Updated: Jan 24
Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
7. (WWE, Raw) Alexa Bliss Returning
Raw really isn't the same without Alexa Bliss, and I don't think many superstars leave as big a hole in the roster as big as Bliss. I personally thought she would have been a great surprise Royal Rumble return, but that won't be happening. However, the WWE plan is still decent so far, and they aren't just throwing her back on Raw. WWE is at least building her back with character segments.
6. (AEW, Dynamite) Dante vs. Powerhouse Hobbs
Dante is one of my favorite AEW superstars, and he delivers in all of his matches, and this one was no exception. Hobbs clearly had the strength advantage, so Dante used high-risk maneuvers to overcome Hobbs, and he got an assist from Jay Lethal to pick up the win over Hobbs. Dante is bubbling, and I'm interested to see what happens next for him.
5. (AEW, Dynamite) Bubbling Feuds
The Super Clique vs. the Undisputed Era is one of the most interesting feuds going. I really love the way AEW is playing it. They are two friend groups that like Adam Cole, but don't like each other. I think adding Kris Statlander and Britt Baker to the mix of the Undisputed Super Clique vs. the Best Friends was AEW 's answer to WWE's It Couple vs. Edge and The Glamazon. I think adding Baker and Statlander put on a new dynamic and another level to the feud that I'm interested to see play out.
Lance Archer returned this week and destroyed Adam Page. I don't actually know much about Archer, but he came across like a badass top guy in this segment. He just slammed Adam Page through a standing chair, and there's just no way that didn't hurt. It was just flat-out brutal. I'm excited to see what happens next.
Aleister Black got one of his House of Black members to join him this week, and he immediately looked better for it. Brody King has joined Black, and they look imposing, but also fit together, aesthetically and in the ring. Now, the House of Black can really begin to gain momentum.
4. (WWE, Raw) Alpha Academy Wins the Titles
I'm a big fan of this decision. My only complaint is why circumvent the RKBronament. They just had a whole tournament to create a new challenger. Why have the tournament winners lost and the losers of it won the tag titles? However, I like Alpha Academy, and I think RK-Bro was getting stale as champions, and they needed a change. Also, this was an unexpected change, which was even better. Overall, I think this will help the tag division because we won't have a team that we just know one hundred percent isn't losing. Also, RK-Bro can progress their story further.
3. (WWE, Raw) Nikki Ash Turns to the Dark Side
Nikki Ash has had a decent story over the last few weeks, and she has been losing and doubting herself. Rhea Ripley has been trying to help Nikki get her confidence back, but nothing has worked, and Rhea has been a little frustrated. This week Nikki snapped. She is tired of being condescended to, and she is tired of being underestimated. Rhea broke up with Nikki this week, and I say "broke up" because they wrote the segment like they were lovers breaking up. I think it was one of the best story-driven segments in a long time. I am excited about Nikki Ash's heel run. She is the perfect candidate for a good heel run. She gave her all to the fans, and they didn't show up for her. So, since they refuse to love her, they can hate her now.
2. (AEW, Dynamite) Wardlow vs. CM Punk
I've been digging Wardlow for a while now, and I was interested to see how AEW handled this booking. Would they feed CM Punk to Wardlow or vice versa? I was really impressed with what they ended up doing. They had Wardlow absolutely destroy CM Punk with powerbomb after powerbomb. Also, they developed a feud between MJF and Wardlow. MJF cost Wardlow this match because he told Wardlow to keep powerbombing CM Punk, even though the match had been won several times over. CM Punk was able to get a roll-up victory because of that, but he was dominated. Wardlow lost his streak, but he lost zero credibility. CM Punk continued his path to MJF and got an underdog victory. Also, when MJF got in Wardlow's face after the match, they teased Wardlow going face, and the crowd wanted it so bad. My only complaint is that CM Punk really shouldn't have even had the strength to roll Wardlow up at that point. He was that beaten, and the ref really could have called the match in Wardlow's favor.
