Quick Takes on AEW's Next Breakout Star, Charlotte Flair on WWE SmackDown, More

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2021

Quick Takes on AEW's Next Breakout Star, Charlotte Flair on WWE SmackDown, More

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    Tay Conti is destined for great success in AEW's women's division.
    Tay Conti is destined for great success in AEW's women's division.Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Of everything that went down on the Wednesday's edition of All Elite Wrestling Dynamite, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that Tay Conti's huge upset victory over Nyla Rose was among the most memorable moments from the show.

    Conti has been on a slow and steady rise in AEW's women's division over the past year. Having now beaten a former AEW women's world champion, she could be next in line for a shot at the title—and for good reason considering how much potential she posses.

    Between Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair and Asuka vs. Rhea Ripley, WWE's women's division will be well-represented at WrestleMania 37. One name conspicuous by her absence is Charlotte Flair, who could still work her way into either title match on Raw or SmackDown in the coming weeks.

    As we found out on Friday's SmackDown, Cesaro has his WrestleMania match with Seth Rollins set in stone. The multi-time WWE world champion has nothing to gain from beating Cesaro on The Grandest Stage of Them All, whereas the Swiss could be catapulted into the Universal Championship picture with a win.

    This installment of Quick Takes will tackle Conti's upside in AEW, Flair's status and why Cesaro vs. Roman Reigns must be the next feud for the Universal title. Retribution's future, along with Asuka's and Sasha Banks' lack of luck at WrestleMania, will be discussed as well.

Tay Conti Is Destined for Big Things in AEW's Women's Division

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    AEW's roster is stockpiled with young up-and-comers, but few have a brighter upside than Tay Conti.

    The former NXT standout showed her potential during the time she spent in WWE's developmental system, but she was never afforded the opportunity to showcase her skills. Her departure from the promotion led to her arrival in AEW, where she's been improving and becoming a bigger star.

    Her alliance with Anna Jay, dating back to the Deadly Draw tournament last summer, has resulted in her getting consistent television time as well as in-ring experience on Dark. She scored her biggest victory to date on Wednesday when she beat former AEW women's champion Nyla Rose.

    Based on what went down afterward, it looks like she's being groomed for a shot at Hikaru Shida's AEW Women's World Championship in the not-too-distant future. She's impressed at every turn and could have a breakout performance even in defeat.

    Conti won't and shouldn't be the one to take the title from Shida, but within the next year, her holding gold isn't an impossibility. She's progressing at a rapid rate, getting over with the limited audience in attendance and has been booked better than the majority of the women AEW has under contract.

    Expect Conti to be an important part of the division for years to come.

Cesaro Must Be Next in Line for a Universal Title Match Post-WrestleMania

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    Cesaro's recent success has been well-deserved. He defeated Daniel Bryan on back-to-back occasions, had a strong showing inside the Elimination Chamber and now has a WrestleMania match lined up with Seth Rollins.

    The fact that he's getting a singles match at 'Mania at all is impressive considering he's been with the company for almost a decade and it hasn't happened previously. Most fans lost hope it ever would, but this renewed singles push has been a breath of fresh air and hopefully isn't temporary.

    Cesaro beating as big of a name as Rollins on a stage as grand as WrestleMania would be huge. The best way to then capitalize off that momentum would be by putting him in the Universal Championship hunt following the event.

    It was determined on Friday's edition of SmackDown that the universal title will be defended in a Triple Threat match between Roman Reigns, Edge and Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania. Cesaro has had outstanding chemistry with both Bryan and Reigns in the past, but he and Edge could make for a fun clash of styles as well.

    Regardless of who's holding the gold post-WrestleMania, Cesaro will be waiting in the wings ready to challenge them. It isn't imperative he wins it, but getting him a world title match on pay-per-view would be more than enough in establishing him as a top-tier talent on the blue brand.

Who's More Likely to Score Their 1st WrestleMania Win Between Banks and Asuka?

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    Despite everything they have achieved in their respective careers on WWE's main roster, Sasha Banks and Asuka have yet to win at WrestleMania.

    The worst part is that both women have had their fair share of marquee matches at 'Mania. Asuka's record at the event is 0-3, while Banks' record is 0-5.

    Interestingly enough, Asuka and Banks will walking into WrestleMania this year as champions. Their opponents are recent call-ups from NXT and have good chances of taking the titles in Tampa, Florida.

    Of the two, Banks has a better chance of holding on to the gold and prolonging the program with Belair in chase mode. This can be accomplished through her resorting to underhand tactics to win to re-establish herself as a heel.

    Asuka could easily defeat Ripley and rekindle her rivalry with Charlotte Flair, but that would be the least interesting outcome WWE could go with. Ripley's loss to Flair last year was way more damaging than anything Asuka has endured at the event, so Ripley winning at WrestleMania is almost a must.

    Someone's losing streak should come to an end at WrestleMania 37, and between Banks and Asuka, it's bound to be The Boss' run.

Where Will Everyone in Retribution Wind Up?

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    Despite a valiant effort from Mustafa Ali and everyone else involved, Retribution was doomed to fail from the moment it started because of how the group was booked. It was impossible for fans to take them seriously, especially whenever they shared the ring with top talent.

    Thus, it was always more a matter of when than if Retribution would go their separate ways. Sure enough, their betrayal of Ali on the Fastlane Kickoff show indicates their days are done as a cohesive unit.

    It isn't fair to consider every member of Retribution damaged goods, but it will take some of them a little longer to bounce back.

    Ali, for example, will be fine because of how exceptionally skilled he is. He can continue thriving at the midcard level while on his own, much like Dominik Dijakovic.

    Shane Thorne isn't bound to be as lucky, especially since he's never been positioned as an important singles star. He would be better off back in NXT, whereas Mia Yim had a great run there and can be a valuable asset to Raw's women's division going forward.

    As for Dio Maddin, he hasn't worked a ton of matches on the main roster. If he needs additional seasoning, then a return to NXT would be in his best interest as well.

Charlotte Flair Moving to SmackDown Would Be the Wrong Move

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    Charlotte Flair is no stranger to SmackDown, having spent a solid two-and-a-half years of her career there from 2017 to 2019. That doesn't mean she should return anytime soon, however.

    PWInsider.com's Mike Johnson reported Monday that there was internal talk of her switching shows before WrestleMania 37. The idea apparently had nothing to do with Andrade's release, which WWE made official immediately following the Fastlane pay-per-view.

    She appeared to be penciled in for a 'Mania match against Asuka for the Raw Women's Championship, which had been months in the making dating back to their tag title run in late 2020. Seeing as how that bout has been done to death over the past three years, the company thankfully changed course and replaced Flair with Rhea Ripley.

    There may not have been any other choice, with Flair revealing on Twitter that she tested positive for COVID-19 and had to miss Monday's Raw. Andrade added that she only had four more days until she was ready to return to TV, sparking speculation that a SmackDown return might be imminent.

    If that is indeed the plan, then it is virtually guaranteed to be a bad move. Flair has no business being back in the title picture yet, and with Bayley and Carmella not doing anything of note, there's no need for another female heel on the roster.

    Banks vs. Belair sells itself, and adding in Flair so late in the game would feel forced. It would be better for her to remain on Raw, where she can eventually rekindle her rivalry with Ripley and elevate her opponent to that next level as she should have the first time around.


    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.