Reverse Hipster's Highlights
10. (NXT) Grayson calls out Shawn Michaels
This is super exciting. Grayson Waller was the Rising Star of the year in 2022, but after a surprising loss to Bron Breakker, his future was unsure. However, a feud with Shawn Michales is as big as it gets.
9. (Dynamite) Great Storytelling.
I'm fatigued from the long Cage and Jungle Boy story. However, they brought me in this week. Jungle Boy beat the crap out of Cage and had him in position to end him with a chair shot to the head. However, the hesitation cost Jungle Boy, and Cage low-blowed him and laid down a savage beatdown busting Jungle Boy's head open with a chair. This well-crafted segment made both wrestlers look good and told a story they could build on. Will Jungle Boy have what it takes when the time comes?
Elsewhere on AEW, Chris Jericho and Starks had one of the best contract signings I've seen in recent years. They really played with the format pretending it would be an open challenge. However, when Starks made the challenge Jericho came out. Jericho stopped anyone else from answering the challenge, and Starks used reverse psychology to get Jericho to agree to the match and make it so the J.A.S couldn't interfere. That was good, but the moment that puts this over the top as a highlight is how cathartic the signing was. Everyone popped hard for Jericho to sign a piece of paper. There were some callbacks to the list of Jericho, and Jericho made some big promises but said he couldn't do anything because he didn't have a pen. Starks did, and the crowd popped for the pen reveal and popped more when Jericho lifted it like he used to for the list of Jericho.
8. (Raw) Friends, How Many of Us Have Them?
Sami Zayn came out to thank Kevin Owens and ask him to help him take down the Bloodline. However, Owens reminded Sami of everything Sami did to him and refused to fight the Bloodline with Sami. I liked this segment, and it explains why Owens only helped Sami after his match with Roman was over. Also, I love that WWE didn't just throw Sami and Kevin Owens together. Acknowledging the history between them and showing that it had consequences means that it mattered.
On another delightful episode of Ding Dong Hello, Becky challenged Iyo and Dakota for the Women's Tag Team Championships. When Bayley made fun of Becky for having no friends, Lita came out. Lita and Becky as a tag team seem too awesome to really be happening. If they win the tag team belts, it will be Becky's last title in her infinity Gauntlet, and Lita, who never had the opportunity to be a tag champion, will also add to her legacy.
Candice Leray has been followed by Nikki Cross for a while now, and we have finally found out why. Apparently, Nikki has been following Candice because all her friends are gone, and she is lonely. Candice and Nikki are two wrestlers that I love overall but have had little to no interest in lately. I'm very interested in this storyline. I hope Nikki and Candice become friends and maybe even a Wrestlemania tag team...
7.(Rampage) Sammy Guevara vs. Action Andretti/5.(Rampage) The Young Bucks vs. Aussey Open
I'm not going to lie; going into this match, I didn't care. The storyline wasn't bringing me in. However, Sammy and Adrettie wrestled so well that they made up for that and made me take notice. Sammy is always great, but Andretti shined in this match. He proved he was just as good as Sammy and would not stay down. It took interference from Daniel Garcia to put Andretti down.
The Young Bucks and Aussey open are top-tier teams. So naturally, it took top-tier offense to win the match. The two teams did some of their best and their opponent's best moves in a tag team war. In the end, the Young Bucks came out on top. One negative from this match was the Young Bucks making Aussey Open tombstone each other, making them look like doofs.
6. (Raw) Edge vs. Austin Theory
This was the banger I didn't know that I needed. Edge was on his game, landing on his feet after monkey flips, hitting the Edgexcution, and wrenching Austin Theory's body in a cross-face. Austin Theory didn't quit, and he gave Edge a hard-fought match, but it was clear Edge was a step ahead despite Theory's immense size and athleticism. Theory would have lost if Finn Balor hadn't come out and viscously attacked Edge and cost him the match. I'm not even mad, Theory got another notch under his belt, and Raw got a superb main event.
5.(SmackDown) Kofi vs. LA Knight
La Knight has risen as one of the most promising up-and-coming superstars, and you can see it when he talks on the mic. When the New Day returned from NXT to confront LA, there was magic in the air. It was a random encounter between two good promos, making it feel like anything could happen on SmackDown. Kofi and LA had a good match that ended euphorically, with Kofi winning.
4. ( SmackDown) Dominik Comes for the Queen/ (SmackDown) Rey Wars: Son of the Mysterio
In a surprising twist, Dominik confronted Charlotte to defend Rhea's honor. Dominik was really good at being bad. Charlotte handled him on the mic, but he poked, and he prodded and had Charlotte ready to beat his ass when Rhea came out to save him. Rhea should face Charlotte as a hero, but if WWE is going to keep Rhea as the villain, using Dominik to make people hate her is an excellent strategy.
In this episode of the Rey Mysterio Saga, Dominik returned to pick on Rey on the same night as his match with Kross. However, Rey wasn't alone this time. This time Santos Escobar was by his side. Dominik could see he was being replaced, and Santos was willing to kick Dominik's ass. Dominik tried to play it cool, but he was jealous. So when Rey was about to beat Karrion Kross later that night, Dominik interfered, costing Rey the match. Then he tried hard to get Rey to punch him, but Rey refused. I hope this all leads to Judgement Day vs. Rey and Legado at Wrestlemania. Plus, we need at least one Rhea and Zelina confrontation in that feud.
3. (Impact) Crazy Steve vs. Trey Miguel Monsters Ball Match
What a great main event. This match carried Impact this week. Crazy Steve was willing to do whatever he had to in order to hurt Trey Miguel. However, Trey Miguel did not back down in any way. He got hit with a Canadian destroyer on the tacks and still fired back a match-winning Roll of the Dice finishing maneuver into a barbed wire table. Trey Miguel needed this match, to show he has grit.
