Updated: Oct 17, 2021
Reverse Hipsters What Mattered
5. Ali and Mansoor
Ali and Mansoor almost didn't make this list. They had a blink, and you missed a match where they lost. I like that the Hurt Business got a win, and that is pretty much all I can take away from that match. Or, so I thought. After, Ali and Mansoor had a backstage segment where Ali turned on Mansoor. Honestly, I'm on Ali's side. He is frustrated that Mansoor has not hardened at all. To his point, he ran down Mansoor to his face on national television, and Mansoor responded that he and Ali would talk it out later. Now, they have a match at Crown Jewel, and I'm excited about it. I think WWE could tell a really good story here if they nurture this storyline. I'm also glad to see that Ali and Mansoor haven't just been jobbed out, but they were driving toward something.
4. Jinder beats Kofi
If you have been following the Reverse Hipster blog for a while you know I have complained about Kofi's treatment before. However, this outcome doesn't really bother me as much. This isn't an egregious choice. It's just not what I would have done. I personally think Xavier vs. Kofi is way more interesting than Jinder vs. Xavier. Jinder is a former world champion, and he cheated to win after a competitive match.
3. Omos vs. Riddle
I didn't have high hopes for this segment. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Riddle's backstage segment with Randy had me laughing out loud. Then, I enjoyed AJ and Omos toying with Riddle to get to Randy. I thought it was creative to use the confines of a match to further beat down Riddle. Then, I thought the way they had Randy strike was pretty clever as well. I'm not particularly interested in this feud, but I did enjoy gamesmanship this week.
2. One Step Closer to the Crown
Xavier Woods won an exciting match against Ricochet, and it just feels like it's finally his time to shine. Earlier, I put Xavier Woods as King of Ring in my 5 Things that Need to Happen by the End of Wrestlemania 38, and it looks like it could be happening. We are on the cusp of greatness.
1. Brawl for All
I like the story of both the women's and men's brawls this week. Often, WWE plays this game of can two competitors get along in a tag team match. Usually, the answer is yes. This is the last time I can remember the answer being hell no. The women's match couldn't even get started because they were just beating each other up. They ignored the GMs and the match, and I really liked that because it shows how much they don't get along and gets us excited for the triple threat at Crown Jewel.
Big E and Drew broke down and brawled in their tag match as well. I liked this brawl because it departed from Drew and Big E being all buddy, and all the tension just reached a boiling point. Big E and Drew were whaling on each other. It sounded like they were smacking each other with sacks of potatoes. I love the physical turn this WWE World title feud took.
Rob’s What Mattered
3. Big E and Drew McIntyre
I don’t think this should have been the main event because of the screwy finish, but it was what they had to do to keep everyone strong. Even though this was stereotypical WWE booking, this feud has been overall solid. I think it’s because of seeing a fresh face like Big E in the main event scene mixing it up with established star Drew McIntyre. McIntyre has been one of the most protected superstars on the roster the last two years (maybe only beaten by Roman Reigns). If he loses clean here to put over Big E, McIntyre should be commended for using his credibility to build new stars after only two years being on top (mostly in front of no crowd). If that seems like a low bar to clear, look at the history of selfish WWE Champions who either never let someone win clean or waited until it was too late.
2. Riddle vs. Omos
This stamp of approval is not for the match but for the evolution of the storyline. Riddle assumed that the altercation last week was all part of Randy Orton’s master plan, so he tried to orchestrate a similar one. Orton didn’t accompany Riddle to the ring, and he didn’t strike when Riddle said the code word. Instead, Omos obliterated Riddle while Styles encouraged Omos to put on even more damage. Orton came after the match to hit Styles with an RKO, showing that he walks to the beat of his own drum. It made everything from last week make sense and re-emphasized a lot of important points. Orton’s alliance with Riddle is only one of convenience for him. Riddle continues to put false hope in Orton. Omos continues to function as a tool for Styles. How this plays out will decide if this is one of the best storylines of the year or just a fun detour for all involved.
