I've kept my eyes on the continued development of the current reigning TNT Champion Darby Allin. At this point, it has to be a coincidence that I make the point that Darby should defend the title more often, and it happened. Next I mentioned that Darby's matches needed to simplify and allow the fans to focus on the goings-on in the ring and not what is going on outside the ring. This week the focus was kept on the ring action to allow for the continued development of Sky & Page vs Allin & Sting. It seems that a loss to Allin sent Sky over the edge and now by whatever means necessary.
The attack on Sting this week prompts the question of if this means that Sting will disappear for a couple of weeks and if this might bring about a more focused Darby Allin. Also, one has to question to continued involvement of Lance Archer and now Preston Vance possibly being included in the feud now the odds are now uneven. Archer does have unfinished business with Sky and Page from a few weeks ago when they escaped a beating from the "Murderhawk Monster."
Praiseworthy! It is the one word that I can use to describe AEW's recent booking of the TNT title picture as various people are now included in the picture with all having a reason to be included. In my opinion, Sting should disappear for a few weeks to allow the focus to be shifted to the champion, Archer, Vance, Sky, and Page instead of rushing into a match including Sting. The long term goal should be the eventual tag team match between Page & Sky vs Allin & Sting rather than rushing into the match before they need to. The first stop in this feud should either be a four way #1 one contender match or a five way TNT Championship Match for the next PPV.
In recent weeks, it seems as though every match including Darby Allin falls into chaos. His match with Matt Hardy and now his match with Jungle Boy had funny business at ringside. At this point it seems that Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page are looking for their opportunity to fight for the TNT Championship. Lance Archer seems to have a hard time staying away from Allin and Sting lending a helping hand to the champion this week buying time for Sting to reappear. The one problem is the distractions at ringside take our eyes away from the action in the ring. This happening from time to time is fine, but weekly or even bi-weekly starts watering down the concept they seem to be using. Fact is Darby is capable of holding his own in the ring he showed that with Cody, and he doesn't need distractions outside the ring shifting the attention off him.
Sting is unquestionably a perfect mentor for Darby, but needs to stay in the background as it is doubtful that Sting will jump back in the ring anytime soon. Archer and Darby would be a better tandem against Sky and Page then seeing Sting get in the ring again. Sting's in ring schedule should be barely existent and kept low to make his in ring appearances special. Plus keeping Archer in the rivalry keeps the seeds there if they want him against Sting and or him against Darby in the future.
I offered up some advice a few weeks back that Darby needed to be more consistent competing and defend the gold a little more often, and they changed that. Next thing that needs to change is formatting Darby's matches he needs to win clean without the outside shenanigans going on even if it comes to Sting being banned from ringside. Actually that would be a perfect way to get more out of a feud if you ban everyone from ringside to show that Darby can go at it alone. I know that the shenanigans don't take the competitors away from the ring, but it takes us away from the ring and that's a problem as it could lead to us missing something that happens in the ring. Darby's stock has risen higher than most on the AEW roster in the last year and if they want to keep going then they need to prove he can win one on one where there spotlight stays on him and just him nobody else. Darby has shown potential, raw emotion, and the ability to be a star, but now needs to prove that he isn't flash in the pan and can keep growing.
Christian has slowly been trying to find his footing in his new home especially considering the fact that Christian has been out of the ring since 2014. From the start I thought it was better idea for them to find a young star to work with Christian first and they did exactly that starting him with Team Taz. I picked Kip Sabain as my choice to be his first short feud to bring him into the company, but Kip isn't exactly the most credible choice to give Christian his first feud in AEW so giving him someone else might be a better choice.
It is an understatement to say that Team Taz is currently a dumpster fire and is in need of resetting momentum. Tension seems to have been bubbling since Starks and Cage lost to Sting and Darby back at Revolution, but when egos clash that happens from time to time. In every faction they need to help establish themselves as they matter and it was Powerhouse Hobbs's turn to get attention. Cage and Starks were the focus in the Sting and Darby feud with Powerhouse being a background fixture, but now he's moved to front and center to feud with Christian.
