AEW Rampage, Impact & WWE SmackDown Wrestling Rundown: Is There More?

Updated: Mar 11

Reverse Hipster's What Mattered

6. (Impact) Masha

I want to give Masha her flowers because a lot of people have squash matches, but she is doing it the best. She doesn't have a story to make her more interesting, and she doesn't need to depend on her opponents. Her matches are interesting because it always looks like she is trying to hurt her opponent legitimately. Her moveset looks deadly after Masha slams her opponent on his or her head twice. You understand why her opponent doesn't get up.


5. (WWE, SmackDown) Ricochet

Ricochet beat Sami Zayn for the IC title on SmackDown. This one is interesting because I am happy for Ricochet, but it also sucks that Sami had a week with the title. Also, this pretty much confirms Johnny Knoxville is winning the WrestleMania match, and WWE doesn't want Sami to win the title. The match itself was entertaining and told a good story of Ricochet getting a bunch of close counts before Knoxville came out and distracted Sami, and cost him the title. I'll be interested to see what Ricochet can do with the title because the last two reigns haven't gone well.


4. (AEW, Rampage) Serena Deeb & Hikaru Shida

Serena had a good rookie challenge this week. This week her opponent ran away from her, which was smart. However, that also made Deeb look like a world-beater because as soon as Serena got her hands on her opponent, she made her tap and demonstrated yet another way she could quickly beat an opponent. Then, after the match, Shida came out and whooped Serena with a kendo stick. Deeb had to run with her tail between her legs. It will be interesting to see these two fight again.


3. (Impact) Inspired Booking

This week, Cassie Lee, from The IInspiration, faced off against Madison Rayne, from The Influence. What put this match over the top was the storytelling. The Influence taped an X by the ring and made Kaleb wait right there the whole match because IInspiration had been trying to seduce him. So, Influence wanted him to stay out of their way during the match, and he didn't move from that spot for most of the match. You almost forget he is there. However, Tenille Dashwood interferes in the match when the ref has his back turned. When Jessie McKay tries to get revenge for her partner, Dashwood ducks, and Jessie stops just short of running into Kaleb. Then, she gets blasted by Dashwood when she turns, and she falls into Kaleb's arms. The Influence is furious that Kaleb caught her, and so he gently guides her to the ground, making them madder, but Madison gets pinned while she is distracted. I thought the booking was creative. I like how they had Kaleb stand in one spot, but still affect the match and advance the seduction story.


2. (AEW, Rampage) Erick Redbeard

Erick Redbeard made his return on Rampage this week. He is joining Death Triangle, and now that he is a part of their group, they look way more formidable. I said before that the House of Black just needed a good opponent, and now they have one. Also, I was a massive fan of the Wyatt Family, so I'm super hyped to see Erick back.


1. (AEW, Rampage) TNT Triple Threat Match

I wish this would have happened on PPV, but at the end of the day, I'm just glad it happened. The match was great, easily the best match of the weekend. Sammy Guevara is having one hell of a run right now. I think he had the spot of the match when he dove off the top rope and stopped the count at two, got rid of Darby Allin, and pinned Andrade El Idolo to retain his title.


Rob's What Mattered

3. No DQ, Impact Wrestling

Impact Wrestling does a good job taking common wrestling tropes and making them work well in front of a small but mighty crowd. Bullet Club and Violent by Design/G.O.D. made the chaotic start fun, and Scott D'Amore executed the announcement of a No DQ match perfectly. The crowd went crazy, and it changed the whole atmosphere of a fun main event.


2. Meaningful Matches, WWE SmackDown

SmackDown did a great job gaining momentum toward WrestleMania. They booked two title matches where the results mattered, and they got a main event with Ronda Rousey, who doesn't wrestle on TV very often. None of the matches were spectacular, but they did what they were intended to do. It was good to see a wrestling show that shows wrestling, and I think the stakes of the matches rewarded fans for watching this show.


