From now on the Rundown will include more than just RAW and SmackDown. This week's Rundown includes AEW Dynamite and NXT as well as RAW. The list will include the best and worst of each show as Rob and I see it.
Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
7. 24/7 Title (WWE RAW)
Reggie lost the 24/7 title and then won it back after multiple people won the 24/7 title. This might have seemed a little campy to some. However, I really loved it. I was happy to see Reggie finally lose the title. I thought it was awesome that Drake Maverick was able to capture it again. Then, I popped pretty big when Corey Graves won the title. I believe that's his first title win on the main roster. However, I popped even bigger when Byron Saxton won the title. After all the crap that Corey and all the commentators talked to Byron, it was hilarious to see Byron pin Corey and win the 24/7 title. I was one hundred and ten percent here for that moment. Also, this segment probably broke a world record for the fastest and/or most title changes in a single night.
6. NXT Skits
This is the first time I have watched NXT 2.0 and I like the format. The show has good wrestling matches like Pete Dunne and Carmelo Hayes, but the character work really impressed me. Unlike on the main roster, I feel like NXT spends a lot of time getting over the characters in segments and skits.
I enjoyed the Chase U skit. Even though the acting wasn't perfect, there was a clear and compelling character with room to grow. I loved Elektra Lopez and Xyon Quinn, a romance across alliances between a dangerous woman and a dangerous man. Also, I like seeing men and women have stories together. They seem separate on the main roster. The main event showed the perfect integration of character and wrestling. Pete Dunne and Carmelo Hayes had an excellent match. Dexter Lumis shined like a star on commentary without saying a word. At the end, Dexter and Johnny interfered in the match in a way that made sense, and played off Dexter's character. I want to tune in next week and see what happens next.
5. Gable vs. Big E (WWE RAW)
Gable looked absolutely incredible in this match against Big E. He dominated most of the match and had one of the best moments of the night when he deadlifted Big E into a bridged German suplex. It was insane. I've always believed in Gable, but even I didn't know how strong he really was. Also, this was a great match for Big E's title reign. He elevated the person he was fighting and let them shine, which helped him to look like a good champion who beat a quality opponent. Big E is best for business.
4. Toxic Attraction (NXT)
What a squad a fem fatal faction. Toxic Attraction members are the ones. NXT started with them, and they came out looking like stars. Then, they backed it up in an excellent six-women tag match, where they beat Io Shirai, Kayden Carter, and Kacy Catanzaro. Toxic Attraction didn't just win. They made their opponents look great as well. I have always liked Mandy, but I have become a fast fan of the group.
3. Bryan Danielson vs. Rocky Romero (AEW Dynamite)
I don't really know anything about Rocky Romero, but I absolutely loved this match. Hold by hold, this match won me over. It's the kind of match that demands your attention. Bryan is still a living legend, and Romero is supremely talented. These two had excellent sequences and no wasted movement. My favorite move from Romero was the standing sliced bread, which was absolutely incredible. These two countered each other so much that in the end, Bryan had to alter his finisher and work Romero's leg and arm, forcing him to tap.
2. Liv Morgan Arrives (WWE RAW)
Liv Morgan, Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair, Carmella, and Queen Zelina. This honestly should have been the main event of RAW. Nothing was more important than the women's five-way to determine who would face Becky Lynch for the women's title. The women's title match itself was well done. Becky pointed out that every woman in the match made history, except Liv. This only made Liv's win over all of them even sweeter. Also, I liked that they kept teasing Rhea and Bianca, which is a huge matchup. I also enjoyed Carmella and Zelina as a heel team, giving the babyfaces something to overcome. Doudrop's interference protected Bianca from taking a loss, which I liked. Finally, I thought the way they had Liv fall back during most of the match, until her heroic flurry for the win, heightened the moment.
1. Lio Rush's Debut (AEW Dynamite)
What a match! This is the kind of match that you could show anybody and they would be able to appreciate it. Lio is just so athletic, and the way he uses his speed is unique. In this match, Lio Rush, Dante Martin, Matt Sydal, and Lee Moriarty went absolutely berserk flying all around, and pulling out unique slams and neck breakers. On a night of great wrestling, they stole the show.
Rob’s What Mattered
6. Chad Gable, WWE Raw
Last week, I left Chad Gable and Finn Balor’s match off the what mattered list because the fans gave little to no reaction. I was wrong, and the fans are too. This week, Gable pulled off jaw-dropping wrestling maneuvers against Big E, the meatiest heavyweight on Raw right now. If you haven’t seen it already, check out the rolling German suplex from the match if nothing else.
5. Bobby Lashley knocks Dominick Mysterio out of the Survivor Series team, WWE Raw
This segment set up Adam Pearce as a heel, but he also made valid points. If all the guys on Team Raw are former champions, Dominick Mysterio sticks out like a sore thumb. After losing to Goldberg, this was a great way for Bobby Lashley to return because he looked dominant. It’s a potential feud for Lashley and Rey Mysterio, Lashley will be an asset for Team Raw, and it’s a storyline to watch going into Survivor Series.
4. This is Awesome, AEW Dynamite
For the first week, we are also covering AEW Dynamite. Multiple matches were JR slobberknockers, and each match had a different style and angle. Namely, in the middle of the show, Lio Rush and Dante Martin vs. Matt Sydal and Lee Moriarty pulled out high-flying action and technical sequences that were beyond what we usually see on weekly wrestling. It’s a testament to AEW’s depth and commitment to in-ring product that four guys with no feuds heading to a PPV can steal the show in the middle of the night. I knew most of these guys were good already, but now we know they are good good. Give them a tag team shot as a reward!
