Jay White, Will Ospreay and Harry Smith alongside Doug Williams…. These men were all crowned new champions in their respective promotions in one capacity or another. In this piece, we’ll be taking a look at just why these wins were the right moves and why NJPW and NWA might have the upper hand in delivering just what fans want to see this summer: Working, defending champions that will be there for their fans from week to week.
Sadly CM Punk is injured in AEW and the crowning of the interim AEW World Champion is under way. Punk can’t be there because of said injury, but over in WWE the supposed “Big Dog of the yard” isn’t wrestling because he merely doesn’t feel like it, wants a lighter schedule and is chasing whatever Hollywood dreams he has conjured up alongside his agent.
But here, NJPW and NWA have shown that they know just what the fans want…as stated, working champions and champions that are heralded by true blue wrestling fans to boot.
Let’s look at these three key matches from the weekend, shall we?
The IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Match at NJPW’s Dominion Live event pitting Kazuchika Okada, the reigning champion, against Jay White
Now talk about a dream match! The top two wrestlers in the promotion and some would consider them the top two in the industry, but of course that’s arguable. Regardless, the two men did not disappoint, giving the fans a match that lasted for over 35 minutes and from frame to frame, the match was a picture perfect showcase of form, pace, timing and of course conviction, which hasn’t been missing from any portion of either man’s epic career thus far.
To have Jay White crowned as champion heading into the Forbidden Door event has no doubt disappointed some, as many would have certainly wanted to see Okada at the event as champion. But others are certainly excited at the aspect that White will be walking into that event with the IWGP Heavyweight title across his shoulder or rather on his waist. So the advantage going in to the previously announced and/or presumed Kazuchika Okada/Jay White vs. Hangman Page/Adam Cole deal is a tad different than expected with the recent title change.
The vacant IWGP United States Championship Match pitting SANADA against Will Ospreay
Now to talk about someone who is definitely going to be at Forbidden Door, as we all saw on Dynamite, Will Ospreay debuted on AEW TV just this week in all his glory, he interrupting Trent Beretta and FTR during a segment, and he seems to have entered into quite the storyline on that front…the six men having a match on Rampage this week…the United Empire losing that match. But now he will be walking into Forbidden Door as IWGP US Champion to boot all things considered. Who knows what the circumstances of his involvement will be if any; as of this writing it’s what we know.
It was previously presumed that the match we got on Rampage was what was expected at the event. Will we just get a repeat of that?
Will that change the capacity at which he seems to be linked to the Forbidden Door event? Probably not, unless something’s in the works to be changed.
Losing CM Punk for that event is a massive loss for AEW, but it’s an issue they seem to be determined to work through regardless, so who knows what else they have planned?
La Rebelion against The Commonwealth Connection for the NWA World Tag Team Championship
And NJPW’s Dominion Live event wasn’t the only action this weekend, as Billy Corgan’s NWA put on quite the show as well, NWA Alwayz Ready.
As with the NJPW show a lot went down and neither event disappointed, across the board. For this piece though, I’ve decided to concentrate on these three matches in particular, and this tag team match from NWA delivered on all fronts.
With Harry Smith (Davey Boy Smith Jr.), we get shades of his father, The British Bulldog; Smith’s pace is unmatched these days, and his pairing of balance, strength, athleticism and conviction is at a higher level than most out there.
Which is why his most recent run in WWE was such a mismanagement of epic talent at the highest level. They had no clue what to do with this ace of the ring and it showed. He was released in less than a few months since he was re-signed with the company after working abroad for so many years.
He and Doug Williams—The Commonwealth Connection— won the match, which delivered on all fronts.
What all this can mean for the future
Well, in the end, Jay White’s and Will Ospreay’s success certainly speaks for itself. These men are both in the running to be the next Kenny Omega, so contracts at major promotions is undoubtedly in the cards for both men should they choose to go that way, and AEW seems like the most logical choice. But for the upcoming summer, to have men such as these as champions with their respective championships is a great idea moving forward and the sky is certainly the limit as far as where they can go…be it AEW crossover shows like the upcoming Forbidden Door or who knows what else.
As far as Harry Smith is concerned, an AEW debut would make sense for this man. He has had a beef with Jake The Snake Roberts in the past, but apparently that beef has been squashed, so to see him there would be great.
All in all, these smaller companies on the wrestling market seem to know much more about what fans want than the conglomerate WWE.
WWE has the ability to reach a global audience and does so quite well, but they are lagging on overall product, story development and champions that are willing to put in the work.
It’s actually embarrassing what Roman Reigns is doing, or rather being allowed to do, and it tarnishes the belt that was worn in some capacity in earlier forms or rather incarnations of the heavyweight title by the likes of Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and John Cena…all men that ran the road as hard or rather harder than any other performer in history or after; they worked hurt, fought the personal stuff going on in their lives and dropped the title many times over throughout their careers, and all without being granted the leeway that Reigns has been granted.
The three men mentioned in this piece fit that bill and will undoubtedly give the promotions they work for an epic summer of championship fights…something that makes them akin to the men previously mentioned above…something that WWE should certainly take a look at if they want to change the overall perception of their product right now.