Thursday, June 13, 2024
EditorialAEW 2022 New Year Resolutions: Title Reigns, Signings & More

AEW 2022 New Year Resolutions: Title Reigns, Signings & More

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Just like the WWE New Year’s Resolutions broke down some of the things I’m hoping the superstars and management work on in 2022, it’s time to turn our attention to the All Elite Wrestling brand.

Typically, I try to pass off some of these as just humorous and not all that serious. However, this year, I only have legitimate ideas of what I’m hoping AEW will consider working on to fix in 2021.

Without further ado, here are my resolutions I’d suggest Tony Khan and co take into consideration this year.

Free Up Space by Reassessing the Roster

AEW has a ton of amazing athletes, but they could stand to both gain more and lose some. That sounds like a self-defeating argument, but it’s all about balance and who stays, who signs and who goes.

By now, after a few years, we’ve seen what a good number of talent has to offer. Some were pretty obviously going to be big stars from the onset, like “Hangman” Adam Page, MJF and Sammy Guevara. Others took a little while to get the ball rolling, but eventually got there, like Evil Uno and Stu Grayson (as the original Dark Order suuuuucked).

However, some just haven’t found their groove and it’s unlikely they will. Contracts are coming up and I think it’s time AEW takes a look at the success stories like Jungle Boy and gives them all the praise, but is also willing to cast aside the ones who haven’t worked out in favor of bringing on some new people who could better fill that gap.

For example, Joey Janela has been a bust. From my own personal perspective and surely not any insider info, I get the feeling all parties know this and he’s much more interested in GCW and doing the indies than being a part of this machine that has in many ways outgrown his original contributions. That contract could go to someone fresh.

I don’t think anyone can say TH2 keeps getting better, right? They had a horrible 2021 and a not-so-great 2020. Maybe they’re taking up space that could go to someone else, too.

That brings me to the next point…

Sign New Talent

Ring of Honor is in a limbo state. It’s unknown if, when or how it will return. It’s time to raid that roster. Sign guys like Brian Johnson, who can be bigger deals than they’ve been.

Do the same for the former WWE free agents. Not all of them, obviously, as that would just clutter up the roster again, but there’s a good number of amazing performers who shouldn’t be sitting on the sidelines.

Buddy Murphy. Davey Boy Smith Jr. Drake Maverick. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott. John Morrison and Taya Valkyrie. Tyler Breeze. Mercedes Martinez. Tegan Nox. Come on!

Johnny Gargano and Keith Lee are absolute must-haves. I don’t want to hear any arguments. Mia Yim would be an amazing asset to the AEW women’s division, too.

Push Brian Cage or Let Him Go

In a similar boat to the previous two things, but something specific I wanted to point out, is that AEW needs to settle on what Brian Cage’s worth is for the company.

When he first came in, he was a big deal. There was enough fanfare and a big enough push that he could have dethroned Jon Moxley and it would have made sense.

After he failed to do that, he lingered a bit with the FTW Championship, but largely fell victim to a steady downfall. His career in AEW has been a downward slope that doesn’t really get any elevation, but just slows down the descent.

2021 was basically pointless for him. He dropped a title and did nothing else. That’s such a waste.

Either settle on him being a star and push him, or let him go. Frankly, I kind of want to see what happens if he’s in WWE. Here’s hoping they’re interested.

Disband The Hardy Family Office

This faction is awful in so many ways and it really needs to go.

The whole gimmick of Big Money Matt being the manager of Private Party was fine. Adding TH2 to the mix hasn’t been all that great, but I could see where they were going with it. Tell me again why The Butcher, The Blade, The Bunny and Penelope Ford are involved?

There’s no synergy. The group loses all their matches that tend to matter and they look bad in the process while bringing down the people they’re feuding with. And they’re better than that, too. I like Ford, for instance, but I don’t like her in this faction.

HFO needs to go. Everyone else should settle on a new home with a new faction or just be by themselves.

In my mind, put The Butcher/Blade/Bunny with House of Black (and put Abadon in there, too). Private Party can stay heels, but they should be with Lio Rush as a trio, not Hardy. TH2, if they stuck around, could just stay a regular tag team.

It seems Jeff Hardy could find his way in AEW, to which I say that’s exactly why Matt should end this. The Hardy Boyz means more than anything he’s done on his own or with other alliances in AEW.

