Hookhausen Is the Future, Push Sami Zayn, More WWE and AEW Friday TakesApril 30, 2022
Hookhausen Is the Future, Push Sami Zayn, More WWE and AEW Friday Takes
Having three hours from the two top American wrestling promotions on Friday nights usually leads to some great action, but this week had some issues.
After putting over Johnny Knoxville in a WrestleMania match that was better than anybody expected it to be, Sami Zayn has been engaged in a feud with Drew McIntyre that came to a head in this week's Steel Cage match.
Shanky received his first chance to win a title in WWE when he challenged Ricochet for the Intercontinental Championship, and WWE made some changes to the upcoming WrestleMania Backlash card that impacted the tag title unification bout we were originally going to see.
Over on All Elite Wrestling: Rampage, Hook and Danhausen met in the ring for a face-to-face confrontation, and Jade Cargill teamed up with new allies Red Velvet and Kiera Hogan to face Willow Nightingale, Skye Blue and Trish Adora.
Let's take a look at these moments from Friday's episodes of SmackDown and Rampage.
It's Time for WWE to Take Sami Zayn Seriously Again
Ever since he lost the intercontinental title, Zayn has been used by WWE to put other Superstars over. He is a reliable performer who was even trusted enough to be in a prominent position at WrestleMania in one of the celebrity matches.
As great as he is at the comedy stuff and making other people look good, it's time for WWE to give him another substantial push.
His run as a heel has been fun for the past few years, but Zayn was one of the best pure babyfaces WWE has seen in a long time. It might be the right time to make him a good guy again and put him back in the hunt for a belt.
The cage match he had with McIntyre on Friday's SmackDown was good, but it's another in a long line of examples of Zayn coming up on the losing end of a feud.
The WWE Universe has always had great respect and admiration for Zayn, so transitioning him back into the role of a hero would be easy, especially since he is so naturally good at it.
Besides, Roman Reigns needs babyfaces to fight after running through just about everybody who could pose a serious challenge. Zayn could be a great underdog opponent for The Tribal Chief.
Shanky Needs More Work
Shanky has been with WWE since January of 2020. He was moved to the main roster almost exactly a year later in 2021, but since then, he has failed to find his niche in WWE.
Being paired with Jinder Mahal has led to inconsistent booking because WWE never seems to know what to do with The Maharaja either, so he has drifted from random match to random match without any direction.
This week's SmackDown was his biggest test to date. He was given a chance to face Ricochet for the IC title, but the result was never in question. Ricochet was always going to win, but Shanky might have been able to prove he was worth pushing if his performance stood out.
Unfortunately, it didn't. Shanky can move around pretty well for a guy of his size, but that's all he brings to the table. He has yet to show any charisma or establish any traits that make him unique in a business that has had a lot of giants over the years.
He needs to go back to NXT and spend some time at the performance center working on his character if he has any aspirations of finding success in WWE as a singles star. That's his only hope.
WWE Doesn't Know What It Wants to Do Anymore
The Usos and RK-Bro met for a contract signing to make their Raw and SmackDown tag team title unification match official for WrestleMania Backlash, but that is no longer the plan.
After Reigns and McIntyre got involved in the fight that we all knew would happen during the contract signing, Paul Heyman convinced Adam Pearce to turn the unification bout into a non-title six-man tag match.
Not only does this deprive us of what would have been a fun tag match with high stakes, but it has replaced it with a six-man contest that will have no consequences for the winners or losers.
It's obvious WWE wants to save a showdown between The Tribal Chief and Scottish Warrior for the upcoming UK show, but that doesn't mean it should abandon another idea it has been building for weeks.
The idea of unifying the tag titles was pitched right after WrestleMania when Reigns told his cousins he wanted The Bloodline to have all of the gold. Why would WWE give up on that after weeks of buildup right before the pay-per-view?
The likely reason is WWE had no idea who it wanted to unify the tag titles, so it just decided not to do it. It all feels very spur-of-the-moment and makes it hard to care since there are no longer any stakes to this feud.
Hook and Danhausen Need to Join Forces, Not Fight
This week's Rampage featured the highly anticipated confrontation between Hook and Danhausen, but it did not play out the way many people expected.
As Hook was about to get in Danhausen's face, Tony Nese attacked them both out of nowhere. They sent him out of the ring, but for one brief moment, Danhausen and Hook had a common enemy.
A lot of people have been assuming that we would see Taz's son fight the painted wrestler at some point, but pairing them together for a tag team might be a better idea.
The odd-couple dynamic they would bring to their matches would be ridiculously entertaining, and you could still do an eventual match between them after their inevitable breakup.
When comedy is done right, it can make pro wrestling so much better. So far, Hookhausen has been knocking it out of the park with these short interactions.
The AEW Women's Division Needs More TV Time
The AEW women's division occasionally gets some big moments and main event spots, but most weeks it's still a struggle to get TV time for everybody who needs it.
This week's Rampage featured six women in one match with Cargill, Velvet and Hogan taking on Blue, Adora and Nightingale. The bout lasted less than three minutes.
Having Jade squash opponents in singles bouts is one thing because she is basically running through people like Goldberg in 1997, but this is not an effective way to feature this many talents.
Later in the show, Colten Gunn and Keith Lee had a match that lasted through a commercial break that did not need to be anywhere near that long, so AEW should have switched these two matches to give the women some more time and give Lee an easy squash.
It's great when a match like Thunder Rosa vs. Serena Deeb gets enough time to shine, but it would be nice if we got that more than once a week.