Cody Rhodes has much more to gain from a win at Night of Champions than Brock Lesnar. Credit:

Rhodes Must Beat Lesnar Again, Ridiculous Roman Reigns Booking and More Quick Takes

Graham GSM Matthews

With an electric Backlash done, WWE has wasted no time revving up the build for Night of Champions on May 27 and stacking it with three marquee matches.

Among them is the highly anticipated rematch between Brock Lesnar and Cody Rhodes, which is being billed as a "fight" per The Beast Incarnate's challenge last week.

Regardless of what official stipulation it ends up getting, though, The American Nightmare winning for a second straight time is imperative.

Roman Reigns will also be involved in a high-profile bout at the event, despite his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship not being on the line. Instead, he and Solo Sikoa will challenge for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship in a booking move that makes little sense.

Although the latest dissension within The Bloodline will be fun to follow, it does the top title picture no favors and further proves that Reigns losing both of his belts at WrestleMania 39 may have been the better call in retrospect.

This installment of Quick Takes will tackle the tag team title turmoil, a possible opponent for CM Punk upon his return to All Elite Wrestling, WWE turning the wrong woman heel on SmackDown, and more.

A Second Straight Win Over Brock Lesnar Would Firmly Establish Cody Rhodes' Stardom

Cody Rhodes besting Brock Lesnar at Backlash was somewhat of a surprise, if only because it would have been easy for WWE to have The Beast steamroll through Rhodes to tell the story of his "adversity."

What we got was the right route to take to ensure The American Nightmare's momentum wasn't completely ended following his loss to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 39. His fluky victory set the stage for this rematch at Night of Champions where he can now win decisively to finish the feud once and for all.

The only thing accomplished from Lesnar getting his win back is extending the program (potentially through SummerSlam), which is unnecessary. Rhodes should be a focal point on WWE TV heading into the summer season and shouldn't be feuding with The Beast for another few months if nothing is at stake.

Rhodes can't compete in the men's Money in the Bank ladder match if he's busy with The Beast post-Night of Champions. Additionally, it would be an incredible feat for him to be one of an elite few to hand Lesnar back-to-back losses, preparing him for another opportunity at Reigns before long.

Samoa Joe, Not Chris Jericho, Is the Right Return Rival for CM Punk in AEW

CM Punk returning to AEW is virtually guaranteed at this point, as well as how he's expected to head up the new Collision show on Saturday nights starting in June.

What isn't confirmed is who he'll be feuding with first once he's officially back in the fold.

Chris Jericho would have to be the most logical candidate given his back-and-forth beef with Punk on social media in the last several months. But Fightful Select (h/t Colby Applegate of Wrestling Inc) reported last week that Samoa Joe could be a front-runner for the spot instead if Punk has his way.

Joe hasn't been seen on AEW TV since losing the TNT Championship to Wardlow at Revolution in March, but he has remained a regular in Ring of Honor as the ROH World Television champion.

The Samoan Submission Machine has a rich history with Punk dating back to their ROH days in the early 2000s, so rekindling that rivalry would give fans something to look forward to on Collision right off the bat.

Not only would it be a nice trip down memory lane for longtime fans, but the promos between the two would also be nothing short of excellent.

The feud would get Joe back on AEW TV in a prominent role and would feel far fresher than anything Punk could do with Jericho following their numerous encounters in WWE.

WWE Merely Delaying the Inevitable with Asuka's Heel Turn

Friday's SmackDown saw Asuka make her first appearance on WWE TV since WrestleMania 39 and cement her heel turn by attacking Bianca Belair.

The Empress of Tomorrow has proved in the past that she can thrive in a villainous role, but the problem is that Belair was more in need of a character change than her rival.

Asuka already reverted to her Kana-esque gimmick earlier this year without changing much about her mannerisms. The heel turn could help her flesh out the persona a bit more, but The EST of WWE is the one who has felt stale for some time now.

WWE has booked Belair to be an unstoppable Raw women's champion over the last year. Although it's resulted in her having a strong reign with several great matches, she lacks credible challengers and could use a heel turn to feel fresh again.

It's evident WWE is hesitant to turn The EST before Charlotte Flair can return as a heel to mix it up with her and it's merely delaying the inevitable by turning Asuka instead.

Their rematch is bound to be terrific, but The Empress may be just another filler opponent for Belair to steamroll through.

5 Matches to Fill Out AEW Double or Nothing Card

One of AEW's premier pay-per-views, Double or Nothing, is less than two weeks away, but the card consists of only two matches currently: an AEW World Championship "four pillars" match, and FTR vs. Jay Lethal and Jeff Jarrett for the AEW World Tag Team Championship.

Needless to say, these next two editions of Dynamite will be crucial in selling viewers on the event. Announcing more bouts is obviously of utmost importance, and there are several that would be logical additions to the lineup.

Christian Cage is expected to challenge Wardlow for the TNT Championship, while Adam Cole and Chris Jericho settle their score after being at odds for weeks.

Two faction wars should also reach a boiling point at the show when The Elite battle Blackpool Combat Club and The Outcasts clash with the AEW originals of the women's division. Gold won't be up for grabs in either outing, but the storylines are significant enough that both contests sell themselves (especially if stipulations are attached).

Jay White and Ricky Starks will go one-on-one this week on Dynamite, and a rematch at Double or Nothing is almost a certainty.

Nothing else is set in stone, but a smaller card would make each match more meaningful.

Roman Reigns Not Defending Title at Night of Champions Is Missed Opportunity

On a PPV titled Night of Champions, a defense of the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship would be appropriate, especially with it marking 1,000 days Roman Reigns has held the gold.

In a bizarre turn of events, The Tribal Chief will instead team with Solo Sikoa to challenge Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship. The outcome is unpredictable and that's a plus, but the cons outweigh the pros in this scenario.

Owens and Zayn have been stuck in a storyline with The Bloodline for over six months and are ready to move on to other opponents. This is more about teasing tension within the family group than anything else, and the timing couldn't be worse with Night of Champions falling on such an important occasion.

AJ Styles or Bobby Lashley could have easily been built up at short notice as an opponent for Reigns. Of course, neither would have won, but it would have been a much better use of the world champion in Saudi Arabia on May 27.

Based on how flat the fallout has been, it's clear the Bloodline saga peaked at WrestleMania 39 and this latest chapter is a massive wasted opportunity.

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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