Hooked On Wrestling Weekly Winners & Losers

Paul B looks back at the last week in WWE, NXT and AEW to give his opinions on who in the world of wrestling had weeks to remember, and who will want to draw a line through it and move on.

In our regular Monday column, we look back at this week in wrestling to discuss who we think has had a big week and who will have been waking up this Monday morning without much of a spring in their step.

Winners

Edge & Randy Orton

The two were given an impossible task in living up to the ‘Greatest Wrestling Match Of All Time’ billing. Credit to them, they leaned into that pressure by making light of it. Less seasoned, confident pros might have attempted to play up to it which would only have set them up for ridicule and failure. These two are way savvier than that.

And as for the match itself. Was it the greatest of all time? Well that’s subjective, naturally, but we can’t imagine many people thinking it was.

Could it be considered in the Top 25? You know… maybe it could.

It may well be recency bias in play but wow, those guys brought the goods and the result was a wrestling match that was more exciting and epic than any match with zero practical stakes and taking place in a warehouse without a crowd has a right to be. Even taking into account the help they will have had from post-production, it really was an incredible effort.

Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley

We nearly put just McIntyre in here to credit him for a good match and a fun title reign but that would be unfair. It takes two to tango and Lashley more than upheld his end of the bargain at Backlash to put forth a highly entertaining big man clash.

Photo Credit: WWE

Daniel Bryan & AJ Styles

There are a lot of pairs in this winners column this week but that’s because an excellent match is a team effort and wow, was this an exceptional match. The best of the year? Yep. The best WWE TV match of all time? You could certainly make the argument.

There’s an extremely good chance that come the end of the year, WWE’s two biggest match of the year contenders would have been originally broadcast within 48 hours of each other. What a treat this week has been!

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The New Day

Put simply, Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston and Big E are three men who should be held up as role models not just to the black community, but every community.

Time and again they have been shown to be sensible, compassionate, intelligent, temperate young men who speak with more passion and wisdom than most actual world leaders in charge of our various countries.

It is possible that these three are rightly lauded for their skills as professional wrestlers but utterly under-appreciated as assets to our community of wrestling fans. We should treasure them and share them beyond the wrestling borders. Rarely have their been better ambassadors for the medium of professional wrestling.

Karrion Kross

This is not a drill. The monster push is coming and so far it seems to have been executed perfectly. Anyone want to bet against Kross being the next NXT Champion?

Tucker

Welcome back big man! Don’t worry, you haven’t missed much…

Marq Quen

Not a lot of stand out performances, positively or negatively, in AEW this week. But one that is more than worthy of mention is Marq Quen who had his first high profile singles match in the company, against Cody in the main event of Dynamite.

In that loss to the TNT Champion he showed an abundance of skill and charisma that will have done more for him than his entire body of work in AEW to date. We’ve definitely put a little star against this chap’s name on our imaginary wall-chart of future breakout stars.

Howard Finkel

Even from beyond the grave…The greatest of all time.

Losers

Paul Heyman

Sadly, there’s no use trying to turn an oil tanker when your boss demands it done as quickly as a speedboat.

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For the last few months, it’s fair to say that Raw has been comfortably the better of WWE’s TV shows creatively. Multi-layered storylines, fresh faces in the main event (Drew McIntyre in particular), interesting new characters for some established stars (put your hand up Seth Rollins) and a fresh impetus to push new stars. But if the ratings aren’t moving up then your days are numbered.

Obviously Heyman was fighting a losing battle with the ratings when handicapped by a global pandemic and sterile shows with no fans and a limited roster but in a company as ruthless as WWE, that’s all noise. Heyman wasn’t achieving his objectives and that means he’s out on his ear with the more, let’s say, Vince-savvy, Bruce Prichard in his place as new head of both Raw & SmackDown.

Braun Strowman

This title reign really is shaping up to be one of the worst in recent memory. Such a shame for Strowman but it really is abysmal. Booked in a handicap match against a comedy heel tag team for the belt, he couldn’t even be allowed to make a strong showing against them. We were led to believe that Morrison would have pinned Strowman if not for The Miz stopping his partner out of sheer jealousy.

Come on guys, I know he’s not your choice as Universal Champ but at least pretend to care about his reign.

Charlotte Flair

They are doing it again aren’t they? Taking a supremely talented performer (which on her day, Flair is) and pushing them down our throats so hard that we spit them right back out. We’ll grow to dislike even our all-time favourite dinner, if we’re force-fed it every day.

How many times does it have to happen before the penny drops? Charlotte is being booked to be the most dominant wrestler in her division and unfortunately, one skill she doesn’t have is the art of self-depreciation that John Cena used to deflect the worst of the booking off his shoulders and allowed him to still maintain grudging respect, if not support, from the hardcore audience.

Unless WWE change course, they could damage Charlotte forever.

Viking Raiders & The Street Profits

What… on… earth… was… that..?

A magic ham? Giant ninjas? A trash monster? OK, we are all for this ‘cinematic’ stuff to aid as a crutch in these desperate times but whoever greenlit this nonsense needs feeding to a bin creature.

We just feel pity for these guys. Pure pity.

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