1. Sammy Guevara vs. Andrade El Idolo vs. Darby Allin, AEW Rampage

They must have a long card planned for Sunday night because this match was PPV-worthy on its own. They had insane high spots believable false finishes, and it continued to put Sammy Guevara over big time. Guevara is everything a TV champion should be: he's defending the title in the match of the night almost every week when he gets a chance. He's on a run that is succeeding in making the TNT Championship simultaneously a rival to the World Championship and so different that it's hard to compare. The TNT Championship scene has its own unique aura, reminiscent of TNA's X-Division in the mid-2000s, which is a huge asset to AEW right now.

Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter

4. (WWE, SmackDown) Ronda Rousey vs. Sonya Deville

Originally, I was going to leave this match in limbo and omit it from both sections, but the ending put the segment/match over into the negative. First, Ronda shouldn't be in the main event just because she is Ronda. Nobody had any doubt about what was going to happen in this match. I loved the one-armed match, but you can't have Ronda whoop Sonya with one arm and then have them face off one-on-one. That match is no longer a draw, and the after-match segment was absolutely atrocious. Ronda put Charlotte in an ankle lock and made Charlotte tap out. Off the top of my head, I can't remember a time when Charlotte has ever tapped out. It's part of the draw of this match. Charlotte is one of the most pushed superstars in the history of wrestling vs. Ronda, the baddest woman on the planet, who was the main event at WrestleMania, won the title, and a Royal Rumble. One of these two goliaths has to tap out to the other one, and based on how they have been booked, there was no certainty on who that would be. However, WWE damaged its feud by having Charlotte tap in front of everyone for absolutely nothing on free TV. It was a terrible choice that didn't add to the match and, actually, actively took away from the hype of the match.


3. (WWE, SmackDown) Women's Tag Team Championship

So far, the Women's Tag Team Championships have been so severely neglected that a social worker should come and take them away from WWE. Adding Sasha and Naomi was a nice infusion of the life, but the plan for the titles is still bland as hell. They are just going to have a regular tag match with Zelina and Carmella, which is boring. I like all four women, but they haven't put nearly enough work in for that to be interesting. Based on this basic singles match between Carmella and Naomi, creative isn't going to put much more effort into building this feud. Also, it looks like the Men's Tag Team Championship will be a multi-men match based on The Usos attacking Nakamura and Boogs. However, that doesn't make sense. The men, especially the Usos, are better equipped to have a classic tag match. The women probably won't get much time and have less chemistry because their division gets so little attention. Let the men who have more spots on WrestleMania, let's be honest, do the two-on-two tag matches and have the women do a multi-women tag match. That way, more women can get on the card, who deserve it, and the number of women can make up for the lack of story with exciting action.


2. (WWE, SmackDown) New Day

New Day is so criminally underutilized right now, and it's really sad to see because they are doing their best. Their matches are still awesome and entertaining, but I have to put them here because of their creative direction. Those awesome matches often mean nothing, and they are so clearly not the priority despite being a group of two former Black World Champions, who are very over. Before getting into the problem, I want to give the creative team some credit. My biggest complaint has been that WWE doesn't have stakes. I can at least see that with this story about Sheamus and Holland wrecking New Day's ATV. Creative is at least trying to give these two teams a reason to fight. I appreciate that, but the reason is really elementary. Why would Sheamus care about New Day's ATV?! It's a really petty reason to start a feud, which makes it hard to buy into. I wish WWE would do more intricate storytelling like AEW does because that gets people invested. Also, I understand that New Day acts silly, but they have also managed to tell many great tag rivalry stories. They are capable of more than this.


1. (WWE, SmackDown) Drew McIntyre

First, let's start with Corbin's poker skits. That was bad because it was not believable at all. The dialogue was so clearly exposition, and it didn't sound like real people talking to each other, and it sounded like Corbin trying to set up a match. Pat McAfee even pointed out that he didn't know how Corbin could win with no cards. Also, let's be honest, Corbin may be undefeated, but that's mostly because he hasn't done anything of note as Happy Corbin. Happy Corbin is the worse version of his character, and Corbin just hasn't built himself up enough to face Drew. Drew is a top star in the company. If Drew loses to Corbin, it will be unbelievable. If Drew wins, it will be predictable. Corbin and Drew are talented, so they could pull out a good match. But why are we booking a match for the biggest show of the year that could be surprisingly good? Also, why is Jinder Mahal facing Drew on SmackDown? Drew beat this man for a month in a horrible feud. It just felt like a waste of a spot on SmackDown. Also, when did Drew go from someone who could beat Bobby Lashley and Brock Lesnar to someone in the undercard?


