The Week In Wrestling (1/25/24): 3 Promos That Rocked & 3 That Fell Flat

Wrestling Inc. is back with our latest survey of promos and promo segments from the week that was — specifically, the ones that worked and the ones that didn't. This week's column covers the period from Friday, January 19 to Thursday, January 25, moving forward in chronological order. Join the WINC writing and editorial staff as we take you through the best and the worst of professional wrestling's notorious talky bits, which form such an intricate and important part of the product.

Which promos hit us straight in the heart, and which ones landed below the belt? It's time to find out!

Rocked: Kevin Owens and Logan Paul (WWE SmackDown)

Any time Kevin Owens cuts a promo, it's likely to end up in the "rocked" category, and it doesn't hurt that Logan Paul, who has apparently signed a new deal with WWE, remains Annoyingly Good At This.

It can be tricky sometimes to get audiences invested in matches that came about as the result of a tournament, as opposed to an actual feud. In the case of the recent United States Championship No. 1 Contender's Tournament, it was pretty obvious that Owens was winning, since he and Paul had already begun to feud as the tournament went on. But even though WWE had already started laying the groundwork for their upcoming match at the Royal Rumble, the Kevin Owens Show segment from "WWE SmackDown" did more to make me care about this storyline in 10 minutes than multiple weeks of television had previously.

I just thought this worked on so many levels. It put the current feud in context, and made it more personal, by referencing Owens stunning Paul at WrestleMania 37. It put Owens in the role of the common man, as opposed to the elitist Paul, thus grounding it in relatable class issues. It even allowed Owens to name-drop his former tag team championship partner, Sami Zayn, who is probably coming back during the men's Rumble match on Saturday. And after the promo segment devolved into a brawl, the encounter ended with Paul once again injuring Owens' broken hand, turning what's usually a heel trope (the villain pretends to be injured so he can bring an illegal weapon — the cast — into the match) into a source of sympathy for the babyface. For once the heel is the one yelling about how the cast is a weapon, while the babyface clearly actually needs it. I love it.

Tl;dr — Kevin Owens is the best, Logan Paul is getting up there extremely quickly, and I am way more excited for this match than I was last Thursday.

Written by Miles Schneiderman

Fell Flat: Becky Lynch, Nia Jax, and Bayley (WWE Raw)

Ah, more of the same old stuff between Nia Jax and Becky Lynch but with Bayley as well this time.

Jax started off with her usual spiel of squashing Rhea Ripley and Becky Lynch and how she isn't done with either of them, which sent the Bat Signal for Lynch to come down to the ring to confront her. Lynch told Jax that no one in the locker room was a fan of hers and announced her intention to win the Women's Royal Rumble, which then threw up the Bat Signal for a second time for favored winner Bayley to make her way down to the ring and echo Lynch's sentiment. As per the norm with in-ring promos, all three women then began brawling with one another and Jax left standing tall.

I don't mind that this segment was nothing but advertising for the Women's Royal Rumble, but Jax and Lynch have had very similar segments to this one with one another over the past several weeks and it's become quite unexciting to watch. When you consider the addition of Bayley and the fact that she hadn't been seen on "Raw" for quite some time, WWE didn't take the opportunity they had to use her in this segment and make it mean something more than having her say 'I'm going to win the Royal Rumble.' Bayley and Lynch are both good on the microphone and Jax has been improving as the weeks go by, but this did nothing to really help out anyone.

Written by Olivia Quinlan

Fell Flat: CM Punk and Cody Rhodes (WWE Raw)

This is definitely not going to be one that everyone will agree with, but the in-ring face-to-face confrontation between CM Punk and Cody Rhodes on Monday's "Raw" was boring and didn't accomplish much of anything.

Having called out Rhodes earlier in the week over social media, Punk recounted his history with both Rhodes and his father Dusty when the two met one another. Things quickly took a turn when Rhodes and Punk then began to tell each other that they would be the winner of the 2024 Men's Royal Rumble, and that continued for the next several minutes as they tried to one-up the other.

Punk and Rhodes are two of the biggest stars in WWE, and they've both proven time and time again what they are capable of on the mic. This was certainly not the best work from either man, and seemed to just drag on more than anything. It was a glaringly obvious attempt to get in some last minute promotion for the Men's Royal Rumble on Saturday, and made it clear that Rhodes and Punk will be left standing as the final two in the match. It ate up several minutes of the show, and stopped much of the momentum the rest of the show has built up.

