Updated: Jan 2
Rob’s What Mattered
5. More of AEW’s Top Feuds, AEW Dynamite
AEW Dynamite didn’t have a knockout show, but they had a solid show that continued some of the top feuds they established after Full Gear. Bryan Danielson is continuing his tear through Dark Order members in a fun gimmick that helps to build Danielson’s legend in AEW. Him and Adam Page are on pace for an awesome match at Winter is Coming. Britt Baker set up a match for Riho against Jamie Hayter next week to try to take some of Riho’s energy before their championship match. MJF absolutely roasted CM Punk on commentary during Punk’s match against Lee Moriarty. The result was a back and forth where MJF had even more ammunition to verbally assault Punk, including the ultimate insult to Punk’s Twitter-famous dog, Larry.
4. What Year is it Anyway?, WWE Raw
Seeing Finn Balor and Seth Rollins face off on Raw made me feel like it was the Summer of 2016 again, when the brands were first redrafted and these two fought over the newly revealed Universal Championship. Every time I see Balor and Rollins together, I can’t help but hear, “The only thing you’re going to get handed to you at Summerslam…is your ass!” Anyway, these two had a great match for opening a Monday Night Raw, and the fans seem really invested in both of their characters. Rollins is getting back to Monday Night Rollins form. He is holding down multiple segments on the show, the crowd is singing his entrance and booing him at all the right times. Rollins momentum is the biggest danger to Big E’s relatively new title reign.
3. Kevin Owens Tricks His Way Into the Championship Match at Day 1,
Kevin Owens was the one to break the news to Seth Rollins backstage. If Owens beat Big E, then he would earn his way into the title match. Only, the whole thing was a trick. Rollins went to complain to Adam Pearce who then realized it was a great idea, and the whole thing came together for the main event. In the main event, Owens had a good match with Big E then tricked Rollins into attacking him for a DQ finish. Now, we have the triple threat set for the next PPV, which I honestly think is best case scenario since all three guys are killing it on Raw.
2. Road to War Games, WWE NXT
I loved the ladder matches this week to decide who gets the advantage in War Games. I thought Kay Lee Ray and Dakota Kai had the slightly better match, but the Men have the better story with their gimmick going into War Games. As I mentioned last week, I hope they have some surprises in store and maybe more past NXT superstars will come to support the old guard. Johnny Gargano is absolutely the heart and soul of NXT, but I anticipate that him and the others will pass the torch at War Games. If this is his last NXT show, I’m betting that the War Games will be an all out classic, and the ending of the War Games show will be one of the most emotional moments of the year.
1. This is Awesomeeeeeee, WWE Raw
A few times a year, there are wrestling moments where you are reminded why you absolutely love wrestling. At PPV’s, there are matches that make you believe the action is real again. Sometimes, there are promo segments where you are absolutely glued to the TV. For me, this was one of those segments. Edge has been excellent in his return. I’m always interested in what he has to say and who he will match up against next. The Miz turned out to be the actual surprise return in this segment. He seems all in on his Hollywood character again after leaving for Dancing With The Stars, and he has Maryse back in his corner. These two traded sharp jabs that would please casual fans and deep wrestling lore marks alike. It reminded me how much history they have in the company, and it reminded me what an asset Miz is to WWE. There’s no doubt in my mind that Edge and Miz are going to bring the best out of each other, and for WWE fans, that’s awesommeeeeee.
Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
6. (WWE Raw) Big E vs. Seth vs. KO
WWE did a good job of keeping Seth hot. He had an excellent brawl with Finn that led to an awesome match between Seth and Finn that Seth won. Big E had a great match with KO to keep him out of the title match. The in-ring action between Big E and KO was top notch. However, the psychology of the match was the most interesting part. Seth watching ringside heightened the action because if Big E loses, he loses his singles match. Also, KO kept attacking Seth trying to get Seth to interfere and give KO the win via DQ until finally Seth broke and gave into KO.
5. (WWE Raw) Women’s 5 on 5
This was a terribly officiated match. However, it was a great way to show off the division. Maybe WWE is taking a page from the NXT WarGames handbook. However, in addition to the women’s division looking good, Liv looks like a star. She took out multiple superstars herself and led her team to victory by getting the winning pin and beating up Becky Lynch after the match.