Figure Out the FTW Championship or Ditch It

This title is pointless. It didn’t do anything to elevate Cage and it hasn’t done anything for Ricky Starks, either.

They constantly talk about how it isn’t a recognized championship as if that makes it cool, but it just brings about questions why it’s even there to begin with.

It would be one thing if there was a gimmick or purpose to it. If that was AEW’s version of the Hardcore Championship, for instance, with all the title matches being contested under Lights Out rules, then I could get behind it. Or maybe that’s a belt that is largely used for outsiders who aren’t really employed by AEW so we can see more of that forbidden door.

Just having this be a belt Team Taz has so they don’t have to have the world title or TNT Championship isn’t doing it for me. If there’s no purpose for it soon, I think they should scrap it entirely.

Title Reigns I’d Like to See

Over the course of 2022, there are some specific title reigns I’d love to see happen.

MJF has to be the guy to beat Page. For the most part, I don’t like any other idea for that.

I’d love for Wardlow to be responsible for MJF not winning the Dynamite Diamond Ring for a fourth year for a row. That doesn’t mean Wardlow has to win it, but I think a babyface Wardlow fighting MJF sells itself down the line. I’d actually like to see that ring on Orange Cassidy, as I think he could do more with it than an actual championship, but I’d be down for him to win the TNT Championship, Tag Team Championship, or a trios belt.

That, too. Bring on the Trios Championship. You’ve got Best Friends, Jurassic Express, Superkliq, Death Triangle, Team Taz, etc.

Put the TNT title on Ricky Starks. Do the same for Jungle Boy and Adam Cole.

Thunder Rosa’s my pick for the next in line as women’s champion after Britt Baker. I’d like to see Kris Statlander and Tay Conti get a shot at the TBS Championship after I’m assuming Jade Cargill wins it.

Turn Into the Skid with Heel Cody Rhodes

Cody Rhodes claims that he will not turn heel in this company. I’m not buying it. Hell, I’m not even buying that this isn’t the story itself.

I’m of the opinion this started out a legitimate want (to be a babyface for a while) but that he’s smart enough to see that the heel turn has been decided by his fans. I think Cody is replicating John Cena and Roman Reigns here in that he’s building heat for himself by saying he’s never turning heel, which is pissing people off who say he’s not a good babyface.

That way, he’s effectively a heel without being one.

The trick with that, though, is how to balance out his opponents. You can’t put him with a heel that you don’t want to get cheered, but you also can’t put him with a babyface you want to expose how Cody’s a heel.

I’d like for the act to not go on so long that it fizzles out. Sooner or later in 2022, drop the hammer. Turn him outright heel.

When you do that, merge the Nightmare stuff together. QT Marshall on his own isn’t leading a great faction in The Factory. Dustin Rhodes has nothing to do but lose while he’s the babyface veteran. Brandi Rhodes is sure as hell going to have more fun as a heel than a face.

He’s The American Nightmare, not The American Dream. Cody as a heel going back on his promise to not challenge for the AEW World Championship in order to have a program with Adam Page is something that could be huge for Double or Nothing or All Out or something along those lines.

Adjust the Casino Ladder Match

I’ve joked in the past how someone in AEW has a gambling problem with all the references to casinos and poker and whatnot. While I think some of those names are a bit lame, I like the Casino Battle Royale gimmick in general.

The Casino Ladder Match is something I think is 50% there and 50% off. The name itself is awful, so I’d love to see it get renamed to something more like Dealer’s Choice, High Card, etc. But more importantly than anything else, going with the poker chip is all the more reason this should follow Money in the Bank rules and be about a “cash-in” rather than just becoming the No. 1 contender for an episode of Dynamite to come in a few weeks.

It’s okay to admit Money in the Bank is a good concept. WWE is allowed to be right about some things, even if you’re close-minded enough to think you have to “pick a side” and can’t like both and also criticize both. While WWE screws up MITB more often than not, lately, the overall sudden cash-in idea is still fundamentally awesome.

I’d love to see AEW tweak the rules to allow for that. It’s something missing from the product, as there isn’t as much of an element of surprise.

Those are my suggestions, but what ideas do you have in mind, particularly for the wrestlers who didn’t make my list? Do you have any resolutions for yourself this year? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!

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