Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
9. (WWE, Raw) Omos vs. Aziz
Last week, I said I was looking forward to this match, but I wanted to see more action and less typical big man spots. I think Omos and Aziz delivered. They had the one grappling spot, but it made sense in the framework of the match. Most of the match was action, and the story they told was that Aziz couldn't hang with Omos. Aziz only got offense in when Apollo interfered. Omos still overpowered Aziz, and picked him up and slammed Aziz like he was 5'5". This version of Omo's dominance was exciting because there was a match story and a challenge. I'm interested to see who Omos will face at Mania.
8. (WWE, NXT) Match Stories
Indi Hartwell vs. Persia Pirotta was as good as I expected it to be. It was even better because of the story around the match. Indi beat Persia when Dexter Lumis appeared and distracted Persia and Duke Hudson. Indi and Dexter crawled in the ring, taunting Duke and Persia, which started a kiss-off between the couples. I already know many people will criticize it, but I like it. It makes sense in the story. Persia and Indi are so competitive. They want to beat each other at everything, including matches, relationships, and kissing. It's a manifestation of the social media generation, where people always compare their lives to their friends. Plus, the story of Persia dating a bad guy and losing her head is relatable.
Sarray and Tiffany had a simple, but effective match story this week. Tiffany attacked Sarray before the match, which left Sarray compromised in the match leading to a Tiffany win. This feud just keeps getting nastier every week.
7. (WWE, NXT) Qualifying Matches
The A champion, Carmelo Hayes, has set up qualifying matches for his title, giving NXT 2.0 yet another weekly attraction. Both qualifying matches delivered this week, and Santos Escobar defeated Cameron Grimes in what was debatably the match of the night. Grimes had an excellent promo after about disappointing himself and his father's memory by not winning the title. I'm very interested in his journey going forward. A-Kid beat Kushida in a pre-qualifying match, which is logically a little sketchy, but the match was entertaining. I don't know much about either guy, but both guys technical wrestling definitely grabbed my attention.
6. (WWE, Raw) WrestleMania Title Feuds
Bianca beat Doudrop, and it will always be impressive to see Bianca K.O.D. Doudrop. However, wrestling Doudrop again to show off Bianca's strength felt a little lazy. Nevertheless, Becky came in at the end of the match and made it relevant by savagely attacking Bianca. Tying her braid to a chair, and then throwing her into the ring post with Bianca's head logged in between the chair.
Zelina and Carmella are telling an interesting story about Carmella's relationship with Corey getting in the way of their tag team, and I'm interested in seeing where it goes. Liv Morgan and Zelina were having a good match, but Carmella interfered to help Zelina. However, Carmella jumped into Corey's arms when Rhea Ripley went after her. Zelina got distracted, which cost her the match with Liv.
RK-Bro and the Street Profits had a confrontation, where the Profits declared they were next and challenged the champs. Randy Orton wanted to tell them to go screw themselves as a natural heel, but Matt Riddle convinced him to accept the challenge. Riddle and Montez Ford, two of the brightest young stars in WWE, had a match. They were tearing the house down when Alpha Academy came out and destroyed everyone. This Triple Threat feud is very hot right now.
Damian Priest beat up Finn Balor because Austin Theory distracted Finn. After the match, Austin Theory beat up Finn and took a selfie. It looked like Finn and Pat McAfee might be getting involved in the United States title feud.
5. (WWE, Raw) K.O. vs. Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins hilariously proposed that he would replace Kevin Owens at WrestleMania. He just copied K.O.'s idea and told Kevin like everything was fine. Kevin, of course, didn't like that plan. Sonya Deville liked the plan, and she made a match, where the winner gets the Stone Cold interview and the loser is off Mania. Seth and K.O. had a great match because they have excellent chemistry in and out of the ring. Kevin won, and Seth is off the card, which makes me think he might be on NXT Stand & Deliver instead.
4. (WWE, NXT) Dominik Mysterio vs. Raul Mendoza
Dominik Mysterio in NXT is objectively exciting, and I loved his match with Raul. The in-ring action was great, but the extracurricular activity took things up a notch. Elektra Lopez interfered with Dominik, but then Josh Briggs, Brooks Jensen, and Fallon Henley came out as a trio to help even the score. Dominik hit the 619 and a frog splash for the win. Dominik fits in NXT, and Fallon, Briggs, and Jensen are a great team. So much to like in this match.
3. (WWE, NXT) Story Developments
Cora Jade had the best part of NXT. She stole Toxic Attraction titles and trapped the tag champions in various traps. She trapped Jacy Jayne in a cage in the back, and trapped Gigi Dolin in the dumpster and called her trash. She used their titles to lure them into the traps. However, when she tried to steal Mandy Rose's car, Mandy was one step ahead of her, and Mandy jumped Cora from the back seat. Also, while Toxic Attraction was looking for the titles, they established that Dakota Kai and Wendy Choo didn't want their help in the Dusty Classic. Plus, this angle continues Cora's momentum towards the title while giving Toxic Attraction something to do.
