Quick Takes: AJ Styles' New Bodyguard, Pat McAfee on WWE NXT, Kenny Omega, More
Even with Hell in a Cell and Full Gear right around the corner, the WWE and All Elite Wrestling landscapes continued to evolve this week, with interesting—and, in some cases, long-overdue—developments taking place on Raw, SmackDown, NXT and Dynamite.
The first of which went down Monday night when AJ Styles emerged with a new bodyguard for his match against Matt Riddle. The extra help in his corner paid dividends, though it remains to be seen if Jordan Omogbehin will prove to be a worthy addition to The Phenomenal One's act.
Kenny Omega also kicked off a new chapter to his career on Dynamite when he defeated Sonny Kiss in under a minute to advance in AEW's World Title Eliminator, only after making an over-the-top entrance and teasing a transition to his old Cleaner persona.
There's been plenty of talk among fans for months that Omega has needed a drastic character change of some sort, and what we saw on Wednesday could be the early stages of something special for him. The momentum he has could well take him to the AEW World Championship picture and lead to him becoming AEW's premier heel.
Pat McAfee will fill a similar role for NXT going forward, as the former football punter made his presence felt during the main event of Wednesday's show when he helped Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch cheat to become the new NXT tag team champions. Following his breakout performance at TakeOver XXX, there's no reason to think he won't thrive in his latest venture.
The latest installment of Quick Takes will tackle McAfee's ceiling on the black-and-gold brand, as well as Chad Gable returning to his roots, why The Miz should defeat Otis for the Money in the Bank briefcase at Hell in a Cell and more.
Will Big Jordan Prove to Be a Necessary Addition to AJ Styles' Act?
Other than when he was riding high with The O.C., AJ Styles has flown solo for a majority of his WWE career. That's what it was so strange seeing someone not named Luke Gallows or Karl Anderson accompany him to the ring for his match against Matt Riddle on Monday's Raw.
That individual was Jordan Omogbehin, or Big Jordan for short. His billed height is 7'3", and he has previously served as a masked ninja for Akira Tozawa and as the bouncer for Raw Underground.
Although Styles never explained their relationship on Raw, it's safe to assume that WWE paired the rookie with Styles to make The Phenomenal One more of a threat to the WWE champion down the road. Granted, he is a two-time WWE champion in his own right, but with the way Drew McIntyre has been booked in 2020, Styles will need a little more than his accolades to stand a chance against him.
Being the Goliath that he is, Big Jordan can add to Styles' act in that way. Styles has never needed anyone but himself to be successful in the past, but having Omogbehin in his corner shouldn't hurt, as long as he doesn't become the center of attention during his matches.
Jordan hasn't wrestled a ton for NXT in the two years he's been signed to the company. However, one would have to assume that if he were impressive in the ring at all, then he would've had a run there first, so perhaps this is best role for him on the show.
Plus, who better for him to learn from than one of the best anywhere at the moment?
Chad Gable Ditching the Shorty G Moniker Was Long Overdue
It took a full year, but WWE finally came to the realization that Shorty G was a gimmick with an incredibly limited shelf life that was never going to work, no matter how he often he won or lost. Thankfully, he's returned to his roots as Chad Gable after what we down on Friday's SmackDown.
Gable had just lost decisively to Lars Sullivan when he declared he was "quitting" being Shorty G, noting how his happy-go-lucky attitude wasn't getting him anywhere. Instead, he had to go back to being what made him an Olympian in order to be taken seriously again.
That included ditching the Shorty G moniker in favor of his original ring name, Chad Gable.
The former American Alpha member has typically never been booked well on his own, but being called Shorty G was not helping his case any. Allowing his amazing in-ring ability to speak for itself was what briefly endeared him to the audience during last year's King of the Ring tournament.
Regardless of whether he's a face or a heel, Gable must be given the chance to get over with the audience through not only his matches but backstage segments and promos as well. He's proved in the past that he has boatloads of charisma and is as natural of a performer as Kurt Angle was when he broke into the business.
