Impact, AEW Rampage, and WWE SmackDown Wrestling Rundown: The Anti-Push

Updated: May 24

Reverse Hipster's What Mattered

5. (WWE, SmackDown) Sami Zayn, Master Strategist

Sami has started stoking the flames of conflict between Drew McIntyre, RK-Bro and The Bloodline. Sami has been running away from Drew in their matches, so he was put into a Lumberjack Match, where he couldn't escape. Then, Sami went to Roman Reigns and told him that RK-Bro and Drew were talking crap about his family. I really enjoyed this story on two levels. One was watching Sami cause conflict between RK-Bro, The Usos, and Drew leading to him getting away from the Lumberjack Match. But also, I enjoy Sami subtly setting up Roman vs. Drew. Drew and Roman haven't been settled, and this is an interesting way to get there.


4. (WWE, SmackDown) Ronda Rousey & Charlotte Flair Contract Signing

Ronda and Charlotte are doing well right now. Charlotte is being made fun of wherever she goes about tapping out at WrestleMania. It's an excellent plot point for fan engagement. The fans chant you tapped out. Charlotte protests that she was just fixing her bra, referencing her nip slip. It's a good bit. Their WrestleMania match has also given each character great motivation. Charlotte has to redeem herself after WrestleMania and prove she is the undoubted best. Ronda has to redeem herself and win the match. An "I Quit" is perfect for this because one of them will have to admit defeat.

At the contract signing, Charlotte tried to surprise Ronda with a kendo stick she stashed, but Ronda turned it on her and beat the crap out of her. Then, she proved that she could do anything Charlotte could do. Ronda put Drew Gulak in an armbar and signed her contract while applying an armbar on Gulak.


3. (Impact) ECW Originals Return

Nunzio and Tony Mamaluke appeared in the Impact Zone to take on The Major Players. At first, I wasn't very impressed with Nunzio's promo work, but I was very impressed by his in-ring work with Matt Cardona of The Major Players. Nunzio was throwing Matt all around, dominating him with amateur wrestling moves. Matt was only able to beat Nunzio by cheating with outside interference.

However, the match only got more interesting afterward, when The Major Players beat up Nunzio, and Tony and W. Morrissey came out to take them all out, but Morrissey was low-blown by Chelsea Green. It looked like Morrissey would be put through a table again, but then Jordynne Grace arrived and saved him by beating up The Major Players. Then, Morrissey got his revenge by putting Matt through a table. I look forward to seeing Morrissey and Jordynne work together to take out The Major Players.


2. (AEW, Rampage) Jade Cargill Retains Her Title

Jade vs. Marina Shafir was one of two matches where I thought Jade had a chance to lose. Shafir was a legit woman, who had been built up enough to be credible. Also, she challenged Jade, which made the match way more interesting than usual. Jade won the match and went 30-0, but Marina exposed a major flaw in Jade's game, even though Marina wasn't able to exploit it. Jade's arrogance has been unbeatable for so long that she takes unnecessary risks and gives her opponents opportunities. It will be interesting to see if a future underdog babyface can take advantage of that.


1. (Impact) Laredo Kid and Trey Miguel vs. Speedball Mike Bailey & Ace Austin

This match is my number one because it grabbed me. The athleticism on display during this tag match was objectively awesome. Also, the in-ring work wasn't just good, but the storytelling was as well. Trey won the match for his team, which made him look dominant as champion. Also, Ace and Mike seemed to have an uneasy alliance ahead of their triple threat for Trey's X-Division title. Austin attacked Trey after the match and asked his partner Mike to join him, but Mike attacked Austin instead, revealing it is every man for himself. This match stole the week.


Rob’s What Mattered

5. Bullet Club vs. Honor No More, Impact Wrestling

This was a good follow-up on the feud teased from last week. Right now, these are the two biggest factions in Impact Wrestling, and the star power and wrestling ability of the teams made for a fun clash. The best moment was the crowd reaction when Jay White and Matt Taven were in the ring together.