Imperium got more time on NXT, something I asked for in February's power rankings. Also, the tag story of who attacked the Creeds has given NXT this Triple Threat at Stand & Deliver with the The Creed Brothers, MSK, and Imperium. It also gives the entire men's division screen time because they are all suspects.
Also, Tony D'Angelo's story has hit a climax. He revealed the Don he needs to take out is Tommaso Ciampa because Ciampa is the Don of NXT. It's an incredible honor to be seen that way by the young guys, but, also, it's a serious target on Ciampa's back. Ciampa accepted the challenge, but D'Angelo attacked him after shaking Ciampa's hand.
2. (AEW, Dynamite) Tag Matches
Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy had the AEW crowd on fire this week. They fought Private Party to get revenge for the betrayal of Matt Hardy. The match was really good. Both teams were operating at such a high level, and the crowd loved the Hardy Boys. They might be the most over act in AEW. Things just got better after the match when Andrade and his goons tried to jump the Hardy Boys, and Darby and Sting came out. This tag division is stacked.
The champions aren't hibernating, They had an electrifying six-man tag match with Adam Page against ReDRagon and Adam Cole. This six-man was PPV quality on free TV. The spot of the match goes to Jungle Boy as it often does. Jungle Boy performed a double doomsday device. Adam Page and Jurassic Express stood tall, and all their feuds got a little hotter.
1. (AEW, Dynamite) Thunder Rosa
Thunder Rosa finally beat Britt Baker for the title. The match was great, and I like that they knocked out the ref again. Faking out the audience like shenanigans might prevent Rosa from winning again. Of course, these women laid everything on the line again with tacks, chairs, and blood. I think this is a massive win for the AEW women's division. AEW needed a babyface champion, and it was tedious to have two unbeatable heel champions at the top of the division. I expect Rosa's win will benefit the women by giving them a fighting champion with real matches at the top.
Rob’s What Mattered
9. Tag Team Divisions (Dynamite, RAW, NXT)
Raw’s tag team division is getting hot at the exact right time. Randy Orton has fully committed to his partner Riddle, and their team makes sense again. The Street Profits are one of the best tag teams in wrestling when given a chance, and Alpha Academy is seeking revenge after doing some of their best work last month.
NXT 2.0 locked in their three-way tag team championship match that has great booking, the heat between all the teams, and intrigue around the Creed Brothers mystery attackers.
AEW has the strongest tag team division of all, showcased in their opening trios match with Jurassic Express and ReDragon. It’s only getting better, as the crowd was hot for the Hardys AEW debut against Private Party.
8. Jericho Appreciation Society, AEW Dynamite
This was masterful microphone work from the veteran Chris Jericho. He explained his actions and politically strategized to align himself with this new group, narcissistically named after himself. Using WWE’s sports entertainer language and saying we go by our real names in this group is a great and ironic creative angle that dates back to concepts from WCW booking.
7. Tiffany Stratton vs. Sarray, NXT 2.0
Hate on Tiffany Stratton all you want here, but you can’t manufacture the kind of heat she drew in this segment. She attacked Sarray from behind in her unique transformation entrance, making the fans cheer for Sarray even harder. It was a non-match because of the way Stratton dominated, and it was the best she’s looked in-ring yet with a cool aerial finisher.
6. Ladder Match Qualifiers, NXT 2.0
I still love the story that Carmelo Hayes is potentially getting too cocky by taking on all comers. Santos Escobar got back to his winning ways, qualifying over Cameron Grimes, who now has an interesting story of coming up short again. A-Kid showed off his cool offense in a match against Kushida, advancing to a qualifying match against Grayson Waller next week.
5. WWE on NXT, NXT 2.0
It wasn’t a full-on invasion, but it felt like one on NXT 2.0 this week. MizTV started the night, setting up a very fun Dolph Ziggler and LA Knight main event. The Mysterios had a unique showdown with Legado del Fantasma, leading to a fun match between Dominick Mysterio and Raul Mendoza. Many people said Dominick would be better off staying in NXT, and it’s hard to deny after this match. Even though it sounds like a diss, having this ring time was a reminder of how good he is after so little experience, and his style blended into NXT and Legado del Fantasma perfectly.
4. Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins (The Match), WWE Raw
After the best match on Raw last week, this team faced off against each other in the main event and match of the night. Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins are great wrestlers with great chemistry, and they got time to work it here. Frankly, this match could have been a WrestleMania feud and match, a worthy main event for a Road to WrestleMania Raw.
3. Tommaso Ciampa Promo, NXT 2.0
Maybe the GOAT of NXT gave a promo that walked through his history in NXT and unique connection with the crowd whether he was an underdog babyface, most hated heel, or THE NXT guy like we see him now. The promo was well-spoken, well-received, and well shot by the NXT production crew. Tommaso Ciampa teased leaving NXT for good, weaved in a theme of gratitude for fans of the promotion, and hypothesized what his fairy tale ending would look like before Tony DiAngelo interrupted him and set up a match for NXT Stand and Deliver.
