Quick Takes on Bray Wyatt's WWE Release, CM Punk, Heel Sasha Banks and More
WWE has made what has felt like an endless amount of mistakes with Bray Wyatt for the better part of the past decade, but its biggest blunder was releasing him from his contract Friday.
Although details surrounding his departure are still scarce, Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com reported that "budget cuts" were cited as the reason for his release. He joins a long list of talented individuals who were let go this past year, but he will no doubt have a bright future ahead of him regardless of what he decides to do next.
As one door closes, another one opens—though not in WWE. Rumors pertaining to CM Punk's possible return to the ring in All Elite Wrestling have been running rampant recently, and AEW all but confirmed the signing by announcing the second episode of Rampage would take place in his hometown of Chicago.
If he is indeed on his way in, one name in particular would make for the perfect opponent for him at All Out, as teased on the latest edition of Dynamite.
This newsworthy week in wrestling also saw Sasha Banks make her long-awaited return to SmackDown, and she laid out Bianca Belair in brutal fashion. Their SmackDown Women's Championship clash will be even more exciting now that Banks has gone back to her roots as a heel.
This installment of Quick Takes will tackle why the heel version of The Boss is the best, AEW reportedly holding off on Adam Page vs. Kenny Omega at All Out, which brand would benefit from having Becky Lynch on its roster and more.
Bray Wyatt Is WWE's Most Misused Superstar of the Past Decade
For every one or two NXT call-ups WWE gets right, there are countless others who don't have nearly the same level of success. Bray Wyatt won his fair share of championships in WWE, but he could have reached far greater heights had he been booked better.
Wyatt burst on to the scene at a perfect time in 2013, when the product desperately needed new faces. The promotion had already butchered the pushes of Ryback, Wade Barrett and Alberto Del Rio, among others, but The Eater of Worlds brought something entirely different to the table.
His cult leader gimmick with The Wyatt Family was one of the most compelling characters WWE had ever presented. To the company's credit, it handled him like a star all the way up until WrestleMania XXX, when he lost to John Cena in clean fashion and never recovered.
Despite by plagued by bad booking time and time again, Wyatt gave everything he was involved in his all. His various reinventions, specifically his transformation into The Fiend, made for hot acts until WWE had him lose whenever it mattered most.
He was failed by abysmal creative and never had a chance to take the torch from The Undertaker. The only upside to his exit is that he can hopefully be as creative as he wants to be in his next venture and show WWE what it missed out on.
AEW Runs the Risk of Cooling Off Adam Page by Delaying His World Title Win
Since late June, AEW had been building to Kenny Omega vs. Adam Page for the AEW World Championship. Page has been the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the company for some time, and there was no better place for him to have his crowning moment than at All Out, the same stage on which he fell short of becoming champion two years ago.
Those plans were seemingly thrown into disarray Wednesday when Page and The Dark Order lost a 10-man elimination tag team match to The Elite on Dynamite, forcing Page to forfeit his shot at the AEW title. It's possible he earns his opportunity at All Out another way, but a recent report indicates otherwise.
Per Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Robert DeFelice of Fightful), the planned Page vs. Omega match is off for All Out. That doesn't mean it won't ever happen—and there's no way anyone except Hangman takes that title off Omega—but the promotion may see All Out as being too soon to pull the trigger on Page as champion.
Things may have had to be shifted around with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan possibly on their way into AEW, but that shouldn't put Page on the back-burner for another few months. Waiting until Full Gear could be too long and see Page's momentum halted yet again.
Crowds are never going to be as into Hangman as they are right now, even if it's Full Gear in November. Omega vs. Christian Cage would be a fun attraction for All Out, but AEW is running the risk of cooling off Page unnecessarily when All Out should be be where he finally wins the big one.
Darby Allin Is the Perfect 1st Opponent for CM Punk in AEW
All signs sure seem to pointing toward CM Punk being AEW-bound, and based on an announcement made on Wednesday's Dynamite, he could be back in the ring as soon as All Out weekend in early September.
Per Tony Schiavone, the August 20 edition of Rampage will emanate from United Center in Chicago. There's no reason for the company to run a show in The Windy City two weeks ahead of All Out unless the idea is to have Punk debut on that show and begin the build to his first professional wrestling match in more than seven years at the pay-per-view.
Already, the seeds have been planted for whom his first rival could be following a brief promo Darby Allin cut Wednesday night. He essentially issued an open challenge to anyone who felt they were "the best in the world," playing off Punk's old catchphrase.
Coming off his huge Coffin match win over Ethan Page in mid-July, Allin has no set match for All Out. He's extremely popular with the fans, is talented in the ring and would sell exceptionally well for a returning Punk.
Allin likely won't be contending for the AEW World Championship anytime soon and doesn't need to rekindle his rivalry with Miro over the AEW TNT Championship, so a match with Punk would be an excellent use of him at the event. It would also put him in a prominent position on the card and give him the exposure he deserves.
Raw vs. SmackDown: Which Brand Needs Becky Lynch More?
From The Man to The Mom, Becky Lynch is expected to be back in WWE sooner rather than later.
With Nikki A.S.H. officially defending her Raw Women's Championship in a Triple Threat against Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley at SummerSlam and Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks likely being a lock for the event, there aren't other obvious opponents for Lynch.
Rather, it would make more sense for her to be saved as a post-SummerSlam surprise. That would create even more excitement heading into the final few months of the year, which is notoriously a dull period creatively for WWE.
If real-life couples aren't being separated now WWE has returned to the road (a la Naomi being moved to SmackDown to be with her husband, Jimmy Uso, per Bryan Rose of F4WOnline), Lynch moving to the blue brand to be with Seth Rollins would be logical.
She hasn't been on SmackDown since early 2019, when she was the reigning SmackDown women's champion. However, Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks are fighting for the title on Friday nights, with Toni Storm, Zelina Vega, Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox also returning or being called up lately.
Thus, Raw would be the better brand for Lynch to resurface on at this point. Fresh feuds with Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. await, not to mention that she was never beaten for her Raw Women's Championship.
Sasha Banks' Heel Turn Will Enhance SummerSlam Feud with Bianca Belair
Having not been seen in a WWE ring since WrestleMania 37, Sasha Banks was always expected to return to WWE TV in time for SummerSlam season in order to rekindle her rivalry with Bianca Belair over the SmackDown Women's Championship.
What wasn't certain, however, was what version of The Boss we were getting when she came back from her hiatus. She exuded major babyface energy upon her return on Friday's SmackDown before thankfully betraying Belair following their tag team win in the main event and cementing her status as a heel instead.
As popular as Banks is with the WWE Universe, she has always been a better heel than a babyface. That was evident throughout 2019 and 2020 until her storyline with Bayley endeared her to the audience and made her a face by default.
Banks and Belair stole the show with their instant classic at WrestleMania earlier this year, but what fans forget is that the build to the bout was less than stellar because of both women being babyfaces and WWE not adding much fuel to the fire. The buildup this time around should be significantly stronger with the roles more defined.
Belair can easily endure a loss at SummerSlam to Banks to prolong their program, and she may even benefit from going back into chase mode. Either way, Banks is bound to bring out the best in her opponent now that she's a heel.
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.