The Wrap-Up: Put Some Respect on My Name!
Updated: Dec 23, 2022
Reverse Hipster's Highlights
6. (SmackDown) Braun Strowman and The New Day vs. Imperium
Braun Strowman and The New Day beat Imperium in a six-man tag match. The New Day needed this win to reclaim some of their credibility as a tag team and build momentum. However, this match is in the highlight section because it served as an excellent preview of Gunther vs. Braun. Braun is one of the few men in WWE who makes Gunther look small. Also, Braun is one of the only men in WWE who could intimidate Gunther. Gunther actually ran away from Braun and let his team lose rather than confront Braun. It makes you wonder what would happen in an actual match between the two.
5. (Dynamite) Sammy Guevara & Chris Jericho vs. Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli
This match was fast-paced and exciting. However, the finish is what makes this a highlight. Claudio, who lost his title to Jericho, actually made Jericho tap out. I think this finish is excellent because it shows that Claudio is on Jericho's level. Also, Jericho is so hot right now that he can afford the loss.
4. (Dynamite) Ethan Page vs. Bandido
Ethan Page defeated Bandido in the Number One Contender's Tournament. However, it was still a good showing for Bandido. As Ethan was about to throw Bandido off the top rope, Bandido reversed the move and instead threw Ethan with his legs. It was an insane Lucha Libre counter that could have easily gone terribly wrong for Bandido. After that, Bandido lifted Ethan above his head with a gorilla press. Bandido can do it all.
However, so can Ethan Page. Ethan can fly off the ropes and deliver cutters. Ethan also has the power to hoist someone above his head by the person's arms and throw the person onto his or her spine. Ethan has one of the most credible finishes in the company. When Bandido stayed down, I understood why.
3. (NXT) Apollo Crews vs. JD McDonagh
Apollo and JD tore the house down in their nontitle match. This is the best match both wrestlers have had on NXT TV. Surprisingly, Apollo actually beat JD McDonagh. It kind of flies in the face of all the momentum JD McDonagh has built, but the match was so good that it didn’t matter. JD fought for the title in a single and triple threat match. It would be pretty bland if he went back to face Bron Breakker again. That's where he would be going next if he beat Apollo. Apollo will be a great challenge for Bron. Maybe, Apollo can be the one to send Bron Breakker to the main roster.
2. (NXT) Bron Breakker vs. Von Wagner, NXT Men’s World Title
I had my doubts about Von Wagner, but he totally delivered against Bron Breakker. Wagner ripped through Bron and beat him down so badly that it made a comeback that much better. Also, despite the strength of Bron Breakker, Wagner's size made all of Breakker's power moves look even more impressive. Ultimately, Bron retained his title and got another notch in his title belt, and Wagner flashed his upside.
1. (NXT) Mandy Rose vs. Alba Fyre, NXT Women’s World Title
This was definitely the best match between Alba Fyre and Mandy Rose. This Last Woman Standing Match was intense and had high spots, demonstrating how much the NXT Title meant to both women. Also, I loved the idea that Mandy injured her ankle and thus had a very hard time standing up for the ten count. This wrinkle added a lot of drama to the match and made it feel like Alba might win.
Mandy won the match, but the ending was exhilarating. Alba had Mandy dead to rights, and she was about to jump off a ladder and put Mandy through a table. However, Isla Dawn returned out of nowhere and threw Alba off the ladder. Mandy rolled away and Alba went through the table. Mandy barely beat the ten count because of her ankle. It was a great finish. I'm glad that Isla Dawn is back because she has a lot of potential. Also, Alba Fyre now has an exciting feud to spin out into.
3. Ethan Page vs. Bandido, AEW Dynamite
Something about this World Championship Eliminator tournament has not felt up to the prestige of the AEW Championship, and that continued in this match. Clearly, these two guys are both potential stars, but they had awkward chemistry, and I’m not excited to see Ethan Page advance, nor do I feel he’s a threat to any AEW Champion.
2. JD McDonagh, NXT
JD McDonagh lost to Apollo Crews on NXT this week, and Crews will be the next challenger for the NXT Championship. Even though it makes more sense for Crews to be the next challenger, McDonough is starting to feel like he needs a big win soon. He’s putting in some of the best work of anyone on the NXT roster, so it feels like a waste.
1. Hook, AEW Rampage
Speaking of super-talented people who feel completely unimportant right now, Hook won his match on Rampage against Lee Moriarty, and it just felt soulless and meaningless. The FTW Championship still holds a weird pseudo-position on AEW’s roster. Right now, it feels like Ricky Starks did a lot better job of it despite Hook being given more backing from AEW management. He still has a lot of career ahead of him, but it feels like maybe they pushed Hook too fast with no plans for development.
Reverse Hipster’s Winners of the Week
6th Place Rampage
Rampage put on some decent matches, but if you skipped this week's episode, there wouldn’t be anything worth going back to watch.
5th Place Raw
Raw is still struggling to feel must-watch. The fact that they don’t have a World Title hurts the show. The Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins match didn’t move the needle for me. They weren’t in a feud, and I knew Seth would win. The Women's Division feels stuck in a loop right now. I really want Raw to split up Bianca Belair’s team and use them as singles stars. Austin Theory's big comeback was the closest thing that mattered. However, his explanation for losing Money in the Bank was terrible. Ultimately, he lost to Dolph Ziggler a week after he lost his Money in the Bank.
4th Place Impact
Impact also didn’t have a very eventful show. I feel like the show did just enough to progress its stories. The closest thing to making the highlight list was Sami Callihan vs. Eric Young in a Double Jeopardy Match. The match concept was great, but Sami should have lost. How can we take Violent By Design seriously if they lose immediately?
3rd Place SmackDown
SmackDown progressed their stories, which was enjoyable to watch, but only one part of the show rose to the level of a highlight. Bray Wyatt and LA Knight are heating up, but their interaction wasn't big enough to be a highlight yet. Ricochet and Mustafa Ali was a great match that almost made the highlight list, but the wrong person won. Ali had more storyline momentum, and he needed that win more. Lastly, Kevin Owens running in and beating up Roman Reigns was exciting. However, he was the most predictable person to choose as the last member. That was a bit of a letdown after Sheamus set up a big surprise at the beginning of the show.
2nd Place Dynamite
Dynamite had two highlight matches that were excellent in the ring and were meaningful to the characters involved. The next closest thing that mattered was Britt Baker’s promo on Saraya. I didn’t include it because it was too babyface, and Britt Baker appealed to the fans way too much as a heel in this program.
1st Place NXT
NXT was easily the best show of the week, with three amazing high-stakes matches. In a week where most shows took their foot off the gas, NXT went full speed ahead.
Rob’s Winners of the Week
6. NXT put forth a below-average show this week, even with two championship matches. They feel like they are holding back a little while waiting for their next premium live event.
5. AEW Rampage still manages to feel like a house show that somehow gets an hour of TV time every week. This week brought some more matches with stakes, but it still felt wholly unimportant.
4. Impact managed to put together a card of strong matches right before their PPV. I like the main event feud they have built, but I need something else to grab my attention.
3. Raw rebounded this week and put together a surprisingly solid show. They still had to overcome bad booking decisions from last week like trashing the 24/7 Championship and Theory’s failed cash in.
2. AEW Dynamite had great matches and great promos. The build to Full Gear came a little late, but it spiked at the right time for this show.
1. WWE SmackDown just edged out AEW Dynamite because it had great matches and the return of Kevin Owens made me jump out of my seat in anticipation of War Games.