The Wrap Up: Toxic Takeover

Updated: Sep 17

Reverse Hipster's Highlights

10. (Rampage) Collective Good

Rampage didn't have a single standout highlight, but collectively the show was a highlight because it was better than previous weeks. Swerve In Our Glory had their first title defense against Private Party, who got time to remind people how good they are. Miro attacked the House of Black and looked dominant. Orange Cassidy and Best Friends advanced in the Trios Title Tournament in the match of the night. Claudio Castagnoli accepted a challenge from Dustin Rhodes for next week. So even though there aren't any standouts, there are many things to be excited about.


9. (NXT) Giovanni Vinci vs. Carmelo Hayes, NXT North America Title

These two delivered in the ring just as we expected they would. Vinci had the title won, but Trick Williams kept interfering until the very end when Trick took a powerbomb to by time for Hayes to come up with the head scissor reversal pin for the win. Hayes keeps the title and looks like a cheap heel champion, and Vinci looks great in the match and looks like he was cheated out of the title. Both superstars came out well.


8. (Impact) 6-Man Elimination Match

Impact had a banger main event match between Moose, Rich Swann, Eddie Edwards, Sami Callihan, Bandido, and Steve Maclin for the right to be the number one contender. The match was excellent, and I think Eddie was the correct winner. Eddie and Josh Alexander can have a psychological feud that puts butts in seats. Plus, Josh is at his best when he has to overcome. Honor No More and Josh Alexander need this feud.


7. (Dynamite) OGs and Young Bucks

Kenny Omega made his return to help the Young Bucks win their Trios Title Tournament match against Andrade, Rush, and Dragon Lee. The match was excellent, but surprisingly Dragon Lee was the MVP. The biggest moment of Kenny's return was after the match when he addressed the crowd mainly as the person behind the character. As a casual Kenny fan, I was shocked at how good a promo he was. It didn't really matter what he was saying. He was just so charismatic that he could have said anything, and the audience would hang onto every word. He really has the it factor.

Jungle Boy and Christian Cage had another confrontation. It was a simple, but effective segment. Jungle Boy called out Christian Cage for being a coward and challenged him to a match at All Out, and Cage declined. Then, Cage did the slimmest thing he could do by trying to make up and wave the white flag to avoid punishment for his actions. Jungle Boy beat Cage down and started a pull apart brawl.

The Gunn Club turned on their father after finally gaining his approval. The Acclaimed ran out and saved Daddy A**, and they got a huge ovation. The Acclaimed are super over right now, and this undercard feud is strengthening the overall show.


6. (SmackDown) Heating Up

SmackDown had great character work. Ronda Rousey held up the show, beat up security guards, and had to be escorted out via police car. Her character is hotter than it has ever been. I'm not sure where she is heading, but I hope it's one-on-one with Stephanie McMahon. Karrion Kross cut an excellent promo for Drew McIntyre, saying that he doesn't like being called the chosen one because he knows he failed in that role, and WWE chose wrong. I was never a huge Kross fan, but his return has been tremendous so far.

Liv Morgan looked good, defeating Shotzi with an injured arm, and this arm could be her ticket back into the hearts of fans. Shayna Baszler looks pretty vicious as well. She attacked Liv after the match and laid Liv out. Liv and Shayna aren't the only ones reviving their characters. Sami Zayn showed signs of his babyface character this week. He almost got a heroic comeback win in the five-way intercontinental contender match. He came back mid-match from an injury, and the crowd was on his side, but Happy Corbin stopped him. Sheamus ended up winning the match. Sheamus vs. Gunther should be great. Hopefully, we also get the old Sami back.


5. (Raw) Drew McIntyre/ Kevin Owens/Bobby Lashley/Ciampa

Drew delivered one of the most impassioned speeches of his career, explaining how he isn't a chosen one because he got fired and worked his butt off to get where he is at. KO also cut a great promo, saying he is returning to being the prizefighter and targeting every champ. Both of these guys are dripping with charisma and skill, and it has been apparent for years. Glad to see them both get the attention they deserve.

