The Wrap Up: Summer of Punks
Updated: Aug 7, 2022
Reverse Hipster’s Highlights
10. (SmackDown) Aliyah Fails to Read the Room
It’s official, Lacey Evans is a heel. I previously said WWE shouldn’t turn her heel and waste her heartfelt promos. However, she has always been a better heel than a face, and WWE books heels better anyway. Also, it’s easy to accept Lacey turning heel because she gets to use her background as part of her character. It’s just a shame that Aliyah missed every single cue Lacey gave from the heel monologue to her many entrances for more applause. Somehow, after all that, Aliyah really thought Lacey was going to be her tag team partner. Lacey, of course, hit Aliyah with a Women’s Right.
9. (Impact) Trey Miguel vs. Laredo Kid
Trey wrestling with an injured leg provided a unique match. I was very interested in seeing Trey fight a different style because he obviously couldn’t do his regular offense with an injured leg. Instead, he just did his offense on one leg, and it was incredible. The one-legged kip-up was especially unbelievable.
8. (SmackDown) The Usos vs. Los Lotharios
The Usos are on fire right now. They had an excellent match at Money in the Bank, and they continued that momentum by superkicking Los Lotharios to oblivion on SmackDown.
7. (Impact) Mia Yim vs. Deonna Purrazzo
This match was a number one contender's match, and these two women delivered. They gave it everything they had. Deonna nearly ripped Yim's shoulder out of her socket, and Mia defeated Deonna with an overkill finish of multiple finishers to ensure Deonna stayed down. It made Deonna look strong in a loss, and Mia was the correct winner. Impact needed to capitalize on all the momentum Mia has gained in the last few months.
6. (Rampage) Orange Cassidy vs. Tony Nese
This match didn’t have a complex story, but it had subtle stakes. Orange Cassidy is climbing to the top of AEW right now. Tony is ice cold, but they are both incredible wrestlers. It felt like both of them needed to win for different reasons. That desperation fueled the match, and it turned out fantastic. I think Orange Cassidy winning was the right call, but hopefully, Tony can get a character because he is too good not to be more prominently featured in AEW.
5. (Dynamite) Revenge of the Ass Boys
The Acclaimed and The Gunn Club were fun while they lasted, but it’s over now. The Gunn Club turned on The Acclaimed, and this time Billy Gunn joined in with his sons, choosing them over The Acclaimed. This should be a fun undercard feud that allows both teams to shine more in the future.
4. (Dynamite) Christian Cage
Christian Cage is stepping up in MJF’s absence as the top heel in the company. Christian Cage has zero filter. This week, he lambasted Matt Hardy for ignoring his brother's addiction problems to ride his coattails. Then, Luchasaurus beat up Matt Hardy. I’m not sure if Christian is a manager or a wrestler right now, but Luchasaurus is definitely going to be elevated by being with Christian. Also, who can shut Christian’s mouth with Luchasaurus by his side?
3. (Dynamite) Scorpio Sky vs. Wardlow, TNT Title
Wardlow defeated Scorpio Sky with a Powerbomb Symphony after taking out his entire crew and kicking out after getting hit with the belt. Scorpio looked pretty weak here, and his title reign was just okay. I wish he would have gotten more big matches before giving the title up. However, I will say Wardlow looked incredible. He is the Goldberg of this generation. He has won his first title, still feels unstoppable, and fans love him.
2. (NXT) Bron Breakker vs. Cameron Grimes, NXT Title
Breakker had a great match with Grimes, where he retained his title. Grimes put up a good challenge by taking advantage of Bron’s shoulder with the Cave In. However, the story of this match to me is that Bron keeps getting better. Bron pulled off a Frankensteiner and speared Cameron Grimes out of the air to win the match. Bron has a bright future.
1. (Raw) The Mysterios vs. The Judgment Day
I did not expect to put this match on my highlight list, but it was too good to be denied. People forget how good Rey Mysterio is, and they forget how good Rey and Dominik Mysterio are together. This match was an absolute banger. The work rate of the fight was superb. However, Rey doing the Eddie Guerrero fake chair shot to get the DQ victory in front of a hot hometown crowd solidified this match as a highlight.
9. Maximum Male Models, WWE SmackDown
Only because I didn't get to write about this last week- I found this gimmick laugh-out-loud funny. I have no clue where WWE is going with it, but I'm letting it sit here for now.