In my opinion, the best way to allow a veteran to best help the roster is placing them with an unproven youngster to help establish the youngster as a new star. Powerhouse had the spotlight when he turned heel on Cody, but fell to the background when Sting became Darby's partner. From the get go I've said that AEW needs to invest time into developing the stars that fans aren't aware of to get attention on the unknown stars. Though Brian Cage and Ricky Starks gained attention they aren't fully established, but to get Powerhouse up another level a feud with Christian is needed for both men.
On the night the Pinnacle debuted we were surprised to find that MJF not only turned on the Inner Circle, but totally destroyed the once dominate faction within AEW. Though the Pinnacle does draw comparisons to the Four Horsemen it is still early to tell for this faction, but there debut couldn't have gone down better. One note worthy part is that Sammy comes out of this smelling like a rose considering he was the only one that didn't trust MJF from the very start. It was unexpected to see Inner Circle behind door number one after MJF open the door, but it was also a question of why else would a restroom be in the locker room.
Raising the intensity another step forward when Hager was reveled behind door number two and the fight was on from there with the Inner Circle. A fight in confined spaces is always tough to pull off, but they did it the best way possible by splitting everyone up right out of the gate. If this is the start of things to come and things will only get worse for the Pinnacle it will be a dangerous time on Dynamite for everyone with a war about to begin. Don't believe again it would be easier for me to let the video do the talking!!
At Revolution, QT Marshall turned and eliminated fellow Nightmare Family members the Gunn Brothers from the tag team battle royal. Then eliminated himself from the match to the surprise of his partner Dustin Rhodes. Marshall has been the faceless member of the family for months and at one point was given a chance to try and begin developing his own identity which is something he was unable to do. On a recent edition of AEW Dark fellow Nightmare family member Lee Johnson finally got his first AEW victory and would thank everyone in the family except QT Marshall which was what causes him to snap. The only thing is that we didn't know how crazy he went until this past week's edition of Dynamite when the exhibition match when s*** hit the fan.
In my opinion, this was the best way they could've continued this feud and I didn't think there would be this much insanity. Marshall struck Arn Anderson which looked accidental at first, but it seems like it was apart of the plan. Intensity, unexpected and the bar was set high, because once blood is spilled everything changes. They definitely worked to push a lot of the talent and the announcers were tasked with making those trainees matter more and prove that they important enough to be included in this big turn. It is the best decision to split up the nightmare family and break some talent off from the group as a way to better develop more future stars instead of keeping them behind the shadow of Cody and Dustin.
Considering AEW has left a lot on the table thus far due to there booking of his feud with Jon Moxley it has left a question on the table who is next for the World Champion. Omega has had a short program with Pac, and Fenix, but has had his focus on Moxley since his title win in December. Either way though after the deathmatch it is time to move on from Moxley and find a new challenger. It is possible that Omega could have smaller challengers wasting time in between Revolution and Double or Nothing. Looking at the rankings both Pac and Jungle Boy provide interesting challengers for the World Champion and both actually could give a bigger rivalry considering they have tag team partners in Lucha Brothers and Jurassic Express respectively.
However, speaking of rankings there is one name that catches my eye and it's the number one ranked wrestler Hangman Page. Since the end of his tag team with Omega it has seemed like Page started associating with the Dark Order. Pulling an interesting picture into perspective with the Dark Order, The former Elite and Bullet Club all under the same banner. Also the former longest reining tag team champions. Page has really found his own way in the last year since taking his own path away from Young Bucks and Omega. I mean who else could get drinking over like Adam Page has in the last few months.
