Quick Takes on Edge vs. Orton, WWE IC Title Tournament, Wild Card Rule and More

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2020

Quick Takes on Edge vs. Orton, WWE IC Title Tournament, Wild Card Rule and More

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    Edge and Randy Orton are set to wage war once more, but why?
    Edge and Randy Orton are set to wage war once more, but why?Credit: WWE.com

    The Money in the Bank pay-per-view feels like an eternity ago after everything that transpired this past week in WWE. If nothing else, each of these happenings should provide fans with plenty to get excited (and complain) about as the summer season gets underway.

    It was announced Sunday night that Backlash on June 14 will be the next major event on the WWE calendar, which looks to be headlined by a standard wrestling match between Randy Orton and Edge. This is despite Edge giving Orton his comeuppance at WrestleMania 36 and seemingly putting their rivalry to rest once and for all.

    Earlier that same evening, Becky Lynch announced her pregnancy and revealed that the women's Money in the Bank Ladder match won by Asuka was actually for the now-vacant Raw Women's Championship. Although it's refreshing to have a new champ after over a year, WWE has its work cut out for it when it comes to making The Empress of Tomorrow a threat again.

    On the SmackDown side of things, a tournament to determine the next intercontinental champion commenced on Friday night with Elias advancing over King Corbin and Daniel Bryan beating Drew Gulak in the opening round. How the rest of the bracket will be handled along with who will ultimately come out on top remains to be seen.

    This week's Quick Takes will delve further into these topics in addition to Enes Kanter expressing interest in an eventual WWE run, the Wild Card Rule returning under a new name and much more.

Why Is Edge vs. Randy Orton Continuing?

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    There can be no doubt that the strongest storyline during this year's Road to WrestleMania was Randy Orton vs. Edge. It was perfectly crafted from Royal Rumble to WrestleMania 36 and featured some of the best mic work in the careers of both legendary performers.

    Despite that, their Last Man Standing match at 'Mania was excruciatingly long and left a lot to be desired. Although Edge emerged victorious as he should have, it wasn't the war fans were hoping for as the big blowoff to their heated rivalry.

    That may have been because, as we found out Monday night, it wasn't actually the end at all.

    To the company's credit, it tried to make sense of the upcoming rematch by having Orton claim that Edge hasn't had a standard singles matchup since returning to the ring. Edge didn't immediately respond to The Viper's challenge, but he's expected to accept for the bout at Backlash.

    If and when he does, it begs the question of what more these two can accomplish together. Their latest verbal exchange was excellent, but since Edge already beat Orton, it would be much more logical for him to move on to other rivals instead of beating the same one for a second straight time.

    It looks like this is WWE's way of giving Orton a win over Edge before building to an eventual rubber match. The promos may be compelling, but after their last one-on-one encounter fell flat, there isn't much desire among fans for this to continue, and rightfully so.

    In typical WWE fashion, don't be surprised to see Edge vs. Orton beaten into the ground by SummerSlam.

Projecting Enes Kanter's Chances of Success in WWE

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    Enes Kanter is no stranger to the world of WWE, having held the 24/7 Championship for a brief period back in September when he defeated R-Truth during a Raw taping at Madison Square Garden.

    Many celebrities have dipped their toes into wrestling over the years, but only an elite few can lay claim to competing inside the squared circle or embarking on a full-fledged run with the company. Kanter could be the latest notable person to throw his name into the hat coming off comments he made to NBA insider Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic this past week.

    If Kanter the WWE Superstar does become a reality in the not-too-distant future, he will have followed in the footsteps of Cain Velasquez and Rob Gronkowski as athletes from other realms of sports to give wrestling a shot. Unfortunately, neither of those men amounted to much success before moving on to other endeavors, so there's no guarantee Kanter will be any different.

    That said, the Celtics player has shined in the few appearances he's made for the company over the years and has size on his side at almost 7 feet tall. Vince McMahon must have been impressed watching him tower over Truth the last time he appeared on their programming and had to know he would be a good fit for them at some point.

    Kanter should make the most of his basketball career for now, but if the opportunity to sign with WWE presents itself down the road and he is as passionate for the profession as he claims, the potential is there for him to be a big crossover star for them.

