**Announcement: There is a new Schedule for the Rundown. We will be Releasing The Raw Rundown on wednesdays and Smackdown will continue to come out on Sunday so stay tuned.
Reverse Hipster's What mattered
1.Miz and Lashley
Miz came out to celebrate his reign, but Lashley interrupted and told Miz he had till the end of the night to give Bobby a title match or he would be brutalized. I like this because it gave raw a story and something to look forward to throughout the night. I did not like the clock though I thought it was strange, like why the production crew participate in Bobby's ultimatum? That was a choice that made it feel less real to me. Miz called Shane, and it is important to remember that Shane and Miz were once Tag team champions and that last time we saw Shane, he was a heel. There is a chance he is working with Miz again.
Lashley is put in a number one contenders match with Braun in the main event. If Braun wins next week's title match between Lashley and Miz becomes a triple threat. However, Bobby Lashley wins, and he looks strong going into his title match with Miz.
2.Riddle vs Morrison
This was a very entertaining match. Riddle and Morrison are capable of such creative offenses, and it was exciting to watch. Riddle got the win bolstering him as a champion, and unfortunately, Morrison hurt his knee in a crazy aerial attack outside the ring. His knee hit the ground hard as he came down on Riddle.
I look forward to more Riddle matches on raw and hopefully a meaningful story to go with his in-ring talent. Riddle has enough talent to elevate the entire midcard. I hope Morrison's knee injury is not too bad, and he recovers well.
3.Tornado Tag match
This match was really good. I was excited to see a tornado tag match because I have not seen one in a long time, and it did not disappoint. Lucha house party was treated like an actual threat who nearly put the tag champs away, so I think this match raised their stock. Also, the Tag champs ultimately won with a sweet tag team finish to raise their stock as champions.
4.Damien Priest def Angel Garza
The team of Damien priest and Bad bunny keep on rolling. It took me a moment, but I am starting to warm up to what they are doing with Damien Priest. Bad Bunny is a celebrity and a natural-born entertainer, and he enhances Damien's profile. So while we watch Damien protect Bad Bunny, we are also seeing Damien build a reputation as a fierce competitor, and because he has the entertaining 24/7 champion at his side, it is a more exciting build-up than if he just went out there and beat people up each week. I hope that this leads to Damien Priest vs. Riddle for the united states Championship at mania. Also, I would love to see Bad bunny and R truth face off at Wrestlemania as well.
5.Nia Jax and Shayna Bazzler deafeat Asuka and Charlotte
This was another excellent match. The highlight for me was when Nia broke up the figure 8 with a leg drop; it was SAVAGE! Also, not only did Nia and Shayna get a big win as tag champions beating two great teams in two days, but Asuka and charlotte have unraveled. Charlotte booted Asuka in the face, and it cost them the match. Honestly, Charlotte did not look very sorry about it either. Asuka pushed Charlotte away after the match, and it seems like they are done.
I am so happy about it, too, because they were a terrible tag team. Asuka and Charlotte should not be friends. It never made sense Charlotte ended Asuka's streak took her championship before mania, leaving Asuka without a match. She is continually undercutting Asuka. So why would Asuka ever tag with her? Also, they were barely ever shown together as tag champions, and Charlotte cost them the belts. Good riddance. Sadly though, Asuka lost a tooth during the match hope she is doing well.
6.Charlotte vs Flair
Charlotte cut an impassioned promo backstage to her father, telling her father that he is ruining her career and distracting her and he needs to leave because it is her time. Ric said he was just trying to improve the brand. He saw potential in Lacey, and if he could make her champion, it would only improve the brand. They pretty much retconned last week's events stating flair never said it was his baby.
This was pretty disappointing after taking a bold story angle with making Lacey's pregnancy part of the story. They did not deliver on any of it. Lacey disappeared after that announcement. This angle ends up in the what mattered section because Charlotte and Ric look like they will carry on the feud and are off to a good start with Charlotte's promo.
