The Week In Wrestling (3/7/24): 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, May 1 to Thursday, May 7, moving forward in chronological order.


Once again, our favorite and least favorite promos are mostly from "WWE Raw," "WWE NXT," and "AEW Dynamite" this week, though we did give some love to some digital exclusive segments that aired on "WWE Raw Talk" and after AEW Revolution. As usual, the WINC staff generally preferred promos that play with wrestlers' characters and come across as genuinely authentic, while coming down harder on the promos that didn't make us believe what the wrestlers were saying. That's the power of a good promo and the danger of a bad one: They determine a wrestler's perceived authenticity, which is more important to connecting with a character, and with a performer, than any spectacular wrestling move ever could be.


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.


It's a real shame that so much of the promo work done by AEW stars goes on YouTube because there's just not enough time for it on TV. Bryan Danielson should basically have a weekly space in this column; every time he gets on the mic, be it in the ring, backstage, whatever, he reminds us why he's the best wrestler in the world. But I had to shout-out the promo segment he did with Eddie Kingston following their match at AEW Revolution, which didn't make the broadcast, but is nonetheless one of the most compelling things I've ever seen in wrestling.


This segment was being passed around a lot on Monday after the PPV, so I won't do any play-by-play here. If you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about, and if you haven't seen it, go watch it. The entire feud between Danielson and Kingston was about respect, with Danielson being forced to shake Kingston's hand if Kingston beat him. In that context, what Danielson does in this promo, particularly after Eddie finishes his bit and walks out of the room, is truly remarkable. He says that there was a moment during the match when he realized, not only that Eddie deserved his respect, but that Eddie had deserved his respect for a long time, and it was Danielson who was at fault for not giving it to him sooner. More than that — in that moment, thinking about what Eddie had gone through to become the person he is today, Eddie inspired Danielson to "see through my own bulls***" and confront the fact that he'd been wrong. From refusing to shake Eddie Kingston's hand, Danielson is now using Eddie as his inspiration to continue working on himself and become a better man, and part of that is acknowledging that he'd always been wrong about Eddie, he just couldn't see it before.


Just absolutely amazing, top-shelf, world-class stuff in terms of storytelling. This, to me, is wrestling at its best: when the babyface's guts and determination and sheer refusal to lie down and die are so utterly profound that the heel leaves the match a changed man, the fire in their opponent unlocking something within them that they'd forgotten about, or perhaps shoved aside. At AEW Revolution, Bryan Danielson fought Eddie Kingston, and in fighting him, learned something crucial about himself, and found the inspiration to be better. That's awesome. That's what AEW needs more of, to me — not big free agent signings or "five-star matches" (whatever that even means) but stories that we can relate to, that we care about, and characters who grow and change. That's why it's such a damn shame that this promo aired on YouTube and not TV, and not even in its own YouTube video, but as part of a package of Revolution reaction promos. Put this on TV, Tony. This what you're missing. This is what you need.

Also, Bryan f***ing Danielson forever. We are not prepared for that man being gone.

Written by Miles Schneiderman

Rocked: Drew McIntyre is keeping his eyes on Seth Rollins' prize (WWE Raw)

Like I said in last week's column, Drew McIntyre's character work may be at an all-time high right now. And though his current persona is rather delusional, McIntyre brought forth a valid point on this week's episode of "WWE Raw."


As McIntyre is focused on the singular objective of claiming the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania, his WrestleMania opponent, Seth Rollins, has his attention divided in two different directions. In addition to combatting the verbal and physical onslaughts of McIntyre, Rollins has also inserted himself into the crosshairs of The Bloodline, two of whom he will seemingly also face at WrestleMania (alongside Cody Rhodes).

While the tension between Rollins/Rhodes and The Bloodline continued to brew, McIntyre implored Rollins to remove himself from the situation, reminding him that The Bloodline would likely cost him his World Heavyweight Championship – directly or indirectly. Rollins, of course, has chosen to ignore McIntyre's warning. As noted in his backstage interview with Jackie Redmond, though, McIntyre isn't surprised.


