Updated: Feb 18
Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
9. (WWE, Raw) AJ Styles vs. Rey Mysterio
AJ Styles and Rey Mysterio had many creative spots in this match and reminded people that they could still deliver a great match on any given night. AJ Styles advanced, but there wasn't a wrong choice for this qualifying match.
8. (WWE, NXT 2.0) Mandy Rose & Kay Lee Ray
Mandy Rose and Kay Lee Ray had a promo segment where Ray tried to get a title match. What made this interesting was the psychology of the promo segment. Many wrestling fans assume women who get attention because of their looks can't wrestle and don't care about wrestling. I love that Mandy Rose just leaned into that in this promo and threw it all into Kay Lee Ray's face. Also, I liked that Ray talks about her history and that she was champion for 649 days to push the narrative even further and get herself over as one the most dominant women in WWE.
7. (WWE, NXT 2.0) Cora Jade vs. Raquel Gonzalez
Cora Jade and Raquel's match delivered precisely what it needed to. Cora showed she isn't just a one-trick pony. She isn't just that one big spot at WarGames. She has skills, and she showed that off. By the end of the match, as a fan, I thought if Raquel doesn't want Cora at this point, then Cora needs to go get someone else and enter the Dusty Rhodes Classic anyway because she has got it. Cora did earn Raquel's respect, and they will be tagging, but Cora wasn't the only one to prove something. Raquel proved that despite not getting it done in the Triple Threat with Mandy and Jade, she is still the alpha of the duo.
6. (WWE, NXT 2.0) Bron Breakker & Tommaso Ciampa vs Legado del Fantasma
This match was exciting to watch for two reasons. First, you could see that Bron had the respect that Ciampa had for Bron in the match. He truly passed the torch, and the two of them tore it up, which brings me to the next point. The fast pace of the match also made it very exciting, and the ending did not disappoint, where a member of Legado was pushed off the top to the announcer's table. Bron hit his finisher, got the win, and built momentum towards the PPV.
5. (WWE, Raw) Austin Theory Beats K.O.
Austin Theory got the biggest win of his career. He beat Kevin Owens and qualified for the Elimination Chamber. Theory got the win clean, and he looked impressive. This is the most impressed I've been with Theory since he has been on the roster. I'm excited to see what he can do in the Elimination Chamber. As for Kevin, it will be interesting to see if he slides down the card now that he has signed his contract or if this was just to put Theory over.
4. (AEW, Dynamite) Bryan's New Legacy
Bryan wants to team up with Moxley and create a new faction. This is very interesting for a multitude of reasons. One, Bryan and Moxley have both been solo guys in AEW and were excellent solo stars in WWE. However, they also worked great in teams in WWE. Jon Moxley in the Shield and Bryan in Team Hell No. Also, they work in different styles. Moxley is a brawler, and Bryan is a technical wrestle, so what wrestler would they pick from AEW to take under their wing? There is a lot of intrigue in this storyline. First, of which, will Moxley even accept Bryan's proposal? Next week, I'm definitely tuning in to see what happens with this story.
3. (WWE, Raw) Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey
Becky vs. Ronda is the match. It needs to be Ronda vs. Becky. Becky never got their one on one, and when Becky pinned Ronda, she kind of kicked out. Since then, nobody has beaten Becky. Ronda and Becky took some jabs against each other, which had that big fight feel. The only problem I had with the Becky vs. Ronda segment was when Ronda threw Becky. Becky shouldn't be manhandled without putting up a fight. It makes her look weak. Also, Becky no-sold it like she had been dumped on a bed of pillows, which made Ronda look weak. I'd rather there been no fighting, and just the mic grab. Sometimes less is more.
2. (AEW, Dynamite) MJF Beats CM Punk Twice
Wow, what a match for MJF! He beat CM Punk not just once, but twice. He choked him out and then had the match restarted. Then, Wardlow came out, slipped him a weapon, and MJF nailed CM Punk with it. Finally, MJF pinned CM Punk. Get ready because we will probably hear about the time that MJF pinned and choked out CM Punk in the same match, in Chicago, for the rest of our lives.