Rob's What Didn't Matter

3. Enough Already, Impact Wrestling and AEW Rampage

The squash match gimmick is hardly used like it was in the old days of wrestling, but when it is, it's almost always executed unexcitingly and books the competitor to a dead end. On Impact Wrestling, this is all we've seen of Masha Slamovich. While other women are losing, they are at least getting themselves over with the fans in longer, more meaningful matches. The same can be said of Serena Deeb on AEW Rampage. Even though the squash matches fit her character, Deeb is an excellent wrestler who should be in competitive matches. Right now, it feels like these segments are more of a placeholder for her instead of a bridge to something better.


2. What Will We Do for Four Weeks? WWE SmackDown

It seems like a lot of the WrestleMania feuds have already hit their peak. Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss are still making fun of Drew McIntyre backstage while he chases them with a sword. Roman Reigns cut a promo that felt like it was made for the go-home show. The Women's Tag Champions are already at the stage where they are doing 1-on-1 matches versus their opponents. At every feud, WWE has sort of established where they are going. What are they going to do for four weeks to keep things interesting? Where are the twists and turns we've come to expect from a good WrestleMania build?


1. Ricochet Wins the Intercontinental Championship, WWE SmackDown

It was a bad Friday for people who like having their cake and eating it too. I'm not sure how you rate a segment where an underrated superstar wins the championship from an underrated superstar who only held the title for a few weeks in a match that was far below both of their capabilities. It's an exciting opportunity for Ricochet, but he has no momentum right now. Sami Zayn just won the title, and he didn't get to do anything for it. His feud with Johnny Knoxville going toward WrestleMania feels like more of a reward for his character work, while WWE still doesn't seem to appreciate how great of a wrestler he is. Zayn did some of his best work backstage after the match, but I really want to see Zayn and Ricochet do this again but with more time and no distractions.


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.


Reverse Hipster's Final Thoughts

SmackDown is last as usual. I feel like SmackDown is in a coma, and this week it woke up and is starting to learn to walk again. SmackDown took some positive steps, introduced stakes, and tried to make things more important than usual, but it still has got a ways to go before it's up and walking again. Impact was pretty consistent with its storytelling this week. However, I felt the wrestling wasn't very strong this week. There weren't many highlights from a match quality standpoint this week, which hurt the show. Rampage was the easy winner for me. Everything on the show felt essential and exciting, and it had the highest highs of the week. I hope Rampage will deliver this level of effort and star power from now on and not just for the Revolution go-home show.


Rob's Final Thoughts

Impact Wrestling has its strongest roster in a long time, but it doesn't have the depth to hold my attention for a weekly two-hour show. They had a fine show this week, but nothing that I really wanted to tell everyone about.

AEW Rampage was a weird show that didn't quite feel like a go-home show for Revolution because it's so wrestling-heavy. The triple threat match to open the night was spectacular, and everything else just kind of was. The Road to Revolution show was still good, but it strangely wasn't as good as their past "Road to" shows, even though these are the best storylines AEW has written.

WWE did a good job this week with what they had. SmackDown matches were meaningful, and they addressed or developed almost every WrestleMania feud and had the best average segment. It was actually a must-watch show if you are planning to watch WrestleMania, which makes SmackDown the winner of this week for me. Impact Wrestling has its strongest roster in a long time, but it doesn't have the depth to hold my attention for a weekly two-hour show. They had a fine show this week, but nothing that I really wanted to tell everyone about.

AEW Rampage was a weird show that didn't quite feel like a go-home show for Revolution because it's so wrestling-heavy. The triple threat match to open the night was spectacular, and everything else just kind of was. The Road to Revolution show was still good, but it strangely wasn't as good as their past "Road to" shows, even though these are the best storylines AEW has written.

WWE did a good job this week with what they had. SmackDown matches were meaningful, and they addressed or developed almost every WrestleMania feud and had the best average segment. It was actually a must-watch show if you are planning to watch WrestleMania, which makes SmackDown the winner of this week for me.

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