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The Wrap Up: The Turning Point

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

Rob’s Highlights

10. Knockouts Division, Impact Wrestling

Mickie James kicked off the show to celebrate winning the Impact Women’s Championship. Already a legend, she has an added target on her back now with that championship. Jordynne Grace wants her rematch, Tasha Steelz came out to challenge James, and Masha Slamovich, as the new number one contender, has issued a death warrant for James. This division is strong enough to have entertaining feuds for the next few months, even with no developments.

9. Gallus, NXT

Gallus promised to dominate NXT, and they have looked like that so far. In their match with Briggs and Jenson, Gallus looked like they were a gang, isolating and beating down their competitors. Later in the night, the team came out to insert themselves in the New Day/Pretty Deadly feud. Gallus has a completely different gimmick than anyone on NXT. As heels that can work together, are they the right team to beat the New Day for the championships?

8. Charlotte Flair and Sonya Deville, WWE SmackDown

Even though I’m not excited to see this match, I have to admit Charlotte Flair, and Sonya Deville knocked it out of the park with this segment. They got the loudest response from the crowd all night. Deville isn’t one of the most talented wrestlers, but she knows how to draw heat. Even by the end, I have to admit that I wanted to see Flair get back at Deville, who got exactly what she wanted when Flair agreed to have the match after Sonya attacked her from behind.

7. Tag Teams, WWE SmackDown

WWE SmackDown used a huge chunk of their programming for the first round of matches in a tag team number one contender's tournament. Sheamus and Drew McIntyre vs. the Viking Raiders took up nearly a half hour to start the show, and it was the best match of the night. The match time built credibility for a lot of the division’s tag teams that may have otherwise been forgotten, like the Viking Raiders, Imperium, and Legado del Fantasma.

6. Is the Hurt back in Business?, WWE Raw

WWE Raw told a story throughout the night of MVP going back to help his former Hurt Business coworkers. MVP tried to help Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin but interfered too late. MVP and Omos were successful in helping Bobby Lashley become the number-one contender for the United States Championship in a good main event. I hope MVP ends up bringing the Hurt Business back together with Omos. The Hurt Business as a faction is better than what any one of those stars is doing individually.

5. Mike Bailey vs. Kenny King, Impact Wrestling

Mike Bailey has been the highlight of Impact Wrestling lately for me. He had a great main event with Kenny King, and the Pit Fight stipulation added a unique ambiance to the fight. Bailey won and continued to prove he could be a main event guy in Impact or a great asset to another company should he choose to try something else out.

4. Bryan Danielson vs. Bandido, AEW Dynamite

The build to this championship feud is money because it’s maximizing what both guys can do. Let Bryan Danielson go out there and give him time to wrestle some of the best pure pro wrestlers to earn his way to the number one contendership. Then, MJF can swoop in and cut a promo to continue building the animosity between him and Danielson. Bandido continues to impress me every time I see him on AEW TV too.

3. Top Flight defeats the Young Bucks, AEW Dynamite.

This was an excellent match, and storytelling by the bookers and commentary. Everyone knows Top Flight is a talented team, but this is arguably the biggest win of their career. The Young Bucks can say that they were dealing with the hangover of their ladder match last week; however, fans who saw the match know that Top Flight really brought it to them. Top Flight could be your next number-one contender in the tag team division.

2. Firefly Funhouse Returns, WWE SmackDown

A week after giving a very “follow the buzzards” early Bray Wyatt-type promo, Wyatt brought back the Firefly Funhouse this week to ominously warn LA Knight of what was coming in the Pitch Black match. Wyatt is cycling through his personas faster than you can say, “Yowie Wowie,” and I think it is all part of the grander story of Wyatt’s persona. I love this angle of going through Wyatt’s personas.This angle is a fun nod to just how creative he has been throughout his career.

1. Bloodline Drama and Kevin Owens Breaks the formula, WWE SmackDown

Throughout the night, more drama played out in the Bloodline when Roman Reigns wouldn’t even reciprocate Sami Zayn’s fist bump. Reigns kicked Zayn out of the room, and it felt like the moment was finally coming when Paul Heyman independently convinced Reigns it was better to have Zayn in his corner going into the Kevin Owens match. Zayn seemed elated to be invited back to the island of relevancy, but it was obvious as a viewer that Reigns didn’t mean it. In his contract signing with Owens, Reigns showed up with a tighter circle than usual and paid the price for it. Owens didn’t wait for the contracts to be signed before he took the fight to Reigns, coming through the crowd, and I ate it up. Owens’s tactics let him take out the whole Bloodline before Zayn could even arrive, and it seemed like the faction is holding that against Zayn going into next week. My only complaint is that I don’t know what they could do next week to top this, as I’m ready to see Reigns and Owens right now.

