Rob's What Mattered
11. Tiffany Stratton and Sarray, NXT 2.0
Tiffany Stratton isn't a star in-ring yet, but she has an easy-to-understand and entertaining character that makes backstage segments like this possible. Their taste in jewelry illustrates the difference between the two characters: Sarray's necklace is deeply meaningful to her and her family's legacy, while Stratton's taste is expensive and superficial. The attack afterward suggested to me that maybe Stratton secretly envies Sarray's connection to her family while Stratton's main family connection is a bank account. This has the potential to be a great feud if they give it time.
10. Gunther vs. Solo Sikoa, NXT 2.0
Gunther is a ready star on NXT 2.0, and it is smart just to let him wrestle long matches. This was a different kind of competitive match to see Solo Sikoa in, and I don't think he looked out of place at all. Sikoa is a rising star, and I think NXT 2.0 should keep putting him in situations like this to see how far he can go.
9. Tag Team Wrestling, WWE Raw
Raw showcased their tag division on one show better than they have for the rest of the year. It works wonders when you let good wrestlers go out and wrestle. Alpha Academy and Kevin Owens/Seth Rollins took three segments for their match. The Mysterios used a match with the Hurt Business to build their feud with Miz. RKBro and the Street Profits had another great tag match. They are steamrolling toward a potential show stealer if they let these teams do everything at WrestleMania.
8. Women's Dusty Classic, NXT 2.0
The effort they put into Raquel Gonzalez and Cora Jade paid off. They looked like a team out there, hitting moves in tandem, and they are obviously planned to go deep in this tournament. The less obvious pleasant surprise was the fun team of Wendy Choo and Dakota Kai beating the established Indy Hartwell and Persia Pirotta. I love both of their characters, and they both kick ass in the ring. It's a surprise Kai is still on NXT with all of her experience and a character that could easily translate to the main roster. The coming matches should be even more competitive and excellent for the Women's Dusty Classic.
7. Finn Balor Wins the US Championship, WWE Raw
Finn Balor got back into the mix just last week, and he is quickly a factor on Raw. Damien Priest should be commended for his reign, the longest in recent memory with lots of great in-ring TV matches. I was surprised Balor won on a Raw, but I still think this is headed toward Demon vs. Damien at WrestleMania, as the gimmicks demand a feature on the grandest stage.
6. MJF, CM Punk, and Wardlow, AEW Dynamite
Even though this wasn't as good as their past promo segments, it did exactly what it needed to do to hold the feud until Revolution. It's still unclear if MJF is completely faking it or if he's just not taking CM Punk's apology. The brutal conclusion to the segment gave us an insane visual and a taste of what to expect Sunday. In this match, Wardlow brutalized an opponent his own size, adding another dimension to the dominance. He confronted Shawn Spears, and it felt like Wardlow's breaking point was near. The backstage segment with MJF, Spears, and Wardlow created even more intrigue around potential results on Sunday for both men.
5. Melo Don't Miss, NXT 2.0
Carmelo Hayes again defended his championship in the main event against Pete Dunne. Hayes has been booked excellently: he is seemingly unbeatable, and he's getting so cocky that now he's willing to defend his championship in a Ladder Match. Will this prove to be the odds that Hayes can't overcome? Or will he prove again that he is the A champion?
4. Tag Team Casino Battle Royale, AEW Dynamite
This was a predictable result, but the match was so entertaining, showcasing the depth and potential of AEW's tag team division. The return of Darius Martin for Top Flight was a surprise that the crowd loved, and the finishing sequence showed how good Top Flight could be. Even when everyone knew the likely result, they had the crowd rooting for the babyfaces to pull off the upset.
3. A Phenomenal WrestleMania Match, WWE Raw
Even though it was predictable, I am excited about the Edge and AJ Styles WrestleMania match. Many people said this was a heel turn by Edge, but I think it is part of the same character. Edge said he wanted the bulldog AJ Styles, and he's absolutely right. That Styles hasn't been seen for at least a few years. I think Edge's actions are a way to bring that Styles back out. If he succeeds in that, the entire WWE universe should be grateful for Edge's "heel turn."
2. I just Whipped Your Ass, WWE Raw
Bianca Belair's hair whip is one of my favorite moves in wrestling, so unique that only her character can do it and has more credibility than any weapon in WWE. Belair's whipping of Becky Lynch was so loud that fans online thought it was a sound effect, but cell phone footage online has quickly proved that wrong. No wonder Belair only brings it out for special occasions. The marks on Lynch looked like they could be permanent. This was already an excellent three-on-three match, but this conclusion took the Lynch/Belair feud to a new level and hyped their match at WrestleMania better than any match could.
1. Ring of Honor, AEW Dynamite
Tony Khan opened the night with a shocking announcement that he acquired Ring of Honor. It's unclear what that means for the future, but it made an interesting match to open the night. Christopher Daniels returned to face Bryan Danielson in a fun, competitive match. Even though it's a smaller venue, Daily's Place has unmatched energy and knowledge and a history of AEW that contributes to these kinds of matches. A fun match quickly pivoted into the story between Danielson and Jon Moxley. Danielson's disrespectful attitude doesn't seem to match Moxley's style, and the result of their clash will dictate if the two can become a friendly alliance or bitter enemies.
Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
7. (WWE, Raw) Nobody Kisses Better Than Tamina
This week, Tamina and Akira had a mixed tag match with Dana and Reggie. Reggie pinned Akira, but after the match, Dana kissed Reggie and revealed she didn't just kiss him last week to win the title. Not to be outdone, Tamina grabbed Akira and kissed him, and Akira nearly fainted and then chased after Tamina as she left. This segment was a little derivative of last week, but it made me chuckle.
6. (WWE, Raw) Heel Mania
Edge's open challenge was answered this week by AJ Styles. However, when AJ came out to accept the challenge, things went left. Edge said he wanted the pitbull AJ instead of Omos's bitch. He then beat up AJ and kicked him in the balls. AJ and getting kicked in the balls, name a more iconic duo. Edge didn't stop there though. He hit AJ with a conchairto twice. I'm optimistically interested to see where this program goes. However, it is so far based on very little. Edge just flipped out on AJ for no reason, and if AJ is really his competition, I hope they come up with a better why than what they have so far.
Finn Balor defeated Damian Priest for the United States Championship. This is great for Finn, but I have mixed feelings because Damian has been carrying the title all year. Although, this probably means Damian will win it back at WrestleMania. Damian turned heel at the end of the match, saying the fans cheered Finn to victory, but they never cheered for Damian like that. So, he plans to win the title back in spite of the fans, which kind of makes sense, but also doesn't. It makes sense that he would turn on the fans for not giving him the support he deserves. It doesn't make sense that the fans are the reason he lost, but they magically won't matter next match. Damian also beat down Finn and threw him with reckless abandon into the announcer table, and it looked incredibly violent.
5. (WWE, NXT) Bron Breakker
This week, Bron and Ciampa defeated The Dirty Dawgs in the Tag Team competition. The match was very fast-paced and exciting. These tag matches are really getting over Bron's strength and explosiveness while getting him the rub from veterans.
4. (WWE, NXT) Dark Horses Ride On
Dakota Kai and Wendy Choo pulled out a shocking upset this week when they beat Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta. Dakota and Wendy proved not only could they coexist, but they are a force to be reckoned with. They pulled out multiple tag team moves without having much practice together and took out one of the biggest threats in the tournament.
3. (WWE, NXT) Cora Jade & Raquel Gonzalez vs. Leon & Feroz
Cora Jade and Raquel absolutely killed it this week, picking up their first win of the tournament. No surprises there. What was surprising was how well Leon and Feroz performed. Leon and Feroz pulled multiple wow-moment moves and really elevated the match. In my opinion, they had the spot of the match when Leon popped up Feroz over the top rope into a crossbody, and then when Leon did a suicide front flip through the ropes. This will probably not be the last we see of them.
2. (WWE, Raw) Don't Touch My Hair
The Raw women had a six-women tag match of Becky Lynch, Nikki A.S.H. & Doudrop vs. Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan. The match was entertaining and told a good story. All throughout the match, Becky beat Bianca using Bianca's hair. Becky pulled her by it. She tied her up by it. She did every underhanded hair tactic she could think of. Until Bianca yelled out, "Don't touch my hair," and viciously whipped Becky with her hair. Becky was beaten so badly she had to run out of the match. Then, Bianca hit Nikki with the KOD. I loved this spot. It keeps the title picture very hot going into Mania. After watching Becky attack Bianca all match, it was cathartic to watch Bianca get her revenge.
1. (AEW, Dynamite) The Best Heel In Wrestling
MJF is the best heel in wrestling right now, and it's not debatable. Last week, after seeing MJF's promo, I thought CM Punk would hug him, and he did this week. However, MJF took that opportunity to beat the crap out of CM Punk. He punched him with the ring, busted him open, and choked him with a dog collar. MJF did the most heel thing he could do after cutting his heartfelt promo, which he went back and revealed it was a ruse to sucker Punk in. We suspected it, and like Punk, we fell for it anyway because he is that damn good.
Credit to Punk, who cut an underrated promo this week. Because even for the great voice of the voiceless, it was hard to follow up what MJF did, but Punk did that and did it while keeping the integrity of the feud intact. CM Punk admitted that he wasn't perfect, that he did some terrible things and referenced his time as a heel in WWE. However, in the end, he reminded the audience that MJF had done some terrible things, too, and those were choices. It's important because it was kind of hard to hate MJF after his amazing promo about idolizing Punk and being bullied. However, Punk reminded us why we should. He also pointed out he looked up to Stone Cold and had a picture with him, but he never hated Stone Cold for walking out. CM Punk ended his promo by saying that he may not be the good guy, but he is trying, and then he offered a handshake to MJF. MJF hugged CM Punk and then reminded us all why we should despise him.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter
5. (AEW, Dynamite) Tag Rumble
I didn't like the booking choice of having another Tag Rumble right after the one last week. Also, having the Young Bucks win was the most predictable outcome and cheapened last week's betrayal by Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish. It would have made way more sense for Kyle and Bobby to cost the Young Bucks the match last week and then have another team win this week so that the Young Bucks actually miss out on something. Also, it would have been a great time to put Top Flight over, but, instead, we got the predictable finish.