2. Cora Jade Home Alone, NXT 2.0
A simple story is still the king of content. Seeking revenge from last week’s attack of her tag partner, Cora Jade hunted down Toxic Attraction with entertaining home-alone style traps, tempting them in with their stolen title belts. It was funny, and it made me like everyone involved more. In the last segment, Mandy Rose outsmarted Jade, attacking her from the back of her car in a segment reminiscent of Undertaker in the mid-2000s. The match was made official, and in my opinion, Jade’s underdog story should end in gold at Stand and Deliver.
1. Britt Baker vs. Thunder Rosa, AEW Dynamite
This felt like justice for the women’s division after the hard spot they were put in at AEW Revolution. This was the best spot on the card, the main event. The women told a better story than at the PPV, incorporating their entrances, ring gear, and rehashing the brutality from their iconic lights-out match. We got blood, a chair tower, and a thumb-tack spot. The crowd gave everything to Thunder Rosa, and I’m eating my words from before because it was obvious this was her time to win. No one can take this away from her, as she just took the title off the longest reigning women’s champion in AEW history. It was match of the week and one of AEW’s best matches this year.
Rob’s What Didn’t Matter
4. Bad Picks For Losers, WWE
I don’t want to be too dramatic, but superstars this week were functionally jobbers that are far too talented for that role. The Hurt Business lost in a short match to the Mysterios to build their WrestleMania match with Miz and Jake Paul. The former champions and huge-potential team are too talented to be thrown away like that, and their reconnection was never explained and thrown away again by Bobby Lashley and MVP. Kushida got more time to wrestle in his loss to A-Kid, but his run in NXT has been underwhelming when you consider he was maybe the best junior heavyweight in NJPW for the last decade.
3. Lukewarm Feuds, WWE Raw
WWE has a problem with obvious linear feuds going into WrestleMania. They’re not exciting, and we’ve already seen the matches. See: Finn Balor vs. Damien Priest and Liv Morgan vs. Queen Zelina. Doudrop and Bianca Belair had a rematch with Becky Lynch running in at the end. Nothing new.
2. Replays, WWE Raw
I swear Raw could have cut an hour off their show from replays alone. Replays from last week, replays from earlier in the night and replays from other shows. Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins entered at 10:30, and they didn’t start wrestling until 10:45 because of 15 minutes of replays from their match last week, segment earlier in the night, and other segments that they showcased too. Does WWE think their audience only watches parts of Raw or only tunes in every other week? They treat their fans like idiots, and it’s a waste of all of our time.
1. Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins (The Story), WWE Raw
With two nights of WrestleMania and the average fan's knowledge of booking, “two of Raw’s biggest stars try to find their way to WrestleMania card” should not be a story. Two of the best wrestlers definitely shouldn’t be fighting over an interview segment on the show of shows. That is not what WWE superstars dream of. Stone Cold Steve Austin is a huge draw, but Kevin Owens should be smart enough to know it doesn’t live up to a timeless match. Fans know this is likely just a setup for Austin to embarrass Owens and break up the night of long matches. If the Street Profits can challenge for a tag match at Mania or Vince McMahon can invite Pat McAfee on a whim, I’m confident Seth Rollins could challenge any remaining star and make it a marquee match. Heck, he can have an open challenge, and it would be more intriguing as a draw than half the matches booked. WWE is smart enough to know that this story is harming the prestige of WrestleMania and these two talented stars.
Revers Hipster's What Didn't Matter
1. (WWE, Raw) Edge
I gave Edge some leeway because he started his feud with AJ Styles hot, but it's going off the tracks. The blue light is very distracting. At first, I thought he would use them to call himself the New Undertaker in terms of WrestleMania matches, but they don't seem to have a point. Also, it's boring to watch him shadow box out there. We get it, you need to be heel Edge again to win. The part of his promo about why he lost so much was good, but the whole omniscient section is corny, and this feud is still missing a large part of its story. This feud feels manufactured right now, it doesn't feel natural. People still want to see AJ and Edge, but if WWE is going to get as much out of the match as possible, they need to fix the story.
Stay tuned to find out the overall grades of the week.
Fantasy Booking Chapter 6 Royal Rumble
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Reverse Hipster's Final Thoughts
AEW Dynamite surprisingly ranks last for me this week. Dynamite didn't really do anything wrong, I was just more invested in more things on the other shows. Raw comes in second. It was an excellent show that is clearly on the path to WrestleMania. However, NXT took the cake this week with stories and matches, and I even enjoyed things I didn't put on this list from NXT. They killed it this week.
Rob's Final Thoughts
WWE Raw had too much that didn’t matter to be higher than last place. AEW Dynamite has such high expectations that even a good show can feel like its average. St. Patrick’s Day Slam was very good but not great for a special weekly show, especially if you factor out the main event. NXT 2.0 was frankly entertaining from beginning to end, and the feuds are great going into Stand and Deliver. The characters are insanely entertaining. I have personal favorites that I want to jump up and down to root for, and I have characters that make me want to reach through the screen because I’m so mad at them. Because of that top-to-bottom entertainment, NXT 2.0 is my pick for show of the week.