AEW Dynamite, WWE NXT, WWE Raw Wrestling Rundown: Wrestling War Ramps Up
Updated: Feb 27, 2022
Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
10. (WWE, Raw) Backstage Segments
The Broga party was a hit. It was a good way to get multiple people screen time and gave insight into the characters who attended the party. Also, American Alpha continued to get over as heels by ruining the party and jumping Riddle. The 24/7 Championship changed hands as well. Reggie took Dana Brooke out on a romantic date. Tamina, R-Truth, and Akira tried to ambush her, but Reggie warned her. Dana got away, then Reggie asked her out, and Dana friend-zoned Reggie. So, he pinned her for the 24/7 title.
9. (WWE, Raw) Becky Lynch and Lita Contract Segment
Becky carried this segment begging Lita not to sign the contract. She makes a good point. Lita has had a good run already. What does she have to gain by fighting Becky? Especially since she could take everything from Becky, who idolized her, right before WrestleMania. I didn't love Lita's answer, which basically boiled down to she wanted the title and didn't care about any of that. What really made this segment interesting was Becky's promise. If Lita signed, Becky would go through a character transformation. Becky would go to a dark place she didn't think she would be able to pull herself back from to destroy Lita. All segment, you could see Becky was disheveled. She was dreading going to that place, but Lita signed.
8. (WWE, NXT) Men's Title Matches
The men's title matches all delivered. The Dusty Classic final built on the momentum from last week and was the tournament's best match. Diamond Mine is an excellent mix of athletic and powerful, and that should lead to an even better match with Imperium. Bron Breakker looked like a superstar in his title match this week. He got nailed by Dolph Ziggler with a superkick, and it seemed like he would lose his title. However, he kicked out and battled back strong against Santos Escobar, splitting him in half with a spear and then a dominant power slam. Carmelo Hayes and Cameron Grimes had the best of the men's matches. Athletically they proved they were a cut above and pulled out some impressive moves. But, in the end, it was the A champion Melo standing tall.
7. (WWE, Raw) Women's Elimination Chamber Build
Nikki A.S.H., Rhea Ripley, Doudrop, Liv Morgan, and Bianca Belair had a gauntlet match. I'm not a huge fan of having gauntlet matches before Elimination Chamber because it kind of gives away the match. Also, withholding the champion from the gauntlet match and just holding one contender feels very different. However, I give the women a pass because I think this gauntlet match helped more than it hurt. Rhea Ripley got the second-biggest boost by being the workhorse of the match and reminding people how dominant she used to be. Bianca Belair won the match, earned the final spot, and re-established herself as the favorite. However, the most exciting part of the build was Alexa Bliss finishing her therapy. She is reportedly cured and emerging as a new hybrid of Alexa and the Fiend Queen. She also has a new set of rules for her character. As long as she remains close to Lilly, she will be fine, but when they are separated, things may go left. Also, Alexa will be entering the Elimination Chamber. This is an excellent place to debut her new character.
6. (WWE NXT) Tag Division
I love the women's tag team-building segments on NXT. The segments help us see more of each team's character and help them get over, but these segments also put the tournament itself over. Watching Cora Jade and Raquel Gonzalez waking up at five in the morning and training that hard, puts over how important the tournament is. Seeing how much everyone wants to compete also puts over the tournament. At the top of the division, Toxic Attraction vs. Persia Pirotta and Indi Hartwell had an excellent match. The spot of the match goes to Persia lifting both Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne, and slamming them. However, Toxic Attraction got the job done, in the end, remaining the best women's tag team champions in WWE.
5. (AEW, Dynamite) Inner Circle
Chris Jericho and Jake Hager took on Santana and Ortiz, and they had an exciting match. You could tell these two teams knew each other well. The spot of the match was when Santana jumped off Ortiz and was caught by Jericho and put in the Walls of Jericho. Santana made it to the ropes, but the crowd rightfully went crazy. However, Santana and Ortiz got their respect when they won the match after Jericho decided to go after Eddie Kingston. Kingston and Jericho had to be pulled apart after the match. Eddie Kingston and Jericho now seem to be on a collision course, which will be fun to watch.
