The Wrap Up: BIG RETURN!
Updated: Feb 23
Reverse Hipster's Highlights
10. (Impact) Eddie Edwards
Eddie Edwards took down another fearsome competitor. First, he took down the inhuman PCO. Now, he has taken out the insane Delirious. Eddie Edwards is low-key developing quite a dangerous rep. I wonder if he might cross paths with Violent by Design down the line. However, right now, what stands before him now is "The Octopus" Jonathan Gresham, who came out to save Delirious after Eddie tried to unmask him after the match. The Octopus will be a challenge like nothing Eddie Edwards has faced up to this point. One thing is for sure though, it will be a great match.
9. (Impact) Motor City Machine Guns Win the Tag Titles!
In a surprising turn of events, Heath and Rhino have lost the Tag Team Championships to the Motor City Machine Guns. I'm not going to lie, I am a little disappointed for Heath and Rhino, but they went out on a good match. If there is one team that I would want to be the next champion, it's the Motor City Machine Guns. This adds a whole new layer to Impact.
8. (SmackDown) Tag Division
Hit Row earned the number one contenders spot in a crazy Triple Threat Tag Match with The Viking Raiders and Legado Del Fantasma. Even B-Fab, Valhalla, and Zelina Vega got involved in the brawl. In the end, nobody hit as hard as Hit Row. Hit Row will be a very unique challenge for The Usos. I'm very interested to see how that match will go.
In the Women's Division, Liv Morgan and Tegan Nox faced Damage CTRL for the titles. Liv Morgan and Nox have gotten so much better as a team. They look like they have been tagging for months. They really are a great combination. I thought Morgan and Nox were going to win the titles, but some mysterious hooded woman cost them the titles. The question is, who is that woman? I certainly can't wait to find out.
7. (Impact) Bully Ray vs. Tommy Dreamer
Dreamer confronted Bully Ray about duping him and using him to attack Josh Alexander. Bully Ray didn't hold back. He called Dreamer a dumbass for believing him. He called Dreamer a bitch for crying over their dead friendship. He said he didn't give a damn about Dreamer's sick mother. Then, Bully Ray said he was bigger than Dreamer in ECW (false), WWE (true), and Impact (also true). Dreamer couldn't take all this disrespect. He said he was going to go back to ECW days as the innovator of Violence and beat Bully's ass. I have to say this was a great wrestling segment. It got me superhyped for this fight and very much behind Dreamer.
6. (Dynamite) MJF vs. Ricky Starks, AEW World Title
Ricky Starks and MJF had a great match. MJF did a great job putting Ricky Starks through the ringer. It definitely made Ricky look valiant. For example, when MJF slapped on the Salt of the Earth Submission and Ricky didn't tap out. Then, MJF grabbed Ricky's other arm and transitioned into a Venus De Milo. Ricky still didn't tap. Next, MJF grabbed Ricky Starks's leg and worked that too. Ricky still didn't tap out. With Ricky's one remaining leg, he got to the rope. That's the kind of thing people remember. MJF had to give Ricky a low blow to put him down. MJF got his first defense and got some heat. Ricky proved he belongs on the big stage. Plus, after the match, Bryan Danielson returned to challenge MJF!
5. (Rampage) Orange Cassidy, Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta), & Dustin Rhodes vs. The Butcher, The Blade, Kip Sabian, & Trent Seven
This was easily the most exciting match on Rampage. At first glance, it seemed like a throwaway 8-Man Tag, but it was an action-packed match. Every wrestler looked good. Even The Bunny, Danhausen, and Penelope Ford got a moment when Orange Cassidy and Danhausen pretended The Bunny and Ford had kicked them in the nuts in order to get them thrown out. Also, Orange Cassidy is the man right now. He is the top guy in AEW. He hasn't had a bad match in awhile and he is starting to make a late push for Wrestler of the Year.
4. (SmackDown) Uncle Howdy
For weeks, Bray Wyatt has said he wasn't the one attacking LA Knight. Of course, LA Knight didn't believe him. So this week, Bray came out face to face and gave LA Knight another chance to let bygones be bygones. Well, LA stomped him out, and Bray didn't resist much. While they were in the ring together, Uncle Howdy made his appearance and proved that he wasn't Bray. But if Uncle Howdy is not Bray and is, in fact, a real person, who the hell is he? As this Bray story gets deeper and deeper, it gets even more intriguing. Can't wait to see next week's developments.
3. (Dynamite) Death Triangle vs. The Elite Match 4, AEW World Trios Title
I thought The Elite would get their win back this week, but they dropped another match to Death Triangle. The match was awesome, as usual, but it was the ending that makes the match noteworthy. Nick Jackson had an injured ankle. He was doing his best to help his team despite the injury. Jackson was actually holding Death Triangle off until they grabbed his leg and smashed it with a hammer. Then, Rey Fenix put Jackson in a leg lock and made him tap. After the match, Kenny Omega challenged Death Triangle to a no DQ match since they kept using weapons. Looks like this series is about to get even better.
2. (SmackDown) Gunther vs. Ricochet, Intercontinetal Championship
Ricochet failed to win the IC Title as he promised, but it didn't even matter because Gunther and Ricochet had such a banger. The energy in the arena during this match took on a life of its own. The crowd was fully behind Ricochet. Ricochet was optimized, using all his athleticism to deliver a beatdown to Gunther. Ricochet was very resilient. At one point, it seemed like nothing would take Ricochet down. However, Gunther upped the brutality, and he was finally able to put Ricochet down. However, the match was so good that nobody even questioned Gunther winning. I think people actually gained respect for Gunther for overcoming Ricochet.
1. (SmackDown) It's John CEEEEEENA!