4. (WWE Raw) Miz and Maryse Are Back
Miz and Maryse are at their best together so I’m happy to see them both back. Miz and Maryse showed right away why they are best together by verbally sparring with Edge, in a segment meant to reply to AEW. Edge and Miz lit each other up and as entertaining as it was, you can tell they were only warming up.
3. (WWE NXT) Men’s Ladder Match
Bron Breakker defeated Johnny Gargano and earned the advantage for his team. This was an excellent spot for Bron. He hung in there with one of the greatest NXT superstars of all time and beat him. He looked great suplexing Johnny into the ladder and ripping him off the top, catching him, slamming him, and climbing the ladder and winning. Also, beating Johnny, Ciampa’s rival, was a great way to show he is ready for Ciampa.
2. (WWE NXT) Women’s Advantage
Dakota Kai was defeated by Kay Lee Ray in a ladder match. I really enjoyed this match up. These are two talented superstars with edge. They left it all out there. I cringed at some of the spots these women took in this match. They were brutal, my favorite was Kai sending Ray face first into the steel steps. This match was excellent and would have been on my what mattered any week, but it was an excellent preview of WarGames.
1. (AEW Dynamite) Cody Rhodes vs Andrade Street Fight
Holy Shit! This fight was absolutely bonkers. They put each other through tables and used the unprotected floor. T-Pain helped Cody at one point. However, it was the finish that was the craziest part. While Cody and Andrade were fighting for leverage to slam the other into the table, Brandi set the table a blaze and Cody slammed Andrade through it. Cody honestly got the worst of the bump and got most of the fire, but Andrade got some too. There was still fire on their skin as Cody pinned Andrade. It was insane.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn’t Matter
4. (WWE RAW) Becky Lynch
They need to get away from the Charlotte feud. This week Liv addressed Becky crying after the match and becoming Charlotte, but the messaging was off. Liv called Becky greedy and said her big contract was why her friends were gone. However, nobody blames Becky so that didn’t hit. Also, referencing Becky, Charlotte reminds fans of the feud where we were rooting for Becky. Liv’s hardest hitting points where about her and Becky, that things aren’t the same anymore and she won’t be Becky’s number two. However, they should stay away from Becky's money and feud with Charlotte because those are things that make people want to root for Becky.
3. (WWE Raw) KO
I don’t like KO getting added to the match. Seth never got his title match against Roman and that was a big missed opportunity. However, Seth finally worked his way to the title picture and he is being kept hot on Raw. I think Big E vs. Seth is enough. I don’t think the feud needs KO, and I like KO.
2. (AEW Dynamite) CM Punk
MJF was right, why is CM Punk fighting this level of talent? I know CM Punk says he is just trying to help young guys, but the way AEW is going about it doesn’t work. CM Punk had a good match with Lee Moriarty. They had plenty of close calls where he almost lost. However, nobody cared because everyone knew CM Punk wasn’t going to lose his undefeated streak to an undercard guy. It undercut the match. CM Punk's stardom messes up the psychology of these matches. For example, I don’t care about a match with QT Marshall when CM Punk is going back and forth with MJF, that’s clearly where the story is. Daniel Bryan is doing what CM Punk is trying to do. He is wrestling lesser guys, but there is a point these matches mean something. CM Punk's matches with lesser talent just pads his stats. It doesn’t matter to the story.
1. (WWE Raw) Austin Theory
All night Vince and Austin did these strange backstage segments, where Vince would tell him to prepare for the unexpected. These segments could have easily been cut. It didn’t get over Austin’s character and it was the least creative way to show Vince's support of Austin.
Rob’s What Didn’t
2. Raw Tag Team Division, (WWE Raw)
None of the tag team matches this week were bad. It just feels like the tag team division on Raw is an afterthought because there are no stories and the acts feel stale. Even RKBro, who is excellent in their promo and in-ring work, feels like they are at a slow burn until they inevitably break up or meet a worthy foe. All of the other teams are all excellent performers, but the lack of stories means that I’m not excited to watch them, and I know they’re just taking up time.
1. Layups on layoffs, (WWE Raw)
In two promo segments, WWE superstars mentioned releases in the company. Liv Morgan blamed Becky Lynch’s contract for why her friends in the Riott Squad were laid off. Edge said that Miz abandoned John Morrison and that’s why he got fired. This felt like a way to get a cheap dirt-sheet pop. It’s an easy layup for WWE to bring up to make the feuds seem like they have real heat, but it’s actually pretty scummy when you realize powerful executives who approved those promos are behind the cuts that affected some of your favorite superstars careers.