Here we are, hot off the heels of SummerSlam to judge which superstars stood out from the rest of the scallywags in the back. As always, a wrestler has to win matches, cut excellent promos, and generally be awesome to find their name on this list. We have new champions on Raw, SmackDown, and NXT, but did any of them manage to ride the wave of momentum to the top of our list? Let’s find out as we go through the WWE Wrestlers of the Week.
10. The Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado & Grand Metalik w/Kalisto)
Have you ever watched synchronised swimming or diving and thought that the concept would work really well in a wrestling match? Me neither, but Dorado & Metalik went after Buddy Murphy & Tony Nese like they had just jumped off an Olympic diving board together.
This was a great tag match that proves just how much of an art pro wrestling is. It was like seeing double the whole way through. The bout lasted an incredible 20 minutes before a cheeky bit of interference from Kalisto gave Metalik an opportunity to put Murphy away.
An excellent 205 Live main event, I was a little iffy on this feud at the beginning, but this match just blew my mind.
9. Rusev Day (Rusev & Lana, w/Aiden English)
Rusev & Lana lost against Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas & Zelina Vega on the SummerSlam pre-show, but the “Bulgarian Brute” & “Ravishing Russian” got their own back this week on SmackDown, and surprisingly, it was all thanks to Aiden English.
This bout was hit and miss, but the live crowd seemed into it, and it’s always nice to see Rusev and Almas getting decent screen time. Whilst Lana was knocking Vega about, Almas tried to introduce a steel chair. English rushed to the rescue, and Rusev was able to hit a Machka Kick followed by the Accolade for the win.
I can’t rank this match too high because it wasn’t exactly spectacular, but Rusev & Lana have finally managed to secure a victory over their rivals, and it looks like Aiden English is back in their good books.
8. Jeff Hardy
Technically, Hardy lost his match against Orton via DQ, but you try telling me Hardy didn’t walk away as the winner.
Sick of having his ear hole stretched by Randy’s dirty fingers, the “Charismatic Enigma” stomped on the “Viper’s” ball bag, ending the match in a DQ. Hardy wouldn’t stop there though, as he continued to beat Orton. They eventually made their way to the equipment area, and Hardy Swanton Bombed his foe through a table.
The nefarious Brother Nero finally got some payback this week, but something tells me Orton isn’t done yet. I’m fully expecting them to have a match at Hell in a Cell, so watch out for SmackDown’s General Manager Paige to make that announcement soon.
7. Ronda Rousey
What’s the best way to celebrate a big title win? Breaking Stephanie McMahon’s arm, of course.
Stephanie brought the entire Raw women’s division out to ringside for a championship crowning ceremony this week. She belittled the ladies, and Ronda Rousey came out to forcibly hammer home the point that all the women in WWE are every bit as important as Rousey is. The “Billion Dollar Princess” failed to rile up the superstars, claiming the former UFC Champion was only interested in breaking people’s arms. Ronda corrected her boss: she only breaks the arms of people who deserve it. The new Women’s Champion then slapped her boss in an armbar, prompting Stephanie to tap out.
Ronda Rousey made it this high up the list for a few reasons. One, she had a lot of fan support; two, the babyfaces were on her side; and three, she got the better of Stephanie McMahon AGAIN! Ladies and gentlemen, we haven’t seen an employee screw a boss so hard since Austin/McMahon. Looks like we definitely know where Ronda and Steph’s relationship is going to end up.
6. Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe was gosh darn livid on this week’s SmackDown. During an interview between AJ Styles and Renee Young, Joe sent a hell of a message to the WWE Champion and to Wendy Styles, as well.
From out of nowhere, Joe swept AJ’s feet from under him and locked the champ in a coquina clutch. Joe then looked straight at the camera, telling poor Wendy that her husband won’t be coming home to tuck the kids in because he’s already gone night-night.
Damn, it only took the “Samoan Submission Machine” two minutes to shock the champ, his wife, and the rest of the world. Joe has never looked deadlier; be afraid, AJ.
