Awarding the Top WWE, AEW, Impact Performances for Week of Dec. 12

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2021

Awarding the Top WWE, AEW, Impact Performances for Week of Dec. 12

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    It was a banner week for Liv Morgan in WWE, and her performance against Becky Lynch reflected it en route to two B/R Belts.

    The former Riott Squad member awed fans in her biggest test to date, a test she passed with flying colors.

    Though she was the star of the week, Morgan was not the only wrestler to stand out. CM Punk continued to excel in his rivalry with MJF, Drew McIntyre reminded fans of his greatness in a war with Sheamus, and new best buddies Brock Lesnar and Sami Zayn continued to entertain.

    Dive deeper into each of those topics with this recap of the week that was and find out who took home B/R Belts.

Introducing the Belts

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    Before we get to the performers who defined the past seven days in WWE and AEW, these are the B/R Belts at stake and what they represent.


    The Steamboat Championship

    Named after the consummate good guy Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, this belt is awarded to the top babyface of the week.


    The Piper Championship

    When he was bad, he was oh-so-good. Named for the late Rowdy Roddy Piper, this belt is awarded to the best heel of the week.


    Hitman Hart Championship

    Arguably the best to ever do it, Bret "Hitman" Hart is defined by his in-ring excellence. This belt is awarded to the best men's wrestler of the week.


    Stratus Championship

    A revolutionary performer who bridged the gap between generations of female performers, Trish Stratus is the namesake of this belt, presented to the best women's wrestler of the week.


    Jarrett Championship

    Named for the founder and face of the company, this B/R Belt celebrates the best in Impact Wrestling over the past week.


    Dusty Championship

    The legendary Dusty Rhodes had the gift of gab and the ability to captivate an audience with his words. This belt goes to the star(s) responsible for the best promo of the week.


    Gooker Championship

    Pro wrestling has a long and, um, dubious history of WTF moments. This belt is awarded to the stars, match or moment that had you asking, "Huh?!"


    5-Star Championship

    Lastly, this title is awarded to the best match of the week.


    *Men and women eligible for every title except Hitman Hart and Stratus.

Steamboat Championship: Liv Morgan

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    The best babyface on either WWE or AEW this week was Liv Morgan.

    The top contender to the Raw Women's Championship had the wrestling world behind her, eager for her to dethrone Becky Lynch for the title. They were with her as she took the fight to Big Time Becks and late in the match, when she nearly upset the champ on several occasions.

    A passionate, hard-working competitor who has earned every opportunity thrown her way, fans could not wait to see Morgan reap her rewards. Then came the finish, which saw Lynch rob her opponent of a victory courtesy of a rollup while holding the bottom rope.

    While many, including one fan that went viral following the match, were not happy about the outcome, it places Morgan in a position to be an even bigger babyface coming out of the encounter. Like Daniel Bryan back in 2013 when he was continuously cheated out of the world title, expect Morgan's popularity to grow until she finally gets what's coming to her: a chance to run with the top prize in women's wrestling.

Piper Championship: CM Punk

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    CM Punk reminded us Wednesday night in Long Island that when he wants to flip the switch and remind fans that he can be the scathing heel, no one does it better.

    Faced with a hostile Long Island crowd overly loyal to MJF, he tore into them. He ripped apart the New York Islanders and verbally obliterated the hometown hero before referring to the fans as "pieces of s--t," then walking out to a chorus of boos.

    Punk was right to question them for supporting such scum as MJF, but he did it in such a confrontational and aggressive manner that it was clear he willingly and happily embraced his heel side.

    The Straight Edge Superstar is going to be one of the top AEW babyfaces for a long time, but it was nice to see the reminder of his heel excellence if and when the time comes for him to return to the dark side. 

Hitman Hart Championship: Drew McIntyre

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    Drew McIntyre has spent the last year and a half excelling as an in-ring performer to such a degree that we have almost ignored how great of a worker he actually is. Like his opponent Friday, Sheamus, he has the uncanny ability to head to the ring and have an absolute banger with any opponent he is scheduled against.

    The Scottish Superstar and Celtic Warrior beat the ever-loving hell out of each other in the best match on the show. Sheamus' chest was battered and bruised, welts formed on McIntyre, but in the end, it was Drew who rocked his opponent with a Claymore to secure the victory.

    McIntyre is a picture of steady consistency. He is great, a wrestler whose talents don't get enough credit and/or praise. This run he is on is nothing short of phenomenal, and his ability to go out on SmackDown and have a random match the quality of his battle with Sheamus is proof.

