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AEW Dynamite, NXT 2.0 & WWE Raw Wrestling Rundown: Rebirth of the Reality Era

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

Reverse Hipster's What Mattered

10. (WWE, NXT 2.0)

Part of the charm of NXT is the time they dedicate to developing characters through skits and backstage segments. I want to commend Brooks Jensen and the NXT writers because these segments were on the What Didn't Matter list a few weeks ago for being corny. However, Brooks' delivery has gotten better, and so has the writing. I laughed out loud watching Brooks mess up his Tinder profile.

I am also still enjoying the Dusty Classic skits. Dakota Kai and Wendy Choo aren't a team I would have been interested in if they had just been thrown in the Dusty Classic. However, these backstage segments have interested me in seeing if Dakota Kai can stick with a partner, and if this time will be different. Plus, seeing how happy Kai was to be chosen makes me want to root for her. Raquel Gonzalez being afraid of heights was an interesting character quirk, and seeing her overcome that with Cora Jade was interesting. Cora and Raquel are still the biggest draws to me. Kacy and Kayden had a really good Dusty Classic match, and I'm interested in seeing what they can do in the future as dark horses in this tournament. Also, Persia Pirotta kissing Duke Hudson was entertaining. What is even more intriguing is the history between Duke and Indi Hartwell. It already affected Dexter Lumis. How will it affect Indi's tag team?

9. (WWE, Raw) 24/7 Title Match

WWE, sports entertaining again. Reginald apologized to Dana Brooke for taking the title from her a week prior. Then, he offered himself to her to be pinned, but he kept kicking out on two. Dana kissed him, and he kissed her back, but Reginald got pinned and lost his title to Dana Brooke while they were kissing. After that, other superstars ran to get the title from Dana, but Reginald defended her. He knocked Akira off the apron, and Akira fell in Tamina's arms. Akira closed his eyes and went for the kiss, but Tamina just looked at him and dropped him. I thought it was hilarious. The 24/7 title is finally hitting its stride, and getting funny and entertaining again.

8. (WWE, NXT 2.0) Nikkita Lyons Debut

Nikkita absolutely smashed her debut. Her ring attire was beyond fire, and her moveset was impressive. She looks like a star and wrestles like WWE's version of Sonya Blade from Mortal Kombat. Also, I love the showmanship of her finisher. The fierce kick and then thunderous split on her opponent looked great, and she could do that to any wrestler.

7. (WWE, NXT 2.0) Dolph Ziggler vs. Tommaso Ciampa

This match was expertly executed. The match was high quality, and it was building towards something special. However, then the cameraman hit Ciampa with a camera leading to a Dolph Ziggler victory. The cameraman turned out to be Robert Roode, and it was a great swerve. Then, Bron Breakker ran out to defend Ciampa, and the show ended in a huge brawl, which elevated the segment even more and reminded me of the Ruthless Aggression days.

6. (WWE, Raw) WrestleMania Build

Damian Priest beat Shelton Benjamin in a decent match and then said he wanted to face world champion caliber talent. Finn Balor returned from WWE Limbo and answered the challenge, and I'm excited to see what Finn Balor and Damian Priest can do. They are both underrated talents who can perform, and it could be a great match.

Edge recounted his history at WrestleMania and challenged someone to step up. I'm excited to see who it will be. Edge is like the closest thing WWE has to The Undertaker at WrestleMania. By that, I mean he doesn't need a title, facing him is the title match.

Logan Paul was announced as the mystery partner of The Miz, and I love it. The Mysterios are an actual tag team, so they are the perfect opponents for The Miz and Logan Paul. Also, I'm glad they are committing to a heel, Logan Paul, because I think he plays that role so much better than a babyface role. The match between the two teams should be great and bring in a lot of casuals.

5. (AEW, Dynamite) Teams

Buddy Matthews debuted on Dynamite this week, and it was electric. No warning, the lights went off, and he just appeared. It looked like he was ready to finish his feud with Malakai Black. However, then he beat up Pentagon Jr. and Pac, revealing that he was the member of the House of Black they were waiting for. The House of Black is a force, and now all they need is a worthy opponent.

