6. Stevie Turner, NXT
Stevie Turner finally debuted in NXT, and she is another testament to NXT’s willingness to try new and fun gimmicks. She had a great back-and-forth with NXT’s interviewer last week, and I loved the chat scrolling during her entrance this week. Even though it’s admittedly straddling the line of acceptable cheesiness, I love that NXT embraces the silly parts of wrestling.
5. Matt Cardona Fires Back, Impact Wrestling
Matt Cardona retaliated after Joe Hendry released his song against the Major Players last week. Cardona created a rap that cleared out the backstage crowd. This segment was hilarious, and I love that Cardona and Hendry are giving a unique identity to the Digital Media Championship feud.
4. Cody Rhodes, WWE Raw
On the Road to WrestleMania, there are going to be serious doubts about if Cody Rhodes should have won the Royal Rumble and if he should be in the main event of WrestleMania. However, whenever Rhodes gets a moment like this to speak from the heart, he genuinely shines. Rhodes won me back over with this very real promo about his unorthodox journey. It reminded me that he and Drew McIntyre will be a great match someday, as they traveled very similar paths. In the main event, Rhodes had a great match with Finn Balor that played on some of their shared history as former Bullet Club leaders.
3. Elimination Chamber Qualifying Matches, WWE Raw
WWE programming is at its finest when there are qualifying matches to be had and built-in stakes to the usual meaningless matches on Raw. The pack is shaping up to be excellent, as Seth Rollins, Johnny Gargano, and Bronson Reed qualified to be in the Men’s Elimination Chamber match. Particularly, Rollins had a great match with Chad Gable, as another semi-regular reminder that Gable should be positioned much more seriously than he is.
2. Bryan Danielson vs. Timothy Thatcher, AEW Dynamite
The formula for the build to AEW’s next PPV is simple, but I am all in on being fed Bryan Danielson dream matches every week. The rumor broke this week that Vince McMahon had asked Danielson what AEW is doing better than WWE, and ironically, it is exactly what we are seeing here: professional wrestlers getting time to wrestle on a wrestling show. Now, I just need AEW to give us novel weekly matchups with their other stars as well.
1. Sami Zayn and Roman Reigns, WWE SmackDown
Far and away the highest highlight of the week, Sami Zayn attacked Roman Reigns from behind during his State of the Bloodline Address. It was one of the loudest pops I’ve heard on WWE TV in the last few years. Zayn is set to challenge Reigns in front of a hometown crowd. Reigns has established that while the championship is Zayn’s dream, it’s Reigns’s every day. Now, Reigns wants to embarrass Zayn in front of his friends and family in Montreal. The result of this feud will decide if it is remembered as an all-time great, but right now, it has all the makings of one.
Reverse Hipster's Lowlights
2. (Raw) Corbin
What’s the point of JBL joining Corbin? So far, since JBL joined the picture, Corbin loses more and has had no major storyline. Clearly, JBL was brought in to help Corbin, but Corbin just lost an elimination chamber spot to Gargano. Another loss I’m not sure how that was supposed to help him, but then again, I’m not sure how any of his booking In the past couple of months was supposed to help him.
1. (Dynamite ) Darby Allin
I can’t believe they let Darby hold the title for only a month and then had the same guy who he beat to get the title end up taking it back. At this point, Darby has to lose his pillar status. AEW deciding Joe needs two belts more than Darby needs one is all you need to know about Darby's place in the company. Also, apparently, this is all leading to a Wardlow Samoa Joe feud. I’m not excited about that, considering how boring it was last time.
If I were Darby, I’d be very frustrated. The last time there was a title opportunity, he lost it to Broadie King. Now Darby loses his title after a month to Joe. It’s clear AEW doesn’t want to pull the trigger on Darby for some reason.
Rob’s Winners of the Week
6. NXT had a pretty standard showing this week, and it didn’t feel like a go-home show for the Vengeance Day event.
5. Impact Wrestling took a step back in creating one of their coldest shows since their last PPV.
4. AEW Rampage had an okay show with no major highlights but fun matches. It was nice to see Brian Pillman Jr. and Christopher Daniels in the ring again.
3. WWE Smackdown had the highest high but was otherwise a weak show.
2. AEW Dynamite had great matches with bad 50/50 booking, which consequently makes it hard to rate this show higher than this.
1. WWE Raw had a worthy follow up to the Royal Rumble as they started to build the Road to Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania.
Reverse Hipster's Winners of the Week
Rampage made an attempt with the Trios title match, but it still felt like a show where elevation-level talent fought a few main roster talents.
5th Place Raw
Raw was just okay this week. There were no huge surprises or amazing moments. Plus, Raw produced a lowlight.
4th Place Dynamite
Dynamite didn't really bring it. It produced a lowlight with Darby, and the Bryan Danielson match wasn't as good as it could have been. Adam Page and Moxley carried the show.
3rd Place NXT
NXT put together a solid show. There was nothing negative happening, and the show had good matches and stories.
2nd Place Impact
Impact had tons of good things going for it. I like that they are weaving together the men's title and the women's title with the Micckie and Billy feud. Matt Cardona and Joe Hendry's feud is hilarious. Chris Bey and Ace Austin had an incredible tag match, and the design got a huge win.
1st Place SmackDown
SmackDown had a big task ahead of it. Royal Rumble gave SmackDown a lot to follow up on, and Smackdown answered the call. The Sami Zayn and Bloodline segments were amazing. The crowd is supernova on this feud. The rest of SmackDown was really entertaining too there were no lowlights.