Bobby Lashley was already on a hell of a run in the last days of Vince McMahon, but Triple H has definitely taken that baton. Bobby feels like the A champion on Raw, and he keeps stacking up wins and looking great. This week, Lashley beat AJ Styles. The sky is the limit for Bobby.

Ciampa has definitely had a resurgence since Triple H took the reigns. He won his triple threat match and had a great match with Bobby Lashley in the last few weeks. This week, Ciampa tagged with The Miz and got an impressive victory over Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander. Ciampa kneed Ali out of mid-air as Ali was doing a 450 splash off the ropes. Ciampa got the win for his team, and it was the definition of a highlight.


4. (SmackDown) Toxic Takeover

Toxic Attraction has arrived, and they made their debut on the main roster by beating Sonya Deville and Natalya in Montreal, Canada. The crowd was super into this match, and Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne looked great inside and outside of the ring. I'm rooting for Toxic Attraction to take the titles in this Women's Tag Team Tournament.


3. (NXT) Heartbreak Heatwave

This may be a hot take, but I think that Mandy Rose's run is about to get even hotter. She had a hell of a run. Now that Triple H is in charge, more emphasis will be put on wrestling and Mandy will take another step. Mandy's match with Zoey Stark was already a quality improvement. After Zoey almost won the match, Mandy viciously attacked Zoey's injured leg, took her brace, and then put it on herself. Mandy used the brace to hit Zoey with a gnarly knee to win the match. I love the finish because it protects Zoey while making Mandy look cunning.

Santos Escobar and Tony D'Angelo had a great match, and it was easily the biggest crowd reaction of the night. In the end, Tony D and Santos had this great moment where they were in the middle of the ring and looked at each other and then their weapons, and each reached for their weapons like an old west shootout, but it was Tony who struck first. Santos sadly lost, but, hopefully, Santos has big plans on the main roster.


2. (Dynamite) You're a Wrestler

Bryan Danielson and Daniel Garcia had an excellent match. Garcia looked great countering Bryan, and even hitting with Bryan's own moves and choking Bryan out. However, in the end, Bryan showed Garcia why he was the best wrestler of the age when he put Garcia in a position where Garcia had no choice but to tap. Bryan won the third and final fall. After the match, it seemed like Garcia was going to shake Bryan's hand, but Chris Jericho ruined it by attacking Bryan. However, Garcia stopped him and seemed conflicted. The crowd cheered "You're a wrestler!" If Garcia chose to, he could easily be a face just like that.


1. (Dynamite) There Can Only Be One

Jon Moxley accused CM Punk of losing his fire a long time ago. CM Punk big leagued Moxley by saying he was the third best member of his crew again, and CM Punk was the actual draw. I love that both men aren't holding back in any facet of the feud. Whether it's on the mic or in a fight, these two are giving everything they got. I can even believe they don't really like each other. CM Punk called out Adam Page in what's being reported as an off-script moment. However, I think it's a work because Punk is going heel, and this Adam Page story is just fueling the fire.


Rob’s Highlights

10. Toxic Attraction Debut, WWE SmackDown

In a last-second change, Toxic Attraction debuted to defeat Natalya and Sonya Deville. This faction has been main roster-ready for a while now, and I’m glad to see them rewarded. WWE can play up how important it is to have established tag team chemistry, and it will make Toxic Attraction seem more credible when they beat long-time main roster stars.


9. Knockouts Feuds, Impact Wrestling

Killer Kelly’s presentation has been flawless in her run on Impact. She showed an ability to work backstage with other characters this week, leading to a match against Savannah Evans and likely first feud with Tasha Steelz. After defeating Mia Yim, Jordynn Grace is onto a feud with Masha Slamovich, who will reveal if she can stay hot in longer matches and feuds.


