Cash Is King, Hit Row Should Be in NXT, More Friday WWE and AEW Takes

Doc-Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured Columnist IVDecember 24, 2022

Cash Is King, Hit Row Should Be in NXT, More Friday WWE and AEW Takes

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    The Usos hitting Top Dolla with the 1D.
    The Usos hitting Top Dolla with the 1D.WWE

    This was the final Friday night of wrestling before the Christmas holiday this weekend, so both WWE and All Elite Wrestling had some festive fun in store for us.

    SmackDown featured the annual Miracle on 34th Street Fight, while AEW introduced a new cash-prize concept with what might be the longest name given to any stipulation in pro wrestling history.

    SmackDown also showed Hit Row taking on The Usos for the Undisputed Tag Team Championship, a fast-paced match between Rey Mysterio and Angel Garza, and a Gauntlet match for a shot at the SmackDown Women's Championship.

    Over on Rampage, eight teams competed in the $300,000 Three Kings Christmas Casino Trios Royale. Yes, it's quite the mouthful.

Hit Row Should Have Returned to NXT

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    Ashante Thee Adonis, Top Dolla and B-Fab returned to WWE shortly after the new regime took over, but this week was their first big opportunity.

    Facing The Usos for the undisputed tag title was never going to end in anything but another Bloodline victory, but it also put Hit Row in the spotlight for the first time.

    While the match was good, one thing that was evident was the difference in skill and experience of both teams. The Usos are as smooth and talented as they come, so Top Dolla and Adonis looked rough by comparison.

    If there were no plans for a major push right out of the gate, Hit Row might have benefited more from returning to NXT than going right to the main roster.

    Adonis has already been wrestling for a handful of years, but Top Dolla and B-Fab could use a little more time to learn and hone their skills. On top of all that, NXT's tag team division would benefit from having them around, so that would be a win-win.

The SmackDown Women's Division Has Promise

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    Raw's women's division has been outshining SmackDown's for most of 2022, but a few recent additions are giving the blue brand a chance to change that in 2023.

    Emma, Zelina Vega and Tegan Nox have been brought back in recent months, and while they have yet to get major pushes, they will be valuable assets going forward.

    SmackDown also has Xia Li, Shotzi and Raquel Rodriguez as potential future champions in addition to some of the other stars who have been around for a little while: Natalya, Liv Morgan, Shayna Baszler and Charlotte (if she ever returns).

    We have also seen the returns of Valhalla (formerly known as Sarah Logan) and Scarlett. Neither have competed in matches yet, but that could be coming next year.

    Raw may have more star power right now with names like Bayley and Becky Lynch, but SmackDown has a large and diverse group of women that can make the blue brand feel more competitive once someone wins the belt from Ronda Rousey.

    All it will take is a few strategic pushes and finding the right balance of new and veteran talents to make this division great.

Angel Garza Should Be a Priority for WWE

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    This week's SmackDown featured a fun match between Mysterio and Garza that highlighted why the young Lothario should be used more on television.

    Garza is a third-generation talent who is actually the nephew of Hector Garza, a man Mysterio knows well from their time in WCW together.

    Angel has the look, the physical ability and the natural charisma to be this generation's Eddie Guerrero, but that will only happen if WWE books him to win sometimes.

    It feels like it has been forever since Garza or Humberto Carrillo had a meaningful victory on television. There is only so many people WWE can focus on at once, but pushing Los Lotharios should be a no-brainer.

    2023 is a new year and that means it's a fresh start for everyone in the locker room. If Garza and Carrillo can string together some good performances, they could potentially be in line for a run for the tag title if WWE ever books The Usos to lose it.

Cash Is a Great Substitute for a Title

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    The Trios Battle Royale.
    The Trios Battle Royale.AEW

    This week featured the first AEW $300,000 Three Kings Christmas Casino Trios Royale.

    Yes, that is a very long name, but it was basically just a trios Battle Royal. Instead of gold or a title shot on the line, the teams were fighting for a briefcase filled with cash.

    This is a concept that used to be much more common in pro wrestling. Having a winner's purse makes a lot of sense in combat sports, so it has always worked in pro wrestling, too.

    Championships are great, but sometimes you need to find a creative way to give someone an important victory even when there is no available title for them to win based on the other storylines going on at the time.

    Having Top Flight and AR Fox win a large sum of cash felt like a huge win for them and gave the impression there was a prize worth fighting for. This should become a yearly tradition in AEW, and WWE should consider using cash as a prize more often, too.

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