The Bloodline has been pretty annoyed with Kevin Owens lately, but they have had the numbers advantage. Also, Kevin Owens's refusal to go away has put Sami Zayn's spot in jeopardy. Roman Reigns is ready to wipe Kevin Owens out and he has selected Sami as his partner to add insult to injury. Roman said Kevin can face The Bloodline with anyone he wants. Well, Kevin has done the unthinkable and called John Cena to be his partner. The man Kevin Owens broke into WWE against. John and Kevin will be doing a Survivor Series-like super team up to try and take Roman out. Plus, apparently, John will be keeping his streak of having a match every year for the last twenty years alive.
3. LA Knight and Bray Wyatt, WWE SmackDown
I’ve been giving this story time to develop, and I’m still unsatisfied with the lack of answers. Both guys are giving their all in the promos, but the story is not engaging enough to warrant investment in this feud. Wyatt has been back on WWE TV for months and still hasn’t had a match. Without knowing what to expect still, this feud is a lowlight for me.
2. Women’s Tag Team Division, NXT
This week's segment exposed how weak the current Women’s Tag Division is in NXT. Champions Katana Chance and Kayden Carter entered, and I reflected on just how little we even see them in NXT. The only two possible contenders for the championship faced off in a match with limited time. Toxic Attraction has basically had a stronghold on the division for the last year, so Ivy Nile and Tatum Paxley almost have to be the next challengers. Instead, the disqualification finish gave the win to Toxic Attraction, and the direction of the championships is unclear.
1. Roxanne Perez Wins the NXT Women’s Championship, NXT
This was a huge moment for Roxanne Perez, but it should have been even bigger. In a vacuum, this segment was okay. However, knowing the backstage news, WWE’s decision to release Mandy Rose was unfortunate and unfair, in my opinion. It made this rushed segment a disappointing conclusion to one of the all-time top NXT Women’s Championship runs. Perez deserved a crowning moment in the main event of a special show, and both women deserved more time with no commercial interruption to show what they could do.
Rob’s Winners of the Week
6. NXT was filled with meaningless, too-short filler matches. The lack of depth on their roster is showing up as a severe problem in filling two hours of weekly programming, and some of the talents need more time to be ready to carry longer feuds/matches. They had the two biggest low points of the week for me in their booking of the women’s division.
5. AEW Rampage wasn’t a bad show, but it also didn’t have anything to praise.
4. Impact Wrestling this week was a step back from their last two weeks, but it was still a good show, and they still have promising stories moving forward.
3. WWE Raw put forth another solid effort this week. They had varied segments and novel, meaningful matches with good in-ring work.
2. WWE SmackDown still has the most going for it right now. This show had highlights and slow points, which keeps it here.
1. AEW Dynamite is hard to beat when they put effort into special shows like Winter is Coming. This was a great use of their roster and weekly time to put forth meaningful matches while still holding back some of their biggest draws.
Reverse Hipster's Winners of the Week
6th Place Raw
I had so much smoke for NXT, but Raw still managed to be the worst show of the week. Raw is broken. If you step back and look at Raw's problems and my problem with the Mandy Rose's situation, you will notice some WWE culture commonalities.WWE made the decision to take the Tag Team Titles and World Title away from Raw when they gave it to The Bloodline. However, there is a simple fix to that problem, which is feature the Raw Women's Title and Women's Tag Team Titles in their place. Bianca Belair should have had the hottest summer of her career as the top champion on the flagship brand of WWE. However, her best feud was with Sonya Deville and that didn't even get a PPV match. Bianca won an ESPY last year after her main event match at WrestleMania. Then, she won the World Title from Becky Lynch in the culmination of a year-long story. However, her title reign has been booked so poorly that people are starting to call her boring. She has gotten zero character developments or complex feuds. Her feud with Becky and Asuka was repetitive and undeveloped. Her feud with Damage CTRL is the same. It's just heels and babyfaces fighting for months because they are heels and babyfaces.
The Women's Tag Team Champions have been booked so badly that they quit the company. WWE had to hold a tournament for new champions, which was pushed back quite a while. Then, you have all of these women in the division who mean nothing right now because they have nothing to do. The refusal of WWE to go all in on the Raw Women's Division and truly push them to the forefront instead of trying to make the United States Championship the top title is why Raw sucks.
5th Place NXT
NXT lost its way this week. I think their featured program with Mandy Rose was a horrible decision both on screen and off screen. I think Roxanne Perez isn't ready. She was facing the biggest heel in the company and half the crowd was still cheering for Mandy. Also, I think NXT missed the mark on some of their pushes this week.
4th Place Rampage
Rampage is here because it had some Lowlights. However, out of all of the shows with Lowlights, it was the best one. That's largely due to Orange Cassidy. Call him King Midas because everything he touches is gold right now.
3rd Place AEW Dynamite
Dynamite had the title match with Ricky Starks and the Trios Match. That was it. I felt like Winter is Coming didn't really live up to the hype of a special show, but, clearly, there were some redeeming matches.
2nd Place Impact
Impact had the Tag Team Titles change hands, and they had a really interesting segment between Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer. I haven't been into Dreamer lately, but he definitely sucked me back in this week. Also, Tasha Steelz challenged Mickie James. Eddie Edwards took out Delirious, but now Johnathan Gresham is coming for him. There was a lot to like about Impact.
1st Place SmackDown
SmackDown smoked the other shows. It just has too many things going for it. The Intercontinental Title Match was incredible and had all of Chicago jumping out of their seats. John Cena returned to challenge Roman Reigns. Uncle Howdy revealed himself. Hit Row became the number one contenders. Liv Morgan and Tegan Nox are picking up steam. SmackDown was easily the most exciting and complete show.