Rampage & SmackDown Wrestling Rundown 1/24/22
Updated: Feb 6, 2022
Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
5. (AEW, Rampage) Jade
Jade had a solid title defense against Anna Jay. I think this should be the standard from now on for Jade's matches. I'm excited for the rest of Jade's reign because she could grow exponentially.
4. (AEW, Rampage) Trent Beretta
When I started covering AEW, I didn't know anything about Trent. However, the more I have seen Trent, the more I have become a fan. He has a good build and in-ring style that is exciting to watch. He had an excellent match this week. Also, I love his finisher. It's like a trap finisher that can happen suddenly and shift the momentum of a match, and that's exactly what happened when he used it to defeat Nick Jackson on Rampage. Beating Nick was big for Trent, and I think he has gained a lot of momentum since returning. I could see a TNT title run down the line for him.
3. (AEW, Rampage) Bryan Danielson and Moxley
Bryan was posted outside of Moxley's match. I don't know whether they are going to fight or tag, but I'm hype to see it.
2. (WWE, SmackDown) Naomi vs. Sonya
This feud almost ended up in the what didn't matter section because Sonya cost Naomi yet again. Naomi got a title match with Charlotte, had her beat, and Sonya refused to count and distracted Naomi. This allowed Charlotte to put her in a figure four. Then, Sonya called for the bell. However, after all that, Adam Pearce made a match for Sonya and Naomi next week. Now, it's ridiculous that Sonya gets to keep her job after the BS she has pulled. I have zero faith that WWE will or should blow this story off next week on SmackDown, but at least the story is progressing. However, I will say WWE has to tell us why Adam and the rest of WWE management has let this go on for this long. When The Authority abused their power, it made sense because they were connected to Vince McMahon and were believed to have enough power to act in the company's interest. The audience could believe WWE wanted Randy Orton instead of Daniel Bryan as the face of the company. However, it seems like Sonya has a vague personal issue with Naomi, in this instance. Adam Pearce looks like the most incompetent GM in history for standing by and doing nothing about it. So incompetent, that it reaches the point of negligence like he is in on it.
1. (WWE, SmackDown) KO and Seth vs. The Usos
Big fan of this match, mainly because it had big stakes that were believable. If Seth's team won, they would get rid of the Usos for the title match, which would be crucial. If Roman Reign's won, there would be no title match, which I could also believe because rumor has it Brock Lesnar or Roman Reigns is going to win the Rumble. The match itself was perfect and ended in a DQ when Roman punched Rollins before he could pick up the win. This ending was really satisfying. Roman stopped Rollins from finishing the victory and established physical dominance over Rollins, basically saying this shows you don't get to win on my show. However, Rollins still won even in a DQ, and got the victory and desired result. Rollins established mental dominance over Reigns, mentally proving that he was one step ahead and had Reigns in a corner. Seth Rollins is still the architect.
Rob's What Mattered
4. HOOK, AEW Rampage
If this streak continues, Hook is going to be Mr. Rampage 2022. It doesn't take much: heelish moves, a squash match, and some absolute disrespect to QT Marshall, and Hook is still super over with the crowd. I'm not sure how long this can last, but AEW's presentation of Hook is still perfect so far.
3. Cargill vs. Ana Jay, AEW Rampage
This is why a women's mid-card title is hugely important to getting the whole division over. In AEW, these two women with limited experience get their experience in the main event. It made the TBS Championship and Jade Cargill feel huge, and it was a great spot for Ana Jay too.
2. Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson, AEW Rampage
Usually, when WWE stars come to a new promotion, the last thing I want to see is them face opponents they've already had matches with. There are so many dream matches for new AEW stars that you want to see them start working through the list. Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson proved that this instance was different with a brief exchange. This wasn't Dean Ambrose and Daniel Bryan; these are two entirely new characters that are wrestling altogether different styles. The excitement this generated for me is a testament to how AEW approaches characters and creativity.
1. Appearances from Raw, WWE SmackDown
I don't want the Wildcard Rule back, but since Seth Rollins is already challenging for the Universal Championship, I liked the surprise appearances from Raw stars on SmackDown. Kevin Owens backed up Rollins to continue their blossoming friendship story, and Big E backed up Kofi Kingston against Madcap Moss and Happy Corbin. Any time E is back with his New Day friends, it feels like everything is right with the world. The main event between Rollins/Owens and the Usos was a great story method to put something on the line and get more buy-in that Rollins could maybe beat Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter
2. (AEW, Rampage) Hook
I'm not off the Hook bandwagon, but I wasn't in love with his presentation this week. I think there's a difference between being slightly a jerk and being a full jerk. Hook is supposed to be Wolverine, not Sabretooth. So, I didn't love him taking a cheap shot at a lesser opponent for daring to have a moment in his opponent's entrance. It was a sucker move. Also, the match was over quickly. The stuff with QT Marshall was boring. Hook is a great talent, and they should be taking things a step farther each week, and I don't feel like they did that this week. It was skippable for me.
1. Most of SmackDown
There were a lot of rematches and inconsequential matches on SmackDown. Sheamus and Ricochet are fighting again for no real reason, and Natalya and Aliyah fight again with the same result. Xia Li came out again, but it felt really gimmicky this time. Big E and Kofi, two former world champs, are feuding with Corbin and Madcap Moss, and Corbin is fighting for absolutely nothing. If I had to issue a fix-all for all of this, I would say capitalize on recent history,. Have Aliyah move and beat someone else. Have Sheamus winning mean something instead of just having him fight the same person again. Same with Xia, it's like she is re-debuting when she should already feel like part of the roster. Also, Big E should feel like a de facto champion without a belt. Also, let's go back to Vince's edict of only having matches with stakes. They won't all hit, but the overall quality would be much better.
Rob's What Didn't Matter
2. The Elite/Best Friends feud, AEW Rampage
We have seen so many variations of this feud that I'm not even sure why they're fighting anymore. Nick Jackson and Trent fought on Rampage, and it's undeniable that all the members of these factions have history and chemistry, but AEW needs to do some storytelling if these types of matches continue. The way Adam Cole and Orange Cassidy did it on Dynamite was awesome, so this was not by contrast.
1. Women's Division, WWE SmackDown
This week was a gauntlet of bad WWE tropes: rematches, stop/start pushes, and trying to do too much in too little time. In the Natalya vs. Aliyah segment, WWE tried to do so much they accomplished nothing. Aliyah was off TV for weeks, and now, her wins against Natalya just look lucky. I didn't know if I was supposed to be focusing on the in-ring action or Summer Rae outside the ring. After the segment, Xia Li came out, and I had completely forgotten she was even on the roster. You could say the same for so many women. For fans of the internet, Toni Storm left without reason. Where have Sasha Banks been since challenging Charlotte Flair? What happened to Shotzi? Flair is entering the Royal Rumble because of a lack of challengers, but that's entirely WWE's own fault. Flair faced off against Naomi again, Sonya Deville took over as referee again, and it was just the same segment we've been seeing for months all over again. WWE needs to take a serious look at how they should be booking the many talented women of this division because there is so much unutilized potential, and it's becoming an unwatchable part of the show.
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