Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
5. (WWE, SmackDown) Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair
After Charlotte beat Ronda at WrestleMania, I was concerned that Ronda would be off TV and Charlotte would flounder again as champion. However, Ronda is coming right back at Charlotte. I think WWE played it perfectly. Ronda is hot about Charlotte cheating at WrestleMania, and she wants an "I quit," where Charlotte can't cheat her way out of the match. Charlotte wisely rejected this offer. Charlotte has no reason to agree to this match, so I'm glad she didn't. It also means we have a story of how Ronda will try and force Charlotte into the match, and I'm looking forward to it.
4. (WWE, SmackDown) Happy Corbin vs. Madcap Moss
I hated the feud with Drew McIntyre, but I appreciate that WWE kept it going so that we could get the Moss vs. Corbin feud. Corbin was sad about his loss to Drew and he was jealous of Moss winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Corbin called Moss his jester and he pushed too hard. Moss turned on Corbin and the crowd loved it. I'm excited about this feud, and it will be much better than the Drew feud because these guys are on similar levels.
3. (WWE, SmackDown) Lacey Evans
Oh my God, Lacey Evans emotionally told her life story on SmackDown. It was incredible. I think WWE never used her heel character to its fullest potential. However, I love the way WWE has started her face run. She seems like a real person with a story that makes you want to see her win.
2. (WWE, SmackDown) Liv Morgan
Liv casually had one of the biggest wins of her career when she beat Sasha Banks on SmackDown. I like Sasha and Liv, but Liv definitely needed it more. Also, the tag feud needed this Liv victory as well. Rhea Ripley and Liv haven't done anything to earn their tag team championship match. A singles win shouldn't earn them a tag title match, but at least it's something.
1. (AEW, Rampage) Wheeler Yuta
Jon Moxley bludgeoned Yuta, but he had another career performance. Moxley did a great job of being barbaric and punishing the kid, but Yuta would not stay down. For those of you who watch anime, Yuta had a performance like Rock Lee in the Chunin Exams, where his body shouldn't have been able to keep going, but his will wouldn't allow him to stop. After Yuta refused to stay down for multiple pins or submissions, Moxley had to choke him out. Yuta lost the match, but William Regal shook his hand after the match, and it's clear he has earned the respect of Regal's group. Yuta feels like the missing piece in the group. As soon as they stopped the tag matches and got back to him, it got interesting again.
Rob’s What Mattered
7. HOOK, AEW Rampage
It hasn’t been perfect, but I’m still into how AEW is booking Hook. It hadn’t even dawned on me until this week that he hasn’t talked yet, and it was well-executed to have him not respond to an interview, headphones in and eating chips. He wasn’t even fazed by Danhousen’s curse. Simple but entertaining.
6. Ronda Rousey challenges Charlotte Flair, WWE SmackDown
Kicking off the show, I think Ronda Rousey did a good job as a babyface walking the line between owning up to her loss and pushing back that she can beat Charlotte Flair in a rematch. She challenged Flair to an “I quit” match, which I think makes a lot more sense for the story and strengths of these two superstars.
5. Debuts and Returns, WWE SmackDown
I think SmackDown narrowly edged out Raw in the department of after-WrestleMania surprises. Even though he’s been here for a few weeks, Butch finally debuted in-ring in a good match against Xavier Woods in an optimistic look that the former Pete Dunne can have a comparable, just more aggressive in-ring style to his NXT days. Marcel Barthel debuted under a new in-ring name Ludwig Kaiser and introduced Gunther in an entertaining squash match. I’m a little concerned with WWE’s continued push for the foreign heel gimmick, even though it hasn’t worked in the last 10 years, but it was still great to see Gunther on a bigger stage. Finally, Lacey Evans returned with a recorded promo segment about being raised with an abusive father and growing up living town to town with her mother. It was a very different Evans than we’ve seen before, and I’m curious to see if the real edge to her character will get a genuine babyface response from the fans. In the final segment, it was implied that Shinsuke Nakamura could be the next challenger for Roman Reigns, which is the type of surprise challenger we usually see after WrestleMania.
