It was thrilling to only have three wrestling shows this weekend. Mid-late December is generally a down period for pro-wrestling as we close in on the holidays, and sometimes the quality of the shows can reflect that. That’s not at all to say that this was a bad weekend in the ring.
Will Cody Rhodes ever get cheered again?
The irony of this is that with today’s wrestling audience if Cody did turn heel, he would get cheered massively because everyone wants him to do it. I really don’t know what else the American Nightmare can do to be cheered like he was going into the 2019 Full Gear pay-per-view.
Two years later, after appearing on talent shows and a reality show, getting an awful tattoo, and the tone-deaf promo where he attempted to end racism, it’s gotten to the point where Rhodes is even booed in his hometown. The good thing about AEW, however, is that they very seldom ignore the fans to maintain their own booking plans.
Cody has teased going heel, despite saying he’ll never turn. A recent and notable instance of this was when Cody went to walk to the back through the heel entrance tunnel, but he corrected himself and went back through the babyface side. At least he’s listening.
What was my favorite match of the weekend?
I loved the big title match where Tom Lawlor retained his NJPW Strong Openweight Championship over Fred Rosser on New Japan Strong. These two had a war in Riverside, a great main event pro-wrestling match on a show where the strongpoint is match quality.
I really like Fred Rosser, and I thought this was one of his best matches that I’ve ever seen, but I’m glad Lawlor retained the title. Rosser is a veteran, and winning this title wouldn’t benefit him as much as it would someone like Karl Fredericks or Clark Connors who aren’t just the future of New Japan, but wrestling in general.
Was it the right move for Roman Reigns to fire Paul Heyman?
This depends on a couple of things.
- What’s the direction for Reigns, Heyman, and Brock Lesnar going forward?
- Do they even HAVE a direction for these three going forward?
I think it’s fair to say that, besides the Shield, Paul Heyman is the best thing that’s ever happened for Roman Reigns’ career. Heyman stood by Lesnar’s side for years and years, and every time out this pair was presented as the most important thing on the show. So when an episode of Thunderdome-era SmackDown closed with a shot of the new heel Roman Reigns sitting next to the mischievously grinning Paul Heyman, it gave me a reason to watch the show.
Since Lesnar’s return, he’s been the biggest babyface in WWE, and for weeks now it’s been teased that Heyman will realign with his original client. After Heyman was fired by his Tribal Chief this week on SmackDown, it feels all but certain that it’ll soon be Lesnar who has his advocate in his corner.
This closing segment of SmackDown very much felt like Reigns’ turn on Heyman is positioning Heyman and Lesnar as a babyface unit against Roman and the Usos. I feel like the other way around might be better long-term, and I somewhat expected an “I told you so” type of moment with WWE making Roman Reigns a universally adored top babyface. Plans can always change.
Has the shine come off Adam Cole?
Adam Cole’s AEW debut was one of the best wrestling moments in a year with a ton of all-timers. The lights went out, everyone thought Bryan Danielson would make his debut, but we got one of the great swerves with the entrance of Cole just a fortnight after his final match in NXT. Danielson would come out later.
It probably isn’t fair to compare these two, but I will as they both debuted on the same night. Bryan Danielson has had a run worthy of my Wrestler of the Year vote in the same amount of time that Adam Cole has been in AEW.
Danielson has had dream matches, two of them time limit draws going 90 minutes in total. The last thing Cole did that I thoroughly enjoyed was his match against Jungle Boy on September 29 Dynamite. I’m not 100% saying it’s the heavy association with the Young Bucks, but I’m not saying it isn’t either. As of this writing, I’m just feeling underwhelmed by Cole, although I’m a massive fan of him as a wrestler.
If Kyle O’Reilly does jump over to AEW, I’d love to see him link up with Cole, Fish, and the rest of the Elite. Of course, the real hook would be for the former Undisputed Era members to later break away and eventually have a six-man tag with Kenny Omega and the Bucks facing Cole, Fish, and O’Reilly.
Until then, I hope Cole can enter a feud with someone like Darby Allin, Daniel Garcia, PAC, or Eddie Kingston. This current Elite vs Best Friends feud leaves a little to be desired.