We’re back with WWE Wrestlers of the Week. The aim of the game is simple: win matches, dominate promos, and don’t be made to look weak. If they do all that, the superstars of WWE will find their names etched on this truly prestigious list.
Before we begin, I’d like to give an honorary shout-out to Renee Young for becoming the first woman to ever call a full episode of Monday night Raw. She did a good job on commentary and whether she wants to continue in the role or not, at least WWE realise how much potential she has.
But enough of that; let’s get back to the rasslin’.
Carmella is gold on the mic. In a face-to-face-to-face with her SummerSlam opponents, the Women’s Champion burned the hell out of Becky Lynch, and she furthered the rift growing between Becky and Charlotte Flair.
What makes the Princess of Staten Island unique is that she’s proud of being a diva in the division, and fair play to her for knowing her role. Carmella’s words didn’t stop Becky & Charlotte from winning their tag match against Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose, but the backstage segment between the two former SmackDown Women’s Champions suggests that their friendship is finally coming to an end.
I can’t place Carmella higher on the list because she didn’t compete, nor did she get to witness Becky & Charlotte losing, but her promo and character work were spot-on. Many people are expecting her to lose this Sunday, but I think the tension between the Lass Kicker and the Queen will give ‘Mella the opening she needs to win.
9. Ronda Rousey
Rousey had the honour of kicking off Raw to say a few words on the passing of Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart and to pass on her condolences to Neidhart’s daughter, Natalya. The show got back to normal when Alexa Bliss came out for her match with Ember Moon. The Raw Women’s Champion had Alicia Fox for back-up and a team of four security guards. Ronda being Ronda, she emasculated those bad boys with some judo throws.
During the scheduled match between Bliss and Moon, Rousey found some time to send Alicia Fox into the crowd barrier. The bout was eventually thrown out due to Fox’s interference, but she paid for that in the end when Ronda terrorised Alicia’s arm for the second week in a row.
Pre-match, Ronda was buried by Alexa’s excellent mic work, but the “Baddest Woman on the Planet” bounced back by showing she is done playing games. I hope Bliss is ready for the match of her life at SummerSlam.
8. Jeff Hardy
After weeks and weeks of getting brutalised, the Charismatic Enigma finally went an entire broadcast without being dominated by Randy Orton or Shinsuke Nakamura.
Hardy put on a decent yet fairly short match against Shelton Benjamin (where on earth has WWE been hiding him these past two months?), and Shinsuke aimed to take Hardy out post-match. Hardy was able to dispatch Benjamin with ease, and a Twist of Fate / Swanton Bomb combo stopped the US Champion in his tracks. All the while, Randy Orton stalked his prey from behind the backstage curtain.
Hardy has finally picked up some steam going into his US Title match with Shinsuke Nakamura. It was getting difficult to take him seriously as a worthy contender, but WWE did the right thing here by giving Jeff a measure of redemption against the champ and by keeping Randy in the back.
7. The B-Team (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)
They just don’t lose, do they? In a three-way tag team match, Dallas & Axel managed to overcome the formidable tandems of The Revival and The Deleters of Worlds to retain their Raw Tag Team Titles.
The bout was surprisingly enjoyable and a decent amount of time was dedicated to it. Towards the end of the match, Curtis Axel made a blind tag that no one noticed, and when Dash & Dawson took out Bray Wyatt with the Shatter Machine, Axel threw Dawson out of the ring and picked up the victory.
The B-Team’s streak of good luck continues. They were part of a very good match and they came out the other end as winners. The Revival have been granted another opportunity at the Raw Tag Team Championships on the SummerSlam preshow, so hopefully Dallas & Axel will have stopped celebrating by then.
6. Samoa Joe
Joe delivered another blistering promo attacking AJ Styles’ family. The Samoan Submission Machine went one step further this time, reading a letter to AJ supposedly sent to Joe by Mrs. Styles herself.
The letter stated that Wendy Styles felt ill hearing Joe’s promo last week because everything he said was true; AJ has failed as a father and a husband. She’s praying for AJ to drop the WWE Championship on Sunday because then he too will know what it’s like to lose something he loves. Joe revealed right at the end that the letter was written by AJ’s wife, infuriating the champion to close SmackDown.
