Five Hot Takes From The Week In Wrestling: What We Wish Had Happened & More (2/22/2024)

Welcome back to another edition of Wrestling Inc.'s weekly hot takes column, where we look back on the week that was and deliver our strongest and most controversial opinions — both about what happened last week and about what we want to happen in the week(s) to come! More Elimination Chamber takes abound this time around, joined by some thoughts about a title reign that needs to end (no, not that one) and which top WWE and AEW stars should jump ship to the other promotion. Now, are these takes actually spicy, or do more people agree with them than we might think? Tell us all about it in the comments.


And now, our hottest takes from the week beginning Friday, February 16, and ending Thursday, February 22!

Rock, I am begging you to stay home

The Rock has been back in WWE for less than two months, and I'm already sick of him.

The newly-minted TKO Board of Directors member has been nothing but a suffocating presence in WWE in 2024. He has snuffed out any fire that Seth Rollins had heading into WrestleMania. He's made Roman Reigns look like Robin The Boy Wonder. He's made Cody Rhodes look like a flip-flopper, the John Kerry of the WWE main event scene. He's dominated a lot of the news cycle for the past two months. Elimination Chamber might be a good chance for him to take a break and let the rest of the WWE roster have their time in the sunshine.


Rock's domination of the discourse means that WrestleMania is threatening to be a one-man show spread over two nights, and in a year rife with injuries that seems like the worst idea possible. It is a long, long road to WrestleMania, and the last thing WWE should do is exhaust the one man who is seemingly carrying the messy, unwieldy WrestleMania build on his shoulders. The Rock taking a night off would be a good way to spread out some of that weight and develop some of the other neglected storylines that have been left to wither in the shadow of The Rock's massive ego.

We might get that break. Rock has said he won't be in Perth, Australia for WWE Elimination Chamber. Paul "Triple H" Levesque has said The Rock won't be there. Dave Meltzer has said it, although he might've been parroting either The Rock or Triple H. This is professional wrestling though, so that many people saying something won't happen means it will happen, let me be clear: it shouldn't.


I'm going to talk to The Rock directly now, because there is no way a man that obsessed with his own image isn't vacuuming up every bit of criticism there is — even from humble folksingers like me — and it is this simple plea: Stay home, I'm begging you. I'm crawling up a mountain of swords on my hands and knees to ask you to please not go to Australia. I might be sick of you, but plenty of WWE fans and even some of my co-workers are not. Stay home before you lose all of your goodwill, blow a tire, and spin out into a ditch before the Road to WrestleMania gets to Philadelphia.

Written by Ross Berman

It's time to end Lyra Valkyria's reign as NXT Women's Champion

Don't get me wrong, I have respect for Lyra Valkyria as a talent and think that she has a great future ahead of her. However, it just feels like it's getting close to time for someone to dethrone her as "NXT" Women's Champion, especially with talent who have been on the brand for as long as she has being drafted to "WWE Raw" and "WWE SmackDown".


It's time for Valkyria to hand the torch to someone else. Her reign as titleholder has become a little stale and old, and just lost some of the interest that it had in the beginning. It feels a lot like she's just feuded with the same few names over and over again, especially when considering that there are other talents deserving of title shots.

The women's division in "NXT" has grown immensely, and there are so many talents who are primed to take the throne from Kiana James to Lola Vice to Roxanne Perez. Valkyria is ready for a spot on the main roster, and would fit perfectly in the women's division on either brand. There are more possibilities that await for her up there, whether that be forming a team with fellow Irish wrestler Becky Lynch, feuding with her, or even squaring off against "SmackDown" newcomer and former "NXT" star Tiffany Stratton.


Written by Olivia Quinlan

Randy Orton should win the men's Elimination Chamber match

Much like Chris Jericho in WCW, Drew McIntyre's recent WWE booking has painted him as a conspiracy victim. Now, I know McIntyre hasn't actually uttered the word "conspiracy," but the pattern of his losses — notably in title matches — has certainly raised some red flags.


Over the last two years, McIntyre's record has reflected significantly more wins than losses. However, when it comes down to those pivotal moments, when it counts the most (i.e., title matches), McIntyre falls short, sometimes at no fault of his own. McIntyre has birthed losses due to a variety of reasons — interference from The Bloodline, protection of historic reigns, a thwarted Money in the Bank cash-in, and more Bloodline interference.

Heading into the 2024 Elimination Chamber, McIntyre is hoping to change his fate, and get himself back on track for another title match. The winner of the Men's Elimination Chamber, of course, will earn the right to challenge Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 40. Given the stakes, McIntyre is desperate to secure a victory. And in an unforgiving and unpredictable environment like the Elimination Chamber, anything can happen. Three men could team up to take McIntyre down. "The Scottish Warrior" could also be faced with the disadvantage of starting off the match. McIntyre's desperation could also prove to be his downfall, and further lean into the "conspiracy" theme that has long surrounded him, which, to me, isn't a big idea. In fact, it could give McIntyre more time to sharpen his disgruntled persona and/or send him into an entertaining spiral.


