Punk’s return to the ring was a big moment for WWE, but it also reminded us of what wrestling is capable of. With Geeks + Gamers, we explore how this event was a win-win for both pro wrestling and video games.
#15 of Another Week of Wrestling (23rd August 2021)
SummerSlam, NXT Takeover 36, news, and more! CM Punk returns, SummerSlam, NXT Takeover 36, news, and more!
—From last week’s episode of Another Week of Wrestling!
Thank you for coming along with me!
I’ll be mouthing off on a Monday about other wrestling events that grab my attention, in addition to giving you That’s Not Wrestling every Thursday and raving about PPVs on YouTube. This is Another Week of Wrestling, and I’m Danny Damage, writing for Geeks + Gamers.
Is There Going to Be Another Wrestling Boom?
Calm your passions, everyone who has gotten on the AEW bandwagon in the past week and has been circle-jerking with individuals who believe AEW has been two years of pure gold and WWE will soon be out of business. Before allowing the man next to you grasp your junk, and before you grab someone else’s, I’d think twice!
While recent developments suggest that things in AEW (and pro wrestling in general) are going to become a lot more exciting, there are still a few roadblocks and two-year-old bad habits to watch out for. Also, despite their erratic quality, the WWE isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s a stretch to believe that AEW’s success will push WWE out of business.
WWE has had a few moments in the past where they had to keep the fans happy while some “competition” lingered, but WWE (like Disney) is ingrained in so many people and places that your focus should be on making sure you’re still around after their counter-attack, not just coming up with a plan to get Vince/WWE to react.
She’s Kind Of Picking Up Where She Left Off
On Saturday, Becky Lynch made a surprising comeback to SummerSlam and reclaimed the Smackdown Women’s Championship. When Lynch took time off to deliver her first child last year, she surrendered her Raw Women’s Championship. She’s feeling a little lighter around the waist now that she’s had the baby and lost the pregnancy weight. What better way to make amends than for her to recover the belt that helped her become “The Man” and a fan favorite?
Sasha Banks was unable to fight against Bianca Belair at the PPV, and the fact was not revealed until Belair, the then-champion, was in the ring, ready and waiting. There was a sense of sadness throughout the stadium as Carmella was introduced as the next contender for the title. However, before the bell rang, Becky Lynch’s song began playing, and the crowd “went crazy.” People flocked to the door to meet Becky as soon as the song began and they understood what was going on.
Belair had clearly never heard anything like that before, as she couldn’t contain her pleasure and practically jumped for glee as Lynch marched towards her. Belair accepted to the new challenge when Carmella was thrown out of the ring by Becky, but afterwards regretted it. Becky enticed Bianca in with a handshake, then smacked her across the face, landed her finish, and earned the three-count.
Rampage of the Rednecks
Brock Lesnar has also returned to WWE. He also returned to a standing ovation at SummerSlam, although he came late, after the Roman Reigns vs. John Cena main event. Paul Heyman acted as if he’d seen a ghost, while Roman Reigns looked like he’d shat a brick. Brock with his new appearance came down the aisle, stepped in the path of Roman, and prompted the Head of the Table to walk away, leaving Heyman speechless.
I understand that Brock’s comeback isn’t nearly as thrilling as CM Punk’s, but it’s a smart decision on WWE’s part. Lesnar is still a household name in wrestling and, to a lesser degree, UFC/MMA. If the typical wrestling fan learns that both Punk and Lesnar have returned to the ring, there’s a high chance they’ll search for Brock before looking for Punk in a company they’ve never seen or heard of.
Brock has a lot more credibility as a combat athlete than Punk, and this isn’t meant to be a dig at Punk. “Wrestling may be rigged, but if Brock were in a genuine fight, I’d prefer not be on the other end of it,” the typical sports fan (you know, the folks Vince and Tony work so hard to hook in) frequently concludes after seeing Brock’s UFC and NCAA efforts. When it comes to Punk, many of those who claim to be fans now that he’s back in the spotlight are the same people who mocked him when he fought in the UFC against outmatched professional fighters.
When Kevin Steen won the ROH championship, he said something about the fans that was dead accurate.
