A Tough Break for CM Punk, WWE Fixed Riddick Moss, More Friday WWE and AEW Takes
Not only was this week's Rampage back to its normal 10 p.m. ET timeslot, but SmackDown was the go-home show for this weekend's Hell in a Cell event.
The big news coming out of Rampage is CM Punk announcing that he is injured and requires surgery, which means he there will be an interim champion crowned at Forbidden Door.
Over on SmackDown, Butch, Sheamus and Ridge Holland had yet another battle with The New Day and Drew McIntyre. Riddick Moss also finally ditched his suspenders, and we got another appearance from Max Dupri.
Let's take a look at these moments from Friday's three-hour block of wrestling.
Butch Is Starting to Work
The New Day and McIntyre have been feuding with Butch, Sheamus and Holland for what feels like forever, but one success story may come out of all this.
Somehow, some way, this whole Butch situation is starting to improve, and it's all thanks to the work of the former Pete Dunne.
Not only does it looks like he is having a blast with this gimmick, but he has become a legitimately funny character without losing the element of danger he brings to his matches.
Butch is still being positioned as a brutal competitor who will snap your fingers in half at the drop of a hat, but we're also allowed to laugh at his antics. A lot of comedy characters can't walk that line, but Butch is doing it well.
This feud has run its course and then some, but if Butch becomes a popular character when this is all said and done, it will all be worth it to see The Bruiserweight get more TV time.
Max Dupri Is Better Than Expected
When people on social media first learned that LA Knight was being called up to the main roster as a manager with a completely different name and gimmick, reactions were not positive.
The high number of name changes in recent months has been a talking point for many, but not using the former LA Knight as an in-ring competitor had people scratching their heads in confusion.
Thankfully for everybody, Max Dupri, as he is now known, is turning out to be much better than expected.
The few backstage segments he has appeared in have given him a chance to quickly establish his character as somebody who is too annoying for management to ignore. Basically, he's like a real Hollywood agent.
He will reveal his first client next week. Since he has been working with Mace and Mansoor in dark matches, it will likely be one of those two Superstars.
Another Missed Opportunity
Natalya is a future WWE Hall of Famer and someone who has done a lot for women's wrestling in WWE. With that being said, she was the wrong choice to win the No. 1 Contender's Six-Pack Challenge on this week's SmackDown.
Xia Li, Shotzi and Raquel Rodriguez would have all benefitted more from being in a program with Ronda Rousey than Natalya ever will at this point in her career, regardless of how it plays out.
Rousey is going to beat Natalya and retain the title in their eventual showdown. Instead of giving this shot to her, WWE should have booked one of its up-and-coming stars in this spot.
Shayna Baszler vs. Rousey seems like something WWE wants to keep in its back pocket for later, but even she would have been a good choice for a short-term program.
Even if they would have lost, Li, Shotzi and Rodriguez would gain so much just from being booked as a threat to Rousey's reign. Right now, all three women appear directionless following this loss.
Keeping the title on Rousey is not the issue. The problem is that WWE doesn't seem to want to book other people in the division to look strong enough to take it from her.
WWE Finally Figured Out Riddick Moss
Madcap Moss was one of the most annoying characters WWE has developed in years, but everybody seemed to recognize that Riddick Moss was capable of so much more.
He seems comfortable on the mic, has a great look and a lot of intensity. His new appearance and attitude that debuted on this week's SmackDown are big steps in the right direction.
The way he appeared in the back of an ambulance after being stretchered out of the arena the last time we saw him was a great visual, and his simple black trunks and boots worked for him for the time being.
It's way too early to say if Moss will be a big success, but not being saddled with the Madcap gimmick anymore is going to increase his chances of being a top star tenfold.
CM Punk's Tough Break Can Be an Opportunity for AEW
CM Punk arrived on this week's Rampage as the new AEW world champion, but the smile we saw on his face Wednesday night had faded.
What we soon found out was Punk is injured and will be forced to undergo surgery, which means an interim champion will take his place. A battle royal will open next week's Dynamite, with the winner facing the No. 1-ranked Jon Moxley in the main event to decide who moves on to Forbidden Door to challenge for the world title, presumably against a top star from New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
This is an unfortunate situation for everyone involved, but it could be used as an opportunity to create a new star, which is something AEW should see as a priority.
Most of the AEW champions up to this point have been people who held world titles elsewhere. Chris Jericho, Moxley, Kenny Omega and Punk all fall into this category. Adam Page was the first guy to hold the AEW Championship without being a former champion in a major promotion.
AEW management should consider using this chance to create another top star. Somebody like Miro or MJF are obvious choices, but people like Wardlow or Ricky Starks would be unexpected and fun.
The roster in AEW is so deep that you can't look in any direction in the locker room without seeing somebody who was or will be a world champion someday. The options are almost too many to consider, but that is a good problem to have.
This week's Rampage had some great action with Athena vs. Kiera Hogan, Scorpio Sky vs. Dante Martin and The Young Bucks vs. Lucha Bros, but the story with Punk is going to be what everybody is talking about until next week's Dynamite.