Welcome back to another round of Quick Takes—a post that indulges in the topics that aren’t worth dedicating a full article to, but are still on my mind.
Each week, I try to cram in as many smaller talking points as I can via a speedier process, and I invite you to chime in with your own thoughts about these topics and anything else by keeping the discussion going in the comments below! Drop some more talking points in there for everyone to chat it up about, too!
Without further ado, let’s get into this week’s topics.
Paul Wight Signs with AEW
Rather than wait until the end of the week to talk about something that’s probably going to be the biggest news of the whole week, let’s just jump into this.
It’s an end of an era as “Big Show” is no longer a thing. Frankly, I’m incredibly surprised about Paul Wight signing with All Elite Wrestling for numerous reasons.
One is that I just thought he’d be a WWE lifer. He’s not in the Hall of Fame yet and at the very least, I assumed he’d stay with the company until at least that happened.
He’s always been so loyal to WWE and for things to change, there must have been some worthwhile reasons. I gather money would be one, as WWE likely wanted to put him on a smaller Legends contract while he thought he was worth more. You can’t blame him for trying to make the most cash if that’s the case.
But another thing is probably how he was being used (or, more so, not). In the past few years, Big Show was largely off television and would only come in for some random guest spots. None of it really mattered, there wasn’t anything to sink your teeth into and if he wasn’t there, it wouldn’t have changed the landscape.
Losing to Drew McIntyre in a dark match at WrestleMania 36? Inconsequential. Interacting with The Viking Raiders and The Street Profits? Do you even remember that happened?
Big Show last was seen as one of many legends who took a hit to boost Randy Orton’s Legend Killer status. Then, he was just cheering on Goldberg walking to the ring. Wight probably said “Screw this. I can offer so much more. Let me go to a place that wants to use my brain and my talents instead of paying to keep me at home.”
I’m interested to see what he does in AEW both as a commentator and elsewhere. Maybe he’ll be great in multiple roles. Here’s hoping they don’t turn him heel and babyface every other week like WWE tended to do.
But while I think this is a “get” for AEW in some regards, I think it’s more of a blow to WWE in the morale department than any kind of a win for AEW. Obviously, Wight is past the prime of his career and won’t be as featured of a talent as someone like an MJF or Cody Rhodes. This isn’t a “steal” like with Jon Moxley that is a big shift in power for the rosters.
What it is, though, is a sign that even the potential lifers who have been there for decades, who know Vince McMahon like family, are not immune to leaving. Sting was one thing. He was never really a WWE guy, so for him to leave, it was pretty much expected. Big Show not being under the WWE banner is astonishing. That’s like if Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Mark Henry, Stone Cold or any of the others who never jumped ship decided enough is enough.
If I were Vince, I’d be hurt. However, I’d also probably look in the mirror and realize a lot of the problems going on in WWE right now are his to blame and it’s not like Paul Wight leaving was likely due to any unjustified malice to be upset about toward him. Then again, maybe there’s more to this that we don’t know as we aren’t privy to things.
Generally speaking, I equate this to something like Mike Chioda being fired last year and something that makes WWE look bad more than it makes AEW look good. However, AEW sure does look good being able to provide a place for these guys and to show them they’re appreciated, right?
Updated Thoughts on the Road to WrestleMania 37
Given WWE’s strategy of the past few years, particularly ever since the pandemic, how much do you want to bet Bobby Lashley versus The Miz ends in some sort of shenanigans next week just to drag this out even further?
In my mind, none of this is what I would be doing. I’m not opposed to Lashley as champion, nor The Miz as champion, as both are people I’ve rooted for to win the title in recent time. I just don’t think now is the time for either of them to hold the belt, nor was this done in a great way, nor is it setting up anything I’m particularly interested in.
Is it just a means to have a big tough guy for Drew McIntyre to overcome at WrestleMania to win the title and get a pop from a crowd that he couldn’t get by beating Brock Lesnar, and if WWE was able to get The Beast Incarnate back, they would have likely just had him in that spot instead? Probably. But you’re not winning me over by saying “Let’s do the same basic thing we did the last time, but even more rushed and with less impact.”
It looks like they’re pivoting away from this Lacey Evans and Charlotte Flair thing, thankfully, and going into the inevitable “Flair beats Asuka for the title” mode. We all know it’s coming. Just do it. Hopefully, they’ll not screw up Rhea Ripley’s spot on Monday Night Raw and they’ll have her dethrone Flair at WrestleMania.
Time is ticking for these things, though. WWE has a weird habit lately of having nothing going on for a long time frame, then cramming in lots of stories and ignoring a lot of them (like the Sheamus vs. McIntyre feud just disappearing, I guess…what a waste, given how that could have been the Royal Rumble match for the title, easily). I’ll never be a fan of storytelling that goes nowhere and then has to sprint to the finish line at the last second. Hence why I hated the sequel Star Wars trilogy, but that’s a discussion for another day.
I’m not feeling WrestleMania this year. That’s not from a lack of talent on the performer side. It’s all stemming from a lack of cohesive storytelling creative direction.
Young Rock Episode 2
Solid episode. My concerns that they’d split each show with three smaller stories and not be able to sink into any of them were proven wrong. It was fun to see Ric Flair and Roddy Piper character cameos. I’m still not loving the show, but I’m liking it enough to keep watching. Keep it up!