In two weeks, SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella will be nothing more than a footnote, a bridge champion between Charlotte Flair and Asuka. While the “Queen” defeated the “Empress of Tomorrow” at WrestleMania 34 two months ago (it’s hard to believe it has been that long), there was never any doubt the former undefeated superstar would hold company gold before the SummerSlam pay-per-view.
WWE did its best to not only make the Money in the Bank win by the current champion mean something but took a page out of the old professional wrestling handbook. Two babyfaces could not wrestle for a title with the challenger going over with the belt.
As the dawn of a new era in women’s wrestling is about to take place, the tiara being handed to the Japanese sensation, what happens next? Once Carmella gets her rematch and is defeated soundly, where does Asuka’s next challenge come from? Is there a golden plan for SummerSlam and will WWE get behind a solid feud like Becky Lynch or possibly one of the IIconics?
Would the company do the unthinkable and move Sasha Banks to Tuesday nights, have her go over as a heel and immediately challenge the new title holder? There is no bridge for Banks on Monday Night Raw, which makes me think this could still happen.
Asuka’s path with title in tow is a bit different than Nia Jax. There are more contenders on the red team. There are more scenarios that make sense if the company puts the title on Ronda Rousey. At some point, WWE must figure out a way for Rousey and Flair to meet with everything on the line – presumably at WrestleMania 35.
There must also be a program that continues to promote Asuka as the best the company has to offer. We all know Flair won’t remain a babyface for long, which follows in line with what daddy Ric Flair would do when ratings were failing or there was more money to be made. I’m still sold on an Asuka-Flair feud down the line, but could also see WWE doing the same thing with Asuka as it did with Shinsuke Nakamura – a heel turn that catches everyone off guard.
The Daniel Bryan Problem
A story by multiple sources came out this past week that WWE kept Daniel Bryan out of the Money in the Bank Ladder Match as a way to protect him from possible further injury to his neck and head. The three-time world champion has been on the mark upon his return to the ring, continuing to show he is one of the top talents on the company roster.
I don’t like the idea of protecting Bryan, but I understand the position WWE is in.
Per Mike Chiari of Bleacher Report, “One major caveat that came with Bryan’s return is the fact that he now undergoes medical testing after every match to ensure he is in good health.” It makes me wonder of the company did the same thing with Kurt Angle or Stone Cold Steve Austin.
What happened when CM Punk was injured and constantly pleading for medical attention? Here’s the slippery slope WWE is traveling on by protecting one of its best money makers. There will be scrutiny about this, not that Bryan doesn’t deserve the respect and care that comes from receiving such an injury.
Bryan’s match with Big Cass at MITB will hopefully be the last between the two wrestlers. Hopefully, Bryan will challenge The Miz with or without the WWE Title on the line. More than anything, fans and the company want to see Bryan safe and able to compete for a long time. But making this kind of decision does open the door for some questionable book for this important pay-per-view.
Jinder Being Jinder
WWE has solidly gotten behind Seth Rollins as “The Guy” on Monday nights. The Intercontinental Champion is doing his best Shawn Michaels impersonation as the performer who is doing it better than anyone else in the ring.
Unless you are Jinder Mahal.
The recent push by WWE to make Mahal “Public Enemy No. 1” on Monday nights is succeeding, with an attack on both Rollins, the current Intercontinental Champion and Roman Reigns. The current program between Rollins and Mahal is proof WWE has done the best job of booking its two hottest superstars.
Due to the fact WWE has all but given up promoting the Universal Title on the red brand, Rollins has taken the opportunity and run with it, proving what many of us thought for a long time – that he is the best the company has to offer on Raw and could take the torch from Michaels and run with it.
I love this kind of feud because there is a decided line of demarcation. Everyone loves Rollins as the conquering hero. Everyone hates Mahal as the Anti-American heel who draws more heat than anyone currently on WWE’s roster.
It a program I hope WWE continues past Money in the Bank.