AEW's MJF Dilemma, Current MVPs of WWE, Britt Baker's Booking, More Quick Takes

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2022

AEW's MJF Dilemma, Current MVPs of WWE, Britt Baker's Booking, More Quick Takes

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    Will MJF appear as advertised at Double or Nothing despite recent tension with AEW?
    Will MJF appear as advertised at Double or Nothing despite recent tension with AEW?Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    AEW Double or Nothing on Sunday promises to be a must-see show with what's on tap, and the added uncertainty surrounding some of the matches makes matters that much more exciting.

    That especially rings true for MJF's scheduled match against Wardlow, which is currently up in the air after what transpired Saturday with the three-time winner of the Dynamite diamond ring. Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful was the first to report MJF missing his meet-and-greet in Las Vegas and nearly flying home later that night.

    What that means for their matchup remains to be seen, but the rest of the lineup has plenty of potential on paper. That includes the final of the women's Owen Hart tournament between Britt Baker and Ruby Soho, though yet another pay-per-view win for Baker may backfire if she booked to take home the trophy.

    Meanwhile, WWE continues to struggle to create stars of their own in the absence of so many inactive notable names. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are already established, but both men have done an excellent job of carrying Raw and SmackDown to the best of their abilities in recent weeks.

    This installment of Quick Takes will tackle Owens and Zayn excelling in their current roles, the latest on MJF's status, why Gunther must win the Intercontinental Championship and more.

MJF Owes It to Wardlow to Put Him Over If He's Indeed on His Way Out

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    MJF's falling-out with AEW management has been well documented in the last month or two. The general consensus among fans was that a jump to WWE was likely when his current contract expired in 2024, but it's very possible he'll be gone much earlier than that in light of recent events.

    On the surface, MJF no-showing at appearances over the weekend doesn't inspire a lot of confidence regarding his status for Sunday pay-per-view. Per Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com, MJF did not get on the flight back to the East Coast late Saturday night, making it much more likely the bout will go on as planned.

    MJF's future with AEW is very much in doubt at the moment. He may very well be off television beyond Double or Nothing, but if he is indeed on his way out, the very least he can do is lose to Wardlow and finish off their storyline properly.

    The two have been building up their upcoming clash for almost three years. Wardlow has never been hotter as a babyface and is on the cusp of breaking into the main event scene soon, so for MJF to miss the show would be incredibly unfair to his former right-hand man.

    MJF and Wardlow have been responsible for some of the best segments on Dynamite leading up to Double or Nothing. That contest being changed in any way would be a big blow to the card, so it should go on as planned.

Rhea Ripley Should Be Bianca Belair's Ultimate Opponent for Raw Women's Title

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    Bianca Belair has found herself in a strange spot since winning the Raw Women's Championship at WrestleMania 38.

    She's remained popular with the audience, has been consistently featured on Raw and has been booked well for the most part. However, she hasn't had a ton of direction as champion, resulting in fans losing interest in her reign.

    That's entirely because of how brief her rivalry with Sonya Deville was and how thrown-together her current feud with Asuka and Becky Lynch currently feels. Of course, she should escape that Triple Threat at Hell in a Cell on June 5 with the gold still in her grasp so Rhea Ripley can eventually challenge her.

    The two of them have had excellent chemistry as opponents dating back to their days in NXT. They've also knocked it out of the park anytime they've interacted since making it to the main roster.

    Ripley just turned heel and joined The Judgment Day a few weeks ago, but she is long overdue for a return to the Raw Women's Championship picture. It would be wise of WWE to keep them separate for now before revisiting their rivalry in time for SummerSlam on July 30 emanating from Belair's home state of Tennessee.

    Ripley makes as much sense as anyone to ultimately be the one to dethrone Belair as champion.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn Are 2 of WWE's Biggest MVPs Currently

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    Although there wasn't anything particularly special about either of this week's editions of Raw or SmackDown, the two Superstars who did stand out above the rest with their fantastic work on both brands were Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.

    The two have long been must-see staples of Raw and SmackDown, but it was especially evident this week.

    It started on Monday's Raw when Zayn aligned with The Usos as an honorary member of The Bloodline (in his own mind) to take on Riddle and The Street Profits in a top-notch tag team match. That same night, Owens furthered his feud with Ezekiel in entertaining fashion and set up their match for the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.

    Their outstanding shenanigans continued on SmackDown when Owens invited Zayn on The KO Show and attempted to lure him into helping him against Ezekiel on the red brand. Their witty back-and-forth was proof that they are far more valuable to the product than most may realize.

    Regardless of whether they've been faces or heels, Owens and Zayn consistently excel in every area and make the most of everything they're involved in. They deserve props for always being a bright spot on WWE TV and sometimes carrying entire episodes of Raw and SmackDown.

Gunther's Next Step on SmackDown Should Be Capturing the Intercontinental Title

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    There was no guarantee that Gunther would be successful upon arriving on SmackDown shortly following WrestleMania 38. Many NXT call-ups who preceded him weren't used to their full potential, and there was a fear among fans he would be no exception.

    Thankfully, he's been utilized exactly as he should be all things considered and has gone unbeaten in singles competition. He's also teased challenging Ricochet for the Intercontinental Championship, including after beating him in tag team action on Friday's SmackDown.

    If and when that highly anticipated outing comes to fruition, Gunther must walk away the new champion.

    Ricochet's television time has certainly increased since winning the title back in March, but the championship is no more important now than it was then. He hasn't had many exciting title defenses and is still largely booked like an afterthought.

    That isn't to say Gunther would take the title to new heights if he were to win it, but it would be a nice way of furthering his momentum and putting it on someone who has a better chance of being protected. Plus, the matches he could have with the likes of Drew McIntyre, Sheamus, Shinsuke Nakamura and others would be a blast.

AEW Must Avoid Creating Britt Baker Fatigue with Fans

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    The women's Owen Hart tournament has given AEW the chance to spotlight several ladies in its talented women's division who fans may not get to see too often. The matches have largely delivered, but Britt Baker vs. Toni Storm from Wednesday's Dynamite was an unfortunate misstep en route to the final.

    It failed to live up to the hype as a first-time encounter and also had the wrong outcome, with Baker advancing over Storm. The crowd certainly didn't see it coming and reacted accordingly.

    Baker plays her role as the women's division lead heel exceptionally well, and now there's a nice dynamic with her taking on a familiar foe in Ruby Soho in the final. It's imperative Soho take the trophy, not only because she has yet to win anything of note in AEW—but also because Baker doesn't need it whatsoever.

    AEW may run the risk of burning the audience out on Baker by continuing to prominently feature her on Dynamite and Rampage instead of giving that focus to other women. Baker is a star in every sense of the word, but she doesn't need to be involved at the top of the mix at all times.

    Using Baker to elevate others such as Soho is the best use of her at the moment before she inevitably reenters championship contention. Using her at any level beyond that could put her in a position similar to WWE's Charlotte Flair when fans are sick of seeing her and resent her push.

        

    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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