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The Wrap-Up: The Most Ambitious Crossover Since Endgame

Updated: Jan 8

Rob’s Highlights

10. Damage CTRL and Bianca Belair, WWE Raw

While not the best match, this segment and feud really drove home that Damage CTRL has internal problems. It’s the only way you can justify them having so many losses. Now, Iyo Sky is next in line to challenge Bianca Belair, Dakota Kai was using her time to try to soak up the spotlight, and Bayley seems upset with both of them.

9. Seth Rollins vs. the Miz, WWE Raw

Seth Rollins continues to prove himself as the ever-present MVP of WWE Raw. He had a great match with the Miz on weekly TV with no major story going in. WWE needs to reward Rollins with something bigger at this point.

8. Bron Breakker vs. Chase U, NXT

This storyline is such a great use of Chase U and Bron Breakker. Duke Hudson came out to set up a match between Andre Chase and Breakker next week. It’s still unclear what Hudson’s actual intentions are. It has to be assumed Breakker will destroy Chase, but if Chase gets in any fiery offense, this match is going to be electric in front of the NXT crowd.

7. Bobby Lashley and Bronson Reed, WWE Raw

Bronson Reed really impressed me in the Elimination Chamber, and we haven’t seen much from him since then. What started as a straight up boring rematch between Austin Theory and Lashley turned way more interesting when Reed attacked Lashley. That match would be the definition of a slobberknocker. The inclusion of Theory is interesting, as it adds an athletic third into the match, adds to the dynamic of the story, and introduces the title to this feud.

6. El Hijo de Vikingo vs. Dralistico, AEW Rampage

Usually, AEW Rampage matches are kind of meaningless, but this was a banger. It made me feel like it was a good use of Rampage to feature stars from other promotions who AEW fans may be less familiar with prior to launching them on Dynamite. It would give the show a feeling of who’s going to show up. A few more spots like this would make Rampage must watch.

5. Trish Stratus, WWE Raw

I said last week that I felt like Trish Stratus and Lita were just going to drift away from WWE post-WrestleMania, and I was clearly wrong. Stratus cut a great promo about her career and being unappreciated relative to Becky Lynch. Stratus and Lynch is a money match without story, but Stratus completely sold the story here with this promo.

4. NXT Women’s Division, NXT

Roxanne Perez and Zoey Stark had a great match, with Perez winning and eventually setting up a triple threat against champion Indi Hartwell and Tiffany Stratton. Perez and Stratton did a good job selling the match in a brief mic exchange. Cora Jade is back, and Gigi Dolin is resuming her feud with Jacy Jayne, which still has potential. The NXT Women’s Division is deep, and frankly, any one of these women would be a great champion. In the meantime, I’m just trying to enjoy seeing them wrestle weekly on NXT.

3. Building stories, AEW Dynamite

Multiple segments on AEW built up stories to a boiling point, and I loved the promo work from AEW. The four pillars opened the show and cut into each other with personal insults. The Elite called out the Blackpool Combat Club, but Bryan Danielson seemed like the strongest speaker on their exchange. In a segment with Adam Cole and Chris Jericho, their promo work was strong, but the strongest part of their exchange was the use of Cole’s girlfriend Britt Baker in her hometown being attacked by The Outcasts while Jericho had Cole handcuffed to the ropes. Anyone who doesn’t want to see Cole rip into Jericho after that lacks human emotion.

2. Gunther vs. Xavier Woods, WWE SmackDown

I have always felt like Xavier Woods deserved more opportunities to shine as a singles star. I thought King of the Ring would be it. Now, he was given a different chance in his first one-on-one championship match in WWE with Intercontinental Champion Gunther. Woods played the underdog role perfectly and got the crowd on his side. Despite not closing in the finish, no one cared because the match was so good, and the crowd is starting to love Gunther too. Months ago, I would say Gunther is silently putting together one of the best Intercontinental Championship reigns of all time. Now, I have to say that it isn’t so silent, and the wrestling mainstream is starting to agree that he’s putting on some of the best matches of the year in his long championship reign.

