Reverse Hipster's Highlights
5. (Collision) Brodie King Upsets Kingston
I'm not the biggest fan of either of these wrestlers. I like King's wrestling more than Kingston's, and I like Kingston's promos better than either of their wrestling, but this match just snuck up on me. I've complained about test-of-strength matches before, but these two big bruisers made me believe in the punishment and pain they were inflicting, which took this battle of wills to the next level. Still, I was sure as a champion Kingston was going to win the match, and then he didn't. This match was hard-fought and excellently constructed. Plus, it was nice to see King get such a huge win.
4. (Dynamite) Samoa Looking Better Than Ever
Samoa Joe has looked the most like a star that I have seen in his entire run in AEW. MJF and Adam Cole are the two most over acts in AEW, and they came out cut a pretty corny promo, but they are so loved that the crowd ate it up. When Samoa Joe came out, the energy shifted, and MJF, in particular, was forced to straighten up and get back in his bag. Still, despite all the biting insults MJF threw at him, Samoa Joe remained in control of the segment and owned MJF. He won the promo battle and really made me believe he could beat MJF.
3. (Collision) The Rated R Superstar Is Back
A good heel brings out or attracts a good babyface. When Adam first got to AEW, he was boring. He was a star, but there was nothing for him to sink his teeth into, so he fell flat. Christian's antics have given him not only a great feud but a chance to be that vindictive twisted son of a bitch he never got to be in his second run in WWE. The Rated R superstar is back, and he's more dangerous than ever because he isn't fighting for just himself anymore. He's not just trying to survive. He's on the hunt, and Killswitch learned that the hard way when Adam took a steel chair to the back of his skull.
2. (Dynamite) AEW Women's Division
I said back at Full Gear that the women's division was changing for the better. The triple threat and the Toni Storm segment are precisely what I was talking about. First, let's go to Toni. I stuck through her silent movie phase because she was building a character with a rich backstory. Everybody didn't get it initially, but Toni's award speech cemented her character. Being silent for so long can make you forget how good Toni actually is. Her comedic timing in her award speech was flawless, and her character voice was perfect. Toni doesn't even have an opponent yet, but she has created a character that is entertaining to watch individually.
Plus, it looks like Skye Blue will be her next challenger after interrupting her award ceremony and winning the triple threat. What I loved about the triple threat between Blue, Soho, and Anna was that they all had a storyline. Skye Blue is going through this transformation, making her edgier and more serious as a competitor. Ruby Soho has a Romeo and Juliet story with Cool Hand Ange(he needed a story, too), and seeing them come together as their respective factions tried to keep them apart was awesome. My favorite part was when Ruby fell into Ange's arms, and he caught her. They just stared at each other like they would kiss until they were ripped apart. Anna helped add fuel to this fire because she is questioning if her group is even looking out for each other anymore, and a romance with her enemy isn't helping team morale.
1. (Dynamite) Christian is the Undisputed Best Heel in Wrestling, and It's Not Close
Christian went on a tear on Dynamite. He changed Luchasaurus's name to Killswitch and just degraded him in front of the entire crowd by calling him stupid and making him kneel, then hilariously telling Nick Wayne never to kneel for another man. I love Luchasaurus the Monster, but he has more chops than that. Luchasaurus or Killswitch sold this entire exchange. Even through a mask, we could all see Killswitch's turmoil between doing the terrible degrading orders of Christian or breaking apart. The way Christian degraded Killswitch and praised Wayne as the golden child in front of Killswitch was enough to make him detestable.
However, Christian didn't stop there because things got worse when Nick Wayne's mom tried to save him from Christian. Christian ran her down in front of her son and the world. He called her a terrible mother who embarrassed her son by being a poor waitress. Then Christian disrespected Wayne's dead father. Even being the golden boy isn't a walk in the park. Nick Wayne did nothing as his mother was reduced to tears before him. Killswitch stepped up for Nick Wayne's mom, and Christian knocked him into Nick Wayne's mom. And what did Wayne do about it? He handed Christian chairs to finish his mom off with a conchairto. Then Edge came and saved Wayne's mom and gave Wayne the conchairto as his mom and Christian watched in horror. It's one of the best segments of the year and established Christian as the Undisputed Best Heel in wrestling.
Rob’s Highlights (WWE/NXT)
5. Lyra Valkyria vs. Xia Li, NXT
This was one of the best matches we’ve seen Xia Li in, and it established Lyra Valkyria as a worthy champion of the division. Li hurt Valkyria earlier in the night, which set up a story where Li had the advantage. In the end, Valkyria won, but both stars came out looking better.
