Reverse Hipster's RAW, SmackDown & NXT Highlights
5.(Smackdown) IYO Loses to Zelina
Zelina Vega has been bubbling lately. She keeps creating feel-good moments. She started by her joining the LWO, then fighting for her first title in front of her home territory of Puerto Rico, and now she has beaten Iyo in a shocking underdog victory. There is a real chance that Zelina could be Mrs. Money in the Bank. She has the most momentum she has ever had in her career.
Iyo wasn't hurt by the loss either because Bayley cost Iyo the match. Iyo seems very frustrated with Bayley, and she isn't even hiding it anymore. She berated Bayley in front of everyone after Bayley interfered. Money in the Bank could be the breaking point for Damage Control.
4. (SmackDown) Bianca and Charlotte Face 2 Face
Bianca and Charlotte squared off in verbal combat on the Grayson Waller effect. Charlotte threw out her usual brags about her success, but Bianca didn't back down because she had a resume that stood up to Charlottes. Charlotte did try to flex on Bianca, but she didn't take any direct shots at her. Bianca took Charlotte to task, pointing out that Charlotte ran away after she lost instead of staying and grinding like Bianca. Bianca's point was especially poignant after Charlotte tried to say she was a champion with or without the title. This a ridiculous claim considering Charlotte had the title most of her career and disappeared when she didn't have it.
Charlotte hasn't changed. She is doing the same stuff she has always done. Even though Charlotte has remained the same, she feels different. Charlotte doesn't feel like a member of the roster anymore. She feels like a guest, someone making a special appearance. Bianca has changed too. She has turned up her attitude and aggressiveness, and it only makes her better. The only downside to this epic Charlotte and Bianca feud is that it overshadows Asuka.
3. (NXT) Seth Rollins Accepts Bron Breakkers Challenge
This is unprecedented. An NXT superstar is challenging a main roster star for the World Championship on NXT. Bron Breakker could start a hall-of-fame career at Seth Rollins's expense. This booking will make NXT feel special and elevate superstars like they used to be elevated in the early Black and Gold era of NXT. As for Seth Rollins, he is proving he will defend anywhere at any time, and the more he succeeds, the closer his title will get to becoming the title in WWE.
2. (NXT) Wes Lee, Ali, and Tyler Bate vs. Schism
This match was a runaway train going full speed ahead with impact everywhere. It was just amazing spot after amazing spot from both sides like they were trying to outdo each other. You could feel the hunger in this, but it was also constructed well. The sequencing of the moves made the match stand out as explosive because it felt like every big move was built to the next. Also, having a ref stop another ref from counting three because the illegal man was being pinned was a moment that just increased the urgency and intensity of this match, leading to a satisfying finish.
1.(SmackDown) I'm Out Too, Mega Powers Explode
Jimmy kicked Roman in the face at Night of Champions, and Roman got Solo to attack Jimmy on the SmackdDown afterward. Jey was forced to choose between them because they had grown so far apart that the gap couldn't be bridged. Jey told Jimmy that Jimmy was out of the Bloodline before cathartically revealing he was out too. Jey blasted Roman with a superkick, and the Bloodline Civil War began. The Mega Powers Explode!
This was an excellent segment. Fans have been waiting for Jey to turn on Roman for literal years. Jey's turn did not disappoint. He sucked us all in, and just like Roman, we were blindsided when Jey revealed he was finally out. This segment will be one of the most memorable segments of the decade.
Moments like this show why the Bloodline story is the best story in wrestling. It lasted years and never gets old because it keeps refreshing with plot development. Now that there is a civil war inside the Bloodline, how long can Roman survive without the Usos? Usually, Roman waits at Wrestlemania for his challenger like a final boss. If he makes it to WrestleMania this year, it will be a real journey. Roman must prove he is who he says he is without the Usos. Will this weaken him or make him more dangerous?
Reverse Hipster's Lowlights
2.(SmackDown) The Gauntlet Match
I was not a fan of the gauntlet match. The Street Profits, who are the most decorated team in the tournament and probably should have been the ones to dethrone the Usos, lost in the first round. Street Profits have been losing a lot lately, and they are too good to be booked this way. Then there was the LWO, who had a decent showing before losing to the Brutes.
However, Hit Row was completely squashed. I don't know how Hit Row is supposed to get over if they are always booked so weak. In the end, Pretty Deadly won, and I love them, but this Gauntlet was not a good look. The Brawling Brutes are far from great Tag Team wrestlers. Nobody would have questioned if they had lost and Ridge had taken the pin. Instead, they beat the overly qualified Black tag team in the first round and then the Latin World Order, who were fresh in the second round. Then they squashed a black team so that it could be an Irish team vs. a British team in the final where the Britts go over.
1. (NXT) What Happened to Cora Jade?
Cora Jade's NXT career makes no sense. She started as the biggest babyface prospect in the entire division. Cora won Women's Wargames and seemed to be the air apparent to Mandy Rose. However, the first sign that things were going wrong was when they turned Cora's one-on-one with Mandy at Stand and Deliver into a four-way. Cora also lost the Dusty Cup tournament.
