Quick Takes: Kenny Omega as AEW Champ, WWE Title Picture, Zayn vs. Big E, More
As 2020 comes to a close, everyone in wrestling seems to have championship gold in their sights—at least more than usual. That's especially applicable right now in All Elite Wrestling as Kenny Omega prepares to contend for Jon Moxley's AEW World Championship this Wednesday night on Dynamite.
The special "Winter is Coming" edition of Dynamite has been heavily hyped and rightfully so, considering it will be headlined by such a huge match. Not only is it pay-per-view worthy, there's also a decent chance it ends in a title change and Omega completing his heel turn once and for all.
The WWE Championship won't be up for grabs Monday night on Raw, but there will be a Triple Threat match to determine the next No. 1 contender for the title. It will be contested between Keith Lee, AJ Styles and Riddle, and of the three, Lee just might be the best bet to win.
As seen on SmackDown, Sami Zayn has a plethora of potential opponents to his Intercontinental Championship. Although Daniel Bryan recently expressed interest in regaining the gold, Big E is the more ideal opponent for Zayn at the Tables, Ladders & Chairs event.
Big E reentering the Intercontinental Championship picture will be discussed in this installment of Quick Takes, along with Kushida being groomed for a shot at the NXT Championship, Bianca Belair and Bayley kicking off their feud on SmackDown, and more.
Kenny Omega Winning the AEW World Championship Will Complete His Heel Turn
It's evident based on his booking that a heel turn has been in the works for Kenny Omega for many months, and there's no better time for him to flip the switch than Wednesday night on Dynamite when he challenges Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship.
It's a match that could easily serve as the main event of February's Revolution pay-per-view, but there's no point in delaying the inevitable. Omega beating Moxley for the title—possibly by nefarious means—is the only outcome that makes sense.
To his credit, Moxley has had an excellent reign as the AEW world champion. He's defended against all comers on a consistent basis and has had memorable matches with the likes of MJF, Eddie Kingston, Brodie Lee and Darby Allin.
However, Omega has more momentum now than he's ever had before. He's largely felt underutilized as a singles star so far in AEW, and this is the moment when he should finally be crowned champion.
Omega capturing the championship would make for a huge ending to Dynamite and make every episode in the remainder of 2020 feel must-see. It would also effectively progress the story with himself, Moxley and Adam Page, who could wind up factoring into the finish in some form or fashion.
Omega has come across exceptionally well as a tweener in recent weeks, but AEW must go all the way with it by having him win the title this week on Dynamite.
Beating Bayley Is the Next Step of Bianca Belair's Ascent on SmackDown
Since making the move to SmackDown in the 2020 WWE draft, Bianca Belair's stock has been higher than it ever was while she was on Raw earlier this year. She's stacked up several victories, including over former SmackDown women's champion Natalya on Friday night.
It was during that bout that Bayley sat in on commentary and blamed Belair for costing the blue brand the win at Survivor Series by being the last woman eliminated. Belair brought up how Bayley was the first one gone from SmackDown's squad, laying the groundwork for a feud between the two.
Belair and Bayley have yet to go one-on-one in WWE, and when they do, it's bound to be an excellent match. The EST of WWE has already proved that she's one to watch, and a win over the longest-reigning SmackDown women's champion of all time would give her the ultimate momentum boost.
As for Bayley, this is an ideal rebound rivalry for her coming off her loss of the title to Sasha Banks last month. She has too much credibility so that sitting on the sidelines isn't an option, whereas this program with Belair would put her talent to effective use.
Belair vs. Bayley would be a great secondary storyline for SmackDown's women's division, while Banks defends her title against Carmella and should be added to the TLC pay-per-view card. From there, Belair can set her sights on winning the women's Royal Rumble and paving the way for her versus Banks for the belt at WrestleMania 37.
Keith Lee Should Be Next in Line for a WWE Championship Opportunity
Keith Lee's main roster run in WWE has been nothing short of a roller-coaster ride thus far. He arrived on Raw with a ton of fanfare the night after SummerSlam, immediately inserted himself into the WWE Championship conversation and even scored a clean win over Randy Orton on pay-per-view.
The former NXT champion then lost a little bit of his luster when his rivalry with Orton didn't receive a proper payoff. He also suffered his first one-on-one defeat at the hands of Braun Strowman and never had a chance to avenge the loss.
Thankfully, he's been able to rebound a bit in recent weeks with wins over Elias and Bobby Lashley, as well as being among the sole survivors for Team Raw at Survivor Series. He has the chance to become the No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship this coming week on Raw and should emerge victorious, given the unfinished business he has with Drew McIntyre.
AJ Styles and Riddle would be fine choices to win as well because of the great chemistry they'd be sure to have with McIntyre, but Lee has more to gain. Their championship clash would likely take place on Raw, and although it isn't imperative he takes the title, he can look credible in defeat and perhaps branch off into a feud with The Hurt Business.
After all, Lee owns a non-title win over United States champion Bobby Lashley, so Lee vs. Lashley would make sense for TLC. Before then, though, he should get the WWE title opportunity that has long been owed to him and finally wrap up his rivalry with McIntyre.
Is Kushida Being Groomed for an Eventual Shot at Finn Balor's NXT Championship?
After spending his rookie year in NXT doing much of nothing, Kushida has returned to his winning ways in recent months. Already he's beaten the likes of Velveteen Dream, Tommaso Ciampa and Cameron Grimes, meaning that something significant is surely on the horizon for him.
Seeing as how he hasn't been feuding with anyone since his rivalry with Dream ended, it's clear that NXT is grooming him for a shot at the NXT Championship and rightfully so. He hasn't contended for any gold at all since signing with the black-and-gold brand, and a match with Finn Balor would be nothing short of stellar.
The only thing preventing NXT from booking that bout is Balor's current condition. He broke his jaw in two places at TakeOver 31 in early October and hasn't wrestled since, though his appearance on the November 18 edition of NXT indicated he's well enough that he should be back soon and won't have to relinquish the title.
TakeOver: WarGames IV is coming up next Sunday, and as of this writing, no NXT Championship defense has been announced for the event. It's possible it gets added to the card on the final episode of NXT on Wednesday before WarGames, but a match of that caliber deserves to be built up in advance.
Whether it's later in the month of December or early 2021, all signs point to Kushida being next in line for an NXT Championship opportunity. If and when he fails to capture the gold, NXT should have a solid plan in place for him to ensure he doesn't get lost in the shuffle again.
Big E Is the Perfect Next Challenger for Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn has been booked perfectly as the cowardly heel champ since regaining the intercontinental title at Clash of Champions. He recently won his match with Daniel Bryan on SmackDown by count-out, but he may be on the verge of facing a bigger threat in the form of Big E.
Big E was rapidly on the ascent when he initially embarked on a singles run over the summer, leading to him picking up the biggest win of his career over Sheamus at the 2020 WWE draft. Despite barely being involved in the buildup to Survivor Series, it appears the next step of his push will see him enter the Intercontinental Championship picture.
As Zayn alluded to on Friday night, Big E held the belt once before in 2013-14. Unfortunately, it was a mostly forgettable reign, so a second title run should be in order for him sooner rather than later.
Otis, Murphy and Rey Mysterio could all conceivably challenge for the championship eventually and would be fun opponents for Zayn to face off with. Thus, Big E wouldn't need to win the title, but a bout between the two would be a great use of both men in the final month of 2020.
As an early favorite to come out on top in the 2021 men's Royal Rumble match, Big E doesn't need to regain the Intercontinental Championship to get to that next level. That said, nothing is stopping him from gunning for the gold in the meantime and giving Zayn another popular babyface to work with.
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.