Think about this an announcement of a battle royal on Dynamite winner gets a title shot against Kenny Omega at Double or Nothing. It can be one of those situations where Kenny is focused on his recent challengers and making sure Christian Cage doesn't win further planting seeds for a feud. Christian doesn't need to challenge for the World Title this soon and we can wait on this feud for a little while. Imagine Don Callis and Omega on commentary for the battle royal and their surprise when they see Adam Page is victorious and laughed at because of his recent association with Dark Order. Page has shown that he can have fun and Omega has gotten a lot more serious in recent months which could lead to the line you will never World Champion, because this is a business not a funhouse your a joke Kenny Omega is your punchline.
In my opinion, I don't think that Page needs a long feud with Omega and that this feud could be more like a space saver instead of a big deal. It could also set the stage for a bigger feud down the road instead of rushing into something now. Either way a feud with Page would revisit a past rivalry and give us a break from Moxley vs Omega. In that same battle royal it could set up other matches for Double or Nothing focusing on Moxley & Kingston against Good Brothers, and Christian Cage vs Kip Sabian setting up a small quick feud for Christian and touching on the unspoken other side of Moxley's feud with Omega.
With Double or Nothing coming up in May it's time to start talking about who might be a part of the big event for AEW. In the last few months we have seen two legends from WWE jump ship to greener pastures in All Elite namely Christian Cage and Paul Wight. Recently, it seems like Christian might have his first feud ready to go with his former rival in Kazarian, but that leaves what happens first for Paul Wight. Now I know Paul is also a part of the broadcast team on Elevation so he doesn't need to be a featured part of the main show, but having him compete here and there should be something that is considered as I don't think Wight is here just to commentate at least not yet.
In my opinion, I think dream matches are something that should be worked on first and then move toward other matches that fans didn't know they wanted to see. I would think based on guessing that Paul Wight will likely have at least a year or maybe two before calling it a career as I believe going to AEW was more about going out on his terms instead of just prolonging his career. Looking at the AEW roster there are two names that jump out at me for the first people to dance with Paul Wight in AEW they are Lance Archer and Powerhouse Hobbs.
Outside of his feud a few months ago with Eddie Kingston things have been quite for the "Muderhawk Monster" and Jake Roberts. I have enjoyed the work Roberts has done since arriving in AEW giving him more of the spotlight would be a nice way to shake things up especially giving them a feud with Wight. As for Powerhouse Hobbs he has a position in Team Taz as the third string quarterback behind Starks and Brian Cage. Giving him the spotlight against Paul Wight would be a nice opportunity for Hobbs to prove himself and stick out from his stablemates. Also after planting seeds of descension among Team Taz when Cage said he respected Sting you could have Taz shift his focus from Cage to Hobbs as a way to continue the descension in the group.
Hobbs is one of those names that have been consistently featured on Dark or Elevation, but isn't always given the Dynamite spotlight. This means that there is plenty of footage of him dominating his opponents and could set up an interesting rivalry with Paul Wight and Brian Cage down the road. Hobbs is a future big man and has potential to be a great signing for AEW, but it's a bad time to test a wrestler to see what they should be working on. I think Hobbs would the right choice to give Wight the opportunity to win his first feud and establish himself in AEW as oppose to lose his first feud and rest on his name, winning his first feud would make him look better.
For months Darby and Cody fought with Team Taz and then Sting joined the team against Taz, Brian Cage, Ricky Starks, and others. It has become common knowledge at this point that Darby has only defended the TNT Championship on four occasions. At this point Allin has held the title for 140+ days and counting though he has made an impact so far as champion he can do more if given the opportunity. Considering the fact that AEW only does quarterly PPV events it is clear that Allin can't only defend the gold on PPV and needs to defend the title on weekly programming from time to time. As of this writing it seems likely that "Big Money" Matt Hardy will be the next challenger for the TNT Championship. This will be a nice test for the youngster seeing how well he can work against a veteran.
