Updated: Feb 23
Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
9. (WWE, Raw) RK-Bro Wins the Quiz Bowl
This was a really silly segment. I was really impressed with the teams, especially Chad Gable, who carried the segment. I was impressed because you could give this segment to other wrestlers, and it could fall flat. However, Chad was so annoying he had everyone so ramped up that they were elated to see him lose. Also, RK-Bro is one of the most over teams, and they worked for the crowd well in this segment. All in all, this was a fun and creative way to advance this feud.
8. (WWE, Raw) Miz and Maryse vs. the Mysterios
I like the feud between Miz and the Mysterios, and it started from a genuine place of Miz feeling he was snubbed from the Elimination Chamber match. He was right, too. When was the last time Rey won the title because Miz won it quite recently? Miz crossed the line with an excellent zinger when he asked Dominik if he was Eddie's son because he was so tall. This led to a match where Dominik beat Miz, and it seems like they will continue to feud, and I'm intrigued. Pairing two of the best babyfaces with two of the best heels seems like it should produce great results.
7. (WWE, NXT 2.0) Dusty Classic Tag Matches
Dusty Classic tag matches were easily the highlight of the night. MSK had an exciting, fast-paced match with Edris Enofe and Malik Blade. Blade and Enofe pushed MSK to the limit and proved they are a promising team. In the end, MSK won the match. They will be advancing and are one match away from winning it all again. However, the best Dusty match of the night was Grizzled Young Vets vs. Diamond Mine. The Vets kept punishing Diamond Mine all match with a mix of underhanded tactics and excellent teamwork, but Diamond Mine kept overcoming with raw athleticism. Diamond had the crowd with them, and they got the biggest pop of the night when they came back and won it.
6. (AEW, Dynamite) The Inner Turmoil of the Inner Circle
I haven't always been very interested in the Inner Circle, but the breakup is very intriguing. Santana and Ortiz were excellent, and they lit Chris Jericho up on the mic. They completely made the segment by talking about how Jericho held them back. Jericho held his own as well, attacking Eddie Kingston's credibility and talking about how maybe he picked the wrong members of LAX. Sammy Guevara leaving furthered the feud and allowed it to be two on two, and it made sense. However, Jake Hager doing literally nothing the whole time was a waste. Could he not step in front of Jericho, object, or do anything to show he matters in the feud? Otherwise, the segment was great.
5. (WWE, Raw) Kevin's Ode to Texas
Kevin beat Austin Theory, but was told by management he still wasn't going to be added to the Elimination Chamber match. Kevin told Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce how much he loved Texas and says he loves it almost as much as Texas loves him. He said there would be riots in the streets if he wasn't there, and he just had me cracking up during the entire segment. Also, you could tell Sonya and Adam were trying hard not to laugh. It also reminded me that Kevin had a lot of career moments in Texas, which makes me interested in what WWE has planned for Kevin for WrestleMania.
4. (WWE, Raw) Lita and Becky
Lita and Becky did an excellent job building off last week's momentum. Becky pointed out how she has had to give up everything for the title, and she turned heel so she gave up the fans for success. She lost friendships like her friendship with Charlotte because they became rivals. She gave up time with her baby to be the champion. Now, Lita, Becky's idol, is in a sense being taken away from her because they have to be rivals. Becky is one hundred percent correct. From Becky's perspective, Lita is trying to take everything from her in the prime of her career right before WrestleMania. However, I also love Lita's character work. She has a quiet confidence. She clearly respects Becky, and she isn't going to let their feud get in the way of that, but she also isn't pulling any punches. She was dangerous, and she showed that when she hit Becky with the twist of fate and moonsault. However, if WWE hadn't chosen Ronda vs. Charlotte, it would have been cool to see the sage Lita slowly turn Becky face by feuding with her while maintaining a level of mutual respect.