1. (WWE, Raw) The Miz and Maryse vs. Edge and Beth
I love this feud and the psychology of it. I'm totally along for the ride in this story. Edge reintroduced his wife, Beth Phoenix, and let us know what a badass she is. Miz interrupted and talked about his wife Maryse. Edge and Beth gave Maryse her respect. However, Maryse didn't say anything, and she actually ran away during the segment leaving Miz by himself. Honestly, at this point, I'd rather see a Glamazon, Beth Phoenix, vs. Maryse match than Miz vs. Edge because they have built it so well. Maryse is one of the cockiest wrestlers ever to grace the ring, and Beth is one of the most dominant women ever to wrestle. I like the idea of Miz not understanding what he is signing Maryse up for and Maryse selling how scary the Glamazon is. It's a subversion of Maryse's character and separates the women's division as a separate area of expertise. I would love to see Edge, Miz, Maryse, and the Glamazon in a tornado tag match at the Royal Rumble because this feud feels more significant than a mixed tag match, which can limit what they could do in this match.
Rob's What Mattered
7. Brody King Debut, AEW Dynamite
This is how you make a debut. Even though it was speculated for weeks, the crowd still popped. To fans that don't know Brody King, it quickly showed that he was aligned with Malakai Black, carrying the same mystique that Black does. King handled everyone in the ring, and the House of Black is instantly one of the most intriguing stables.
6. Alpha Academy Wins Gold, WWE Raw
I disagree with the booking of this match, but I ultimately have to say that transferring the titles mattered. I think Alpha Academy should have won the RKBronament and won the titles at a PPV. Otherwise, what was the point of the extravagant tournament? Still, Alpha Academy was due this recognition, and I was worried they were never going to get it and that RKBro was going to keep a stronghold on the championships through most of this year too. Alpha Academy can lead the division as champions, and RKBro can move onto better singles feuds, presumably first feuding with each other.
5. Serena Deeb, AEW Dynamite
Serena Deeb looked brutal and heelish, attacking Hikaru Shida from behind. This is the first time Deeb dominated Shida in their multiple matches, causing a referee stoppage. They did an excellent job telling the story that Deeb's new attitude makes her more dangerous than ever, and I would love to see what she can do next.
4. Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley, WWE Raw
The opening segment of Raw reminded fans why Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley is a dream match. Lashley insulted Lesnar for making him wait this long for a match, and Lesnar insulted Lashley as the diet version of himself. They both have insanely good snarky mouthpieces too. Week 1 of the feud is definitely a success and didn't give too much away.
3. Tony D'Angelo, NXT 2.0
Tony D'Angelo continues to impress on NXT 2.0. He took Pete Dunne head-on in Dunne's own game of unique brutality. Getting D'Angelo over in this way was an excellent play for NXT 2.0, and he proved he can handle the spotlight of an NXT-style match while still maintaining his own unique style.
2.Cowboy Shit, AEW Dynamite
Hangman Adam Page did more character work to justify his gimmick than he has in all his previous time in AEW. Page was passionate speaking about how his background makes him a cowboy, and he brings that risk-taking grittiness to every day of AEW. I also have to give a lot of credit to Dan Lambert for his slow-speaking methodical promo that is heel 101. The segment concluded with a bang with the return of Lance Archer, who seems to be the next challenger for the title.
1. Bianca Belair vs. Doudrop vs. Liv Morgan, WWE Raw
I usually dwell on WWE's lack of depth in the women's division, but this match made it clear that it was a creative issue, not a roster issue. Number one contender's matches are free drama and made for TV. This was a main event worthy match, and the surprise finish was the cherry on top. I like giving Doudrop the opportunity at the Royal Rumble because it frees up two contenders to win the Rumble, and Bianca Belair and Liv Morgan have the credibility to earn their way back to the championship at any point.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter
5. (WWE, Raw) Bianca vs. Liv vs. Doudrop
I wasn't a fan of this triple threat because all of these women needed to look strong, and that just couldn't happen. What WWE attempted to do made the problem even worse. Becky interfered, which was meant to preserve Bianca's credibility at least, but that didn't work. Becky beat up Bianca in a fair fight. Bianca could have bested Becky, but she didn't. So, Bianca looked bad because she looked unworthy to face Becky, and she lost to Doudrop. Liv was treated even worse as she was the runt of the match. She took a KOD and just stayed down through all Becky's interference. Then, Liv took a Banzai Drop from Doudrop. Also, this hurt Doudrop as well because she wasn't the focus of the match. Doudrop's win seemed like an afterthought instead of a crowning moment. The match itself was actually very good, and everyone performed some spectacular moves, but the booking is why the match is in this section.
