Reverse Hipster's Highlights
5. Adam Page vs. Claudio (Dynamite)
Adam Page and Claudio had a good match on Dynamite. If you have to have two wrestlers go out there and wrestle for nothing, then this was a pretty good pick. Claudio pushed Adam Page to his limit. Claudio had an answer for everything that would normally work for Adam Page. However, when the match got to the deep waters, Adam Page had just a bit more in the tank, and he hit Claudio with two Buckshot Lariats to win the match.
4. Anna Jay, Willow, Thunder Rosa, Statlander Def Ruby, Saraya, Skye Blue, and Julia Hart (Dynamite)
Normally, I'm not a fan of these random, meaningless 8-person tag matches. However, AEW has done a good job building up their woman's roster enough to make this interesting. Every woman in this match is built up enough for me to have an investment in their character. On top of that, the match was awesome. The gap between the women on the roster is shrinking every day, and this was a good showcase of the growth in the women's division.
3.Deonna Purrazzo (Dynamite)
Deonna Purrazzo had her first match on Dynamite. She beat Red Velvet and showed off what she could do. Seeing a dominant TNA women's champion come to AEW and succeed would be big for the brand. Not only is she a great wrestler with many great fresh matchups ahead of her, but her success shows other women's wrestlers they can come to AEW and have success, too.
2. FTR & Garcia vs. House of Black (Collision)
I didn't expect to be interested in this match, but these six wrestlers are so good. Garcia, in particular, was amazing in this match. He was the MVP of the match. Daniel Garcia was beating up everyone by himself. FTR made the final push and really made the crowd believe a win was so close they could taste it before Mathews snapped the match back for House of Black.
1. Hook, Swerve, and Joe, Future of the Division (Dynamite)
Joe is an unlikely champion. As an unlikely champion, his first order of business was to make it so other unlikely challengers could get a shot by focusing on records instead of names. Then Swerve came out, and even though a match wasn't made official. Swerve being in the ring with the champion and stepping up to Joe makes his main event status cannon in AEW, and he gets one step closer to being the first black world champion in AEW history. Then things got even better. Hook came out to challenge Joe for the title.
It's amazing to see such a young and popular wrestler getting his shot. This is what he has been missing. This is what Jade was missing. Hook's nearly undefeated record is being treated with respect rather than some sideshow. Hook and Swerve have the chance to elevate to the next level, and it's such a breath of fresh air. The Future of the Division is on the horizon.
Rob’s Highlights (WWE/NXT)
5. Tag Team Wrestling, NXT
NXT’s Dusty Classic returned as a great opportunity to tell interesting stories and spotlight tag team wrestling, which has been sort of lacking lately. The unlikely team of Baron Corbin and Bron Breakker defeated Gallus and got an opportunity to tell more stories in future weeks. Carmelo Hayes convinced Trick Williams to form a team for the Dusty Classic in their continuing story. Later, Nathan Frazer and Axiom defeated Hank and Tank to advance in the Dusty Classic. For the tag team championship, the Family defeated OTM. While the Family has been the stars of the tag team division, OTM has risen to become one of the most exciting tag teams to watch on NXT in-ring.
4. Oba Femi Wins the North American Championship, NXT
Oba Femi may be the fastest-rising star in NXT ever. We have seen independent wrestling legends come to NXT and rise to the top fast, but Femi came out of nowhere. Femi looked like an exciting monster in his win of the Breakout Tournament, and only one week later, Femi cashed in on Dragon Lee to win the North American Championship. How NXT pays this off will define if this was a true star-making moment, or one of those “blink and you missed it” reigns of big men past.
3. Paul Heyman Tries to Control the Situation, WWE SmackDown
The opening of SmackDown saw Solo Sikoa and Jimmy Uso jump Cameron Grimes before his match could even start. Paul Heyman came out and tried to antagonize GM Nick Aldis for putting Roman Reigns in a fatal four way at WrestleMania. Instead, Aldis took control of the situation and booked Sikoa and Jimmy Uso in a handicap match against AJ Styles, LA Knight, and Randy Orton in the main event. Sikoa and Jimmy took out Orton earlier in the night, but it didn’t stop Orton from coming out to a huge pop and winning the match for his team. The show closed with Heyman calling Reigns, basically admitting the Bloodline needed his leadership to face this challenge.
