Quick Takes on Roman Reigns Joining Paul Heyman, The Elite, Aleister Black, More

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SummerSlam weekend was nothing short of newsworthy, and to WWE’s credit, the company was able to follow it up with an equally important week of TV with Raw, SmackDown and even NXT.

Above all else, Roman Reigns has returned and is apparently aligned with Paul Heyman if the ending to SmackDown was any indication. The mere sight of the two sitting alongside each other sent shock waves throughout the WWE Universe, with fans buzzing about what it might mean for The Big Dog’s character.

While it isn’t clear if Reigns is supposed to be a full-fledged bad guy or not (though it does look likely), Aleister Black’s heel turn on Monday’s Raw was far more concrete. He laid out fan favorite Kevin Owens with the Black Mass to literally kick off what should be an excellent program between the two.

Adam Page’s dismissal from The Elite, courtesy of The Young Bucks, was also set in stone during All Elite Wrestling Dynamite on Thursday night. It’s been teased on countless occasions, but now that Hangman is officially out of the faction, that should pave the way for him to lose the AEW World Tag Team Championship at All Out and branch out on his own.

The dissension within The Elite is reaching a boiling point and is about to produce some must-see TV for AEW in the coming weeks. Page’s future beyond the group will be discussed in this edition of Quick Takes along with Heyman recruiting Reigns into his ranks, Rey and Dominik Mysterio eventually capturing tag team title gold, who the next NXT champion will be and more.

Are Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman About to Become SmackDown’s New Top Heel Act?

WWE has teased turning Roman Reigns heel so much since he broke out as a solo act that a majority of fans lost hope of it happening years ago. The company had countless opportunities to pull the trigger on the turn but opted not to over and over again.

After what went down at SummerSlam and on SmackDown, however, it appears Reigns may be on the verge of becoming the bad guy many fans have long wanted him to be.

Reigns came across as more aggressive than he has in some time while attacking “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman at SummerSlam. He followed that up by revealing he has aligned with Heyman at the end of Friday’s SmackDown. So unless Heyman is making a face turn, heel Reigns seems to be all but confirmed.

The development is a refreshing chance of pace for Reigns, who has essentially been portraying the same character for years. Babyface Big Dog reclaiming the Universal Championship at Payback or soon after would have been fine, but it wouldn’t have given viewers much of an incentive to continuing tuning into SmackDown past that point.

Reigns and Heyman coming together is something that’s never been done before and has the potential to be huge if done correctly. Unlike Brock Lesnar, Reigns doesn’t need a mouthpiece and is perfectly capable of speaking for himself. Then again, neither did CM Punk, yet that pairing simply worked.

It’s also an incredibly smart use of Heyman if Lesnar isn’t going to be around for the foreseeable future. There are a ton of benefits to this partnership if it persists, especially for SmackDown and its depleted main event scene.

Aleister Black vs. Kevin Owens Gives Both Men Much-Needed Direction

Prior to Monday’s Raw, Aleister Black was last seen on WWE programming being viciously assaulted by Seth Rollins. No one came to the aid of the former NXT champion that night, which is why his actions on the latest installment of The KO Show shouldn’t have shocked anyone.

Black had been feuding with Rollins and Murphy on and off for months, but aside from scoring an upset victory over Rollins on Raw in June, the rivalry did nothing to put Black in a better position on the card. If anything, it hurt his momentum because he wasn’t the focal point as much as he was a mere background player.

He’s been suffering from a lack of direction for some time, and although a heel turn isn’t ideal, it might be the only way to get his career back on track.

The same can be said for Kevin Owens, who has largely been floundering since WrestleMania 36. It was at that event that he scored one of his biggest wins over Rollins, but an injury, as well as the current circumstances, caused him to miss television time and interrupted his push.

Raw has an ample amount of babyfaces, and with NXT upstart Keith Lee recently arriving on the flagship show, it makes sense for Black to go heel by betraying the beloved Owens. They have never had an extended program before, and thus a series of matches pitting them against each other will be fresh.

Black has never worked as a heel in WWE, so it will be interesting to see how he fares in the role and whether he can emerge from this feud a bigger star, which should be the goal.

