AEW Teases Moxley vs. Danielson, Rollins Gets Rumble Wish, More Friday Fallout
The Friday night block of WWE and All Elite Wrestling programming continues to be an easier three-hour experience than most weeks of Raw, and this week was no exception.
WWE keeps blurring the lines between Raw and SmackDown by having Superstars from one brand appear on the other, so it looks as if WWE may be heading for another merging of the rosters to end the brand split.
Naomi and Sonya Deville continued their long-running rivalry this week, Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens battled The Usos with some stakes on the line for the universal title bout at The Royal Rumble, and AEW teased a potential feud between Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson during Friday's show.
Let's look at some of the biggest moments from SmackDown and Rampage.
Is the Wall Between Brands Being Demolished?
For the past few weeks, Rollins has been making regular trips to SmackDown in order to mess with Reigns as they prepare to fight over the Universal Championship.
The Visionary wasn't the only Raw Superstar to make the journey to the blue brand this week. Owens joined his best friend for a tag team match against The Usos, and Big E showed up to support Kofi Kingston in his match against Madcap Moss.
While Michael Cole and Pat McAfee said more people are showing up on different brands because the Royal Rumble is approaching, it feels like WWE might be preparing to end the brand split.
With the roster becoming a lot smaller in 2021, it would make sense for WWE to combine the locker rooms again so it can provide a greater variety of pairings every week. As great as they are together, we can only see The Usos fight The New Day so many times.
Even if WWE does a draft after WrestleMania, some of the divisions aren't deep enough to support two separate rosters. At this point, it might be best to end the brand split and come up with a way to deal with having so many titles.
WWE has been building up a feud between Naomi and Deville for so long that at this point, everybody who loved it at first has lost interest.
This week saw Naomi step into the ring with Charlotte Flair for a non-title match. As Charles Robinson was preparing to get the action underway, Deville asked for his shirt and took over as the official.
Naomi would have won at one point, but Deville refused to make a count. This allowed Charlotte to take control and win in controversial fashion with the Figure Eight despite Naomi never tapping out.
We've reached the breaking point with this storyline. WWE needs to put Deville and Naomi in the ring for a final blowoff match so both women can move on to something new.
Adam Pearce told Deville he was going to tell management to book her to face Naomi next week, but it's hard to imagine WWE will just end it there. This is going to last at least until the Rumble. Where it goes after that is a mystery.
Seth Rollins Gets His Wish
SmackDown opened with Rollins and Reigns talking the usual trash at each other, but it led to a tag match with some actual stakes. If Owens and Rollins could defeat The Usos, the twins would be barred from ringside during the universal title bout at the Royal Rumble.
If The Usos won, Rollins would lose his title match and Reigns said he would take a Brock Lesnar-like vacation until WrestleMania.
As The Visionary was preparing to win, Reigns appeared out of nowhere to hit him with a Superman Punch. Now, Rollins gets exactly what he wanted, and Reigns gets to claim he made the decision on his own instead of letting Rollins beat his cousins clean.
This whole thing worked perfectly for where their characters are in this storyline. Reigns' ego won't allow him to admit he relies on his cousins too much, and Rollins is feeding into that brilliantly.
If the plan is for Rollins to take the title from The Tribal Chief, WWE has already set up an easy path to make that happen. The Usos can't help Reigns, but Rollins might have help from Owens.
A DQ is never an ideal finish for the fans, but in this rare instance, it made the most sense for the story being told.
AEW Teases Jon Moxley vs. Bryan Danielson
Moxley returned to AEW on Wednesday's episode of Dynamite, but his first official match of 2022 came on Friday when he faced Page.
The former AEW world champion scored the win after a competitive 15-minute exchange, but what came after the ending might be the most interesting part.
As Mox made his way through the crowd, Danielson appeared and gave him a golf clap for his efforts. The two had a brief staredown before parting ways.
AEW never does anything like this without a plan, so clearly we are going to get Moxley vs. Danielson at some point in the near future.
How AEW builds this feud is the big question. Danielson was a bit of a heel during his feud with Adam Page, so he might still play that role in this story. However, Moxley has always been a strong villain, so AEW may use this as an opportunity to turn both men at the same time.
Whatever happens, this is a pairing a lot of fans have been hoping to see ever since Danielson showed up in AEW. Even without a title on the line, this will be one of the biggest matches on any card AEW puts together.