1. Ricochet vs. Xavier Woods
I was surprised they opened the night with this. It could have been the main event based on the talent and story, but it was a hot match to open the night. The commentary team did a great job getting over that King of the Ring is Xavier Woods’s ultimate dream and goal. We all knew Woods was a favorite to win this, but the high spots with Ricochet amplified the feeling that this match was the beginning of a fantastic storyline.
Rob’s What Didn’t Matter
4. WWE’s Loose Understanding of How Nicknames Work
Commentary insisted on repeatedly calling the Usos “The Ones” this week, and I couldn’t help but laugh. It reminded me of a couple of weeks ago when plain old Paul became “The Wiseman” Paul Heyman. Hopefully, someone in WWE creative learns that nicknames are earned over time, not randomly gained when someone from corporate hands you a sheet of nicknames to get over.
3. Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair vs. Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch
Through no fault of the competitors, this match did not live up to the hype on paper. The weird false start and restart to the match didn’t help, and I still don’t know what feud I’m supposed to be paying attention to. While Sasha Banks stood tall on Friday, Becky Lynch stood tall here, which could be a good omen for Bianca Belair fans if traditional WWE booking is to be believed.
2. Kofi Kingston vs. Jinder Mahal
WWE flopped big time to convert on an opportunity that could have become the best story of the year. For those following it, Xavier Woods Hero’s Journey to win King of the Ring has been built for years by the only New Day member not to win the WWE title. To Woods, this is his brass ring. How amazing would it have been to see Woods have a semi-final showdown with his teammate and mentor, Kofi Kingston? Instead, distractions and chaos led to a win for Jinder Mahal. If this was WWE’s plan, they could have at least given the heel win to a superstar that they have more vision for. Mahal has been floundering since his feud with Drew McIntyre, where he also got destroyed.
1. Queen’s Crown
I tried my best to be optimistic that Queen’s Crown matches were a step in the right direction. It still is a step in the right direction to have matches in any capacity for women’s singles stars not fighting over the title. It was unignorable on Raw how underbooked and short these matches were compared to the Men’s King of the Ring matches. While King of the Ring has Xavier Wood’s Hero’s Journey, Queen’s Crown has no equivalent, even with an obvious storyline of Shayna Baszler’s recent destruction or Doudrop (I guess we’re keeping that name?) trying to establish herself as a contender in WWE. We’ve warned for months about being on the verge of #GiveWomenAChance, and I think we’re officially there.
Reverse Hipster What Didn't Matter
3. Brawl for All
I feel like doing the same storyline for the women and the men was lazy. Both the women's and men's titles were thrown in a random tag team match that never made any sense, and both broke down into a brawl. I think they should have just picked one to have a brawl. If I were them, I would have chosen the men. We already knew the women didn't like each other, it's well established. Also, we could have given their time to the Queen's Crown tournament. Also, on the other side, it was disappointing to see the men's match, which was the main event, end in DQ. It just wasn't a good look.
2. Austin Theory
A roll-up victory in your first match just seemed underwhelming. I still don't know much about Theory as a wrestler and character other than he is willing to do things the cheap way.
1. Queens Crown
I also put the Queen of the Ring in my article of things that needed to happen by the end of Wrestlemania 38. However, I never would have predicted WWE would do it so poorly. First off, they don't use Sonya, they don't use Naomi, they don't use Charlotte, they don't use Rhea and Nikki. Even though they could use them, they choose to omit wrestlers who could give the tournament validity. On top of that, every single match of the tournament has been under three minutes. This is the kind of spotlight that led to the give divas a chance hashtag.
WWE has been moving farther and farther from the women's revolution every year. They got rid of Total Divas, underutilized the women's roster, not investing in their storylines, wasting the women's tag team titles, and now intentionally setting the Queen's Crown tournament up to fail. I say intentionally because WWE decides the splits. They orchestrate the show, and time and time again, they have told the audience women's wrestling is not a priority of WWE. They have masked it with big women's moments. Still, even the women's main event scene, which is the only part of the division that gets attention, doesn't get the same level of story development as the men. This is why some thought Bianca was getting stale during her title run, but she didn't have a story to work with. Triple H once said that the best of the best in women's wrestling was either in WWE or wanted to be. I can't tell watching these sub-three-minute Queens Crown matches.