Welcome to the very first edition of ‘Break It Down,’ a weekly series where I will be ranking WWE Raw, WWE NXT, AEW Dynamite, and WWE SmackDown. The article will see the shows do battle, as I rank each episode from worst to best for the week.
Giving a brief look at each episode in one concise article, where several factors will be taken into consideration. From the quality of wrestling, promos, and story development to fan reactions live in the arena and the general feel to things on social media.
The points system will work as follows:
Fourth place=1 point
Third place=2 points
Second place=3 points
First place=4 points
The first week of 2020 saw the wrestling world get started with a bang. Even though it was New Japan Pro Wrestling who dominated the week with Wrestle Kingdom 14, WWE and AEW certainly played their part. So with all of that out of the way, let’s break it down!
4. WWE NXT
It is probably going to be a very rare occurrence that WWE NXT finishes rock bottom of this list in comparison to other shows each week. The black and yellow brand is normally a contender for having the best show of the week, with amazing wrestling and consistent storytelling always taking place on this show.
However, this week was an anomaly due to the fact that it was an awards episode of the show that featured no live content. WWE let the talent have a week off, and therefore it is a little hard to review the episode at all.
WWE revealed the winners of the End-Of-Year awards, which might play into future storylines, and did announce the brackets for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. As well as that, they showed old matches from previous Takeover’s which was fun to look back and reflect on, but this wasn’t really a proper episode of the show.
3. WWE Raw
WWE Raw was actually a very enjoyable episode this week, which brought an end to 2019 in style with a classic wrestling wedding. The angle was about as ridiculous as everyone was anticipating, but that is exactly what everyone was hoping for at the same time.
Lana’s perfect wedding didn’t go to plan as Liv Morgan made her return to set up a big angle between them moving forward. The show also featured a fun match between Andrade and Ricochet, and another incredible bout between Aleister Black and Buddy Murphy.
The storyline involving Seth Rollins and AOP against Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens also continued, with WWE slowly developing things. While Randy Orton pretended to be injured to RKO AJ Styles in order to keep their story alive. There was a lot of development as the company prepares for the Royal Rumble, which is always great to see.
2. WWE SmackDown
WWE SmackDown was unlucky not to take the top spot this week because it was one of the best episodes of the blue brand in a long time. It was a night of returns for the company with Sheamus, John Morrison, and The Usos all coming back on the night, giving the roster a big shot in the arm.
However, it isn’t just because we got three surprise returns that WWE SmackDown was entertaining. Of course, those moments provided a ton of fun, but the show featured some great wrestling as well, particularly the opening women’s tag team match.
The show did a fantastic job of progressing several storylines. From main event storylines such as Daniel Bryan and The Fiend to smaller angles like Otis’ romance with Mandy Rose, WWE really did move things forward. However, the real highlight was the work that went down with The Miz as the start of his heel turn began, with WWE pulling this off against New Day in a really excellent manner.
1. AEW Dynamite
This week saw a return to glory for AEW Dynamite after the company ended 2019 with arguably their worst show to date. After a week break for the holiday period, the roster returned full of energy, right back at their best for the AEW Dynamite Homecoming episode.
The episode did a brilliant job at building up The Elite, giving Cody, Kenny Omega, and The Young Bucks major victories, which they all desperately needed. There was some fantastic wrestling taking place in this episode, from Cody’s match with Darby to the women’s fatal four-way.
There wasn’t a bad segment on the entire show with lots of storylines being developed. With Chris Jericho’s storyline with Jon Moxley continuing, MJF laying down the stipulations to Cody, and the slow heel turn tease of Hangman Page all taking place. It was AEW back to their best, and that created the best episode of wrestling this week.
— Matthew Wilkinson (@MC_Wilkinson1) January 4, 2020
2020 results (each week, the points tally will be added up below):
WWE Raw- 2
WWE NXT- 1
AEW Dynamite- 4
WWE SmackDown- 3