4. (WWE, NXT) Andre Chase vs. Von Wagner
Andre Chase surprised me and actually got a lot of offense in this match, but I hated the finish. Andre gets distracted by Wagner's manager. When Wagner tries to take advantage, Chase ducks, and his star pupil takes the blow. Andre then capitalizes by running Wagner into the post. But then, instead of finishing Wagner, Andre gets distracted by Bodhi Hayward, who is telling him to go win the match, but he stays instead. The hesitation cost Andre, and he lost, but it felt unrealistic. There was no reason for Andre to hesitate, especially when he had the upper hand, and there was nothing he could do for Bodhi at the moment anyway.
3. (WWE, Raw) Alpha Academy vs. Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens
I just hated that they gave this match away. Seth said if they won the titles, Alpha Academy could face them at WrestleMania. Well, fighting on Raw confirms that match won't be happening at Mania. But also, they are about to fight next week, and Seth and Otis already have a title shot. Why do we need to see them fight this week? Also, Seth and Kevin have now beat RK-Bro and the champions, and I think this match didn't need to happen.
2. (WWE, Raw) Austin Theory
Some people like these Austin Theory-Vince McMahon segments, but I've never been a fan, and that hasn't changed. I like the symbolic meaning of Vince taking time to build a star, but I don't enjoy the execution. They don't reveal anything deeper about Austin Theory's character, and this week was just an advertisement for Vince's interview, which already sold itself. Also, it was a ridiculous advertisement. Austin was like, what if Pat McAfee jumps you or something? I should be there to have your back. But why would Pat ever jump his boss? Also, even Pat did, which he didn't, WWE could make that storyline make sense. Why would you telegraph it? That would be huge news.
1. (WWE, Raw) Omos
Dominance, for dominance's sake, isn't entertaining. Omos looks like an attraction, but he still doesn't have a character after a WrestleMania match, a tag run, and a Royal Rumble appearance. Because he doesn't have a character, I can't get invested in him. He did not help himself by squashing one of the most dynamic big men in the company right now. WWE should take notes from Wardlow. Fans don't love Wardlow just because he is big and strong, he also has a story.
Rob's What Didn't Matter
3. Harland vs. Draco Anthony, NXT 2.0
NXT 2.0 has put some stock into building Draco Anthony, but they kind of destroyed it here before it could go anywhere. Anthony is supposed to be the guy who puts in the extra hours because he knows it will help him in the ring, but it didn't help him when he got steamrolled by Harland here.
2. Omos vs. T-Bar, WWE Raw
I think this was a gross misuse of T-Bar, who could be a credible midcard champion tomorrow if WWE gave him time. It was a disappointing match if you were excited to see the giant Omos take on the agile big man. We already knew Omos was dangerous, but I think it would have built both characters better to give T-Bar some offense and have Omos prove he can overcome a match that goes longer.
1. No Theme Will Survive, WWE Raw
The continuation of downgrades in WWE theme music continues. Tommaso Ciampa is becoming somewhat of a regular on Raw, but it was hard to recognize him without his signature theme music. WWE switching themes because of petty feuds with musicians is sad and bad for the product. They even let Bobby Roode use the Glorious music on NXT. Could you imagine if Undertaker came out at the Hall of Fame ceremony with royalty-free spooky music? If a wrestler's current theme is over, let them keep it for the love of God.
Stay tuned to find out which show was best below.
Fantasy Booking Chapter 6 Royal Rumble
Find out who I would book to win the Royal Rumble. Also, have you ever wondered what would happen if Brock Lesnar won the IC Championship? Find out the answer to this question as well as how I would book the Bloodline and Women's Tag Titles at Royal Rumble on Patreon. Join the Patreon, support the blog, and get access to this long-term fantasy booking of The Bloodline that will conclude at WrestleMania.
Rob's Final Results
This week's NXT 2.0 was more meant to build next week's Roadblock. Quickly thrown together, this show will have a lot of matches I expected to be at NXT's WrestleMania weekend show. It was a good show, but the worst of the week.
Raw had a good show this week, with a lot of entertaining matches spread throughout and a couple of high highs that had WrestleMania implications. It also had the lowest lows, which continue to hold WWE back even when they do well overall.
The best show of the week was Dynamite for me. They had a big reveal to start the show and promoted all of their feuds going into their big show, Revolution. The unique atmosphere of Daily's Place and A+ booking made this the show of the week for me, even if it was pretty much what we've come to expect from Dynamite.
Reverse Hipster's Final Thoughts
This week, none of the shows were phenomenal. I would say, surprisingly, Dynamite was last this week. It wasn't really bad, but it wasn't great either. However, it did have the best segment on any show, though. NXT comes in second place. It really delivered in match quality this week, but Raw comes in first because it had the most matches and stories that got my attention.