2. (Dynamite) Moxley vs. Evil Uno
This match was a thrill ride—the best match of the night. I can't remember seeing two wrestlers so perfectly booked in a singles match. Despite Evil Uno losing, he got to show off his in-ring ability and grit. Evil Uno did a front flip from the top rope to the outside. He was bloody and beaten, but he kept coming. As blood was pouring out of the eyeholes of his mask and he was in the Bulldog Choke, Uno still didn't tap. In fact, Uno powered up to his feet before Moxley brought him down on his back and choked him out. However, I've never seen someone power up from the Bulldog Choke once Moxley has it in good.
On the other side of this match, Moxley didn't lose a single bit of momentum while Uno shined. In fact, Moxley gained momentum. He brutally busted open Uno on the stairs and punched so hard and so many times after that, that the match probably would have been stopped there if it was in the UFC. The AEW audience and I still want to cheer Moxley, but he definitely set himself up as the heel of his Texas Death Match. Also, unlike last week, this week, it made sense for the Combat Club and the Dark Order to get involved because of the aftermath antics.
1. (Dynamite) MJF
Even if MJF isn't on top all year like Roman, MJF hits heights nobody else could hit. He is the best promo in professional wrestling. MJF is like if Randy Orton and Mick Foley had a baby. He tears at your heartstrings with complex reality-based promo, but he's also a cold-hearted savage who seemingly knows no boundaries. This week MJF came out and said that everyone who ever said they loved him has left him. He said his fiance left him(true) and the only thing he has left that stops him from killing himself is the AEW Title.
MJF says he hates Bryan for taking his family for granted. MJF said he would kill to have what Bryan has, but every time Bryan wrestles he is saying wrestling is more important than his family. This promo was so good it built Bryan up as the best then tore him down with a low blow with some truth to it.
Then Bryan and MJF had a brawl where security attempted to separate them. This was really cool because a lot of the times in AEW someone will run in to attack someone and that person will just run away. Not this time tension boiled over, and they fought it out. I honestly hope MJF doesn't cheat to win. It's not that it wouldn't make sense, but after that passionate promo, it would be nice to see him back it up in the ring. Last week I criticized this program, this week I'm all in.
2. Jeff Jarret and Jay Lethal win the Revolution Tag Team Battle Royal, AEW Dynamite
This had to be one of the least interesting teams to me of all the tag teams in the battle royal. After AEW decided to let the Gunn Club defeat the Acclaimed, it felt like it was all to set up a blood feud at Revolution. Now, a third team being added to the match destroys that story, and they aren’t even the most interesting team to add spice to the match in-ring (think Aussie Open, Best Friends, Lucha Bros, or Top Flight).
1. Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley, WWE SmackDown
When will WWE learn its lesson? After a man helped win the first Women’s Money in the Bank, it seemed like they would be smart to keep the men out of Women’s feuds. Now, for some reason, Dominick Mysterio went out to cut a promo against Charlotte Flair. Knowing WWE, I guess it was too tempting to have two second-generation superstars swap words. Maybe they were just trying to buy a week as they have to keep the feud hot until WrestleMania. Maybe they were trying to build more heat against Rhea Ripley, knowing Flair isn’t firmly established as a babyface yet, and Ripley has major fan support. What it felt like to me is that WWE didn’t trust the Women’s Royal Rumble winner to sell her own feud on the mic with Flair. There was a little bit of cheap heat, but it was lacking the substance I am expecting from this main-event feud. Ripley did a better job selling this match in the press conference after the Royal Rumble than WWE creative did here.
Reverse Hipster's Winner of The Week
6th Place NXT
NXT barely had one highlight. There was nothing I can point to in the episode that was bad, but it just seemed like a set-up episode. All the plots were moved along, and the stories go on but not in a way that produces a lot of highlights this week.
5th Place Impact
Impact's main event singlehandedly elevated the show over NXT. It was one of the top highlights of the week, but other than that Impact was just a decent show.
4th Place Rampage
Rampage had good matches. All it was missing was the story to supercharge the moments on Rampage. Also, outside of Ruby Soho, there is nobody in the Women's division I care about currently. Saraya, Britt, Toni, and even the AEW Champion, Toni Storm feel like side characters just doing things for no reason. When will the women get their MJF vs. Danielson? They have the star power.
3rd Place SmackDown
SmackDown was a really fun watch this week and produced three moments on the list. SmackDown needs to add more meat on the bone with Bray and get back into gear with the Bloodline. If SmackDown improves in those areas, they have a great chance to be number one each week.
2nd Place Raw
Raw had another superb showing. The amount of stories that were started this week really put Raw over the top. However, it wasn't just the developing stories it was the star power and excellent main event.
1st Place Dynamite
As strong of a week as this was for most shows, nobody could touch Dynamite this week. Dynamite had a promo of the year candidate and some of the best-booked matches I've seen this year. The Booking, Promos, and matches were on another level. There's something electric about AEW in February.
Rob’s Winners of the Week
6. AEW Rampage went back to being the sideshow this week, even if I did like some of the matches and stars, it didn’t feel important at all.
5. WWE Raw put forth an average show, as the only major development was the Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens segment that followed up on Elimination Chamber.
4. NXT had a solid show which started to build some stories, but they still have a long way to go to build momentum for Stand and Deliver.
3. WWE SmackDown capitalized off of Elimination Chamber better than WWE Raw did, but it still doesn’t feel like the Road to WrestleMania just yet.
2. Impact Wrestling felt like it was a go-home show for a PPV, and it even gave away some PPV-level action on TV this week.
1. AEW Dynamite had some of the best matches and stories this week. It got me excited for next week’s go-home show and Revolution PPV.