Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
8. (Impact) Walking Weapon
Josh Alexander and Matt Taven had an excellent match in the main event of Impact. Both of them showed the audience how talented they are, but this match was more meaningful for Alexander. Josh Alexander got the win and picked up momentum in his pursuit towards the title. My only criticism is that the match was too long, and this match wasn't personal enough or meaningful enough to be near twenty minutes.
7. (AEW, Rampage) House of Black
The House of Black looked deadly in their match on Rampage. They look intimidating, and they backed it up in the ring. The House of Black is efficient and quick in the ring. Some of the moves they executed were among the fastest I've seen in recent memory. I believe that every company needs a monster or two who lives their character and doesn't just do it for a look. Malakai Black took a step closer to becoming the monster AEW needs.
6. (AEW, Rampage) Red Velvet
I have been very impressed with Red Velvet. I feel like she has been smoldering under the surface. She is ready to blow, and after beating Leyla Hirsch, she should be in line for a shot at Thunder Rosa. Remember, Thunder beat Leyla for the number one contendership, which means Leyla should have been first in line before Red Velvet beat her. I like Leyla. She has a great attitude and presence, and she looks believable. However, her wrestling skills don't appear to be where they need to be yet.
5. (WWE, SmackDown) Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar took a play out of Stone Cold Steve Austin's playbook and destroyed Roman Reigns' SUV with a forklift. Then, he ripped a car door off a moving car while trying to get to Roman. I like this segment because not only is it exciting, but it establishes who is chasing who. This feud became stale because WWE hadn't shown us if Brock was trying to beat Roman or Roman was trying to beat Brock. WWE has established that Roman is the mountain to climb, and Brock is clearly the one chasing. Knowing that allows for exciting segments like this one.
4. (WWE, SmackDown) Pat McAfee
Pat McAfee was forced to apologize to Austin Theory by Vince McMahon, and it was great. Pat gave a very sarcastic apology, where he cursed out Austin Theory. That was very entertaining. But, more importantly, this segment established the dynamics of the feud. Austin Theory is feuding with Pat over Vince. He doesn't want to be replaced as Vince's favorite son, which is why he acts like he is Vince's bratty son. It's evident that this would be his feud if Shane McMahon hadn't messed up, but they have found a logical way to proceed without him.
3. (WWE, SmackDown) Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey had a clunky brawl. It was sloppy, and they were clearly waiting on each other in certain moves. However, it was still entertaining and physical. I didn't like Charlotte tapping out before WrestleMania, and I still don't. However, I will say one positive that came out of it was that it woke her up. Before, she was her regular unphased self, but now she has been embarrassed. She heard her hometown chant you tapped out, and now she is pressed. Charlotte is hungry, and she is trying to erase that moment of her tapping by brutalizing Ronda. I like this version of Charlotte a lot more than the unphased above everything version. This version of Charlotte makes the feud more heated and interesting.
2. (Impact) Motor City Machine Guns vs. Bullet Club
These two teams had an excellent match. Motor City Machine Guns proved they are still that team when they are together. The crowd turned on them and cheered mostly for the Bullet Club, and Jay White proved that he has surpassed Alex Shelley, but the Motor City Machine Guns proved they are still the best tag team. They beat the Bullet Club, and so the Bullet Club still has a mountain to climb.
1. (Impact) Deonna Purrazzo
Purrazzo upped the ante this week by putting both her titles on the line. She earned those titles once again by defeating Gisele Shaw, who performed well. She also defeated Lady Frost, who gave her best singles open challenge match and didn't disappoint in the triple threat. This is the match I have been waiting for from the Virtuoso. She had her best open challenge yet and the moment of the week.
Rob’s What Mattered
6. Rhino And Heath Slater Reunited, Impact Wrestling
This was a super over team that could hold their own in a match in WWE. They can contribute something unique and great to the Impact Wrestling Tag Division, as this backstage segment showed the crowd was still there.
5. Pat McAfee Promo, WWE SmackDown
Pat McAfee is clearly a long-time fan of WWE and created his own entertaining character that incorporates a lot of authentic excitement into everything he does. He weaved together old wrestling gimmicks, stereotypical wrestling promo voice, and his own voice to make his story with Austin Theory and Vince McMahon better. You can tell this is truly a dream for McAfee, and if you saw his work in NXT, there is reason to believe his in-ring work will live up to the best of the best non-wrestlers wrestling at WrestleMania.