Although I still Think Charlotte is a little selfish, Ric never needed anyone to move out of his way for him to be great. Why Can't Charlotte be great with Ric around? She certainly was not saying this when Ric helped her defend her first title all year against Becky. I think Ric will find a new proxy leading to a singles match at Mania, where if Ric proxy loses, he has to leave WWE.
7.Lana and Naomi
Lana and Naomi are getting better each week as a tag team. They are among my favorite tag teams in WWE, and I think they will be the ones to take the belts. This week they beat Mandy and Dana Brooke with a cool new tag team move. I am excited to see what they will develop next week.
Rob’s Raw What Mattered
1. The Hurt Business
The long-term build of composing The Hurt Business and developing their characters and credibility has paid off. In my opinion, they were the best part of Raw tonight. Bobby Lashley is looking maybe the best he has in WWE ever, reminding viewers that WWE doesn’t need Brock Lesnar to have a beast on the card. MVP has been the perfect mouthpiece to keep Lashley, Shelton Benjamin, and Cedric Alexander relevant. They are all great in-ring, but they needed him to tie the group together.
I love that they explained Lashley’s interference last night as an arrangement that MVP made with The Miz. Lashley did a great job threatening The Miz in his limited talking role. Alexander and Benjamin looked good in their match with Lucha House Party that got me excited to see how the Raw Tag Team Championship is booked headed into WrestleMania.
Lashley looked great in a fast-paced, heavy-hitting main event with Braun Strowman that reminded me of the Lesnar/Goldberg match at WrestleMania 33. That’s a huge compliment to both of those guys. I’m buying in huge to this Miz/Lashley Championship match, even wondering why it isn’t being saved for Fastlane.
2. Charlotte and Ric Flair’s Backstage Promo
Often times, I assume the worst for WWE when a storyline is headed in a weird or inconsistent direction. I thought for sure we were going with Ric Flair as the father of Lacey Evan’s child. This backstage segment did a good job of clearing up character motivations for Ric and Charlotte Flair. I think this was some of the best character work and acting we’ve seen out of Charlotte, which is usually a criticism of her. I love the angle of the strain between the father and daughter duo, that of course Charlotte loves Ric, but she thinks he’s still out here because he can’t leave the spotlight.
I’m glad Ric clarified that he sees Lacey as a future main eventer and was only tutoring her because his goal was to make the Women’s Division the main attraction of WWE. I think some of the best feuds in WWE history contain some degree of reality, and this felt like it had that. I’m curious to see where they go from here. Do Ric and Charlotte continue to cross paths? Or is this truly the end of them interfering with each other?
3. The Miz as WWE Champion
I think we should all be excited about what this reign could look like. The Miz is an interesting character and good in-ring worker that can have 5-star matches with the right partner. Him and MVP carried the promo segments throughout the night as the WWE Championship picture developed. He helped build everyone he was in the ring with, getting me excited to see matchups with Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman, two characters that I would have said were stale a couple weeks ago.
Riddle also seems like he could be the perfect champion going into WrestleMania. I love his goofy character. His backstage segments always pleasantly surprise me and bring a smile to my face. Him and John Morrison had a good match early in the night that I think showcased both of their unique talents in-ring. Going into WrestleMania, there are a lot of exciting options for him to face, which makes me think it could be a multi-man match with some of the best wrestlers today like AJ Styles, Ricochet, Keith Lee, and more.
Rob’s Raw What Didn’t Matter
1. Rematches with no storyline progression
I feel like this Raw made us sit through multiple rematches without progressing the story in any way. Even the matches I liked didn’t serve a purpose. Riddle vs. John Morrison was good, but it was a modified rematch from last night. The Hurt Business faced Lucha House Party after being opposite each other in a six-man tag match last week. I felt like this was also a good match, but I don’t get the point of making Lucha House Party the primary foe if they seem booked to be way weaker. Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus was a modified rematch from Elimination Chamber and their notoriously cringy SmackDown feud last year. The New Day vs. Retribution was the perfect example of this. I think both teams are tremendously talented, and I was excited to see where the feud was headed, but this week was a good in-ring but anticlimactic tag match. Is it too much to ask for matches with storyline progression and stakes on a three hour show?
