Quick Takes on Seth Rollins to WWE SmackDown, New Day Split, Cody's Win, More
The 2020 WWE draft has already shaken up the landscape of the company considerably, and the most shocking developments might be yet to come.
Night one of the annual event saw Seth Rollins move from Mondays to Fridays for the first time in his career, as he's been exclusive to Raw since the initial draft over four years ago. The change in scenery should provide him with a fresh batch of opponents to work with, assuming his rivalry with Rey and Dominik Mysterio doesn't last much longer.
The show also featured The New Day going their separate ways with Big E getting selected by SmackDown and the duo of Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods being drafted to Raw. While it's sad for fans to see their time together come to an end (for now, anyway), it could be the best thing to happen to all three of them and give the group the fresh coat of paint they've needed for a while now.
It wasn't a newsworthy week for WWE only, as Wednesday's episode of AEW Dynamite was highlighted by Cody winning back the AEW TNT Championship from Brodie Lee in a brutal Dog Chain match. It ended The Exalted One's reign at a measly 46 days.
As excellent as their encounter was, it can be argued that AEW should have allowed Lee to reign as champ for a little longer before taking the title from him.
This installment of Quick Takes will delve into Cody becoming a two-time TNT champion, Ember Moon resurfacing in NXT's women's division, Mustafa Ali's shocking reveal as Retribution's leader, and more.
Seth Rollins Will Be a Fantastic Fit on Friday Nights
Seth Rollins will no longer be known as The Monday Night Messiah but rather The SmackDown Savior after being traded to the blue brand on night one of the 2020 WWE draft.
The four-time WWE world champion was the premiere pick for Raw in the first draft of the modern era in 2016 and served as the face of the flagship show for the next four years. It was high time he tested the waters over on SmackDown, and now that he's finally arrived, he should soon prove to be a fantastic fit on Friday nights.
Aside from the fact that the Mysterio family and even Murphy will be joining him on SmackDown to likely continue their never-ending storyline, this reset for Rollins is long overdue. He accomplished everything he conceivably could on Raw many times over, and switching shows will allow him to reinvent himself all over again.
SmackDown has historically had more of an emphasis on in-ring action compared to promos and storylines. While Rollins has excelled at the latter with his messiah persona in the past year, he also consistently delivers in the ring regardless of who he's up against, and thus he should be right at home on the blue brand.
It will be interesting to see how the rest of the draft shakes out on Monday's Raw with who else may potentially wind up on SmackDown, but as of now, Jeff Hardy would be a perfect foe for him down the road, as well as a returning Daniel Bryan. Better yet, his eventual interactions with Roman Reigns should make for must-see TV.
Mustafa Ali Can Be a Logical Leader for Retribution If Booked Properly
WWE's less-than-stellar track record with Retribution has been well-documented with the group failing to make much of an impact so far. Their motives, which they established only recently, weren't well thought-out, and their goofy attire hasn't helped matters.
Finally, the company seemed to take a step in the right direction with Retribution on Monday's Raw when Mustafa Ali was revealed as their leader in a shocking turn of events. It came after The Hurt Business extended an invitation for him to join their ranks, but he ultimately aligned with Retribution instead.
If this tweet from Ali is any indication, then WWE could easily make sense of this entire angle with an extensive explanation from the former cruiserweight competitor on the upcoming episode of Raw.
It indicated that everyone involved in the stable has reasoning for want to rebel against WWE. Ali having his Money in the Bank moment stolen from him last year was pictured along with Dio Maddin enduring a beatdown from Brock Lesnar and Shane Thorne getting snubbed by The Hurt Business.
Of course, plenty of plot holes remain with Retribution, such as how they earned themselves contracts or why they wouldn't reveal their actual identities like Ali. If tied back into Ali's rumored stint as The Hacker on SmackDown, however, there's a chance Retribution can be turned around into something far more bearable than what it's been up to this point.
Ember Moon's Return Bolsters an Already Stacked NXT Women's Division
Following a long layoff because of injury, Ember Moon resurfaced at NXT TakeOver 31 last Sunday night and immediately set her sights on Io Shirai's NXT Women's Championship.
