Gunther's Rise, WWE Women's Division in Shambles and More Friday Takes
With Money in the Bank fast approaching and Forbidden Door taking place this Sunday, both WWE and AEW were in full planning mode this week.
The blue brand featured a couple of different opportunities for Superstars to qualify for the men's and women's MITB bouts.
We also saw The Viking Raiders make their awaited return, and Gunther retained the Intercontinental Championship against Ricochet.
Over on Rampage, the night ended the exact same way as Dynamite, with a massive brawl between several feuding groups and stars.
Let's look at some of the events from our usual Friday night block of wrestling.
Thank Odin for the Viking Raiders
One of the worst concepts WWE keeps bringing back is the dance-off. For some reason, somebody in WWE thinks we want to see pro wrestlers competing in a dance contest.
Thankfully, the dancing segment we saw this week with Shanky, Jinder Mahal and The New Day was interrupted by Erik and Ivar.
The Viking Raiders haven't been seen since working a short stint in NXT, but they appear to be heels now, which is probably for the best.
Erik and Ivar shouldn't be having fun. They are the kind of guys we all want to see crush their opponents, and being heels will make that much easier.
The tag team division has needed some fresh pairings, and the Raiders can help a lot in that regard.
The Women's Division Is in Shambles
The SmackDown women's division had a couple of segments this week that included Lacey Evans, Raquel Rodriguez, Sonya Deville, Shayna Baszler, Shotzi, Tamina, Natalya and Ronda Rousey.
The tag match with Evans and Rodriguez vs. Baszler and Deville was short and didn't accomplish much, and the segment that followed with Rousey and Natalya was questionable at best.
Rousey criticized Nattie for "mutilating her body" to chase industry beauty standards.
This felt unnecessarily mean for a babyface to say to a heel. If Natalya made the choice to get cosmetic surgery, she should not be shamed for that. Faces can be rude if they want, but that line seemed out of place for somebody trying to take the high road.
The Raw women's division is only focused on featuring a few top names, while SmackDown doesn't seem to know who it wants to put in the spotlight. It's two very different problems affecting the same set of performers.
The talent is there, but WWE is not even close to using them in the most effective ways right now.
However, there was one good thing to happen this week. Shotzi picked up a win over Tamina to earn a spot in the women's Money in the Bank match. If she can actually win the briefcase, there might just be hope that WWE will give her a proper push.
Gunther's Booking Is Exactly What It Should Be
Ever since he was brought to SmackDown, Gunther has been leaving a wake of destruction and bruised chests from his vicious chops.
The former Walter not only defeated Ricochet for the Intercontinental Championships, but he successfully defended the belt in a rematch on Friday's show with a quick and decisive win.
This is exactly how the former Walter should be booked, and it's great to see WWE trying to make him look as dominant as possible.
Walter is not some bodybuilder, cruiserweight or even a giant. He is a bruiser who beats and slams his opponents until they can't move anymore, and the fact that WWE recognizes this and has booked him as such gives a lot of hope for his future in the company.
If he can keep this momentum and WWE feels like he is ready, we could be looking at a guy who will have a world title around his waist within two years.
AEW Is Relying Too Much on Pull-Apart Brawls
Ending a pro wrestling show with a huge group of people all fighting as it goes off the air is usually fun, but it's not a well that you can go to every week.
AEW has used this tactic several times in recent months, with both Rampage and Dynamite shows ending that way leading into Forbidden Door on Sunday.
Once you start to use anything too much, it loses what makes it special. One or two little post-match fights here and there is one thing, but having two or more large groups all brawling together will begin to feel repetitive quickly.
There are many ways to end a show and create intrigue, so going back to the same trick too many times is neither logical nor beneficial.
This week's Rampage provided the final bit of buildup for Sunday's Forbidden Door PPV. With a couple of new additions to the card, everybody should be able to find something they will like on the card.