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The Wrap Up: All-Star Week

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

Rob’s Highlights

8. Ricky Starks Wins the Tournament, AEW Dynamite

Ricky Starks overcame a lot to even get to the finals and continued that trend by beating Ethan Page with injuries and all. Starks will be the first challenger for MJF’s championship at Winter is Coming, and I think it is the perfect feud to show off both guys.

7. SmackDown World Cup, WWE SmackDown

The matches weren’t phenomenal, but they were all solid. The World Cup gimmick brought us an opportunity to feature some of SmackDown’s underutilized talent. The matches this week set up a final between the recently debuted Santos Escobar and the perennially overlooked Ricochet.

6. Chase U, NXT

Duke Hudson in Chase U has turned into one of the most entertaining storylines in wrestling. It’s obvious to everyone in the crowd that Hudson can’t be trusted. Even Andre Chase has doubts about Hudson’s loyalty. He earned Chase U a Tag Team Championship match, but a miscommunication between Hudson and Chase led to a loss.

5. Old Faces in New Gimmicks, NXT

SCRYPTS finally debuted on NXT, and I was torn about calling this a highlight. SCRYPTS seems like a dead-end gimmick, but I’ll root for anything the former Reggie is doing, and maybe NXT’s brand will work together with the tacky gimmick to make it work. The former Dominick Dijakovic/T-Bar returned to NXT at the end of a great North American Championship match as Dijak, and it looks like Dijak will be the next challenger in Wes Lee’s championship reign.

4. Death Triangle vs. The Elite, AEW Dynamite

The Young Bucks and Lucha Brothers are my favorite tag teams, so I expect every match to be on the highlights list. You could tell they were holding back a little, but they went a different route than Full Gear by incorporating some CM Punk jabs at the crowd. This time, Penta cheated to get the win for Death Triangle, and it seems like Rey Fenix was still unsure about his team’s heel antics. Anyone expecting a back-and-forth in this Best of Seven series will be surprised that Death Triangle is starting up 2-0, adding intrigue and options to the matches going forward.

3. Orange Cassidy vs. Jake Hager/House of Black Returns, AEW Dynamite

Orange Cassidy and Jake Hager weren’t a match I was looking forward to going into Dynamite, but they delivered huge. The contrast between Cassidy and Hager sets the stage for an interesting match, making Cassidy look like a star. To end the match, The Factory attacked the Best Friends before House of Black returned and laid everybody out. It made the House of Black look like absolute stars. AEW should continue to invest in them and get them the Trios Championships eventually.

2. Building Men’s War Games, WWE SmackDown

The storyline of the Bloodline continues to be the story of the year. Kevin Owens talked to Sami Zayn backstage to hint that the Bloodline could turn on him, so Owens said Zayn should strike first. Jey Uso overheard this and came out to confront Zayn, but Zayn played it off like he didn’t talk to anyone. An unexpected win in the main event gave the babyfaces the advantage in the War Games match. After being unsure what the match would be a few weeks ago, this is shaping up to be a historic War Games match from a story perspective.

1. Becky Lynch Returns, WWE SmackDown

Becky Lynch earned this pop with her work over the last few years and her work rushing back to full health. Lynch’s involvement in War Games gives the Women’s match something fresh that they desperately need. Having her on the team also bookends her long story by earning the mutual respect of Bianca Belair. Considering her injury came the same night as Damage CTRL’s return, it makes a lot of sense for her to help.

Reverse Hipster’s Lowlights

No Lowlights This Week

Wow, it was a great week in wrestling! The shows all had entertaining episodes with interesting stories and fantastic matches, and there was nothing worth putting in the lowlights section.

Rob’s Winners of the Week

6. Impact Wrestling didn’t produce any new content this week, and it’s only fair to put them last. I’m in favor of giving wrestlers breaks, especially on the holidays, but it didn’t make any sense to me, especially considering Impact Wrestling is pre-taped.

5. AEW Rampage had another week of a whole lot of nothing this week. It’s hard to root for a show that consistently underdelivers.

4. WWE Raw had no highlights for me this week. It wasn’t an explicitly bad show, but it was very predictable going into War Games.

3. NXT is starting to hit their stride with storylines and wrestlers that will lead them to a fruitful Premium Live Event in December.

2. AEW Dynamite did not answer the biggest questions coming off their PPV, but they put forth a good show and set up more good shows for the future.

1. WWE SmackDown felt like a perfect go-home show. They didn’t have the quality of wrestling that AEW Dynamite had, but they have had brilliant storytelling going into one of the biggest shows of the year.

Reverse Hipster’s Winners of the Week

6th Place Impact

Impact did a recap show. I think it's pretty cool that the wrestlers get Thanksgiving off, but, obviously, a recap show can’t be ranked above any of the others.

5th Place Rampage

Rampage brought it this week. They had an excellent ROH Tag Team Match, and they just started a great story between Claudio Castagnoli and Chris Jericho for the ROH Title. I wish I could rank Rampage higher, but the competition was tough.

4th Place Raw

Raw had its best show in months. It was solid from start to finish. Raw did a great job setting up WarGames and progressing their storylines. Also, the matches were all really good. The main thing hurting Raw is they don’t have Tag Titles, a 24/7 Title, or a World Title. However, this is the kind of Raw we need to see if Raw intends to compete with the other shows.

3rd Place SmackDown

Becky Lynch was revealed as the last member of the Women's WarGames Match. This huge return should definitely add to this already star-studded match. Bray Wyatt's storyline is so good every week. It leaves me wanting more. Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler are becoming a force as a tag team, and I’d love to see them do some damage to Damage CTRL. The Bloodline, Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, and The Brawling Brutes were on point as usual.

2nd Place NXT

When NXT is at its best, it looks like a TV show with many different characters in entertaining storylines that just happen to settle their differences in the ring. There were so many things to love about NXT this week from the title matches to the new feuds in the Women's Division to the excellent World Title vignettes.

1st Place Dynamite

Even in a packed week, Dynamite was just too good to deny. I loved the Bow Wow and Jade Cargill story. Also, the All-Atlantic Title Match, ROH Title Match, and the Trios Title Best of Seven Matches were absolute bangers. Also, the William Regal, Bryan Danielson, and Jon Moxley segment is exactly what I love about wrestling. It was amazing storytelling, and everybody did such a great job. Moxley barely spoke and his acting was the driving force of the segment.

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