4. Multiverse of Matches, Impact Wrestling
This week, Impact Wrestling gave us a free but abbreviated look at their WrestleMania week show, Multiverse of Matches. I thought the gimmick of the show was really smart to set themselves apart on a WrestleMania week where almost every promotion is putting their best foot forward, and the gimmick takes advantage of the fact that many of wrestling’s greatest independent stars are all in Dallas for the whole week. It was also smart to show this during their regular weekly time slot. Since last week was so loaded with good wrestling, a lot of people (myself included) would have missed it otherwise. None of the matches individually really stood out to me, but it was solid wrestling all around.
3. Trent Beretta vs. Bryan Danielson; Jon Moxley vs. Wheeler Yuta, AEW Rampage
Trent Beretta and Bryan Danielson had a great match to start the night. With William Regal on commentary, it really continued to put Blackpool Combat Club over, and Danielson is continuing to look like the best wrestler in the world. As for Jon Moxley/Wheeler Yuta, that is a master class in how you get someone over. We already knew Yuta was a good technical wrestler, so putting him against Moxley and bringing out a more aggressive side of him was smart. The dive at the beginning and blood was a highlight. The crowd was super into this match. At the end, the crowd popped hard for Regal shaking Wheelers hand, and I hope it’s a hint that Blackpool Combat Club’s recruiting has started. Based on that performance, it would be a great fit.
2. Sasha Banks vs. Liv Morgan, WWE SmackDown
This was a good match and good storytelling. Liv Morgan is such a great underdog. It worked well to have her go in by herself against Sasha Banks with Naomi to try to get momentum for her team and prove that she’s not the weak link of her team with Rhea Ripley. Banks worked perfectly as the boss fight (pun intended) that Morgan had to overcome to prove her point. Morgan and Banks worked really well together, and the roll up finish made sense to give Morgan that win but still protect Banks. WWE’s Women’s Tag Division has the most momentum it has had since starting, and WWE would be wise to keep giving them time to work and tell stories like this.
1. Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss, WWE SmackDown
I didn’t expect this segment to steal the show for me, but it was so well executed. As a duo, Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss have executed what they were given to the best of their abilities, but it never really worked for me. This solves that problem, and it gives them both a new angle to play off of. Corbin at his best is an absolutely infuriating heel, and even though I don’t love Moss, Corbin got him over by treating him like a worthless sidekick. Even if we started to see it coming, Moss worked the turn perfectly paced throughout the segment before he made Corbin the final punchline and attacking Corbin to a huge pop.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter
1. (WWE, SmackDown) Butch
I love King Woods, but I don't like that WWE had Butch lose his debut match. I was willing to let the match pass, but Michael Cole put the nail in the coffin when he compared Butch to a child throwing a temper tantrum. Commentators tell us the narrative WWE wants pushed. I don't like that they turned the bruiserweight into a child throwing a tantrum. Also, I don't like that they made him look like a loser in his first match. If WWE wants fans to even consider accepting the name changes, they have to at least maintain the aesthetic and credibility the wrestlers were receiving before. Or else the name changes will continue to be panned as downgrades that aren't necessary.
Rob’s What Didn’t Matter
It wasn’t a perfect week by any means, but these shows didn’t really give me anything to say it didn’t matter beyond very specific nitpicking.
Stay tuned to find out the overall grades of the week.
Fantasy Booking Chapter 6 Royal Rumble
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Rob’s Final Thoughts
In last, I’m putting AEW Rampage. Their opening and closing match really mattered, but I think AEW is slightly struggling after the Revolution PPV to find everyone’s new stories and make it immediately entertaining. The middle show is Impact Wrestling. They had their matches from Multiverse of Matches replayed. I have a slight gripe that they didn’t show entrances, but I think it was a smart way to show off their work. In first, I have to put WWE SmackDown. I liked almost everything that SmackDown did. They are on to the next feuds for their champions, they debuted some exciting new faces, and they made usually mundane segments like Liv Morgan/Sasha Banks and Happy Corbin/Madcap Moss into my favorite segments of the week. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m on Team WWE right now.
Reverse Hipster's Final Thoughts
Impact is in last place this week because they did the PPV replay. It was a good way to get exposure for their PPV, but I didn't think I could fairly rank against regular wrestling shows. Second place is AEW Rampage. It had the best part of any of the three shows, but it was otherwise skippable. WWE SmackDown wins the week because it had the best show overall. SmackDown had the most things that interested me.