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Last weekend was absolutely huge, but things slowed down a bit this week in the world of wrestling. Coming off of C.M. Punk’s AEW debut on Friday night, SummerSlam on Saturday, and TakeOver Sunday, there’s really no way this week could live up to what we saw during the week prior. However, there were still some important talking points.
Let’s get to five thoughts on what we’ve seen in the world of professional wrestling over the last seven days.
1. This Becky Lynch heel turn sure feels like a miss already
Word broke right after I wrote last week’s column that Becky Lynch would likely be turning heel. Her appearance on SmackDown this week seemed to point in that direction. That decision is more than a little questionable to me, and I’m not sure they’re going to be able to get the fans behind it. If you’ll recall, right when Lynch really took off a few years ago, they tried to make her a heel and the fans rejected that instantly.
As I wrote about last week, the way they did Bianca/Becky at SummerSlam was an atrocity in my view, and I suppose this is their way of continuing the story without burying Bianca. I want Bianca to come out of this better than it looked like she would after last weekend, but nothing says you can’t have two top babyfaces. Especially in a promotion that is absolutely begging for top babyface stars.
Outside of Belair, who does Becky work with as a heel? Heck, who does she work with as a face, for that matter? This week’s show really showed the depth issues on SmackDown. Carmella and Zelina Vega demanding title shots? Liv Morgan accurately pointed out that all they do is lose – but Morgan has been absent for weeks, too! And where has Toni Storm been? This is where I could rant about how the brand split is just not a good idea, but I’ll save that for another time.
2. Where was Brock Lesnar?
Brock Lesnar’s appearance at the end of SummerSlam got everybody talking, and that was something WWE really needed after AEW set the world afire last week with Punk’s debut.
And then this week on SmackDown, he was nowhere to be found as Reigns seems to be set to feud with Finn Balor for the time being. The show really could have benefitted from a Lesnar appearance, and it’s disappointing that he was gone right away after such an impactful debut. While holding off on Lesnar/Reigns for a little while is probably the right decision, I’d have rather seen some type of follow-up to what we saw at SummerSlam with the man himself. The heat that Paul Heyman now has with the Bloodline was a nice touch, though.
3. Miro and Kingston were made for each other at this moment
The more I think about this match, the more excited I get. Eddie Kingston seems like the perfect opponent for Miro right now. I loved the segment that they did during Rampage on Friday night with Kingston coming in for the save of Fuego Del Sol, and I expect the match in Chicago to be memorable. While there’s absolutely no way Miro should lose right now, Kingston can push him a little bit and will get a great reaction from the fans in attendance.
4. Young Bucks vs. Lucha Bros was the right choice
While this week’s AEW Rampage was the weakest of the three editions that have aired so far (and really, it always was going to be), that opening tag team match between Jurassic Express and the Lucha Bros was must-see television. Imagine attending that AEW taping in Milwaukee on Wednesday night and getting this three hours into the show. Wow.
I could have seen this one going either way. Obviously we’ve seen the Bucks work both of these teams, but with their match with Jurassic Express happening most recently (August 18th), I think the winning team of the Lucha Bros was the right choice. Plus, Jungle Boy has already been flirting with a major run in the singles division, so I think it’s probably best to move him in that direction before too long. Potentially a TNT title run following Miro’s reign.
5. Walter/Ilja prove that WWE’s new recruiting strategy is foolish
Over the last couple of weeks, it’s become known that WWE is changing their philosophy as it relates to recruiting new talent. They reportedly will no longer be actively recruiting on the independent scene, though that doesn’t mean they won’t still sign independent stars. However, their focus seems to be signing athletes that they can mold from a blank slate into what they want their talent to wrestle like. Cookie cutter sports entertainers.
Walter and Ilja Dragunov, two of the most unique performers on their roster, showed at NXT TakeOver last Sunday why that is foolish. They had what was easily the best match over the weekend, far and away better than anything on SummerSlam, and that was in large part due to the unique nature of both men. Of course, they both worked the independents prior to signing with WWE and they don’t fit the traditional “WWE mold” when it comes to their style in the ring or their looks. The same could be said of Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole, who also had another great match over the weekend.
Wrestling fans want unique matches and talent. They don’t want every single bout to be worked the same way.. Walter/Dragunov was so great because it felt like a real, unpredictable fight. The strong style that they worked and the sort of David vs. Goliath feel of it all was phenomenal. You’re not going to get matches like this very often with the new talent recruitment strategy and that’s a tragedy.
Note: I haven’t had a chance to watch NWA Empowerrr yet but plan to today. I’ve heard great things and had I watched it as of press time, this certainly would have received it’s own section. Congratulations goes out to everyone who was involved in putting that show together.
Ryan Droste has been covering the wrestling industry for over 20 years. You can hear him each and every week on the Top Rope Nation podcast, available on Apple, Spotify, and YouTube. Follow him on Twitter @ryandroste.