Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
10. (AEW, Dynamite) Serena Deeb
Serena has recovered from her previous promo, where she seemed to lose her character. She called out Dustin Rhodes, Tony Schiavone, and anyone else who dared to question whether she could beat Thunder Rosa before knocking Rosa out. That's the Serena Deeb that AEW needs to challenge Thunder Rosa.
9. (WWE, NXT 2.0) Lash Legend vs. Tatum Paxley
I love that these two women told a story in their match. Tatum, the powerlifter, kept trying to lift Lash Legend electric chair style, but she couldn't get her up. Meanwhile, Lash kept attacking Paxley's leg, hacking away at her power. Lash was able to catch Paxley with a kick and win the match. Lash worked smarter, and Paxley worked harder. Even though Paxley lost, she was still impressive.
8. (WWE, Raw) Judgement Day
We finally got some answers about Judgement Day. Judgment Day represents power. They seem to be jaded villains that see a different way the WWE universe should work, and they want to bring other wrestlers to their side. I'm finally interested in learning more about Judgment Day now that they have established themselves, and I wonder how they will do things.
7. (WWE, NXT 2.0) OGs for the Win
Santos Escobar defeated Tony D'Angelo by outsmarting him. Santos had Legado Del Fantasma steal Tony's cane, which he anticipated Tony would have hidden in the ring. When Tony went to look for it, it wasn't there. Instead, Santos had his own weapon, and Santos blasted Tony while the ref wasn't looking and stole the match. Tony D needs to wake up earlier if he wants to pull the wool over Santos Escobar's eyes.
6. (AEW, Dynamite) Wardlow's Lashes
This segment was perfect. MJF easily established himself as a hated villain, getting booed out of the building before Wardlow even came out. MJF reminded us that if Wardlow retaliated in any way, he wouldn't get his match. MJF spit on Wardlow, but Wardlow didn't react. In fact, it was MJF who reacted when Wardlow no-sold the lashes. This was a very good creative choice by AEW, and it subverted expectations and made for an interesting dynamic. AEW subverted expectations again when MJF kicked Wardlow in the balls before the final lash and proceeded to beat up Wardlow, who was bound brutally. MJF continues to be the biggest heel in wrestling, and Wardlow is getting moreover every week.
5. (WWE, NXT 2.0) Creed Brothers vs. Viking Raiders
The Creed Brothers continue to be presented as top stars. They looked amazing in their match against the Viking Raiders. When Roderick Strong tried to interfere, the Creeds stopped him, but it cost the Creeds the match. This was an excellent result because it furthered tension in the group and gave the Viking Raiders their win back without hurting the Creeds.
4. (WWE, NXT 2.0) Still The A Championship
The North American title has been outperforming the NXT title. The North American title had a tag match between Cameron Grimes & Solo Sikoa vs. Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes this week. The match was superb, and Solo picking up the victory kept him hot. Solo has more momentum than anyone in the NXT title picture.
3. (WWE, Raw) 24/7 Title
Once again, it's the 24/7 title in the highlight section. The 24/7 title is one of the best segments on Raw due to the storylines. R-Truth served Akira Tozawa with divorce papers on this episode of Raw, and Dana Brooke ticked off Carmella. Carmella is now colluding with R-Truth to steal the 24/7 title. This is cool because Carmella and R-Truth used to be partners, and Carmella is a former 24/7 titleholder.
2. (WWE, Raw) Bobby Lashley vs. Omos, Cage Match
This match was put together very well. Cedric Alexander attacked Bobby Lashley before the match, but Bobby overcame it. Bobby dominated Omos in the cage despite the pre-match attack and beat up MVP when he tried to interfere. When Bobby tried to escape, Cedric climbed to the top of the cage to stop him, and Bobby threw Cedric off the top of the cage. However, Omos dominated Bobby after Cedric interfered. Omos then threw Bobby threw the cage. Bobby got up and won the match. Credit to WWE for finding a unique cage match ending.
1. (WWE, Raw) Riddle vs. Jimmy Uso
I didn't think I would care about this match, but Riddle and Jimmy were too good to deny. They had an awesome match, where Riddle almost lost, but the Usos got caught cheating before the final three. Jey was kicked out. Riddle capitalized with an exciting surprise roll-up to win the match.
