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This Week In Wrestling: Triumphant Returns, Tested Friendships, And Rising Tensions

By Gwen Lombard


This week once again opened with Jey Uso addressing the crowd, but was very quickly interrupted by Kevin Owens who informed him that Sami wasn’t here this week and that he was one of the guys who wasn’t happy to see him on Raw and that he doesn’t trust him. They were then interrupted by Judgement Day, who told Jey that they were, in fact, happy he’s on Raw now, and that they trust him. They had been told they had a match against Sami and Kevin tonight, but since Sami wasn’t there, why not have Jey take his place and team with Kevin? The match was quick and was rather predictable. Jey hit Kevin with a superkick by accident when Damien Priest dodged, and Finn was able to capitalize and hit the Coup de Grace for the win.

Later in the night, Imperium celebrated Gunther’s record-setting reign. They were cut off rather quickly by Chad Gable, however, who warned Gunther that he’d beaten him before, and he’d do it again. His daughter left the arena last week sobbing, and he warned Gunther that he was going to make it right. He swore to his wife, children, and God that the next time they go toe to toe, he’d win the Intercontinental title and his daughter would leave with a smile. Gunther’s response was simply to say that while Gable was a good fighter, he was a disgusting, terrible father. It quickly broke down into a fight, and it was a three-on-one beat down until Gable’s Alpha Academy teammate Otis ran down to take out Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci, but the numbers game was truly evened when Tommaso Ciampa ran down. This brawl resulted in a trios match being made for later in the night. Setting up a rematch between Gable and Gunther with even higher emotions burning inside Gable is brilliant. Now that Gunther has cemented a new record, he doesn’t have a benchmark to chase anymore, he is that benchmark now, whereas Gable is only getting more passionate. The stakes were high last week, but they’re arguably even higher for this rematch.

The trios match later in the night was excellent, showing off all the men’s skills, and feeding off each other beautifully. Gable’s pure strength and skill were highlighted, continuously reversing moves into Ankle Lock submissions, German Suplexes, and pining scenarios. He nearly had the match won several times, Imperium sneaking in to break it up at the last moment. Every man had his moments to shine, but Gable stood taller than the rest at the end, tapping out Giovanni with an Ankle Lock. It was a wonderful match, where every man showed his stuff, and it continued to portray Gable as a serious threat to Gunther. I for one am extremely excited to see their rematch, and I have to recommend this as my match of the night.

The main event was a title rematch for the Women’s World Championship between Rhea Ripley and Raquel Rodrigez. It was a perfectly average match, their original match from Payback was mostly repeated on television. Rhea and Raquel have had a lot of history with each other, and they work with each other incredibly well. However, the thing that makes this match stand out from the Payback match was that a returning Nia Jax beat up Raquel, allowing Rhea to get the win. Jax then beat up Rhea afterward and established herself as Rhea’s next challenger it seems. I’m not very excited about this scenario personally, as I’m not a fan of Nia Jax and her track record of injuring her opponents. Nia Jax was fired from the company in 2021 due to several different reasons but was quietly rehired a month ago according to reports.


Dynamite opened this week with Jon Moxley defending his International Championship against Big Bill. This was an excellent showcase match, showing how good Bill is, and letting Moxley bleed everywhere (he didn’t bleed at all in his last two matches, I was starting to get worried about him, he loves bleeding!) to the cheers of his hometown Cincinnati crowd. After a few good shots from Bill, Moxley caught him in a Triangle Choke for the win. Backstage afterward, the Blackpool Combat Club cut a promo, Bryan calling out Big Bill and Ricky Starks to team up and take on him and Claudio Castagnoli on Collision. They also announced that Moxley will be taking on Rey Fenix at the Grand Slam, and Eddie Kingston appeared to stare down Claudio ahead of their ‘Winner Takes All’ title match at Grand Slam. I am only getting more excited to see them finally have a singles match, and I can’t wait.

