The Week In Wrestling (3/28/24): 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 22 to Thursday, May 28, moving forward in chronological order.


With "AEW Rampage" airing live last week and no "AEW Collision" on Saturday, we just had the four shows to draw from this time around, and we got a pretty even split between them. That's because promos and non-wrestling segments are the lifeblood of professional wrestling, whether you're WWE, AEW, or SGW, and there will always been plenty of options on the table from which we can pick out the ones that did the vital work these segments are meant to accomplish, and the ones that came up painfully short.

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: The Street Profits bring the swag — and the passion (WWE SmackDown)

While teams like The Usos, The Mysterios, and The Brawling Brutes have all been subjected to a betrayal, The Street Profits have remained rock solid, so rock solid that they now find themselves one step away from "The Grandest Stage of Them All."


Following their victory over The Authors of Pain on "WWE SmackDown" last week, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins cut a lively backstage promo, highlighting their long journey to get back into the forefront of WWE's tag team division. As Ford pointed out, The Street Profits' last run with tag team gold ended three years ago, when they were defeated by The Dirty Dawgs (Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode) in January 2021.

In the years following, The Street Profits witnessed the demise of several notable WWE pairings. The Street Profits, however, stood together through all their triumphs and all their tribulations, because just like their promo, The Street Profits are fueled with passion.

"We've been taking a lot of Ls in life, whether it comes to the ring or in life personally. But that all changes, because tonight, we punched. We're one step closer to WrestleMania, and it's that passionate for us," Ford said. "It's that passionate for the Street Profits. It's that passionate for Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins, true brothers. Blood can make us no closer, because you see what's happening in the world right now, but this, this is always together."


Before The Street Profits can claim their potential next shot at the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships, they must first overcome the duo of Grayson Waller and Austin Theory, whom they will face on this week's episode of "SmackDown." Should Ford and Dawkins emerge victorious, then the WWE Universe can expect to see both the swag and the passion of The Street Profits in the upcoming six-pack tag team ladder match at WrestleMania 40.

Written by Ella Jay

Rocked: Becky Lynch confronts Rhea Ripley (WWE Raw)

Becky Lynch has already proven time and time again how good she truly is on the mic, and she did it once more this past Monday on "Raw."

"The Man" came face-to-face with Women's World Champion Rhea Ripley ahead of their WrestleMania title match in an exciting and explosive segment. The two exchanged many jabs with one another, but Lynch couldn't hold back when Ripley took things too far and brought her family into it which led to a pull apart brawl.


Because of the passion Lynch brought, the emotion in everything she said, and the intensity behind the words she was speaking, you just knew that everything she was saying was coming from her heart and a place of truth. Ripley was nothing to sleep on either, as her confidence was never once shaken despite anything Lynch said and worked hand-in-hand with the build up to Lynch clocking Dominik and the two brawling.

Written by Olivia Quinlan

Fell Flat: Retire this storyline, not Ridge Holland (WWE NXT)

I don't know I'd feel about Ridge Holland's "retirement speech" if it were actually a retirement speech and not clearly part of a terrible storyline. Maybe I'd have found it moving in the way I was clearly supposed to find it. Sadly, it wasn't actually a retirement speech, and it is clearly part of a terrible storyline, and as a result, it sucks.


I'm not even here to talk about Holland's delivery of the promo, because he honestly did a fine job. He sold it pretty well, all things considered. My dude isn't the worst actor in the world. But to even do this segment at all ... like, who wants to see this? Who is this for? I've been a wrestling fan for multiple decades now and have had to watch a whole lot of tearjerker retirement speeches, and it always sucks. Why does Shawn Michaels think I need to see another one, but fake this time?

I don't know, man. Maybe the idea is that a dramatic comeback from "retirement" will get Ridge over, but if that's the case, I think it's profoundly optimistic. Nobody in this story has come out looking better yet, and it's hard to imagine a world where someone eventually does.


Unless this is setting up the vengeful return of Big E at Stand & Deliver, I guess. And even then.

Written by Miles Schneiderman

Rocked: Prime Target hits the mark (WWE NXT)

Creating a nine-minute vignette to air on a two-hour show, commercials included, is an ambitious task. It is even more of an ambitious task when a show's roster is full of capable, hungry new talent. Every minute is crucial to building up new stars and progressing their storylines, so to take up ten minutes of that valuable time to progress the careers of two people is a daring thing to do.


It paid off.

Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams' documentary-style promo, "Prime Target", was a hit on Tuesday evening. It was not only a daring use of "NXT's" broadcasting slot, but it was also a departure from most of WWE's regular promo vignettes. Most WWE vignettes are close-up shots spliced together with epic zoom-ins and fast-paced transitions — and that is entirely expected in the fast-moving nature of this business. Main roster shows don't have time to sit through nearly ten minutes of promotional material, and so the narrative arc of most promo vignettes is simple: hype up, make a statement, leave. So rarely, if at all, do we get three act short films just dropped randomly in the middle of a show. "Prime Target" delivered just that, and they delivered it well.


The initial moments of the promo are unassuming. In all honesty, the first act of the vignette felt very much like a typical WWE promo, and while the innovative computer generated towers bursting from the ground to surround did add to the spectacle of it all, it still felt very much like your run-of-the-mill WWE vignette. When two-time Hall of Famer Booker T made an appearance to give his thoughts regarding the storyline, I was impressed, but not overly convinced that this was a groundbreaking piece — sure, other WWE superstars usually don't make appearances in promotional material for feuds that they are not involved in, but Booker T, as a member of the "NXT" commentary team and someone who is semi-famous for his ad-libs during Williams' entrance, was not a strange face.

