Quick Takes: Mysterio vs. Rollins, AEW Fyter Fest, Fixing WWE's Worst Feud, More
As WWE and AEW enter the summer season, both companies are doing their best to pull out all the stops and put out the strongest product possible, even in these tough and uncertain times.
Raw has largely been bearable during this unprecedented era of empty arena wrestling, but by far the best storyline going in recent weeks has been between Seth Rollins and Rey Mysterio. The Monday Night Messiah claims to have ended Mysterio's iconic career by injuring his eye, and while Mysterio's future in the ring remains in doubt, it's clear The Master of the 619's son will be a big part of the program going forward.
On the SmackDown side of things, Braun Strowman has had his hands full for the past month with The Miz and John Morrison, but the feud has fallen flat in a major way. If WWE intends to convince fans that Miz and Morrison are a threat to Strowman's Universal Championship, plenty of work needs to be done to do so ahead of Backlash.
Joining them on the blue brand will be NXT standout Matt Riddle, but he may not be the only one making the move to the main roster before long. Of everyone rumored to be brought up to Raw and SmackDown soon, only a select few may have a real shot at success.
This week's edition of Quick Takes will run down the list of likely call-ups and break down who among them is ready for the big time and who's not. Additional topics include what matches could take place at AEW Fyter Fest next month, why WWE must continue to rebuild Chad Gable and more.
Will Mysterio vs. Rollins Rivalry Lead to Dominic's In-Ring Debut?
After what went down between Rey Mysterio and Seth Rollins on Monday's Raw, it's clear that the only way their rivalry ends is with Rey's son Dominic stepping up to The Monday Night Messiah and teaming with his father.
Dominic was originally introduced to the WWE Universe during Mysterio's feud with Eddie Guerrero in 2005. Nearly a decade and a half later, he returned alongside his father leading up to WrestleMania 35 before being brutally attacked by Brock Lesnar last fall.
He showed promise when he got physical with The Beast Incarnate at Survivor Series, and per an October report from Marca (h/t Pro Wrestling Sheet), he was expected to start training at the Performance Center earlier this year. Assuming that's true, he should be able to work a formal match eventually alongside Rey in the not-too-distant future if he's kept limited.
Mysterio vs. Rollins is the logical next step of the storyline, and while Backlash would be a fine place for them to go one-on-one, it might be too soon with Mysterio teasing that he's contemplating retirement less than a week ago. The ultimate endgame should be Rey and Dominic squaring off with Rollins, Murphy and/or Austin Theory at SummerSlam in August.
How Dominic fares will determine whether he will stick around with Rey on Raw or go back to training until he improves. It's also possible Rollins recruits him into his group of misfits after he hinted at doing so on Raw Talk this past week.
Either way, this story is off to a strong start, and it will be interesting to see how Dominic inevitably factors into the feud.
Rebuilding Chad Gable
Despite the years of bad booking he's endured in WWE, Chad Gable is not a lost cause. In fact, he still has star potential and can capture gold eventually, provided he's handled properly.
WWE's first order of business with Gable should be to have him drop the ridiculously dumb Shorty G moniker. To no one's surprise, he hasn't benefited from it whatsoever and has, if anything, been less over with the audience since he started the gimmick back in the fall.
The closest he came to finding success on his own was when he made it all the way to the finals of the 2019 King of the Ring tournament before falling to Baron Corbin. He's done nothing of note since then, but his recent wins on SmackDown have given viewers the impression that officials are interested in pushing him again, as they should be.
In addition to allowing him to revert to his roots as Chad Gable, giving him a manager the caliber of Kurt Angle would force fans to take him seriously again. Plus, it's a pairing that just makes sense given their respective backgrounds in Olympic wrestling.
Whether Gable can ever achieve main event status is unknown, especially under the WWE umbrella, but it's worth a shot, especially at a time when SmackDown could use fresh faces toward the top of the card. He's done well for himself lately, but establishing an actual character for himself (aside from the "Rise Over Size" nonsense) would help tremendously.
How to Fix Braun Strowman vs. The Miz and John Morrison
WWE was wise to put the Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt feud on hold for a month or two, but to temporarily replace Wyatt with The Miz and John Morrison in the Universal Championship picture was the wrong call.