3. (AEW, Dynamite) Keith Lee
Lee debuted and looked absolutely dominant. In one match, he washed the taste of Bearcat Lee out of our mouths. He was explosive and high-flying, but he still showed off his unrivaled power. Lee defeated Isiah Kassidy of Private Party with ease, but made it entertaining. All eyes are on AEW to see if they get it right with Lee. So far, so good. Also, Matt Hardy has walked out on Private Party, and I think they will be better off.
2. (AEW, Dynamite) Adam Page vs. Lance Archer
This was an absolute war. Archer was vicious when he slammed Adam Page on the side of the steel steps. I audibly gasped. Archer also stabbed Adam in the head with a fork, but he would not stay down. Page busted Archer open and tagged his open head wound with repeated kendo shots. In the end, it was Page standing tall after a Buckshot Lariat that sent Archer crashing through a table. That was some cowboy shit. People ask if Adam's reign has been lackluster, and while you can question his builds, the matches remain beyond reproach.
1. (AEW, Dynamite) CM Punk and Moxley vs. FTR
CM Punk needed a tag team partner for his match against FTR, and he hit a homerun with Jon Moxley. It was a little disappointing that Moxley didn't continue his storyline with Bryan Danielson, but who knows, maybe this will play a part. That match itself was easily one of the best tag team matches I've seen on AEW. Moxley and CM Punk hit a doomsday device, and it seemed like Punk had definitely lost at least twice. Once when he was hit with a ring bell, and a second time when Mox saved him after getting hit with the shatter machine. However, in the end, CM Punk and Mox hit their finishes at the same time on FTR to win the match.
Rob's What Mattered
9. Quiz Bowl, WWE Raw
These character segments have been a lot of fun and a boost to the tag team division. I was answering trivia along with the competitors, and they got some genuine laughs out of me. Just don't forget to credit the Street Profits and Viking Raiders. The decathlon walked so Quiz Bowl could run!
8. AQA vs. Jade Cargill, AEW Dynamite
I have to call out the crowd here for not giving this match the reaction it deserved. AQA debuted swinging, and Jade Cargill hit a picture-perfect Tour of the Islands-like finish for the win. Cargill is moving toward an officially dominant run as TBS Champion.
7. Alexa Bliss, WWE Raw
There hasn't been a big moment yet, but Alexa Bliss is doing excellent character work in her therapy segments on Raw. She is one of the most daring creatives and best actresses on the roster, which leans itself to roles like this. My only gripe is that WWE cuts away from the segments abruptly, instead of letting them end naturally or showing us what happens next.
6. Kevin Owens vs. Austin Theory, WWE Raw
In recent memory, this was some of the best in-ring work we've seen from both guys. This match suffered from a long commercial break, but otherwise, the quality was good enough to be on a premium live event. Kevin Owens has an interesting claim to be in the Elimination Chamber, and his murky road to WrestleMania is a story to watch moving forward.
5. Dolph Ziggler, NXT 2.0
A regular boring contract signing between Bron Breakker and Santos Escobar turned interesting when Dolph Ziggler interrupted. Criminally underutilized in the last decade, he was interesting here with new potential challengers and cutting a promo on the NXT 2.0 stars he perceives to be beneath him. Tomasso Ciampa entered, and the conflict between all four of these guys could create a fun and unexpected match around WrestleMania time.
4. Dusty Tag Team Classic, NXT 2.0
The Grizzled Young Veterans and the Creed Brothers had the match of the night, concluding in an awesome top rope spot and insane energy from the Creed Brothers that the crowd ate up. MSK beat Malik Blade and Edris Enofe in a good match based on Blade and Enofe's unlikely run and MSK wanting to get back to the championship again.
3. MJF and CM Punk, AEW Dynamite
MJF's celebration was brutishly heel, everything that is despised in traditional wrestling. He made men carry him to the ring, shoved his tongue down a beautiful woman's throat, and celebrated without giving credit to any nuance for his win over CM Punk. The slow burn of MJF not giving Wardlow any credit for his wins is going to be awesome, reminiscent of when Batista turned on Triple H in Evolution. The tag match was an unexpected ton of fun seeing an excuse for CM Punk to finally get the payoff of pushing for the former Dean Ambrose to debut in the Shield. FTR is such a great tag team they were able to carry two non-tag team guys in a classic. So, the story continues between MJF and CM Punk.