5. Daniel Bryan
WWE’s resident yes man didn’t look too hot at SummerSlam, but he certainly looked a lot better on Tuesday Night SmackDown.
Bryan interrupted a mock retirement promo that The Miz was delivering in absolute perfect fashion. They exchanged a rude word or two, Maryse told Bryan to go and change his name to Daniel Bella, and this really pissed off Brie. The Bella twin charged the ramp and started laying into The Miz. After Miz & Maryse escaped, D-Bry dropped a bombshell. At Hell in a Cell, Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella will take on SmackDown’s “it” couple in mixed tag team action.
Excellent work all around in my opinion. Bryan has bounced back from his SummerSlam loss like a champ. My only issue is: how on earth can Paige book Maryse in a match when she doesn’t work for the company anymore? Answers on a postcard, please.
4. Pete Dunne
Dunne put his UK Title on the line during a special edition of NXT emanating from Brooklyn, New York. His opponent was none other than one of the best heels in wrestling, Zack Gibson.
The two put on possibly the best match of the week with each man tearing each other limb from limb. The ending came when Gibson stomped the mouth guard out of the UK Champ’s head and looked to throw it into the crowd. Dunne stopped his opponent right at the last second and hit the Bitter End to put Gibson out for the count.
This was wrestling at its absolute finest. If this is the calibre we can expect from NXT UK, then we are in for the most phenomenal wrestling brand in all of WWE.
3. The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods w/ Big E)
Don’t you dare be sour! The New Day are once again SmackDown Tag Team Champions, and they won the straps in a really fun and exciting match.
Kingston & Woods set out to take the behemoth Bludgeon Brothers out in a no disqualification match. Towards the end, Rowan took himself out by unsuccessfully using his body as a battering ram. This gave Kofi free reign to hit Trouble in Paradise on Harper, setting up for Xavier’s big elbow drop through the table for the win.
With Rowan’s injury putting him out for at least six months, WWE were smart to move the titles to The New Day, especially heading into Hell in a Cell where they stole the show last year with The Usos. This was a great match, and I’m looking forward to seeing who will step up and challenge them next.
2. Dean Ambrose w/Seth Rollins
Fresh off Seth’s Intercontinental Title victory, Dean Ambrose went one-on-one with Dolph Ziggler.
Ambrose is one of those superstars whose popularity I’ve never fully understood, but his return to action this week for the first time since December can only be described as a tremendous success. He’s really upped his power game and looked flat-out dominant. Dolph went for the jumping DDT to put Ambrose away, but the “Lunatic Fringe” simply held the former IC Champ in the air before dropping him into a well executed Dirty Deeds for the win.
I can’t fault this match. The booking was great, Ambrose and Ziggler were really impressive, and the interactions between Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre on the outside were entertaining and well paced. This was an excellent restart for Ambrose. And of course, it wasn’t the last time that night that we would see Ambrose & Rollins.
1. Roman Reigns
Admit it, it’s nice to have a fighting world champion on Raw, and boy did Roman fight. In his first title defence, the new Universal Champion gave the inaugural holder of the strap the rematch he’s been craving since the Raw after SummerSlam 2016.
Finn Bálor put on a huge display of effort against the “Big Dog”, and after the music of one “Monster in the Bank” hit, it looked like Bálor was going to get the win. Roman moved out of the way of a Coup de Grace just in time and pinned Bálor with a spear. And then things got very interesting indeed.
As Strowman was cashing in his MitB briefcase, The Shield’s music hit and out came Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose in full Shield gear. The three “Hounds of Justice” took Strowman out and finished things off with a monster-sized Cerberus Bomb through the announce desk. It looks like The Shield is back in business.
I genuinely wasn’t expecting this at all, and I think it’s brilliant. Roman, you have become Universal Champion, you defended it against the fan’s preferred choice successfully, and now you have your brothers by your side. Reigns is set to become unstoppable; believe that.
The post-SummerSlam shows delivered in unexpected ways. Let’s see if these superstars can keep the momentum going as we now march forward to the next PPV: Hell in a Cell.
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