Bryan Danielson beat Daniel Garcia this week, continuing his streak of dominance. However, 2.0 jumped Danielson after the match, which led to Moxley coming in and making a save through the crowd. After Bryan and Moxley cathartically beat up 2.0, Bryan accepted Mox's challenge, so their fight is finally official.

The Red Dragon Rumble. I love tag team rumbles, and this one was no different. It was a fun match to watch, but it also told a good story. Kyle O'Reilly was working with Matt Jackson in the end, but then he faked an arm injury and eliminated Matt Jackson while he was eliminating John Silver. This act lead the tension between ReDRagon and The Bucks to bubble even more after the match. However, then AEW took it up a notch because then the AEW champion, Adam Page, came out and beat up the ReDRagon and Adam Cole. The Bucks just watched. Adam Page cut a promo on Cole, alluding to maybe a buried alive match, please?!

4. (WWE, Raw) K.O. & Seth Rollins vs RK-Bro

RK-Bro just can't have a bad match. It doesn't seem possible anymore. RK-Bro is one of the hottest acts on Raw, even without the titles. However, the biggest story of this match was Seth Rollins and K.O, who won this match. They worked really well together, and they were such a natural tag team with great tag team moves. I wouldn't be mad if they were involved in a tag team TLC match at WrestleMania. They are great together.

3. (AEW, Dynamite) Eddie Kingston and Chris Jericho Promo

Eddie Kingston and Chris Jericho had an excellent promo segment. They worked me. I could feel the tension through the screen. Eddie did a good job disrespecting Jericho, calling him a sports entertainer and saying that if they weren't going to fight, AEW should have a women's match instead. Honestly, the intensity of this verbal battle can only be compared to a really good rap battle, just two guys saying whatever they needed to say to win with no respect for the other man. Jericho was actually the one who won this battle. He went low. He insulted Eddie as a man, saying he had no idea who he was and that Eddie could never win the big one because he was afraid of success and jealous of Chris Jericho. He insulted how long it took Eddie to make it big when Jericho made it at 22. Then, he took it a step further. He called Kingston's father a failure. These kinds of segments make a strong case for unscripted promos.

2. (WWE, Raw) Can't Spell WrestleMania Without EST

There was some fuss about Bianca Belair winning the Elimination Chamber, but she quickly put out that fire and proved she deserves her spot with Becky. Bianca said she was not only the roughest and the toughest, but the hardest working. She points out that she went to the back of the line and built herself back up Sole Survivor at Survivor Series and won match after match. Until finally, she won another chance at Elimination Chamber. Becky also took a good angle in their promo, saying she hates Bianca because Bianca is the reason the WWE Universe turned on her. Becky claims she is the victim, and Bianca says she is ready to make Becky the victim. Bianca and Becky have me fully back into this feud in one promo segment as if SummerSlam was yesterday. Then, Bianca had a match with Doudrop and just went crazy, suplexing her and hitting her with the KOD. Bianca completely won the crowd over. It was phenomenal strength and athleticism, and props to Doudrop, who helped make Bianca look like a legend. Bianca and Becky should main event.

1. (AEW, Dynamite) MJF Promo of the Year

It's only February, but I'm pretty confident that this will be the Promo of the Year. MJF came out and cut a promo about what CM Punk means to him. He said that Friday that they met might have been just another day to CM Punk, but it was everything to him. He said he had been bullied that day for being Jewish by his new football teammates, who he actually thought might want to be his friend before they started bullying him. He said he stopped crying because he got to see Punk that day. MJF said he was motivated to be the best because CM Punk was the best. If CM Punk could do it, so could he. However, when CM Punk quit, he abandoned MJF when he needed him most, and MJF gave up on his wrestling dreams until he saw CM Punk acknowledging Daniel Bryan. It made him so mad, he trained to be the best in spite of CM Punk. MJF said CM Punk could brutalize him all he wanted, but he would never quit because then he would be no better than CM Punk.

It was such a rich and complex promo. MJF, a detested heel, made the crowd feel sympathy for him because of his ADHD and because he was bullied for being Jewish. However, he didn't change his character's position at all. He still hates CM Punk, and he still wants to beat him, but it's an even better story now. The way they finished this promo was pure art. CM Punk comes out, and he asks MJF if his promo was real. Blurring the lines of kayfabe and with a tear in his eye, MJF says it was real and he leaves. What's CM Punk supposed to do? Honestly, after MJF's promo, I thought CM Punk was going to hug him. MJF has changed CM Punk's perspective and the crowd's perspective, and I just can't wait to see where the story goes next.