4. Darby Allin, AEW Rampage
It’s really easy for a good wrestler to get lost in the shuffle on AEW, but Darby Allin is doing everything to avoid that. His look is so different from anyone else, and his offense is so unique and careless that you have to respect his grit. Look no further than the suicide dive this week: Allin makes an average move make you wince, and remember that everything they’re doing hurts. In just a routine opening match this week, he reminded me that he is one of THE players on AEW’s roster.
3. Josh Alexander vs. Matt Taven, Impact Wrestling
This was a good main event between two good wrestlers on Impact’s roster. Josh Alexander has a completely unique style that sets him apart, and it makes him the Impact guy. Matt Taven is known as a great wrestler in the indy community, but it’s good to see him featured in a spot like this that will continue to get him recognition with people who watch Impact.
2. Motor City Machine Guns vs. Bullet Clubs, Impact Wrestling
Impact Wrestling started off white-hot, capitalizing on the story between Jay White and Alex Shelley last week. This is an independent wrestling dream match, and they had great chemistry. The weird finish was just enough to keep this fresh if they want to revisit it in a longer feud with a final match at a PPV.
1. Sasha Banks And Naomi vs. Liv Morgan and Rhea Ripley, WWE SmackDown
I would usually rip this sort of segment for giving away too much, but I think the Women’s Tag Division needed this energy. They gave them time to wrestle, and the women knocked it out of the park. It helped the newly formed teams build chemistry and story, and the women had great spots throughout the whole match. Natalya and Shayna Baszler ended the match in DQ, so it didn’t technically give away a conclusive result, and it added another team to the Women’s Tag too.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter
1. (WWE, SmackDown) Half Of The Show
This week, the show was meant to build momentum for the wrestlers, and I think SmackDown did, but it wasn't gripping. Drew McIntyre won a six-man tag match and looked dominant, but it doesn't really matter. I feel like Drew is being kept level instead of being elevated. Kofi Kingston lost to Ridge Holland, and that match didn't feel as charged as it should have. They should take advantage of Big E's injury. While I don't want Big E to be dissed, maybe Ridge can kayfabe refuse to take responsibility. It's not my fault 2.0.
Also, the women suffered as well. WWE added Natalya and Shayna Baszler to the tag match, which is a good thing, and it means the women now have a match they can deliver in. However, the story isn't that interesting, and it feels subtle when it should be in our face because it's WrestleMania.
Sami Zayn and Johnny Knoxville's match has been elevated to a no DQ, which is exciting. However, once again, the road to get there isn't interesting. Sami just made a challenge, and Johnny just accepted in a separate location. Also, Nakamura and Boogz had a good match against Los Lotharios, and Boogz looked great. However, there is no juice behind it, no reason for me to put in What Mattered because if it didn't happen, what would be different?
Rob’s What Didn’t Matter
2. Moose Goes To Josh Alexander’s House, Impact Wrestling
Impact Wrestling has underrated character work, but this was a strong wrestling show. It felt weird to end the show with a video segment of Moose delivering the signed contract to Alexander’s house. Impact clearly wants Moose to be a mega heel, but I don’t think the acting was good enough here to convey that Moose was an actual threat to the Alexander household as much as this was just a scummy intimidation tactic.
1. Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair, WWE SmackDown
This seems to be a great feud for casual fans, but it’s not doing anything for me. It feels like WWE is throwing all of the typical wrestling championship feud tropes at this. None of it is works like the animosity I genuinely feel between Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch. Everything Charlotte Flair feels too over the top and inauthentic. These sloppy exchanges have been more about attacking each other than the wrestling prowess that I think sets these two apart. It will mean their regular rules match at WrestleMania won’t be playing to their strengths as in-ring performers. Definitely not a good note to end SmackDown on.
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
This week was full of many mild ups and few downs. SmackDown is last. Besides the women’s tag, they didn’t bring anything to the show, and they had the biggest down in the women’s main event feud. AEW didn’t bring many new things to the table, but it was still a good show. I have to give this week to Impact because they had the most interesting content, underrated storytelling, and more than one good match.
Reverse Hipster's Final Thoughts
First off, I'm glad to see Big E is going to be okay, all things considered. I'm glad SmackDown showed that on TV because a lot of people care about Big E. Now, for the ranking, SmackDown is last because it had pop in terms of the segment that made what mattered, but it didn't have important matches. Also, it had the most what didn't matter contributions of the three shows. AEW Rampage is second because it had good meaningful matches, but it didn't have any pop. Impact is number one because it had both good matches and pop. This was a pretty average week for all three shows overall.