Written by Olivia Quinlan

Rocked: Lola Vice and Elektra Lopez on Supernova Sessions (WWE NXT)

I don't think that anyone expected the verbal exchange between Lola Vice and Elektra Lopez during the latest edition of "Supernova Sessions" to be as fantastic as it was, but it was easily the highlight of "NXT" this past Tuesday.

The segment started off pretty mediocre with Vice explaining to Noam Dar and Oro Mensah that she was tired of being the one pulling Lopez through everything in a very typical 'I just betrayed my best friend because they were dragging me down' promo. However, things very quickly picked up when Lopez confronted Vice after she had been eliminated from the Twenty Woman Number One Contenders Battle Royal. Lopez told Vice that she got to WWE "by shaking her a** on Instagram" and calling her a "wannabe MMA fighter" before the two brawled with one another and had to be pulled apart by referees.

The entire point of this promo battle was to make people excited and get them invested for their upcoming match next week. Not only did it do that, but it did more by allowing for both women to have time on the mic to showcase their promo skills individually rather than a tandem unit. While Vice came off looking strong, it was Lopez who really shone here, bringing tons of passion and giving everything she had to this promo.

Written by Olivia Quinlan

Fell Flat: Lyra Valkyria & Roxanne Perez' Contract Signing (WWE NXT)

Recent weeks have seen a reinvigorated, more aggressive Roxanne Perez clawing her way back up the "WWE NXT" ladder. However, during Tuesday's "NXT" Women's Championship contract signing, Perez took a more passive approach, leaving her "NXT" Vengeance Day opponent, Lyra Valkyria, virtually unscathed.

Now hear me out — not all contract signings need to include a burst of violence (this one eventually did at the end, at the hands of Tatum Paxley), but at the very least, the words exchanged by the signers should feel impassioned and/or impactful. A week before Valkyria and Perez inked their signatures on the dotted line, Perez overcame 19 other women to earn a major championship opportunity. Afterward, Perez cut an intensely-fueled promo backstage, reiterating her claim to being the best woman in the "NXT" locker room. While Perez may have endured a rollercoaster ride in 2023, she insisted that nothing, and certainly, no one, could break her now.

In comparison to this previous line of speaking, her interaction with Valkyria on Tuesday's "NXT" felt a bit lackluster. "The Prodigy" made a noteworthy callback by mentioning that she never technically lost the "NXT" Women's Championship last year, to which Valkyria then stated that she had since replaced Perez at the top of the "NXT" women's division. In response, Perez informed Valkyria that she will be losing her title at Vengeance Day on February 4, and afterward, Valkyria will begin doubting herself — much like Perez did after the title fell out of her grasp last year.

With Perez seemingly on the brink of a heel turn, her character may have fared better by taking harsher digs at Valkyria. Valkyria herself even described Perez's current presentation as "edgy," giving Perez an opening to further convince the audience that this label is accurate. Unfortunately, Perez's words didn't feel edgy enough on this night.

Written by Ella Jay

Rocked: Hook isn't done with Samoa Joe (AEW Dynamite)

The continued existence of Ring of Honor should prove one thing, a certain section of wrestling fans love sportsmanship, and I am one of these fans. Which is why I was thrilled to see young-upstart Hook appear on this week's "AEW Dynamite" to follow up on last week's thrilling bout with AEW World Champion Samoa Joe.

"You won, I lost," Hook said as he extended his hand to Samoa Joe. The proud champion shook the former challenger's hand, only for Hook to pull himself in close and remind Joe that he is still gunning for him, and someday, somehow, he will dethrone him. The fact that Hook isn't backing down in the face of a loss to Joe, as well as a multitude of challengers appearing to Joe's title, including Swerve Strickland and Hangman Page, is the kind of heart that just lights a young talent on fire. I am completely open to revisiting my feelings if Joe and Hook never cross paths again, but I think they will, and the seeds planted in last week's title match and this week's promo will likely bear fruit.

Hook has been listlessly floating around AEW, eating corn chips, carrying the FTW Title but this newfound fire that's been lit under him is the kind of furnace in which stars are forged. The moment between Hook and Joe will live forever if AEW pulls the rest of his arc off.

Written by Ross Berman