Welcome back to another Monday Morning Q&A where I toss out some questions to get a feel of how you guys and gals are feeling about certain topics.
So here are 5 questions I’d like to toss out for this week. I’ll give my answers, too, but the key here is that I want to know what YOU think! So make sure you chime in!
1) Would you rather see The Rock or Cody Rhodes fight Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40?
You’re going to hear me repeat this a million times, so I’ll be succinct for now. As big as the match between Roman Reigns and The Rock is, I think if WWE had Cody Rhodes lose at WrestleMania 39 and then spent the entire year doing every side mission to avoid having him get a rematch, teasing another confrontation with Roman, only to sideline him again and say “wait another year”, then that’s absolute horse shit.
Rock should fight Roman at Elimination Chamber or in Saudi in March (if that’s a thing). And if you say “but that match is too big and has to be at WrestleMania, even at the sacrifice of the Cody story”, then I don’t ever want to hear you say that the foreign market pay-per-views are being treated like they’re as huge of a deal as a Mania, because that’s a blanket “no they aren’t” statement.
You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. It’s the same argument that “(Superstar) is so over that he doesn’t need the belt, as he’s an attraction on his own” only to then book instances like “Goldberg has to dethrone Kevin Owens for the universal title because his match against Brock Lesnar at Mania is so big that it needs the belt.”
But anyone thinking it won’t be Rock/Reigns at Mania is fooling themselves. I’m not going to get my hopes up in delusion. CM Punk will win the Royal Rumble. Australia will be happy that they get an appearance from The Rock in a Grayson Waller Effect promo segment where he hypes up the Mania match. Cody will end up being sidelined, for sure, and will fight Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania, I guess. And if WWE doesn’t specifically want to drag out Roman’s title reign until September (or longer) to beat Hulk Hogan’s record, then sometime like SummerSlam or so, that’s when they’ll toss Cody the bone and try to act like it’s “just as good.”
2) What were your takeaways from New Japan’s last two shows, Wrestle Kingdom and New Year Dash?
- Overall, New Japan continues to not be my preferred style of presentation for sports entertainment. Too many championships that seem superfluous, too many wrestlers who are presented as the same basic archetype character, and the matches are just a dance routine. I always feel like I’m watching something more like Cirque du Soleil than a pro wrestling show.
- TJP’s mask makes him look like a kid trying to cosplay as a knockoff The Fiend.
- Why give the belt to Tama Tonga if he’s going to be leaving so soon? Seems odd.
- Kazuchika Okada and Bryan Danielson had a great match. It’s not some 8 out of 5 stars earth-shatteringly amazing best match of all time, though, so relax.
- Why do I get the sense Tetsuya Naito isn’t going to be holding this title all that long, but also, that there isn’t a clear idea in mind of who should/could/will beat him for it?
- I’m curious to see what Nic Nemeth can do without the WWE shackles. He’s always been an excellent in-ring performer. Underutilized. Hopefully, he has some great matches on the horizon.
- Matt Riddle, well, if he can get his act together, could be an interesting addition to the roster, too. The more I talk to other people, the more I’m convinced he’s winning the television title.
- I loved Jon Moxley calling attention to how there are too many belts to keep track of the names.
3) What were your takeaways from the WWE New Year’s Knockout Week? That includes Raw Day 1, NXT New Year’s Evil, and the SmackDown New Year’s Revolution episodes.
- I was more underwhelmed than I expected to be. These shows could have been so much better.
- When you have a big week, try not to have something like Cody/Nakamura be just a segment where they say “wait until next week” and do nothing worthwhile. That was lame.
- I hope Giovanni Vinci is okay.
- R-Truth is great. Consistently funny.
- Katana Chance and Kayden Carter have to drop this “life of the party” gimmick. They don’t have the projection of charisma to pull it off. In real life, they might be SUPER fun to party with, but on screen, they’re just telling, not showing. That segment with Chelsea Green and Piper Niven was awful.
- Rhea Ripley really has spent an entire year just being fed an opponent every 2 months or so. For as great as she is, her title reign is not memorable outside of that she had the belt, looked hot, and was consistently on screen as more of a manager.
- I laughed at the Jinder Mahal bit. Sadly, I didn’t laugh at any of The Rock’s jokes that followed. It just doesn’t work for me anymore, and if I’m being perfectly honest, it never really even resonated with me as much back in his prime as it did with everyone else, either. Now, it’s just as hokey to me as John Cena cutting some poopoo peepee promo.
- I’m still curious why the bulk of that promo was about American pride, of all things. Cheap heat/pop? Lazy writing? Or is there something more to it?
- Nobody cared about the women’s tag team #1 contender’s match. What a whiff.
- Damian Priest is so screwed out of a successful Money in the Bank cash-in, isn’t he?
- Lyra Valkyria is the weakest NXT women’s champion so far. When the most interesting thing about her title reign is Tatum Paxley just being on the side of it, that’s not good.