8. Dark Order, AEW Dynamite
This was a fun and heartwarming segment. Being in Brodie Lee's hometown, I like that they addressed the future of the Dark Order. QT Marshall was the perfect heel in this situation, and I loved giving -1 a moment to get the crowd's reaction too. Dark Order is over with the crowd in a grassroots sort of way, and I hope AEW follows up on this and gives them more TV time.
7. Alan Angels, Impact Wrestling
Alan Angels debuted in Impact Wrestling, having a good match with Mike Bailey and getting a good reception from the crowd and commentary. I would love to see Impact open up to more underutilized AEW stars, as AEW's roster becomes oversaturated, and Impact could use a deeper roster.
6. The Mysterios vs. Judgment Day, WWE Raw
Rhea Ripley's injury derailed Judgment Day's momentum. This was a super fun opening to Raw in San Diego with the Mysterios and an homage to Eddie Guerrero. Judgment Day wasn't hurt because of the dusty finish, and this could be a good feud if they decide to move forward with it.
5. Mia Yim Becomes Number One Contender, Impact Wrestling
Impact Wrestling's women's division is one of its best assets. They had a solid main event between Mia Yim and Deonna Purazzo to determine the number one contender. Yim won, and she is super over with the crowd. Her match with Jordynne Grace feels fresh compared to the matchups we've seen on Impact.
4. Ezekiel vs. Seth Rollins, WWE Raw
I'm coming around to love Ezekiel, and I think his in-ring ability is an underrated asset on Raw's roster. After an altercation at the 4th of July Picnic, Ezekiel and Seth Rollins casually had an extremely high work rate match in the middle of Raw. Their chemistry was solid enough to warrant a longer feud between the two.
3. Bron Breakker vs. Cameron Grimes, NXT 2.0
I like the story these two ended up telling in and out of the ring. In the end, it was a worthy main event. Bron Breakker is clearly the guy on NXT 2.0, and I'm curious whom they will build to take the championship from him. For now, I can't see anyone beating Breakker, but Vince McMahon has to be itching to get him on the main roster- he works a WWE main event style better than most WWE guys.
2. Down Goes Toxic Attraction, NXT 2.0
I've said for months that Toxic Attraction was built up so strong that them finally losing would be huge. This week, Cora Jade and Roxanne Perez finally ended the reign of the tag team, and Perez announced she's going after the NXT championship next. I'm surprised they gave this away on NXT 2.0, but it was a big moment.
1. Wardlow Wins the TNT Championship, AEW Dynamite
If Scorpio Sky is indeed hurt, this was a great booking to get the championship off him. In line with Wardlow's persona, he had to plow over all of the American Top Team to get to the TNT Championship, and he did it. This is the perfect spot for AEW to test the white-hot Wardlow.
Reverse Hipster’s Lowlights
4. (SmackDown) The New Day, Jinder Mahal and Shanky, and The Viking Raiders
This was just a lousy pocket of SmackDown. The Viking Raiders quickly destroyed Shanky and Jinder, which was okay, but not very exciting. Then, The New Day ran out, and they got beat up too. I don’t know what part of this the audience was supposed to enjoy.
3. (Rampage) Konosuke Takeshita vs. Eddie Kingston
Konosuke lost again, and it’s frustrating. This guy has all this talent, but he is being used as enhancement talent. Eventually, he will lose one too many and just be considered a loser. AEW needs to do more with him.
2. (Impact) She Loves Me Shield, She Loves Me Nexus
Honor No More was the best part of the men’s division heading into Slammiversary. However, instead of going The Shield route and defeating the heroes, and then going off to singles success, Honor No More has gone the way of The Nexus. They have been defeated time and time again. They lost at Slammiversary and Against All Odds, and now they look toothless. Also, worst of all, their losses haven’t even elevated younger talent. They have lost to Impact legends. Impact will need a massive stroke of creative genius to turn this around.
1. (SmackDown) Why Does WWE Hate Natalya?
Natalya had this remarkable moment at Money in the Bank, where she didn’t win the battle, but she won the war by injuring Ronda. Therefore, costing Ronda the title. WWE ruined that on SmackDown by having a very clearly injured Ronda squash a healthy Natalya. Natalya didn’t even get in any offense before tapping out to the ankle lock. It was stupid, and it didn’t help anyone involved. It took a moment away from Liv Morgan, who could have been the focus. It didn’t give Ronda more momentum. It just made Natalya look bad. Natalya has worked way too hard in WWE to be treated like this. It’s bullshit. It reminds me of when Natalya seemingly couldn’t mention Ronda losing in UFC. Yet, Ronda was allowed to decimate Natalya for dedicating her life to WWE and not being a mother.