Rob’s What Mattered

10. Tommaso Ciampa and Finn Balor, WWE Raw

This was a fun tag team that would be entertaining to watch weekly if WWE ever allows it. They both had enormous momentum after this match. Tommaso Ciampa is going on to a novel match with Dolph Ziggler on NXT, and Finn Balor challenged Damien Priest in a feud that should lead to Damien vs. Demon at WrestleMania.

9. Penta Oscuro and Buddy Matthews, AEW Dynamite

The continuation of the House of Black and Death Triangle got way more exciting with a sick entrance with Penta's alt persona Penta Oscuro. The match was good, and it got even better after the match with the debut of Buddy Matthews, who shockingly aligned himself with the House of Black. Malakai Black is building a good faction, and as head of it, he can finally start to build some momentum in AEW.

8. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Dolph Ziggler, NXT 2.0

Following up on their Raw match, Tommaso Ciampa and Dolph Ziggler had the match of the night on NXT 2.0. It's nice to see Ziggler in this role on NXT, where he has fresh matchups, isn't overexposed and has time to work in-ring. I didn't love the finish and Ziggler winning, and I suspect WWE already has doubts that an NXT 2.0 roster alone can sell out a major venue for the NXT show WrestleMania weekend.

7. Redragon Wins the Tag Team Battle Royal, AEW Dynamite

This was an exciting result to the tag team battle royal and a fresh challenge for Jurassic Express. The storytelling backstage between Adam Cole, the Young Bucks, and Redragon have been excellent, and it makes me think there is more on the horizon for them than this title match.

6. Edge, WWE Raw

Edge can come out at any moment to cut a 10/10 promo about absolutely nothing. He walked through his history and made a good case for why he could've been the new Mr. WrestleMania if he wasn't injured for so many years. It's true that a match against Edge is just a spectacle alone. The question is, who will answer his challenge? Mic drop.

5. Chris Jericho and Eddie Kingston, AEW Dynamite

This is a great matchup, if only because of what they did here. I have not bought in that an aging Chris Jericho and Eddie Kingston can have a great match in the ring, but they did an excellent job trading verbal jabs here. Clearly, these are two guys who don't like each other, and I think AEW should add a stipulation to take this match to the next level.

4. Bianca Belair, WWE Raw

This is a great example of how you make a side quest feel important. Bianca Belair is a big enough star that competing with her made Doudrop look great too. They had good chemistry, and they were given time to work and tell the story. Belair also did a great job promoting her match with Becky Lynch. They found an intriguing but true story of redemption. Lynch wants to redeem herself after missing last year's WrestleMania to prove she is still the main woman of the division. Belair wants to redeem herself from the shock loss against Lynch that she isn't just a one-time champion.

3. Women's Dusty Classic, NXT 2.0

NXT 2.0 delayed this tournament, and it was worth it. There were a lot of backstage segments and vignettes building stories for the mismatched teams, and I love them. There are at least 5 teams that are real contenders to win. I loved the segments with Raquel Gonzalez and Cora Jade, and the backstage segments with Wendy Choo and Dakota Kai interested me in Kai's character. This week's matches weren't technical classics, but they hugely built the Kay Lee Ray/Io Shirai and Kacy Catanzaro/Kayden Carter teams for competitive matches next week.

2. Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley, AEW Dynamite

After the Bryan Danielson and Daniel Garcia match, 2.0 tried to sneak attack Danielson, but Jon Moxley came to the rescue. It was an electric moment, showing the potential of the hypothetical alliance. Danielson agreed to fight Moxley at Revolution, and he seemed convinced he could beat Moxley at his own game, drawing blood. The crowd and probably everyone at home are eating up the story between these two.

1. MJF Promo, AEW Dynamite

This was the easy moment of the week for me. You could tell MJF was channeling CM Punk's energy in this promo, a blend between a work and a shoot that worked perfectly in this story. AEW is daring to tell this story about CM Punk, and I'm sure it hit with a lot of fans like me who resonated with Punk's rise and felt, to some extent, like he abandoned us. MJF knocked this out of the park and should be commended for his willingness to be vulnerable with heavy topics of bullying that I suspect are more shoot than work. MJF is too good as a heel that I'm not buying into the premise that this isn't a ruse, but MJF delivered it so perfectly that I want to believe this is the true MJF.

Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter

4. (WWE, Raw) Promos

There were some good promos, but I felt like Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, Finn Balor, and Damian Priest's promos didn't feel authentic. It felt more like the writers setting up matches and telling us what would happen than a believable conversation between two people.

3. (WWE, NXT 2.0) Cameron Grimes

I thought it was weird for a babyface to attack a heel from behind. Also, I'm not happy that Grimes was added to the Pete Dunne and Carmelo Hayes match. Grimes had his chance and failed. What was the point of that match if he was going to get added right back for another title shot?

2. (WWE, Raw) Nikki A.S.H.

First off, I want to say props to Nikki for doing as much as possible to get her character over in a match where she was supposed to be trounced. I mean, she even ran over to commentary to let them know Rhea Ripley is the villain because Nikki is trying to control the narrative. But, I feel this match suffered from bad creative direction. Nikki and Rhea have faced off a million times, and it doesn't feel like a feud. It feels like a loop. It feels like a loop because the stakes aren't being raised. Also, why did Nikki turn heel if she is still going to look weak? I don't see how Rhea steamrolling Nikki helps this feud.

1. (WWE, NXT 2.0) Dante Chen

Dante Chen looks super weak right now. First, they build up his big return only for Duke Hudson to ruin it. Which is fair, it's not a bad way to start a feud. But, then this week, he surprise attacks Duke Hudson and still ends up being the one beat up. I'm still waiting for a reason to root for this guy.

Rob's What Didn't Matter

3. Nikki A.S.H. vs. Rhea Ripley, WWE Raw

This was like their third match together, and the heat of the feud is dead to me. Nikki has gained no momentum from turning heel, while Rhea Ripley is just a wheel spinning but heading nowhere. These two stars deserve more than just the battle royal at WrestleMania, but it's not looking that way.

2. Brock Lesnar, WWE Raw

Some fans are all in on this character but not me. Brock Lesnar destroys some of our favorite Raw stars, is unwilling to wrestle on weekly TV, and disappears when it's not a big PPV season. Babyface Lesnar and this new go-with-the-flow character don't work for me.

1. RKBro in the Main Event, WWE Raw

I loved RKBro when they were used as entertainment and long segments on Raw. Since they have been overused and main eventing, I just can't get into their team. They are not even the champions, but they get main events, opening segments, and featured spots almost every week. I don't even know what we are supposed to think of their team anymore. If their feud with KO and Seth is ending in a tag match at WrestleMania, I'm simply not buying it.

Stay Tuned to find out which show was best below.

Fantasy Booking Chapter 6 Royal Rumble

Find out who I would book to win the Royal Rumble. Also have you ever wondered what would happen if Brock won the IC Championship? Find out the answer to this question as well how I would book the Bloodline and Women's Tag Titles at the Royal Rumble on Patreon. Join the Patreon, support the blog, and get access to this long-term fantasy booking of The Bloodline that will conclude at WrestleMania.

Reverse Hipster's Final Thoughts

This is a tough week to judge because all three shows brought it. I think NXT is in third place. It was a good show, but it wasn't as good as Raw and Dynamite. Raw comes in second because while it had a lot of really great highs, it also had more lows than Dynamite and its highest high wasn't as high as Dynamite. Dynamite wins this week after another amazing show with insanely high highs and a super solid show overall. Honestly, it feels like WrestleMania season in AEW the way they are knocking these feuds out of the park.

Rob's Final Thoughts

WWE Raw was almost completely a filler show. Aside from the main titles, feuds are barely shaping it up, and it doesn't feel like the road to WrestleMania.

NXT 2.0 was a pretty good show, but it was mostly building to future shows. Definitely better than Raw, but not my winner of the week.

AEW Dynamite should be a chore to watch after watching 5 hours of wrestling prior, but it's always a delight. Revolution is shaping up to be a potential show of the year. There are excellent stories behind all the feuds, and we know they can go hard in-ring. They are doing a great job playing up stories from past promotions to help build their stories. For all of that, they win the week for me.

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