The Week In Wrestling (2/29/24): 3 Promos That Rocked & 3 That Fell Flat

It's time once again for Wrestling Inc.'s look at the best and the worst promos from the past seven days in the wrestling industry! This week's column covers the period from Friday, February 23 to Thursday, February 29, moving forward in chronological order.


While most of these columns span the breadth of the entire week, from "TNA Impact" on Thursday to "AEW Dynamite" on Wednesday. This week, however, the WINC writing and editorial staff was laser focused on three shows: "WWE Raw," "WWE NXT," and "Dynamite." Each show had a promo we thought was awesome; each show had a promo we thought could have been a lot better. And with AEW Revolution coming up this Sunday and WrestleMania on the horizon, these promos are having a real impact on how fans feel about various storylines heading into some massively important events. Because no matter how much some people try to make wrestling all about the moves, promos still matter.

With that said, let's take an in-depth look at the week in wrestling promos. Which ones did we like? Which ones did we hate? It's time to find out.


Rocked: Drew McIntyre continues to troll (WWE Raw)

Present-day Drew McIntyre is a delusional, savage wildcard (and certified CM Punk hater), and dare I say — it may be his best WWE character work yet.

Following his victory in the 2024 Men's Elimination Chamber, McIntyre delivered a celebratory speech on "WWE Raw," thanking the WWE Universe for their support — support that he invented in his mind, at least. "Everyone in this arena, everyone across the world, thank you for putting those hands together and for praying harder than you have ever prayed in your entire life. Because of you, this happened," McIntyre said in dramatic fashion. With his win, McIntyre will now move on to challenge Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 40. The journey to get there hasn't, and won't, be easy, though.


After outlasting five other men in the grueling Elimination Chamber structure, McIntyre also noted that he felt like "absolute hell" given the jet lag that followed him into "Raw," in addition to the ruptured eardrum he sustained at the titular premium live event. Upon consulting with a WWE doctor McIntyre then apparently informed him that the damage may keep him from competing at WrestleMania. Unlike an injured CM Punk, though, McIntyre asserted that nothing would prevent him from performing on "The Grandest Stage of Them All."

Firmly dedicated to antagonizing the former WWE Champion, McIntyre then proceeded to sit in Punk's signature cross-legged position, claiming that he did something special for him. In a mockery of Punk's straight-edge philosophy, McIntyre smugly stated that he drank twice as much as a way for both of them to celebrate his upcoming title match at WrestleMania.


While McIntyre's comments may be fueled with utter disdain, their execution is entertainingly brilliant. And for that, I applaud Drew McIntyre.

Written by Ella Jay

Fell Flat: Paul Heyman confronts Cody Rhodes (WWE Raw)

Normally, everything Paul Heyman touches is gold, but unfortunately, that cannot be said about his segment with Cody Rhodes on Monday's edition of "Raw."

Heyman emerged after Rhodes defeated Grayson Waller in the main event of the show, and presented Rhodes with the opportunity to take back his challenge to The Rock for a one-on-one match anywhere at any time. Rhodes declined to do so, warning Heyman that he was the one coming for The Bloodline rather than the other way around and attacking the "off-duty NYPD officers" Heyman brought to ringside with him.


Yes, the storyline between Roman Reigns, Cody Rhodes, and The Rock is undoubtedly one of the biggest ones heading into WrestleMania 40. It deserves to be given lots of television time, and the build-up should be given the time of day. However, the ten minutes of the show that this segment took up honestly felt pointless, especially considering its placement as the final segment of the show. Guessing the outcome of the segment was way too predictable and only made things feel longer, and the addition of the officers felt hokey rather than raising the stakes as intended.

Written by Olivia Quinlan

Fell Flat: My sweet, sweet dove (WWE NXT)

I don't know whose idea it was to do a 2024 redux of the old "lesbian stalker" angle, but it is not going great!

The worst part of this whole Lyra Valkyria/Tatum Paxley thing is that Paxley is actually kind of nailing the stalker character — physically, at least. The way she moves is legitimately creepy, and even during this promo, she's conveying a ton of stuff with her body language. But you're gonna put there out there on the mic, in the ring, in front of a crowd? And make her call Valkyria things like "my sweet, sweet dove, in grave danger of losing her title"? Mick Foley, on his best day, could maybe make that work, possibly. Tatum Paxley, not so much.


Even Valkyria, usually a decent talker, didn't come off great in this promo. It didn't help that the way it was written suggests that Valkyria simultaneously (a) got herself and her weird stalker friend a tag title shot, somehow, for literally no reason, they've only ever tagged together once before on TV, because nepotism, and (b) has decided to reward Tatum's devotion by booking the two of them in a match with a pair of former "NXT" Women's Champions, Kairi Sane and Asuka — the latter of whom still has the longest "NXT" women's title reign of all time at 510 days, is the second-ever women's Grand Slam Champion, and went undefeated for her entire "NXT" career. Uh, thank you?

