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Samoa Joe Should Win WWE Universal Title, Okada vs. Cody and Other Thoughts by Mitch Nickelson

The top titles in several promotions have been heating up as of late. There’s a huge IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match this weekend in California as he’s being challenged by the current Ring of Honor Champion as well as a monster matchup for next week’s Great Balls Of Fire pay-per-view. Let’s jump right into those topics as well as a few others…

The New Champ Is Here?

As we get closer and closer to Great Balls Of Fire on July 9, I honestly feel that Samoa Joe should go over Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. I still like Brock, but the novelty of his sporadic appearances isn’t quite what it used to be. It’s still fantastic every time he shows up but that doesn’t mean he should be carrying the top title on Raw. It’s time for a newer big angry guy who can wreck fools to be on top. That’s a role best suited for Joe.

It’s kind of crazy to realize just how well Samoa Joe is currently positioned on WWE’s main roster. He initially came in as Triple H’s heavy, taking out Seth Rollins on his first night. He was regarded as a big deal right from the start, a treatment far more wrestlers should get. More recently, he’s called out and attacked both Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar. Every time they face off, Joe is treated as Brock’s equal, if not greater. Brock’s purple face can attest to that.

WWE has a couple of options here. Either Samoa Joe has been built up as a monster for Brock to slay – and that’s not a bad use of Joe at all. Or better yet, WWE should realize that they have two dominant forces and only one of them happens to have a full time schedule. Brock can remain an attraction who wrestles a handful of times a year while Joe can be The Man week in and week out. Surely it’s tempting to Vince McMahon to put the title on a guy that will actually be there every Monday night.

No Double Reign For Cody

Kudos to Cody Rhodes for all he’s done outside of WWE. He wasn’t happy with the lot that he was given and took the chance of venturing out on his own. It was a gamble that paid off well for him. He recently defeated Christopher Daniels for the ROH World Championship, a title he’ll take with him into the G1 USA special this weekend. If he pulls off the big win, he’ll make history by carrying both his current title as well as the IWGP Heavyweight Championship simultaneously. That would be a huge deal.

As cool as that accomplishment would be for Cody, I’m not putting any money on him winning against Okada in Long Beach. After the two matches Okada had against Kenny Omega, I can’t imagine anybody coming in at and simply taking his title from him in a simple singles match. Kenny has taken him to task twice with epic, critically-acclaimed contests. Their last match was a 60-minute time limit draw, so there’s unfinished business. That would be strange storytelling if the Okada/Omega story got interrupted by a Cody title reign.

Cody won’t beat Okada, but what he might do is have one of the best matches of his career. He’s challenging the top guy in New Japan at a time when Okada’s been going to war with everybody he steps in the ring with. I’ve been waiting for that one truly great Cody Rhodes match in this post-WWE run and I think we’re on the verge of seeing it.

Are You Sick Of Hearing About Lavar Ball?

If so, too bad.

Curtis Axel went on a brief Twitter tirade after this odd spectacle went down. He posted a picture of the Big Baller himself and used a few choice words before telling Lavar Ball to get off of his stage. There’s a part of me that really enjoyed how bizarre the segment was because it’s not every day that we get to see something that confounds so many people. It was also fun to see The Miz, a man who’s among the peak performers on the mic, get pushed to his furthest limits of being able to keep a show from being completely derailed.

I can understand why someone like Curtis would be upset. There were tons of wrestlers who watched that backstage from a monitor. Of course, The Ax Man and all of the rest would be a little miffed when time is spent on directionless nonsense like that when there could be an actual match going on inside the ring. However, I don’t totally side with Axel because this genuinely brought in interest from non-wrestling fans. It got coverage from outlets like ESPN and I can attest that several non-wrestling fan coworkers of mine specifically asked about this. There’s some value to these shenanigans, but let’s hope WWE keeps these stunts to a minimal.

A Great Week For The Ladies

On Monday, Raw was headlined with a gauntlet match that showcased Nia Jax as a proper force to be reckoned with. Sasha Banks won, earning herself a shot at the Women’s Championship at Great Balls of Fire. On Tuesday, the do-over Women’s MITB Ladder Match main evented. Carmella won again and I think this time she actually got to keep that briefcase. On Wednesday, Asuka was challenged by Nikki Cross in a wild Last Woman Standing Match for the NXT Championship. Back to back to back women’s main events is quite a feat that’s been rightfully celebrated.

Personally, I liked the Asuka/Nikki Cross match the best. The NXT Women’s division is one of my favorite in all of wrestling because of the good work Akusa, Nikki, Ruby Riot, and Ember Moon have been putting in. I might have a bias already but if there was a winner between Raw, SmackDown Live, and NXT, I give it to the Wednesday show. Any time someone gets suplexed off of a ladder and through a table, that’s hard to beat.

Goodbye For Now

Thanks for reading my thoughts on the current happenings in professional wrestling. If you’d like to hear even more from me, please check out my slightly revamped podcast by clicking HERE or below. My co-hosts have all moved on from podcasting, so this is a modified format of just me talking. I wasn’t sure if I could do a completely solo show, but I think it went well. Give me a listen and thanks for reading!

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