Adam Page Being Booted from The Elite Should Spell the End for Tag Title Reign

The Elite as we know it is no more following the events that transpired on AEW Dynamite. Adam Page hinted at leaving the group of his own accord late last year, but his issues with the rest of The Elite seemed to subside when he and Kenny Omega captured the AEW World Tag Team Championship in January.

Ever since FTR entered AEW in late May, however, the rift between Page and The Young Bucks has become much more apparent. Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler pointed out that they have done more to help Hangman than Matt and Nick Jackson have in recent months and that they are to be trusted, not the Bucks.

That led to Page costing Matt and Nick a shot at the tag titles in Wednesday’s Gauntlet match. With the Bucks declaring afterward that Page is no longer “elite,” all signs point to FTR betraying Page as well at All Out and beating him and Omega for the belts.

FTR have been on such a roll that it would be a mistake for them to not walk out of the pay-per-view with the gold in their grasp. More importantly, the time has come for Page to re-enter singles competition and start chasing either the AEW TNT Championship or the AEW World Championship.

With a limited audience in attendance, it’s difficult to determine who’s over and who’s not, but Page was popular enough pre-pandemic that he could have branched off on his own even then and thrived. He shouldn’t be bound to the tag team ranks forever, and this latest development within The Elite means we’re another step closer to Page flying solo again.

Who Will Be the Next NXT Champion?

Karrion Kross’ shoulder injury couldn’t have come at a worse time, having just beat Keith Lee to win the NXT Championship in the main event of TakeOver XXX. He was primed to be the top heel on the black-and-gold brand for many months to come, but as fate would have it, he will have to wait a little longer to get that title run.

In the meantime, the prestigious prize has been declared vacant, and general manager William Regal announced a blockbuster 60-minute Iron Man for the title on Tuesday’s show. It will consist of four of the greatest stars in NXT history: Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Finn Balor and Adam Cole.

Truth be told, there isn’t a bad choice for champion among them, but some are stronger options than others. For example, Cole is fresh off a year-long reign with the title and is presumably main roster-bound in the near future, so to put the belt back on him wouldn’t accomplish anything.

Meanwhile, Gargano was deprived of a real run with the title a year ago but has the least going for him of everyone involved. That leaves Balor and Ciampa, and either one of them as champion again would be excellent.

Balor’s the more notable name of the two and could bring more eyes to the product if the belt were back in his possession, but it makes more sense for Ciampa to reclaim the gold, having never lost it in the first place. Plus, with how ruthless he came across during his heel turn Wednesday, it would be a waste to not capitalize on that with a title win.

Ciampa hasn’t won a major match in ages, so he has much more to gain from becoming a two-time NXT champion than Balor would at this stage. Therefore, he should be considered the best bet to reign supreme in that star-studded Fatal 4-Way.

Fantasy-Booking Rey and Dominik Mysterio’s Road to Tag Team Title Glory

Despite Monday marking their debut as a tag team, Rey and Dominik Mysterio showed some serious potential as partners when they took on Seth Rollins and Murphy. The fact that they are father and son should explain why their chemistry is already so strong, but it’s still impressive considering Dominik’s inexperience.

Dominik’s debut against Rollins at SummerSlam couldn’t have been booked better, and it was logical for him to lose. What wasn’t logical, however, was WWE rushing his first tag team match with Rey on Raw, especially if the plan was always to do a rematch at the Payback pay-per-view.

Rollins has now beaten Rey and Dominik on back-to-back shows, so it would stand to reason that the Mysterio family will win Sunday night. From there, they should be considered next in line for a shot at the Raw Tag Team Championships.

Unless AOP return sometime soon, Rey and Dominik would be the perfect pairing to take those titles off The Street Profits. Fans are invested in them, they work wonderfully together and it would be fun to see them reign as champions for at least a few months.

After all, Raw’s tag team division is as desolate as can be and could use a pairing as popular and as prominently featured as as Rey and Dominik at the forefront. It may not happen until the end of the year at the earliest, but when it does, expect it to be a career highlight for the legendary luchador.

source b/r

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