Quick Takes: Andrade's AEW Debut, Latest WWE Releases, Reigns vs. Mysterio, More
From All Elite Wrestling hosting its Double or Nothing pay-per-view May 30 to WWE releasing more talent Wednesday to a Rey Mysterio vs. Roman Reigns rivalry kicking off on Friday's SmackDown, this past week in wrestling was eventful.
WWE's latest string of shocking releases included Braun Strowman, Aleister Black and Ruby Riott. Most of them could—and should—have been so much more for the company, but WWE's loss will surely prove to be another promotion's gain.
On the subject of recent WWE departures, Andrade El Idolo's shocking AEW Dynamite debut capped off the newsworthy week on a high note. Despite everything he achieved in WWE, he was underutilized toward the end of his run there and is a great get for AEW.
Pairing him off with Vickie Guerrero from the get-go may not be the best call in the long term, however.
Also on Friday night, Reigns laid waste to the Mysterios and planted the seeds for a possible Universal Championship clash at Hell in a Cell between himself and Rey. Since returning as a heel last summer, everything Reigns has touched has turned to gold, and this new feud with the SmackDown tag team champions will be no different.
This installment of Quick Takes will tackle Reigns vs. Rey, AEW needing new storylines coming out of Double or Nothing, WWE neglecting its women's division and more.
Andrade El Idolo Is a Great Fit for AEW but Not with Vickie Guerrero
When his release from WWE was announced in late March and it was revealed he didn't have a 90-day non-compete clause, Andrade could have gone anywhere and made a splash. In addition to having friends in Ring of Honor and possibly going there, he could have returned to New Japan Pro-Wrestling or even made a one-off appearance in Impact Wrestling.
At the end of the day, AEW has the biggest platform next to WWE, and that was always going to be the most logical landing spot for him provided he was pushed properly this time around. CEO Tony Khan would be a fool to not see the money he can make with Andrade, and thus his Dynamite debut reinforced what many fans knew all along: AEW is where he belongs.
Unfortunately, Vickie Guerrero isn't the best choice to be representing him, and him walking out on to the ramp to a confused reaction from the fans because they didn't know whether to cheer or boo indicated that.
Vickie was brought into AEW last summer to serve as the manager for Nyla Rose, who has hardly benefited from having Guerrero in her corner. Vickie's tired shtick simply doesn't jell with what Andrade brings to the table, which is why their alliance must be short-lived.
If Zelina Vega is still a free agent, AEW reuniting that duo would make much more sense.
WWE's Lack of Focus on the Women's Division Has Become Painfully Apparent
It can be argued that women's wrestling has been on a steady decline in WWE since the first women's main event in WrestleMania history in April 2019. Granted, we were treated to another outstanding women's 'Mania main event this year between Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks, but that has been the exception in the past two years.
Look no further than the state of the Raw and SmackDown women's divisions.
As highly regarded as women's wrestling is in NXT, WWE clearly couldn't care less about treating its female talent with the same level of importance on either of its two biggest brands. SmackDown has only seven active women on its roster after this week (or six if you don't count Sasha Banks, who is on hiatus) and Raw's women's division is terribly mismanaged.
In the past two weeks alone, the build to Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair has consisted of the two of them technically losing Beat the Clock Challenge matches to Nikki Cross in under two minutes. Elsewhere on Raw, the women's tag team division has been a mess, and Alexa Bliss' supernatural shenanigans haven't generated a ton of excitement.
SmackDown has Belair and Bayley going at it over the top title, but the well runs dry beyond them and Banks because WWE hasn't bothered to build up anyone else. The worst part is that Chelsea Green, Santana Garrett and Vanessa Borne all could have helped out the rosters and been fresh faces on the show, but the company opted to fire them before they could be called up.
Evolution being a one-off event and the Mae Young Classic not being brought back for another installment make it clear that women's wrestling just isn't as big of a priority to WWE as it should be or as it once was.
Roman Reigns vs. Rey Mysterio Is the Perfect Attraction for Hell in a Cell
For all the time they have spent in WWE together, it's surprising that Roman Reigns and Rey Mysterio have never faced off one-on-one before. That's bound to change come the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view June 20.
The ending to Friday's SmackDown seemed to suggest that we're headed for a Reigns vs. Mysterio match with the Universal Championship on the line at that event, stemming from Reigns brutalizing The Mysterios after The Usos weren't able to beat them.
Rey and Dominik Mysterio recently secured the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. They will likely lose the gold to The Usos eventually, but not right away, so giving Rey a one-off opportunity at the blue brand's top title on pay-per-view is logical.
Even at 46, Rey is still capable of having great matches with the right opponent, and Reigns is definitely that person. The story is simple: Rey wants revenge for what Reigns did to Dominik on Friday's SmackDown, as well as one more title world run.
The timing couldn't be better with the show falling on Father's Day. Reigns will win but only after Rey pushes him to the limit and has a standout performance. In the end, he will fall to The Tribal Chief like everyone else has before him.
AEW Needs an Influx of New Feuds Heading into the Summer
By all accounts, AEW's Double or Nothing pay-per-view was a massive success and one of the best the promotion has done to date. Save for a few misfires in the midcard, it was a strong event that seemed to set the stage for what should hopefully be an exciting summer season for the company.
The subsequent edition of Dynamite featuring all the fallout from the PPV failed to give that impression.
Outside of the unpredictable arrival of Andrade El Idolo, the show was much of the same from the past several weeks. Although some of those storylines have been entertaining, most of them should have ended at Double or Nothing but didn't for whatever reason.
The Nightmare Family vs. The Factory had no business continuing on Dynamite after Cody Rhodes vs. Anthony Ogogo fell flat at Double or Nothing. Unfortunately, QT Marshall inexplicably pinning Cody in their tag team match means we haven't seen the last of them against each other.
Inner Circle and The Pinnacle resuming their rivalry is also puzzling. They are likely building to a rubber match, but to give away the two biggest gimmick matches early on in their feud was a weird call.
Kenny Omega vs. Jungle Boy for the AEW World Championship on June 26 is worth looking forward to, but the promotion needs more fresh feuds to keep the hot streak going as the road to All Out in September begins.
Aleister Black, Ruby Riott and Others the Latest Examples of Wasted Potential
WWE's latest round of cuts Wednesday included some surprising names: Braun Strowman, Aleister Black, Ruby Riott, Murphy, Lana and Santana Garrett. The common theme for most of those talents is wasted potential.
Of everyone in that group, the most egregious release is Black's. WWE badly dropped the ball with him. He was barely a part of the main roster for two years before the company decided to give up on his push, never giving him the chance to be the main event player he seemed destined to be.
Braun Strowman, a multi-time champion, had far more success than Black, yet the company never struck when the iron was hottest with him in 2017 and 2018. By the time he finally won the Universal Championship in 2020, it was too little too late.
Lana was miscast as a wrestler with her strengths being as a manger, while Ruby Riott was never properly pushed. Santana Garrett wasn't afforded any opportunities, and Murphy was way too skilled to be let go.
Needless to say, most of these Superstars will end up elsewhere within the next six months and show WWE what they missed out on. It has long been a place where potential players have had their runs cut short for whatever reason, but the fact that it's happening more and more with other companies gaining steam is both disappointing and alarming.
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.