2. Raw has slow momentum after last week
Raw is notoriously harder to watch than SmackDown with their third hour. Last week made me optimistic that we could be seeing a new, more exciting Raw headed toward WrestleMania. But this week, other than the main storyline throughout the night, Raw was a slog to watch. Most of the matches were meaningless, good in-ring work, but with no focus on storylines and where we are headed toward Fastlane and WrestleMania. This is something that really stood out to me after watching how much stronger SmackDown was.
3. Women’s Tag Division
The Women’s Tag Division is getting dangerously close to #GiveDivasAChance territory with short sloppy matches and thrown-together finishes. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax seem to be going nowhere as a team despite being the champions. Their competitive/cooperative storyline seems to be over. I still don’t understand why Charlotte and Asuka were ever tagging in the first place. Is Charlotte a babyface now? Naomi and Lana vs. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke was a blink and you missed it match, and I didn’t particularly love what I did see. Here’s hoping they are building toward something, and these talented women can make something out of the crappy storylines their given. But at this point, I’m rooting for and NXT Women’s Tag Team to win the championships at WrestleMania and put the Women’s Tag Division out of it’s main roster misery.
Reverse Hipster What didn't matter
1.Aj Styles defeats Ricochet
This match is two ice-cold wrestlers wrestling each other for absolutely nothing. AJ has never been more ice-cold than he is right now. What does he want? What is his purpose? He just seems to be drifting from match to match with no purpose. Even at the chamber, I was not excited because he has zero character or heat right now. Ricochet is the same, except they never really gave him a character on the main roster. Also, this a redo; we saw these two face off for the united states title a year ago. Of course, the match was good because we know these two are great competitors, but their stories are absolutely dead, which is unacceptable for two wrestlers as talented as they are.
2.Jeff Hardy Vs Sheamus
Once again, why should I care about this match? Jeff hardy has zero momentum. We just saw these two face off in the chamber, and their beef from smackdown is long dead. Sheamus gets a win which is good for him, but as a viewer, I was severely disinterested in this match. It reeked of filler.
3.Randy Orton coughing up blood.
Randy did not need to tell us he has been distracted. We can see that. Also, it was cool that Alexa hexed him, and he coughed up blood, but that cannot be the whole segment. It is not enough. It felt like a placeholder just to keep the story going at a constant rate. It did not feel like they were advancing the plot. If they are going to go there with the satanic rituals, go there.
Have Alexa Bliss incapacitate Randy with her black magic to the point that he has to be rushed to the hospital, and we have to wonder if he is okay and let us get an update next week. Yea, he coughed up blood, but as a viewer, I know that was just a moment. He is fine, and he will be okay until Alexa does the next thing. Nothing changed. This a cool story, and it deserves more.
4.New Day vs Retribution
It hurts me to put New Day here, but I felt I had to this week. The match itself was entertaining, but overall, this was not done to advance a New Day and Retribution feud. It was done to destroy Retribution. Ali went off on them for losing, and I imagine they will turn on him soon and disband. So right now, Retribution, who was once a threat to the entire locker room, is just another failed group at this point, and I hate to see it.
Braun was pushed aside in the Elimination Chamber, and now when he finally gets a chance to get a shot at the title, he loses clean. He looks like such an afterthought here, and I feel like the way they are tossing him aside is diminishing his character as a badass. Also, if they needed someone to lose to Lashley clean, they could have used someone else like AJ. Alternatively, they could have Bobby cheat as he is a heel, or they could have had Miz intentionally get Bobby DQ'ed so that Braun could be added to the match because having Braun and Bobby fight each other gives Miz a better chance plus as champion, he would have been able to stand tall at the end of Raw.
How can Drew not even be on Raw after everything that happened? I know he is supposed to be there next week, but there no way in hell Drew's character would wait. He would storm down there and get revenge, and I do not see him waiting. This was a significant oversight, in my opinion, that could have made Raw a lot more interesting.