4. (AEW, Dynamite) CM Punk Had Time Today
CM Punk challenged MJF to a dog collar match. I think it was a great choice. I haven't seen too many Dog Collar matches, so I'm intrigued to see what CM Punk and MJF can do with the stipulation. CM Punk did a great job playing up the stipulation and tying it back to Piper, whom MJF compared himself to. Also, CM Punk thoroughly read MJF. CM Punk dissed MJF's hometown career and entire life. He even pulled out a picture of MJF when he was a kid getting a picture with CM Punk. He said this was probably the greatest day of your life, but it was just another day for CM Punk. MJF came out to the ring, but for the first time, he was speechless. I think that was an excellent choice because it puts over Punk's promo, but more importantly, it puts over the match stipulation.
3. (AEW, Dynamite) Thunder Rosa vs. Mercedes Martinez, No DQ
This match was absolutely brutal. I don't know how Thunder Rosa even still has a back. She took a suplex to the table, where the table didn't break, and she slid across it. She took a German suplex off the top rope. I mean, I honestly hope she never takes that German spot again. It looked absolutely gruesome, like it could easily go wrong. However, in the end, it was Rosa slamming Martinez through a stack of chairs to get the win. However, they weren't done there because Thunder Rosa helped Martinez up. Despite everything that happened between them, Rosa actually gained respect for Martinez after the match. However, Britt and the crew came and beat Thunder Rosa up. When Martinez hesitated to join, they jumped her too.
2. (AEW, Dynamite) Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin, TNT Title
This match was absolutely awesome. Sammy had the spot of the match when he caught Darby's suicide dive with a cutter. However, Darby worked Sammy's hurt knee from a Spanish fly, and after several figure fours and a stunner, Darby was in position to win with an extremely long Coffin Drop. However, then Andrade came and ruined the match. He knocked Darby out, which enabled Sammy to hit his finisher and win on one leg. However, I didn't mind because I feel like Andrade's addition to this feud adds even more intrigue and could lead to a triple threat. Also, this is the most I have cared about Andrade since he joined AEW.
1. (AEW, Dynamite) Lee Moriarty vs. Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley
Lee had a fantastic match with Bryan. He lost the match, but this felt like a Jeff Hardy vs. Undertaker match because Lee proved he could hang with the best wrestler in the company, and maybe the best wrestler in the world today. Lee put me on notice, and he put the wrestling world on notice. I can't wait to see how he follows it up. Jon Moxley came out after the match and answered Danielson's proposition. He cut a great promo reminding us that he faced Bryan many times, but he never actually beat Bryan, and he wants to face him again. He said he isn't sure if Bryan is really trying to build something or if he is trying to dodge Moxley. So, his condition is that if this group is to happen, they have to fight each other first. Not only will that be a great match, but there is no telling how the match will affect the two of them after. I just can't wait to see how it all unfolds.
Rob's What Mattered
6. Lita and Becky Lynch, WWE Raw
This was an unorthodox contract signing. The usually composed Big Time Becks came to the ring disheveled and begged Lita not to take the match, claiming she didn't want to destroy her childhood idol. Both women had excellent character work and made me want to see this match. It's too bad Lita doesn't have plans to stay with WWE because she could be a great asset to the women's division, much like Edge has done for the men.
5. Adam Page and Adam Cole, AEW Dynamite
It seems like AEW is starting their story for the championship match at Revolution. The crowd popped at the idea of the showdown, and they should. Both guys have the potential for incredible matches at any moment. I also think it was wise to include Kyle O'Reilly/Bobby Fish and the Dark Order in their feud. It gives the potential for many matches in the build to Revolution that doesn't give away the one-on-one championship match.
4. Mercedes Martinez vs. Thunder Rosa, AEW Dynamite
AEW completely sets apart their women's division with matches like this. Even though it isn't as strong or deep as WWE's division, they showcase singles feuds like this, and they let them have hardcore matches that are unlike anything WWE offers. As a result, the whole division is stronger. After winning, Thunder Rosa is on to a championship feud with Britt Baker.
3. CM Punk Promo, AEW Dynamite
This is the value CM Punk brings to AEW Dynamite. In a promo opening, Punk covered everything from his history, contrasts between him and MJF, and what was next for the feud- a dog collar match inspired by his idol Roddy Piper. When I didn't think there could be anything new to say about this feud that has gone on for nearly two months, Punk brought it up another level and made me excited to see the rematch.
2. Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin, AEW Dynamite
I'm surprised they gave this away on free TV, even if it didn't have a clean finish. These guys embody everything a TV title should be about, main eventing and holding back nothing to get their match over. Darby Allin is known to have brutal high spots, but Sammy Guevara is proving he can go there too.