1. (WWE, Raw) Becky vs. Lita
After Becky was dropped on her butt, Lita came out and stroked her ego. She told her she is the GOAT, and Becky mentioned that she looked up to Lita too. Then, Lita said she also admired how Becky never backed down from a challenge. However, just as Becky was starting to catch on to what was happening, Lita challenged her to a match. At first, Becky tried to decline, but then Lita again attacked the champ's ego by saying, if you're scared, just say that. So, of course, the champ accepted. This was the best segment of the week. It was unexpected, legendary, and straightforward. I can't wait to see Lita vs. Becky at Elimination Chamber. Also, this is a great way to start the feud with Ronda. Just as Becky said, make your choice quickly because the Raw women's division is thriving and ripe with challengers. Everyone wants a shot at Big Time Becks.
Rob’s What Mattered
5. Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch, WWE Raw
Maybe good things do come to those who wait. It seems we could finally see the match everyone wanted at WrestleMania 35 at this upcoming WrestleMania. I popped when Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch traded verbal jabs. In the meantime, Lita challenging Becky Lynch is a dream match built perfectly to get us to the WrestleMania main event.
4. Bryan Danielson’s proposal, AEW Dynamite
After Jon Moxley’s match with Wheeler Yuta, Bryan Danielson came down with the much-awaited confrontation between the two. Danielson asked the crowd if they wanted to see him and Moxley fight, and the crowd popped hard. Instead, Danielson used his promo time to talk about how he and Moxley were more similar than different and tear apart what he dislikes about the AEW roster. He proposed that he and Moxley should be the guys on top, mentoring guys like Yuta, Lee Moriarty, and Daniel Garcia. AEW’s creative swerve instantly paid off: you could see the crowd slowly buy into the idea of a faction instead of a fight. This was absolutely genius creative, as we will all be watching next week to see how Moxley responds.
3. Elimination Chamber Qualifying Matches, WWE Raw
My only complaint is that they didn’t draw this out over multiple weeks, and some superstars like Seth Rollins and Brock Lesnar didn’t even need to compete to get in. As someone noted online, WWE’s problem isn’t match quality. If you examine closely, WWE TV rarely has bad matches, most are average, and some are even quite good. What they are often lacking is stakes or story, and so these qualifying matches are the perfect solution. My personal favorite was the main event match AJ Styles vs. Rey Mysterio. We don’t deserve Mysterio, who, at age 47, is pulling off moves like this week, sliding out of the ring and flipping to land on his feet. Styles was still the correct choice to win as his talent can make him a threat to be world champion at any time.
2. CM Punk vs. MJF, AEW Dynamite
I didn’t love this match as much as some people did. It was a little slow and long, hurt by commercial breaks, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the main event-worthy match of the week. CM Punk and MJF spent months building this up, and I’m surprised we didn’t see it on an AEW PPV. They used long-term storytelling, building in stories of Punk’s career like MJF’s New York Yankee gear and Punk pulling out the Pepsi Plunge he hasn’t used since his indy days. MJF’s 10/10 heel antics still worked in this match: the fake finish with the choke out and the distraction finish kept the crowd hot. But this was absolutely the right decision because MJF will now ALWAYS be able to brag about being the first one to beat Punk in AEW, the first one to beat Punk in eight years IN CHICAGO.
1. Women’s Division, NXT 2.0
Even with all roster losses and new blood over the last year, NXT 2.0 still might have the strongest overall Women’s Division. Mandy Rose and Kay Lee Ray had a fun promo segment and recurring segments throughout the night where Ray terrorized Rose and Toxic Attraction. Raquel Gonzalez and Cora Jade had my favorite match of the night where Jade proved she could hang with Gonzalez even if Gonzalez won in the end, leading to a probable alliance in the Women’s Dusty Cup between the two. Sarray debuted her creative new gimmick and looked smooth in the ring. Then, Wendy Chu and Tiffany Stratton made their over-the-top story work in Chu’s match with Amari Miller. I love the silly sleep gimmick and the fact that Stratton tried to buy Miller’s help and ended up getting her credit card stolen by Chu worked because Stratton sold it perfectly. There is a lot to love in the NXT 2.0 Women’s Division right now.
