For our fifth edition, the panel are joined by ITRwrestling.com contributor Paul Benson who, as is tradition, will kick things off.
Rhea Ripley vs Raquel Gonzalez (NXT Halloween Havoc)
Rhea Ripley has already announced herself to the NXT fanbase, with stellar showings against some of the company’s top performers. Looking to follow suit, in possibly WWE’s most talent rich division, is Raquel Gonzalez, whose contest against Ripley caught the eye of both Paul Benson and Gary Cassidy. “Full of aggression and big moves, Ripley and Gonzalez put together an extremely memorable back and forth, powerhouse battle. This bout was a perfect example of accentuating both participants strengths while concealing their weaknesses” noted Paul. He continued “Even in defeat, Gonzalez looked like a superstar and in victory, Ripley enhanced her already burgeoning reputation.”
Gary echoed Paul sentiments and had also been impressed by Gonzalez, “Two absolute powerhouses going in the ring and not only putting on the type of match you’d expect both women to have, but surpassing all expectations in terms of athleticism, pace, and storytelling. I already knew Rhea Ripley was a star far beyond her years, but if anyone was sleeping on Reina Gonzalez, they’ll most definitely be woken up by this one! A colossal clash in every sense.”
WALTER vs Ilja Dragunov (NXT UK)
Across the Atlantic, current NXT UK Champion WALTER clashed with a familiar foe from his days before WWE, Ilja Dragunov. For those that had seen two wrestle before, expectations were already set high but what unfolded on Thursday night surely surpassed all expectations. Drawing plaudits from across the pro wrestling spectrum, our own Kenny McIntosh was similarly impressed by the scintillating affair. “My pick this week has to be WALTER vs Ilja Dragunov from NXT UK. Everyone from Jim Cornette to millennials loved this bout” noted Kenny. “Simply put, it was a fight. You believed they both wanted to end each other in the name of the prize. It was a brutal, violent scene that had you gripped the entire time. This wasn’t high spot, no sell, high spot, no sell. It was calculated chaos and I loved it.”
Giulia vs Himeka (Wonder Ring Stardom)
Over in Japan, Donna del Mondo stablemates Giulia and Himeka clashed in main event at Korakuen Hall for the Wonder Of Stardom Championship. Having defeated Giulia, the group’s de facto leader, during Stardom’s 5 Star Grand Prix tournament, the ‘Jumbo Princess’ Himeka entered the bought with a lot of momentum. Liam Wyatt was suitably impressed. “Aside from being a hard hitting, well laid out contest – this was more about the characters than the in-ring, in my opinion”. He continued “It was a real clash of charisma types. You’ve got Giulia who just oozes cool and star quality, against Himeka who is so wildly animated and has the best facial expressions. It made for a really entertaining bout.”
Io Shirai vs Candice LeRae (NXT Halloween Havoc)
Heading back to NXT and their Halloween Havoc special, Sondra Ruth has stumped for the NXT Women’s Title contest. “This was a tough call in the same week as WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov, but this Tables, Ladders and Scares match had severed limbs as weapons, chalk outlines on tables, and a shrouded figure interfering. Plus, the chemistry between these ladies was off the charts, and it felt like a proper fight!” She concluded, “Drama and spectacle done right with two of the best performers today”.
Which of our panel got it right this week? Express yourself via the poll below!