Club, and told the crowd that he wasn’t going to tell him. AEW has been overall good with these surprises, so it may be the biggest story going into Forbidden Door.
2. Orange Cassidy and Rappongi Vice vs. Will Ospreay and Aussie Open, AEW Dynamite
This match had no right to be as good as it was. They did a great job building excitement for the showdown between Orange Cassidy and Will Ospreay. The action displayed from Rappongi Vice made me realize how grossly underutilized Trent is in AEW, and Aussie Open made me want to see more from them as well. There was too much action to outline here, but I’ll just say it was awesome.
1. Okada in AEW, AEW Dynamite
It’s finally here! Since AEW has been collaborating with NJPW, this is the moment I have been waiting for, and it didn’t disappoint. Kazuchika Okada came out to help Adam Page against Jay White and Adam Cole, and the pop from the crowd was crazy. For my money, Okada is the best wrestler in the world, and his involvement led to the announcement of a Fatal Four Way for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Look for this to be the match of the night, and there is a lot of storytelling to do, as evidenced by backstage interviews. Okada sees himself as the main draw, even though White is the champion, and Page still sees himself as the heart and soul of AEW. White and Cole have history and could team up, and if that happens, time will tell if Okada and Page can get on the same page.
Reverse Hipster's Lowlights
4. (SmackDown) Max Dupri
I like Max Dupri, but I don't trust WWE. He has pushed his debut back twice. Given WWE's history, it's beginning to make me think they don't have a plan for his models, and they are just buying time. I like the gimmick, but the execution is starting
to fall short.
3. (NXT) Roxanne Perez
Roxanne has declared that she is going to pursue the tag titles. I'm excited to see it, but it's still a bad booking. This is the second time someone has misused a tournament win stipulation. When it was the Dusty Classic, and it was time to go for the tag titles, the winner went after Mandy Roses's NXT title. Now, the women's breakout winner, who should have faced Mandy, is going after Toxic Attraction's tag titles. We could have had Perez face Mandy and lose. Then, build herself back up and win the tag titles with Cora.
2. (AEW) Rampage
Rampage didn't have any highlights this week because everything was just okay. Hook finally got back on Rampage, but he had a more competitive squash match. How many years do we have to wait for Hook to start winning real matches? Andrade El Idolo beat Rey Fenix, and it just feels like Rey is sliding down the card when he should be ascending. Also, Andrade's new partner didn't show any of his moves. I could have delivered a kick to the groin that doesn't tell me anything about him as a wrestler. Also, the brawl that ensued at the show's end was entertaining, but a little too late. Since AEW hasn't spent time telling the story of the rivalry between AEW and New Japan, the brawl doesn't mean much.
1. (Raw) Vince McMahon
Vince briefly appeared to announce Cena would be coming back next week before tripping on his way out of the ring. Vince is clearly appearing on TV to show he isn't going anywhere. However, this power move just makes him look worse. It sends the message that he doesn't take this situation seriously, and it annoys fans and people backstage.
7. Marina Shafir, AEW Dynamite
Nicknamed the problem, Marina Shafir hasn’t been much of a problem for any of the mainstream AEW stars that we’ve seen her face on TV. I haven’t been particularly interested in her matches or her character, and I think she has a lot of work to do before a victory over her should be considered a triumph.
6. Riddle loses to Omos, WWE Raw
I like the story they told that Riddle was still hurt from the Roman Reigns match, but it’s disappointing to see him miss out on qualifying for Money in the Bank. Riddle is one of the most exciting and credible entrants who could be in that match. On the flip side, Omos still hasn’t done much besides his physical presence to get me excited to see him in more significant feuds.
5. Vince McMahon, WWE Raw
Vince McMahon came out on WWE Raw for another pointless promo segment. If the point was to promote John Cena on Raw, anyone else could have done it. It’s clear the real point was to continue to lean into the controversy of McMahon stepping down as CEO while the investigation of his affair takes place. I hope the crowd boos McMahon out of the arena next time, as it's clearly tasteless and tone-deaf to continue to have him on screen.
4. Legado del Fantasma Secedes From The D’Angelo Family, NXT 2.0
This has been a good feud, but the story of the night came up short when Santos Escobar cost Tony D’Angelo the North American Championship in the main event. The tension has been building well, but the story has really only played out for a few weeks. In my head, it means the match between Escobar and D’Angelo was ultimately inconsequential. Hopefully, they find a way to salvage it moving forward.
3. Gunther vs. Ricochet, WWE SmackDown
This match should be the main event or be on Money in the Bank. The talent in this match is off the charts, and it could have stolen the show. WWE’s insistence not to present it as such will be the downfall of both superstars and the downfall of the Intercontinental Championship if this booking continues.
2. Booking Roxanne Perez And Cora Jade vs. Kayden Carter And Katana Chance, NXT 2.0
In a short promo segment, Roxanne Perez and Cora Jade killed all the intrigue built up over the last couple of weeks with what Perez would do with her rising star title shot. They challenged for the tag team championships, and what makes even less sense- they still have to face Kayden Carter and Katana Chance to earn their shots. Carter and Chance lost clean at In Your House, and it was my understanding that Perez’s tournament win warranted a title shot, no questions asked.
1. AJ Styles on MizTV, Styles vs. Ciampa, WWE Raw
AJ Styles is not at his best when he has to be on the mic for a while. He is a loved superstar in WWE, but having him joke about the size of Miz’s balls didn’t work this time because we already knew the joke, and he doesn’t have the charisma that Riddle has. Styles won pretty handily in his match with Tommaso Ciampa, and it didn’t do much for either superstar. It’s particularly disappointing to see Ciampa, who is basically on the Mount Rushmore of NXT in its prime, be treated without much fanfare on the main roster.
Rob’s Winner of the Week
6. NXT 2.0
This was a rare shoot-and-miss week from NXT 2.0, but they have a good roster and promising stories going forward.
5. Impact Wrestling
From the sounds of it, Impact Wrestling had a great Slammiversary, but they didn’t do much here to follow up. I have no major points to talk about from this show.
4. WWE SmackDown
Even with the stakes of Money in the Bank looming, WWE SmackDown was surprisingly mediocre, highlighted by a short underwhelming Intercontinental Championship match. The story of the night with McIntyre and Sheamus saved them from last this week.
3. WWE Raw
WWE Raw came out with an unexpectedly solid episode this week. The stakes of Money in the Bank helped, but as long as it’s a three-hour show, there will continue to be just as many lows of thrown-together, underthought segments.
2. AEW Rampage
AEW Rampage was exciting and well-built, opening with the much-anticipated Andrade El Idolo/Rey Fenix and closing with the biggest hype segment for upcoming feuds.
1. AEW Dynamite
AEW did a great job hyping up Forbidden Door this week. With most of the NJPW stars finally in the States, they announced the full card, including the biggest draw for NJPW, Kazuchika Okada. For my money, the trio match was the week's best match.
Reverse Hipster's Winners of the Week
Rampage is in last place because it had no highlights. NXT is second to last. It was still a good show, but didn't have many stand-out moments. Impact comes in fourth. Impact was a pretty promising story-driven episode. However, it seems like many feuds from Slammiversary are still going, and I wish the new Women's Champion, Jordynne Grace, would have gotten some spotlight. The third place is Raw. Raw had one of their better shows in a while. They held momentum throughout the night. They just needed a few more big developments to get to the top. AEW Dynamite is number two. Dynamite did a good job building to Forbidden Door, and they got the number two spot this week. However, SmackDown was easily, top to bottom, the best show this week. It had good story development, character development, and matches. SmackDown kept the momentum all night.