Despite the fact that the SummerSlam PPV lasted five hours, WWE managed to demonstrate that they are conscious of their propensity for stagnation, and they had considerably changed things up by the end. PUTTING IT BLUNTLY: WWE SummerSlam 2021 (Review) has you covered if you wanted a video commentary on the whole event, and I put up the results for SummerSlam here.
If two unexpected comeback weren’t enough to pique people’s interest, WWE also swapped four championships at the summer’s biggest bash. The US Championship, the Raw Tag Team Championship, and both women’s championships had all changed hands by the conclusion of the night. Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair are icons of modern-day women’s wrestling, thus their inclusion is unavoidable. Damien Priest is a rising talent in NXT who symbolizes the future, and Matt Riddle is the same. Randy Orton, Riddle’s tag partner, is a seasoned pro who would be a good fit for any championship image or angle.
It seems like people are beginning to take things a bit more seriously.
Joe Samoa is back on top.
The NXT Takeover 36 PPV, which aired last night, saw WWE’s third brand come from behind to steal the whole week of wrestling. Now, there was a larger, singular moment on AEW Rampage on Friday (I’ll get to it), but there was a lot more wrestling to be delighted by on Sunday night as a whole. NXT Takeover 36’s written results can be read here, and additional information about PUTTING IT BLUNTLY: NXT Takeover 36 can be found here (Review).
NXT seems to be putting their best foot forward by entrusting their title to Samoa Joe, as with all of my comments about SummerSlam reshuffling the deck. Karrion Kross is a monster, but he’s still learning the ropes and isn’t connecting with the audience the way management wants him to. It’s also possible that he went up to Smackdown to be smacked about by Jeff Hardy, which at this stage in Hardy’s career can never be good for one’s reputation. In any case, this isn’t the time to be caught off guard, therefore the Samoan Submission Machine has been sent to the front lines of the black and gold brand.
The Return of CM Punk
As everyone knows by now, CM Punk made his comeback to pro wrestling on Friday night when it was announced that he had signed with AEW. Punk kicked off AEW Rampage in front of a packed house, and the crowd greeted him with open arms. Punk’s return to AEW over WWE or elsewhere has clear advantages and disadvantages. Considering Punk’s position, I believe AEW is the ideal location for him… provided he’s left alone to do his thing and others don’t start coming in his way or hijacking his energy. *looks Chris Jericho in the eyes* * That being said, it’s important to approach this with an open mind as well as open eyes. There’s a lot more to this than simply Punk’s bouts.
In addition to being excellent for Punk and what he wants/needs to accomplish, AEW will undoubtedly help the business and its artists. When one of the greenhorns backstage needs an answer, they no longer have to turn to the ring to watch Kenny Omega or The Young Bucks dragging their arses over the mat like a dog with worms. They’ll really fill up the gaps in their knowledge with some sound guidance and improve. What are the chances? Maybe they’d eventually outshine the EVPs.
Others have been constructively critical of the shenanigans they’ve seen in AEW, citing common sense and previous experience. These people have either gone unnoticed or have been yelled down. Up until he made Kenny Omega weep, Jim Ross had things to say. Jim has been pushing out-of-place praises and keeping his lips quiet (directly) when he sees or hears anything stupid since then. Many others who saw Jim’s abuse have kept their heads down in the near term for the sake of a comfortable existence. I believe the timid boys and women will find their voices with Punk’s presence, and arguments based on logic and facts will make a return in the locker room.
Oh, and I’m not sure whether CM Punk’s comeback will prevent Tiny Tony Khan from banning individuals who make jokes or point out his company’s faults… In and out of the ring, there are a lot of botches, injuries, and general fuck-ups in AEW. I believe it is fair to assume that everyone would want to see the number of A&E Wrestling fatalities drop as quickly as possible.
Nobody is perfect, and there are a lot of issues in both AEW and WWE that need to be addressed before anybody can say we’ve arrived in wrestling heaven. However, it seems like we’ll have some exciting action on the road there in the next months!
That concludes this week’s activities. Think about it and talk about it! Remember to keep an eye out for “That’s Not Wrestling!” every Thursday on GeeksandGamers.com. Take care, and I’ll see you on Monday to talk about #AnotherWeekOfWrestling!
Rachael Hope created the background artwork.
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