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Weekend Exit Survey: Clark Connors is Next Up

I never take these easy weekends for granted. Just three shows. Less than four hours of content to get through.

SmackDown felt a little dull, Rampage was more or less the same as it has been, and NJPW Strong was a great episode with solid action. 

  • What was my favorite match of the weekend?

Clark Connors vs. TJP from New Japan Strong. This was just a great pro-wrestling match. Connors has to be the next Strong Openweight Champion, here he was the hometown kid in Washington, TJP was the genuinely-unlikeable heel. Add the fact that both of these guys are fantastic in the ring and you’ve got the recipe for a terrific main event. 

Connors got the win and the crowd was elated as they were super into him. He’s easily the best recent graduate of the LA Dojo so far. The story of Connors beating his long-time mentor was told perfectly. Please go out of your way to watch this if you haven’t already. 

  • What has WWE done to My Guy?

I love Big E. I love tag team wrestling. WWE might love E, but they don’t love tag team wrestling, and therein lies the problem. On the first day of 2022, Big E was the WWE Champion. Is that the secondary men’s world title right now? Yes. However, is it the more historic and respected men’s world title? The one Bret Hart held? Yes. E was (bafflingly) pinned in the five-way main event of Day 1 by Brock Lesnar, then lost clean to Seth Rollins on RAW, and I thought he was doing these jobs because they’d give him the Royal Rumble win. I was very wrong. 

E was recently moved back over to SmackDown, was treated as an afterthought in the Rumble match, and is now in the afterthought tag team division. Again, I truly love tag team wrestling but it’s never the main event affair in this promotion. The tag title matches seldom if ever feels like the most important bout on a show. He cut one great promo about getting the title back, but that was it. He never got another title match, and when it comes to his spot on the card, he’s been relegated. Even if they don’t want a belt on him right now that doesn’t mean he can’t be in the mix.

The New Day, in any combination, is an amazing tag team. The personality of the trio is so strong that it’s easy to forget they might be the best in-ring team in WWE. It just felt like E’s time, and literally, everybody was overjoyed to see E get the big world title push. 

  • AEW: Why does Sammy Guevara need to carry both belts?

When Guevara won that bonkers ladder match on Dynamite he pulled down both TNT title belts, but he could’ve done a promo and handed over the interim belt and held onto the real one. I don’t know how to tell the difference between the two, maybe the one Cody inked that Nightmare-inducing symbol onto the one he held. 

I also don’t know why they didn’t book Marq Quen against Guevara over Isiah Kassidy. Nothing against the latter, I just thought having two of the most acrobatic All Elite wrestlers may have been a more AEW move. Private Party needs to get away from Matt Hardy yesterday.

  • AEW: How is Will Hobbs not a world title picture guy?

On the Grand Slam edition of AEW Rampage in Arthur Ashe stadium, Hobbs wrestled the biggest star in the company. He went 13 minutes against CM Punk. I don’t know what could be a higher compliment than the biggest star in the promotion wanting to wrestle you at the largest-attended show to date. Since Hobbs’ match with Punk in September; he lost to Orange Cassidy on Rampage in October, lost in the Diamond Battle Royal on Dynamite in December, and lost to Dante Martin on Dynamite in January. 

On this recent episode of Rampage, Hobbs was just seconding Ricky Starks to the ring for his match against Jay Lethal. Hobbs might be the most under-pushed guy on the roster. He’s got everything that a guy like Wardlow has got, and probably more. Give Hobbs the Wardlow-like push but obviously, keep him away from the Wardlow. If Hobbs isn’t challenging Adam Page for the World title on the Fyter Fest, Fight For The Fallen, or Battle of the Belts, then something is horribly wrong in Jacksonville. 

Another thing, Team Taz is probably the coolest group in the promotion. They have the cult favorite, HOOK; they have Ricky Starks, who has more charisma than the entire Best Friends combined; I’ve already put Hobbs over to the moon, and they also have Taz! I don’t know why they aren’t rolling around as a full group, either. 

  • What’s the over/under for the number of years before Yuya Uemura wins the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship in the Tokyo Dome?

I’m going to go slightly over 3.5, this guy has just got it. Between the current Young Lions and the recently graduated, New Japan is neck-and-neck with AEW for having the brightest future when it comes to talent. Uemura wrestled Brody King on this episode of Strong and he was fantastic as the fiery underdog babyface. If Jungle Boy had as much fire as Uemura he’d be the biggest star in the sport. I’m building apartment complexes on Uemura island.

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