An in-ring promo from Don Callis and Konosuke Takeshita was the next step in Callis’ rivalry with Kenny Omega, and on the trail he’s blazing to ruin his former mentee’s life, his next stop is Kota Ibushi. Ibushi has been integral to Kenny’s entire career, and even a summary would take too long to explain their bond and history with each other. They are the Golden Lovers, and to attack one is to hurt both, and Callis is taking advantage of knowing just how much Ibushi means to Kenny. He’s no longer just trying to prove a point to Kenny, he’s trying to dismantle him, bit by bit, tearing down the people that matter the most to him. In any way, I’m excited to see a match between Takeshita and Ibushi, two proficient strikers trained in Japanese Strong Style will be a sight to see.

The fatal four-way to name the number one contender to Saraya’s Women’s World Title at Grand Slam was next, and though it was a very short match, it showed off the four women very well in my opinion. I’m a huge Britt Baker and Nyla Rose fan, and Toni Storm and Hikaru Shida are both high on my list of favorites, so I might be biased, but I thought each woman had her moment to shine. In the end, Storm rolled up Baker for the surprise win, and she’ll be facing her former friend Saraya at Grand Slam next week for the title. I’m disappointed Baker didn’t get the win, but I have high hopes for her nonetheless.

Hangman Adam Page took on Brian Cage in their third meeting, and it was an excellent match. They have great in-ring chemistry together and it was made all the better when, partway through the match, Swerve Strickland’s entrance music played and he watched on from the top of the ramp, like a twisted sort of guardian angel. In the end, Hangman hit a Deadeye on Brian Cage for the win and told Swerve that if he wants to take his place, he’s gotta try harder than just sending his lackeys. Swerve answered by naming his time and place, challenging Hangman to a match on Oct. 1st at WrestleDream, in his hometown of Seattle. A brief beatdown ensued, Cage trying to attack Hangman from behind, and then the Young Bucks showed up to even the numbers and scare off the Mogul Embassy members.

The main event was the Grand Slam Tournament finals between Roderick Strong and Samoa Joe, and this was a wonderful match. An excellent example of a heel versus heel match done well. When two bad guys are pitted against each other, it doesn’t always work well, but these two did it with ease. They worked against each other almost seamlessly, their styles meshing in ways I didn’t think they would as Roderick tends to be a technician and Joe is a bruiser through and through. Both men got some great offense in, but in the end, Samoa Joe hit a nasty lariat, followed closely by locking in the Coquina Clutch and Roderick had no option but to tap out. Samoa Joe will now face MJF at Grand Slam next week, and in a quick post-match promo, he promised to take absolutely everything from the kid. He disappeared backstage soon after, and left Roderick Strong in the ring with his two lackeys, tending to his wounds. Once Roderick noticed that Adam Cole was coming down to the ring however, he immediately dropped, claiming his neck injury was suddenly worse now (even though he injured it 6 months ago and he had just wrestled a 20-minute match perfectly fine). As Roderick was being stretchered out due to his crying, shouting out for Adam the whole time, his two lackeys pushed Adam away and inadvertently directly into the waiting Coquina Clutch from Samoa Joe. Adam is caught between Roderick who claims that they are true best friends and that he needs to stop talking to MJF, and MJF whom he’s become genuinely good friends with over the past several weeks. And now, he’s getting attacked for the sole purpose of Joe’s psychological wargames against MJF. Samoa Joe versus MJF next week is only going to be a stepping stone in this grand story of friendship and trust issues, I’m sure, but I’m excited nonetheless. Despite how convoluted the story threads seem to be getting, I still have to recommend this match as my match of the night.