3. Women’s Divisions, AEW Dynamite and WWE Raw
On WWE, we were settling into give women a chance territory, and they made a great move to redeem themselves. The fatal five way between all the women on Team Raw makes an interesting story going into Survivor Series. The other women who tried to insert themselves made a great point, asking why they were left off the team. It built a feud between Doudrop and Bianca Belair, and hopefully some momentum for Nikki A.S.H. and Dana Brooke. Liv Morgan went over, and we finally have a fresh woman challenging for the championship.
On AEW, what was once their roster weakness is no more. The AEW women showed up in a trios match, and there were promo packages for the TBS Championship, a midcard title highlighting the women’s division even more. Tay Conti looks to be an awesome challenger for the AEW women’s championship, and Ruby Soho and Kris Statlander would both make excellent first TBS Champions.
2. Kevin Owens, WWE Raw
I’m biased because I love Kevin Owens, but I thought he had great segments all night. Asking superstars he respected throughout the night, Owens was trying to get an outside opinion of himself: “You believe me, right? You don’t think I’m a bad guy, right?” It followed the basic rule of show don’t tell, and it showed us everything we need to know about Owens’s character. Excelling as a heel, Owens has had a Stone Cold-esque babyface run for the past year, but he’s still the same guy. Now, Owens is showing us a lot about the heel side of his character: he cares what other people think about him because somewhere deep down he knows he is capable of doing bad things. After his main event with Seth Rollins, Owens gave us a hint of those bad things, attacking Big E because he was frustrated about losing the match. Even though Rollins is the number one contender, my eyes are on Owens to see what he does and how it factors into the championship picture.
1. Full Gear go-home show, AEW Dynamite
I watch AEW, but I wasn’t caught up going into this show. AEW had an excellent balance of storytelling segments like promos and recaps with meaningful matches with insane in-ring action. I liked the backstage segment with Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and the Young Bucks playing on the history of everyone involved. I also like the feud between CM Punk and Eddie Kingston. If you haven’t checked out already, read Kingston’s Player’s Tribune article to find out why that guy is universally beloved. Adam Page and Kenny Omega had a contract signing to close the night, which was stereotypical, but the layers to their feud, Page’s nuanced story over the last two years, the Don Callis surprise attack, and the signing in blood made it a segment worth watching.
But the biggest story for me going forward is AEW’s forbidden door, the only way for New Japan wrestlers to enter. We have seen numerous NJPW wrestlers on Dynamite, but we have yet to see the biggest star and champion Kazuchika Okada. In my opinion, Okada is the best wrestler in the world for the last five years and his rival Omega is the champion right now. If Okada or more NJPW stars show up at Full Gear, I think it will mark that we have completely opened the door, and it would change the entire pro wrestling landscape.
Rob’s What Didn’t Matter
4. Christian Cage in Jurassic Express
My only complaint about AEW is that I don’t understand this alliance one bit. Christian Cage is a living legend defecting to AEW. He has latched onto Jurassic Express, but he doesn’t seem to fit at all, and no reason has been given for this alliance to my knowledge.
3. Too many replays, WWE Raw
Raw is already three hours. A consistent problem with Raw is that they insist on having recap segments for past shows, SmackDown, and even segments from earlier in the night. If WWE expects us to watch every week, the least they could do is not waste a half hour making us rewatch their content.
2. 24/7 Championship segment, WWE Raw
They tried to revive it, but I feel like the 24/7 Championship is dead. The crowd has little to no reaction to segments like this. The championship officially loses its meaning when it is passed around to end up on the person who started with it anyway. The same four guys have won it so many times that I’m not even excited for them anymore. Something needs to change about this title.
1. More problems with booking, WWE Raw
WWE made a critical assumption throughout the night that every fan already followed their social media and knew about the Survivor Series matches. I think this is a failure of the system. We should be able to watch Raw and SmackDown every week and know what is going on without having to consult outside sources. Survivor Series has been an afterthought, and it makes sense, since most of the stars on teams were recently drafted to their brands. Meanwhile, Raw is building excellent championship feuds, investing in Liv Morgan for the Women’s Championship and Kevin Owens/Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship. It’s a shame that the Big 4 PPV will be a detour, and the rarity of well-built feuds may be spoiled in the meantime.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter
3. Adam Cole (AEW Dynamite)
Adam Cole seemed like just a guy in the segment, where he welcomes Bobby Fish to the Elite. Everybody in the segment seemed flat. At the end, I wasn't sure if they meant to cut out the part where they said to cut it or not. There was some tension about the Undisputed Era, but it wasn't well communicated.
2. Joe Gacy vs. Boa (NXT)
I don't really get Gacy's character. He didn't do anything particularly heelish here. Also, his opponent Boa just flipped out and got himself disqualified, which was a disappointing end to a mediocre match. I guess we will find out next week why the lights triggered Boa?
1. Seth vs. Kevin Owens (WWE RAW)
We have seen this match before, so I wasn't super excited about it. Plus, they didn't have a lot of heat in the first place. However, the finish of this match is what made it so bad to me. It was the main event match. Even though nothing was on the line, on the same night, the women had a five-way to determine the number one contender. Plus, it ended in a count-out, making the whole thing pointless. Then, KO turned on Big E and went heel, and it was very predictable.