Chad Gable may never be a world champion in WWE, but virtually anything is better than what he's been subjected to this past year. Moving away from the Shorty G nonsense is a solid step in the right direction.
Kenny Omega's Heel Transition Is Already Off to a Strong Start
It's no secret that something has felt slightly off about Kenny Omega for the past year in AEW, at least compared to the hot run he had toward the end of his time in New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
He did great work alongside Adam Page in the tag team ranks, but many fans expected him to be a world champion by now and/or positioned as the face of the company. Neither of those things has happened, and he's lost much of the mystique he once had as a result.
Coming off his buzzworthy win over Sonny Kiss on Wednesday's Dynamite, as well as the eccentric entrance he had, the wheels appear to be motion for him to become a full-fledged heel sooner rather than later. As seen during his time spent in New Japan, that's bound to be the role he will do his best work in going forward.
The Kenny Omega who thinks too highly of himself and doesn't waste time putting away his opponents is the Kenny Omega we have needed more of in AEW. Assuming he runs right through Penta El Zero M on the upcoming episode, he will likely face off with Page in the finals at Full Gear, which should be when he cements his heel turn.
AEW could use an established antagonist atop its roster, as no one is anywhere near being on that level. MJF, Brian Cage, Chris Jericho and Lance Archer are all well below champion Jon Moxley in the pecking order, which is why Moxley could benefit from having a strong foil in someone such as Omega.
If what we got from Omega on Wednesday was a mere taste of what we can expect from him in the future, then this heel run should be nothing short of stellar.
Making a Case for The Miz Beating Otis for the Money in the Bank Contract
For weeks, The Miz has been on Otis' (literal) case about making a mockery of the Money in the Bank contract. Not even Miz getting sent to Raw in the recent draft was enough to stop WWE from seeing this storyline though.
The two met in "court" on Friday's SmackDown, which resulted in judge JBL determining that Miz and Otis will fight at Sunday's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view with the Money in the Bank briefcase up for grabs. Although Otis winning seems like the easy outcome, Miz stealing the victory would be the better option.
As he's mentioned countless times, Miz once used the Money in the Bank contract to catapult his career and capture the WWE Championship. That was a decade ago, and he hasn't held the gold since then. Reclaiming the contract could help him work his way back up to the main event scene—where he belongs despite his lengthy losing streak this year.
In Otis' possession, the Money in the Bank briefcase means nothing. It couldn't be more apparent that WWE has no plans for him to cash in successfully and that officials are having buyer's remorse, whereas at least with Miz, there is potential for him to have a fun feud over Raw's top title.
Otis has already lost his girlfriend and his tag team partner to the red brand, so it would only make sense for his briefcase to also make its way over to Monday nights and into the hands of Miz. As great of a year as Otis has had, he simply isn't world title material and have him continue to carry Money in the Bank does more harm than good.
Pat McAfee Is About to Become NXT's Top Heel
Pat McAfee's outstanding performance against Adam Cole at NXT TakeOver XXX in August left many fans wanting more. There was no word at the time as to whether he would be brought back in a regular role, but his return to NXT on Wednesday made it quite clear that he will be a fixture on the show for the foreseeable future—as he should be.
The former football player quickly proved his worth, going from a forgettable face on the NXT pre-show panels to one of the best talkers on the roster. He then went into TakeOver with minimal training and arguably stole the show with Cole.
As seen at the end of Wednesday's NXT, he won't be alone. Rather, he will be joined by the brand-new NXT tag team champions, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch, who turned heel and won the titles with the help of McAfee.
The trio pose an immediate threat to Undisputed Era and have injected new life into the top of the card on NXT. Lorcan and Burch can hold it down in the ring while McAfee does the talking for them, so it works all around and should make for must-see TV in the weeks ahead.
With McAfee having only one match under his belt, it's entirely possible he peaked with his debut. Then again, he showed enough ability and charisma that he will likely build off that outing and continue to hone his skills and improve.
At the rate he's going, he will inevitably cement his status as NXT's biggest bad guy.
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.