Then, out of nowhere, Randy Orton shows up. CM Punk showed up. Sweet Baby James, Williams' uncle from Philadelphia, showed up.

Showing all of these new faces that have a tangible ethos, but are otherwise uninvolved in Hayes and Williams' storyline, gave the entire vignette a more informative feel. Having Orton and Punk — two people who are easily recognized as industry icons and no strangers to betrayals themselves — speak about this outside storyline gives the entire vignette a more serious tone, like a legitimate cinematic documentary instead of just another promotional hype package. Bringing in people who are near and dear to Williams — Sweet Baby James, Matthew Brooks (Williams' friend and boxing coach) — humanizes Williams and endears him to the crowd. Showing Williams training in Philadelphia, where he planted his roots with his uncle James — all of these touches enhance the underdog story that Williams is trying to tell. The lines between kayfabe and reality are blurred when you bring in family, long-time friends, and experienced industry veterans. Everything that happened in the second act of this vignette humanized Williams' side of the feud, and, in doing so, humanized the professional wrestling storyline.


The third act of the vignette was much the same, but because this whole style of promotional material is so new, there are no complaints here. Bringing in Johnny Gargano and Tommasso Ciampa — probably the most iconic "NXT" rivalry in the history of the brand — was a great touch for all of the Black and Gold-era fans and a nice way to lean further into the professional feel they were going for in this segment.

Hayes needs no help establishing himself — partially because he's a heel and is not meant to garner sympathy, but because he is so good at playing an egotistical villain. There is not so much vitriol in Hayes' words, but there is more of a megalomania to him — this is not an issue of revenge, but Williams' rise to stardom has hurt Hayes' pride. It is a nice deviation from the sadistic heels we've seen in WWE as of late. To be able to distinguish self-centeredness from belligerence so clearly is a hard thing to do when the two adjectives are often conflated, so for Hayes to do it so effortlessly speaks volumes as to the grip he has on his character. He is not chaotic evil, he is chaotic entitled.

Do we need vignettes that eat up ten minutes of broadcasting time and inspire deep cinematic analysis every week? No, of course not. However, with a feud that is as high-profile as Hayes and Williams', something as high-quality and time-intensive as "Prime Target" is not only appropriate, but very much welcomed.


Written by Angeline Phu

Fell Flat: Dustin Rhodes comes face-to-face with ... The Butcher? (AEW Dynamite)

This past Wednesday on "Dynamite," The Butcher challenged Dustin Rhodes to a match as the latter spoke to Renee Paquette and ultimately chose to accept. The match was simple and straightforward, but that right there is the inherent problem. The simplicity and straightforwardness of the segment made it feel very average, unexciting, and random.


This isn't helped by the fact that AEW has branded Rhodes vs. The Butcher as a dream match in an effort to create hype for the match. It just doesn't feel like it's quite the right way to label or advertise the match, and it rather feels like any other ordinary match that would be featured on "Rampage". Considering that there's an AEW International Championship Eliminator match also set for the card, it's highly possible that Rhodes vs. The Butcher won't even be the main event of the show which makes the advertising and the time used up on "Dynamite" in this backstage segment all the more baffling.

Written by Olivia Quinlan

Fell Flat: The Bryan Danielson video package (AEW Dynamite)

When AEW ran a Mercedes Mone video package on "Dynamite" last week, I thought it was hilarious. AEW is frequently criticized for not running video packages to introduce relatively obscure talent when they first appear on TV — what more perfect snarky response could there be than to run a video package for their most widely-known incoming talent since CM Punk? The fact that the package deftly avoided any mention of WWE, where Mone first came to stardom as Sasha Banks, made it even better, as it was able to highlight her activities outside wrestling and her post-WWE work in NJPW and STARDOM, which some fans may not have seen. It was both a dig at their critics and an actual well-done video package.


The one that ran on "Dynamite" this week, however, was about Bryan Danielson. And that's ... a little different.

To start with, it's an unnecessary waste of time. At least with Mone you could make an argument, however tongue-in-cheek, that the video package was justified because she had just debuted for AEW and was coming off almost a year-long absence from wrestling due to injury. She might be a global superstar, but that's still a good enough reason for a video package. Danielson has been in AEW for years now; he's an active wrestler; he's in a current storyline leading to a dream match at Dynasty. Who the hell needs a video package?

Beyond that though, there's a bigger problem. I completely understand the temptation to do to WWE what WWE has done to numerous other promotions and just flagrantly ignore somebody's time there, because it happened in WWE so it doesn't matter. I get it. But you can't make this specific Bryan Danielson video package — a career retrospective — without talking about WWE. You just can't. Telling Danielson's story in any form requires telling the part where he rose to superstardom, then was forced into premature retirement, then came back, and all those things happened in WWE. And not just while he worked there, but on camera, in storyline, in front of fans who were there or who watched on TV — in front of most, if not nearly all, AEW fans. Watching that story play out without even an oblique reference to WWE was jarring in a way that made the package feel amateurish and petty.


So why do it? If there's no good reason to air a Danielson video package in the first place and no good way to produce one in the manner that was chosen, what was the motive here? The only thing I can think of is that Tony Khan thought the "Mercedes Mone WWE-less video package" joke was so funny they should do it again, and it would be even funnier with an even bigger former WWE star. Unfortunately, jokes don't tend to get better with age, and this one has already gone bad.

Written by Miles Schneiderman