Monthly Damage – September 2023 (It’s No Longer Clobbering Time)

It’s an essentially impossible task to keep up with everything going on in Pro Wrestling these days. Thank goodness sites like this exist to help keep the fanbase informed on all of the good, the bad and the ugly. Let’s digest some of this stuff together in my newly minted monthly column I’m calling “Monthly Damage.”

It’s No Longer Clobbering Time

The CM Punk era in AEW is over and we have Jack Perry to thank for what seems legitimately like some kind of backstage hit job. From what we have been hearing since the firing, CM Punk had been unhappy for quite some time, at one point even reaching out the to WWE, eyeing a potential return. With all of the public drama with The Elite, it only seemed like a matter of time before somebody pushed one too many of Pepsi Phil’s buttons.

As a CM Punk fan, this ultimately sucks. Don’t get me wrong, TK got this right. Punk got physical and apparently it affected far more than just Jack Perry at the time. It was also not an isolated incident, so the justification is definitely there. I just really started to enjoy his presence back on Collision. His fued with Starks felt like the real deal, and it feels criminal that it’s been taken from us before it even started.

So what’s next? Is Punk really going to wind up back in the WWE? In this business you never say never, but rocking the boat right now while you are also going through a merger doesn’t seem like the most logical of decisions for the WWE to make at this time. I’ve recently read something about Impact Wrestling. If that really happens, that would be a MONUMENTAL signing for Impact. For Punk, it could be the reset that he desperately needs.

If you asked me to place a bet right now on the next destination for CM Punk, my money is on the WWE. However I don’t see this happening within the next 6 months, so it’s very possible he could do some work with other companies during that time, although I find that very unlikely.

NXT is on Fire

The current iteration of WWE NXT has been utterly fantastic these past couple of months. Having stars like Seth Rollins, Becky Lynch ,the Judgement Day and Baron Corbin has been a big factor during this brand refresh. However, it’s been much more than that.

Every week we are seeing at least 1-2 PPV quality matches between some of the best young workers in the business. Guys like Ilja Dragunov, Trick Williams, Wes Lee, and Carmelo Hayes are coming together with the rest of the roster to produce high quality work on a consistent basis.

NXT is also producing some highly entertaining storylines interwoven throughout each episode. The characters tend to have direction and purpose, and the talent are fully buying in and investing into themselves. It’s that hive mind, group think type of situation that has created some of pro wrestling’s most memorable moments in years passed.

If you prefer a wrestling show with an easy to follow formula and consistent angles, peppered with plenty of WTF moments, then NXT may be the show for you.

Orange Cassidy’s Flowers

Recently on Dynamite, they celebrated Orange Cassidy’s recently ended International Title reign, and I have to admit, I never saw something like this in his future. I was happily proven wrong.

Cassidy had an incredible run with the International Title, a belt that felt lost in the shuffle before his eventual reign. 327 days, and 31 total defenses. That’s pretty incredible stuff, especially considering the low stakes character that Cassidy has portrayed the majority of his career. He has more than elevated himself into the main event scene in AEW.  He has shattered the glass ceiling and become one of the companies brightest and most consistent performers.

I think it’s entirely plausible that Orange Cassidy will have a run at the top with the world title before all is said and done. He’s proven to be a top commodity, and the fanbase adores his work.

Then, Now and Endeavor

Incredibly, we have entered a truly new era of sports entertainment as the Endeavor takeover of the WWE is complete.

I have no idea what the future holds for the WWE with this transition taking place but I remain somewhat optimistic. I think the talent will eventually benefit from this partnership, however there is sure to be some uneasy days ahead for anyone working in Stamford as this deal closes.

I don’t think this changes much as for the on screen product. It’s being said that the creative team will remain in place, and I can’t imagine Endeavor ever taking over that portion of the business. From a marketing and entertainment standpoint is where Endeavor really elevates the WWE to new heights. Higher ad revenues, more lucrative media rights deals, and record profits are likely on the horizon.

I do believe at some point we will see some serious crossover between the UFC and WWE brands and I really do find that prospect very exciting. There are plenty of characters and personalities in the MMA world that would fit perfectly in pro wrestling. Colby Covington and Connor McGregor come to mind, but there are plenty more names that fit the bill.

August Match of the Month

So many bangers in August, it’s hard to choose just one but I’m gonna give it to MJF and Adam Cole at “All In” from Wembley Stadium. The work was fantastic of course, but the significance of the event and it’s spot on card put this match at the top of the list. It’s also one of the hottest stories in pro wrestling right now.

August Wrestler of the Month – LA Knight

The Yeah Movement has officially taken over pro wrestling, and LA Knight is an absolute star. Knight is bringing back some of the “attitude era” flavor that made wrestling so much fun in the late 90’s and I am all here for it. He brings an old school approach to his in ring work and is more than capable of putting together an entertaining match, but his character work is where he truly shines. I find his blend of Austin/Rock/Flair to be incredibly entertaining, and his segments are typically my favorite part of the show.

Well that does it for September’s “Monthly Damage.” For more, follow me on X @sudden_damage