Stratus Championship: Liv Morgan

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    Faced with the biggest match of her career, Morgan shined.

    The former Riott Squad member, repackaged and repurposed numerous times over her run on the main roster, has finally come into her own. Her performance against Becky Lynch, a candidate for this B/R Belt every single week, was nothing short of fantastic.

    With the lights brighter and the stage bigger, she embraced the pressure and turned in the best performance of her young career.

    She could have folded under the pressure, proved her doubters right and failed. Instead, her work was crisp, her timing great and her chemistry with Big Time Becks undeniable. She wasn't some rookie carried to a great match, no. Morgan was a competitor feeding off the moment, grabbing hold of her opportunity and not letting go.

    Championship victory or not, no woman turned in a more passionate and meaningful performance that the future face of the women's division in WWE did Monday night.

Dusty Championship: Brock Lesnar and Sami Zayn (TIE)

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    Brock Lesnar and Sami Zayn have made for the most entertaining and enjoyable television WWE has produced these last two weeks. The buddy comedy no one knew they needed, the chemistry between the hulking badass and the loudmouthed conspiracy theorist has been extraordinary.

    Lesnar trying to get back into Zayn's good graces by offering to take the notoriously vegan competitor fishing and hunting was hilarious. Zayn brushing off the attempts at an apology was equally great.

    Like Booker T and Goldust a decade ago, Lesnar and Zayn have chemistry you simply would not expect from two performers that are the dichotomy of each other.

    Paul Heyman ruined the moment, reminding Brock that in the past, he would have destroyed Zayn, awakening The Beast in the No. 1 contender and causing him to do just that. Hopefully, though, this isn't the last time we see them involved in a segment with each other because their on-screen duo has been a joy to watch on an otherwise lackluster show.

Gooker Championship: Toni Storm's Booking Woes Continue

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    There is no more counterproductive writing in WWE than that accompanying Toni Storm in her first push as a championship contender.

    For three weeks running, she and Charlotte Flair have been awarded the Gooker award through no fault of their own. The first included a pie to the face for Storm followed by no retaliation as she simply stood there and took it. A week later, she pied Flair in the face as retribution rather than kicking her ass.

    Friday night, she finally got her hands on The Queen and was outright dominated by the champion and won only after Flair brushed off the referee's count while stomping a proverbial mudhole in her on the ring apron.

    Storm picked up a fluke win while on the receiving end of a beatdown that made Flair look dominant and the Aussie a chump with no shot at actually dethroning her rival.

    If WWE wasn't devoting weekly segments of television to Storm, you would think it was intentionally sabotaging her. Instead, it looks like another example of piss-poor writing on the part of a creative team that appears to have forgotten how to make a star.

Jarrett Championship:

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    Credit: Impact Wrestling

    "This can't possibly be all they have for Matt Cardona in Impact, right?" 

    It was a question this writer openly asked more than once when watching Cardona locked in midcard feud after midcard feud with no real direction to speak of. That has changed of late thanks to a main event feud with W. Morrissey and Moose over the world title.

    Thursday night on AXS TV, Cardona turned in his best performance with the company to date, fighting through a bloodied forehead as he overcame the onslaught on Morrissey and interference by Moose to earn a victory and retain his spot in the Hard to Kill main event.

    Cardona has been red-hot over the last year, making appearances in Game Changer Wrestling and competing in deathmatches. He has pissed off one portion of the crowd while satisfying listeners of the popular Major Wrestling Figure Podcast. He has grown his own star and become one of the most must-watch performers in the industry.

    It is about time he gets his shot in Impact to prove it.

Five Star Championship: Lucha Bros vs. FTR from AEW Rampage

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    For the second consecutive week, FTR and Penta El Zero Miedo are involved in the best match of the week.

    Friday night on Rampage, Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood sought to become the first two-time tag team champions in AEW history as they battled Penta and the returning Rey Fenix. What ensued was another example of tag team mastery from two teams all too familiar with it.

    The heels, arguably the best team in wrestling and the closest thing we have to throwbacks of bygone eras, were simply fantastic. The chemistry, fast tags, psychology and cerebral approach to every movement make them such a joy to watch.

    The Lucha Bros, on the other hand, were their lightning-fast, high-flying selves. Innovative and charismatic, they are the definition of can't-miss performers.

    The match was superb, a vast improvement of their bout back at Full Gear. Penta and Fenix retained, but both teams made the case for why they are the best in the business at what they do.