- If Ilja Dragunov is legit too injured to perform, when is he going to vacate the title? Vengeance Day is right around the corner.
- Not having Dragunov AND not having Dragon Lee was disappointing. At least Carlito and Grayson Waller helped to make up for it as much as they could on short notice. Still, not good.
- Joaquin Wilde!!! That jump off the ropes!!
- Roxanne Perez’s angry gimmick isn’t working for me. I’d believe more into it if she weren’t the tiniest Superstar on the roster. Instead of looking like a vicious killer, she’s coming across like how many little dog breeds are super snippy and not threatening. But I liked how the decision was reversed by the referee, instead of it just being a post-match attack for no reason.
- Ava is so bad in the ring that they gave her this assistant gig, but she’s so bad on the mic that even that isn’t working. Calm down. Don’t rush through your lines and just speak them with no emotion. Pre-tape these, too, and have her go through multiple takes until she gets it. I’m awfully suspicious that she’s being kept around just as long as The Rock has that match with Roman Reigns, and come the post-WrestleMania round of cuts, she’s gone.
- Get ready for WWE to become obsessed with Tiffany Stratton shoveling manure and falling down in the mud, ruining her expensive clothes and all. Those vignettes are going to be happening for weeks.
- Hey yo! Did you know Adriana Rizzo is Italian? Pass da gabagool!
- I hope there’s a legit plan for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and that it doesn’t follow what’s been happening with the two breakout tournaments, which seem to largely have been put out there just for something to do with no real endgame path laid out. At least, that’s how they feel from my perspective.
- That backstage segment with Ashante “Thee” Adonis was interesting. Putting such a focal point on a guy who’s done relatively nothing either means they have something specific in mind to push him with, or this is the last-ditch effort to pull anything out of him being on the roster.
- Tyler Bate got no reaction from the crowd. That’s sad. Hopefully, they warm up to him. But I still think, and have always thought, that he had relatively low ceiling on the main roster, despite how talented he is. His size is just too much of a detractor for putting him up against the majority of the roster. And yes, Rey Mysterio is a thing, but Bate doesn’t have that reaction to boost him to that level by proxy.
- Karrion Kross teaming with AOP is cool. Keeping Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits babyface is the right call after the botched heel turn from the past few months. Can we get a name for these stables?
- Why didn’t Nick Aldis announce the Fatal 4-Way to the crowd so they could react?
4) With Money in the Bank coming to Toronto on July 6, who is your early prediction for the winners of those briefcases?
Once we know what the title scene is like after WrestleMania, my opinion might change. Right now, though, I’m assuming the men’s champions will be CM Punk and Roman Reigns, while the women’s champions will be either Becky Lynch or Rhea Ripley on Raw, and either Bayley or Jade Cargill on SmackDown.
With those in mind, and with this being Canada, I think Sami Zayn is the absolute top pick to win the men’s briefcase. He came up short against Roman at Elimination Chamber 2023. Give the Canadian crowd the big pop it wants, and give him the path to a world title that he deserves. Then, you know, actually put that World Heavyweight Championship on him at some point, too, instead of having him fail his cash-in.
On the women’s side, I could see Jade Cargill winning this if she isn’t already in a more prominent position. But I could also see this being a great opportunity for Chelsea Green to be the first woman to fail her cash-in. That sounds ridiculous, a “great” opportunity to fail, but there’s no other woman on the roster right now that I could see pulling that off in a more advantageous way. Everyone else would just look like a loser, but she’s a comedic heel, so it would be okay for it to happen to her more than a Shayna Baszler or Michin or whoever.
5) How would you book Deonna Purrazzo’s next few steps in AEW? Should she go straight to winning the title from Toni Storm, take some time to build up to that, go after Julia Hart, or what?
Sometimes, when a star who is already established comes into a new company, it calls for them to be sent straight to the top. But AEW has a tendency to do that, have the person fail, and then, flounder. There are far too many examples of a strong lead-in followed by an immediate chilling out period.
Deonna calling her shot and going after Storm already kind of indicates she’s at least going to attempt to win the title, but I’d rather not see her fall victim to the same error that happened to someone like Taya Valkyrie going after Jade Cargill. I’d rather see her take some time to reach that level.
Book Purrazzo in matches against feeder talent for a few months. Have her eventually draw the ire of another person who wants to get a title shot, but has to earn it as well. My ideal pick is Serena Deeb. Those two can have a feud leading up to Purrazzo winning and being declared the No. 1 contender for Double or Nothing. Revolution is too soon, in my mind, unless the game plan is to quite literally push her aside in favor of someone like Mercedes Mone or whomever. But I’m assuming Jamie Hayter is going to win that title in London from Storm and Timeless Toni isn’t dropping it ahead of time, so if Deonna is going to lose, I’d rather it be after she’s built up some clout, rather than a quick in and out of the title hunt.
Let us know your thoughts about these questions by answering them in the comments!