Sports Strength

Elton’s Weekly Wrestling High Spots and Botches: June 28-July 4


High Spots: Well, would you look at that! That’s two weeks in a row where Raw hasn’t been too insufferable to watch. Mind you, there was some trash among the treasure (I’ll get to all that later…), but the majority of this episode was halfway decent. Damian Priest made his return. It was during a pretty shitty battle royale segment, but he shined for the short amount of time he spent going toe to toe with Riddle. Watching Riddle pull off his best Randy Orton impersonation while the man’s music played was a pretty hilarious moment, by the way. At some point, Randy’s gonna pull off one of those random Big Show heel turns and kickstart a blood feud with his unlikely partner. And I’m definitely gonna be here for it.

Kofi Kingston and MVP’s back and forth talk reached its apex on this edition of Raw and it was glorious (shout out to my guy Bobby Roode!). Kofi ditched the pancake throwing and delightful dancing to get real with MVP and his boy Bobby Lashley for the evening, which made me get all the more excited about their eventual meeting at Money in the Bank. TALK THAT TALK, KINGSTON! Prince Puma and Johnny Mundo…wait, hold up. What I meant to say was Ricochet and John Morrison had a pretty eventful encounter. I for one enjoy the flips and dips that wrestling traditionalists tend to frown upon these days, which is why I enjoyed their encounter. Ricochet’s a madman for that wild ass springboard crossbody splash he hit on Morrison while he was on the crowd barrier!

Drew McIntyre, Riddle, and AJ Styles took to the main event to deliver a potential Match of the Year candidate and they delivered in spades. THEM BOYS DON’T MISS! Drew ended up leaving with his hand raised, which leads me to believe that he’ll be the one leaving MITB with the briefcase in hand. Don’t be surprised if Drew switches brands to cash in on the “Tribal Chief” at some point down the road…

Botches: Lemme make this abundantly clear, WWE. You will never…EVER EVER EVER MAKE ME CARE ABOUT JAXSON RYKER! He was trash in TNA, was completely forgotten in NXT, and is still utter doo doo butter on the main roster. Ever since I found out about his unique “opinions,” I grew to despise him even more. So yeah, I couldn’t give a single solitary shit about whatever he and Elias were doing on this episode. As for the women’s division, I think I’ve lost all interest in it on both brands. My girl Nikki Cross is out here lookin’ worse version of Mighty Molly, Piper Niven has been forced into getting her partner over more than herself, and the build to Rhea Ripley/Charlotte Flair’s rematch at MITB has been abysmal.


High Spots: The NXT Breakout Tournament is comin’ back, baybee! Kinda crazy lookin’ back on the last one considering its controversial winner doesn’t even work for the company anymore. I can’t wait to see what new faces they drum up for this year’s lineup. I usually check out when Ember Moon, Shotzi Blackheart, Dakota Kai, and Raquel Gonzalez are on my screen, but I decided to give their match a shot since Io Shirai and Zoey Stark were also in attendance. And thanks to that duo, the opening match actually ended up being worth a damn. Roddy Strong and his clean haircut came through and squashed a lowly bum in two minutes, which put a smile on my face.

The same treatment was delivered to another lowly victim via Cameron Grimes, who made it clear that he wants all the smoke (again!) with LA Knight. Ay, I’m here for it. Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly verbally beat the breaks off of each other and set up another heated fight that’s set to go down at The Great American Bash. I watched these two do big damage to each other back in ROH, NJPW, and now NXT. So count me in for this runback. These two boys are gonna fight forever like Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, aren’t they? MSK and Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher talked real spicy to each other, which added an extra bit of fuel to their championship encounter. That’s another matchup that I can’t wait to see.

Botches: Fam! They already took the North American title off of Bronson Reed? Man’s held the belt for a cup of coffee and he’s already dropped it. Sigh…it’s really lookin’ like that Main Event “tryout” match is a sign that he’s getting demoted to the main roster sooner rather than later. The match itself was just alright, to be honest. And with such a shocking (and equally disappointing) result, I couldn’t help but feel dissatisfied with it all.