"... Seth Rollins is a junkie, a spotlight junkie," McIntyre said. "He literally can't help himself. When his responsibility is supposed to be right here on Raw, he sees something over here that's hot and goes, 'Oh, I have to latch my claws into that. I have to be part of that,' instead of focusing on what's important over here."

To further illustrate his point, McIntyre referenced Rollins' tendency to attach himself to stories surrounding major WWE returns, such as CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, and most recently, The Rock. "Maybe he should be on Raw focusing on the world title, but he's not," McIntyre reiterated.

Written by Ella Jay

Fell Flat: Shayna Baszler and Zoey Stark meet Damage CTRL in the ring (WWE Raw)

Having a reason for matches to take place on weekly programming –- especially those with a championship on the line – is always important and makes them much more interesting to watch play out, but sometimes the set-up doesn't necessarily work out in the manner that it was intended to. Such was the case for the Women's Tag Team Championship match between The Kabuki Warriors and Shayna Baszler and Zoey Stark next week.


Baszler and Stark found themselves face-to-face with Dakota Kai, The Warriors, and Women's Champion IYO SKY following their win over Kayden Carter and Katana Chance this past Monday. The verbal exchange was quite simple and to the point, with Kai offering Baszler and Stark a title shot and Baszler accepting.

On paper, it doesn't sound that bad, but all this segment ultimately achieved was spoiling the fact that Asuka and Kairi Sane would be retaining their title in their defense at "NXT" Roadblock the following night. It just felt like a way of eating up time on the show when there are better reasons for the match to take place and better ways to set it up (such as having Baszler and Stark blindside the Warriors with an attack backstage).


Written by Olivia Quinlan

Fell Flat: Ricochet & JD McDonagh plead their cases (WWE Raw Talk)

Heading into next week's six-man gauntlet match, I am fully expecting either Sami Zayn or Chad Gable to emerge victorious, and earn the right the challenge Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER at WrestleMania. Zayn, of course, is a former three-time Intercontinental Champion in his own right, in addition to being one of WWE's most beloved babyface. Meanwhile, Gable has crafted a compelling (and personal) narrative, highlighting his history with the current Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER, who also previously belittled his parenting skills.


While Zayn and Gable appear as the obvious choices to face GUNTHER at WrestleMania, there needs to be some level of believability that WWE may venture down another path. Unfortunately, this week's "WWE Raw Talk" segments didn't convince me of that.

Much like Sami Zayn, Ricochet has also held the Intercontinental Championship. In fact, his reign was the predecessor to GUNTHER's. Rather than emphasizing that point, though, Ricochet asserted that he didn't need to talk about it, or any of his other impressive accomplishments, for that matter. The high-flying superstar is also still fixated on his 2023 SummerSlam loss to now United States Champion Logan Paul, which could prove to be a major distraction, especially in a multi-layered match like this gauntlet.


Despite being one of the smaller competitors on the WWE roster, JD McDonagh is confident that he can not only dethrone "The Ring General," but completely "dismantle" him in the process. In McDonagh's case, he does also infer that his "family" — The Judgment Day — will always be in his corner, but in the grand scheme of things, dismantling the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion seems like a far stretch.

Written by Ella Jay

Rocked: A pleasant surprise from Sir William Regal (WWE NXT: Roadblock)

WWE attempted to bounce back from a week of low ratings with this special episode of "NXT," and what better draw is there than one of wrestling's most beloved veterans: Sir William Regal?

Despite not being officially knighted by the English government, Regal is a beloved figure among wrestling fans young and old. Having started his wrestling career in English carnival circuits (imagine lacing up your boots next to an elephant), Regal was hired by WCW in the 90s, and the rest is history. His mark on the professional wrestling world has been indelible, and to see him back on an episode of NXT would have been a treat in and of itself. Throw in the family ties with NXT Heritage Cup holder Charlie Dempsey and the No Quarter Catch Crew (or, as Drew Gulak calls it, the NQCC), and you have an NXT segment that is sure to excite new followers of the product and warm the hearts of those intimately familiar with Regal and his contributions to WWE.