Prior to TakeOver, The War Goddess was last seen on WWE TV chasing the 24/7 Championship on an episode of Raw in September 2019. Before returning to the ring Wednesday night, she hadn't wrestled in an NXT ring since April 2018 when she lost the NXT women's title to Shayna Baszler.
Moon being back on the brand that made her is the right call for her career. She largely floundered on the main roster because of bad booking and never seemed to find her footing on either Raw or SmackDown.
In NXT, however, women's wrestling is arguably hotter than it's ever been at any other point in the program's short history. Along with Moon, the division boasts the illustrious likes of Io Shirai, Rhea Ripley, Dakota Kai, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox, Toni Storm and Shotzi Blackheart, just to name a few.
Needless to say, Moon fits in like a glove and will be an intriguing opponent for Shirai sooner rather than later. It isn't imperative she be the one to take the title from her—nor should she be—but similar to what we've seen from Finn Balor, this run could lead to a major career resurgence for her and make Moon even more valuable for when she inevitably returns to Raw or SmackDown.
Did Cody Regain the AEW TNT Championship from Brodie Lee Too Soon?
Brodie Lee's quick and decisive win over Cody in late August not only earned him the AEW TNT Championship but also cemented him as the most dominant force in the entire promotion—or so fans believed.
The Dark Order leaving The Nightmare Family looking up at the lights that night should have been a turning point for them, but the follow-up wasn't exactly ideal. They went on to lose to a random squad of babyfaces at All Out, and the unstoppable aura Lee had coming off his one-sided victory over Cody faded fast.
Cody returned from his hiatus two weeks ago and wasted no time in getting the belt back from Lee this week on Dynamite, beating him in a bloody Dog Collar match to regain the gold. It essentially put Cody in the same spot he was in prior to his absence but left fans wondering what the purpose of Lee's title reign was in the first place.
It's now apparent that The Exalted One was never intended to be anything more than a placeholder champ until Cody came back. Although Lee deserved to hold the coveted prize a little longer than he did, the fact of the matter is that Cody's time with the title shouldn't have been interrupted in the first place.
What went down Wednesday simply gets him back on track.
It would have been better for their bout to be saved for Full Gear so the feud had more time to be built up, but AEW is likely ready to move Cody in a different direction entirely that doesn't involve Lee.
The American Nightmare was planting the seeds for a heel turn not too long ago, and it's possible his upcoming clash with Orange Cassidy on the anniversary show will see him take another step closer to that. As for Lee, AEW wasted a prime opportunity to make him the monster of the roster, but now he'll just have to settle for being the leader of a group that largely lacks credibility.
How New Day Can Benefit from Branching Off onto Different Brands
Of all the Superstars who switched shows on night one of the 2020 WWE draft, The New Day being drafted to opposite brands was easily the most shocking move of all.
Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods have been inseparable since making their televised debut as a trio in December 2014. They've never once teased tension and have instead racked up nine tag title reigns between their time on Raw and SmackDown, among many other accomplishments.
Putting Big E on a separate show from Kingston and Woods will end up being the best thing for him, especially as he continues to hit his stride as a singles star on SmackDown.
To address the elephant in the room, Raw selecting Kingston and Woods but not Big E was completely illogical as it couldn't have come at an extra cost to get them as a package deal. That should be explained but probably won't be, though we should find out soon what Kingston and Woods being on Raw means for their status as the SmackDown tag team champions.
Nonetheless, New Day isn't officially over as much as it is on pause for the time being. Kingston and Woods have been away from Raw for over three years, so their move to Monday nights should freshen up their act as well as the red brand's depleted tag team division.
As for Big E, he has a ton of potential as a breakout babyface on the blue brand. His recent string of wins over Sheamus should put him in contention for Sami Zayn's Intercontinental Championship eventually, and beyond that, a rivalry with Roman Reigns over the Universal Championship isn't out of the question, either.
The inevitable return of The New Day will mean that much more after some time away. Fans should see this more as an endorsement of the group and how WWE trusts them to find success on two different brands simultaneously instead of the end of the colorful faction as we know it.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.