Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
5. (Impact) Alex Shelley Wins Male Superstar of the Year
Glad to see Shelley have such a glow-up. He became world champion, beating Impacts' number one guy and getting the number one prize plus one of their most coveted awards. It's great to see a guy who deserves it getting his flowers.
4. (Dynamite) Bryan Danielson vs. Eddie Kingston
On the negative side, this was a title match, so you know Bryan isn't going to win. However, seeing Eddie Kingston rise and beat Bryan was a highlight. Eddie had to dig deep to beat Bryan, one of the best wrestlers in the world. Eddie may be a worldwide champion, but he proved he was one of the best against Bryan.
3. (Dynamite) Skye Blue vs Statlander
This was a physical match. Statlander is quite the physical specimen. She is a lot bigger and stronger than you may think because she moves like she is a cruiserweight. Skye Blue has been bubbling and bubbling, but she finally proved she could knock one of the top girls. She took the fight to Statlander and hit a code red off the top rope to beat Statlander. It was absolutely insane.
2. (Dynamite) Deal With The Devil
Samoa Joe played MJF masterfully. He signed up to protect MJF and even got injured by the Devil's henchmen doing so before their tag team match, but it was all a ruse. MJF had to fight alone cause Samoa Joe was hurt, costing MJF the titles. Then Joe tried to come out and help when MJF got jumped, but as it turns out, he was fine and blasted MJF with the chair. MJF, previously thought to be the Devil himself, was utterly bamboozled and left lying. It was a great plan by Joe.
1. Jericho Saves Sammy
Sammy turned on the Callis family, and it was random, to be honest. Callis disrespected Sammy and his kid in such an obviously inflammatory way, which was weird, and Sammy coming with an attitude was strange at first. Still, he explained that the family had forgotten him when he was gone. But that wasn't the best part. The best part was when the family turned on Sammy and started beating him up, and who came to save him but his ex-friend Chris Jericho. If that wasn't enough to get the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up, then Sting and Darby also joined the fight.
Rob’s Highlights (WWE/NXT)
5. Interviews, WWE SmackDown
WWE SmackDown featured a best-of-the-year special with lots of interviews. With the new year around the corner, interviewers focused on what superstar's New Year’s Resolutions were. It was a fun way to frame their upcoming stories and goals. While most gave basic answers, I loved learning things like Grayson Waller wanting to main event Elimination Chamber in Australia.
4. NXT Underground, NXT
Raw Underground was ultimately a fun but failed experiment during the pandemic. However, NXT Underground this week worked because the match stipulation met a feud that necessitated it, and the guys rose to that challenge in a lengthy, physical fight. Dijak shined in this type of match, and it was the best I’ve seen Eddie Thorpe look, too, as Thorpe defeated Dijak by knockout.
3. Briggs and Jenson break up, NXT
After losing in a Heritage Cup match against Noam Dar, Josh Briggs had a backstage segment with Fallon Henley and Brooks Jenson where they agreed to go their separate ways. It’s not often in wrestling that we get an amicable breakup, and I think this was best for everyone as Briggs has been tearing it up as a singles competitor, but this still lets us soak in one more moment of the Briggs and Jenson team.
2. NXT Year End Awards, NXT
I miss the live presentation of the Slammy Awards, but the Year End Awards for NXT tried to fill this hole in my heart. The commentators reiterated that the Year End Awards were voted by fans, and if so, they did pretty good with these picks: Match of the Year: Carmelo Hayes vs. Ilja Dragunov at No Mercy, Moment of the Year: The Undertaker arrives, Male Superstar of the Year: Ilja Dragunov, Female Superstar of the Year: Tiffany Stratton, and Tag Team of the Year: The Creed Brothers.
1. Best of the Year Selection, WWE Raw
WWE Raw gave their talents Christmas off and featured a best-of-the-year special. The selection was excellent, featuring an array of Women’s and Men’s matches from across the year. Whether you liked technical midcard wrestling from Gunther and Chad Gable on Raw, hardcore wrestling from Men’s War Games, or a star-making moment in the women’s championship match between Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair, fans that don’t watch Premium Live Events were treated to these matches.
Rob’s Lowlights (WWE/NXT)
2. Best of the Year Selection, WWE SmackDown
Contrasting to WWE Raw, SmackDown’s show featured some of my least favorite matches and moments of the year, like Solo Sikoa vs. John Cena and Cody Rhodes losing to Roman Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania.
1. Ilja Dragunov injury, NXT
Last week, Ilja Dragunov sustained a storyline head/neck injury after fighting Ridge Holland. This week, they continued to play off of Dragunov’s injury, unsure if he should compete next week before ultimately signing a contract to fight Trick Williams and taking off his neck brace. In my opinion, the head and neck injury storyline was in poor taste because it wasn’t that long ago that Holland actually injured Big E, who has been out of action since. Dragunov’s selling last week mimicked the injury last year to Tua Tagovailoa after successive concussions. This type of injury is tragic and hard to watch. It shouldn’t be a storyline whether a competitor will tough out a kind of injury that can end up threatening an athlete’s quality of life or mortality entirely.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter
1. The Gold League Final
Swerve Strickland has been rocketing up the top of the card in AEW, and here is a moment to solidify him further. AEW goes with Jon Moxley instead. I love Jon Moxley. He's a 3-time champion, and he deserved it every time, but this shouldn't be his time. Also, Jay White took another pin in a big spot, dropping his stock. This should have been Swerve's win, and Moxley should have taken the pin.
Rob’s Winner of the Week (WWE/NXT)
I am happy that WWE gave their talent a week off for Raw and SmackDown, and they put on good enough shows in place of new content. NXT was mostly a hold for New Year’s Evil, but it’s still easy enough to give them Winner of the Week for being the only show of the three to produce original content.
Reverse Hipster's Winner of the Week
Russ says the last lap is always the least crowded, and that is certainly the case here. The last winner of 2023 will be Dynamite, with Impact doing a clip show and Collision not even airing. It's the only choice.