Updated: Feb 6
Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
5. (WWE, Raw) Maryse
Maryse's segment was the best part of Raw. Her feud is the hottest feud going into the Royal Rumble, and this segment strengthened that. Maryse tried to back out of the match and said the fans didn't want to see it. She got the fans to chant for the mixed tag match at Royal Rumble using reverse psychology. Then, Miz distracted Edge, and Maryse hit Beth with a brick. I loved this attack because it showed Maryse and Miz as crafty. Also, I love the brick because it shows so much respect to Beth, even in a beatdown. That's what it takes to take down the Glamazon, a brick.
4. (AEW, Dynamite) Britt Baker and Adam Cole vs. Kris Statlander and Orange Cassidy
Great match! I loved seeing how involved both genders were and how intense the match was. This match really felt like anything could happen, and it didn't have the usual limiting feeling of a mixed tag match. Also, interestingly they had a WWE-like spot. Orange Cassidy knocking Britt Baker into the table reminded me of Roman Reigns knocking Stephanie McMahon into the table. It was a good spot that made for an intense finish from Cole, who had a low-blow on Cassidy and hit him with an unprotected knee shot to the back of the head.
3. (AEW, Dynamite) Sting and Darby
I was a little disappointed The Acclaimed lost when they had the number one track, and they just dropped the hot diss track, and the tag champs are faces. However, the match was fun. The Acclaimed shined early, beating up on Sting. Then, Darby came out of nowhere and took the match over. Sting took to the air and jumped through a table! The match was awesome, and Sting and Darby won. It's great to see a legend like Sting and a young Star, like Darby, thriving in AEW.
2. (AEW, Dynamite) Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes has faced a lot of criticism about being self-centered and becoming like Triple H. However, he proved that is the farthest thing from the truth in one promo. It's clear that there are fans who will hate Cody no matter what he does, and that's sad. However, he killed this promo. He put over the promotion of AEW, CM Punk, Brody King, Jay Lethal, House of Black, etc. He set up what should be an excellent TNT match against Sammy Guevara. Honestly, I'd love to hear Cody cut promos more often.
1. (AEW, Dynamite) Mox
Moxley returned, and cut a great promo about defeating his demons and coming back better than ever. It's so good to see Moxley back in AEW and it's a game-changer. It was the highlight of the week. His absence actually works out well from a TV perspective. AEW built up the world title scene in Mox's absence, and now AEW is stronger. Mox delivers a big return for AEW without a new signing, and I am excited to see what he does next.
Rob's What Mattered
8. Austin Theory, WWE Raw
Ignoring that it was weird that WWE forgot about this feud for nearly a month, this was excellent for Austin Theory. Beating Finn Balor gives theory instant credibility. Theory looked great in-ring for this match, and his backstage segments with Vince McMahon have been some of my favorite character work on WWE recently.
7. Cody Rhodes promo, AEW Dynamite
I hate that fans don't want to cheer Cody Rhodes because I still really do. I thought his promo here was excellent, maybe a little too ra-ra, but it would take a lot of convincing to tell me that Rhodes doesn't believe every word he says. Setting up a ladder match between Rhodes and Sammy Guevara could be an early contender for match of the year.
6. Grayson Waller vs. Dexter Lumis, NXT 2.0
NXT 2.0 opened with a promo from LA Knight, and I could watch him talk all day (YEAH!). Grayson Waller got his momentum back with the win over Dexter Lumis with help from a mysterious new big man. I think the heater concept will work perfectly with Waller's character (he did say he wanted to be the new AJ Styles). The opening to NXT 2.0 reminded me of what I love about the brand and how it distinguishes itself as a universe where all the characters can interact with each other, and new, unexpected plot developments are the norm.
5. Tony D'Angelo's Memorial Service, NXT 2.0
After defeating him last week, Tony D'Angelo made the most of his godfather-Esque gimmick, hosting a funeral for Pete Dunne. This segment also showcased NXT 2.0's ability to make intriguing confrontations between characters. D'Angelo wants to challenge for the North American Championship, bringing out Carmelo Hayes and then bringing out Cameron Grimes, who said he should challenge for the championship. However this ends, it should be fun to see all these guys fight it out over the mid-card title.
4. House of Black, AEW Dynamite
House of Black had an awesome presentation, the coolest dark entrance I've seen since, well, Malakai Black when he was Aleister. They squashed the Varsity Blondes in a tag match, but it completely worked. After, Pac gave another video package promo, implying he had his eyes set on the House of Black. Pac's new persona is equally cool with a similar dark aura and unique story that Black has pulled him into.
3. Jon Moxley returns, AEW Dynamite
Jon Moxley came back to open AEW Dynamite, and everything was right with the world for a moment. The crowd sang along with his entrance theme, Moxley cussed out a fan for trying to get himself over, and he cut a perfect promo in his unique style. I'm excited to see what Moxley does next in AEW.
2. Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, NXT 2.0
NXT 2.0 has an underrated deep tag team division. They showed a video package for the tournament, and I would say three-quarters of the teams could realistically win the whole tournament. Both first-round matches were great. The Creed Brothers went over Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen, but the latter team showed they have the potential for future tag team matches. Malik Blade and Edris Enofe shocked Legado del Fantasma as their string of surprise victories continued. It sets up a dream run for Blade and Enofe, and future feuds for Legado del Fantasma- Santos Escobar with Bron Breakker and Raul Mendoza/Joaquin Wilde with MSK.
1. Adam Cole and Britt Baker vs. Orange Cassidy and Kris Statlander, AEW Dynamite
THIS is how you do a mixed tag match. Everyone involved in the match had obvious chemistry. The action wasn't clunky like most mixed tag matches. Adam Cole and Britt Baker had an insane sequence where Baker took out Kris Statlander with a Canadian Destroyer on the outside while Cole hit Orange Cassidy with a Panama Sunrise in the ring. When that wasn't enough, AEW's power couple set up a table outside, and as the rules of wrestling go, Baker inevitably went through their own table after a miscue from Cole sent Cassidy into Baker. It all set up a lights-out match between Cole and Cassidy for next week, but now, I want to see more of what AEW can do with mixed tag matches, and I want to see more of Cole and Baker on screen together.
Rob's What Didn't Matter
3. CM Punk vs. Shawn Spears, AEW Dynamite
Last week, I warned that Shawn Spears was headed toward irrelevancy. I fear this is what I meant. CM Punk beat him in seconds, and it didn't do anything for either of them.
2. Bobby Lashley vs. Seth Rollins, WWE Raw
WWE goes to this kind of match too often through no fault of these two's performances. Even though it seems like a good idea, in theory, it's a lose-lose. Putting two number one contenders against each other, anyone who loses would look weak going into their championship match. If they win, they're supposed to because they're number one contenders. The result is almost always a non-finish like we saw here.
1. GUNTHER, NXT 2.0
After a great main event with Roderick Strong, WALTER proved that pure work-rate wrestling isn't dead in NXT 2.0. He and Imperium had a tremendous backstage promo promising to take over NXT, and he's in the United States full time now with the NXT 2.0 brand. Everything was looking up, then WALTER announced his name change to Gunther. I'm rarely a fan of WWE name changes, but it usually comes with a rebranding or some similarity to the old name. You could tell the crowd wasn't a fan either, as there was dead silence after he announced it and then booing, which TV tried to frame as because Imperium attacked Roderick Strong. We'll see if the newly-crowned Gunther can gain any momentum from here.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter
5. (AEW, Dynamite) Serena Deeb vs. Sky Blue
They gave Sky Blue a pre-match interview like she actually had skill and would pose a threat. Then, she got squashed by Deeb. I get that this was about building Deeb, but this would have meant more if Sky had actually posed any type of threat and been beat.
NXT 2.0 is losing its it factor. When I first started covering it, I liked all of the character development of it. It had wacky, but interesting segments and good matches. It's slowly morphing into Raw. The segments don't feel like NXT 2.0 anymore. NXT also had its worse segment so far. Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen's attempt to get dates in the locker room was a dumpster fire, and I know it was supposed to be, but the whole thing just didn't even make sense for adults. I don't dislike anyone in the story, and I don't dislike blending the men and women. In fact, I commend it, but can we make the dialogue more realistic.
3. (AEW, Dynamite) Adam Page vs. Lance Archer
Adam Page is the champion, and he just doesn't feel like the most exciting superstar on the card. Last week, this feud felt interesting, and this week it took a step back. Adam came out to confront Archer, and he started out staring him down, which was a buzz-killing moment. Archer laid Page out, and he should have run out there and started wailing on him. There is a time for staredowns and a time for on-sight beatdowns, and it was time for a beatdown, not unlike what Stone Cold would have done. Also, Dan Lambert was terrified of Archer last week. Now, he is his manager. How did that happen?
Raw wasn't seasoned, and it wasn't terrible. It wasn't great, but you could tell it was missing something, and you walked away feeling unsatisfied. The night's best match was the six-man tag, and it meant nothing. The main event was a bad idea because it was the number one contender versus the number one contender, and neither could look weak. So, of course, it ended in a DQ. To creative credit, they tried to make up for this with an invasion from the Usos, but it couldn't be saved. Also, the Hurt Business getting the jump on Bobby Lashley, but still getting beat up was just sad. However, one bright spot of Raw was the hype package for Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley. No surprise, the WWE hype package team always comes through.
1. (AEW, Dynamite) Shawn Spears
Wow, this was easily the worst thing that happened in wrestling this week, and it really didn't have to be. Does Spears have heat with AEW or something because this was terrible. He didn't have to win this match, but I didn't expect him to be treated like a joke either. I mean, I get that there are losers and winners in wrestling, but there are also losers, and then there is Spears. The CM Punk vs. Spears match was booked so poorly that it hurts both guys. CM Punk looks bad for agreeing to squash him like this. Like who is this segment for? Who was happy they paid a ticket to see CM Punk wrestle a one-move match?
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