Updated: Jan 22
Rob's What Mattered
2. Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar, WWE SmackDown
We were most curious to see this confrontation after the match didn't occur on Day 1, and they gave it to us to open SmackDown. Brock Lesnar challenged Roman Reigns to a champion vs. champion match, but Reigns smartly declined because there's nothing in it for him. Paul Heyman showed us that he isn't solely with Lesnar, and he still has at least some gratitude for Reigns for giving him someone to manage during Lesnar's absence. The Road to WrestleMania is murky, but I like that SmackDown storylines like this keep you guessing what will happen next.
1. Charlotte Flair vs. Naomi, WWE SmackDown
I thought this was a great match for weekly TV. Charlotte Flair had a fresh matchup, and Naomi proved she could be a credible challenger to Flair's championship. It continued the storyline between Naomi and Sonya Deville in a more creative way. This just got me amped to see Naomi used better, and it made me hopeful there are still good matchups for Flair.
Rob's What Didn't Matter
3. AEW Rampage
It's weird to say that all of AEW Rampage didn't matter. The 1-hour show's greatest strength is its greatest weakness. It's a quick hour with 3-4 good, not great matches and rarely any promo segments or storyline development. The result this week was that you could skip this show and be completely fine.
2. Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss, WWE SmackDown
Calling what these two do sophomoric humor is giving it too much credit. I fear that Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss are more in the territory of go-away heat; I don't even want to see their stories or promo segments. Their wrestling isn't good enough to make me want to watch them in-ring, either. Giving them a win over the Viking Raiders didn't sit well with me at all for those reasons.
1. Women's Royal Rumble Announcement, WWE SmackDown
I hate when WWE gives away surprises to try to sell a show. For fans who watch every big show regardless, it only makes the experience of watching live less enjoyable. Even though many of these women have been used for every Royal Rumble, it still would have been better to get the sparkle of a surprise seeing your favorite women throughout the last two decades enter the match. You would be better off watching the Royal Rumble and not watching this segment. The lack of depth in the women's division and smaller pool of female legends who can still wrestle have caused this problem, and it's something WWE should critically reflect on before releasing more women or phoning it in for next year's Rumble.
Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
4. (WWE, SmackDown) Sami Zayn
Once again, Sami is the best part of SmackDown despite being treated poorly by the company. I didn't like WWE announcing a celebrity ahead of time or making it seem like anyone could be in the Royal Rumble because it's easy. However, they have always had celebrities in the Rumble, and Johnny Knoxville throwing Sami over the rope was the most entertaining part of SmackDown.
3. (AEW, Rampage) Eddie Kingston, Ortiz, and Santana vs. Daniel Garcia and 2point0, Street Fight Match
This match was really fun to watch, and the choice of the street fight played to the strength of the competitors. I thought Ortiz and Santana especially shined in this match because of their brawling and excellent sequences. I loved their fast-paced striking finisher, and, especially, the Brodie Lee-like Discus Clothesline to finish the match.
2. (AEW, Rampage) Hook
I love the way Hook has been treated so far. He is undefeated, and he just seems so smooth in the ring. I am very invested in seeing his climb through the ranks of AEW. I also thought the added wrinkle of QT Marshall trying to force Hook to fail made his match story more interesting. Also, Hook overcoming QT and his opponent only made him look smoother. I can't wait to see what he does next week.
1. (AEW, Rampage) Ruby Soho and Riho vs. Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter
I thought this match was one of the better non-tag division matches I've seen in a while. My only complaint was that there was a slight hesitation at times, but other than that, it was good. I enjoyed all the stories at play, like Ruby Soho possibly getting into a feud with Britt Baker. Jamie Hayter and Britt still clearly have tension, which led to their loss when Hayter accidentally clocked Britt. Also, Riho got momentum for her title shot and kept her streak of being undefeated against Britt intact.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter
1. (WWE) Most of SmackDown
It was full of retreading storylines. Seth Rollins showed up in Roman's locker room doing the same laughing thing he did to Cesaro, and that Bayley did to Bianca. It was bad then, and it was bad here as well. Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar are already a rematch of a million rematches. Still, they are also recycling the same whose side is Paul Heyman on storyline from last year despite Paul having already chosen. Also, the most exciting part of Roman and Brock isn't Paul Heyman, they are overusing that part of the story. They are underusing the Usos, which has caused the Bloodline ship to capsize. The Usos fought in an entertaining, but pointless street fight, a rematch from just a week earlier. What's the point of the Day One tag title match if we just run it back on SmackDown?
Rick Boogs looked good this week, but the Intercontinental Championship title is dead right now. Madcap Moss is inducing go-away heat despite being talented because his segments are awful. I'm not even sure what WWE expects the ideal reaction to be to them and how it would facilitate an intriguing story.
I'm glad Naomi is getting a title feud, but there must be better ways to build that than giving away the match. Also, the Sonya Deville feud has died a slow death because it was never explained, and we still have no idea why Sonya hates Naomi. So combining that broken feud with Charlotte's broken title reign just isn't great so far.
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