Rob’s SmackDown What Mattered
1. SmackDown has a near-perfect show
I liked or loved almost every segment of this SmackDown. It had everything: strong character work through promos, twists and turns on storylines affecting WrestleMania, exciting in-ring work, and showcasing talented undercard superstars. If you haven’t watched this SmackDown, it’s an absolute must-watch, a master-class in creative booking a roster of this size and making everyone look great.
2. The Universal Title Picture
After Elimination Chamber, I was on board with Edge challenging Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. Honestly, I was excited, and I think the two had an undeniable chemistry that I think will translate great in-ring. WWE took me on a ride I didn’t even know I wanted by adding Daniel Bryan back into the mix after a clearly unfair match with Reigns at Elimination Chamber. He took subtle jabs at Reigns and Edge, leading to a backstage segment that made me think maybe the match I wanted all along was Edge vs. Bryan for the Universal Championship. As a sidenote, Adam Pearce is quietly killing it in his executive role. That is a role that has been largely frustrating over the years, but I like that he is logical, involved in storylines enough to make them interesting, and not involved too much to distract from the superstars. I loved him and Sonya Deville backstage explaining to Edge that they had a plan for him and Bryan vs. Reigns and Jey Uso, but they had to take the opportunity for the Universal Championship match because it was a bigger draw. Everything set up an exciting high-stakes main event between Daniel Bryan and Jey Uso that delivered in ring.
3. Apollo Crews
Apollo Crews has a character now, and I am excited. This will give his great in-ring work a new dimension. His promo was fire, and I can’t believe it took them this long to turn him heel: he’s a natural. His match vs. Shinsuke Nakamura made both of them look great. If you would have told me two months ago that Apollo Crews would be beating Shinsuke Nakamura in a singles match, I would have said it has to be bad booking, but this is only getting me mega-excited for the eventual confrontation between Apollo Crews and Big E. At this point, it feels big enough to be a WrestleMania match.
4. Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins at WrestleMania
Speaking of big WrestleMania matches, it almost seems like a forgone conclusion that Seth Rollins and Cesaro will have a match there. The feud already seems white hot. Cesaro as a babyface vs. heel Rollins is already perfect. Just give them thirty minutes on night one, and I will be as happy as anyone.
5. SmackDown Tag Division
One of the biggest compliments anyone in this blog can get is going from the what didn’t matter last week to the what mattered section this week. SmackDown managed to have two great tag team matches this week, completely reversing what I said last week. They had a meaningful rematch between Alpha Academy and the Mysterios after the no-contest last week. It was exciting to watch, furthered my theory that the Mysterios are potentially headed toward an implosion with a loss, and pushed Alpha Academy as a credible threat in the tag team division. The in-ring work of everyone involved was insane, and it made me want to watch more as there seemed to be instant chemistry between the teams. The Street Profits also had a great match with Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin. I didn’t love the thrown together team of Zayn and Corbin, but they sure were entertaining, and it made me wonder where they go from here. The Street Profits are still the clear number one in the SmackDown Tag Team division in my opinion. I just can’t wait to see who takes the championships from the Dirty Dogs.
6. Bianca Belair chooses Sasha Banks
The only reason this is so low is because I feel like it was a forgone conclusion at this point. It was still a good segment. I think both Rumble winners choosing the SmackDown brand also firmly cemented SmackDown as the premiere show in kayfabe and the more exciting show to watch weekly too.
Reverse Hipster's Smackdown What Mattered
Daniel Bryan comes at the Throne
Daniel Bryan was not deterred after the Elimination chamber loss; if anything, it has emboldened him. It is Clear Daniel feels like he can take Roman. Based on Roman laughing as he and Jey literally threw Daniel to the side, I think it's fair to say Roman is not taking Daniel seriously.