4. Santos Escobar, WWE SmackDown
It can take time for new stars to take to the main roster, but it hasn’t taken much time for Santos Escobar. During a promo from Carlito, Escobar came out to attack him verbally and physically. Eventually, Dragon Lee came out to make the save, but much of the harm was already complete. Escobar did great heel work here, and the crowd reaction to his work was hot.
3. Josh Briggs beats Carmelo Hayes, NXT
Sometimes, NXT’s Iron Survivor Qualifiers seem too predictable. That was the case for Carmelo Hayes and Josh Briggs until it suddenly wasn’t. Briggs was fired up to make the most of this opportunity, and with a little distraction from Lexis King, Briggs hit a big moonsault on Hayes and got the win. It seems Hayes is officially in his putting others over era of his NXT run, and this was a huge win for Briggs to qualify for the Iron Survivor match.
2. Women’s War Games, WWE SmackDown
To open the night, Becky Lynch cut a promo to address why she joined the women’s babyface team without ever addressing her tension with Charlotte Flair. The veteran Bayley took advantage of this and poked fun at the other two, setting up a main event of Lynch and Flair vs. Bayley and Asuka. The main event told an interesting story that Flair and Lynch were mostly on the same page with some obvious tension. Flair speared Asuka into Lynch which set up an eventual win for the Damage CTRL team. While I usually hate thrown-together teams like the babyfaces, this storytelling made the team interesting going into War Games.
1. Drew McIntyre and the Judgment Day, WWE Raw
Drew McIntyre opened the show with a shades of gray promo about how he was still himself, and the fans simply didn’t like it. He said he wasn’t joining Judgment Day, but he was taking his chance to fight Jey Uso in a War Games match. Later in the night, Damian Priest fought with Rhea Ripley about inviting McIntyre to their team without consulting Priest as the team leader. Priest wanted to fight in the one-on-one to see who gets the advantage, but McIntyre quickly talked him out of it and took the job for itself. McIntyre beat Jey Uso in the main event to give his team the advantage. These segments did a great job establishing McIntyre’s new character and potential problematic dynamics in the heel team at War Games.
Rob’s Lowlights (WWE)
2. Not Ready for TV matches, NXT
Most weeks, NXT has some of the best in-ring action of any weekly wrestling show. And simultaneously, there are moments where the in-ring action is so sloppy, it feels like it should be happening in a camera-free performance center and not on live TV, especially when some superstars are entirely new to wrestling. While these stars have shown promise, I have to call out the Blair Davenport/Thea Hail and Eddy Thorpe/Charlie Dempsey matches for being a little disjointed and sloppy.
1. Damian Priest, WWE Raw
I know I put this as a highlight earlier, but the downside of the Drew McIntyre and Judgment Day segment is it made Damian Priest look like a horrible leader. He took offense to Rhea Ripley and McIntyre inserting themselves but didn’t do anything about it. In fact, Priest bent over backward to let McIntyre be in the match in seconds. Priest is already on a down slope because of losses and failed Money in the Bank cash- ins. This was just the latest thing that didn’t help his case as a main event superstar.
Reverse Hipster's Lowlights
1. (Impact) Clipshow
I love that Impact takes off Holidays and allows wrestlers to be with their families. Even if they get on a larger network, I hope they will continue to do that. However, the clip shows are also a break for the fans in viewership. Instead of the clip shows, it would be cool if Impact did a cinematic episode. They could do a show with a bunch of cinematic matches or even weave it all together like a Lucha Underground episode. They could film it in pieces, making it more flexible than one extra taping. Plus, this would make the Impact Holiday breaks an event for fans while the wrestlers are away.
Rob’s Winner of the Week (WWE/NXT)
WWE did exactly what they should with their go-home shows this week. The biggest highlights of the week were storytelling and promoting the Men’s and Women’s War Games matches at Survivor Series Sunday. While every show was overall good, I have to give the winner of the week to SmackDown. In addition to the two highlights and no lowlights above, every segment on SmackDown was fun to watch, blending good storytelling with in-ring action and even showcasing some stars who aren’t on the Survivor Series card.
Reverse Hipster's Winner of the Week
The Winner of the week is Dynamite. Dynamite had the number one best moment of the week, in addition to great matches and segments from the women's division and the world title picture. If Collision hadn't put on a better show, Dynamite could have easily been the entire list. Impact didn't really compete this week by design, but for the first time in a long time, AEW felt like must-watch television.