2. Keith Lee, AEW Dynamite
All WWE had to do was let Keith Lee be Keith Lee. He showed up to a huge pop from the AEW crowd. He carried himself well and seemed like he was having fun, defeating Isiah Kassidy to qualify for the Face of the Revolution Ladder Match. He hit monstrous moves on Private Party, and he should be a star for AEW moving forward. I wonder how much WWE regrets their push of bringing in big indy names on NXT just to flop booking them on the main roster and releasing them directly to their competition?
1. Adam Page vs. Lance Archer, AEW Dynamite
After everything on Dynamite, I thought Adam Page and Lance Archer were put in an incredibly challenging spot in the main event. They delivered by giving something unique of anything else on the card, starting with a backstage brawl, spilling out on stage, and going into the crowd. Jake Roberts removed the top rope, and it created a completely unique atmosphere in the match. Story-wise, it challenged Page to find a new way to hit his Buckshot Lariat finisher. But it also made it feel like anything could happen: an Irish whip to the outside could lead to a catastrophic injury. Archer showed he is one of the most underrated big guys on the roster, exactly what AEW needs to contrast work-rate wrestlers with smaller physiques. His heel move stopping Roberts from hitting the DDT made the crowd hate him. The finish was creative, ending the match on the high spot of the night, a buckshot lariat, flipping over the ref, going over the middle rope, sending both guys through two tables on the outside. In a challenging main event spot, a bleeding Page showed why he is the AEW Champion.
Reverse Hipster What Didn't Matter
4. (AEW, Dynamite) MJF Celebration
I know this is a controversial one. However, I didn't like the direction of this segment. MJF's celebration alone was actually great, and he played it perfectly. The part that tips it over on this side of the line was when CM Punk came out demanding a rematch, and MJF said that CM Punk could have one if he beats the FTR. MJF just beat CM Punk in Chicago, twice last week. Can CM Punk sit in that loss for a little while? MJF is a chicken shit heel. He should never eveeeeeeer want to face CM Punk again. He shouldn't be setting any conditions for CM Punk to get a rematch. You want a match against Wardlow to take it, take two, but you will never have one against MJF again because technically, CM Punk has no right to a rematch he lost. When CM Punk cost MJF his undefeated streak, he just had to eat it. We all know that CM Punk vs. MJF is destined for PPV, but CM Punk should have had to sit in this loss longer than a week before immediately getting a rematch, especially when it was MJF who had to agree to give him one.
3. (WWE, Raw) Alexa Bliss
I'm getting impatient with Alexa. She feels so off to the side right now, and she didn't join the Royal Rumble. Her therapy sessions are being used to sell merch. While I can appreciate how clever the Lilly marketing campaign was, it's not entertaining from a viewer's point of view. It's clear her therapy sessions are running out of steam, and honestly, they were never that incredible. They just seem so surface. I wish if WWE were going to do this, they would take a much deeper dive into the psyche of Alexa. Also, I hope this leads to a huge payoff and not just prolonging this because they don't know what to do.
2. (AEW, Dynamite) Serena Deeb Rookie Challenge
I love the idea of the Rookie Challenge, and I think it fits perfectly with Deeb's character. This will allow her to stack wins and will eventually allow a rookie to get a huge debut win or almost win. However, the execution was bad this week. Serena faced a rookie who had a size advantage on her, but the first thing Serena did was power her into the corner. How did that happen? Is her opponent just weak? That was the problem in a nutshell for the rest of the match. It didn't look like Serena was schooling her opponent, and it looked like her opponent was taking a dive. So in the future, Serena either has to be so overwhelming that we believe there is nothing the other women can do or the other women have to present a challenge, but Deeb has to be that much better. Neither was true in this match-up.