Edge is though, in backstage segments Edge and Brian keep this subtle rivalry up, talking about a dream match between them and who would win. Daniel has a great match with Jey Uso, but he does not win his title opportunity. Instead, it ends in a count-out. I like this ending because he did not technically lose either. I do not think Daniel is done not by a long shot, and I cannot wait to see what happens next.
2. Bianca Chooses Sasha
We all saw this coming. However, sometimes things are predictable because they are the right course of action. I cannot wait to see Sasha Vs. Bianca, this match is worthy of one of the main events at Wrestlemania.
Also, my theory is that Reginald was trying to stop Bianca from choosing Sasha for Carmella. He made one last-ditch attempt to get Bianca to choose Asuka, but it did not work. I predict Carmella will be facing either Bianca or Sasha at Fastlane to get into the match. I hope she fails, though, because Bianca vs. Sasha is a Wrestlemania dream match.
3.Otis & Chad Gable def. Rey & Dominik Mysterio
I know I put Otis and Chad in did not matter section last week. However, even though I don't like them as heels, they had a good match this week. Rey and Dominik are growing on me as a tag team; I do not think they have had a bad match. Also, Chad and Otis looked dominant, and the Otis splash looks legitimately devastating.
4. Its time to take Apollo Serious
Apollo has taken Charge of his character and gotten an impressive win over Nakamura. I can't wait to see what he does next week. I predict Big E will be coming a for a receipt.
5."From Reliable to undiable"
Tamina dominated Liv Morgan, and as much as I love the Riot squad, I'm here for it. Natalya and Tamina have been passed over too long. I love their new style and the fact they dominate their opponents; I'm happy to see this team develop week to week. They are becoming a force.
6. Street profits defeat Sami Zayn and Corbin
I think Corbin spoke for all of us when he said, why are we teaming up together? Watching Sami annoy Corbin was hilarious to me, and they actually had a really good match with the Street Profits. I think Corbin is a funny straight man to Sami's zany, off-the-wall tactics. Also, the Street Profits looked terrific in this match. They need to reclaim those tag titles. I was amazed when Montez jumped over a standing Sami and flipped onto Corbin. The Street Profits are can't miss tv.
7. Cesaro follows no one
Cesaro takes out Seth after he tries to recruit him, and I am here for Cesaro being his own man and fighting Seth at Fastlane. I think they would be an excellent match. However, I feel Seth is floundering. He is a cult leader who fails to inspire, and his whole gimmick seems like a poor man's Bray Wyatt. Seth needs to let this gimmick go. Seth needs a new direction, but I am happy to see Cesaro is still being highlighted and propped up; he deserves it.
Reverse Hipster's What didn't matter
There wasn't a single thing on Smackdown that wasn't entertaining and worthwhile it was a great show.
Rob’s SmackDown What Didn’t Matter
1. Liv Morgan vs. Tamina
I will continue to nitpick the Women’s Tag Division on weekly television until they prove me wrong. The matches on PPVs have been exciting, but the weekly segments have been some of the worst segments on WWE TV. I think the only bright spot in this is the potential of building Tamina and Natalya as an in-sync team. Both of those women have been with WWE for so long that they deserve a strong storyline and some time to shine. For the Riott Squad, things just keep getting worse. It seems clear to me they are the jobbers of the women’s division right now. At least for Liv Morgan, there seem to be sporadic pushes and the special on the WWE Network. If I were Ruby Riott, I would likely ask for a move back to NXT or otherwise start counting the days until my contract expires and hope AEW, Impact, or NWA are hiring.
2. A minor complaint
At this point, I’ll admit I was looking for anything to complain about. I didn’t love that the main event ended in a double count out and no finite conclusion to the storyline developing throughout the night, but I think that was the point. Unlike Raw, I trust SmackDown to address this first thing next week, and it’s actually a reason for viewers to tune in again. Still, it gave me slight flashbacks to some of the lamest days of WWE where it felt like every weekly main event ended in a dodgy finish to promote the PPV instead of progressing the story with clear wins and losses.
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Tell us your thoughts in the comment section what mattered and didnt too you ?