8. Eddie Edwards Becomes Number One Contender, Impact Wrestling

Eddie Edwards will be the number one contender for Impact's biggest show of the year. It’s a much-needed win for Honor No More and a reward for a guy who has been loyal to Impact for years. The match was also good for showing off stars like Bandido and Rich Swann.


7. Santos Escobar’s Final Match, NXT 2.0

This months-long feud has been unique from anything else on NXT 2.0. With a mafia-like feel and dimensions to the story, Santos Escobar took his last stand against Tony D’Angelo and fell short. It was one of the best matches we’ve seen from D’Angelo, who NXT 2.0 has invested a lot in. Escobar can presumably go to Raw or SmackDown, and it will leave an interesting story to see if Legado del Fantasma will fall subordinate to The D’Angelo Family or try to fight their way out like their leader did.


6. Drew McIntyre and Kevin Owens, WWE Raw

Drew McIntyre gave a good promo on his match with Roman Reigns. Following up on last week’s domination of Ezekiel, Kevin Owens interrupted and fired shots at McIntyre, saying he wanted to be the prizefighter again and go after McIntyre or Reigns, whoever was champion after Clash at the Castle. They had a great match that made both guys come away looking better in a DQ finish.


5. Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn, WWE SmackDown

Following up on this segment on Raw, Sami Zayn was called to the locker room of Tribal Chief Roman Reigns. Zayn played up how he tries to be a valuable member of the Bloodline and accidentally insulted Jey Uso when Reigns surprisingly agreed with him. Reigns followed up by asking about Kevin Owen's challenge on Raw and if Zayn could talk to him. The Montreal crowd ate this segment up, and the twist at the end revealed what Reigns was after all along. This should be the story to watch on WWE TV.


4. Kenny Omega Returns, AEW Dynamite

Kenny Omega didn’t look 100%, but his return was good enough to send the fans home happy. With limited athletic options, Omega worked the crowd like a veteran in this match. Dragon Lee brought so much to the match with an insane suicide dive that drove Omega over the barrier. His selling also seemed to help Omega build confidence in his return. I would love to see more of La Faccion Ingobernable after this match, but for now, the Elite are steamrolling their way toward the final at All Out.


3. Daniel Garcia vs. Bryan Danielson, AEW Dynamite

A great 2 out of 3 falls match was unique from anything else on the card because it was so rooted in technical wrestling. After getting the first fall, Daniel Garcia ended up losing due to Bryan Danielson’s awareness and resilience. Even as a veteran, Danielson proved he had what it takes, and Garcia also won over a good portion of the crowd. The post-match segment was perfect. As the crowd chanted, “You’re a wrestler!” Garcia started to turn babyface and went to shake Danielson’s hand. The act of sportsmanship got broken up by Chris Jericho, and Garcia pushed him away. If Garcia leaves JAS to join BCC, it will mirror how Wheeler Yuta fought his way into the faction.


2. Fatal Five Way, WWE SmackDown

This was a big show-quality match, and everyone played their part perfectly. As the hometown boy, Sami Zayn got the biggest response from a WWE crowd all year. Zayn’s love from the crowd even got Ricochet booed when he hit offense on Zayn. WWE pulled the whole injury and return angle to get another massive pop out of the crowd. Meanwhile, Sheamus and Corbin perfectly played the big men role in a multi-man match. Sheamus was the right person to win going into the event in the UK.


1. Jon Moxley and CM Punk, AEW Dynamite

This was maybe the best back and forth we’ll see on the microphone all year. CM Punk, who calls himself the best, pointed out that Jon Moxley wasn’t the best at anything- never even the best guy in the groups he’s a part of. Moxley called out Punk for his tendency to be all talk at this phase of his career. Both guys showed that they wanted to prove really bad that they were the undisputed champion, and the brawl was believable despite being an overused trope.


Reverse Hipster's Lowlights

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I didn't find anything especially bad this week. It was a solid week for every show.