Rob’s What Didn’t Matter
2. Cameron Grimes and Carmelo Hayes, NXT 2.0
This promo segment did not work at all. Cameron Grimes hurled cartoonish shallow insults at Carmelo Hayes, and Hayes didn’t really reply with anything of note. Hayes brought up Ollie Jayy again, but it’s still unclear what their relationship is to me as a fan. This match has so much potential, and the contrast between the characters is so obvious, NXT 2.0 should have been able to write better material and knock it out of the park here.
1. Bobby Lashley and Brock Lesnar, WWE Raw
Brock Lesnar won the Royal Rumble, so his road to WrestleMania is already guaranteed to end in a champion match. Lesnar should not be in the Elimination Chamber, which should be reserved as an opportunity for other superstars to go into WrestleMania as champion. I can’t believe the crowd still pops for Lesnar, who is overused on WWE TV. Bobby Lashley’s start as champion looks weak, as Lesnar has done nothing but underestimate him and Lashley continues to whine about it when he should be a dominant champion.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter
3. (AEW, Dynamite) Jake Roberts
Lance Archer beat up Adam Page and slammed him through a table, but that didn't matter to me. We already knew he could do that. However, when he came out, he cut off Jake the Snake. I think it was disrespectful to Jake to tell him to shut up mid promo. Also, I'd rather hear Jake finish the promo and add psychological depth to the feud than have another beatdown segment.
2. (AEW, Dynamite) Brandi
Brandi's segment with Dan Lambert made no sense. First off, where is Cody? Why would he sit back and let three guys roll up on Brandi and say horrible things about her? Especially when Dan is talking about how much he would like to smack the shit out of her. Also, Dan Lambert admits to being a sexist, horrible character. So, when the crowd still cheers him and boos Brandi, it makes the crowd look like shit. Then, Dan brought out Paige VanZant, a mixed martial artist, to fight Brandi, but it was a terrible brawl because they were separated after one attempted takedown. It didn't feel like they earned the women in the back coming out to save Brandi. When Triple H was saved by WWE personnel from Brock or Cena it's because he was making them bleed or breaking an arm. Even looking at what Ronda Rousey did clearly established the need for extra help before it arrived. Brock and Ronda always established that they were a danger to their opponent before help arrived. Paige VanZant didn't establish that. This Dan Lambert vs. Brandi feud needs a complete overhaul.
1. (WWE, Raw) Bobby Lashley
Yet somehow, there is something worse on the list of things that happened this week in wrestling. Brock Lesnar's feud with Bobby has to be the biggest what didn't matter I have given in recent memory. Brock didn't even really cut a promo this week. He basically just laid out the WrestleMania plan, which consists of Bobby being a placeholder for Brock to get his title back. This is absolutely ridiculous behavior by WWE. Bobby was rumored to have come back to WWE for his match with Brock. They gave him that match on paper and made sure that it meant as little as possible. He is supposed to be a monster heel, but they treat him like dirt. If Brock beats Lashley and takes his title, I don't know if I'll watch WrestleMania.
Find out who had the overall best show in the final thoughts section below.
Day One Fantasy Booking
Join Patreon (Here) and get access to exclusive content, including Fantasy bookings. My Day 1 booking just dropped on Patreon. The story picks up right after Survivor Series and goes to Day 1, and focuses on the Bloodline and the SmackDown Women's Tag Titles. This is a long running storyline that will continue to WrestleMania with new entries each month.
Reverse Hipster's Final Thoughts
In our new final thoughts segment, we will be deciding which show is the best each week. For me, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was Raw. Raw had the most exciting moments while also having the lowest moment of the week. Women's wrestling really brought home the trophy for Raw, and it's one of the areas AEW needs to up their game to compete.
Rob's Final Thoughts
Every week, WWE Raw has a third hour that they just can’t quite overcome with meaningful action. Nothing besides the opening segment didn’t matter this week, but at least an hour was skippable. NXT 2.0 had the best storytelling of the week. It felt like almost every segment mattered, and the characters all exist in this backstage universe that weaves a thread through the whole show. AEW Dynamite started with what mattered segments, but everything else was the middle of the road. Because it’s the only show that elicited a strong positive reaction out of me, I have to give the week to NXT 2.0.