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Valentine’s Weekend Exit Survey: Jay White made my day

AEW Rampage must have a crush on me, because on the cusp of Valentine’s Day, the day we spoil our significant others, I was gifted something lovelier than a dozen roses: one “Switchblade” in an AEW ring.

SmackDown and I have been on the outs since 2016, last time we were committed to each other Dean Ambrose was WWE Champion, Mauro Ronallo was doing play-by-play and Becky Lynch wore those goggles with her entrance gear. However, I’m proud to say I’ve been going steady with New Japan Strong for well over a year now. 

  • What was my favorite match of the weekend?

Honorable mention: Charlotte Flair vs Naomi. These two had this crowd 100% convinced that Naomi could’ve won this match. Both worked their asses off and it was probably Naomi’s best match of her career.

New Japan’s New Year’s Golden Series delivered my favorite match of the weekend: a Junior Heavyweight banger with birthday boy Robbie Eagles submitting Taiji Ishimori. Eagles is one half of the IWGP Jr. Tag Champions with Tiger Mask and they’re currently embroiled in a feud with Ishimori and El Phantasmo. This was a quick and fun match. Not every match needs to be heaps long, a surprising finish is always a good thing to have on a wrestling card. 

  • What was the problem with SmackDown?

Flair vs Naomi doesn’t count in this, that match was awesome and without it, this show would be an all-time hunk of flaming garbage. Week after week, Sami Zayn is giving Oscar-worthy performances in Golden Raspberry-worthy scenes. The material Zayn is given is so awful that it takes someone as well-rounded as he is to make it work. 

It doesn’t feel fresh. The booking is 50/50. I feel like Zayn has been feuding with Shinsuke Nakamura for six years, and this feud doesn’t interest me at all because what we saw in Dallas all those years ago will never happen again. Then you have Natalya and Aliyah have their issue but I don’t really know where it’s going. If this is how Vince thinks he can build a star he needs his booking license revoked. 

  • After Jay White absolutely walks the dog on Trent Beretta next week, where should he go from there?

After the conclusion of Rampage’s opener, the Young Bucks beating Roppongi Vice, Switchgoat laid out Beretta with the Blade Runner to set up a singles match next week. It’s AEW, so you know the match will go for twelve minutes when it should really go for less than six. White won’t get super over if he has a long competitive match with Beretta, who hasn’t ever won anything major in AEW. At the very least, White will come in with a win.

I can see White being around in AEW until they do a rematch against Kenny Omega at some point, but he’s got some time to kill before the Cleaner is back. I know he’s a current tag champion but Jungle Boy is one of the best possible opponents for White. Jungle Boy is the purest babyface on the entire roster and Jay White is the best heel worker under the age of 30.  With enough time that match could be magic. 

  • Of all people, on this whole taping, why would you shit-talk Josh Barnett?

In the early goings of the Barnett vs. Ren Narita on New Japan Strong, people in the audience thought to themselves “I’m going to heckle a legitimately trained killer.” Fans spend their money to buy their tickets, they can say what they want as long as it is in good enough taste, but I just fail to determine what logic caused these fools to heckle Barnett. 

By the end, no one was heckling Barnett, I loved this match. I hope Narita really is the second coming of his father Katsuyori Shibata because he sure looked like it here like he did in the Tokyo Dome. New Japan’s future is quite bright.

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