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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Pro Wrestling’s top bouts from last week – Annenberg Media


“Sports Entertainment Solidified,” Maddy Myer’s professional wrestling column, airs every Monday.

Professional wrestling is an ever-evolving sport filled with acrobats, never-before-seen athleticism, well-crafted characters with attitude, and more. Each week, men and women entertain the audience by putting their bodies on the line inside the ring, and bring their all to the mic to evoke emotion in the audience. New storylines can develop in minutes, fan reactions can change the way a wrestler behaves in front of a live audience, and injuries can end an otherwise historic career.

Every week, fans tune into sports entertainment with WWE at the helm. All Elite Wrestling (AEW), New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and Impact Wrestling all feature big names and draw large crowds. The unexpected thrill of waiting for the winner of each race is like the adrenaline rush before you plummet at the top of a roller coaster. It really doesn’t get much better than this.

Not everyone can be John Cena or The Rock, the type that transcends professional wrestling and enters pop culture forever, but these wrestlers can certainly try their best to reach that level every week.

Here are the top pro wrestling matches from the past week.

CM Punk and FTR vs. Samoa Joe and Bullet Club Gold (AEW Clash, June 17)

On AEW’s newest weekly show, AEW Collision, CM Punk returns to wrestling after just over nine months. The return was an incredible hit, and Punk didn’t disappoint. He pulls out all the stops from his Randy Savage-inspired manly elbow drop, from the top rope to his running high knee to the corner. His chemistry with Samoa Joe also feels like chemistry in the movie, which is fitting considering their similar paths in the indie wrestling scene.

FTR also put on an agile performance of Juice and Jay White (Bullet Club Gold), which helped keep the audience’s attention not only in the middle of the ring, but also what was happening off the ring. Punk hit his “go to sleep” finisher to give his team the win.

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens vs. Gunther and Ludwig Kaiser (WWE Monday Night Raw, June 12)

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are two of the most talented wrestlers on the WWE roster. Pairing them up against another of WWE’s greatest athletes, Gunther, created magic in the ring. Zayn’s quick turnaround against Kaiser showed his speed and veteran status, while Owens against Gunther was like watching two technically good but still powerful behemoths.

While both Owens and Gunther weigh more than 260 pounds, that doesn’t show in their performances, as their speed matches their strength in every way. With Owens’ super kicks, shells and Switton bombs alone, one couldn’t take their eyes off the game. Zayn gave his team the win after hitting Kaiser’s blue Thunderbomb, while Owens hit Gunther with a DDT move outside the ring.

Skye Blue vs. Toni Storm (AEW Dynamite, June 14)

From pinning the Hurricanes to running errands, Skye Blue showed off a killer slate of offense against Toni Storm, which is pretty impressive for a wrestler who only signed with the company in April. Blue was able to land her finisher even after throwing the can of spray paint that Storm was supposed to spray on Blue into the ring, and Ruby Soho was outside the ring trying to distract Blue. Still, Storm’s near-perfect Texas Cloverleaf succumbing was too much for Blue after she was already hurt.

Moose vs. Rich Swann (Influence, June 15)

The story has been around for a long time: a small guy versus a big guy — however, in this case, heavyweight (Swann) versus heavyweight (Moose). The chemistry of this game is undeniable. The faster Swann landed risky maneuvers, such as lobs from the top rope, until his momentum changed. Swann’s dive into Moose off the field ended in a Moose reversal, with two power bombs and Swann thrown into a fieldside metal barricade. Once back inside the ring, there was a lot of back and forth, but Moose prevailed after some slashing to Swann’s chest and a super compound from the top rope to the mat. In the final moments, Swann was able to counter Moose’s finisher for a quick rollup pin and the win.

From Punk’s triumphant return to David and Goliath’s duels with the likes of Swann and Moose, last week’s wrestling matchups piled up. Let’s see if the momentum continues next week, as several pro wrestling promotions have pay-per-view events coming up.


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