6. No Boundaries, WWE Raw
It seems like WWE SmackDown stars are more likely to show up on Raw these days with no announcement, explanation, or fanfare. If WWE is starting to break down those walls, I think it will prove to be a huge mistake as many of their underutilized stars continue to quit or jump ship to AEW.
5. Theory Lurking, WWE SmackDown
WWE is good at insulting the intelligence of their audience. Apparently, nobody ever taught them the storytelling concept of show don't tell. We already know Theory has the Money in the Bank briefcase, and we know what it means. We don't need WWE to show Theory lurking with the case or have commentators predicting he will cash in at SummerSlam. We already learned with Big E that calling your shot is a horrible formula. Let the guy hold the briefcase for some time, take the audience along on the ride, and let it be a big surprise when someone cashes in.
4. Ronda Rousey vs. Natalya, WWE SmackDown
They really just undid all the good that their match on Sunday did. If Ronda Rousey can beat Natalya this quickly, why didn't she do so on Sunday? It also undid some positive momentum for Natalya, who got built up as a credible and dangerous technical wrestler.
3. Otis Can't Hold It Down, WWE Raw
I didn't mind the thread of the 4th of July picnic throughout Raw, as it added ambiance and made for some good matches (see Ezekiel vs. Seth Rollins above). I didn't even mind the hot dog eating contest. However, the segment with Otis throwing up in the ring was disgusting and sophomoric humor that reeked of Vince McMahon. A surprisingly good match preceded it and was destroyed by making vomiting the central plot point.
2. Bait and Switch, WWE SmackDown
SmackDown advertised a worthy and exciting main event all night. Sheamus chickened out at the last second and blamed COVID, which is a horrible and non-credible excuse that also makes light of the global pandemic. Drew McIntyre basically squashed Butch, who was one of the most promising stars in NXT for years. Then, McIntyre swung at Sheamus (still out even though he wasn't sure if he had COVID), which set off the Kane pyro in the ring (for some reason). This was a horrible main event, and I hope it's salvaged if they do decide to have the planned main event at SummerSlam.
1. Rematches for SummerSlam, WWE Raw
WWE is building SummerSlam around another Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar encounter. If this is indeed their last match, I hope they go out with a bang, but it's hard to get excited by the only match WWE perceives to be a draw while mega-talented stars get underutilized. In the undercard, Theory will fight Bobby Lashley again, but what does he have to prove? Holding the briefcase is the best prize of all, and Lashley should want that over the US Title.
Reverse Hipster’s Show Rankings
Last place goes to NXT. NXT excels in character work, but on a pseudo-PPV, it was about match quality. For the most part, NXT did not deliver. That’s one thing I hope Triple H can bring back to NXT, elite match quality. If we can get the character work of NXT 2.0 with the match quality of the black and gold, NXT would be unstoppable.
Rampage is in fifth place. It had a great main event, but that was about it. Rampage continues to struggle at putting together a full show. I think they should stop doing Rampage pre-taped and go live.
Raw is in fourth place. It had the best moment of the week, but the rest show didn’t live up to that level of excitement. I enjoyed seeing the women’s division featured prominently, but Raw needed more story developments, especially after a big PPV.
SmackDown is in third. It had some big misses, but also provided a decent amount of entertainment.
Impact is in second place. It did a good job putting on good matches with stakes and story.
Dynamite gets the number one spot because it had the most exciting developments this week.
Rob's Winners of the Week
6. WWE SmackDown
By all metrics, SmackDown this week was a downright bad show. It's a shame following up on a great Money in the Bank show to get this.
5. WWE Raw
WWE Raw was lukewarm this week, but it had some solid action. As always, it was hurt by as many downs as it has up. If Raw could cut the fluff, it would have a chance at being the best show of the week.
4. Impact Wrestling
Two good segments are saving Impact Wrestling. While the rest of it wasn't noteworthy, it didn't have any major downs.
3. AEW Dynamite
With so many injuries and just starting to build new stories, AEW Dynamite wasn't the bang you'd expect it to be, but it was still better than most other shows this week.
2. AEW Rampage
I think AEW Rampage was just a little bit better than AEW Dynamite this week. Even though nothing was a major highlight, the average work rate of each match was higher than Dynamite.
1. NXT 2.0
This wasn't NXT 2.0's best special show, but it was certainly enough to beat anyone else this week.