Updated: Jan 2
Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
6. (WWE, SmackDown) Sami Zayn and Brock Lesnar
I am optimistically giving this segment praise. Sami came out bandaged up and in a wheelchair threatening to sue everyone, and I thought it was hilarious. Paul Heyman then came out and ticked off Sami, which caused Brock to come out and save Heyman. Brock talked Sami down, and they bonded over being Canadians, which was kind of funny. However, Paul talked Brock into lashing out and destroying Sami. I liked this segment because we saw Sami get angry and got to see the dangerous side of the usually comical character. Sami seems pissed off, and I hope his continued involvement with Brock is a hint that he won't let this go. I'd love for him to interfere in the Brock vs. Roman match and insert himself in the title picture.
5. (AEW, Rampage) Women's Trios Match
Nyla Rose, Penelope Ford, and The Bunny defeated Ruby Soho, Tay Conti, and Anna Jay. I thought this was a great use of the women on Rampage. The match showcased six women, and they all got their moments. The match was fast-paced and exciting. I was delighted to see Tay Conti because it feels like she's been absent since her title match. Also, the trios match did a good job building drama for the TBS Tournament. Nyla Rose got the win and still looks like a beast, but Ruby Soho didn't take the pin, which adds to the anticipation of seeing them fight in the tournament while building the drama for the matchup.
4. (AEW, Rampage) FTR vs. The Lucha Bros
Lucha Bros retained their titles. However, the matchup was great. So many times, it seemed like FTR would win, but Lucha Bros stayed alive until they finally put them away. Also, I genuinely think Rey Fenix is one of the best wrestlers in the world. FTR and Lucha Bros can't miss.
3. (AEW, Rampage) Hook
Hook's debut was absolutely awesome. He walked out to Action Bronson, so he had a unique sound right away. Then, he has the cool hair and boxing trunks, which gives him a unique look. Hook looks like a Def Jam character that comes to life, and he carries himself with the same swag. The crowd was hot for Hook, and it was easy to see why. Hook has the It factor, and he just feels like a star. Also, he is a hell of a wrestler. He was super impressive in the ring. He appears to have it all.
2. (WWE, SmackDown) Xia Li
Xia Li had an excellent debut. She came out with killer presentation. She comes out to the ring with digital electricity all around her, and she saves Naomi from a three-on-one attack. This lives up to her promo package, where she says she defends people from vultures. She looked great beating down Sonya Deville. Also, she debuted in a big-time spot. She debuted during Sonya and Naomi's long-anticipated match. Also, Xia helped move Naomi's feud along. Xia beat down Sonya, but Sonya was dragged away right before Naomi could get in on the fun. So the anticipation of Naomi and Sonya is at an all-time high.
1. (WWE, SmackDown) RKBro vs. New Day vs. Usos
This is a PPV quality match on free tv. The three teams delivered just as you would expect. My favorite part of the match was the hot tag to Randy Orton. They expertly teased the Randy Orton hot tag all night until finally Randy got in the arena and the crowd exploded. Randy did not disappoint, attacking with the most energy I've seen him display in years. However, after the match reached its fever pitch and the dust cleared, New Day was the last one standing. I think this was excellent for Xavier, especially who just got a banging new crown. However, also this helps the New Day recover from the Survivor Series build and PPV.
Rob’s What Mattered
4. Sami Zayn and Brock Lesnar, WWE SmackDown
Who would’ve thought the best two character workers on SmackDown this week would be Sami Zayn and Brock Lesnar? Zayn has been a standout for the last year with his promos and conspiracy theories. But it was fun to see a different side of Lesnar, joking with Zayn and trying to fool him into thinking Lesnar did him a favor by giving him an excuse for losing to Reigns. Later, Lesnar confronted Adam Pearce and gave a genuinely scary story about taking down a 2000-pound Moose, and joking that Pearce did him a favor by suspending him. When push came to shove, Lesnar still backed up that he is still a beast, but the Canadian alpha male persona is a genuinely fun new character for Lesnar.
3. Xia Li, WWE SmackDown
After some of the coolest hype packages, Xia Li debuted true to her defender gimmick to help Naomi in a 3-on-1 situation against Sonya Deville, Natalya, and Shayna Baszler. I hard popped when Li came out because I assumed Naomi was about to get smoked, and it was one of those rare times that WWE nicknames and gimmicks made sense. She looked good in-ring, and it’ll be exciting to see what she does from here.
2. AEW Rampage
The contrast between AEW Rampage and WWE SmackDown is so immediately obvious. The one-hour Rampage is all meat and no potatoes, while the two-hour SmackDown is a variety show with few longer matches but mostly promo segments and short matches. This week’s rampage had a main event-worthy tag team championship match, a fun women’s trios match, a debut, and solid exhibition match. What more could a wrestling fan ask for in one hour?
1. Hook, AEW Rampage
This was a hell of a Friday for debuts. With a lot of pressure as a second-generation superstar who has been on TV for most of this year, I think Hook delivered in his debut with unique offense infused with some of Tazz’s signature aggression and submission prowess. While AEW is getting a lot of crap from fans online about overusing ex-WWE guys, I’m excited to see what they do with AEW originals like Sammy Guevara and home-grown talent like Hook.
Rob’s What Didn’t Matter
3. Toni Storm, WWE SmackDown
Toni Storm faced off against Charlotte Flair, and the vibe I got was that Flair wasn’t even taking her seriously. This is Storm’s first major push, so I don’t understand how fans are supposed to take her seriously if the champion won’t. What should be a kickstart to Storm’s career is turning into another stop on the Charlotte Flair vanity tour. A DQ finish by a dominant Flair absolutely does not establish Storm as a credible number one contender.
2. Naomi, WWE SmackDown
This was supposed to be Naomi’s big moment, until it wasn’t. I think SmackDown has officially withheld satisfying the fans for too long. We all wanted to see Naomi get her hands on Sonya Deville, but this ended up being a bigger moment for Xia Li. You could tell SmackDown was still trying to delay that gratification because Deville got hit the hardest by Li and sloppily pulled away by Shayna Baszler and Natalya before Naomi could hit her top rope move.
1. Shinsuke Nakamura and Company, WWE SmackDown
Shinsuke Nakamura has been the Intercontinental Champion for months, and he has only defended it once. WWE has a unique ability to corner Nakamura in booking dead-end feuds. Now, Nakamura and Rick Boogs are in a tag team feud with Los Lotharios that is going absolutely nowhere for the singles champion. They squashed the promising tag team, but it didn’t do anything to further Nakamura’s push either. Horrible booking by SmackDown.
Revers Hipster's What Didn't Matter
1. Toni Storm
Toni had her match with Charlotte Flair, and it ended in a DQ. Now, this should mean that Toni will get a title match against Charlotte. However, I don't think she will win the match, and I also don't think she will be better off after the feud. WWE hasn't made her look like a legitimate challenger during this feud and having her win via getting stomped out by Charlotte until the ref stopped the match isn't helping. When this feud is over, what will Toni be able to hang her hat on, sneak attacking Charlotte with pie? WWE could have easily had Toni Storm prove herself in the ring and have Charlotte have a DQ to save her title.
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