Elton's Weekly Wrestling High Spots and Botches: June 7-June 13

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High Spots: AJ Styles tapping into his “old man trying to look cool by using modern-day slang” self might have been the best part of last week’s Raw. Listening to him use the term “cap,” then going on to explain it like he’s some undercover cop breaking down Urban Dictionary terms to his fellow officers was hilarious. The Viking Raiders made a shocking comeback and ended up winning a tag team battle royale in the process. The match they did it in was kind of a bore, but the ending was certainly a sight for sore eyes. So the WWE Championship match between Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre will be a Last Chance Hell in a Cell Match. Good! Let’s bring this feud that seemingly won’t end to a definitive close and do it with a bang, I say. 

Ricochet and Humberto Carillo delivered a high-spot-filled sprint. Next time, let’s give ‘em 10 minutes instead of a measly five. MVP dropped that “shuckin’ and jivin’” line he loved to use so much during his time in Impact Wrestling again and this time it was directed at Kofi Kingson. The man was speakin’ facts though, so maybe there’s a future where Kofi takes MVP’s words into consideration and becomes a serious threat. Nice of WWE to remember Jeff Hardy is still on their roster and worthy of being booked being on the main show. He and Cedric Alexander put on a decent (yet entirely too short) matchup. And Matt Riddle vs. Kofi Kingston was a delight (no surprise there, really).

Botches: Why is Jaxson Ryker still on my TV? And why is he getting wins? Whoever booked him in a match with Elias of all people must have been testing out their latest form of visual torture. It damn sure worked, I’ll tell you that much. Y’all know I love Nikki Cross, right? And you know how I popped for her previous two wins on the last two episodes of Raw, of course? Seeing her get washed in the tag team match on this episode definitely had me in my feelings. That segment as a whole was an eyesore, to be honest. Mansoor vs. Drew Gulak on the indies? 20 minutes of pure in-ring excellence. Mansoor vs. Drew Gulak on Raw? Two minutes of unfulfilled potential. How quaint. 

Let us bow our heads and pray for Shayna Baszler cause it’s curtains for her credibility at this point. She dominated NXT as an MMA badass that broke everyone’s arm and reigned as one of the brand’s strongest Women’s Champions. She comes to the main roster, does her best Gangrel impression, loses in her first match at WrestleMania, gets saddled in a lame tag team with Nia Jax, and can now be seen engaging in channel turning segments with a demonic doll and her creepy owner. How far the mighty have fallen, huh? That may have been one of the worst endings to a Raw I’ve ever seen. And that’s saying something considering some of the trite I’ve had to sit through in recent years. Eva Marie’s coming back next week, which is completely horrid. So yeah, prepare for the worst folks.


High Spots: Oney Lorcan and Austin Theory opened up the show on a pretty strong note, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been watching NXT for this long. I sing Ted Dibiase’s theme at least 10 times a week, so I completely vibed with LA Knight when we spotted him blaring out the “Million Dollar Man’s” classic tune while in the shower. I’m all in for this manager/blossoming wrestler combination we’re getting from both guys. And pitting them against Cameron Grimes (TO THE MOON!) in a battle of the charismatic money grabbers works for me. Mercedes Martinez practically murdered a nameless victim in mere seconds, which was immensely satisfying. Ever-Rise is friggin’ hilarious, so count me in for any piece of promo time they get nowadays. That Six-Man Winner Takes All scenario has “Match of the Night” written all over, so here’s hoping I was correct on that assessment.

Ay shout out to Poppy - she’s damn near a member of the NXT roster at this point. Give her three months to train like Bad Bunny did and I’m sure she could pop a crowd with her in-ring wizardry at a future TakeOver event. Poppy and Io Shirai as a future tag team, perhaps? I’d love to see it! I love the Grizzled Young Veterans, so watching them tear into some nobodies made my night. Zack Gibson’s definitely one of the most underrated promo men in the company right now. That final segment was the perfect way to build hype for the main event for NXT TakeOver: In Your House. Everyone and their grandmother know Karrion Kross is going to retain, but I’d honestly take a random shock title win from Pete Dunne or even a second Adam Cole reign. Anything’s better than the complete bore that is Kross at this point (yeah, I’m one of his many detractors).

Botches: I usually don’t complain about matches running a bit too short for my tastes when it comes to NXT, but that rare complaint came up during this episode. Isaiah Scott vs. Killian Dain needed more than six minutes to truly get going, I say. And I can’t say I care all that much about anything Dakota Kai and Ember Moon does nowadays - at least their match gave me enough time to dig into a bag of chips and scroll my Twitter timeline while they wrestled.

Impact Wrestling

High Spots: So whoever ends up winning the Impact World Championship match between Kenny Omega and Moose will have to take on Sami Callihan at Slammiversary on July 17. Color me intrigued, especially since Omega and Moose are going to do battle in AEW’s home arena of Daily’s Place. I’m pulling for an Omega win here and I’m sure he’ll deliver another memorable in-ring contest with the unhinged madman that is Callihan. And it’s worth noting that that major matchup will take place in front of fans! Can’t wait to see how that one unfolds. The new and improved X-Division shined once again thanks to the combined talents of Rohit Raju, Chris Bey, Petey Williams, and Trey Miguel. That Super Canadian Destroyer’s going to be added to every wrestling highlights vid for the rest of eternity. Nice work there, Petey!

