Quick Takes: WWE's Judgment Day Shakeup, AEW's Newest Title, Gunther Wins Gold, MoreJune 12, 2022
Quick Takes: WWE's Judgment Day Shakeup, AEW's Newest Title, Gunther Wins Gold, More
Injuries to multiple top stars in both WWE and AEW seem to have caused significant changes to what was planned for the summer season, but that isn't to say that whatever the future holds will be any less interesting.
The Judgment Day, who have been running rampant over the Raw roster since WrestleMania, underwent an overhaul on Monday's Raw when Finn Balor took over for Edge as the new leader of the group. It may end up proving to be the best thing that could have happened to them, but the execution was questionable, and it puts Edge back in a role he wasn't ready to return to.
More fresh faces are needed at the top of the card in WWE, and thankfully, they've managed to get Gunther right so far. He beat Ricochet for the Intercontinental Championship on SmackDown, and one can only hope that he'll be able to bring importance to the title when no one else could.
Meanwhile, it was announced on Wednesday's Dynamite that All Elite Wrestling is set to introduce an All-Atlantic Championship at Forbidden Door and the inaugural champ is set to be crowned in a four-way match. At a time when AEW already has enough titles in play as it is, adding another one to the mix doesn't help matters.
This week's installment of Quick Takes will discuss two issues AEW must attempt to address and fix heading into Forbidden Door, the Judgement Day swerve, how Apollo Crews' second stint in NXT salvages his career, and more.
Replacing Edge with Finn Balor as Judgement Day's Leader Was the Wrong Call
Just as Judgment Day was starting to build real momentum on Raw, WWE had to change course with them for no real reason.
Regardless of whether you were digging Edge as the diabolical leader of the newly formed faction or not, there is no denying his dismissal from Judgment Day came completely out of nowhere. Edge has done nothing but win this year, so for Rhea Ripley and Damian Priest to ditch him and join someone who has done a lot of losing in Finn Balor doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Of course, it will certainly be a refreshing change of pace to see Balor in the heel role moving forward for the first time on the main roster. It's unknown if this will be what ultimately gets him back on the right track, but it's not as if WWE has booked him like much of a priority in the past.
As for Edge, he was just starting to find his groove again as a heel and really sink his teeth into his new character. He portrayed the popular babyface for the first two years of his return run, so going back to that so soon won't be as exciting as it would have had they waited a while.
Above all else, if the idea is to position The Rated-R Superstar as the lead babyface on Monday nights in the absence of Cody Rhodes, that would be incredibly shortsighted considering AJ Styles, Bobby Lashley and Seth Rollins are all way better choices to fill that void.
AEW Should Be Doing More to Establish the NJPW Talent
The highly anticipated AEW and New Japan Pro-Wrestling super-show Forbidden Door is coming up in two weeks, and the card has barely begun to be put together.
Jon Moxley vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the Interim AEW World Championship is the only major official match for the show after CM Punk's untimely injury caused plans to be changed. Adam Page vs. Kazuchika Okada was also teased on Wednesday's Dynamite, but even that isn't set in stone yet.
The show concept obviously sells itself, and the atmosphere that night should be electric no matter what, but it would be a bit more ideal for AEW to explain the backstory of some of NJPW's top wrestlers before they arrive on Dynamite or Rampage.
AEW is of the mindset that the majority of viewers will automatically be aware of who they are, but that isn't always going to be the case. Video packages are extremely effective in getting to know someone and what drives their character. That's what we should be seeing for stars the caliber of David Finlay and especially Will Ospreay.
There's nothing AEW can do about the quick turnaround in between pay-per-views or the injury Punk endured, but they should be making more of an effort to give this show a must-see vibe, announcing more matches and spotlighting the most prominent performers from NJPW.
Can Gunther Be the One to Finally Elevate the Intercontinental Championship?
It's hardly a stretch to say that WWE's Intercontinental Championship hasn't meant much in quite some time.
The title has been around for over 40 years, and yet an argument can be made for it never being more of an afterthought than it is right now. That is entirely down to WWE's booking of the belt in recent years and never treating it like a prestigious prize in any way.
Winning the Intercontinental title has largely done more to hinder certain Superstars as opposed to help them, but Gunther should be the exception.
The former NXT United Kingdom champ captured the gold on Friday's SmackDown following a fun match with Ricochet. He's been one of the few NXT call-ups WWE has actually managed to get right thus far and giving him that title was a logical next step in his ascent up the card.
He's a perfect fit for the Intercontinental Championship, and the hope is that he can elevate it in the absence of Undisputed WWE Universal champion Roman Reigns. Matches with the likes of Drew McIntyre, Sheamus and others on the blue brand would certainly accomplish that.
Apollo Crews Will Be the Latest to Benefit from a Return to NXT
A recurring highlight on NXT 2.0 since its relaunch late last year has been the incorporation of main roster talent. AJ Styles, Dolph Ziggler, Natalya and The Viking Raiders have all journeyed over to the brand at one point or another this year and have added to whatever storyline they were a part of.
Apollo Crews is the latest to add his name to that list, and rightfully so.
Despite being a former United States and Intercontinental champion, Crews has almost always been underutilized on the main roster. The closest he came to doing anything of note was when he beat Big E at WrestleMania 37, but his heel turn quickly fizzled out, and he's mostly been sitting on the sidelines since then.
That said, it was evident on Tuesday night during his return to NXT that he was more motivated than ever and was stoked to be back. He confronted NXT champion Bron Breakker and then successfully teamed with Solo Sikoa in the night's tag team main event.
If WWE has zero plans for him on Raw or SmackDown, having him work with the younger talent and attempt to elevate them to the best of his ability is a much wiser use of him.
Six-Man Tag Team Titles Are Needed More in AEW Than Another Singles Championship
A six-man tag team championship could have been introduced from Day 1 of AEW and few fans would have complained. The tag team division is simply that deep and it always has been.
Unfortunately, AEW is too busy bringing in other belts that don't serve much of a purpose to focus on what's truly needed: six-man tag titles. The newly announced AEW All-Atlantic Championship is a cool concept and has a beautiful design, but it's unnecessary in the long run.
The amount of factions AEW has on its roster right now is unreal. Most of them are treading water because there's nothing for them to vie for, and the AEW World Tag Team Championship isn't included in that conversation.
In theory, the bigger AEW's roster gets, it makes sense for there to be more titles for the talent. The AEW TNT Championship has already endured significant damage this year, and there's no telling how frequently (or infrequently) an All-Atlantic title would be defended on television.
Six-man tag team titles would be far more useful in AEW at this stage considering how much tag team wrestling is prioritized. It's possible the All-Atlantic Championship exceeds expectations, but there's a better chance it makes matters even more of a mess.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.