Ring POP is moving to a weekly schedule (because covering ten hours of wrestling is just a lot), and I’ll be delivering the Big POPs from WWE, NXT, and AEW, along with anything else that caught my eye. Am I doing a little less work for the same amount of money? Considering I don’t get paid, then yes. Just consider me the Brock Lesnar of wrestling writers. Anywho, let’s get started with…
WWE’s Big POPs
Bayley Knows Who Dakota Kai Is!
On Raw, Bayley and Friends continued to dominate the airwaves following their surprise returns at SummerSlam and their attack on Becky Lynch last week. Tonight, Bayley’s crew (when will we get a faction name???) takes the stage to yell at us for a bit. Bayley was so worked up that she called Dakota Kai “Dakota Sky” and had to reprimand the crowd for making her screw up. But soon enough, Bianca Belair, Alexa Bliss and Asuka entered the fray and this confrontation led to a six-woman tag being signed for Clash at the Castle. The opening segment ended with an all-out pier-sixer between the ladies.
Later in the night, Sky and Kai would win a first round match in the Women’s Tag Team Title Tourney. No surprises there, and they appear to be destined for a second round match against Bliss and Asuka. I do appreciate this match happening on one side of the bracket instead of putting them on opposite sides and leading to an obvious final.
The Profits Go Down Again
Seth Rollins beats Angelo Dawkins about as cleanly as he can, and delivers a curbstomp after the match. Montez Ford comes out after the stomp, but Seth bails. A great showing by both guys, but it clouds whatever is happening with the Profits. Ford seemed to be turning heel, but it would have made more sense for Dawkins to get a fluke win and Ford to turn on him out of jealousy. We shall see where this goes.
Ciampa Gets His Shot
Ciampa takes on Bobby Lashley for the U.S. Title and Ciampa seems to have a good shot at winning the belt, but Lashley ends up on top. The buildup of the U.S. Title is an excellent touch, with Ciampa wearing Harley Race’s robe and making the title opportunity really mean something to him.
Something Looms Over AJ
The Miz took on AJ Styles in a No DQ match that didn’t really mean much in itself, but led to some excitement at the end. In fact, the match wasn’t even created until midway through the show, which isn’t something I love. It doesn’t make much sense for a show to have no main event planned before the night starts, but AJ and Miz made the most of the airtime with plenty of brutal weapons spots. AJ got the win, but that wasn’t the headline, as a commotion in the front row occurred as the show went off the air. A hooded figure appeared to be struggling with police and AJ was looking over to the scrum which resulted in the “fan” being unmasked as Dexter Lumis. As he was taken away, the camera stayed wide and we just heard one of the commentators mutter “Dexter…” which was a nice touch as the whole thing is supposed to be a random appearance.
NXT: Just Trying Their Best
The NXT kids (I can call them that because I’m old) are trying to keep up with the tidal shift at the Performance Center, but this week didn’t have as much excitement as last. Zoey Stark had an impressive showing vs. Mandy Rose, and Nikkita Lyons had… a match. These two have no history together and no real storyline connection, but they’re getting a chance at the WWE Women’s Tag Titles on Smackdown. Sure. Why not? Meanwhile, Apollo Crews and Roddy Strong are fighting over the love of the Diamond Mine. Is this Roddy’s last gasp in NXT? Will Apollo take over the Diamond Mine and revitalize his career? A Roderick Strong call-up to main, and Apollo leading the Diamond Mine are both intriguing concepts.
The Tourney Continues
The WWE week ends with Smackdown and we are basically just moving forward to Clash at the Castle, but this week we had another Triple-H-Approved return which was nice. The night started with the second first round match of the Women’s Tag Title Tournament featuring two more teams-that-were-never-teams. Raquel Rodriguez are Aliyah are moving on to the next round.
Tick Tock MotherBLEEPers
Karrion Kross speaks in a particularly moody backstage area after his surprise return last week. He says he is reborn and will take out his anger on The Chosen Ones after he and Scarlett were cast out. So far, this is a MAJOR upgrade over the first main roster disaster for Kross. The creepy stalker moment at the end of the promo was a great touch. Next, Drew McIntyre comes out to talk, but we learn the reason for Kross’s earlier creepiness as Scarlett interrupts. While Drew is distracted, the Usos jump him, but Scarlett warns the Bloodline twins that Kross has an eye on Roman Reigns as well. Layered storylines, whoda thunk it?
These Three Be Fab
This week’s Smackdown return is Hit Row minus Swerve Scott (for reasons). They looked pretty good as a threesome though, and if you don’t know, now you know. Definitely a nice pickup for the tag division. While I am fine with the Usos remaining top tag team for a while, maybe we could build a division for some secondary titles?
Let’s Play Spot The Heel!
Ronda Rousey came out to heel up a bit, I think? Then Shayna Baszler tried to tell her to follow the rules, but played the heel in a contract signing. Liv Morgan was the other contract signer and the crowd didn’t seem to like her either. That was confusing.
The General Reigns
While Raw built up the U.S. Title, Smackdown did some great work building up the Intercontinental title, even having Ricochet declare his interest in the belt during a promo. That is what these secondary titles need. There need to be guys waiting in the wings when a rivalry ends. Meanwhile, Gunther and Shinsuke end the show with an awesome match that saw the Ring General narrowly escape with the title.
The Cheap POPs
The Edge/Mysterios/Judgement Day saga continues as Dom is salty about the accidental spear from Edge last week. Meanwhile, Rey loses to Finn Balor after Rhea Ripley carries a beaten Dom to the stage to distract his dad. These recurring Rhea beats up Dom segments are not getting old yet.
The Tale of Ezekiel seemed to come to an end as the KO Show is coming back. Kevin Owens absolutely flattened the newcomer who was stretchered out of the arena. Perhaps this means the new WWE regime is bringing back his brother Elias? And what’s next for Owens?
The Chad Gable character is outstanding. This guy is a future Kurt Angle without a doubt.
Sami Zayn tried to kiss up to the Usos but Drew attacked them as Zayn ran off. Later, they confronted Sami and he may need some backup soon. Maybe an old friend from the Red brand?
That’s it for last week’s action. This week, we continue to build for Clash at the Castle, and Triple H continues to make his impact felt. Join me here next Monday for a full recap!