0 out of 5
The more things change, the more they stay the same in WWE, and in some cases, they get worse.
Superstars undergoing gimmicky and name changes from what they were before arriving in the business is not a new phenomenon. In most cases, this is expected and even understandable, but the recent executive order requiring everyone who uses their real name to change it to something drastically different has been spiraling out of control lately.
The same can be said for how NXT treated its entire women’s division as a whole last year. Along with the many outings and call-ups that have emptied the scene of nearly all of its top talent, the booking of ladies in development since the brand’s reboot has been nothing short of abysmal.
Ember Moon’s recent interview with Chris Van Vliet provided great insight into why this might be, and served as a reminder of just how far the division has fallen from what it once was.
That’s not to say All Elite Wrestling’s women’s division doesn’t have its own flaws, but there is one major star on the rise right now and her name is Jade Cargill. The Baddies’ successful in-ring debut on Friday’s Rampage only reinforced that she has a very bright future ahead of her in AEW.
This episode of Quick Takes will discuss Cargill’s growth and potential, Asuka’s return to Raw and why she should use it as an opportunity to be the Asuka of old again, and more.
1 out of 5
Until about a decade ago, almost everyone who joined WWE was given a new ring name upon signing, a nickname the company could trademark and guarantee the Superstar couldn’t bring elsewhere if they had to leave. . While not ideal, it made sense, especially for a promotion as big as WWE that sees people come and go constantly.
At its peak, NXT hired more established indie talent than ever before. Although notable names such as Prince Devitt (Finn Balor) and Kevin Steen (Kevin Owens) have been rebranded, stars such as AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura and others have all been allowed to keep their identify.
WWE now wanting to change the names of everyone who currently uses their real name in any way is a step too far.
It makes perfect sense that this edict applies to incoming athletes, but altering the identity of someone who has been under contract for several years and has been established on TV is comical. It insults the intelligence of every viewer who has invested in them and damages the goodwill they have accumulated with the audience.
Ciampa and Theory dropping their first names is okay, but Pete Dunne and WALTER becoming Butch and Gunther respectively while Kay Lee Ray rebranding as Alba Fyre is unnecessary and frustrating for fans when it should have been something addressed as soon as they signed.
2 out of 5
As solid a card as WrestleMania Backlash appeared on paper ahead of Friday’s SmackDown, RK-Bro vs. The Usos in a tag team title unification match was the biggest draw of all that was going on.
WWE announced the high-stakes matchup several weeks ago and the build-up to the fight has been happening on both brands since then. Unifying the tag titles at this point seemed like the best way to bring the tag team division back to prominence.
During SmackDown, however, the match was changed to a six-man tag; Drew McIntyre will now team up with RK-Bro while Roman Reigns joins his Bloodline brothers. It was not said that any of the titles, including the undisputed WWE Universal Championship, would be up for grabs.
This is a significant step up from what was originally announced, especially if it is to be positioned as the show’s main event. It should be entertaining from a ringside perspective with the extra star power involved, but it doesn’t really matter who wins because nothing of substance is at stake.
The only silver lining is that it stops WWE from rushing Reigns vs. McIntyre one-on-one with nine days notice. This can be saved for Hell in a Cell in June. Ideally, a Winners Take All stipulation will be added next week to make this match more meaningful than what you would see on any regular episode of Raw or SmackDown.
3 out of 5
There are always discussions in All Elite Wrestling among fans regarding the mainstays of the promotion, and all the answers tend to be male (Darby Allin, MJF, Sammy Guevara, Jungle Boy). That said, it would be blasphemous not to include Jade Cargill in this conversation after the outstanding past year she’s had.
Cargill has gone from an unknown in a random rivalry with Cody and Brandi Rhodes to one of the company’s biggest and brightest stars, male or female. It’s a testament not only to how she was booked and built, but also to her growth as a performer and on-air personality.
She’s undefeated head-to-head since last year and has dominated as the AEW TBS Champion since winning the title on Jan. 5. someone else on the list.
Cargill wasn’t missing much from his act, but adding Red Velvet and Kiera Hogan as his “villains” doesn’t hurt much. If anything, they just make her even more of a main event player and can do her dirty work for her.
The three showed great chemistry in Friday’s six-woman tag team match and won with ease as they should have. Now the question is who AEW can line up for her now that she has already conquered the majority of the division.
4 out of 5
Asuka finally returned to Raw after a nine-month hiatus due to injury, and she wasted no time in reigniting her rivalry with Becky Lynch on Monday night.
Although Lynch would have benefited from more time away from TV, her vs. Asuka is undoubtedly exciting considering how well they’ve worked together. It will also be an effective way to bring Asuka back into the fold emphatically and restore her credibility.
The feud will not fully live up to its potential until it returns to being the unstoppable force it was when it first came to Raw and previously to NXT.
The Empress of Tomorrow’s green-mist antics have been more obnoxious than anything for the past two years. The clumsy, unhinged character she portrayed sold out of reception a while ago, making it much harder to take her seriously.
It’s as perfect a time as any for her to return to her roots as a no-frills warrior who does more than dance. She remains one of the best female wrestlers in the world, but her character presentation could use a reboot as she prepares to go for gold again.
5 out of 5
It’s been painfully obvious for some time now that NXT’s Women’s Division has fallen from what it once was, and Ember Moon’s recent comments about the brand and her time there towards the end really set the record straight. perspective.
“We should be in stupid meetings about how we should dress sexy,” the former NXT Women’s Champion told Chris Van Vliet (h/t Cageside Seats). “I remember looking at someone and thinking, ‘I’m taking care of the kids.’ I’m not about to wear fishnet shorts because we had a two hour meeting on how to dress like Mandy Rose.”
If you tune into NXT on a Tuesday night, it’s not hard to see what Moon is referring to. Toxic Attraction plays its role well and is perhaps the only exception, but the emphasis on in-ring action towards sex appeal for women has been inexcusable and goes against everything the division represented WWE Divas at the time.
Moon added that she noticed the downward trend started when Triple H left to deal with his health issues. The Game was largely responsible for introducing “feminine evolution”, and without him at the helm, the division regressed significantly.
NXT going back to its developmental roots and showcasing inexperienced talent isn’t so much the problem as the constant objectification of women in an effort to boost ratings. The powers that be on the mark have sadly lost sight of what made women’s wrestling so great in the first place.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham “GSM” Matthews, has been specializing in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his Youtube channel for more wrestling related content.