Updated: May 6
Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
9. (WWE, SmackDown) Charlotte's Insecurities
Drew Gulak interviewed Charlotte on her upcoming "I Quit" match at WrestleMania Backlash. When he pointed out that Charlotte tapped out at WrestleMania, Charlotte became irate, and the crowd chanted, "You tapped out." Charlotte put Drew in the Figure 8 and made him scream "I quit." It was a rough spot for Drew Gulak, but it made Charlotte look very strong while simultaneously making Ronda look strong by reminding the crowd she made Charlotte tap out at WrestleMania. Charlotte excelled at getting the crowd excited, and I felt the same way watching at home. In my opinion, this "I Quit" match is the main event of Backlash.
8. (WWE, SmackDown) Rhea Ripley vs. Naomi
At this point, the women's tag team feud still doesn't have a story. However, Naomi and Rhea won me over by having an excellent match. It was hard-hitting and athletic, and I was genuinely unsure who would walk away with the victory. In the end, Rhea got the win, but I think both women walked away better for having this match.
7. (Impact) Jonathan Gresham vs. Rocky Romero
I hadn't seen much of Gresham, but I was familiar with Rocky from AEW. Gresham impressed me. Gresham convinced me that he was capable of any type of offense: technical, acrobatic, and power. He could do it all in this match. Both guys were really impressive together with their movesets. My favorite match spot was probably Rocky's sliced bread on the move. However, Gresham won the match by making Rocky tap.
6. (AEW, Rampage) Adam Page vs. Adam Cole, AEW Championship
This match delivered as a TV championship match, and was easily the best and most crucial match from AEW. Adam Page defeated Adam Cole, once again, and proved he was the superior Adam. He did it his way. Page had a chance to end Adam Cole when he handcuffed him to the ropes, but he didn't want to stoop to that level. Adam Cole taunted Page and said he would never be Kenny Omega. However, Adam Page didn't need to be Omega to win the match with a sick Deadeye off the apron and through a table. The finish definitely delivered on the Deathmatch stipulation because Cole took a nosedive through a table.
5. (Impact) Honor No More
Honor No More got the Philly crowd riled up by claiming they had failed Ring of Honor (ROH), ECW, and Mike Kanellis, who debuted there. However, they won over the crowd when they talked about how they persevered through ROH's failings, and the real fans still supported them. However, after claiming to be the best in the world, the Bullet Club came out. The two groups exchanged words, and while I got the impression the Bullet Club was supposed to be the faces, Honor No More was way more sympathetic. They seem like underdogs banding together around an honorable ideal.
Bullet Club and Honor No More brawled, which was awesome. Then, Pierre Carl Ouellet, PCO, broke it up by crashing down on everyone from the top rope, which was the perfect segue into his match with Jonah. His match with Jonah was a lot better than I expected. They had good action, gnarly spots, and they told a story. Jonah won, but it took so much out of him to keep PCO down, even after the match.
4. (WWE, SmackDown) Riddle vs. Jimmy Uso
The Usos and RK-Bro had an excellent promo battle with tons of intensity that got the crowd hot. They continued that in this match. Riddle and Jimmy had an excellent match that ended with Riddle tossing Jimmy in the air and catching him in an RKO. This feud, to me, is the backbone of WrestleMania Backlash, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it open the show.
3. (Impact) Champ Champ Challenge
Deonna Purrazzo had one of her top two Champ Champ Challenge matches against Willow Nightingale. Deonna retained, but it was probably her most grueling defense yet. There was actual doubt for a second she may not pull through, and Willow brought the fight to the Virtuoso's doorstep. I don't know much about Willow outside of the two matches I have seen her in on Impact and AEW, but I definitely want to see more of her.
2. (Impact) Major Players
Morrissey made his emotional return to Philly, where he had his health incident before, and he did an excellent job articulating the moment and getting the crowd on his side. Morrissey is in great shape, and he really seemed to turn things around. I would be shocked if he never made it back to WWE. Speaking of WWE, I love that Matt Cardona and Brian Myers, the former Edgeheads, have reunited. Chelsea Green is a great addition as well. These three ruined Morrissey's moment and put him through a table. They also jumped Mickie James. They are great heels, and I love how they don't segregate the men and the women. They all get physically involved in each other's feuds.
1. (WWE, SmackDown) Lacey Evans
I love what Lacey Evans is doing in WWE. It's courageous for her to stand in front of the millions, bare her soul, and tell her story. Also, I applaud WWE for recognizing that Lacey had a great story and letting her tell it, and organically gain fanfare. This should make her return to the ring even hotter than when she left and will add another much-needed star to the women's division.
Rob’s What Mattered
6. W. Morrissey and the Major Players, Impact Wrestling
W. Morrissey cut an emotional and honest promo to open Impact Wrestling, talking about the seizure that almost cut his career short. He got interrupted by Brian Myers, who it was then revealed was aligned with Matt Cardona and Chelsea Green, revealing Major Players shirts, presumably the name of this new alliance. This alliance should be a great benefit to all three stars that have a history with each other, and it feels different than the other factions on Impact.