Reverse Hipster’s Lowlights

3. (NXT) Roxanne Beats Toxic Attraction Single-Handedly

Roxanne Perez and Lyra Valkyria faced Toxic Attraction in a tag team match. Cora Jade started a brawl with Lyra and took her away from her corner, leaving Roxanne alone. Roxanne should have been toast. Gigi and Jacey had Roxanne dead to rights, and then she ducks Jacy’s kick and hits Gigi. Then Roxanne gets rid of Jacy and beats Gigi with Pop Rox.

I don’t like this finish for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that Roxanne should not have come out on top, making one or both of the potential challengers for the NXT Title look weak. Second I just don’t believe the finish. I don’t believe that the former tag team champions, Toxic Attraction, who ran through the division like a well-oiled machine, would miss one of their combination moves like that. I also don’t believe Jacy turned on her partner in the middle of a tag match, causing her to lose as well. So, in the end, it just seems like plot armor for Roxanne at worst and a lackluster way to advance a title feud at best.

2.(Impact) Trey Miguel

Trey Miguel's whole bad-boy act isn’t working. Who cares that he sprayed the X division Title? That's literal child's play. If Trey is going to be taken seriously as this character everyone loathes, then he needs to do something truly despicable. I’m sure Bully Ray could help him with that.

1. (Dynamite) Saraya & Toni Storm Turn Heel

I’m not upset that Saraya and Toni turned heel. They could have been great faces, but maybe they will be even better heels. The reason this heel turn is a lowlight is that it was uneventful. You have a former AEW Woman’s Champion and a Women’s Wrestling Icon turning heel, and all you got is a distraction, a dirty pin, and a post-match beatdown? Also, I love Willow. She is one of the most underrated women’s wrestlers, but she wasn’t the right person to do this against. Will people talk for years about the day when Saraya distracted the ref and Toni used the tights to pin Willow? No, they won’t, and a turn that involved this much star power should have been a bigger deal.

Rob’s Winners of the Week

6. Despite having some meaningful matches, the aura of AEW Rampage continues to feel like it’s not on par with the other shows. It’s clearly not a lack of the company’s talent (see AEW Dynamite ranking), and it’s not even the lowest show on AEW’s programs (we don’t even bother covering Dark or Elevation).

5. NXT was solid this week. Their roster is much less talented, but they make up for it with storytelling and integrated segments like Gallus this week.

4. WWE Raw had a great main event and story throughout the night with the Hurt Business, but a lot of the other segments felt meaningless and mediocre.

3. Impact Wrestling had a surprisingly great showing to follow up their great storylines for the Hard to Kill PPV. They successfully convinced me to keep watching and started building new storylines with Santino Marella as a new management persona.

2. AEW Dynamite had some great matches, including some of which I didn’t even list. When they are putting on shows like this, the two hours just fly by.

1. WWE SmackDown had a lot of filler in their tag team tournament, but aside from that, this was an excellent show with my highest highlights of the week.

Reverse Hipster’s Winners of the Week

This week was really close. The top four or five have razor-thin margins for victory.

6th Place Rampage

Rampage didn’t have any lowlights, but it didn’t keep up with the other shows in terms of highlights.

5th place Dynamite

Dynamite was one of the shows with lowlights, and outside of the two title matches, it wasn’t that special.

4h Place Impact

Of the shows with a lowlight, Impact’s was the second-highest lowlight. Other than that, the show was really good. The Pit match was unique and intense. I loved the intergender match to start the show. Plus, there were a lot of good story points, like Masha challenging Mickie, and PCO being back. Giselle looking for a partner, and Santino becoming the authority in Impact.

3rd Place NXT

NXT was excellent this week. The only thing that keeps it back is the execution of the main event. But there was so much to like. Apollo and Carmelo’s tag match was a banger. Grayson Waller made a very compelling case he should be the next NXT champion. Sol Ruca got a huge win over alba, and Thea Hail got a victory or Valentina. However, the question remains will Electra turn Valentina into a heel like her? I’m also loving the storyline between Kianna James, Brooks, and Fallon right now. I will definitely be tuning in for that. Plus, the NEW Day and Gallus and Pretty Deadly are feuding. Tiffany is on a revenge tour. There are lots of good things happening in NXT.

2nd Place SmackDown

Rob and I were actually at Smackdown this week, and it was great. Drew and Sheamus had a thrilling match with the Viking Raiders, and I was fully along for the ride from that moment on. SmackDown delivered the entire night and ended with a huge bang when Kevin Owens laid out the entire Bloodline.

1st Place Raw

Raw was good in a lot of the same ways SmacDown was. However, Raw is three hours instead of two. Thus Raw had more time to fit in more great matches like Alpha Achedmy vs. the Judgement Day, and the 6 man elimination match for a shot at the United States championship. Raw also had really good women’s segments and Bloodline segments.

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