4. (WWE, NXT) Mandy Rose and Toxic Attraction
They had a hot promo segment, but we didn't learn anything new about Toxic Attraction. The promo segment just told us they were hot and arrogant, but anyone who has seen or heard them for any amount of time already knew that. I think it was a wasted opportunity for character development for the faction. Also, Kay Lee Ray attacked Mandy's photoshoot set, but she did it after they were done, which makes no sense. Mandy already got her photos, and she doesn't care, so the only people affected was the crew whose equipment was messed up. It would have been far more interesting if Ray had ruined a shoot before they could get their shots.
3. (WWE, NXT) Grayson Waller vs. AJ Styles
AJ Styles beat Grayson Waller this week, and it was pretty deflating. AJ Styles has nothing to prove in WWE, and he is pretty much made. For AJ, a win here did nothing. But, a win for Waller would have been career making. So, I don't agree with the choice of having AJ beat Waller, which stalled his progress. I didn't like Styles saying that Waller isn't phenomenal. That added insult to injury after the match. After the match, LA Knight came out to start the feud with Waller again and it just feels like Waller is back where he started.
2. (WWE, Raw) Big E
What the hell is going on with Big E? First, he loses his title in a match he was supposed to win. Now, he loses again to Seth Rollins, and he is talking about wanting to beat Seth Rollins at WrestleMania for the title. Big E is a former World Champion, and he just lost his title. Why is he accepting that and not going after a rematch like every other champion? Also, how did Seth Rollins leapfrog Big E? Also, why is Big E talking to Seth like he is already the champion? Big E is the one who held the title most recently, so Seth should be trying to prove himself by beating Big E, not the other way around. Big E is supposed to declare for the Royal Rumble, so how about building him up against other superstars and maintaining his championship credibility instead of making him look like a loser.
1. (WWE, Raw) Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley
First off, they rebroke up the Hurt Business, which had one of the all-time crappiest second runs in WWE history. Like, were they even technically together? So, that sucked. Then, they were beaten up by Bobby, and it just sucked. Also, Bobby looked like a total chump in his promo segment with Brock. I think it's absolute BS because Bobby is the heel in this match-up. However, he was the one all, "Hey, Mr. Lesnar, I respect you so much. Please acknowledge me." Brock just ripped apart Bobby's entire career and persona, and Bobby just took it. This should have been two dominant forces teasing an epic clash, but Bobby was minimized to make Brock look bigger.
Rob's What Didn't Matter
3. Joe Gacy and Harland lose their Qualifying Match, NXT 2.0
Something about Joe Gacy and Harland is slowly winning me over on the gimmick-heavy NXT 2.0 brand. I was excited to see them as a tag team and earn their way into the Dusty Classic. When it didn't happen, I was just disappointed, and they didn't give me something to be excited about moving forward. With no clear motivations, this stable is destined to be a failure.
2. The Hurt Business Breaks up Again, WWE Raw
After getting back together, it was a complete creative failure by WWE to explain how all the members of the Hurt Business put their differences aside. Then, it was another creative failure to never take advantage of having the talented team of Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin back together. Now, the whole thing is a catastrophic creative failure to split them up again when we know WWE has no plans for Alexander and Benjamin. Bobby Lashley didn't need to take them out to be built as a threat.
1. Grayson Waller loses to AJ Styles, NXT 2.0
Grayson Waller came into this match with the most momentum on NXT 2.0. He was a mega heel after attacking Johnny Gargano on his send-off, and he is one of the most notable members on the roster going after AJ Styles on Monday Night Raw. They had a great match, but I think it was a failure to have Waller lose. It's an understandable loss, but Styles didn't need this win. Styles isn't currently a champion or contender, and he will still be the Phenomenal One no matter his win-loss record. Failure to completely pull the trigger on Waller showed me there is something that management is still hesitant about, but I couldn't see why in this match. I think Waller is an absolute star, and there was no reason to halt that momentum.
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