Updated: Sep 29
Reverse Hipster's AEW/Impact Highlights
The crown jewel of Impact's awesome 1000-episode celebration was the generational women's match. The Knockout Division has always stood out in wrestling, and it has only gotten better. It was great to see women like Awesome Kong, Angela Love, and Gail Kim wrestle with the greats of today, like Deonna Purrazzo, Jordynne Grace, and Trinity. Gail Kim imparticular, had an amazing performance. It's incredible that Gail can still do so many of her acrobatic moves. This was a great match to end the night on. Most companies wouldn't have given their women's division a spot like this on an anniversary show, but Impact did.
4. (Dynamite) Eddie Kingston vs. Claudio Castagnoli
Eddie versus Claudio is the match that everyone wanted when Claudio joined AEW. AEW didn't give us the match right away. Instead, Claudio and Eddie just rotated around each other, having little interactions that reminded everyone of their longstanding feud. Finally, fans got everything they wanted and more when Claudio and Eddie faced each other as champions in a title vs. title match.
Eddie and Claudio wrestled with the intensity of a world title boxing fight. They just kept throwing haymakers until Eddie hit Claudio with so many finishing maneuvers that it would be impossible for him to get up. Eddie retained his title and won the ROH World title, beating his rival in his hometown in a cinematic ending to a years-long rivalry.
3. (Collision) Christian vs. Luchasaurus vs. Darby Allin TNT Title
Christian fooling Luchasaurus into treating this match like a handicap match against Darby only to turn on him was pure chaos. It was brilliant! I love Luchasaurus, but even I have to admit it was a shockingly entertaining turn of events. Also surprising, Luchasaurus didn't even get mad at Christian. I think Christian is blackmailing Luchasaurus, and we just don't know it yet. But for now, congrats to Christian for adding another title to his legacy.
2. (Dynamite) Saraya vs. Toni Storm AEW Women's Title match
Ever since the Outcast formed, they have shown the potential to be remarkable. For a long time, it seemed they wouldn't have the time to tell a great story and get over. However, the Outcast got in the World title picture and never looked back. This title defense was electric. The drama of Toni and Saraya grappling with how far is too far to go to win the title was superb. Toni surprise kissed Saraya and then hit her with a Storm Zero. After Saraya kicked out, Toni tried to end her career by hip-attacking her into the exposed turnbuckle.
Saraya did her fair share of dirt as well. She sprayed Toni in the eyes with spray paint before hitting the Rampage. Toni kicked out, but in the end, when Saraya hit the Rampage again from the second rope, driving Toni's head straight into the mat, there was no getting up. Saraya retains her title, and the AEW women's division is as hot as I've ever seen it.
1. Sammy Guevara vs. Jericho OMG
I'm just going to break the fourth wall a little bit. It isn't easy to rank these entries. It's a masterpiece vs. a masterpiece, and that's exactly what this match was. Jericho had maybe his best one-on-one match in a year or more, and the ending was just bananas. Sammy gets his shooting star press reversed into a codebreaker. The teacher, Jericho, proves why he is the master. Sammy isn't better than him yet. However, Sammy teaches Jericho a lesson when he betrays Jericho after the match and joins Don Callis.
This betrayal was the perfect move for Sammy's character. Sammy couldn't accept the fact that Jericho was better than him, and he knew it, so he joined Callis. Sammy is going to the dark side to achieve ultimate power. Also, is there a man in AEW with more heat than Don Callis?
Rob’s Highlights (WWE)
5. Nathan Frazer vs. Duke Hudson vs. Joe Coffey, NXT
This triple threat was fun, and it felt like anyone could win. While I was rooting for Nathan Frazer, this was a unique feature on NXT for Joe Coffey. The Global Heritage Invitational has worked as a great showcase for former NXT UK superstars.
