We take a look back at the last week in wrestling to tell you who we think has been top of the tree this week and who has been…..underground.
Agree with us? Disagree? Let us know on Twitter at @HO_Wrestling.
The Hurt Business
This is what it’s all about. This trio is legit. They feel like a group and they feel like a threat. They have a purpose, they have a personality and they have a shot at being real players on this brand. Talk about greater than the sum of their parts. MVP continues having, well, an MVP year. Shelton Benjamin looks reborn and Bobby Lashley FINALLY gets to be the badass that every inch of his body, other than his face, screams that he is already. More of this please. Much more.
Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton
Once again, these two absolutely showed what it is to be an exceptional professional wrestler. It isn’t rocket science. Two incredible wrestlers who have been treated like superstars for the whole year come together and what do you know, it feels important.
Orton is the epitome of evil, sadistic heel. McIntyre has done what no babyface has done in a decade and straddled that line between cool and likeable to the extent that people still want to support him despite being pegged as the next ‘chosen one’, as it were. It should not be underestimated how hard it is to succeed in a role that has been something of a poisoned chalice in WWE for two decades or more.
Bayley and Sasha Banks
Because I feel I am contractually bound to state how incredible these two are each week, on every show.
Sit back and watch two masters of their craft at work.
We expected to dislike this Dominik push intently when it came. The kid just doesn’t look anything like a wrestler and the set up….eye for an eye? Oh, come on! But fair shakes to Mysterio Jr Jr, the kid has chops and his segment this week with Rollins and Murphy was believable and exciting. Bring on their SummerSlam match.
Chris Jericho and Orange Cassidy
OK, so the punchline of the whole skit was based on a 25 year old Kevin Smith/Silent Bob bit but my word did these two set it up well. A genuinely funny comedy used to set up a serious and highly anticipated match? Imagine that! Full marks to these guys and their creative team.
As we said last week, the time is right for this guy to challenge for the AEW Title in the main event. Unlike we said last week, it is probably actually time for him to take that belt. What a stunning grasp of his character and genuine heel heat MJF has.
‘I’m sorry, I love you’
What a brilliant showcase match from the babyface champ and the counter-culture up and coming face. Pitched perfectly, Allin looked stellar but the champion ultimately showed his supremacy.
This won’t be the last time these guys have this match. Only next time, the stage will be bigger and the outcome will likely be reversed.
Adam Cole/Pat McAfee
This has been so well done. We all thought it was legit at first and the build to physicality on the main TV show has been smooth and believable.
There is an argument to suggest Adam Cole is the greatest professional wrestler on the planet right now and seeing him in this babyface, NXT/wrestling defender role is highly intriguing.
Rhea Ripley and Dakota Kai
Put simply, a stellar pro-wrestling match. Tasked with opening the show, anyone who would want to turn off or change the channel during this match is surely not really a wrestling match. Who else could watch a match like this all day long?
Whoever Came Up With The Idea For Raw Underground
Look, it is important not to dismiss ideas before they are given a chance but there is no universe in which Raw Underground stays the course. The one line pitch isn’t a bad one. A gritty, renegade version of Raw taking place away from the arena where the toughest guys around go to prove their might.
What we actually got was Shane McMahon in his weekend wear pretending to be some kind of Bloodsport style overlord while strippers dance to the edge of the screen as if it’s 1999 and various characters revolve in and out of shot while all concerned pretend what we are seeing is dangerous and exciting.
All sound tracked by ‘Generic fight music track 194’
If they want to do something like this they have the template. The NXT Fight Pit. Bring in Timothy Thatcher, Oney Lorcan, Dexter Lumis etc and bring in the same set they used for that incredible Matt Riddle vs. Thatcher match from a few weeks back. Put it in a darkened warehouse with Shane McMahon stalking the walkway at the top of the cage. Bring in the extras to shout and scream and hammer on the cage whilst Thatcher does his best to figure out if it is possible to insert both Dolph Ziggler’s arms up his own bottom, elbows first.
It is right there, WWE. Instead we got Sesame Street does Fight Club.
What’s the next bright idea?
The 24/7 Title Division
Enough. The joke is long since played out and this now feels like an exercise in bad comedy, designed for nothing other than to see how juvenile wrestlers can be made to look. R-Truth still has a wonderful schtick but we have seen it over and over in this setting. How about trying to harness that popularity further up the card before it is too late? Despite Truth seemingly bathing nightly in the fountain of youth, he can’t go on forever.
This is hopefully a one off trip to the losers column because clearly the idea has legs, the execution this week though, didn’t work. The lack of crowd noise in this instance just shines a spotlight on how silly it really looked. A gang of vicious invaders, who actually looked like teenage gamers getting rowdy, was supposed to come off as super-serious. They had a chainsaw for pity’s sake! Instead they just bounced around the ring whooping and acting all excited and pleased with themselves. It just felt lame and hollow. Let’s hope they figure out a way to rectify this because unlike Raw Underground, it is certainly intriguing.