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Kevin Owens’ Fresh Start on WWE SmackDown, AEW’s New Top Heel, More Quick Takes

Kevin Owens’ Fresh Start on WWE SmackDown, AEW’s New Top Heel, More Quick Takes

Kevin Owens’ Fresh Start on WWE SmackDown, AEW’s New Top Heel, More Quick Takes

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    Kevin Owens and Nick Aldis are welcome additions to SmackDown.

    Kevin Owens and Nick Aldis are welcome additions to SmackDown.Credit:

    A successful season premiere for SmackDown capped off an eventful week for WWE, and the upcoming season premiere for Raw should kick-start this week in similar fashion.

    Returning stars, fresh faces and new storylines will provide all three of WWE’s biggest brands with more of a can’t-miss vibe and give fans plenty to look forward to in the final stretch of 2023.

    All Elite Wrestling has had an exciting several days of its own following a strong Tuesday night edition of Dynamite, and the promotion has shown no signs of slowing down any time soon with a marquee main event now set for Full Gear on November 18.

    Jay White will challenge MJF for the AEW World Championship then and has already transitioned into the featured spot exceptionally well. If his strong booking continues, he has a legitimate shot of dethroning MJF and ensuring Bullet Club Gold lives up to its name.

    This installment of Quick Takes will talk White’s recent rise in AEW, what’s in store for Kevin Owens on SmackDown, the effect Triple H’s complete takeover of WWE Creative will have on the product, and more.

Kevin Owens’ SmackDown Return Bolsters Babyface Side of the Roster

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    On Friday’s SmackDown, over a month of questions, speculation and anticipation culminated in Kevin Owens being revealed as the newest member of the blue brand in exchange for Jey Uso being traded to Raw in early September.

    Cody Rhodes was the popular choice among fans, but it’s evident he has more to do on Monday nights before he heads to Friday nights to resume his rivalry with Roman Reigns en route to WrestleMania 40.

    KO was the next best candidate having failed to regain the tag titles twice alongside Sami Zayn in recent weeks. Barring an unnecessary betrayal of his best friend, he had hit a wall on Raw and returning to SmackDown gives him a fresh batch of competitors to work with.

    Of course, Reigns shouldn’t be one of them (limiting Owens to the midcard scene for now), but Austin Theory and Grayson Waller would make for fine foils for The Prizefighter eventually. The newly turned Bobby Lashley is another option along with Karrion Kross.

    The endgame with KO should be for him to blame Rhodes for being responsible for his team with Zayn coming to an abrupt end. That feud wouldn’t take shape presumably until after ‘Mania, but there are enough opponents to keep him busy in the meantime.

Powerhouse Hobbs Can’t Afford Another Abandoned Push

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    Powerhouse Hobbs became the latest AEW star to join The Don Callis Family on the post-WrestleDream edition of Dynamite. He went on to pick up the biggest win of his career the subsequent week when he defeated Chris Jericho in decisive fashion.

    Now it becomes a question of whether he can maintain the momentum this time around.

    Hobbs is no stranger to stables, after linking up with Team Taz for his first major opportunity in late 2020 followed by QTV for a brief period earlier this year. He wasn’t showcased in either scenario and it’s imperative that things work out differently for him in the Callis Family.

    Konosuke Takeshita has so far benefited from his partnership with Callis while Sammy Guevara has largely stayed stagnant. Hobbs can’t be exclusively relegated to being a background player in the group, even if it’d be an improvement over the lack of television time he received previously.

    One more abandoned push might be enough for fans to write the 32-year-old off completely, whereas a proper push could be what elevates him to that next level.

Nick Aldis Will Be Perfect Fit as SmackDown’s New GM

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    Joining Kevin Owens on SmackDown will be the brand’s newly appointed general manager—the man instrumental in orchestrating the trade in the first place—Nick Aldis.

    The former NWA and TNA world champion has had a decorated career in the last decade and brings credibility to the role. Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select reported that he previously worked as producer for WWE and that his high marks backstage may have been what earned him the opportunity to work on screen.

    Although the 36-year-old Englishman could easily be competing among the elite on the blue brand right now, it makes more sense for him to be introduced as an authority figure first. This way, fans can get familiar with what he can do as a character so they’ll be more invested if and when he eventually wrestles.

    Aldis has come into his own as a phenomenal talker in recent years and will be the perfect fit as the SmackDown GM.

    On top of all that, the return of dueling GMs will give Raw and SmackDown more of a distinct feel and open the doors for future trades and related possibilities.

Triple H Taking Control of WWE Creative Should Carve Clear Path to WrestleMania 40

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    Mike Johnson’s PWInsider Elite report confirming Triple H had been “knighted” by Endeavor to assume complete creative control of WWE left fans optimistic for the future of the product and rightfully so.

    Already the HHH effect is being felt on Raw and SmackDown with plenty of newer names being featured the past two weeks. Both brands have mostly been solid since WrestleMania 39, but the removal of Vince McMahon from the equation should make the creative direction significantly smoother.

    The most important aspect from the development is that WWE can now start planting the seeds for what the ‘Mania lineup will look like next April.

    The long-term storytelling was apparent ahead of WrestleMania 39, but McMahon being involved in the process could have had an adverse effect on the event. The card won’t be confirmed until it draws closer, but there shouldn’t be much debate over what the main matchups will end up being.

    That includes Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns in a rematch from last year’s Show of Shows. The two briefly crossed paths Friday on SmackDown, which should put to rest any rumors of The Rock replacing Rhodes against The Tribal Chief in the spring spectacle’s headline event.

Jay White Has Quickly Proved Himself as Main Event Material

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    There was definite doubt among fans early in Jay White’s AEW run with regards to whether he made the right choice in signing with that promotion over WWE.

    The 31-year-old wasn’t positioned as anyone special on the shows and wasn’t featured consistently, but the arrival of AEW Collision in the summer gave him the platform he needed to shine.

    Since then, White has generated great momentum in his matches with FTR, Andrade El Idolo and The Elite. His challenge to MJF for an AEW World Championship match at Full Gear was rather random, but he’s quickly proved himself worthy of main event exposure by excelling in every situation he’s been put in.

    Outclassing MJF on the mic is an impressive feat in itself, let alone his above-average in-ring ability. AEW has done everything right with Switchblade so far in the build to their bout, making him come across as a genuine threat to the title in the process.

    If babyface MJF will be a permanent fixture for the foreseeable future, it might be time to cement White as AEW’s lead heel with a world title win at Full Gear.

    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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