4. Butch vs. Tyler Bate, NXT
The former Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate have a storied history and built on it here in a match that determined the final winner of Group A in the Global Heritage Invitational. They have a unique chemistry and built crazy sequences throughout the match. While I would have loved to see the Bate resurgence continue, Butch is always a strong pick to win something and be featured in the future and the final.
3. John Cena and the Bloodline, WWE SmackDown
John Cena’s return run has been fun and giving back in all the right ways. While the Roman Reigns story is played out, it’s interesting to see Cena opposite of Solo Sikoa and Jimmy Uso, fighting the dominant power in charge on SmackDown. I was excited to see AJ Styles team up with Cena, but now, there is more story to tell as the Bloodline took out Styles, and Cena will likely need a new partner at Fastlane.
2. Asuka vs. Iyo Sky, WWE SmackDown
SmackDown continued the trend of letting good wrestlers wrestle. In one of the early matches of the night, Iyo Sky defended successfully against Asuka. While there was a lot of WWE nonsense going on around the match, the two women in ring had great chemistry and a high work rate with the unique flair of women’s wrestling. Sky is starting to build a memorable reign as a babyface champion, which is one of the greatest challenges in wrestling.
1. Who’s Idea Was it Anyway, WWE Raw
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn came out after Cody Rhodes’s victory over Dominik Mysterio. Owens called Rhodes back to the ring and asked him why he brought Jey Uso to the Raw locker room. The result was really good character work from everyone involved. Zayn pointed out that maybe Owens isn’t trusting enough while Zayn is too trusting, but the trust rebuilt between them brought a WrestleMania moment. Owens said he trusted Zayn and Rhodes, but he didn’t trust Jey Uso. This is a great long-term story to keep our eyes on.
Reverse Hipster's Lowlights
(Collision) Bryan Danielson vs. Ricky Starks Deathmatch
I know this entry might seem strange, but I don't think Bryan or Ricky are Deathmatch wrestlers. Having one non-Deathmatch wrestler is fine, but two dilutes the match. Plus, this match was similar to the strap match. Bryan Danielson still won, so the rematch didn't change anything, and it was way too close to the original match to feel fresh. Also, when people think of strap matches, they tend to get distracted by the strap and forget all the other things the wrestlers can do to each other. You compound that with Ricky and Bryan's reputations as wrestlers, and it was easy for them to exceed our expectations of violence.
However, the Strap match heightened tolerance for violence between these two, and the reputation of death-defying Deathmatch violence created a scenario where the level of violence between Starks and Danielson seemed underwhelming. Lastly, Ricky powering out of the chain choke that finished his last match makes no sense. Why didn't he do that last time if he had that in him? The whole point of that spot was to show that even in a no-win spot, he wouldn't give up before his body did, but if he could just power out of the move, then that means he just wasn't good enough last time.
Rob’s Lowlights (WWE)
2. WWE fans, WWE Raw
It was reported that Giovanni Vinci and Tommaso Ciampa was the lowest-viewed Raw match of all time. If true, I’m putting WWE fans in the lowlights for not giving these two a chance or understanding that if built right, this could be a main-event match.
1. Dominik Mysterio, WWE Raw
Dominik Mysterio was dominated by Cody Rhodes, losing handily even with assistance from the Judgment Day. Dominik has been getting loud reactions from the crowd as a heel and can go in-ring. WWE rewarded Dominik with the North American Championship, so I’m not sure why they had him lose so decisively here.
Rob’s Winner of the Week (WWE)
For me, the winner of the week was WWE SmackDown. Sometimes, SmackDown feels like THE show to watch in a featured spot on Fox and giving stories time to play out. Now, with names like John Cena and the Rock showing up, it feels even bigger than the rest of the WWE roster. Their good matches and storytelling set them apart this week for sure.
Reverse Hipster's Winner of the Week
Dynamite had damn near every highlight of the week. There were moments I left off from Dynamite that would be number one moments in other weeks. Each show put on a show-stopping performance. It was really Show-stoppers week, but Dynamite put on a Wrestlemania-level product.