It’s that time again where we look at all the wrestlers who made a significant impression on us and their opponents this week. To become one of our prestigious Wrestlers of the Week, the superstars of WWE have to win matches, deliver red-hot promos, and stay ahead of the competition.
If you’re a fan of tag team wrestling you’ll love how things went down in WWE this week. There were so many impressive tag team matches that our Wrestlers of the Week list is comprised mainly of tag team competitors. Let’s see which partners in crime made the cut and which singles stars were able to battle their way on, too.
10. The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, & Liv Morgan)
Logan & Morgan have been a tad directionless without their leader, but Ruby Riott returned to Raw and helped her girls pick up a win against Sasha Banks & Bayley.
In terms of in-ring performance, Logan & Morgan weren’t as good as the face team, but that’s pretty much to be expected, but the heels weren’t exactly bad in the ring. Ruby pulled Liv out of the way of a dive from Bayley which distracted Banks long enough for Sarah Logan to get the victory with a roll-up.
There was nothing particularly groundbreaking about this match, but picking up a win and having Ruby back on the scene can only mean good things for the Squad.
9. The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper & Rowan)
I feel like it’s been ages since we last saw The Bludgeon Brothers compete in a match, so it came as a bit of a surprise to actually see them wrestle this week. The two most terrifying men in SmackDown’s tag division dominated in a 3-on-2 handicap match this week against a team of piss-poor jobbers.
This bout went exactly as expected. Harper & Rowan didn’t even break a sweat kicking the crap out of 3SK (yeah, I thought it was a dumb name, too). There wasn’t much to write home about, but the match did its job in making the SD Tag Team Champions look like monsters.
It was an impressive albeit brief showing from the champs. They look in good form for their upcoming title defence, but this week, another team on the SmackDown roster outshined Harper & Rowan by miles.
8. Keith Lee
Bask in his glory; Keith Lee has finally made his in-ring debut for NXT. Lee showed the NXT universe what big guys can do when he went up against the German superstar, Marcel Barthel.
What surprised me in this match was Lee didn’t completely squash Barthel. The man formerly known as Axel Dieter Jr got in some good offence of his own. Lee proved to be too much to handle though as his speed, power, and athleticism secured him victory.
“The Limitless” Keith Lee has a lot of potential on NXT, and he truly stands out from a lot of the guys on the roster. Is a title match in his future? It’s pretty much a guarantee.
7. Johnny Gargano
Gargano didn’t get off to the best start in his match against Aleister Black on NXT, but things looked pretty good for him by the end.
Johnny Wrestling struggled to best Black in their brief battle, but the whole bout served its purpose of setting up for bigger things. NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa stormed the ring in a bid to soften up Black for their title match at Takeover: Brooklyn. Gargano wasn’t about to let Ciampa get the upper hand and joined the scrap. Sick of seeing the three men tear each other apart, NXT GM William Regal came out to and added Johnny Gargano to the title match in Brooklyn, and now the bitter enemies will all square off against each other to determine who deserves to wear the championship title once and for all.
Johnny didn’t spend a huge amount wrestling this week thanks to Ciampa, but he still earned a shot at the NXT Title. If only he was battling Ciampa one-on-one…
6. Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair teamed up with her friend and SummerSlam opponent Becky Lynch to take on The IIconics this week. The babyfaces managed to prove they can work together as a team, but something tells me their friendship won’t last.
Considering how good the tag team matches were on SmackDown this week, this one felt a little flat. In regards to the SD Women’s Title though, I thought this bout was more interesting than it appeared. Charlotte won by making Peyton Royce tap out to the Figure Eight, which is giving her more momentum going into SummerSlam. Becky and Carmella haven’t exactly shined since Flair’s return, and it looks like “The Queen” is going to continue overshadowing the champ and the other challenger.
Having Charlotte thrown straight back into the title scene ruffled the feathers of a few online fans, but ultimately, her inclusion has made the SmackDown Women’s Championship match a lot more interesting. Keep going, Charlotte. I look forward to seeing you dominate the competition again next week.
5. Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre
The IC Champ must’ve been happy with the way things went down on Monday as he and Drew McIntyre got one over on Seth Rollins.
The 2-on-1 handicap match was very good, and it’s a stipulation we don’t see a lot of in WWE anymore. I liked how Dolph Ziggler & McIntyre really didn’t care that Seth was going it alone; they didn’t take it easy on him by any means. Ziggler got the pin which gives him a psychological edge over Rollins going into SummerSlam, but personally, I would’ve liked to see Drew get the win just to sow a little seed of doubt in our minds about their eventual break-up.
It was a great match coupled together with great character work meaning Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre more than earned their place on the list this week.
4. Ronda Rousey
The Baddest Woman on the Planet made her Raw debut this week, and for a TV match, it was definitely above the usual trash we expect to see on the so-called flagship show.
Rousey squared off with Alicia Fox which served its purpose of making the former UFC star look like a one-woman wrecking crew. Fair play to Fox for taking part in this match because a lot of those bumps looked painful, particularly the whiplash judo throws where Rousey kept hold of the arm. Ronda made Alicia Fox tap out to the armbar to end the match, and in a brief in-ring interview, Alexa Bliss tried to take out Ronda. Rousey was ready for it though, and sent the Raw Women’s Champion scurrying back up the ramp.
This wasn’t Ronda Rousey’s best bout, but that’s hardly a criticism since she’s only had three matches in WWE. She’s still doing great in the ring, and the match was a lot better than expected. Well done, Ronda. I can see you making it to the top of this list sooner rather than later.
3. Taynara Conti
Conti has to be by far the biggest surprise entrant on our Wrestlers of the Week list, but she was so damn impressive that I had to give her a spot.
The Brazilian beauty fought against Vanessa Borne on NXT to determine who would take the final spot in the second May Young Classic tournament. The ladies got off to a great start coming out of the gate hot. As the match went on, Conti upped her aggression to pick up an emotional victory. I mean that in a literal sense as Conti was crying as she was named the winner.
I enjoyed everything about Taynara’s performance. She really gave her all in the match, and it was clear the win meant a huge amount to her. I originally wanted Io Shirai to win the MYC, but Taynara Conti now has a fan in me.
2. Hideo Itami
The Japanese legend defeated Mustafa Ali in a highly competitive match-up this week on 205 Live. If Ali didn’t respect him before, well, he probably still doesn’t after what happened.
The two had a fantastic match where Ali was selling the fact he recently had a quick stay in hospital. There were some seriously brutal strikes in this bout, and Itami even collapsed after delivering a huge spinning back fist to Ali. At some point, Itami started bleeding from the mouth, and made the final moments of the match must-see. Following a dizzy spell on the top rope, Hideo tied the “Heart of 205 Live” up in the tree of woe, and with a crazed look in his eyes and blood seeping from his mouth, Itami hit three devastating delayed dropkicks on Ali to put him out for the count.
Hideo Itami has been a thorn in Mustafa Ali’s side for quite some time now, and I have a feeling this match was only the first of an epic trilogy. Itami has the upper hand for now, but you better believe the fight ain’t over.
1. The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston w/Xavier Woods)
Not only did The New Day earn a shot at the SmackDown Tag Team Titles, they also put on the best match of the week.
The chemistry between The New Day and The Bar is incredible; you can see both teams put their all into every match they have with each other. The ending was very creative, too. Big E managed to hoist Cesaro up for the Midnight Hour despite being locked in a crossface. Kofi then covered Cesaro for the win, and the joy on The New Day’s faces was clear to see.
I can’t fault the tag match at all; great wrestling, a great end to the tournament, and an incredible main event. Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods are the worthy winners of WWE Wrestlers of the Week.
Things are looking bright as we inch ever closer to SummerSlam and Takeover: Brooklyn. Will these battle-tested superstars be able to keep their spots on this list as we head into the go-home shows? Come back next week to find out.