Wwe's Ronda Rousey Problem, Hook Needs a Real Challenge, More Friday Wrestling Takes
Pro wrestling has had a lot to like about it in recent weeks, but this week's SmackDown and Rampage both highlighted a few issues both WWE and All Elite Wrestling need to address.
On the blue brand, things started off a little chaotic with Ronda Rousey being arrested for refusing to adhere to the terms of her suspension.
Maximum Male Models were embarrassed by Hit Row, and Sami Zayn received a hero's welcome in his hometown of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Over on Rampage, Hook had a match for the FTW title against Zack Clayton, who is both a reality TV star and a pro wrestler. And before anyone asks, no, we are not talking about the late, esteemed Harlem Globetrotters player of the same name.
WWE Has a Ronda Rousey Problem
This week's SmackDown opened with Rousey trying to hijack the show until management reinstated her, but the segment ended with Rowdy Ronda in handcuffs being taken away by the police.
One thing that has become clear is WWE doesn't really know what it wants to do with Rousey when she is not heavily involved in the title scene.
This is similar to the problem the company has had with Brock Lesnar. They are both such big stars that using them outside of the main event scene seems like a waste of their time, but keeping them too close to the belts at all times leads to repetitiveness.
WWE having Rousey feud with management instead of Liv Morgan or Bianca Belair feels like a stalling tactic until she eventually ends up back in the hunt for gold or takes a hiatus.
It's great that WWE has big names like Rousey on its payroll, but it needs to realize that there is a lot of value in her outside of being a champion. In fact, a lengthy run of feuds without a major championship being involved might help her turn more fans in her favor.
Maximum Male Models Needs a Reboot
When WWE called up LA Knight and changed his name to Max Dupri, fans were confused. When we found out he would be a manager instead of a wrestler, fans were angry. When his gimmick was revealed to the world, nobody really knew what to think.
There is humor to be found in some of what Maximum Male Models have done as a group, but the past couple of weeks made it clear that there are no concrete plans to push them.
ma.çé and mån.sôör have barely had any matches since forming this new group, and they are already being used to make Hit Row look good. It's not a promising sign.
At this point, WWE should cut its losses with the group and allow everyone to either go their separate ways or continue their association with a new gimmick.
ma.çé and mån.sôör could grow into a good tag team, but not letting Knight/Dupri perform in the ring feels like a mistake. Maxine is the newest member, so she would be the easiest to repackage quickly.
This could always change over time, but for now, MMM appears to be dead in the water.
Sami Zayn Deserves That Big Push
This week's SmackDown was in Montreal, which just happens to be the hometown of Zayn. As expected, the Canadian received a warm welcome from his countrymen during the Fatal 5-Way match to determine a new No. 1 contender for the Intercontinental Championship.
Not only did he get a huge response for his entrance, but the 38-year-old Superstar was getting some of the biggest pops of the night when he would hit his biggest moves.
Unfortunately, Zayn was unsuccessful, and Sheamus ultimately secured the win, but this is just one of many examples that proves the former IC champion is ready for a big push.
For the past few years, Zayn has been one of the most reliable performers on the entire roster. No matter what the company has him do, he makes it work. It can be a match against a top star or a comedy segment with Johnny Knoxville. It doesn't matter. He knocks it out of the park every single time.
WWE would be wise to consider him for a main event push as a babyface once his time with The Bloodline is over. In fact, having Zayn be the underdog who finally dethrones The Tribal would make for an excellent storyline.
AEW Needs to Start Testing Hook
Hook had a match on Friday's Rampage against Clayton that was more of a single move exhibition than an athletic contest. While it was fun to watch him beat a reality TV star so quickly, it's more of the same.
Hook has been protected since he debuted in AEW, and for good reason. The company wants the 23-year-old to be a big star in the future, but eventually, fans may grow tired of seeing him steamroll over people.
This kind of booking cannot be sustained long-term anymore. Even Jade Cargill's matches have become more competitive, so we need to see what Hook can really do against more experienced opponents.
Give us the FTW champion vs. Dante Martin, Wheeler Yuta or Daniel Garcia. Let's see if his skills are still as apparent when he battles someone who is already known as a great worker in a competitive showcase.
His recent match with Ricky Starks could have been his breakout performance, but AEW still booked it to be over quickly. It's time to start testing the young man and giving him the chance to prove he can actually compete at a high level against the best young talents in the locker room.