1. Bryan Danielson vs. Lee Moriarty, AEW Dynamite
This match was a technical clinic, and it's a testament to both guys that the crowd popped for everything they did. Bryan Danielson continued making his case for the best wrestler of all time, and Lee Moriarty rose to his level. After the match, Jon Moxley responded to Danielson in a signature character way. He said he couldn't think of a reason to say no to the offer, but he doesn't stand by anyone's side until they bleed together. If this is a reason to get both a Moxley/Danielson match and a faction with the two, count me in. The storytelling by both of them in this segment was phenomenal, and it seems like everyone is excited to see what comes next.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter
2.(WWE, Raw) Men's Elimination Chamber Opening Segment
This segment was a mess. First, it felt formulaic and boring for each guy to come out one by one to say how they would beat Bobby Lashley. Also, the only one that cut a decent promo was AJ Styles, who talked about making sure he had no regrets in his career. Everyone else's sentiments were utterly skippable. Also, Bobby was bad. He was messing up his promo, and you could tell he was trying to remember what he was supposed to say because it was overly scripted and unnatural. Brock Lesnar came out, and he did great and got over, but he was also the person who needed it the least, and he beat up Austin Theory, the person who needed to get over the most. Also, everyone ran away from Brock Lesnar, which made everyone in the match look weak. It was a bad segment.
1. (WWE, Raw) Kevin Owens Disses Dallas
I praised Kevin Owens last week for his ode to Texas. However, they took that back this week and had him diss Texas instead. I'm not from Texas, and I don't personally care how Kevin feels about Texas. However, WWE took something that was cool and funny and undid it, and for what? Indianapolis didn't care about the Texas rant. It wasn't funny or entertaining, and it didn't add anything to the story. So what was the point?
Rob's What Didn't Matter
3. Women's Gauntlet Match, WWE Raw
Through no fault of the women involved, this gauntlet match just didn't do it for me. It felt emblematic of WWE's booking on the Road to WrestleMania. The creative for this mostly felt recycled: Rhea Ripley was the ironwoman who couldn't quite win, a role we've seen in almost every gauntlet match since Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston both did it a few years back. Bianca Belair was the clear favorite who entered last and won. I will admit it's exciting that the Women's Elimination Chamber is largely unpredictable, though I think it will be one of Ripley, Belair, or Alexa Bliss who wins.
2. Double Duty, WWE Raw
WWE's heavy usage of RKBro is part of why I don't feel as strongly about them as I did last summer. Riddle was in the opening segment of Raw promoting the Elimination Chamber and RKBroga party segments throughout the night. Randy Orton was in a backstage segment and the main event with Seth Rollins. They are maintaining a semi-feud with Alpha Academy. It's just too much of the team for them not to be overexposed to the audience. I think I'm mostly upset because WWE has released what feels like a third of its roster in the last year, and they still have underused stars on their roster while we see the same two guys for a full hour of the three-hour show.
1. Omos vs. Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin, WWE Raw
I can't remember if any of these guys have been on WWE TV in the past month, and that's not good. Omos beat AJ Styles but has done nothing to capitalize on that momentum as a singles star. He squashed Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin here, but what did it accomplish? Alexander and Benjamin still don't have a storyline reason for reuniting after their personal feud, and they are talented enough that they should be competing for championships.
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 this week did a horrible job promoting Elimination Chamber. The entire show was skippable and hardly promoted the Men's Elimination Chamber match that should be the main event. WWE is continuing its trend of disappointing booking on the Road to WrestleMania.
NXT 2.0 had Vengeance Day, and the expectations were high. I think all the matches were good, not great, not up to the standards I expected from the brand. The weird pacing ruined the show for me. I think they tried to jam too many matches on a two-hour show. As a result, everything was rushed, and the ad breaks during big matches definitely hurt the quality in-ring. They should definitely reconsider returning to the Takeover format on Saturday instead.
To me, AEW was the clear winner. I was engaged in almost every segment, and it has such a different positive energy than the other two shows right now. The crowds are great, anything can happen, and everything has a great story and backs it up in-ring. What more could you want from wrestling?
Reverse Hipster's Final Thoughts
This was an unusually fantastic week of wrestling. I had to consolidate my list because the original draft was even longer. Raw was the clear third place show this week, and that's not really an indictment of Raw so much as it is a compliment to AEW and NXT. NXT is the second place show. They put on a tremendous show and had me entertained throughout Vengeance Day. NXT had better character building and matches than Raw. However, Dynamite takes the top spot because it had great matches and great stories. It seemed like every great match was part of a great story, and all those stories had exciting developments in addition to phenomenal matches.