These days, good wrestling matches aren’t hard to come by. Even if you dine on only one promotion, you can still satiate your appetite for quality workrate without feeling oversaturated by the abundance of options.
Most fans, however, prefer to indulge in as much wrestling from as many different places as possible, and that is what this piece will attempt to emulate. We won’t get to every good match that happened this past week — that would take too much time — so instead, let’s focus on three that are worth your time.
Take some time to check out these three matches from last week.
Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Natalya- Women’s World Championship (WWE Raw July 3, 2023) (***3/4)
When WWE announced that Rhea Ripley would defend her Women’s World Championship against Natalya, most fans were understandably underwhelmed. After all, their last match for the title ended with Ripley winning in just over a minute and a more recent scheduled match didn’t happen due to Ripley pummeling Natalya before the opening bell sounded.
In short, Ripley has made the Calgary native look like a chump, which explains the lack of anticipation for this encounter. WWE must’ve realized this, too, so it booked Natalya to attack Ripley before their July 3 title match, getting some revenge for the aforementioned beatdown.
This pre-match assault set the tone for the rest of the bout, and the ladies’ hard work won over the Baltimore crowd, reacting well to a lot of the nearfalls and near-tap outs (particularly when Natalya had Ripley locked in the Sharpshooter).
Of course, Ripley retained her title, but it was nice to see Natalya get presented as something other than a punching bag for the top stars.
CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe- Owen Hart Foundation Tournament semifinal (AEW Collision July 8, 2023) (****)
It’s difficult to discuss Ring of Honor’s history without mentioning the trilogy of matches between CM Punk and Samoa Joe. Those classics are as responsible for shaping the promotion’s legacy as any match, feud, or title reign that occurred under the ROH banner.
With Joe and Punk taking divergent career paths after their initial ROH tenures, it was fair to ask if we would ever see these two in the same ring again. The debut episode of AEW Collision ended those questions when the two met as part of a trios match that also involved FTR, Jay White, and Juice Robinson, whetting the fans’ appetite for the expected Punk/Joe semifinal matchup in the Owen Hart Invitational Tournament.
When it finally arrived, fans weren’t disappointed. No one expected these two, who are now in their mid-40s, to replicate what they did in ROH, but they came close enough while leaving enough meat on the bone for a potential rematch.
Kenny Omega vs. Wheeler Yuta (AEW: Dynamite July 5, 2023) (****1/4)
At Double or Nothing, Wheeler Yuta scored the biggest win of his career when he pinned Kenny Omega to give the Blackpool Combat Club the victory in the Anarchy in the Arena match. Even with the shenanigans that preceded the finish, Yuta’s triumph signaled an intent to slowly progress the young man up the card.
Yuta’s July 5 match against Omega in the Dynamite main event was another step in that process. While he ultimately succumbed to the One Winged Angel (as just about everyone does), Yuta turned in a great showing in a big spot. He even got a couple of really good nearfalls during the match’s climax (which is also a testament to Omega’s great timing in those situations).
As for Omega, it was another day at the office for the frontrunner for Wrestler of the Year, as he added another great match to his 2023 résumé.