5. Josh Alexander and Moose, Impact Wrestling
It seems like every company in wrestling has a fantastic video production team. As a new watcher of Impact Wrestling, they did a perfect job outlining the feud between Josh Alexander and Moose while using everything in the video package to show, not tell us about the characters involved in the rivalry. This package did a great job selling their main event feud.
4. Bullet Club and Honor No More, Impact Wrestling
The depth of factions is something Impact Wrestling is doing well. Borrowing the credibility of Bullet Club, they are getting in feuds and building the factions of Impact like Honor No More. There were some good zingers here, which will inevitably set up a money match between the two factions.
3. Jonathan Gresham vs. Dalton Castle, AEW Battle of the Belts
Tony Khan is very smart to start putting ROH feuds and stars on AEW wrestling to try to get eyes on the product before resuming weekly shows. I love Dalton Castle and his flamboyant style, so it was cool to see it on a big AEW show. The match with Jonathan Gresham felt different from AEW, which I think is something ROH should maintain to be unique. The attack at the end with Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh was much better executed than the one on Dynamite, and having Samoa Joe come out again showed us everything we have to look forward to in the new ROH.
2. RK-Bro and the Usos, WWE SmackDown
I don’t want to see the titles unified, but these two teams are putting such great work into the feud that I definitely want to see them fight. WWE is investing a lot, but these guys aren’t holding back either. This is some of the best promo work we’ve seen from the Usos in this run, and this is the most passion we’ve seen from Randy Orton, maybe since his 2009 run. The match was nothing special, but this will be electric when both titles are on the line.
1. Adam Page vs. Adam Cole, AEW Rampage
I think both guys have had better deathmatches than this, but nothing else was better this week, and it was pretty darn good for free TV. It still had the signature creative hardcore spots from both men, headlined by a barbed wire and table spot that gave Adam Page the win with a ten count.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter
2. (AEW, Rampage) Twin Magic
Robyn and Charlette Renegade tried to pull off some twin magic by switching places mid-match against Ruby Soho, but they lost. I'm happy Ruby finally got some screen time, and I don't think Ruby should have been upset in the first round of the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament. However, it just seemed like a total waste of the gimmick. Two women team up on one unknowing woman only to lose anyway and reveal they failed the trick? They should have been put against an opponent they could beat and used their Bella-style twin magic to win.
1. (AEW, Rampage) Battle of The Belts Two, Scorpio Sky
Scorpio Sky has been booked terribly in AEW. First, he goes unbeaten for over three hundred days and is painted as a villain for wanting people to care. Then, he is booked to beat Sammy Guevara while Sammy was on the hottest TNT run in AEW history. Next, Sky is booked to do absolutely nothing with the title. After that, he drops the belt right back to Sammy.
Rob’s What Didn’t Matter
2. Sammy Guevara regains the TNT Championship, AEW Battle of the Belts
This was a good match, but it’s a shame that Sammy Guevara won the championship back so soon. I love Guevara, but this is one of my pet peeves when they hot potato the title back and forth. It feels like they have no plan. It makes Scorpio Sky look bad because he lost the title so quickly, and it kills the momentum Guevara could have if he had a longer title reign.
1. Sami Zayn, WWE SmackDown
I’m glad Sami Zayn is happy with his role in SmackDown because, more often than not, I’m not. Zayn is one of the best pure wrestlers on WWE’s roster, and he’s proven himself in the last year as one of the best characters WWE has right now. For his match with Drew McIntyre, he spent the whole time running, making him look terrible. McIntyre is a monster of a foe, but Zayn is still a professional, and he shouldn’t be so unsure of his ability that he spends most of his time running. This could be a great match/feud, but if Zayn doesn’t think he poses any threat to McIntyre, then all of his offense in the match will lose credibility.
Stay tuned to find out the overall grades of the week.
Fantasy Booking Chapter 6 Royal Rumble
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Rob's Final Thoughts
WWE SmackDown was the worst show this week. It was largely forgettable, and some of it was outright bad. Having the tag team unifications be the main event of both shows isn’t sustainable, but they are doing good for now. Impact Wrestling was second this week. They had a good, not great, show. Nothing was electric, but it was solid all around. AEW was the best show this weekend. I’m sort of cheating because I’m combining Rampage and Battle of the Belts, but the special booking this week paid off big for AEW. I love that they are willing to have big matches on weekly TV because it keeps feuds moving forward, and viewers get rewarded for watching every week.
Reverse Hipster's Final Thoughts
I felt AEW's Battle of the Belts and Rampage place was definitely last place. They just had the most predictable or bland events. Impact is in second place. They are back on track. They have good matches and push decent stories. This was one of their stronger shows in a while. SmackDown is number one. They weren't perfect, but they had the highest highs and definitely captured my interest the most. Also, they have a lot of momentum going into WrestleMania Backlash.