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The Wrap Up: What Year Is It?

Rob’s Highlights (AEW/TNA)


5. Eddie Kingston and Ortiz vs. Bryan Danielson and Claudio Castagnoli, AEW Collision

Claudio Bryan AEW

AEW Collision ended their night on a big match with lots of fun spots. Bryan Danielson was working the crowd, and it was fun to see the Blackpool Combat Club teaming together again as heels. Eddie Kingston brought his signature fire to the match. Kingston continued his own personal fight forever with Castagnoli, and he seems to be starting a new feud with Danielson, who took every opportunity to taunt Kingston in-ring, almost like he was looking down on him. Danielson pinned Ortiz while Castagnoli held Kingston back, intensifying the feud even more.


4. The Young Bucks, AEW Dynamite

The Young Guns

The Young Bucks are finally leaning into everything folks online say about them. In a backstage interview, they demanded to be called Matthew and Nicholas Jackson and said it was time for folks to take them more seriously. They praised Sting for being a legend in the ring but said it may be best for the company to take him out. It seems like behind the scenes, Sting chose the Young Bucks to be their final match, and the Young Bucks are putting up some of their strongest character work to justify the feud. If they keep this up, they will go into the match with Sting absolutely hated. 


3. Samoa Joe vs. HOOK, AEW Dynamite

Tony Khan took to Twitter to defend booking this match, and I agree with him. HOOK has been nearly undefeated in AEW, and it only makes sense that he would get a shot at the top guy. This made for an interesting main event because we have rarely seen HOOK take a beating like he did from Samoa Joe. It also pointed out that the two are a lot alike, as HOOK is usually the one to bring the fight to his opponents. HOOK went through a table, took a powerbomb off the apron, and took Joe’s finisher, and still kicked out at one. It was a huge credit to HOOK’s durability. Joe finished off HOOK with the coquina clutch, and the night ended as Adam Page and Swerve Strickland watched Joe walk up the ramp. This established that Joe’s championship reign will be entertaining, HOOK is a future world championship contender, and the next two contenders for Joe are both excellent.


2. Nic Nemeth and Steve Maclin, TNA Impact

Nic Nemeth TNA

Say what you will about the “X wrestler is in the Impact Zone” meme, but there was a period of time where it was true, and TNA was viewed as a company that you went to simply because WWE didn’t want you. Now, wrestlers have choices, and there’s a strong case to be made that based on the type of wrestling you do and the schedule you want to work, TNA is one of the best choices. Nic Nemeth came out with a great response and cut a great promo about getting used to fans chanting his new name and coming to TNA to earn respect. Nemeth also lends a lot of credibility to TNA as well. Steve Maclin came out and accused Nemeth of being a guy who would just use TNA to go do other things. He had the line of the night when he said, “Nobody will remember Nic Nemeth. People will just be asking whatever happened to Dolph Ziggler.” With one promo segment, Nemeth and Maclin became a must-see feud on TNA. 


1. Josh Alexander vs. Will Ospreay 2, TNA Impact

Will Ospreay TNA

In this match, Josh Alexander reminded everyone why he was the heart of Impact Wrestling, and it’s just as safe to assume he will be the heart of the new TNA. Will Ospreay has just done it again, and though early in the year, I think this could be a match-of-the-year candidate. Alexander and Ospreay maintained a high work rate for thirty minutes, which you can watch uninterrupted on TNA’s YouTube channel. Through submission and grappling sequences, crazy table spots, and moments of drama, this is an entertaining watch throughout. In the end, Alexander hit a Styles Clash and C4 Spike and pinned Ospreay. It was a huge boost of credibility for Alexander, as he pinned Ospreay, who has fans worldwide. After the match, TNA President Scott D’Amore cut a passionate promo that I think will resonate with any wrestling fan- about how he fell in love with wrestling. D’Amore talked about how TNA has earned its place in wrestling history, and if he died tomorrow, he would die happy. If you have ever thought about tuning back in to see what TNA is doing, I would say confidently that this was that segment, and this was that show to watch. It was an absolute home run for the TNA wrestling team, which committed to this rebrand and brought in some new stars for the fans.


Reverse Hipster's Highlights


5. (Raw) Seth vs. Jinder

Seth  vs. Jinder

Seth and Jinder actually had a good match. Jinder is stronger than ever and his wrestling was inspired. Plus, having Damian Priest and Indus Sher interfering on the outside gave Seth more obstacles to overcome, making the match even more interesting. At one point, Jinder had Seth beat for sure, but Seth refused to lose, overcame everything, and retained his title.


4. (NXT) Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes vs. Blade & Enofe/Tension Rising

Trick Williams Carmelo

Trick and Carmelo are a great team. We know this. However, people need to remember how good Blade and Enofe are. These were four very athletic brothers pushing each other in the ring. When all was said and done, Trick and Carmelo had just a little bit more in the tank. After the match, Trick and Carmelo were excited about winning the Dusty Classic in the future, and then Dragonuv came back and offered Trick Williams an NXT Title match the same night as the finals of the Dusty Classic, and Trick accepted. Then Carmelo got a little skittish about it. Also, if Carmelo and Trick win the title, he will be the first triple crown champion to hold the NXT Title and tag titles at the same time, and Carmelo didn't look like he loved that.