1. The Judgment Day and Bloodline, WWE Raw

You help me, and I help you. That was the basic premise of the opening segment of Raw that set up two great matches in Solo Sikoa vs. Rey Mysterio and the Judgment Day vs. Matt Riddle, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn. This was a smart continuation of both feuds without making it feel like we were watching a rerun. In the end, LWO got involved too, and WWE has successfully set up a scenario where we are excited to see these factions go at each other. I was skeptical the Bloodline could continue their hot streak of storytelling, but Raw proved me wrong.

Reverse Hipster's Lowlights

3.(SmackDown) Liv & Raquel

Liv and Raquel are both likable superstars who have earned a significant role in WWE. However, their Tag Team has been full of problems so far. First off, they became a team out of nowhere without much prior build. Then they won the tag team championships but didn't actually beat the champions. Now in their first title defense, they cheat to win. First off, they are babyfaces. Why are they cheating? Second, they had Sonya and Chelsea well in hand, so cheating was completely unnecessary—new champions with old problems. WWE continues to fail the women's tag division.

2.(Dynamite) The TNT Championship

The TNT Title is a low-quality title at the moment. It's just being thrown around, and it's not meaningful. It was thrown around between Darby and Joe, and now Wardlow and Hobbs have hot potatoed the title. Wardlow's reign was cut short by Hobbs, and Hobbs's reign was cut short by Wardlow. So, in the end, after all these title changes, nobody comes out better than they were before the feud. AEW needs to find a way to restore prestige to the TNT title.

1.(Impact) The Worst Ruse Ever

Sami Callihan revealed he was taking the Design out from the inside. It's hard to be impressed with this revelation when the Design tested his loyalty every step of the way. Also, he joined the Design for no reason at all. He never had a believable motivation to join the Design, so it was not surprising he turned on him. The best thing about Sami's turn was that it meant we would no longer have to endure the story of his initiation.

Reverse Hipster's Winner of the Week

6th Place Impact

Impact was fine, but they didn't have a highlight that could compete with the other five shows, and they had one of the three lowlights.

5th Place Rampage

The Vikngo Match singlehandedly got them ranked fifth. Otherwise, the show was unremarkable.

4th Place Dynamite

4th place is not often a spot that Dynamite ends up being in, but in a competitive week, Dynamite had a lowlight and some good moments and matches but nothing great in comparison to the top three.

3rd Place SmackDown

SmackDown earned this spot because of Xavier Woods and Gunther putting on one of the best matches of the week and the LWO waring with Judgement Day and Bloodline. Plus, Zelina stepped up to face Rhea for the title.

2nd Place NXT

NXT had a great show this week. They had a PPV quality Tag Team Title Triple Threat match, and The Woman's division is doing well, and when the woman's division is doing well, the show is doing well. Zoey Stark and Roxanne had an excellent match, Gigi and Jacy's feud is hot, and Cora continues to infuse life into the division. Tiffany Stratton is in the NXT Title picture where she belongs. Kiana has TURNED Jenson on his former partner, and they have gone full evil couple, and I love it.

1st Place Raw

Raw had so many things going for it. The alliance between Judgement Day and the Bloodlines alliance, Trish Stratus spitting straight fire on the mic, and Seth and Miz showing that anytime they are together, they will have a banger and more.

Rob’s Winners of the Week

6. Impact Wrestling wasn’t bad, but a lot of shows this week were too good to beat. They still began building for two new major champions, and I’m confident they can rebuild their momentum.

5. AEW Rampage only had one big match worth watching, but that highlight swayed me to place it just above Impact.

4. AEW Dynamite had one of its worser shows this week. They are building up good matches for Double or Nothing, but none of the matches on the show were great, and the shenanigans with the pillars was downright stupid as the best plan is a Fatal Four Way.

3. WWE SmackDown had a stretch of mediocre segments, but a few good matches saved the night for them. It was a great use of their talent.

2. NXT had a great show this week that continued to build stories post Stand and Deliver.

1. Wow. WWE Raw completely turned the ship around after two apathetic weeks post-WrestleMania. They used a lot of the same stars they were using before, but amplified them by paying closer attention to the characters, the stories, and how they were selling it on commentary.

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