2. CM Punk, WWE Raw
CM Punk has the ability to make any potential matchup interesting. Another Drew McIntyre promo to open Raw turned way more interesting when Punk came out, comparing and contrasting the career paths of the two guys. Punk promised to throw out McIntyre to win the Royal Rumble and go on to main event WrestleMania. Later in the night, Seth Rollins came out and cut a promo about trying to go into WrestleMania as champion and speculating who he may face. Without even mentioning Punk’s name, it was all anyone in the crowd and at home was thinking about.
1. Tiffany Stratton Works at Fallon Henley’s farm, NXT
Tiffany Stratton continued her excellent character work in videos throughout the night where Stratton made good on her promise to be Fallon Henley’s farm hand for a day. It extended Henley’s character to see that she’s not just a country girl in image, but she puts in the hard work every day to have a fully operating farm. While it was a fun payoff to see Stratton out of her element cleaning horses and stables, it was even better character work to see Stratton true to her word and enduring the work that Henley kept dishing out. Even Henley was surprised to see that Stratton didn’t quit. Maybe there is more to Stratton than what immediately meets the eye. This steals the top spot on my list because Stratton continues to make the most of every opportunity. When other stars would turn this into a throwaway video package, Stratton turned it into a highlight. Stratton can make highlights out of nothing segments, build great stories that don’t require a championship, and wrestle great matches as long as she has a good dancing partner.
Reverse Hipster's Lowlights
3. Sting's Main Event (Dynamite)
I hated everything about this main event. I hated seeing Hobbs get pinned by Sting. Hobbs hasn't been elevated in all the time he has been in AEW; he is still just a goon/obstacle. I hated watching the Young Bucks interrupt Sting when asked who his last opponent to be. The Young Bucks isn't a good matchup. It's not nearly as exciting as they think it is.
2. Adam Cole's Undisputed Kingdom (Dynamite)
Adam Cole gave a jumbled speech about how they would change the world and how his crew members were underrated. It seemed like AEW didn't completely think out the Devil endgame, and now Adam Cole is flailing because they don't actually have a purpose.
1. Adam Page (Dynamite)
Unlike Hook and Swerve, Adam Page was not a breath of fresh air. Adam Page has been champion already, and he lost the feud with Swerve that launched Swerve to this point, so what is Adam Page doing here? Adam Page was the Charlotte of this segment.
Rob’s Lowlights (WWE/NXT)
2. Lexis King, NXT
Lexis King picked up another big loss to Dragon Lee in the main event. King has an interesting character, but he hasn’t gotten any meaningful wins on NXT. With almost no credibility, Dragon Lee beat King handily, and King ended up being a footnote in his own main event when Oba Femi cashed in. Something will have to drastically change to make fans care about King.
1. Carmelo Hayes vs. Austin Theory, WWE SmackDown
This match was just hitting its stride when Austin Theory went for a top rope springboard Spanish Fly type move that left Carmelo Hayes and himself landing awkwardly. The match ended immediately, and I’m glad for both guys' safety. However, there was really no reason to go for a move like that in a random SmackDown match, especially if they didn’t feel like they had the chemistry yet to pull it off. The awkward ending ultimately hurt both guys’ credibility at a time when they desperately needed it to break out of a deep WWE roster.
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Reverse Hipster's Winner of the Week AEW/TNA
Dynamite was the winner by default. TNA did mostly old clips, so they were basically disqualified. Both Dynamite and Collision and Dynamite weren't very good. There were way too many meaningless matches and terrible talent matchups. Storywise, there needed to be more going on. Without MJF, AEW is in a rut, and it started at the World's End.
Rob’s Winner of the Week (WWE/NXT)
Raw and SmackDown both put on pretty good all-around shows, but most of their matches missed the highlight lists because they weren’t stellar enough in-ring or story-wise to make a spot on the list. Instead, NXT stole the bulk of the highlight list because of its commitment to storytelling and meaningful matches. For that reason, I have to give the week to NXT, even though it wasn’t as consistent as the other shows. They continue to make the most of a weaker roster and give fans a reason to tune in every week.