Smackdown opened this week with Austin Theory running his mouth and calling Smackdown his show but was quickly countered by the returning Pat McAfee. He wasn’t on commentary tonight, a true travesty, but was at least here for this segment. He reminded Austin that Smackdown wasn’t his show, it’s The People’s Show. And what does that mean? It means the long-awaited, long-rumored return of The People’s Champion. The Rock has come home to Smackdown. The ensuing encounter served as a reminder as to just why The Rock is so good at his job and why he’s so universally beloved. Despite his years away from the ring, he hasn’t lost a verbal step, and he’s still The Rock we know and love. Taking us on a tour through some of his famous catchphrases, he takes a moment to include the people by splitting the arena in half in a chant, with one half chanting “You are” and the other half “An asshole” to Austin for several minutes. The segment ended in the only real way it ever could’ve ended, with The Rock delivering a People’s Elbow to Austin, and encouraging McAfee to hit a People’s Elbow as well. McAfee was a highlight through this whole thing, watching him over Rock’s shoulder living his best fanboy life. He was just as excited as the fans were, and you could tell it wasn’t passing him by that he was in the ring with The Rock. Like, THE Rock. I love McAfee dearly, and who doesn’t love the Rock? This was a wonderful segment through and through, and my recommendation from the night.

To follow that up, AJ Styles faced off against Finn Bálor in the first match of the night. An excellently executed match, as both men have worked with each other for many years, and I’m pretty sure they’re incapable of putting on a poor match against each other. Judgement Day got kicked out of ringside by the referee during the match, but Jimmy Uso ran in to interfere, and Finn got the win over AJ. Later on, Finn caught up with Jimmy backstage and told him that there’s room for him in Judgement Day, for him and Jey with no Roman Reigns around. Jimmy politely declined, but I doubt this will be the last time Finn will extend the offer.

The Latino World Order had a segment next, where Rey Mysterio thanked his faction mates for being his new family and spoke on how proud he was to hold the United States Championship. Santos Escobar stepped forward and said that it has always been his dream to face his idol in a match for a championship, and said that he viewed Rey as family as well, and with all respect since he’s always been his idol, asked if they could have a match for the United States Championship even though they were on the same team. Rey accepted, and the match is set. This led to the Hurt Business coming out, berating the LWO for being too lovey-dovey, challenging Joquin Wilde and Cruz del Toro to a tag team match that lasted only a minute with a quick and decisive victory from the Hurt Business, and a post-match beatdown to the entire LWO.

The main event was a Grayson Waller Effect segment, where Waller ‘interviewed’ John Cena, but Cena couldn’t get a word out before Jimmy Uso came down to tell John no one cared about him, no one bought tickets to the show for him, they came to see Jimmy Uso and the Bloodline. Solo Sikoa came down to attack John Cena, but AJ Styles came to quickly even out the odds against the Bloodline members. The segment ended with John Cena delivering the Five Knuckle Shuffle to Jimmy and Waller, and the Bloodline running off.


The show opened with an eight-man tag team match with the Hardy Boyz teaming with the Lucha Bros to take on Jeff Jarret and Jay Lethal who teamed up with The Butcher and The Blade. This was a great high-flying match with the Lucha Bros excelling and showing off their abilities. It ended rather quickly with Rey Fenix getting the pin to head into his match against Moxley on Wednesday on a win. A quick match, but quite a good one.

Britt Baker cut a backstage promo, discussing the fact that the last several months haven’t gone according to plan for her, and she’s ready to get everything back on track. Since she didn’t advance to face Saraya, she challenged the winner of the main event TBS Title match between Kris Statlander and Jade Cargill to face her on Collision on Saturday, at her alma mater, Penn State.

The Acclaimed faced off against the trios’ team of The Outliers and Peter Avalon in a fun but predictable match. After the match, however, is when it got interesting. The Dark Order came out to demand a title match, declaring that they are sick and tired of good things happening to bad people and that The Acclaimed are bad people. The Acclaimed asked why Dark Order should get a shot, and what have they done to prove themselves worthy of a shot at the Trios Titles. Dark Order responded by offering a singles match between any one member of the Acclaimed versus any one member of Dark Order to take place on Collision to prove their worthiness. This new attitude from the Dark Order has given a breath of life into a faction I was beginning to be afraid would wither out. I’m so happy to see them demanding the opportunities they should’ve been given years ago, and though I want the Acclaimed to stay champions for a long time, I also think it’s time to start giving Dark Order their due.

