Elton's Weekly Wrestling High Spots and Botches: June 21-June 27

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High Spots: The Money in the Bank hype train is already steaming ahead, folks! We got two matches booked already for the July 20th event (which will take place in front of some loud and rowdy fans!): Kofi Kingston will finally vie for the WWE Championship once again as he takes on Bobby Lashley and Rhea Ripley will run it back with Charlotte Flair on the PPV stage for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship. I can dig it. All that spicy talk from MVP has caused Kofi to get serious again, so count me in for a fired-up former WWE Champion stepping up to the plate to prove his doubters wrong.

We got some pretty good men’s MITB qualifiers on this episode - AJ Styles vs. Ricochet will never be a waste of time, so you know their match was damn good. Randy Orton vs. John Morrison was a solid affair. And Riddle vs. Drew McIntyre landed on the “great” rating scale for me. Witnessing Lashley tear into Kofi’s boy Xavier Woods inside the confines of the Hell in a Cell was an unexpected treat. While I don’t agree with WWE using the once celebrated stipulation match as nothing more than a ratings popper on a random episode of Raw, I can’t be too mad at the match participants that went to war within it. They had a decent outing that played perfectly into adding enough fuel to Kofi’s WWE Championship opportunity.

Botches: Oh, Nikki, My poor, poor Nikki. To go from the highly celebrated madwoman that regularly popped the NXT crowd to Nikkie’s naive bestie was tough enough to watch. But to see her divert into the latest S.H.I.T. (Superhero in Training for the uninitiated) is especially dismaying. 

Those women’s MITB qualifiers weren’t really hittin’ for me, to be quite honest. My interest in the women’s division on both main brands is at an all-time low, so I’m not looking forward to the women’s MITB match all that much this year. Anybody care about Jaxson Ryker vs, Elias in a Strap Match...anybody? *crickets* Yeah, I figured. So y’all know I love Piper Niven, so that cringy name change of her’s broke my soul even further. Doudrop, fam? Really...really, bruh?


High Spots: So that’s where Roddy was hiding! It turns out all those Diamond Mine promos were setting up “The Messiah of the Backbreaker’s” grand return. And thankfully, he didn’t come alone. Roderick Strong and his new haircut are now joined by Tyler Rust, former Big Japan Pro Wrestling star Hideki Suzuki, and manager Malcolm Bivens. And they damn sure made their presence felt after a hot closing angle that came after a quality main event between Kushida and Kyle O’Reilly. Can’t wait to see Roddy’s new stable get into with WALTER and his sacred mat gang on a future TakeOver.

The other two matches on this show that I got a kick out of were Adam Cole vs. Carmelo Hayes and The Way vs. Pete Dunne & Oney Lorcan. Zoey Stark and Io Shirai’s tag team debut did its job to make them look cohesive and more of a serious threat, which was cool. Plus Franky Monet continued to build up her NXT credibility with another squash victory. This edition of NXT pretty much delivered three great matches and two squashes that pushed their victors ever so further in the right direction. Job well done there. Plus you can never go wrong with promos from Samoa Joe and LA Knight!

Botches: Am I the only one that finds the stable of Hit Row to be extremely corny? Everything about them just screams “here’s a group of Soundcloud rappers that thought it would be a good idea to become wrestlers.” Their “match” with Ever-Rise went over like a fart in church with me (Good Ol’ JR used to say that all the time, right?). Can’t really say I care all that much about the current field of tandems beefing over the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship. Plus I have zero interest in seeing Mercedes Martinez continue her lukewarm beef with the pair of Tian Sha and Xia Li...

Impact Wrestling

High Spots: “Mr. I Love Bread'' Satoshi Kojima has been one of Impact Wrestling’s shining beacons of greatness lately, hasn’t he? Even though he failed to win the tag team titles alongside Eddie Edwards, he still managed to produce a hell of a main event with Violent By Design. Jake Something is back to his winning ways, which I’m more than happy to see. The rebuilding stage for this underrated big guy is in full effect - let’s see how far it goes. 

The X-Division-focused tag team match was pretty cool - not only was it a perfectly acceptable contest, but it also birthed a new “Deadly Alliance” that will surely have an impact (no pun intended) on the upcoming Ultimate X match at Slammiversary. Team Dreamer vs. Team Callis is coming up next week, which I’m actually excited to see. Watching Kenny Omega lock up with Chris Sabin for the first time on national TV is definitely gonna warm my inner “mid-2000s indie wrestling fan” heart.