One question worth noting is that if Hardy has moved into title contention where does that leave his former rival Hangman Page as a possible challenger against Darby Allin. Another veteran I believe could be a top challenger against Darby is "The Natural" Dustin Rhodes. It would be another nice test for Darby getting his chance to show his stuff against another veteran of wrestling. Looking up and down the AEW roster there are a number of stars that Darby can defend the title against and I'm not saying he has to defend the title every week just having him defend the gold a little more it would help everyone involved. The other programming under the AEW banner in Dark and Elevation could be used to get Darby more challengers as Darby doesn't need a new rivalry for a right away until we get closer to the next PPV event which would be Double or Nothing in May.
In my opinion, writing off names like Lee Johnson, Matt Sydal, Kip Sabian, and others as possible challengers would be a mistake. Darby has reached a point where he could help bring other stars forward and elevate them into a more believable position for fans to care about them and have more interest in seeing some fresh talent. Ultimately, it is up to AEW how they see this championship if they want Darby to be a fighting champion and allow his guts be what ends a record setting reign as champion.
In January 2019, the wrestling world was turned on it's head when All Elite Wrestling was founded by Cody, and Young Bucks with financial backing from Tony Khan. The announcement was expected, but still a shock when it happened as this was first time in our lifetime that we saw the founding a new major wrestling promotion. All Elite Wrestling suddenly became the second wrestling company in the United States behind WWE which put a lot of pressure on those in the ring and behind the camera. Inexperience was a fixture in a lot of the decisions that plagued All Elite Wrestling within the first year. Similarly after Impact Wrestling rebranded there were growing pains which AEW suffered from and are finally coming to light. Even though the growing pains came to light it wasn't seen in a bad way as these growing pains showed how far both AEW and Impact have come in a very short period of time.
Admittedly, AEW has done quite well learning from their mistakes and building a foundation of positive momentum which is something that Impact Wrestling had to do as well. The only difference is that Impact had undo mistakes not just learn from them. In my opinion, a reason that this agreement is working out doesn't just have to do with Don Callis being the main reason behind it, but also the fact that both companies are growing and moving forward, but instead of trying to do it separately they are working together. In the past wrestling use to be all about working together, and then it became a business all about the individual instead of the group.
This working agreement with AEW and Impact that likely also includes New Japan will benefit all parties involved, because everyone involved wants it to succeed. The only thing that needs to be put over is that AEW needs to understand that Impact will not always be willing to lose and that their needs to be a balance same with New Japan. Booking needs to be sometimes thought of in a direction that will not just benefit the talent, but what will benefit the working agreement as well. Speaking of the agreement on April 24 at Rebellion Kenny Omega vs Rich Swann Title vs Title.
On Dynamite we saw two of the toughest women in the world tear down the house and raise the bar of expectation for the women's wrestling in AEW. For the most part one of the main criticisms from fans about AEW since the formation of the promotion is the women's division hasn't seen a lot of investment on programming. The main praise for the women's division has been Britt Baker who undoubtedly is the top star on the women's roster for AEW. Over the last few weeks we have seen an intense rivalry develop between Britt and Thunder Rosa which lead to this light out or unsanctioned contest.
Rosa first made her appearance representing the NWA as their Women's champion and since then she has slowly became a staple of the AEW Women's division. The first I saw of Thunder Rosa was on NWA Power and she impressed as a high point of weak Women's division. Adding Thunder to the division allows AEW to find an easy upgrade to what was also an underdeveloped division. I've said from the beginning that AEW needs to invest in explaining to us who some of these women are and outside of Britt and Rosa we still don't know.
AEW seems to have a specialty the knock down drag out brawl look back at Dustin vs Cody from the first Double or Nothing in 2019. This is match was very unexpected though, because you never really expect to see blood in a women's match and never expect them to go "hardcore." I don't think this is something we should see more often, but giving the women's division an opportunity to steal the show if they can should be entertained more often. Baker and Rosa proved not just how much chemistry they have with one another, but given the chance they can impress.
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