Rob’s What Mattered
6. Bron Breakker and Joe Gacy, NXT 2.0
I haven’t written much about this feud because I think it has been just okay for being a main event feud on NXT 2.0. This was a significant step in the right direction. Joe Gacy’s cult-esque character stayed calm while goading Bron Breakker into accepting a stipulation that he would lose the championship if disqualified. Even though this is a tired trope in wrestling, it fits perfectly with the personas of the cool Gacy and fiery Breakker. If they build on the chemistry from their last match, it could be a surprisingly excellent match at In Your House.
5. More Solid Owen Hart Tournament Matches, AEW Dynamite
We got solid matches out of the Owen Hart Tournament this week. Samoa Joe continued his undefeated streak in AEW. Rey Fenix and Kyle O’Reilly had probably the best technical match of the tournament so far, ending in a massive win for O’Reilly to advance. Britt Baker and Maki Itoh was perhaps my personal favorite because of the personas of both women involved, but the match was admittedly underwhelming. Adam Cole beat Jeff Hardy to continue his roll. The most exciting part of the tournament is the storytelling involved and potential matches set up. Will the men’s final be Joe and Cole, or will it set the stage for the Undisputed Elite to implode with a Cole/O’Reilly match-up. It also potentially set up the Hardys and Young Bucks for Double or Nothing. We will get a clash between Baker and Toni Storm on the Women's Side.
4. Bobby Lashley vs. Omos, WWE Raw
This was an awesome way to open the night, as I assumed the Steel Cage Match would be the main event. They had a good video package, and these two are starting to build chemistry. The bump Cedric Alexander took from the top was insane. Even if not unique, the finish was good to keep the momentum of this feud and leave the result inconclusive if they are going to have one more match on a premium live event.
3. Wes Lee vs. Nathan Frazer, NXT 2.0
This match was shades of the old NXT- smooth, fast-paced wrestling on weekly TV. I want to see more of both of these guys after their performance in ring. It’s a shame the match was cut short by interference from Von Wagner. Sanga interacted with them outside the ring, setting up an intriguing match between Wes Lee and Sanga. I like Lee’s chip on his shoulder gimmick, and it has shades of realism, as there are lots of reasons to be upset right now.
2. Wardlow and MJF, AEW Dynamite
Very few things in wrestling have made someone look as tough as Wardlow did, no-selling the lashes from MJF. MJF continued his great heelwork and gifted mic skills, concluding the segment by getting extra lashes in on Wardlow. If they live up to the hype of this feud at Double or Nothing, it will be the best match on the card.
1. Adam Page vs. Konosuke Takeshita, AEW Dynamite
AEW’s greatest strength is its ability to put on a random match that the crowd just absolutely eats up. I didn’t know anything about Konosuke Takeshita going into this match, and I thought by the end that he was excellent and AEW should sign him ASAP. CM Punk did great work on commentary, building the feud with Adam Page. In the ring, Page and Takeshita had great sequences in an NJPW-style match that stole the show for me.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter
4. (AEW, Dynamite) Konosuke
Anybody who watched Konosuke fight Adam Page would tell you Konosuke was the most impressive one in that match. It honestly felt like Adam Page was protected by plot armor. It didn't seem like he was gritty or tough when he kicked out of Konosuke's moves. It just seemed like Adam wasn't supposed to lose. I don't know much about Konosuke, but he was so impressive that Adam Page really should have lost for taking him so lightly. Page was always looking away and taking too much time in between pins. It was disrespectful, especially when he was getting outperformed.
3. (WWE, Raw) Alexa Bliss vs. Sonya Deville
Doing a straight-up rematch between Alexa and Sonya was not the move. Yes, they established Sonya isn't a pushover, but Alexa still won the match. We already knew Alexa could beat Sonya, and Alexa should have moved on to somebody new.
