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11/14/21 Wrestling Rundown: Rising Star Weekend

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

Reverse Hipster's What Mattered

7. Shanky and Jinder (WWE RAW)

Shanky and Jinder responded to Hit Row via Raps. I know this might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I thought it was hilarious. Also, Jinder and Shanky rapping is the most personality they have shown since joining forces on the main roster.

6. Charlotte vs. Toni Storm (WWE SmackDown)

I'm not a huge Charlotte fan, but she had a fantastic promo segment this week. She looked great. She had the crowd eating out of her palm with a call and response promo against Becky. Then, Toni Storm came out and she looked good calling Charlotte out on her BS. Pointing out that Charlotte hasn't defended the title, but Becky has and challenging Charlotte for the title. To Charlotte's credit, she paused like a pro, and let the crowd cheer their hearts out for that match before declining and getting booed. It was perfect.

5. Los Lotharios (WWE SmackDown)

Los Lotharios had a solid match against Boogs and Nakamura. I was very entertained in this match up by the power of Boogs and the surprising aggression by Los Lotharios. Also, I think having Los Lotharios win clean was smart. They are picking up wins and gaining momentum week by week.

4. Matt Hardy vs. Orange Cassidy Lumberjack Match (AEW)

I thought this match was really well put together. Taking out all of Orange Cassidy's Lumberjacks at the beginning of the match was smart. It made him a huge underdog and gave him a lot of babyface momentum. Orange Cassidy looked great, taking on everybody by himself. I was surprised at how intense he was in the ring. Also, I'm a big Matt Hardy fan, so I loved seeing him pull out the Side Effect, one of my favorite moves. Also, I like the brass knuckles finish. Orange Cassidy gets hit with them behind the refs back. The heels get the heat. The babyface is protected. It's a classic finish.

3. Roman Reigns vs. King Woods (WWE SmackDown)

King Woods defeated Roman via DQ. Roman sold really well for Xavier. Roman got his moves, and he definitely established himself and got his heat at the end by stealing Xavier's crown. However, Xavier also got in a lot of offense and even had the match won when the Usos interfered. I think this was an excellent spot for King Woods, and it put him over. My only problem is that it was predictable. There was really no other way to proceed. You don't want to have Roman beat Woods or have Woods beat Roman clean.

2. Aliyah Wins Her Debut (WWE SmackDown)

Aliyah had an electric debut match. A six-women tag match, where they could guide her to making the best first impression. She got to rub elbows with some of the best women in the division, like Sasha Banks, Natalya, Shayna Baszler, and Naomi. Also, she got to win her debut, and she just looked like a rising star. Then, after the match, Aliyah was punished for helping Naomi win. Sonya kicked Aliyah off the SmackDown Survivor Series team. She got a win and possibly a story. This is one of the best WWE debuts in years.

1. Bobby Fish vs. Jungle Boy (AEW Rampage)

This match was excellent. Jungle fired out of the gate with passion showing he really wanted to hurt Fish. However, Bobby was the one who hurt Jungle Boy. He started working Jungle Boy's arm, and I appreciated it. Just working a body part gave the match a story that set this match apart. Also, Fish really impressed me by how athletic and vicious he was. He made me cringe for Jungle Boy a couple of times, like when he ripped him off the ropes or kicked off the side of the ring. However, this all helped Jungle Boy look even better when he returned and got a gritty babyface win against Fish.

Rob's What Mattered

5. New Graphics, WWE SmackDown

Fox invested in awesome graphics for SmackDown that reminded me of NFL on Fox's graphics but with a more distinct sports entertainment style. They used them in fantastic ways to showcase the story between Roman Reigns and King Woods. Who will bend the knee at the end of the night? And they used them live to show Sami Zayn slowly being removed from the Survivor Series team. It was a great example of how some investment in production can make the show feel fresh and add to the stories.

4. Dante Martin vs. Arya Davari, AEW Rampage

After stealing the show on AEW Dynamite, Dante Martin came out to an insane reception to a hometown crowd. His opponent Arya Davari was also a hometown boy. This was an excellent show of respect from the AEW crowd, and the guys did not disappoint, pulling out more insane sequences and high-flying moves. In the end, they started a potential story where Team Tazz is trying to recruit Dante Martin, which is a reward for his work lately.

