0 out of 4
This week’s SmackDown and Rampage both laid the groundwork for the upcoming pay-per-views with segments that confirmed a few matches and set others in motion.
Bill Goldberg returned to WWE television in the early segments of SmackDown to officially challenge Roman Reigns to a match for the Universal Championship.
Ronda Rousey made her first appearance on the blue mark in the closing segment to let Charlotte Flair know that she would be challenging her for the SmackDown Women’s Title at WrestleMania 38 on the weekend of April 2.
On Rampage, Adam Cole picked up a win over Evil Uno, and Darby Allin came to Sammy Guevara’s aid while letting him know he was looking to regain the TNT Championship down the line.
Let’s look at some of the most important developments from Friday’s shows.
1 of 4
Heyman and the rest of The Bloodline opened SmackDown so he could explain his motivations for turning on Brock Lesnar so he could realign with Reigns at the Royal Rumble.
After doing his usual song and dance, Goldberg’s music hit and the former world champion made his way to the ring. He lured Reigns into a false sense of security by pretending to recognize him before stating that the only thing he recognized was Reigns becoming his next victim.
With the WWE Title on the line in The Elimination Chamber, it looks like we know what WWE plans to do with the Universal Championship at the next big event.
Goldberg vs. Reigns isn’t exactly ideal after Big E campaigned for a match against the WCW legend for the past few years, but it’s for one of Saudi Arabia’s shows, so a lot of people will skip it anyway.
With this brief feud over, we should have a better idea of what Reigns will be up to on the road to WrestleMania.
2 out of 4
Aliyah has been wrestling since 2013 and has worked for WWE since 2015, but WWE describes her character as something of a starry-eyed newcomer to the professional wrestling world. It’s weird.
Her feud with Natalya continued this week when she scored a countout victory over the Guinness World Record holder in a short match.
The queen of harts went to Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville to ask for one more match with no countout or disqualification. She called it a dungeon-style match.
Both authority figures have her booked, so next week Natalya will have a chance to prove she is the better wrestler. Or, Aliyah will win with the most dangerous move in pro wrestling, the roll-up.
Either way, WWE has to go through this and figure out what they want to do with Aliyah because she can’t play rookie forever. Also, can we tell the creators of the WWE jerseys that 3.17 seconds is not the same as 3:17? Credit to Joel Pearl for pointing out this discrepancy.
In other Women’s Division news, Rousey officially challenged Charlotte to a SmackDown Women’s Title match at WrestleMania after Sonya Deville teased her into picking Becky Lynch.
We now have one of Mania’s big matches, so WWE has plenty of time to build it. Hopefully it’s a satisfying scenario with a good payoff.
3 out of 4
Credit: All Elite Wrestling
After picking up a decisive victory over Evil Uno, Cole delivered an impassioned promo aimed at the crowd. He was speaking specifically to people who have criticized his booking in AEW thus far.
It was all about Cole. There was no reDRagon or Young Bucks. It was just Cole talking about how he’s one of the best in the world and we’re about to see a much more dangerous version of him.
It looks like he and his friends are about to stop playing and start taking names. The first step should be for Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish to target the Tag Team Champions. Cole can push them to the titles as he chases Adam Page and the AEW World Heavyweight Championship.
We’ll still see fun-loving Cole on BTE and his own Twitch streams, but it looks like he’ll be more in line with his original NXT heel character, who will be fun to watch without PG restrictions.
4 out of 4
Credit: All Elite Wrestling
Guevara retained the TNT Championship against Isiah Kassidy in the main event, but what happened after the match ended could have been more interesting.
Just as it looked like Matt Hardy and his bandmates were about to attack, Allin came down to provide backup and chase the Hardy Family Office out of the ring.
The former TNT champion looked at the two title belts over Guevara’s shoulders, patted them several times and walked away. This clearly set up a showdown in the future between the two AEW originals.
Allin has been absent from the TNT title scene for several months as he engaged in other feuds and storylines, so it’s nice to see AEW re-engage in their endeavors as a potential champion.
The next logical step is a tag team match. Allin and Guevara will likely team up against Private Party or Andrade El Idolo and Hardy. Either way, we should have fun wrestling.