3. (Raw) DIY vs. Dom & JD

DIY Dom Raw

DIY beat JD and Dominik in the best match they have both had in a long time. DIY has finally found their chemistry. They are back, and they could recapture the magic they had in NXT and deliver it on the main roster this time.


2. (NXT) LWO vs. Chase U

LWO NXT

The LWO are putting on some great matches and breaking out. Legado defeated Toro and Wild on Friday Night SmackDown, but they knocked Chase u out of the Dusty Classic. Chase U was rolling, Osborn was diving all over the place, and Duke was throwing the LWO around on his own, but then Wild changed the match by doing a suicide dive DDT. Then, Wild took out Osborne and set Duke Hudson up for the Starship Pain and then a Phoenix splash by Toro. The LWO will be tag champs eventually. It's just a matter of when.


1. (NXT) Women's Battle Royal

A few women were missing, like Nikkita and Tiffany, but this once again reinforced how many talented women are in the NXT women's division. This was a great battle royal that ended in a fatal four-way. Electra Lopez and Lola Vice started a feud after Lola betrayed Electra. They were throwing haymakers at each other, and I want to see the promos and fights between them. Both Lola and Lopez need this feud to develop. Kehlani Jordan lasted to the final four, and she even had a Kofi spot where she skinned the cat, was thrown out of the ring, landed on another wrestler, and then dumped on the announce table. She went to the barricade and then jumped to the stairs to stay in the match. Kehlani Jordan is special. Every time she shows up, she shows out. She is a future star.

Speaking of future stars, Lash Legend is coming along as well. She dominated in this match-up and has come so far from being barely featured to a dominating force on the roster. Ultimately, it was Roxanne who pulled out the win, which wasn't the most exciting win, but she will be a good challenger for Lyra at Vengence Day.


Rob’s Lowlights (AEW/TNA)


2. Cope Open, AEW Collision

Adam Copeland AEW

I love the concept of open challenges, and I think Adam Copeland has the star power and personality to execute it. However, to this point, I have been disappointed with what I have seen in-ring, and it really hasn’t helped build the credibility of his challengers like Dante Martin’s losing effort this week. Copeland said this was about giving back to young AEW stars, and I sure hope they are learning a lot because he isn’t doing them any favors with their perception on-screen. I’m hoping to see them continue to build on this concept, as we will see him take on more established AEW stars over time or perhaps build a star with a shock win.


1. Stalling, AEW Dynamite and AEW Collision

Tony Khan Silly Hat

AEW has such a deep roster and care-for-work rate that I couldn’t justify putting any individual match in the lowlights. However, I had an overarching feeling on Dynamite and Collision that most matches were just filler, and the show, aside from the highlights I listed above, felt devoid of story. I think the perfect word for this is that AEW is stalling. At worst, AEW is a failing car engine, stalling to a point where we will have to decide if it’s worth investing in at all. At best, AEW is holding our attention with filler and stalling for a better day, with bigger shows like Revolution a couple of months away. I’m choosing to stay optimistic that there will be more stories to tell and big stars returning and debuting on AEW. A number of times we have felt like this, and AEW has always managed to bounce back and surprise us with a great PPV.


Reverse Hipster's Lowlights


2. (Raw) Drew Smashes on the Mic Again

Drew Cody Raw

Last week, Drew got the better of CM Punk on the mic, and this time, he outdid Cody. Drew called back to their history and pointed out that they had similar career paths. He also said he believed that Cody would become champion and finish the story, but not before he won the title. Then, he gave Cody some advice. He told him to stop running for president, doing the suits and big words, and always having that dumb smile on your face. At first, it sounded like an insult, but then Drew said he had that same dumb smile on his face, too. He used to pretend because he thought it was what he had to do. He says he learned he didn't have to do that and told Cody to be Cody.

Cody replies by saying it's not a facade, that he made these opportunities for himself, and that the smile is genuine because he is grateful for a second chance; meanwhile, Drew complains about his. I know Cody was supposed to be the good guy, and we were supposed to look down on Drew's attitude and be on Cody's side, but I wasn't. Drew is still an anti-hero to me because his side continues to make sense. Cody's response seemed robotic and political. Drew talked about his real experience, and Cody just gave a cliche grateful speech. Drew's promo just made Cody's response look that much more inauthentic.


1. (Raw) Sometimes In Life, When You Win, You Lose

Akira Maxine Raw

Akira got a huge upset win over Ivar, and that would have been highlighted if Maxine and Akira could have gotten away, but then Valhalla jumped Maxine, and Akira got beat up trying to help. This post-match beatdown immediately ruined the moment to the extent that the upset was pointless.


Rob’s Winner of the Week (AEW/TNA)

TNA Logo

TNA Impact was my easy winner of the week. AEW feels like they are holding for their bigger shows while they are missing stars like MJF, Adam Cole, and more. TNA Impact re-debuted Impact under the return of TNA branding to much success. They put on big matches and started intriguing feuds. I left off the X Division Scramble and Knockouts Division as two more matches that could have been highlights in addition to taking my top two highlights this week. TNA made a splash, and here’s hoping they can keep that momentum and be a true competitor in the American wrestling space.


Reverse Hipster's Highlights

NXT Logo

NXT takes this week. SmackDown was a good show overall, but it didn't have a lot of highlight moments. Raw was really good, but NXT did it at a higher level.

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