2. (AEW, Dynamite) Pro Wrestling vs. Sports Entertainment
This segment didn't go well. Chris Jericho started off well by ripping Jon Moxley and William Regal for their substance abuse, which I assume they are okay with, but Regal's comment about putting Jericho's toothbrush up his butt was just terrible. One, it was disgusting. If he actually did that, it's not something the crowd could root for because it is too far. Also, I'm not buying Moxley as a tough guy pro wrestler. He's supposed to represent pro wrestling, but his alternative to a sports entertainment arena match isn't a straight match or test of skill. It's violence, which is more sports entertainment. Also, call me a WWE mark, but he isn't a good tough guy. Moxley is way better as a crazy guy. He is way more believable as someone who would do anything to win a fight. The misreading of his character as a traditional tough guy has also hurt his promos. As a crazed competitor, he is phenomenal. But, he is average, at best, as a tough guy.
1. (WWE, NXT 2.0) Joe Gacy vs. Bron Breakker
Gacy has done nothing to earn his title match. In fact, he lost last time. So why does he deserve another shot? He definitely doesn't deserve to be a calling the shots on what the match stipulation will be. Gacy is toothless as a villain, and it's hurting Bron. The NXT title is ice cold right now.
Rob’s What Didn’t Matter
4. Alexa Bliss Theme, WWE Raw
I was excited that WWE went back to Alexa Bliss’s original theme, and I thought it was potentially a sign of a return to Bliss’s old character, and I should have known better. They had a new theme this week, and it’s still unclear what Bliss’s current character is with the Fiend gone and elements of many old Bliss personas.
3. Just A Couple of Jokers, AEW Dynamite
In one show, AEW revealed both jokers, and neither one won their match to advance in the Owen Hart tournament. I think Johnny Elite and Maki Itoh were a little underwhelming compared to some of AEW’s past reveals, and it’s a testament to the excitement that AEW has built for their past surprises. In the end, I think both stars are immensely entertaining, but the reveals of the jokers were ultimately inconsequential because neither advanced.
2. NXT Women’s Breakout Tournament, NXT 2.0
The Women of NXT didn’t get a lot of time to show breakout stars. Unfortunately, a lot of the round 1 action was sort of disjointed and showed that many of the new stars of NXT could use more time training. I think the second round will be a lot better. Unfortunately, the reason it will be better is that the second-round women are all largely stars that we already know have been on NXT. Because of that, I have to say this tournament was sort of a failure for WWE in contrast to something like the Mae Young Classic that built instant women’s stars for their roster.
1. Respect for the Women’s Division, WWE Raw
Let’s talk about the hot subject of the week. Like many shows of the past year or so, it was clear WWE’s plans for the main event were turbulent throughout the night. With no clear rationale, we were getting a six-pack challenge that turned into a one-on-one for the number one contender’s tournament. This time, Corey Graves announced live on TV that Sasha Banks and Naomi had left and used pretty strong words to indicate that it was not an amicable departure and place as much blame as possible on the women. On-screen that leaves a lot to be answered. Are they going to turn this into a storyline? With Banks and Naomi leaving, why were Doudrop and Nikki A.S.H. removed from the match? Out of kayfabe, long-time WWE fans know there are two sides to the story here. It doesn’t seem like the six-pack challenge with two tag teams was smart booking in the first place, and WWE’s booking of the women’s tag division has been mediocre at best pretty much since its inception. If WWE mismanages this moving forward, it will be one of the more public cases that they mishandled their talent.
Rob’s Final Thoughts
The worst show of the week was Monday Night Raw. It was largely lackluster and published the biggest negative story of the week with the walkout of their Women’s Tag Team Champions. Second place is NXT 2.0. They have the potential to be the best show every week, but some weeks they come out kind of weak. This week was okay for them, but the disappointment of the women’s breakout tournament holds them back. The best show of the week was AEW Dynamite. AEW is back being the hottest show of the week, building multiple excellent stories for their Double or Nothing PPV. Dynamite had the best match of the week and the best story segment of the week. You can’t ask for more out of wrestling.
Reverse Hipster's Final Thoughts
All three shows were good, not great. In third place is AEW Dynamite, which had the most segments that turned me off. WWE NXT 2.0 is in second place because it was a very solid show, but it didn't reach the heights of number one. WWE Raw is number one because it had the highest highs of the week.