Anyway, the point is that when Ridge Holland interrupted Valkyria and Paxley before they were done, it was an outrage ... but I was still glad the promo was over.


Written by Miles Schneiderman

Rocked: An unexpected guest crashes Ridge Holland's apology (WWE NXT)

Ridge Holland needed some new life injected into his "NXT" run seeing as his storyline with Gallus was growing stale, and Tuesday's episode of the show definitely achieved that for him.

Holland interrupted "NXT" Women's Champion Lyra Valkyria and Tatum Paxley, coming down to the ring with the intention of apologizing for his excessive actions in his aforementioned feud with Gallus. His delivery was fine, and the start of the segment was nothing to write home about, but that all changed once a message similar to other vignettes over the past few weeks popped up on the Titan Tron, the lights went out, and Shawn Spears attacked him from behind with a chair.


The real beauty of the promo came from its unexpected nature. Nobody thought that he would ever interrupt Holland, let alone that he had resigned with WWE and would be keeping the name he held in AEW rather than the one he had in WWE. Having his motivation make sense just added to things, with it making sense for his character seeking truth going after someone who had (to an extent) swindled fans. It's rare in the modern day wrestling landscape to genuinely take fans by surprise, but WWE did just that.

Written by Olivia Quinlan

Rocked: Swerve Strickland's destiny (AEW Dynamite)

We all knew coming into 2024 that this year would belong to Swerve Strickland, and he could become the first-ever Black AEW World Champion this Sunday at Revolution. As a big Samoa Joe fan, I would love nothing more than to see him leave the Greensboro Coliseum as the king of All Elite Wrestling, but Strickland's promo on Dynamite has got me doubting myself.


After Hangman Page came out to say he won't be in the three-way at Revolution, Strickland came out and cut a decent promo. He put over Page for his accomplishments in AEW, how much the two men have tried to kill each other in recent months, and how he may or may not have crossed the line on a few occasions. But then he talked about Page's injury being fate and how you can't stop it, before telling Page that fate is a lot like destiny, and his destiny is becoming the AEW World Champion.

That sounds good, right? However, it was when Samoa Joe hits the stage to tell both men they don't stand a chance that Strickland kicked it in to high gear. The reason why this rules as much as it does is because this is the first time that Strickland has truly felt like the babyface in this rivalry, and it happened organically. He is still the same person who tried to cut off Billy Gunn's fingers, left Nick Wayne in a pool of his own blood at his home gym, and broke into Page's house to cut a promo on his baby boy. He even admits that he would do it again, and that's what he's willing to do to become champion. That's why the people are cheering for him, he's willing to go above and beyond to achieve his goals.


While I'm still confident that Joe is leaving Revolution as the AEW World Champion, seeing Strickland scream "WHOSE HOUSE?" over and over at the end of this promo made me believe that something big might happen this Sunday on pay-per-view.

Written by Sam Palmer

Fell Flat: Will Ospreay is just happy to be here (AEW Dynamite)

Look, I get that (other) people are big fans of Will Ospreay, they're excited that he's coming to AEW, and they're going to cheer for him. I understand that. Presumably Tony Khan also understands that, which is why it's bizarre that Ospreay has wrestled 11 AEW matches now and been booked as a babyface in precisely zero of them. According to the scripted narrative of the show, Ospreay is part of the Don Callis Family, aka the group led by a guy who gets more heel heat than anyone else in the entire company. His biggest AEW matches have been against babyface Chris Jericho, babyface Kenny Omega, and eternal babyface Orange Cassidy. The character, as he's been consistently presented to AEW fans, is a heel — a fact that's pretty heavily undermined when you bring him out to do the most basic, paint-by-numbers babyface promo in history.


I'm just getting really tired of AEW's booking style being "We book matches that sound cool because we want to, here's some slapped-on storytelling logic to try and justify it." It was already weird that Ospreay and Takeshita were wrestling each other at Revolution for no reason despite being part of the same stable; now they're adding in a bunch of other stuff that doesn't make sense to try and make the match have some kind of storyline at the last minute. The whole segment was just a big tease for Ospreay inevitably splitting with the Family at Revolution (that much is obvious) but you could still have teased that without presenting Ospreay like he's a happy-go-lucky babyface who just happens to be part of a heel faction. And without having him look cartoonishly surprised at stuff that shouldn't surprise him, like the Family coming out to join him after he mentions them, or the fact that Callis gets booed.


To me, the entire endeavor and everyone involved in it looked dumber after Wednesday, and the match got less, not more interesting. I wish Tony Khan gave even the tiniest f*** about things like character consistency and internal logic instead of just being like "Man, if we run Ospreay vs. Takeshita, Meltzer might give it nine stars."

Written by Miles Schneiderman