As entertaining of a tandem as Miz and Morrison are, nothing WWE has done with them recently would make fans think they are legitimate threats to the title. They dropped the SmackDown Tag Team Championship back to The New Day two months ago and have done a lot of losing since then, leading viewers to question what the point is of their program with Strowman at the moment aside from killing time.
Strowman is bound to retain his title successfully before moving on to other challengers, but that doesn't mean WWE should have him completely steamroll through Miz and Morrison (who have a lot left in the tank as a team) in the meantime. The least the company can do is attempt to position them as credible contenders by having them score key wins instead of vandalizing Strowman's car.
Additionally, WWE should be playing up how Strowman was pinned in a Handicap match just three months ago, which was when he lost his Intercontinental Championship to Sami Zayn. The stakes will be much higher at Backlash, but Miz and Morrison can afford to look good in defeat by scoring as much offense as possible.
With one episode of SmackDown left, WWE should aim to have The Dirt Sheet duo wreak havoc on the Universal champ and soften him up before they battle him in a Handicap match Sunday. Anything is better than having them play basic pranks on The Monster Among Men that accomplish nothing and aren't entertaining.
Projecting the Card for AEW Fyter Fest
Instead of waiting until All Out in September to deliver on some big matches that have been in the works since Double or Nothing, AEW will be presenting Fyter Fest as a two-week television event on July 1 and July 8 on TNT.
Last year's installment was also free on B/R Live and was generally well-received by fans, so the company taking a similar approach this year was the best course of action. What matches the two shows will feature and what night they'll air on, however, remains to be seen.
It's already been confirmed that Jon Moxley vs. Brian Cage for the AEW World Championship will be the main event on one of the two nights. Furthermore, Best Friends became the No. 1 contenders to the AEW World Tag Team Championship at Double or Nothing, so they're likely to clash with "Hangman" Adam Page and Kenny Omega there as well.
Cody's open challenge gimmick should continue at Fyter Fest, and a name no one is expecting (such as Dustin Rhodes or a returning Pac, if possible) should answer the call. That leaves the AEW Women's Championship, which can be defended in a rematch between Hikaru Shida and Nyla Rose.
As for other matches that can be added, Chris Jericho vs. Orange Cassidy would be a blast based off what we've seen from them recently, Britt Baker could be miraculously healed by then and go on to face Kris Statlander, the Wardlow vs. Luchasaurus Lumbermatch match may finally happen, and FTR and The Young Bucks can team in some form or fashion.
It's an excellent idea to make Dynamite feel more meaningful than usual and set more feuds in motion on a bigger stage going into All Out.
Rumored NXT Call-Ups: Who's Ready and Who's Not?
News of Matt Riddle's move from NXT and SmackDown last week took many fans by surprise, simply because he has been such a big star on the black-and-gold brand for some time now. Then again, rumors ran rampant regarding his potential main roster future the day before his arrival was officially announced.
Dijakovic has been a part of WWE's developmental system for almost three years, having signed back in September 2017. He didn't debut on TV until late 2018, but in that time, he has wowed audiences with what he can do in the ring, especially during his stellar series of matches with Keith Lee.
His look and size should bode well for him on the main roster, but truth be told, there really isn't a place for him right now on either show. There's a better chance he'll flounder in the midcard, whereas there's more he can do in NXT.
Green also shouldn't be called up anytime soon, but for different reasons. Unlike Dijakovic, she's only been with NXT a little over a year and wasn't introduced as an on-air regular until a few months ago, meaning she needs more time to fully flesh out her character before she can make it big.
Dream and Shirai, on the other hand, could do exceptionally well for themselves on the main roster. Dream should have been brought up to Raw or SmackDown ages ago, and an imminent call-up would ensure that the NXT Championship stays around Adam Cole's waist beyond TakeOver: In Your House.
Shirai is in a similar position as she too will be contending for championship gold Sunday, so if she loses (despite having been in chase mode for over a year now), it probably means she's main roster-bound. She's arguably among the best women's wrestlers in the world and would do wonderfully for herself, though Bianca Belair's lack of recent Raw appearances could be a sign that she's better off right where she is for the foreseeable future.
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.