Still, it seemed like Cora's day would come. Then Roxanne Perez came into the picture, and suddenly, WWE's plan was just to give Roxanne Cora's spot and character. However, there was still the pesky part of Cora's presence to deal with. So WWE turned Cora Jade heel, ensuring she wouldn't be the one to beat Mandy. Roxanne would take that moment.
Cora's heel turn has gone horribly. She has done a perfect job committing to the character and delivering on everything she asked to do. However, the company has hung her out to dry time and time again. She lost all her heel feuds, and she was snubbed for the NXT Championship by Indy Hartwell, of all people. Now she has hit an all-time low by tapping out to Thea Hail. Anyone could have lost to Thea, but for some reason, Cora is the go-to to put other people over. My question is, why? What happened to Cora Jade? Why won't WWE push her? They won't let her succeed at anything in NXT, and they didn't move her up the main roster. Why is she getting passed up by all the other women despite her skills, tenure, and fanbase?
Rob’s (Dynamite Impact & Collision) Highlights
5. Buddy Matthews vs. Andrade El Idolo, AEW Collision
Two great wrestlers who haven’t had a lot of time in singles matches to shine took up multiple segments on the debut episode of Collision. It was a reminder of exactly why this show is needed. AEW has a deep roster of talent who needs time to just wrestle in great matches. It also set up a potential follow-up match between House of Black and La Faccion Ingovernable.
4. MJF and Adam Cole Draw, AEW Dynamite
After MJF and Adam Cole had an entertaining back-and-forth last week, they took it to the ring. Remembering his NXT title reign, Cole is possibly one of AEW’s most underutilized stars in-ring. It’s incredible that MJF’s ring skills even come close to his top-tier mic skills. I can only assume this was them holding back to reach the time-limit draw and build intrigue for a future rematch. I’m very intrigued now.
3. Jericho and Guevara; Allin and Sting, AEW Dynamite
Sammy Guevara returned on Dynamite for the first time since his excellent effort in the championship Fatal Four Way at Double or Nothing. Another of the competitors, Darby Allin, tried to talk Guevara into leaving the Jericho Appreciation Society. Chris Jericho came out to defend himself, and he ended up in a staredown with Sting. This was some of the best character work we’ve seen out of Jericho and Guevara, who has pretty much been aligned since the beginning of AEW Dynamite. Allin was a great instigator here, and it led to an epic face-off between two of wrestling’s most legendary superstars. I’m hyped to see the payoff for this.
2. An Elite Ending, AEW Dynamite
AEW Dynamite ended in chaos, and it promoted exactly what makes the promotion at its best. Eddie Kingston returned to renew his feud with Claudio Castagnoli. Konosuke Takeshita drew out Kenny Omega, which led to a run-in from Will Ospreay, who got the jump on him leading up to their rematch at Forbidden Door. The segment highlighted the tensions and storyline history between all of the mentioned characters, the Blackpool Combat Club, and the Elite. As a young promotion, AEW still has so much star power on its roster and history within and outside of the promotion to lean on.
1. CM Punk, AEW Collision
CM Punk is back, and regardless of where you fall in the Punk/Elite debate, you have to admit it was at least entertaining. I fall into the camp that hates Punk, but I was still glued to the TV during his promo littered with past references, digs at the Elite, and establishing his motive for staying in AEW. I like setting up someone to take his spot as the megastar of AEW, and I have to admit he has built younger talent in his matches. In the ring, he looked better than he did a year ago, keeping up with Bullet Club Gold and FTR. When Samoa Joe got in the ring, the crowd went crazy, and it showed Punk still has plenty of stories to tell in AEW.
1. Wardlow, AEW Collision
Wardlow had two matches this week, and I didn’t particularly care for either of them. In his match on AEW Collision, he lost the TNT Championship to Luchasaurus (and Christian by proxy). I’m not sure where the story is going, but Wardlow feels ice cold in AEW, and the TNT Championship is hot potatoed again. It’s clear from Wardlow’s match at Double or Nothing he is willing to put his body on the line, very athletic and entertaining when given the chance. I have to blame the booking on this one, and it’s a shame for one of AEW’s only homegrown talent.
Rob’s Winners of the Week
AEW Collision had a steep hill to climb to beat AEW Dynamite this week, and they fell just short. To me, AEW Dynamite was one of the best we’ve seen this year. It held title matches, built the next challenger for the AEW Championship, used its deep roster of characters smartly, had good matches, and put together an ending to showcase all of that. There are so many directions to go from here, and they are all entertaining. For a debut show, Collision had the return of some great AEW stars, but they had a dumb title change, and they didn’t give me a reason to tune in next week.
Reverse Hipster's Best Show of the Week
It was a very close race this week, but I got to give it to SmackDown. SmackDown was the most thrilling show of the week because it supercharged with story. As you can see in the highlight list, all of the SmackDown highlights are tied to an engaging story. The Bloodline had the most important and entertaining plot development of any story from any company this week.