Rob’s Lowlights

4. Moose, Impact Wrestling

One of my gripes with Impact Wrestling is their inability to use stars in novel feuds. Moose is the perfect example. As a dominant champion of Impact, he was unique from anything else on Impact’s or anyone else’s roster. Now, it seems like Impact doesn’t know what to do with him. A months-long feud with Sami Callihan didn’t result in much, and he lost unceremoniously during the main event this week.


3. Roxanne Perez vs. Cora Jade, NXT 2.0

Based on the story, this should have been the match to watch on the card. What we saw play out didn’t live up to the hype of two of NXT’s brightest young stars in a blood feud. They are both great wrestlers forced to have a brawl by the storyline. The result was that this match was somewhere in the middle. To me, it confirmed what I have already been feeling: Cora Jade should not have turned heel. At the very least, Jade should not have turned this early in the partnership so they could have built more chemistry and storyline before this match.


2. Main Events, WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown

WWE TV has been significantly better since Triple H has taken over creative around Summerslam. The only complaint I have is how cards are being booked. More often than not, the best matches are in the middle of the show, while the main event leaves more to be desired. On Raw, Kevin Owens vs. Drew McIntyre would have made much more sense in place of Theory vs. Dolph Ziggler. On SmackDown, I wish they could have ended with the Fatal Five Way, as it’s the best match we’ve seen on WWE free TV all year.


1. CM Punk Calls Out Hangman Page, AEW Dynamite

Unfortunately, in the same segment that made number one highlight is the number one lowlight. CM Punk opened in front of the West Virginia crowd by challenging Hangman Adam Page, but Page didn’t respond. I thought it was noteworthy enough to put in the lowlights because it made no sense. Later in the week, news broke that Punk made that call on the fly due to legitimate heat with Page. It seems like that incited a lot of drama in the locker room as Page is a beloved original AEW star, and it likely led to the match being rescheduled to next week. AEW needs to reestablish control over their locker room, and I wouldn’t expect Punk to win after this situation. AEW likely knew this was a risk with Punk, but it's disappointing that Punk isn’t mature enough to handle this situation with tact. It ruined what should have been one of the biggest main events in AEW history.


Reverse Hipster's Winner of the Week

Rampage is last because it didn't have the single standout moments to compete. Impact is in fifth place because while they had a great main event, the rest of the show was just good. NXT is in fourth place. They have the story and really good matches, but if they could have more consistent great matches, they could rank higher. Raw is in third because the rehabilitation of many stars in waiting has made the show interesting. Raw is just missing a big story that makes me tune in every week. SmackDown was great this week. On any given night, it feels like SmacDown can be great. Even though I'm ranking it second, I still think the show has even more potential to reach even higher heights. The first place show again is Dynamite. Now that CM Punk and Kenny Omega are back, these other shows will have to step up. Dynamite has the matches and the story going, and they will be hard to beat in the near future.


Rob’s Winners of the Week

6. AEW Rampage

AEW Rampage didn’t give me anything to talk about this week, but hopefully, AEW returns will make their roster deep enough to make this show more meaningful again.

5. NXT 2.0

For a special show, the championship matches really did not deliver. The long-term storytelling is the strength of NXT 2.0 that leads to their best matches. The NXT UK invasion led by Tyler Bate is a smart way for WWE to build steam with stars that are already on their payroll.

4. Impact Wrestling

I liked some of the decisions Impact Wrestling made booking this week, but they still struggle to stand out with their roster. The Knockouts could rival any other show for Women’s Wrestling.

3. WWE Raw

This was another solid week for Raw, but it didn’t give us nearly as much to talk about. I anticipate next week’s Toronto show will be even better, and they’ll build for a great Clash at the Castle show.

2. WWE SmackDown

I really believe SmackDown gave us one of the best matches we will see on TV this year. It had storytelling with the Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn segment, which should be the angle to watch.

1. AEW Dynamite

AEW Dynamite still had the most highs this week. They really bounced back after some down weeks, delivering on matches and the biggest story this week (even if it had negative ties to it). AEW has to keep pushing to beat Triple H’s WWE consistently, and they are back to near-full strength with CM Punk and Kenny Omega back.


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