Botches: Rosemary vs. Kiera Hogan? Meh. Deonna Purrazo vs. Susan? Double meh. That far too long talking segment between Rachel Ellering and Jordynne Grace? Triple meh! Wasn’t all that big on any of the Knockouts-focused segments on this episode, to be quite honest. I never get tired of seeing my girl Jazz make an appearance, though! About damn time she got inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, wouldn’t you say?

WWE SmackDown

High Spots: EDGE IS BACK! I figured he’d eventually pop up again and target the “Tribal Chief” for his rightful one-on-one Universal Championship match. And that’s exactly what the “Rated-R Superstar” did. I’m guessing that we’re gonna see those guys go to war at Money in the Bank. Count me all the way in for that one! And shout out to Big E and Apollo - those dudes never miss when it comes time to put on their working boots while facing each other. Big E’s now qualified for the MITB match - lord knows I would love to see him grab the briefcase and end up being the one who finally knocks Roman Reigns off the top of the mountain.

Botches: Not even gon hold you, folks - this episode of SmackDown just wasn’t hittin’ like that. Liv Morgan vs. Carmella was a big bag of mid, Shinsuke Nakamura throwing a coronation to be crowned king was entirely meaningless, Jimmy Uso vs. Dolph Ziggler felt lifeless, and the mixed tag team match contained four superstars that have been feuding a little too long at this point. The dearth of talent within the women’s and tag team scene on the blue brand is easy to see - it doesn’t look like any fresh contenders will be added to either division anytime soon, so there really isn’t anyone or any tandem to truly get invested in.

AEW Dynamite

High Spots: Jungle done did good, young king. Even though he failed to capture the AEW World Championship, Jungle Boy provided a valiant effort that proved how worthy he was of being placed in such a prominent role. He and Kenny Omega produced a nail-biter of a match that was great from start to finish - it’s clear to me and everyone else that watched their match that Jungle Boy’s future is paved with championship gold. As for the rest of the matches on this episode, they all proved to be enjoyable and pushed a few angles forward in the process. Team Taz is further coming unglued, Andrade El Idolo has Matt Sydal in his sights, Ethan Page is ready to bury (literally) Darbie Allin, and Kris Statlander is pushing herself higher up the women’s rankings.

As someone that watches Konnan’s old LAX promos once a month, I got a kick out of watching the Lucha Libre legend verbally spar with the equally heralded Tully Blanchard. FTR vs. Santana and Ortiz is most definitely going to be a modern-day tag team classic. The rest of the Pinnacle vs. The Inner Circle war rages on and sets up a heated encounter between MJF and Sami Guevara that I’m sure will prove to be a banger. And as always, my guy Miro is knocking it out of the park with his fearsome promos - the man thanks God in one breath, then threatens to bring the pain to his latest victim in the other. You can’t help but appreciate the man for his simultaneous usage of Godly praise and fear-inducing threats.

Botches: Was it just me or did the commentary seem a bit off on this episode? I couldn’t help but hear everyone apologizing for speaking over the other more than once, which stuck out like a sore thumb. That was the one thing that kinda irked me during this episode. The kinks in the commentary booth still have a bit of work needed to be done in order to straighten them out.

Random Rumblings Around the Squared Circle

High Spots: Ay shout out to my guy Tommy End. Seems like he has a lot of big plans in the works - one of those has already come to fruition in the form of a sponsorship deal with MMA gear company Hayabusa Fight. Can’t wait to see what else the former Aleister Black announces in the coming months...

Botches: Sad to say but we got even more WWE releases to speak off. The list of now-former WWE talent includes the following: Fandango, Tyler Breeze, Tony Nese, Ariya Daivari, August Grey, Ever-Rise (Chase Parker and Matt Martel), Curt Stallion, the Bollywood Boyz (Sunil and Samir Singh), Arturo Ruas, Marina Shafir, Killian Dain, and Tino Sabbatelli. 

Most of these budget cuts are seriously depleting what’s left of 205 Live, which was already a brand that barely had any eyes on it. Once the 90-day no-compete clause for those superstars lifts, I can totally see them plying their trade in Impact Wrestling, NJPW Strong, or MLW. Like WWE always says, good luck in all your future endeavors fellas. As for the newly hired writer that got her walking papers? Maybe you shouldn’t have called the WWE Champion on the show you write for “Bobby Ashley.” Just sayin...

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