This weekend was a bigger one, Saturday night saw New Japan hold their Power Struggle card on top of the usual WWE SmackDown, AEW Rampage, and NJPW Strong.
AEW: Could C.M. Punk vs Eddie Kingston be the best short-term feud of 2021?
There have only really been two interactions between these two and they’re both segment of the year contenders. These two executed the “overdone interview interruption” perfectly. It should never be done again unless it’s going to be better than that.
The angle they shot on Rampage this weekend was perfect. Eddie Kingston managed to get CM Punk booed in St. Louis, even when Punk is positioned as the babyface. It ended with one of the better pull-aparts in All Elite history. Tony Khan’s notepad did read “Punk vs. Wardlow” but he’s definitely pivoted in direction of the better. This will be an awesome match stemming from a very well-executed personal issue.
WWE: Would Big E vs. Roman Reigns or New Day vs. Bloodline serve as a better Survivor Series main event?
Since the 2017 event in Houston, WWE’s Thanksgiving tradition has followed a specific structure. The WWE Champion wrestles the Universal Champion, the RAW Women’s Champion wrestles the SmackDown Women’s champion, then in each division a team of five RAW wrestlers wrestles five SmackDown wrestlers in an elimination tag, and so on down the line.
There’s a lot to like about this layout. We’ve gotten Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles and Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan from it, but when I look at these cards I think “Man, there are a ton of belts here,” which isn’t a good thing.
Following the pattern of the last four years, this would mean that Big E wrestles Roman Reigns in the main event. But after the closing angle on SmackDown, where the Bloodline beat down Kofi Kingston and King Woods, I had two thoughts:
- Big E making the save would be electric right now.
- They need to do the 6-man instead of the singles match.
I’d bet my car that Roman Reigns would get the win if it were a singles match and Big E should not be beaten right now. He’s the hottest he’s ever been. In the six-man, they can have Woods pin one of the Usos to further set up a tag title match and the two world champions can be protected. A New Day win would also send the fans home happy and we can get Roman being pissed off at the Usos on SmackDown which is always entertaining.
WWE: What matches could we have seen if WWE wrestlers had to qualify for spots on Survivor Series teams?
- Queen Zelina vs. Tegan Nox, Carmella vs. Doudrop, Rhea Ripley vs Tamina, Liv Morgan vs Dana Brooke, Bianca Belair vs. Nikki ASH.
- The Mysterios vs. Alpha Academy, Kevin Owens vs. Shelton Benjamin, Finn Bálor vs. Cedric Alexander, Seth Rollins vs. John Morrison.
- SmackDown has only nine female wrestlers, including Charlotte Flair who isn’t in this match, so for the sake of the exercise let’s just say Sasha Banks and Natalya get an automatic spot based on their resume. We could’ve had Aliyah vs. Xia Li, Shotzi vs. Toni Storm, Shayna Baszler vs. Naomi (with stakes).
- Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus, Jeff Hardy vs. MACE, King Woods vs. Jinder Mahal, Sami Zayn vs. Mansoor, and Happy Corbin vs. Cesaro.
Sure, some of these match-ups aren’t exactly blow-away exciting, but with five hours of television to fill it doesn’t hurt to offer a slate of bouts that have stakes. However, in order for a spot on the team to mean something, the Survivor Series brand battle has to mean something. WWE hasn’t figured that out yet.
NJPW: What is going to happen with the top belts in New Japan?
The main closing shot of Power Struggle saw Kazuchika Okada holding the 4th IWGP belt, and Shingo Takagi holding the current IWGP World Heavyweight title. I’m firmly of the belief that we’re getting the old belt back.
I like the new belt, but the previous design was just such a masterpiece that it’d be a crime to just tease us with it and then take it away again forever. There’s also the Will Ospreay factor with his replica of Shingo’s title to be added to the mix. I just hope that this all somehow ends with Okada standing tall with the belt we all hold near and dear to our heart.
What was the best match of this weekend?
It was Shingo Takagi’s third defense of the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, beating Zack Sabre Jr. in the main event of Power Struggle in Osaka. These two could really do no wrong. The match wasn’t as good as their G1 match in my opinion but it was super close.
Sabre had a lights-out G1 tournament, I thought he should’ve won the A Block. This is under the assumption that Naito was winning it, and they had to come up with an alternate finalist when Naito had to withdraw. It very well may have been Ibushi since the start, but it was clear that Okada was winning the whole thing by the end.
Getting a world title match as a result of beating Shingo is still a good consolation prize and both guys had a great showing in Osaka.