Quick Takes on Inner Circle's AEW Future, Miro, WWE WrestleMania Backlash, More

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2021

Quick Takes on Inner Circle's AEW Future, Miro, WWE WrestleMania Backlash, More

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    The future of AEW's Inner Circle is in doubt following a stipulation put in place on this week's Dynamite.
    The future of AEW's Inner Circle is in doubt following a stipulation put in place on this week's Dynamite.Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    All Elite Wrestling finally put the pieces in place for its Double or Nothing pay-per-view later this month on May 30—and it's a card with plenty of potential on paper.

    One of its marquee matches will see Inner Circle collide with The Pinnacle in a rematch from Blood and Guts, this time in a Stadium Stampede match. With the stipulation stating that Inner Circle must disband if they lose, it provides them with the perfect excuse to go their separate ways heading into the summer.

    Before AEW's annual Memorial Day extravaganza, WWE will host its WrestleMania Backlash event this weekend on May 16. Five championships will be up for grabs, and based on the build to the pay-per-view and where several of the storylines are going, it can be argued none of them should change hands.

    There was one title change that needed to happen this past week, and it came to fruition on Wednesday's Dynamite. In the night's main event, Miro knocked off Darby Allin for the AEW TNT Championship, kicking off what should be one of AEW's most dominant reigns yet.

    This installment of Quick Takes will tackle what the future should hold for Inner Circle, Miro's big title win and why WrestleMania Backlash should be booked as a transitional show. Natalya and Tamina becoming WWE Women's Tag Team champions and Alexa Bliss' next feud will also be discussed.

Inner Circle Should Split Following Double or Nothing

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    Everything about Inner Circle's challenge to The Pinnacle at Double or Nothing seemed to indicate that they'll avenge their loss from Blood and Guts and remain intact for the foreseeable future, but AEW going in the opposite direction would actually make for more intriguing storyline possibilities.

    Inner Circle have been a staple in AEW since Dynamite's debut in October 2019. Sammy Guevara, Jake Hager, Santana and Ortiz ensured Chris Jericho remained AEW World champion for as long as he did and have been among the most entertaining acts in the entire company for as long as they've been together.

    However, the time has come for Inner Circle to go their separate ways.

    Their recent babyface turn and feud with The Pinnacle have given them new life, but beyond Double or Nothing, there isn't much left for them to do as a unit.

    If anything, Santana and Ortiz have seen their stock plummet since joining Inner Circle rather than rise. Guevara would undoubtedly be successful as a singles competitor also.

    As a babyface, Jericho doesn't need a faction backing him anymore. AEW has an abundance of stables as it is, and Inner Circle should be the first to disband.

    Pinnacle going 2-0 against the group would give them plenty to brag about, as opposed to diminishing their Blood and Guts victory so quickly.

Looking at Potential Feuds for Alexa Bliss (and Lily) on WWE Raw

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    Alongside Lily, Alexa Bliss made her first in-person appearance on Monday's Raw since betraying The Fiend at WrestleMania 37. She sat on a swing set on the stage and looked on as Shayna Baszler's legs inexplicably gave out during a six-woman tag team match, costing her the win against Asuka and her teammates.

    That might mean Baszler is Bliss' next target, especially now that The Queen of Spades is no longer one-half of the WWE Women's Tag Team champions, but it's an odd pairing for a feud. Baszler isn't established enough to the point she should be in the midst of supernatural storylines, and Bliss needs a few wins right out of the gate.

    Charlotte Flair and Sonya Deville might be possibilities, but if Bliss is supposed to be a heel, then neither one of them wouldn't make a whole lot of sense. Rhea Ripley should be ruled out for the time being if the plan is for her to remain Raw Women's champion following WrestleMania Backlash, which might leave Asuka as the only option.

    Bliss vs. Nikki Cross has been done to death, and the other women (Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, Naomi and Lana) are involved in tag teams. Asuka's time in the title picture should be over beyond Backlash, and Bliss would actually benefit from working with someone as seasoned as her.

