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The Wrap Up: A Star is Born

Updated: Mar 11, 2023

Rob’s Highlights

6. Bryan Danielson and Renee Paquette, AEW Dynamite

We got to see the former Talking Smack hosts reunited in AEW’s ring (#BringBackTout). Bryan Danielson continued to build his story with MJF, and he made an entertaining back-and-forth with Ethan Page, setting up a future match between the two.

5. Rhea Ripley vs. Akira Tozawa, WWE Raw

Even though this didn’t feel monumental, this is the first time I can remember WWE canonically embracing an intergender match. Rhea Ripley looked great in defeating Akira Tozawa, and intergender matches could open up a whole new world of opportunity for underutilized talent in the men's and women’s divisions.

4. The Elite vs. Death Triangle, AEW Dynamite

It’s hard for me to admit that these matches are getting old, but the No DQ stipulation helped a lot to tell more story. With nothing holding them back, Death Triangle tried to use the hammer in every situation, and even Rey Fenix was okay with it, given the stipulation. Nothing stopped the Elite from fighting back with barbed wire and other weapons. After the Elite got their win, Death Triangle beat them down badly, which feels like the first time we have a clear reason to root for one of these teams over the other.

3. Tag Team Championship Matches, NXT

The Women’s Tag Teams had a three-way match, where Katana Chance and Kayden Carter came out on top. Even though these are the only three viable teams in the division, they worked hard to show the potential of the division in the ring. Later in the night, the New Day defeated Briggs and Jenson. Even though the opposing team lost, the New Day did exactly what they were supposed to do and build credibility for other teams in NXT’s tag division.

2. The Miz vs. Dexter Lumis, WWE Raw

This ladder match didn’t seem to get any love from the live crowd, but I thought the Miz and Dexter Lumis worked a smart and suspenseful ladder match that worked in the context of the story. Johnny Gargano was there to support Lumis but never interfered. The Miz seems to have hired another big guy to help him out after the issues with Lumis, and now there is more story to tell. Bronson Reed joined the list of Triple H rehires, and I hope this one works out because Reed was excellent in NXT.

1. Ricky Starks and Chris Jericho, AEW Dynamite

I said a few weeks back that everyone on AEW’s roster should want to work with Ricky Starks because of how entertaining he is. The same would be said of the legendary status of Chris Jericho. Having them work with each other is like printing money. They opened Dynamite with an entertaining back and-forth that got me to audibly pop watching alone at home.

Reverse Hipster's Lowlights

5. (AEW Dynamite) Hook

AEW needs to stop booking Hook in squash matches. Nobody cares. Hook is too popular and too good to be held back by having irrelevant matches. AEW needs to strike while the iron's hot instead of treating Hook like a great prospect that hasn’t gotten over yet. Hook is one of the more popular people in the company.

4. (SmackDown) Gauntlet Match

I think, overall, the Gauntlet match was great for SmackDown and made Raquel Rodriguez look like a rockstar. She went through the gauntlet with one arm. However, I think some more thought should have been put into the entries. Emma is new here, but she is a star from yesteryear and WWE has done nothing to pump her up. If I’m a new fan, I know nothing about her. Having Emma lose right away just makes her look like a loser. Emma should have had that run of wins instead of Xia Li. Also, Liv Morgan should have been excluded from this gauntlet. Zelina Vega would have been a better choice. Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler could have even taken Liv out. Having the former SmackDown Women’s World Champion, Liv Morgan, who is pretty hot right now, lose to a one-armed Raquel wasn’t a good look, especially when Liv's whole image is that she’s supposed to be more extreme and ruthless.

3. (Rampage) Trios Casino Battle Royal

Once again, I have to question how a multiperson match was crafted. I know Tony Khan wanted to push Top Flight at this moment. However, I think he went too high up the totem pole. Having them beat former champion Jon Moxley, current World Champion Claudio Castagnoli, current ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta, and All-Atlantic Champion Orange Cassidy was too much. Why make these champions and former champions look weak for nothing? This match was just about money. How about putting in three Jericho Society guys and three Firm members instead? Everybody can’t just be beating everybody. Some wrestlers need to mean more.

2. (Impact) Tasha Steelz

I don’t like the way Tasha Steelz is treated in Impact. When she was champion, she was overshadowed by Deonna Purrazzo, the double champ, and wasn’t featured enough on regular TV. Since then, Tasha lost a feud with up-and-comer Killer Kelly who has done nothing since then. Instead of Tasha Steelz getting a singles match with Mickie James, she is thrown into a tag match with Savannah Evans so Impact can get Tasha Steelz challenge over with. All the other matches Mickie did were one-on-one, but Tasha just gets a tag match where Mickie doesn’t even beat her?

I hope this is just this week and Mickie will have more singles matches. All I have to go on is right now, and right now, it’s a lowlight.

1. (Dynamite) FTR losing to The Ass Boys

This was a WWE-level bad decision. FTR is one of the most over acts in the company, and you have them lose to The Ass Boys on regular TV after just having them lose to the AEW Tag Team Champions, The Acclaimed. This highlights three huge problems with AEW. One, while it’s cool that other companies can come to AEW, but, besides exposure, why would you want to? Wrestlers from other promotions hardly ever win meaningful matches against AEW talent. Here are two AEW talents holding not one, but two tag belts and they lose to the non-champion AEW Ass Boys. The second problem is anyone can beat anyone, Champions aren’t given enough respect. Thus, a decent amount of the many championships in AEW mean less than they should. Thirdly, things are done without much planning at times. If you want The Ass Boys to beat FTR, you have to build them up way more than this and it needs to be done on a PPV.

Rob’s Winners of the Week

6. AEW Rampage frankly featured feuds that I couldn’t care less about.

5. Impact Wrestling felt like it was holding back for their upcoming PPV. They have great feuds in place, and they just have to keep them hot.

4. WWE SmackDown has been the best show in recent weeks, but this week was also a hold for them with predictable results and building for the tag team match between the Bloodline and Kevin Owens/John Cena.

3. NXT had a good show, but even at their best, their roster just doesn’t have the firepower of the other shows.

2. WWE Raw put forth a fun show instead of a lukewarm crowd. It’s hard to rank a show like that, and even though the segments are fun, Raw has very few long-term stories going for it.

1. AEW Dynamite put together a great show of meaningful matches and building upcoming feuds too.

Reverse Hipster’s Winners of the Week

6th Place Dynamite

Dynamite is last for the first time in forever because they had too many questionable booking choices and ended up with the most Lowlights.

5th Place Rampage

Rampage is fifth because it had one of the top lowlights, but it didn’t have enough highs to redeem the show.

4th Place Impact

Impact actually had a pretty good show. It was really close to being third, but the gravity of having the number one Lowlight held it back.

3rd Place SmackDown

SmackDown had a really good show. Even their Lowlight was a highlight as well, but because it did find itself on the wrong side of the Lowlight highlight line, I can’t rank it higher.

2nd Place NXT

NXT was on fire. Multiple tag team championship matches. Everything on the card was part of a larger, more interesting story. Those stories progressed in entertaining ways.

1st Place Raw

This is a change from where Raw is normally. However, The Bloodline story throughout the night really helped get it here. Raw is normally at its best when they have a story throughout the night.

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