Wild Card Rule Return Will Be as Ineffective as the 1st Time

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    It was almost exactly one year ago when WWE introduced the Wild Card Rule, which allowed a select number of Superstars from SmackDown and Raw to appear on each other's brands for one night. In other words, it was the company's way of quietly putting the Brand Split on hold in an effort to boost the sinking ratings.

    Unsurprisingly, the experiment was unsuccessful.

    Wrestlers were switching shows at random, and no explanation was ever provided. Thankfully, the reemergence of the WWE draft in October upon SmackDown's move to Fox put the Wild Card Rule to rest and allowed the Brand Extension to return to its former glory.

    That lasted all of six months, because now WWE is apparently in the process of bringing back the Wild Card Rule under a new name: the Brand-to-Brand Invitation. It was said on SmackDown that it could be used up to four times a year, yet that didn't stop them from promoting Charlotte Flair for the blue brand two weeks in a row and putting AJ Styles in a SmackDown title tournament despite being a Raw Superstar.

    Moreover, the muddying of the Brand Split waters further exposes how fans aren't tuning into see the fresh faces because of how they've been booked compared to The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Goldberg and others over the years. Drew McIntyre and Braun Strowman are doing well in their respective roles as world champions, but the damage has been done to the rest of the roster.

    Needless to say, having King Corbin appear on both brands in one week will do nothing to increase interest in the product. In fact, it will only cause stars such as him to feel more overexposed than they already are.

How to Establish Asuka as a Dominant Raw Women's Champion

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    Given everything Asuka has achieved on the main roster up to this point, it's almost impossible to consider her anything less than a success. That said, WWE could have done a better job of maintaining her mystique from NXT upon her arrival on Raw three years ago, especially when it came to how it handled the end of her undefeated streak.

    Asuka hasn't been the same dominant force that she was in NXT since losing to Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 34. The loss didn't hurt her momentum as much as the aftermath did, where the company proceeded to do nothing with her before giving her a forgettable three-month run as SmackDown women's champion in December 2018.

    Even after joining forces with Kairi Sane, she continued to be booked like an afterthought until rekindling her rivalry with Becky Lynch in time for the Royal Rumble. She's on her own again and is officially the Raw women's champion as a result of Becky Lynch's pregnancy, but she doesn't feel nearly as special as she should right now.

    While fans may find her insistent screaming during these empty arena shows to be entertaining, it doesn't at all make her out to be a threat. In addition to winning more matches, she must return to being the silent killer she was originally and be built back up as a worthy successor to Lynch.

    There aren't many faces for her to feud with aside from potentially Kairi Sane if WWE decides to turn her (which it should), but the only way she'll be taken seriously again is if she drops everything from her act that turned her into a joke in the first place.

    A babyface Asuka as champion wouldn't be the worst idea if the plan is to have her fight Shayna Baszler before long, but that would also require her to be booked dominantly and not as someone who struggles to beat lesser opponents in 10 minutes.

Best Options to Win the Intercontinental Championship Tournament

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    With WWE not knowing when Sami Zayn will be ready to return to action, it only made sense for officials to strip him of the Intercontinental Championship and declare it vacant. This upcoming tournament for the title will effectively kill a ton of television time and is already shaping up to be must-see.

    On Friday's SmackDown, Daniel Bryan beat Drew Gulak to advance while Elias defeated King Corbin. The quarterfinal action continues next week when Jeff Hardy battles Sheamus and AJ Styles squares off with Shinsuke Nakamura.

    Why Styles (a Raw Superstar) is getting the opportunity to compete in the tourney to begin with has yet to be explained, but it's safe to say he'll be going all the way to the finals. That leaves Hardy, Bryan or Sheamus, and of those three, Bryan is the best bet because of how he was unable to win it back initially against Sami Zayn at WrestleMania 36.

    Bryan said himself in his post-match promo that the Intercontinental Championship should be held by the greatest wrestler in the company, and that's either him or Styles. They have feuded before, but not over the secondary strap or with the roles reversed.

    If the plan is for Styles to become a member of the blue brand going forward, he should take the title in this tournament and have Bryan chase him for it. The matches those two could have (again) would be terrific and do a lot to restore prestige to the once-coveted championship.


    Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.