WWE Falls Count Anywhere CM Punk Seth Rollins Vol. 5 of TCB’s Falls Count Anywhere highlights CM Punk and Seth Rollins’ first encounter.

It’s the drive to Volume 5 of Falls Count Anywhere! The Comeback is back for another round of its new weekly WWE column. We hope you’re just as excited as we are!

Punk and Rollins’ first encounter goes swimmingly

You couldn’t have asked for a better sequence than what we got on Monday night between CM Punk and Seth Rollins.

Punk and Rollins are no strangers to each other, and the tells have been that there might be some animosity between the two. But whatever the case, both stepped up and delivered a home run segment Monday night on Raw.

The consensus on the segment must have been high as well. Their segment drew over 1.8 million viewers on USA Network and scored the highest quarter-hour of the three-hour broadcast.

Whatever animosities might or might not exist between them, Punk and Rollins definitely buried whatever they had to to put this together. If that continues, then WWE fans will be treated to quite a spectacle.

Roman’s back, tell a friend

In case you missed it, Roman Reigns is returning to Friday Night Smackdown. “The Tribal Chief” will make his long-awaited return to the blue brand this Friday night. It’s been several weeks since we’ve seen Reigns, and the show has not suffered a significant dip in quality. The recent runs with the women’s division, the ongoing saga between Rey Mysterio and Santos Escobar, and many other things have aided it.

But let’s not be mistaken here: Reigns is the biggest star in WWE and maybe the entire wrestling world. His presence will surely add a lot to the show this week. Roman is going to have a lot to say, because WWE looks a lot different since he was last around, which is saying something since it’s only been about a month or so.

When Roman Reigns talks, everyone listens. And, usually, everyone tunes in also. After a massive number for their “Tribute to the Troops” special last week, seeing what Reigns’ return will mean for Smackdown’s ratings will prove interesting. You figure that he’ll start the show and have a lot to say, so everyone will want to hear what’s on his mind. It makes for great theater and appointment television, which is rare in this day and age. But that’s what they have in front of them right now.

CM Punk is on a barnstorming tour

CM Punk is just about everywhere these days. Punk returned to WWE epically and shockingly at Survivor Series. Then he appeared on Monday Night Raw, followed by an appearance on Friday Night Smackdown.

Then, to add to the equation, Punk appeared at the start of NXT’s latest premium live event, Deadline. The show aired from Bridgeport, Connecticut over the weekend, and Punk — who was in Providence, Rhode Island for Smackdown — decided to drop in. He also reportedly held court and played the role of coach for some of NXT’s best and brightest.

Whether everyone wants to be disagreeable about it or not, it’s nice to see this happen. Punk’s exit was tumultuous and intense at the time. You figured this might happen someday, but our road to get here was incredibly windy. The fact is, Punk wanted to be treated like a top guy, and he felt he wasn’t. Right or wrong, they’re doing that for him right now, so he seems pretty pleased about it.

Happy health to Charlotte Flair

Charlotte Flair went down with an apparent knee injury on Friday night during a match against longtime rival Asuka. Nothing concrete about her is out there, but suggestions about her injury seem grim.

While some may have worthy critiques about her usage these days, Charlotte is one of WWE’s most recognizable and visible stars of the last decade. She’s always out front and center and will always have marquee billing. Whether or not that would happen again this spring is anyone’s guess.

But if this injury takes significant time away from Flair, it would be tremendously unfortunate. So, speedy recovery and good health to Charlotte, and may she come back and kick more ass.

On Maxxine Dupri vs. Rhea Ripley…

One match that got some discussion after the way things went down this week was Rhea Ripley vs. Maxxine Dupri.

The latter has gotten some significant run lately on television. Dupri quickly became a fan favorite while working alongside the beloved Alpha Academy faction. So, they decided to put Maxxine to the test against the Women’s World Champion Ripley.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well.

But that’s okay. Here’s why: Sometimes, you have to be put to the test. And sometimes, you won’t pass them. Durpi and Ripley struggled to get much chemistry and didn’t appear on the same page during some lifts and slam attempts. Rhea attempted a Riptide on her, and hit it, but struggled to get there.

