0 of 5
The surplus of Saturday shows highlights WWE’s latest pay-per-view lineup for 2022.Credit: WWE.com
As 2021 comes to a close, WWE has set the stage for what should be a jam-packed 2022, filled with stadium Saturday shows and possibly an event overseas.
The company’s newly released pay-per-view lineup for next year gives fans a decent idea of what to expect and when as far as the biggest shows are concerned. The locations for each event also indicate that WWE has major plans for their upcoming touring schedule.
AEW has several significant shows on the horizon as well, most notably Full Gear on November 13. Of all the matches teased or outright confirmed so far, a possible bout between CM Punk and Eddie Kingston could end up having the best build.
The two teased facing off during Friday’s edition of Rampage, so it seems like a likely addition to the card. Only two weeks remain until the event, but the promos they could produce in that time could be fantastic.
This week’s installment of Quick Takes will tackle why Kingston needs to be Punk’s first full-fledged feud, WWE’s latest “new era” getting off to a less-than-stellar start, Seth Rollins becoming the No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship and more.
1 of 5
The top takeaway for 2022 is that WrestleMania has been confirmed to be a two-night event for the third straight year. It worked out well for WWE in 2020 and 2021, so keeping that trend going with more people in the arena both nights is a smart move and should lead to a more electric weekend on the whole.
Saturday pay-per-views in general are an exciting step forward for a company that has traditionally always held pay-per-views Sundays.
Other than the two-night WrestleMania shows, WWE experimented with holding an event Saturday with SummerSlam, and by all accounts, it was successful. Day 1, Royal Rumble, Money in the Bank, SummerSlam and Survivor Series will all be Saturday shows in 2022.
Most importantly, the lack of detail on the Labor Day weekend pay-per-view may mean that WWE is finally going forward with an event overseas. Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful noted that it is internally believed to be the long-awaited United Kingdom show, and that it wouldn’t go head-to-head with AEW that same weekend.
The lack of Elimination Chambers and other events of that nature on the lineup is also noticeable, but regardless of whether they’re eventually added, the tentative schedule is strong on paper.
2 of 5
WWE champion Big E already knows the name of his next challenger, and his name is Seth Rollins.
The conclusion of Monday’s Raw saw four of the red brand’s finest competitors meet in a grueling ladder match to determine the No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship. Ultimately, it was Rollins who reigned supreme over the illustrious likes of Finn Balor, Kevin Owens and Rey Mysterio to secure the title shot.
Rollins and Big E haven’t had many interactions on the main roster, but they do have their fair share of history from their developmental days. In addition to their battles in Florida Championship Wrestling, Big E also unseated Rollins as NXT champion in early 2013.
The result should be no different when they meet again, this time for the WWE Championship.
It’s more a question of how long the feud is going to last. Big E’s recent rivalries with Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre were short-lived and largely designed to get Big E over, but now that he’s firmly been established as a main event player, he needs a lengthy feud to sink his teeth into.
Rollins is as fantastic of a foil as any, and the two should work well together in the coming weeks. With Survivor Series right around the corner, it would be asinine for WWE to book this bout anytime soon, so here’s hoping they hold off at least until the Day 1 pay-per-view on New Year’s Day.
3 of 5
Inner Circle vs. American Top Team is one of the biggest rivalries running in AEW at the moment and will culminate in a blockbuster 10-man tag team match at the Full Gear pay-per-view.
The matchup was made official on Wednesday’s Dynamite after Sammy Guevara successfully defended his AEW TNT Championship against Ethan Page. The two worked well together, but the bout illustrated just how wasted the title currently is in this ongoing angle.
Although Miro didn’t defend it as often as Darby Allin did when he was champion, everything he was involved in had to do with the championship. When Allin started to get pulled in different directions, he too relinquished the gold.
Guevara was catching fire as a singles star when he was brought back into the Inner Circle to feud with a faction that likely won’t be around in a few months. There’s no indication that Inner Circle is back together full-time, but Guevara, Santana and Ortiz would be better off on their own at this point.
The AEW TNT Championship should be bigger than this storyline, and Guevara doesn’t benefit from being a part of it. AEW has too talented of a roster for Guevara to not be working with someone new on a near-weekly basis.
4 of 5
Despite WWE touting this week’s episodes of Raw and SmackDown as the beginning of a “new era,” both shows featured more of the same and did nothing to send the message that change is coming.
Other than the above-average main event, the overall layout of Raw was no different than usual. Most matches were short on time, and there wasn’t anything overly exciting to keep viewers hooked through the three hours.
Friday’s SmackDown was arguably worse in that they wasted no time in immediately renewing rivalries from years ago. It started with Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair, continued with Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Happy Corbin, and finished with The New Day vs. The Usos.
The same can be said for Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar. As strong as their storyline is at the moment, those two have waged war on countless occasions over the years, so that also isn’t anything new.
It’s less of a new era and more of an era that fans have seen before. When the brand’s biggest names (such as Roman Reigns) are missing, it illustrates just how uninspiring the rest of the card is without them. The key to creating more stars is to focus on those fresh faces and not rekindle rivalries that have already been done to death.
Real change is needed in order for these shows to truly thrive.
5 of 5
For the past two months, CM Punk has been rediscovering his passion for pro wrestling one match at a time.
He hasn’t settled into any one storyline but has scored victories over Darby Allin, Powerhouse Hobbs, Daniel Garcia and Bobby Fish. Based on what went down on Friday’s edition of Rampage, it appears Eddie Kingston will be next in line to step in the ring with The Best in the World.
This must be more than a match AEW books for a random episode of Dynamite. Rather, it’d be an excellent addition to an already-strong Full Gear card, ensuring that they can have at least one or two verbal spars before then.
Kingston wouldn’t need to be a full-blown heel in order for this feud to work, either. As long as there’s an issue established between the two, nothing else matters. Punk is bound to be beloved regardless, and Kingston can play off that if he wishes.
All we know about Punk so far in AEW is that he’s back to have fun. He’s managed to do that since returning to the ring, but in order to get him at his most motivated, he must have someone who can bring the best out of him, and Kingston is undoubtedly that guy.
This program has the potential to last through the remainder of the year if booked properly, including a tag team match pitting Punk and Bryan Danielson against Kingston and Jon Moxley on Dynamite post-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.