1. (WWE, Raw) Austin Theory vs. Kevin Owens
The match was good. However, I just praised WWE last week for giving Austin Theory such a big win over Kevin Owens. They just ran it back the following week for no reason at all and had Kevin win. So, they undid Austin's big win. Worst of all, they didn't even let Kevin in the Elimination Chamber. Now, I don't think Kevin Owens should be in the Chamber because I think qualification matches should matter. However, Kevin Owens did just as much as Austin Theory did to qualify. Why isn't he in? It makes no sense.
Rob's What Didn't Matter
4. Mandy Rose vs. Kay Lee Ray, NXT 2.0
Both of these women did as good of a job possible in-ring with the time given, but this didn't have the steam that other matches on the card had. In the main event slot, they weren't given enough time to tell the story needed for this championship match. It also feels like a slight to have this match now instead of on next week's Vengeance Day show. As for the finish, Mandy Rose is going to have to eventually win a match with skill as distraction finishes become underwhelming over time. I keep waiting for Kay Lee Ray to get her due, and while it wasn't today, she's one of the best wrestlers on NXT 2.0. Her tag team run with Io Shirai should be a fun detour in the meantime.
3. Tony Khan's big promise, AEW Dynamite
Tony Khan promised a big entry through the forbidden door on Dynamite this week. If it was Keith Lee, everybody knew his non-compete clause was up, and there's nothing forbidden about signing a free agent wrestler. If it was Jay White, it is exciting to see New Japan Pro Wrestling talent on Dynamite, but it's not a crazy flex considering White was on Impact Wrestling last week too. In Dynamite's early days, NJPW wanted nothing to do with AEW, which was fair because AEW was a new/unproven company. If NJPW is willing now, the wrestlers I actually want to see are staples like Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Tetsuya Naito. If that's what this was referencing, then this reveal is very hype, but until we see those guys, I think Khan should stop making big promises because it sets expectations way high and lines up potential disappointment for a show that was actually excellent.
2. Start-stop pushes, WWE Raw
WWE released so much talent that their lack of depth is causing them to book promising talent to lose. Nikki A.S.H. lost to Bianca Belair, and even though nobody would argue because Belair is a bigger star, it will be harder to take Nikki A.S.H. seriously amid her heel turn. Doudrop beat Liv Morgan, even though Morgan arguably needs it more since her championship match was further away. And WWE wonders why they don't have new stars ready.
1. 50/50 Booking, WWE Raw
Direct rematches from last week saw the opposite results. After a good Miz TV segment, Dominick Mysterio beat The Miz in a feud that's still unclear where it's going. Kevin Owens beat Austin Theory in a great match after losing the qualifying match this week. In fairness, the story of Owen's road to WrestleMania may save this booking. But in general, direct rematches from last week aren't interesting, and 50/50 booking is atrocious creative that only stalls both guys in the midcard.
Find out who had the overall best show in the final thoughts section below.
Day One Fantasy Booking
Join Patreon (Here) and get access to exclusive content, including Fantasy bookings. My Day 1 booking just dropped on Patreon. The story picks up right after Survivor Series and goes to Day 1, and focuses on the Bloodline and the SmackDown Women's Tag Titles. This is a long running storyline that will continue to WrestleMania with new entries each month.
Rob's Final Thoughts
Raw was okay but struggled with staple WWE booking problems. NXT 2.0 was better than Raw, but this week easily belonged to Dynamite for me. A big signing in Keith Lee, the continued CM Punk/MJF feud, and a banger main event are too much to overcome for WWE barring a special show. For that reason, I expect NXT 2.0 to win with next week's Vengeance Day show, but for this week, Dynamite was the superior show.
Reverse Hipster's Final Thoughts
AEW Dynamite dominated this week. It put on an all-star show that NXT and Raw just couldn't keep up with. Raw needs to stop undoing the good things they do with 50/50 booking, and NXT was caught setting up for their big show. However, I don't know why they would put their strongest division, the women's division, in the setup instead of the actual show.