Botches: Rosemary vs. Havok was just there, I guess. That’s the exact same sentiment I felt for Kimber Lee vs. Tasha Steelz. Don’t get me wrong - Impact Wrestling has got itself quite the stacked women’s division. It’s just too bad that I only check for Jordynne Grace and could care less about the rest of the lady's lineup. 

I actually wanted to see Eddie Edwards vs. Joe Doering go for at least 10 minutes, but it got cut short sadly. I guess they’re setting up Violent by Design vs. Eddie, Satoshi Kojima, and maybe two other willing guest talents in the near future. That’s cool and all, but I still would have liked to have seen that match play out in full before the disqualification. I’ve been into W. Morrissey’s vicious madman act for a while now, but his main event encounter with Willie Mack wasn’t really hittin’ like that for some reason. He got the win, which is cool. But his match fell a bit flat in my eyes.

WWE SmackDown

High Spots: I definitely got a kick out of Jimmy Uso putting some extra bass in his voice when he decided to talk reckless in regards to the “Tribal Chief’s” recent actions. The Bloodline is going through a bit of turmoil, which is intriguing. Can’t wait to see if Jimmy gets a chance to fire back at Roman Reigns in the ring at some point. Big E, Kevin Owens, Apollo Crews, and Sami Zayn put on the type of quality matchup that was clear proof of just how much stronger SmackDown’s midcard is when compared to Raw’s. 

Montez Ford and Chad Gable produced a halfway decent match (shame about the botched ending, though - Otis definitely ran in a bit late to break up the pinfall). Roman Reigns vs. Rey Mysterio at Hell in a Cell should be good, no doubt. But the fact that it may take place inside the actual structure without much of a strong build that warrants such an important match stipulation is puzzling. Watching Roman yeet Dominik Mysterio like Uncle Phil used to do Jazz back in the day was wonderful, wasn’t it?

Botches: Carmella took on Liv Morgan and it was expectedly mid. No shock there. The build to yet another Seth Rollins/Cesaro and Bianca Belair/Bayley match was delivered through a nothing talk show segment. All four are talented, no doubt. But the weak storylines they’re all involved in are doing them no favors for their ongoing feuds. And Shinsuke Nakamura and Baron Corbin are going to war once again...over a crown that looks like it belongs in Party City. Yay...

AEW Dynamite

High Spots: Now this episode was a vast improvement over the previous week’s installment. That’s usually the case with taped editions of AEW Dynamite since they always feel better paced than the live ones. All the matches served a purpose and provided some worthwhile in-ring action throughout the entire show. Christian Cage vs. Angelico was a fun opener, Lance Archer murdered a dude, Leyla Hirsch looked good in defeat against Nyla Rose, Evil Uno put up a good fight against Miro, the six-man tag was a cool little sprint, and the main event ended the show with a joyous finish. 

The promos were also entertaining in their own right (Britt Baker delivered the best one, which shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone). The Inner Circle got some vehicular revenge on The Pinnacle, Jungle Boy finally got his hands on the AEW World Champion, and Arn Anderson’s son is set to make his in-ring debut right alongside Cody. All in all, this was a solid episode of AEW Dynamite that featured an equal mix of good wrestling and storyline progression. Now let us pray for Darby Allin cause he’s gonna need a whole lotta divine aid during his upcoming Handicap Match...

Botches: I’m not the only one that never wanted Team Taz to break up in the first place, right? This stable breakup ain’t it for me, dog...

Random Rumblings Around the Squared Circle

High Spots: Shingo Takagi shocked me and everyone else when he managed to win his first-ever IWGP Heavyweight Championship at the company’s Dominion event. And he did it beating Kazuchika Okada, no less! To see that man blossom during his time spent in Dragon Gate and make his way over to New Japan to become a force within the company is super inspiring. I hope to see NJPW’s resident Dragon hold onto that title for a good long while and stay in that 5-star match range with guys like Kota Ibushi and Hiroshi Tanahashi standing across the ring from him. Kudos also go out to Ibushi and Jeff Cobb for putting on a quality contest at Dominion, too.

I also gotta send some love to Impact and NXT for filling my weekend with two noteworthy shows. Make sure you check out Kenny Omega vs. Moose and the Fatal 5-Way match when you get a chance. Oh, and before I forget - PWG IS COMING BACK, BABY! Sunday, August 1 will be the return of the indy wrestling GOAT! Oh, how I missed their monthly show highlight videos...

Botches: Lio Rush is leaving the wrestling industry for good this time, huh? Damn, man...I would have liked to have seen him pop up overseas in Japan to battle some New Japan Jr.’s and wrestle on a few AEW shows here and there. But I guess the injury he recently sustained made him reconsider his future and well-being, so he decided to put his health over the rest of his wrestling career. It was sad to hear this latest bit of retirement news, but I’m happy to see Lio make the decision to live a comfortable life from this point forward.

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