SmackDown and Rampage Wrestling Rundown
Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
3. Sami Zayn Wins Title Match (WWE SmackDown)
Sami Zayn finally won an opportunity at the World Title. He eliminated Jeff Hardy, after Jeff had thought he won. I like this because I'm sure I wasn't the only one excited when I heard that Sami Zayn would get a title match from the egg storyline. However, even though that didn't happen, he still won one on SmackDown. I like the way they did it, toppling Jeff Hardy in his home region. However, announcing Brock Lesnar instead of celebrating Sami makes me nervous that this will end up in the what didn't matter section in the coming weeks.
2. Riho beats Baker (AEW Rampage)
Riho beat Britt on Rampage. I'm not the biggest fan of beating the champion to earn a title match. However, the match was intense, and the champion was protected. She lost via quick pin and kicked out at three. The match was compelling, and it had stakes. It was exactly what AEW Rampage needed.
1. Orange Cassidy and Wheeler Yuta vs. Bobby Fish and Adam Cole (AEW Rampage)
This tag team match was easily the best match on both shows. I'm a big fan of Cole and Cassidy, but everyone looked great in this match. Great comedy sequences like Cole preventing Cassidy from putting his hands in his pocket. Cassidy and Yuta simultaneously diving from the top rope and in between the ropes. Bobby Fish continues to impress. He is Mr. Rampage at this point. He just keeps delivering on Friday nights. Adam Cole and Bobby Fish were victorious, but it was the fans that really won.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter
3. Eddie Kingston vs. Daniel Garcia (AEW Rampage)
There weren't any memorable spots in this match. It was just okay from a wrestling standpoint. The story was kind of bland as well. These guys were hassling Eddie. He beat them. So they jumped him, and Chris Jericho ran in and saved Eddie. This story just isn't very interesting at the moment.
SmackDown was full of matches that had very little consequences. Drew McIntyre and Jeff Hardy vs. Madcap Moss and Happy Corbin, Naomi and Sasha vs. Natalya and Shayna, and the Thanksgiving leftovers showdown. All these matches were just okay, and had little to no consequences. Cesaro vs. Ridge Holland, on the other hand, was part of the story, but was poorly done. Ridge dominated Cesaro and looked impressive, but then lost his match via rollup. So, instead of having a great match and announcing Ridge with an entertaining win, they both lost in perception. Cesaro got dominated by a rookie, and Ridge lost his debut.
1. Toni Storm (WWE SmackDown)
Toni Storm was starting to gain some steam, but that went left this week. Charlotte, the character destroyer, was back at it again. To quote Michael Cole, "Toni was humiliated." Toni was pied in the face by Charlotte. Then, Charlotte punked her again by inviting her to do something about it and pied her in the face again before leaving her there looking stupid.
This isn't a good way to build sympathy for Toni. It's a good way to destroy her credibility and make her look bad. I understand delaying the gratification of giving the heel his or her karma, but there has to be a good reason that the face cannot deliver the heel's karma in the meantime. Toni just stood there. She wasn't cheated, restrained, or ganged up on. She was just punked. Also, with Charlotte, too often that karma never comes.
Rob's What Mattered
2. Battle Royal, WWE SmackDown
Like Hulk Hogan slamming Andre the Giant at WrestleMania 3, we will remember MadCap Moss eliminating Shanky for years to come. All jokes aside, this was a fun way to decide a new number one contender, and the final five competitors were all exciting options for Roman Reigns to face. Imagine seeing Sheamus, Ricochet, or Happy Corbin fight for the world title. Jeff Hardy continues to be the best babyface that WWE has. Eventual winner Sami Zayn has been consistently one of the best performers on SmackDown and extremely underutilized. I liked the result here, and I think this is an excellent program to keep Roman Reigns occupied until the eventual showdown with Lesnar and Royal Rumble/WrestleMania season.
1. Pro Wrestling, AEW Rampage
I don't have much new to say about AEW Rampage because it was just solid pro wrestling. AEW presented three different matches with entirely different feels and implications. Adam Cole and Bobby Fish defeated Orange Cassidy and Wheeler Yuta in a match that almost perfectly blended technical indy wrestling with comedy. The result rebuilt Cole and Fish after ultimately losing their feud with Jurassic Express. In the Women's Division, Riho defeated Britt Baker in a match that reminded fans why Riho was the first AEW Women's Champion. Baker has been consistently solid, so this loss doesn't really hurt her too bad and builds the potential feud with Riho. In the main event, Eddie Kingston took on Daniel Garcia to capitalize on the segment on Dynamite. In Kingston's characteristic style, this was a fistfight brawl that slowly won over the crowd. When Kingston was assaulted at the end of the match, Chris Jericho came out to make the save to set up even more story in the future.
Rob's What Didn't Matter
3. Ridge Holland Loses In-Ring Debut, WWE SmackDown
Call me old school, but I don't love a new superstar losing on their debut. Ridge Holland has been really intriguing in his backstage segments and story with Cesaro and Sheamus. What was supposed to be a way to protect him killed almost all momentum for Holland, in my opinion.
2. Charlotte Flair Embarrasses Toni Storm, WWE SmackDown
If all the rumors are true, Charlotte Flair is doing an excellent job dodging punishment for her reputation as "difficult to work with." After not losing clean to Becky Lynch at Survivor Series, Flair brushed off the loss and moved on to her next challenger Toni Storm. After some back-and-forth, Flair hit Storm with two pies to the face, embarrassing her. Deep down, it felt like Flair's comeback as the untouchable women's champion. Not only did she not put Storm over, but she also made Storm look worse. Flair should go back to the book for building feuds: the aim should always be to make your opponent look stronger, especially if you're going to eventually beat them.
1. Brock Lesnar's Suspension Has Been Lifted, WWE SmackDown
At Survivor Series, the word was that Brock Lesnar was back, and it amounted to nothing. The continuation of this rumor kicked off the show with Kayla Braxton, Roman Reigns, and Paul Heyman. Heyman threatened Braxton to prove or disprove the rumor by the end of the night. At the end of the night, Braxton confirmed it but interrupted Sami Zayn's big moment. This was a week of holding anticipation and doing nothing. I know interrupting Zayn is a part of the gimmick, but this was a situation where it felt disrespectful beyond kayfabe.