Updated: Jan 2
Rob’s What I’m Thankful For
6. Dana Brooke wins the 24/7 Championship, WWE Raw
The 24/7 Championship has showcased the weird underbelly of WWE, but I thought it was used nicely here. If I’m not mistaken, this was Dana Brooke’s first championship in WWE. For people who float around in WWE creative, it has to be nice to have a moment like this. I also like the angle of having a woman hold the championship. It creates an interesting dynamic, leaning toward intergender wrestling.
5. Cameron Grimes and Duke Hudson, WWE NXT
I said last week that NXT 2.0 had to do a lot of work to introduce me to new characters. They did that perfectly here with the very fun poker segment last week and follow up this week. The poker segment told us everything we needed to know about how the two characters approach risks/strategy, and the contrast between them led to the inherent conflict. Now, we have a well-built feud and hair vs. hair match for War Games.
4. NXT 2.0 breaks the formula, WWE NXT
I love how NXT 2.0 opened with Grayson Waller interrupting the intro package. I thought it was a creative way to break the formulaic approach of WWE. It says on NXT 2.0 you will never know what’s going to happen. They opened the night with champion Tomasso Ciampa and Waller having a knockout match, which is also a subversion of expectations. This was NXT’s magic formula to winning me over this week.
3. Big E vs. Everybody, WWE Raw
WWE Raw is doing a great job building not only Big E but many potential opponents. Big E faced Austin Theory in the main event, and the match was scouted by potential future opponents Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens. The angle right now reminds me of WWE at its best over the last few years. It’s not linear storytelling, and that makes the build must-watch.
2. CM Punk, AEW Dynamite
Seven years ago, on Thanksgiving day, I listened to the infamous CM Punk podcast with Colt Cabana where he outlined what WWE put him through and why he quit wrestling. It’s not lost on me that seven years later, we are reminded what made Punk great. The payoff from last week was about fifteen uninterrupted minutes of promo between Punk and MJF with zingers, callbacks, and a dispute over greatness. Punk is my second favorite superstar of all time, so I’m definitely thankful to have him back, and I think he’s in it for the right reasons, to put real pro wrestling on the map and build the next generation of pro wrestlers, MJF included.
1. War Games, WWE NXT
You knew this was coming, right? I love NXT War Games, and I think the match they are booking for this year as a slam dunk. In new school vs. old school, we can have the final chapter of some of my favorite characters in NXT and transition to the NXT 2.0 wrestlers that I’m still learning about. Johnny Gargano apparently signed a one week contract extension just to do this match, and this is the chance to tell the final chapter in his DIY story with Tommaso Ciampa. Pete Dunne is consistently excellent, and LA Knight is the best next guy up to represent old-school NXT of pre-established indy/TNA stars. My secret hope is that Knight gets taken out, and we get a Sami Zayn, Finn Balor, or Ricochet in the match.
Reverse Hipster's What I'm Thankful For
6.RKBro (WWE Raw)
Riddle becoming Randy was hilarious. Dressing up like Randy and doing his moves against Dolph Ziggler was a great story. Also, it all came around at the end of the match when Randy did Matt Riddle's move on Bobby Roode. RKBro is still one of the best parts of Raw.
5. Cora Jade Defeats Mandy (NXT)
Cora defeated Mandy Rose in a shock victory. I'm a big fan of Cora. I'm glad NXT made her look like a big deal with a win over the NXT Champion. Also, NXT was able to protect the champion and advance the WarGames story by having Kay Lee Ray distract Mandy.
4. New Champions (WWE Raw)
Queen Zelina and Carmella won the Tag Team Championship. I think this is great for the division because, as a heel tag team rises, Zelina and Carmella can elevate the division. Also, WWE is better at booking heels than faces, plus the title gives Queen Zelina and especially Carmella more credibility. Also, Rhea and Nikki are better off as singles competitors. Dana Brooke won the 24/7 title, which is her first title in WWE. I'm glad she is finally getting some attention. It will be interesting to see what she can do with it.
3. Cameron Grimes (NXT)
I loved Cameron Grimes's promo this week. He told the audience that his hair was a reminder of his humble beginnings. Cameron Grimes gave us insight into his character, while also communicating the weight of this feud and its importance. Cameron Grimes has quickly become one of my favorites in WWE.
2. Carmelo Hayes (NXT)
Carmelo defeated Johnny Gargano and Pete Dunne, and backed up his claim that he is the top champion in NXT. However, as great as the triple threat match was, the after-match brawl was even better. The new school and the old school NXT exploded after the match setting up an epic match at WarGames between Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Pete Dunne, LA Night versus Grayson Waller, Carmelo Hayes, Tony D'Angelo, and Bron Breakker.
1. CM Punk and MJF (AEW Dynamite)
CM Punk and MJF verbally lit each other up. Cm Punk called MJF a less famous Miz, and then got the AEW crowd to chant Miz over and over. MJF didn't pull any punches either, making fun of CM Punk's tame return run comparing him to John Cena's hustle loyalty respect. If I had to pick a winner for this segment, I would say it was the fans. This is CM Punk's best moment on AEW television since his return. I can't wait to see what they do next week.
Reverse Hipster's What I'm Not Thankful For
2. Liv Morgan vs. Becky Lynch (WWE Raw)
I'm a big fan of this feud. However, I think some of WWE's choices have hindered it. I'm not a fan of Becky being a heel. However, she cut a good, interesting heel promo this week. However, it didn't work. The crowd still cheered Becky, and I think that happened for two reasons. First, Becky shouldn't be a heel. She just beat Charlotte, nobody wants to boo her. Second, Liv hasn't been built up enough. When Becky struggled to heel on Bianca, Bianca was able to help that program by being built up as the rightful champion and rally support. However, Liv hasn't been built up very much, and because they have decided to make fun of her failures to gain sympathy for her, it feels like she has to win now or she will be buried.
1. Nikki A.S.H.
Zelina and Carmella said before their match that they only had to worry about Rhea and not Nikki. It was mean, but they are heels, so whatever. However, then they won the titles, and Nikki took the pin, which affirms their words before the match and makes her look awful. Nikki is a former Women's Champion, and she deserves more respect.
Rob’s What I’m Not Thankful For
3. New Women’s Tag Champions, WWE Raw
They had an okay match, and I’m excited to see what Queen Zelina and Carmella can do as a team, but WWE has not taken the tag championships seriously in the Women’s Division. Each new team that wins the titles is a promising new team and then completely discarded once they win the titles. WWE has to do a lot of work to prove my pessimism wrong. Fool me one time, shame on you…fool me four plus times, shame on everyone involved.
2. The Golden Egg, WWE Raw
After Survivor Series, I wanted to give the Golden Egg a chance because it could have made for a really interesting whodunnit storyline on Raw. Instead, we got a few underdeveloped and chaotic backstage segments and only one or two segments where Sami Zayn turned in Austin Theory. Then Theory got rewarded with the title opportunity. It was kind of funny, and it made sense with the Vince McMahon character, but I think the whole segment was a missed opportunity to have multiple segments with characters as suspects and sleuths throughout the night. If they’re going to execute a silly idea like this, WWE needs to lean into it.
1. Seth Rollins attacked by fan, WWE Raw
If you’re online, you probably saw this footage after the show of a fan attacking Seth Rollins on the entrance ramp. There was a period of time a few years ago where fans were getting to superstars weekly. Hopefully this isn’t the start of another wave of that. WWE and venue security needs to take the safety of their superstars very seriously. Fans who are trying to attack superstars to get themselves over or because of some delusion that superstars are their friends need to be ostracized and excluded from the wrestling community.