3. Lumberjacks For Real, AEW Rampage

This was a fun main event to AEW Rampage that saw presumably the culmination of the feud between Matt Hardy and Orange Cassidy with their respective factions. Cassidy's crew dressing up as actual lumberjacks was a hilarious twist on the gimmicky match. Hardy's attempt to buy out lumberjacks to work for him was a unique addition to a lumberjack match, and it made sense with his Big Money Matt gimmick. The result was a worthy culmination of the feud and a fun main event that didn't give away too much before one of AEW's big PPVs.

2. Women's Division, WWE SmackDown

Generally, I'm a fan of General Managers that stay out of storylines and act as truly neutral. But if we are going toward the heel GM trope, I think Sonya Deville (and now Adam Pearce, too) have been knocking it out of the park. The six-woman tag was a fantastic impromptu kickoff to SmackDown that gave the women time to shine and showcased the talent coming to Survivor Series. Aliyah getting a roll-up victory over Natalya was a great introduction to her, and having Deville remove Aliyah from the Survivor Series team made me care about the character even more. This also seems to be a continuation of the Deville/Naomi feud.

Later in the night, Charlotte Flair gave a begrudgingly good promo about how she thinks of herself as the best, and just being in the ring with her is a privilege. On cue, Toni Storm came out and challenged her to a match. Flair refused, but it went to prove the point that was just putting Storm in that scenario made her feel like a bigger star, even without wrestling.

1. AEW Countdown to Full Gear, AEW Rampage

WWE's biggest asset to storytelling is its video production team, but it's not a talent unique to them. In addition to segments during Dynamite and Rampage this week, AEW produces a must-watch 30-minute show that recaps all the feuds with backstage interviews, footage of how the wrestlers are training, and opinions from wrestling legends. The result is an in-depth but concise storytelling device that will make you feel you need to buy the PPV. For those who say AEW is just work rate and no story, this show will prove otherwise.

Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter

3. AEW Rampage Production

AEW is pretty cool presentation-wise, but one thing they can work on is replays. They have lots of cool moves, but they miss opportunities other companies would take to show the crowd again in slow motion. Sometimes, we can't fully appreciate the damage of a move without the slow-motion replay.

2. Setup for the Six-Women Tag (WWE SmackDown)

The match was excellent, the setup was not. Sonya brought all the women of team SmackDown out, and then Naomi interrupted to confront Sonya about being left off the team. However, then it devolved into a brawl. But it didn't make any sense. Only Shotzi, Sasha, Naomi, and Shayna had an issue with each other. There was no reason for the other women to care.

1. Sami Zayn

Sami Zayn was the second or third most legit member of team SmackDown, and he was kicked off the team in favor of Jeff Hardy. I know people loved the match. I loved the match where Sami lost his right to be on team SmackDown. Both Sami and Jeff are excellent wrestlers, nut why would we want Sami off Survivor Series? It should be Sami's time to shine, not Jeff. Also, I hate that they put Jeff in this position again.

Rob's What Didn't Matter

2. Sami Zayn gets replaced, WWE SmackDown

After being the highlight of SmackDown for weeks, Sami Zayn had an amusing backstage segment with Jeff Hardy. But the result was the same. Zayn lost to Hardy and got knocked out of the SmackDown Survivor Series team. It feels like WWE is letting Zayn be entertaining to the show's benefit, but when it comes to booking, they are trying to kill all his credibility for the potential jump to AEW.

1. Bad management, WWE SmackDown

We can talk endlessly about how WWE is mismanaging their talent or poorly booking the show. But on a kayfabe level, I can't help but notice that Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville think the best way to build their Survivor Series teams is constantly having them fight one another. On Raw, the women had a fatal five-way to decide who would be the number one contender. Bobby Lashley also beat Dominick Mysterio to take his spot. On SmackDown, they had a 3-on-3 tag match with all 5 of the Survivor Series women's team. Aliyah was taken out of the team, and Jeff Hardy beat Sami Zayn to knock him off the team. If the managers weren't sure about their teams, to begin with, they should have had matches to decide who gets in. If the managers want to build their teams, I would recommend some more traditional team-building where they are on the same team instead of constantly putting them against one another.

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