Family is a theme often brought up in professional wrestling, so while having Regal come out to address his son was nothing revolutionary, it was a nice touch. It was even more nice for Regal to mention all of the British and European professional wrestlers that came before him, and how they would be honored every time Dempsey — the next in his lineage — defended the "NXT" Heritage Cup. It feels like a passing of the torch, the continuation of a legacy established by many European professional wrestlers we love and may never know. Pair that with Dempsey proudly (and somewhat arrogantly) taunting his dad, only for Regal to break character to crack a father's proud smile before returning to his regal (pun intended) and sophisticated demeanor — it makes for a heartwarming moment that we don't often get to see in the ring. This segment didn't break the glass ceiling, but it was enjoyable to watch, and a sort of gesture of good luck to Dempsey's future with the company.


While nostalgia is a powerful ingredient — and a part of why this segment was as enjoyable to watch as it was — there is more to this segment than a blast from the past. This segment announced some important information that is sure to add some flavor to the "NXT" landscape in the coming weeks. The "Catch clause" makes it so that any member of the No Quarter Catch Crew — Dempsey, Gulak, Damon Kemp, and Myles Borne — would be able to defend the "NXT" Heritage Cup. Gulak also officially entered the No Quarter Catch Crew into the "NXT" Tag Team Elimination tournament. Gulak made it clear that the group intends to make it to "Stand and Deliver" to add the "NXT" Tag Team Championships to their list of accolades. The NQCC does not have the best win/loss rate right now, but that's only because they've had three televised matches: two on "NXT Level Up" and one on "NXT".

Hopefully, by officially announcing both the Catch clause and their entrance into the "NXT" Tag Team Elimination tournament, the NQCC will be given the opportunity to make a name for themselves, and become a contending force in the "NXT" locker room. There is little that would be more disappointing than to drop the ball on three young men with loads of potential, and one man who is overdue on his rewards.


Regal said that he would be watching Dempsey and the No Quarter Catch Crew. We should be too.

Written by Angeline Phu

Fell Flat: Does anyone want to hear storytime with Adam Cole, Bay Bay? (AEW Dynamite)

While the AEW World Championship scene has been thriving since the turn of the year thanks to Samoa Joe fighting off people like Hangman Page, Swerve Strickland, and Hook, the Undisputed Kingdom are still a part of the equation.


On the most recent edition of "Dynamite," Adam Cole cut a promo where he said that the thing that everyone should be talking about following Revolution is the fact that his group is firing on all cylinders. Roderick Strong is the AEW International Champion, Matt Taven and Mike Bennett are still the greatest ROH Tag Team Champions ever, and at "Big Business," Wardlow is going to beat Joe for the World Title, and Strickland is going to "swerve away" from the main event picture. This would all be completely fine if it wasn't for the fact that Adam Cole is the least interesting part of his own group.

I will happily admit that Cole works better as a slimy heel than a babyface, but the fact that he's being wheeled around in a wheelchair claiming that he's going to be the AEW World Champion just doesn't excite me. Look at the people who have been in the picture so far, and look at the likes of Will Ospreay and Kazuchika Okada who have joined the company, the Undisputed Kingdom just doesn't belong in the main event spot. The promo that Cole cut simply didn't get me excited about them, despite all of the things the group achieved at Revolution. It was basic, bland, and made me dread the thought that if the title goes from Joe to Wardlow to Cole, guys like Strickland, who are so over right now, are going to go off the boil.


When he's fit and healthy, Cole is fantastic. But while he's in the wheelchair, let the actions of your group speak for you vision. Less is more, and less Adam Cole promos right now would be the way to go.

Written by Sam Palmer