4. Adam Cole vs. Tomohiro Ishii, AEW Rampage

AEW is doing a great job kicking off the night with hot matches and good wrestling. This was no different, as Adam Cole continued to build his reputation as the wrestling ironman of AEW with NJPW’s Tomohiro Ishii. They were building up to one of the better matches of the weekend, but it fell just short because of interference from Jay White and a fluke finish to get Cole into the Owen Hart tournament.


3. The Major Players, Impact Wrestling

This faction has a great look and feel in Impact Wrestling. They cut a solid promo in the ECW Arena and were interrupted by the Full Blooded Italians in one of those really unique pops where it took the crowd a moment to recognize what was happening. After a quick match between Matt Cardona and Guido, W. Morrisey and Jordynn Grace rushed the ring to start their feud with the Major Players. I think this is the feud I’m most looking forward to on Impact.


2. Jey Uso vs. Riddle, WWE SmackDown

I was prepared to hate this segment, a continuation of the trope of having tag team enemies face off in one on one matches. The reality is that the action between Jey Uso and Riddle was too good to leave out of the What Mattered section. Randy Orton elevated everything with his character work and aggression ringside. Jey and Riddle had such great sequences it could have been a midcard title match. Riddle getting another singles win is sort of great storytelling because it emphasizes that Riddle and Orton are the better singles wrestlers, but perhaps the Usos as a team are still better. It also set up more solid Bloodline segments backstage.


1. Drew McIntyre and Sami Zayn, WWE SmackDown

I was also prepared to hate this, but the whole night sort of built up to this moment. I loved the backstage segments with Drew McIntyre/RKBro, acknowledging the history of the stars and using it to build the main event. The backstage segment with Sami Zayn approaching the Bloodline was even better. His master plan built up the whole night to that moment, and it was hilarious to then see it play out in the lumberjack match. Zayn somehow got away setting up a Steel Cage match for next week, and how that goes will dictate if this feud was worth it. Either way, I’m impressed that they used this lumberjack match to build up so many stories throughout the night.


Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter

1. (WWE, SmackDown) Xia Li

Xia going from coming out as a superhero, who protected the innocents, to calling everyone unworthy of protection and becoming heel is a failure by WWE. It's a failure of WWE to plan anything besides Xia's hero entrance. WWE failed to plan, so they planned to fail. Then, the fact that they tapped out and turned her heel just because it seemed easier is lazy. Based on how Xia turned, it still seems like there isn't much of a plan for her.


Rob’s What Didn’t Matter

1. Xavier Woods vs. Butch, WWE SmackDown

This is just not a great look for the former Pete Dunne. He keeps throwing a fit after losing, and the crowd doesn’t seem to be reacting to it at all. I’m not sure what the point of this match was if it was just to have the exact same roll-up result and reinforce what we already know about Butch while answering no new questions about his character.


Stay tuned to find out the overall grades of the week.


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 Lesnar won the IC Championship? Find out the answer to this question as well as how I would book the Bloodline and Women's Tag Titles at 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.


Rob's Final Thoughts

This week’s worst show was AEW Rampage. Most of the matches were nothing special, and the best match opened the night. The second best show was Impact Wrestling. They have a different feel than the other two shows, highlighted by their story work with factions, and their main event feud between Moose and Josh Alexander feels like it deserves the World Championship they are fighting over. I think the best show this week was still SmackDown. Building the show around the lumberjack match, they did a lot of good storytelling and are continuing to capitalize off of a good WrestleMania.


Reverse Hipster's Final Thoughts

The shows were all decent, but nothing spectacular. AEW Rampage is in third place because it only had one match that I considered a highlight. The other events of Rampage didn't suck, but they weren't that noteworthy. SmackDown is second because it gave me just as many highlights as Impact, but it had more in the What Didn't Matter section than Impact. Impact is number one. They had a solid show and had the moments that excited me the most.

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