    Regardless of who Bliss and Lily ultimately set their sights on, WWE must tread lightly with the Bliss character and be extra careful to not ruin her with over-the-top angles or bad booking decisions.

Miro Has the Potential to Be AEW's Most Dominant Champion Yet

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    After about eight months of being relegated to the tag team division, Miro has finally broken off on his own and is being booked like the monster heel he should have been from the moment he stepped foot in AEW.

    Miro vs. Darby Allin in the main event of Wednesday's Dynamite not only told a great story but also put both men in the right roles moving forward. Allin lost nothing in defeat with the strong showing he had as he prepares to team with Sting against Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky, while Miro came off as dominant as he's been in several years.

    Better yet, he was immediately approached by Lance Archer, who looks to be first in line for a shot at the strap at Double or Nothing. Those two are bound to have a hoss fight and set the tone for what should be a lengthy reign for Miro.

    The man formerly known as Rusev hasn't been pushed toward the top of the card since his one-off opportunity at the WWE Championship in July 2018. Before that, he hadn't been regularly prominently featured since his second stint as United States champion in the summer of 2016.

    Miro has all the tools to be an important player in AEW and, so far, his booking has shown that the company plans on making that a reality despite a rough start. Challenges from Jungle Boy, Christian Cage, Rey Fenix, Sammy Guevara and others await.

Can Natalya and Tamina Revive a Lifeless Women's Tag Team Division?

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    On Friday's SmackDown, Natalya and Tamina were successful in their pursuit of the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship as they beat the seemingly unbeatable duo of Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler for the belts. They were portrayed as babyfaces during their emotional post-match promo, which was complete with pyro.

    Where Natalya and Tamina go from here as champions is the question, as WWE has shown zero signs over the years of treating the tag team division for the women as a top priority.

    Although Jax and Baszler were champs on and off since late August and were featured regularly on Raw and SmackDown, their two title reigns were unremarkable, to say the least. They didn't have any standout matches and most of their feuds lacked storyline support.

    The same can be said for almost every pairing of WWE Women's Tag Team champions that came before them (with the exception of Sasha Banks and Bayley).

    Of course, none of this is the fault of the performers. WWE has simply done nothing to make those tag titles matter, and most of the teams fighting for them were thrown together because there weren't many genuine teams outside of The Riott Squad and The IIconics (before they were broken up and later released).

    WWE's handling of women's wrestling on the whole since the departures of Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch has been questionable, but the tag team division in particular needs a hard reset. It remains to be seen if Natalya and Tamina can help solve the problems that have plagued the scene for so long.

WrestleMania Backlash Shouldn't Feature Any Major Title Changes

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    Coming off an extremely newsworthy WrestleMania weekend, it's hard to believe WrestleMania Backlash on Sunday will be able to top it. At the least, it should be a solid show from an in-ring standpoint given what's on tap and the potential to further several storylines.

    That said, there's no need for any of the five titles that are scheduled to be defended to change hands.

    Starting with the top titles, Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns are killing it in their respective roles. To cut either of their reigns short at this point would be premature, especially when there won't be a crowd in attendance to react to them being dethroned.

    Next up are the two women's titles: the Raw Women's Championship and the SmackDown Women's Championship. Both Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair won their titles at WrestleMania and should hold the gold through the summer, though there is the possibility of Charlotte Flair stealing the Raw Women's title and putting Ripley back in chase mode.

    Even the SmackDown Tag Team Championship, which is the most likely to change hands, should stay put around the waists of Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode until next month's pay-per-view, which will likely fall on Father's Day. There, Rey and Dominik Mysterio can finally become champions together and make history on the holiday.

    A surprise title change at WrestleMania Backlash wouldn't be the worst thing provided it makes sense, but the show would be better off paving the way for an even bigger event next month instead of swerving fans for the sake of doing so.


    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.


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