In the end, Dupri hasn’t wrestled too much. Putting her in that spot may have been a bit brazen, but she’ll learn from this. Learning that it’s okay not to meet expectations is an important part of life, because you aren’t always going to. Knowing “how” to “fail” is just part of the job. Getting back on your feet is another.

Both ladies will. Make no mistake. Both have a lot of talent; it’s just that Ripley’s is significantly easier to tap into right now. It was a bad night at the office and nothing more. Any other discussion is just that and will soon be forgotten the next time Maxxine makes the crowd cheer.

Gunther Facts

You could double The Rock’s 265-day Intercontinental Championship reign and still fall 20 days short of Gunther’s current IC Title run!

The NXT Spotlight goes to…

We’re going to split the award this week.

One half of the spotlight shines down on Trick Williams this week. Trick has become a serious fan favorite in NXT and from its fans. The former South Carolina football star has turned himself into a really entertaining wrestler right now. He’s involved in the A-block story on NXT and just had an insane performance in the Iron Survivor Match. He took out all four other competitors in the match within the match’s final moments, creating an unforgettable moment for the young gun.

The other half of the spotlight? We’re gonna cheat and give it to the entire Women’s Iron Survivor match. Bravo, ladies. WWE is leading the industry in women’s wrestling not just because of their starpower and not because of their large fanbases, but also because of the talent on display. And the amount of talent that they have at their disposal is absolutely a strength as well.

They move from strength to strength, and in NXT, it’s really no different. Did you SEE that Cartwheel Alabama Slam by Tiffany Stratton!?! Did you SEE Lash Legend, days after suplexing the mammoth Otis, shine after coming in last in the match?

Once again, bravo. And enjoy the ride. The division is deep and it is on the main roster too. They might get some reinforcements too, as if they really need them!


We lied. We won’t do a mailbag next week or the week after because of the holiday seasons. So we’ll answer questions… now!

Ah, the Mercedes Moné thing… I could column my way into this whole thing. Maybe I will!

Anywho, since the wrestler formerly known as Sasha Banks left WWE in May 2022, I’ve had several schools of thought at once. For one, this… just seemed inevitable. There were a lot of signs.

Secondly, when she left, and when her contract expired, there were plenty who expected her to land in All Elite Wrestling at some point. She… did not. Moné wrestled for New Japan during 2023. She made a cameo at ‘ALL IN’ in London, England, but that to date is the closest AEW’s gotten to her.

To me, if that was ever going to happen, I feel like it would have already. There has to be a reason, whatever it might be, that she hasn’t shown up there. Suddenly, there’s a window of opportunity emerging in WWE. One of their biggest stars just got hurt.

Should go? WWE. Will go? Also WWE.

Yes. This feels like a no-brainer to me. While Seth has plenty of reasons to posture, and while his style would probably blend in seamlessly… there just feels like no window of opportunity for Becky leaving. Unless she tried to go full-time for Hollywood, but that doesn’t seem to really be on her mind.

Both of them will likely just cash out with WWE and set up their futures after wrestling.

So, so much can happen over the next 5-10 years that could make my answer to this question wrong. But we’ll go for it anyway.

I think it’s clear that Bianca Belair, IYO SKY, Jade Cargill, Lyra Valkyria, Rhea Ripley, Roxanne Perez, and Tiffany Stratton all are either ‘It’ or have varying degrees of ‘It’ in them. This is surely not to diss anyone that’s active right now either. But the writing is always on the wall, and these are probably the most convenient and easiest picks to make right now.

Men’s Underrated: Ivar is a legit good big man in the industry, and I’ve enjoyed watching his latest singles act. Big-time.

Women’s Underrated: The answer might surprise you, but I will go Carmella. She’s an old-school villainess that doesn’t rely on cheap heat or nonsense to get negative reactions from the crowd. Her character protrudes such a great degree of unlikability that I think in this day and age sometimes goes a bit too unnoticed. ‘Mella is both money and missed, but when she eventually returns, she’ll add a good amount to an already loaded division.

That’s all the time we have this week! We’ll be back for Volume 6 at the start of the new year! 

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022