Samoa Joe’s mind games are legendary. Ever since he was named the no.1 contender to the WWE Title, he’s tormented Styles in the most sadistic way possible. Joe hasn’t laid a finger on the champ since the official contract signing, but he hasn’t had to. It’s been an enjoyably emotional rollercoaster of a ride, and I hope this feud carries on past SummerSlam.
5. Kairi Sane
How badass was Kairi Sane this week? In a match against Aliyah, the inaugural May Young Classic winner dismantled her opponent and sent a very clear message to the NXT Women’s Champion, Shayna Baszler.
The match was fairly short and the winner was a foregone conclusion, but Sane and Aliyah managed to pack quite a lot of action into a small time-frame. After a brief exchange where each woman tried to one up the other, the Pirate Princess soon took control. She hit her In-Sane Elbow not once, not twice, but thrice, and she broke her own three-count so she could lock Aliyah in the Anchor for the submission victory.
If there was ever any doubt over Sane’s ability to match Baszler’s aggression, those doubts should now be put to pasture. Kairi came across as a serious threat not to be taken lightly.
4. The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, & Xavier Woods)
The New Day proved they’re all set for their big Tag Team Title match at SummerSlam by beating Sanity… again.
It was a really great match. Both teams have excellent chemistry together, and if there’s any team on the SmackDown roster who could realistically beat Eric Young, Killian Dain, & Alexander Wolfe, I guess it would be The New Day. Big E got the win after he and Woods hit the Midnight Hour on Dain.
E, Kingston, & Woods are looking good going into their big bout on Sunday. As the contenders to the SmackDown Tag Team Titles, they had to come across as the stronger unit even if it did come at the expense of Sanity. All in all, it was a fantastic match, and The New Day has a lot of momentum heading into the biggest party of the summer.
3. Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman
Lesnar & Heyman orchestrated a beautiful attack on Roman Reigns this week. Heyman suckered the Big Dog into believing he would gladly switch his allegiance, but it was all a ploy for Heyman to get close enough to Reigns so he could deliver a shot of pepper spray to the challenger’s face.
While Roman was blinded, the Universal Champion came down to the ring to beat the Big Dog senseless. A few brutal knees, a guillotine chokehold, and an F-5 just for the fun of it put Roman out for the count.
After Heyman’s promo last week, I genuinely believed he was switching sides. If Paul Heyman needs something to do when Brock finally leaves, he should go to the Performance Center and teach the NXT stars how to work the mic. Lesnar always looks his happiest when he’s dismantling someone, and it showed when he attacked Roman this week. It was a great segment with a surprising twist; what more can you ask for?
2. Tyler Bate w/Trent Seven
Bate won a huge match on NXT this week against Undisputed Era’s Roderick Strong. It was by far the best match in WWE this week, and the win gives the Moustache Mountain duo a lot of momentum going into Takeover: Brooklyn.
As I’ve already said, this bout was definitely the crème de la crème of wrestling this week. Bate and Strong pulled out the best moves in their arsenal, and they looked so fatigued by the end. The former UK Champion won when he hit Roddy with the Tyler Driver ’97.
Bate always goes above and beyond when he steps in between those ropes. This week, he awed the crowd and got revenge against a long-time rival. Normally, this would be enough to guarantee a wrestler the top spot on our list, but a certain superstar pipped Bate to the post by bringing his brother in arms back to Monday night Raw.
1. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose
The Architect has brought the Lunatic Fringe back to Raw! With Dean Ambrose’s help, Seth Rollins was finally able to overcome the numbers game Drew McIntyre and the Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler have been playing.
It didn’t take Ambrose long to jump into the fray. Together with Rollins, the former Shield brothers stormed the ring to take out Ziggler & McIntyre. And just for good measure, Dean planted the Scottish psychopath with Dirty Deeds. Needless to say, it’s looking more and more likely Seth will take back the Intercontinental Title.
Raw GM Kurt Angle was teasing us all night saying Rollins was having travel issues, so when the Architect appeared on the stage, he got one of the biggest pops of the week. The only man to get a bigger reaction was Ambrose himself. The crowd were solidly behind the duo, and they did a great job taking out Dolph & Drew. Congrats, boys; your actions and the love of the crowd mean you are our WWE Wrestlers of the Week.
And that’s that. Make sure to join us again next week where we’ll have all the fallout from SummerSlam and Takeover: Brooklyn. There might just be a few new faces on the list.
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