I finally got to sit down and watch the entire Rumble PLE. It was a reminder that this presentation just isn't my jam. As chaotic, frenzied, and at times disjointed as AEW can be, it feels like a wrestling show. It's dudes with distinct looks and styles showcasing their wares. This shit feels like fitness models & Bronson Reed pretending to fight. I think the biggest downside to running everyone through the PC is that they invariably come out doing almost everything the same. There are some standouts in both Rumble matches, like Tiffany Stratton. I don't know that I've ever seen anyone scream "STAR" without doing a thing like she does. She looks like and has the athletic ability of a franchise player. She's fantastic. Bobby Lashley continues to defy the laws of time. Why is this man not champion of everything? He's the shit. I don't watch nXt, but Carmelo Hayes looks like he could be a dude for them. His look jumps off the screen. I'm a big Santos Escobar fan from his time in LU. I don't understand why he doesn't have a more prominent role on tv for them. He's a handsome athletic latino with great charisma, and I love the pairing with Angel Garza and Berto. There just aren't many people on the roster right now who do anything for me. It also feels like most of HHH's nXt re-hirings are DOA. No one gives a shit about Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox, Karrion Kross, and a handful of others. Kross, in particular, just isn't working. That dude is like the movie Anaconda; on every level, that movie should've worked. It had a decent script, a good director, and a great cast. It still ended up sucking a fresh turd. Karrion Kross just isn't interesting. He's Bobby Fish in the body of Sid. At some point they should probably cut their losses. I hope they never break up Imperium. Like 60% of the WWE product I've watched in the last 4 years I've watched because someone was like "Hey, WALTER fucked somebody up on nXt UK." Ride that shit 'til the wheels fall off.
The women's Rumble was pretty fun. It is crazy to me how many stalwarts from the last 5 years weren't in it. Carmella, Tamina, Nikki Cross, Rhea Ripley, Alexa Bliss, Charlotte, Sasha, et. al. I know there are varying legitimate reasons for their absence. It just serves as a stark reminder of how quickly the women's roster can turn over. Maxine Dupri probably needs more time. Naomi coming back was cool. She has one of my favorite entrances in wrestling. I don't share some corner's of the internet's excitement about the potential of TNA and WWE working together, but Jordynne Grace seemed ecstatic to be there and the crowd was happy to see her. Our paths have crossed a few times at powerlifting meets in Georgia and she and Jon have always been super nice to me. I'm of the opinion that the creative really isn't any better under HHH than it was under Vince, but I do enjoy how much more "zip" this Rumble seems to have.
One of my biggest peeves currently in wrestling is this idea that Jade Cargill isn't "ready." Can she bump like Bayley? Fuck no. But asking Jade to bump more than twice a match is completely misunderstanding what you have with her. She doesn't need to work like everyone else because she isn't like everyone else. She looked like a Greek Goddess amongst the common folk while she was in the Rumble, and her manhandling (figuratively) Nia Jax was the only moment of the show that made me audibly react. What in the world do they think they need her to do that she can't do now? If she's gonna end up having weekly 8-10 minute matches like everyone else on the roster then Endeavor would've been better off lighting a match to the money they gave her. She can't be anywhere on the card but an attraction. Let Shayna Baszler and Zoey Stark have long matches to no reaction. Jade is there to draw eyes and do shit no one else can do.
Neither Rumble winner was surprising. I know the rumor was that Bayley just re-signed, but I still don't think WWE really appreciates her the way they should. Her ability to get a TV match out of anyone is truly remarkable. She's gotten worlds better on the mic and this heel persona has been fantastic. She's become the class of the Four Horsewomen by a wide margin. In a fair and just world she gets the long title run in front of an audience that she's deserved for a while. Cody should "finish his story," but I'm still skeptical, mostly because I still think deep down that corporate image means more to WWE than any other deciding factor, and the Rock and Roman Reigns are both bigger stars outside WWE than Cody, and anyone who thinks that doesn't matter are kidding themselves. It wouldn't shock me if Roman and Rock were the story coming out of Mania, and it would shock me even less if we were to find out later that the decision got taken out of HHH's hands.