Where do you even begin on a week like this?
Imagine telling yourself this time last year that WWE would be under a creative rejuvenation and it was the AEW locker disgruntled. This week’s Dynamite and reported meeting seem to have done wonders in resetting morale, but Jesus H Christ did we enter the week upon the rockiest of boats.
CM Punk taking the scrum waves to air his grievances, perception became reality as he ranted at the wrestling media about reporting gossip… before letting loose in trying to change perception by… spreading… gossip. The tact completely backfiring as he’s ended up increasing rumors on him tenfold.
And guess what? His biggest grievance of all (in blaming the EVPs for leaking the Cabana-ROH story to the media) appears to not even be true. The multitude of people that reported those stories one by one coming out to openly state the EVPs had never come to them. I’m not point my finger and shouting, “j’accuse!” but your mind can be your own worst enemy and it appears Punk fell into the traps of his.
We don’t know all the details as to how the fight went down, however we do know it was bad enough to elevate into authorities and legal action. Hence why there’s been no statement from within AEW, the whole situation is ‘pending investigation’.
Hustle and LWO have talked this topic in depth already, so I highly recommend you go read their more elaborated words. There was just no way I couldn’t open with it, to help us all remember the frame of mind we entered Monday Night with as I eloquently transition to revisiting the week that was.
WWE had all the steam power to fly after a white hot Clash in Cardiff, whilst AEW suddenly had to put all of their might into righting the ship amongst a raft of suspensions. Did they both succeed in catching that momentum?
September 5th 2022
This wasn’t the craziest episode of RAW I’ve ever seen, nor the most newsworthy, nor the most exhilarating. What it was though, was another reminder of the much higher bar of quality and competency we can now expect on a weekly basis.
Returns continuing with Braun Strowman barrelling through a tag match like the choo-choo train of old. The biggest return yet in the most literal, face value essence of the word. Steam train-ing through a division, charging too fast for his own good and tripping over in the process – I hope that doesn’t become a metaphor for anything.
Hey, the man recovered and if anything slammed the poor lads through announce tables and barricades just that little bit harder to make up for it.
Braun’s a wrestler that just fits the WWE mold so incredibly well. Booked correctly he’s an electric charge of destruction, we all saw how fans took to him upon his initial 2016 Brand Split singles run. Unfortunately, the lad became one of the many sucked into the Vince void of the past half decade. He had has momentum peak against Brock Lesnar, but they chose to not strike while the iron was hot. Instead placing a ceiling that his character (and many others) could never brake out of.
After that he just floated about, on the verge of fully breaking into the main event but never given the convincing creative to get him there. Even when he did become champion he did so in his unfortunate role of filler feud challenger. The lad who gets his annual one month push to carry the champion through a title shot. A position that uniquely landed him as the only lad built enough to fill in last minute for Roman Reigns at WrestleMania.
Before soon after getting caught up in the egregiously handled mass talent dump during the pandemic, he may have been champion but this really showed how the company valued him.
Out on his own… the less about that Narrative the better.
A return suiting all parties. Like Kross before him, inserting himself right into the top of card. Given a quick interview before the main event to get across his intentions and set his character up for an impactful return push.
Fingers crossed he’s not just immediately slotted in to lose a title match. A new regime but old habits do die hard!
September 9th 2022
Cardiff’s Confidence In Character
Nothing screams refilled fan confidence than eying up Survivor Series, seeing Bobby Lashley and Gunther are the current US/IC champions and then sitting happy in excited anticipation of the match genuinely happening.
I’m sure as hell still in that honeymoon period. I haven’t moved on from the euphoria of the product finally being worthy of fantasizing about. Last year I was questioning what those making predictions were even basing their picks on, because it certainly wasn’t through WWE’s on-screen stories. But now? Holy hell there’s so much substance to dig into.
Just listen to the fans. Nothing speaks louder than Vince McMahon having to pipe in crowd reactions, to Solo Sikoa having to pause for fans booing too loud under Triple H.
You used to be able to skip whole segments of SmackDown – sometimes even whole shows – then you watch this week and every single segment has purpose. Driving characters forward with not one of them leaving in the exact same state and position as they entered. This is all basic TV storytelling shit, but it’s been a long time since that’s been a consistent trait in WWE.
Basically what I’m saying is ‘let me have this’. Give me a moment whilst I revel like a dog rolling on freshly cut, dry grass. Look at his little face, look how happy he is.
Imperium’s full team debut against the Brawling Brutes met to a white hot reception, the atmosphere reaching a boiling point whenever Gunther & Sheamus stepped to each other. Cardiff doing absolute wonders in both solidifying the Intercontinental Champion and Sheamus as a babyface. This episode of SmackDown confirming the lads in their new affirmed roles as Gunther shifted from foreign heel to dominant champion.
