Reverse Hipsters AEW/Impact Highlights
5. (Dynamite) Roderick Strong
Roderick Strong is hilarious. He has done such a good job making a lot out of a little. He has been a side character in the MJF Cole story, but he is the Minkus to Cole & MJF's Cory and Shawn, a bit of character who steals the scenes he's in. Even how Roderick kept yelling at Renee in his interview helped get it over. Plus, his reveal in the end that he could walk, like the rest of his promo, was funny while still conveying a serious turning of the page for the character.
4. (Impact) Myzteziz
Myzteziz fought Eddie Edwards and Latigo in a triple threat. That triple threat was basically Myzteziz creating highlight after highlight until he eventually won. This match is definitely worth going back to if you missed it.
3. (Impact) Jordynne Grace & Sexy Star vs. Maravilla & Deonna Purrazzo
This was the best match on the card. I am not very familiar with Maravilla, but I was very impressed with her performance. Sexy Star and Jordynne Grace was an overpowered team. Maravilla & Deonna tried to keep Grace out of the match, but with Sexy Star as her partner, there really was no good option. Deonna did have one trick up her sleeve, which was having the ref favor her, but even that couldn't stop the Juggernaught Jordynce Grace.
2. (Collision) Wardlow vs. Mack One Move Is All You Need
Sometimes, you don't need a thousand moves to leave an impression. Sometimes, One Move Is All You Need. Think Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. Nobody really remembers most of that match as a classic, but everyone remembers Hulk slamming Andre, and that's what it was about. Wardlow faced Willie Mack, who wanted revenge for what Wardlow had done to AR Fox.
I wasn't super interested in this match, but one move changed my mind. Willie Mack is not a small man but wrestles like Keith Lee. Willie Mack went for a head scissors maneuver, and Wardlow stopped the momentum of 280-pound Willie Mack, picked him up like he was 150 pounds, and then powerbombed him. Wardlow wasn't done there either. He slammed Mack Last Ride Undertaker style, lifting Mack above his head before powerbombing him. Wardlow's feats of strength took this match from forgettable to noteworthy.
1. (Collision) Willow For The Win
Willow fought Mercedes Martinez in a rollercoaster of a match. One thing that stood out early was how Martinez was able to throw Willow around like she was a cruiserweight. It seemed like Mercedes would win with dominance when she slammed Willow with an inverted Razor's Edge. However, Willow suddenly rolled up Martinez and won the match. Willow is one of the most underrated faces in AEW.
Reverse Hipster's AEW/ Impact Lowlights
2. (Dynamite) Riho Returns
I like Riho, and I'm glad she is back, but how she returned could have been more optimal. She ran out to confront Toni Storm, and then they almost fought, but Toni was saved. What would have been so bad about Riho coming out? They get into a fight. Riho hits her big move, the crowd pops, and Toni has a reason to want revenge. Also, Toni would keep credibility because she just had a match. Also, when the wrestlers actually fight, fans get to see their favorite wrestlers do their finishers, and when someone does escape before they can take a move, it means more. Nobody fights in their run-ins right now, so powering out of the ring isn't novel. It's expected to be more surprising if the wrestlers actually fought at this point. Also, Toni could have set her out by saying nobody was on her level, and then Riho returns. These small things make a big difference in the moment.
1. (Dynamite) Predictable Tournament Matches
It was hard for me to get into any of the DynamiteDynamite Continental Classic Matches because it was obvious who was going to win. The other side of the bracket seems way more unpredictable. Also, this highlighted two outstanding talents who are underutilized. Rush and Jay Lethal are great wrestlers who constantly put on good matches, but much like their tournament matches on Dynamite, you know they are going to come up short, so it's difficult to invest in them as viable competitors. AEW should work to utilize these talents better because they could be an even asset to AEW.
Rob’s Highlights (WWE)
5. Last Chance Qualifiers, NXT
In the final show to promote for Deadline, NXT had two last chance qualifiers for the women’s and men’s iron survivor matches. The last chance qualifiers saw Kiana James and Tyler Bate emerge victorious. Kudos to NXT for again not going with the more predictable winners of Roxanne Perez and Carmelo Hayes. This gives NXT an opportunity to tell more stories with those established stars and put fresh faces in the multiperson matches.
4. United States Contender Tournament, WWE SmackDown
I will always be down for a number one contender tournament as a way to feature talent in matches with built-in stakes. This one gets extra points for taking advantage of Logan Paul’s absence and making him hated as a prize fighter: he’ll wait at the top while these wrestlers all fight over who gets the honor of facing him. Santos Escobar defeated Dragon Lee to open the night, and Bobby Lashley advanced over Karrion Kross in average matches made good by the context of the tournament.
3. Tag team Wrestling, WWE Raw
The Creed Brothers have dominated our highlight lists the last few weeks, and their reign continues here as they defeated Dominik Mysterio and JD McDonough. The Creeds were good enough that Mysterio and McDonough had to decree to Damian Priest: “[The Creeds] are the real deal.” However, the reason tag teams make the highlights this week is moreso because of an excellent two out of three falls match between DIY and Imperium. DIY made the comeback win in the two out of three falls format, and they are making a case for their own tag team championship run.
2. Raw’s Main Event Scene, WWE Raw
Raw’s main event scene has been excellent even without championship involvement from Cody Rhodes who formally started a feud with Shinsuke Nakamura this week. Drew McIntyre opened the night with another great promo, staying true to himself as he fielded a crowd of boos. He defeated Sami Zayn in the first match of the night and attacked the already injured Zayn later in the night. Champion Seth Rollins defeated excited challenger Jey Uso in a good main event, but McIntyre attacked Uso and Rollins to close the show. While many fans are predicting CM Punk and Rollins for WrestleMania, there are a variety of ways Raw can go, with McIntyre perhaps being the more natural pick from a story perspective.
1. CM Punk promo, WWE SmackDown
This promo is precisely what many fans were hoping for in CM Punk’s return to WWE. Punk basked in the adoration of WWE fans, as he worked his way through a list of what and who they wanted him to talk about. Punk took notice of Cody Rhodes, Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins, as he made it noted he could easily build a program with any one of them. Punk reiterated that his only goal was to main event WrestleMania, and as a fan of pro wrestling and after that promo, I want to see him do it with whoever WWE deems suitable.
Rob’s Lowlights (WWE)
1. Wes Lee injured, NXT
While injuries can’t be prevented, it’s still always a bummer to see one announced, especially one that hinders plans for a big upcoming match. Wes Lee announced he wouldn’t be able to fight Dominik Mysterio and plugged in Dragon Lee for the match. Lee will be out of action for as much as a year, which is a huge loss for NXT. Lee was perhaps the MVP of NXT during his North American championship stretch.
Reverse Hipster's Winner of the Week
It was a tight race between Collision and Impact, who both entered two highlights in the top five, but I have to go with Collision. I was most captivated by Collision, even in some of the matches that didn't make the highlight list. I think Collision had the most exciting show this week.
Rob’s Winners of the Week (WWE)
WWE is marching around the corner into the beginning of 2024 and toward big events like the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. Perhaps I am too caught up in the childlike excitement of that season, but I thought both Raw and SmackDown were good shows this week in that regard. I have to give the slight edge to Raw however. Without the promo and star power of CM Punk, SmackDown was the weaker show, and Raw utilized all of its roster to put together a good show from top to bottom.