The main event between Kris Statlander and Jade Cargill lived up to the expectations set upon it. It exemplified both women wonderfully, showing why Jade had been such a dominant champion, and also showing Kris’s power and why she was the one to unseat Jade as champion. Kris was Jade’s only career loss, and Jade came in ready to avenge that. In the end, however, Kris showed us all again that she is the one to beat Jade, and handed her her second career loss. Jade and Kris hugged each other afterward in a nice show of sportsmanship and respect, and Kris stood tall, ready to face Britt Baker on Saturday. I’d have to say this was my match of the night, my favorite won, and she went through a hell of a fight to do so.


The show opened with the BCC’s Bryan Danielson and Claudio Castagnoli facing Big Bill and Ricky Starks. This was a great match with Big Bill getting in some great offense and even getting Danielson to retreat for a moment. This match did great favors to Big Bill, emphasizing his size and ability. All four men had a great showing, but it ended when Big Bill got the attention of the referee and Ricky used the moment to low blow Bryan, hit Roshambo, and get the victory. Later in the night, Ricky challenged Bryan to a Texas Death Match on Wednesday.

There was a brief promo segment next, where Hangman and the Young Bucks challenged the Mogul Embassy to a match at Grand Slam for their Ring Of Honor Trios Titles, a set of titles they, under the name Hung Bucks, held back in 2017. The match was confirmed officially later in the night.

Dark Order’s John Silver took on The Acclaimed’s Anthony Bowens next, and this was a great example of just why you shouldn’t underestimate Silver. He may be shorter and smaller than most of the guys in the locker room, but he’s stronger than most of them. The other members of the Acclaimed, Max Caster and Billy ‘Daddy Ass’ Gunn, were banned from ringside, and it seemed the same rules applied to Dark Order until a distraction offered a chance for Evil Uno to come out from under the ring and attack Bowens from behind. Silver capitalized on the moment and stole the victory.

The only reason I’ll really mention Andrade El Idolo’s win against Scorpio Sky isn’t because I particularly like Andrade, but because after the match Bullet Club Gold came out and Switchblade Jay White issued a challenge to him. I’m a Jay White fan first and foremost, and since the two will be having a match next Saturday on Collision, the setup of the story is just as important as the story itself. I’m looking forward to their match on Saturday, Jay White is just incapable of having a bad match, probably ever.

The main event between Britt Baker and Kris Statlander was just as phenomenal as you’d imagine. Britt, at home not only in her home state but in the arena of her alma mater, dressed in the signature colors of Penn State, drew on the crowd’s support throughout. This match was a beautiful exhibition of both women’s abilities, skills, and prowess in the ring. Both of them are at the top of their game, and it showed beautifully here. Kris used her power to try and overcome Britt’s endurance and conditioning, and it seemed the beginning of the end when Britt locked in a modified version of the Lockjaw submission on a standing Statlander. Kris couldn’t stay upright and fell, and Britt got all of the Lockjaw locked in, but Kris managed to roll over just enough to get a bridging pin on Britt and snuck the win. Britt had the submission applied the whole time until the referee pulled them apart to raise Kris’ hand in victory, and you could see it plainly on Britt’s face that she thought he had it. Kris extended her hand and helped Britt to her feet, ending their encounter with a handshake, and an acknowledgment that they made history as the first two women to main event Collision. At the very end, while Kris’ hand was raised, a quick camera cut showed Julia Hart of The House of Black sitting up in the box, watching over them. Perhaps Julia is next to stake her claim over Kris’ title? Or maybe she wants a taste of the dentist, Baker? I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough. This match was without a doubt my match of the night, these two women put on a showstopper in a historic main event, and they couldn’t have done it better.

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