Speaking of dominant, arguably the combination of Sami Zayn and introduction of Solo Sikoa has saved The Bloodline. On the verge of becoming stale under the previous regime, an impressive reign with an increasingly less impressive resume of challengers. The new creative has put a lot of work into rebuilding that intrigue and Cardiff came at the absolute best time. Roman can catch some rest, whilst Sikoa soaks in all the attention as the group’s new muscle.
We’re already seeing the benefits of Triple H’s attention to character detail. Not only are Gunther and Sheamus white hot, but Ronda Rousey’s rehabbed back into being a badass and her momentum’s looking to shift Shayna Baszler too. So many positives regarding the moves made for SmackDown’s characters.
That said, I’m not sure my opinions on the screen going black n’ white for Karrion Kross are positive. Wrestling’s always had a tinge of the corniness, but it’s fair to say that idea’s “fully dipped”.
September 7th 2022
The Dragon Slayer Takes His Crown
If there was one thing to come out of this weekend: Dynamite was a MUST WATCH. Jesus Christ, the shit storm Tony Khan had to navigate this week in order to sort out this mess. Suspending four of his newly crowned champions following their actions last Sunday, with their biggest name in CM Punk on the tight rope of even staying with the company as he also enters a 6 – 8 month recovery window.
After a Summer of injury uncertainty and constantly changing plans, September looks to be the Company’s biggest test to date. AEW’s second Arthur Ashe Grand Slam show the latest to have whatever was planned thrown right out the window. With Khan simply speaking to camera, addressing the forced situation and announcing our second AEW Championship tournament since June.
A truly unique idea never before seen in these parts. Elimination tournament, you say? I’ve literally never heard of him.
I have to think the original booking had a Punk vs MJF main event, repeating the idea of AEW’s biggest crowd hosting a matching in calibre main event. Unfortunately that just isn’t the way AEW’s 2022 has crumbled, as they’re dropped right back into the well of ideas and made to climb back out again. A damn promising line-up with the Tournament of Champions concept, but honestly none speak greater to me than the potential of an all Blackpool Combat Club final.
Replacing one Revolution rematch with another in Danielson vs Moxley II? Sign me right the hell up.
With this weekend dominating the air, AEW’s upcoming youth took centre stage and main evented Dynamite in style. Buffalo established as Garcia country, leaning in with touches like the special music entrance and booming “Buffalo’s own… !” in full support of the ROH Pure Championship challenger.
Yuta’s been an excellent initial champion under AEW’s wings, but this was Garcia’s night. The two delivering an excellent match, truly stepping up to the plate under the main event title match pressure. Making one hell of a statement for AEW’s future being in safe hands.
The drawing out of the “You’re a wrestler!” arc really paying dividends for moments like this. The post-match celebrations bringing our attention right to it, as with Jericho ahead of time declaring JAS wouldn’t be out with Garcia, it was Bryan Danielson who put the title round the new champion’s waist. Proving he didn’t need Jericho to succeed as he accomplished all this without him.
The match top notch, the post-match drama intriguing. If AEW’s strong at one trait, it’s in how they leave us. Boy do they know how end their shows on a positive note.
September 9th 2022
Once Again The Most Solid Hour Of Pro-Wrestling
Bloody hell did this week’s Rampage absolutely fly by. Damn solid wrestling, top prizes on the line for characters to get some much needed shine.
Once again kicking off with tournament stakes, the AEW Championship Eliminator our latest fix of an imperfect situation. A summer to ride out rather than glow in amid a constant run of bad luck and injury forced changes. Fingers crossed this run to Arthur Ashe can work as reset it at first glance promises to be
Sammy Guevara and Darby Allin faced off in the AEW Championship Eliminator Tournament. A match full of ringside shenanigans as the work is really put in to make you hate the Spanish God. Tay Melo constantly working distraction, with her and Sammy going for the cocky heel couple kiss about five times too many. All on purpose though as Darby started to take advantage and in the end had the man down for the Coffin Drop. It took Anna Jay’s even further interference for Sammy to steal the win.
A nice swing of character traits costing both lads, as Darby’s momentum is then taken away after Tay threw the man’s skateboard in to get nastily tossed onto. I’m sure some folk will be upset over Guevara’s win, but surely there’s no man better to play the antithesis to the heart and soul of AEW in Jon Moxley.
Oh and then Claudio and Dax went out and clobbered the shite out of each other in the main event. A damn solid Rampage if you ask me!
RAW Grade – Big Braun cometh!
SmackDown Grade – The volume of the crowd tells you everything
Dynamite Grade – A perfect statement of a reset
Rampage Grade – Another solid outing for the Rampage.
Comment below. I’ll be here to reply and chat this weird wrestling world.
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