Impact, WWE SmackDown, and AEW Rampage Wrestling Rundown: Receipts
Updated: Mar 22, 2022
Rob's What Mattered
4. Josh Alexander Returns, Impact Wrestling
Josh Alexander just seems like THE Impact guy right now, so it was huge news that he returned to the company and opened the night with a promo. It feels like he is going to take the championship from Moose, but there are a lot of big potential matchups for him if he does go on a title run. They even hinted that the next feud could be with Eddie Edwards and other members of Honor No More.
3. Swerve Debuts, AEW Rampage
AEW is already making Shane "Swerve" Strickland seem like a big deal. WWE clearly fumbled with this one because Swerve carries himself like a star. "Who's house? Swerve's house!" Is already mega-over with the crowd. This match was just a sample of what Swerve can do with AEW's in-ring style, and I'm sure there is more to come.
2. Bullet Club vs. Motor City Machine Guns, Impact Wrestling
Alex Shelley and Jay White did a great bit of storytelling here, outlining their mentor/mentee relationship and making the feud more meaningful. Chris Sabin came out to rejoin Shelley as the Motor City Machine Guns, setting up an awesome feud with Bullet Club. Impact Wrestling is forming a nice tag division, and the Good Brothers are perfect because they can make meaningful feuds even without being the champions.
1. Ricochet vs. Sami Zayn, WWE SmackDown
Let the good wrestlers go out and do good wrestling. These two had a great match, and the main event spot was fantastic. Ricochet going over Sami Zayn again was huge in building momentum for his character, and it feels like this should have been the first match where he won the title. Zayn will be okay because his character is still the best on SmackDown, and he can put on a match like this at a minute's notice.
Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
6. (WWE, SmackDown) Ronda and Charlotte Brawl
Charlotte attacked Ronda backstage. Charlotte needed this because she needed her heat back after tapping to Ronda. Also, backlot brawls are pretty much always entertaining, and the brawl makes the rivalry feel more heated and personal, which is exciting.
5. (Impact) 8 Women Tag
Having the challengers against the champions this week was fun. The IInspiration joined Mickie James and Chelsea Green against Summer Steelz and the Influence. The match was solid. My only complaint is that unless Impact is building to a rematch with Steelz, Summer, the non-champion, should have eaten the pin.
4. (Impact) Josh Alexander and the Motor City Machine Guns
Alexander has finally returned to Impact Wrestling, and as much as I like Moose, he is in definite danger. However, because Josh Alexander was legit not with Impact for a minute, Impact, in the meantime, had other plans for Moose. So, while they finish that, Alexander gets to feud with Honor No More, which should make Alexander even hotter going into his match with Moose.
The Motor City Machine Guns returned. Honestly, I wish they would have got a bigger pop. I am old enough to remember them being one the best tag teams in wrestling with nonstop action. I wonder why they did not get more cheers. Regardless, the promo segment between the Guns and the Bullet Club was very entertaining. Alex Shelley had a strong point when he pointed out how every popping name, including Jay White, made their name with him. Then, Jay White made an excellent counterpoint that Shelley no longer knows him. Shelley does not understand the man he has had to become to reach the top. I am enjoying this master vs. protege feud.
3. (AEW, Rampage) Limitless Keith Lee
Keith Lee dominated QT, who has become an entertaining jobber. However, after Keith Lee was done wowing the crowd with his power team, Taz attacked. Powerhouse Hobbs dropped Keith Lee, which is significant because nobody really gets the upper hand on Lee. I look forward to seeing a match between these two goliaths.
2. (Impact) Eddie Edwards vs. Rich Swann
In the previous week, I criticized Impact for their in-ring action being lackluster. Eddie Edwards and Rich Swann restored that feeling. They went out there and represented the brand in-ring. Eddie Edwards got the win beating a former champion and proving he was a worthy challenger. However, Swann was the MVP of the match, and his moves gave the match the wow factor that kept me invested.
1. (WWE, SmackDown) Pat McAfee
Pat beat the crap out of Austin Theory. It was fun to watch Pat explode, and it was surprising how credible he was. When he is sitting down at the commentary table, goofing around, you forget he was a professional athlete, but he reminded everyone on SmackDown.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter
Nothing was exceptionally bad, in my opinion.
Rob's What Didn't Matter
3. Butch, WWE SmackDown
Pete Dunne has wrestled on main roster PPV's, NXT Takeovers, and WWE-produced television for years now. What's the point of changing his name and gimmick now? If the point of NXT 2.0 isn't to build your character to something that can be translated directly to the main roster, then I think NXT 2.0 is failing as a concept. By contrast, imagine if Sheamus and Ridge Holland introduced a mystery partner in a three-man tag match: "He's from somewhere near where we're from, and he's just as much of a bruiser as either of us." Teaming up Dunne with Sheamus and Holland is a great stable in theory. At least they acknowledged the name change, but I think this was another horrible call by WWE creative.
2. Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey, WWE SmackDown
This feud feels exactly the same as it did three years ago, without the zest of Becky Lynch in the mix. Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey have a lot of nuances they could play within their feud. Still, SmackDown went off the air in a backstage segment reminiscent of the backstage brawl before their main event at WrestleMania 35. On top of that, this segment was a distraction from a great main event where the attention should have been tonight. That main event was put before this and after a Pat McAfee/Austin Theory fight that both could have gone on next week instead.
1. Big E Hurt, WWE SmackDown
Continuing on the problems of Sheamus and Ridge Holland, Holland's belly-to-belly suplex on the outside ended in disaster when Big E broke his neck. Even worse, it seems like they were building toward a potentially great trios match at WrestleMania. Thankfully, Big E signaled he would be okay on social media, and there was lots of love for him on social media. I don't know enough about the art of wrestling to know if there is blame to be placed, but it seems like this is destined to happen as long as WWE keeps rushing big physical wrestlers to the main roster before they are ready.
Stay tuned to find out the overall grades of the week.
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Rob's Final Thoughts
My worst show of the week is surprisingly AEW Rampage. Nothing was bad, but it is only a one-hour show where very little happened besides Swerve's debut.
In the middle of the week is SmackDown. It had the highest high, but the most lows kept it from the top spot.
I have to give this week to Impact Wrestling. Even though it wasn't the most entertaining show, they had two really solid segments that got me excited enough to keep watching it, even among the depth of wrestling in the world right now.
Reverse Hipster's Final Thoughts
The third-place show this week was AEW Rampage. Rampage had good wrestling, but nothing really moved me this week. The second-place show was SmackDown. It inched close to becoming a winning show, but it is still not quite there yet. Also, hoping Big E has a strong bounce back from the neck injury he suffered on SmackDown. I left it out this week because it felt too serious to rank on a list. However, it definitely mattered. The winning show was Impact because the storytelling was just unmatched.