I hope Mercedes Martinez is okay – she took a nasty spinning kick from Xia Li that looked like it really put her to sleep. Can’t say I enjoyed the mixed tag team match they were in all that much, either. As for Karrion Kross’ issues with The Way during this episode, I just didn’t care about it, to be honest. Kross is the cure for insomnia and I’m also growing tired of watching Johnny Gargano in NXT. Like I don’t wanna see him go to the main roster and get devalued. But I also think he needs a change in scenery and opponents ASAP. I guess a move to SmackDown wouldn’t be too bad, right?

AEW Dynamite

High Spots: IT’S WEDNESDAY NIGHT! AND YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS! Man, it feels good to say that again. AEW came back to rule Hump Day and did so by presenting another solid airing of Dynamite. The opening match definitely popped me – I’ve been rooting for Eddie Kingston and Penta El Zero M to get one over on The Young Bucks for a hot minute now and they finally did it here. Now they’ll finally get their much-deserved AEW Tag Team Championship opportunity at the Road Rager show. Speaking of Road Rager, the card for that event looks pretty strong – I’m very much looking forward to Andrade El Idolo’s AEW in-ring debut. Jungle Boy’s in the official record books as the first wrestler to notch 50 wins in his AEW column. Young Jack Perry has all my respect for being a great AEW talent and also for having the gorgeous Anna Jay on his arm. Salute to you, bro!

God’s favorite champion Miro and Brian Pillman Jr. had a pretty decent TNT Championship match. Pillman did his best, but Miro’s god-given might proved to be too much for the young wrestling prodigy. It may have taken forever for Miro to get booked correctly, but I’m glad the Bulgarian champ is doing so much better now. The slow build to Kenny Omega vs. Adam Page has officially begun! I’m totally down to see them do the big match and title change at All Out in September. Is it just me or is Jake Hager getting better at delivering promos? Where was this guy in WWE all those years ago? Can’t wait to see that Inner Circle/Pinnacle six-man war real soon.

As for the main event, it was a damn good way to close the show. Yeah, the top rope Tombstone Piledriver and lame ending put a damper on things. But for the most part, MJF and Sammy Guevara worked their asses off and showed me that AEW’s future is certainly in good hands. And finally, the closing tribute vid at the end did an awesome job of wrapping up the “Pandemic Era” of AEW at Daily’s Place perfectly.

Botches: As I mentioned beforehand, that tribute video to Daily’s Place was an incredible tearjerker. But “Good Ol’ JR” immediately broke me out of my “grown-ass man crying mode” when he mistakenly made the call “There’s nothing in your life that will top seeing a live WWE Dynamite!” Fam…these commentating slip-ups are becoming way too prevalent nowadays. It might be time for Tony Khan to make a few changes to the AEW commentator booth. The women’s tag team match got its message across when it came to building up the eventual women’s title match between Britt Baker and Nyla Rose. But the match itself was a complete afterthought. Plus it looks like Reba’s run-in to break up a pin resulted in her possibly breaking her leg. That whole segment didn’t need to happen, to be quite honest…

Impact Wrestling

High Spots: Satoshi Kojima is having quite the quality run during this late stage in his career. With Jake Something, Brian Myers, and Sam Beale in his legendary presence, the tag team match Kojima and the aforementioned lineup were involved in ended up being a decent watch. Violent By Design had no time to sit through a match that would most likely determine their next tag team title challengers, so they decided to run in and air that bitch out. Totally fine by me. And if we get a three-way dance for the tag team straps at Slammiversary because of it, that’s fine by me. 

Chris Bey and Petey Williams put in a fun effort, which should come as no surprise considering how strong the X-Division is these days. The lines are getting further drawn between the X-Division cliques that are competing in Slammiversary’s Ultimate X match, which has me intrigued in seeing how those two alliances come apart once the time comes for someone to nab the big belt hanging above the ring. The closing six-man tag team match closed the show just right – Chris Sabin worked his ass off the most, Moose screwed over his squad, and Sami Callihan & Kenny Omega barely touched in order to save their eventual clash for PPV. The wheels were put in motion just fine here and set up some exciting developments that I can’t wait to see pay off real soon.

Botches: Why Impact decided to throw a contract at Create a Wrestler #498 Steve Maclin is beyond me. They could have just saved the cash they wasted on signing him to pick up a far better WWE castoff once their 90-day no-compete clause came up. Like, who would you rather see compete in Impact – former “Forgotten Son” Maclin or Kalisto? You don’t have to answer that ‘cause I know who you guys already chose. Tenille Dashwood vs. Rachel Ellering wasn’t really my cup of tea, sadly (Jordynne Grace coming back to patch things up with Ellering was a beautiful moment, though).

WWE SmackDown

High Spots: Mad as hell, teeth-gritting, hair-pulling Edge is the very best version of Edge. And now that he’s back in full force and spitting pure flames on the mic in regards to Roman Reigns, I’m ready to see both guys give us Match of the Year material at Money in the Bank. Roman took a rare hiatus from this edition of Smackdown, which left his fam/underling Jimmy Uso to defend his honor. Unfortunately, he caught quite the vicious beatdown from Edge. That assault was a hell of a show closer and now I can’t wait to see how Roman responds on the next episode.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn can never have a bad match at this point, am I right? It’s truly remarkable how their strong chemistry has remained intact all this time as evidenced by their dope Last Man Standing match on this show. Otis and his new “Majin Buu” from Dragon Ball Z makeover completely squashed Angelo Dawkins, which I actually got a kick out of. It seems to me like Otis and Chad Gable are gonna get their hands on those SmackDown tag team titles sooner rather than later. ALPHA ACADEMY FTW!

Botches: “Kingsuke” Nakamura? Bruh, really? I can’t do it, fam. I really can’t. And now the crownless Baron Corbin’s new gimmick is that of a forever depressed loser? Yeah, those two gimmick changes and the tag match both guys were involved in were mind-numbingly lame. So Bianca Belair vs. Bayley continues…sigh. I’ve been over it since their letdown of a women’s title match at WrestleMania Backlash. The fact that they’re stretching this tired feud out to yet another PPV encounter tells me two things – they’re just killing time until Sasha Banks gets back for her SummerSlam rematch and there’s a true lack of legit contenders for Bianca’s belt on the Blue Brand. So Zelina Vega returned (so much for that wrestling union support, huh?). But she came back to get pinned in less than three minutes in a bad match with Liv Morgan, so her comeback was nothing more than a disappointing footnote in WWE history.

Random Rumblings Around the Squared Circle

High Spots: If you haven’t already, make sure y’all check out that Survival of the Fittest finale from the latest episode of Ring of Honor. I consider Bandido to be one of the best high flyers on the scene today and someone that’s been long overdue for a ROH World Championship shot. I’m probably one of the few folks out there that finds Rush extremely overrated, so I’m dying to see Bandido relinquish him of the title at Best in the World on July 11th. Jay Lethal is taking on Brody King at that show too, which actually has me considering purchasing a ROH PPV (which is something I haven’t done in years).

Botches: Lemme send a Rest in Power to Delbert Alexander “Del” Wilkes, Jr., better known as “The Patriot.” I’m definitely going to show my age here – I actually enjoyed the man’s short run back in the day. He had Kurt Angle’s theme before it was given to the “Olympic Hero,” got caught up in the USA vs. Canada war at the time, got a win over Bret “Hitman” Hart, and even found himself in a WWF Championship match on PPV. Seek out that aforementioned PPV match if you can cause it’s way better than you might initially think it is (it’s the one between The Patriot and Bret Hart at Ground Zero: In Your House. I offer my heartfelt condolences to Wilkes, Jr.’s friends and family.

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