Betting odds currently place McIntyre as the heavy frontrunner to win the Men's Elimination Chamber (-2000). Considering that the other three match winners seem to be rather obvious (Becky Lynch, Judgment Day, and Rhea Ripley), though, WWE should spice things up a bit, and, like the Elimination Chamber name suggests, make it a little more unpredictable.

Of the remaining five entrants, that being Randy Orton, LA Knight, Bobby Lashley, Logan Paul, and Kevin Owens, Orton makes most logical sense to award the victory to. Logal Paul is already holding the United States Championship — a title that Kevin Owens declared he wants another shot at. And much like Bobby Lashley is rivaling Karrion Kross, LA Knight is currently entangled in a feud with AJ Styles. Meanwhile, Randy Orton finds himself with a cleaner slate, with no obvious direction heading into WrestleMania.

Should Orton win the Elimination Chamber, he will move on to face Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 40. This wouldn't be the first time seeing these two square off at "The Show of Shows," as Orton defeated Rollins at WrestleMania 31. Fast forward nine years, Rollins is now near the top of the WWE foodchain, while Orton is bouncing back from an almost career-ending injury. Given their respective career shifts, and previous history, Rollins recently pinpointed Orton as his preferred opponent coming out of the Elimination Chamber.


"I want to face Randy [Orton]," Rollins told "Nathan, Nat & Shaun." "I owe him one. We had a WrestleMania matchup many, many moons ago. WrestleMania 31 in San Francisco. Now, we're nine years later, we're both in different places in our careers. I think Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton on the marquee sounds beautiful."

If Rollins wants Orton to challenge him at WrestleMania 40, then so should WWE.

Written by Ella Jay

Seth Rollins should go to AEW

Seth Rollins signed his first WWE contract almost 14 years ago. In the time since, he's become the first "WWE NXT" Champion, was a key member of one of the most important factions in wrestling over the last decade, headlined numerous pay-per-views, and became a world champion. Rollins also helped the company re-introduce the World Heavyweight Championship last year, which it looks like he will be defending at WWE WrestleMania 40 despite being injured. With his recent involvement in the Bloodline feud, it even looks like Rollins may participate in a tag match with Cody Rhodes against The Rock and Roman Reigns soon.


With all those accomplishments under his belt, what's left for Rollins to achieve in WWE beyond this WrestleMania season? There's little doubt that Rollins could decide to stay in WWE for the rest of his career, continuing to put in impressive work and earning a fantastic payday while at it. However, Rollins doesn't come across as the type of person to stay complacent, and there are creative reasons why the performer may want to find something fresh.

Like just about everything in wrestling, fan opinion on AEW is sharply divided. What many fans don't take into consideration, however, is how much creative freedom wrestlers are given within the company, incentivizing performers like Bryan Danielson, Adam Copeland, and Rollins' former Shield partner Jon Moxley to make the jump over. Rollins has already shown the world that he can excel in the WWE framework, but if the former Tyler Black ever decides he'd like to stretch his creative muscles in a different system, there is little doubt he would find immense success in AEW, with the ability to have captivating feuds against the likes of Kenny Omega, Will Ospreay, and even some of the talent he previously shared a ring with in WWE.


Written by Nick Miller

MJF should go to WWE (for real this time)

Disclaimer: This take presumes that anyone "should" go and work for a company currently being sued for sex trafficking and under federal investigation, which is, admittedly, a bit of a reach.

I'm writing this on Friday, following the announcement of the 2023 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards, and while the winners of those awards mean little to nothing (closer to nothing), MJF vs. The Devil winning Worst Feud and The Devil himself winning Worst Gimmick spurred some online discourse about MJF, and the fact that some AEW fans apparently think the shows are better without him.


To that, I say: I don't know what y'all are watching, but if you're not gonna appreciate the guy who carried that entire company in 2023, I really hope he goes to WWE, which is where he's always belonged, anyway.

For the record, I agree that the Devil storyline was trash. AEW had to pivot when Adam Cole got hurt, and the pivot was bad, I get that. But it really feels like Tony Khan's response has been an overcorrection. "Oh well, I guess the god-tier wrestling storytelling Cole and MJF were doing all summer leading up to All In, where they main evented Wembley Stadium, just kind of fizzled out, so we're actually going to go back to the ranking system and long TV matches with no build and everything else that our extremely hardcore fanbase wants." It's like he thinks MJF's entertainment style is what derailed things, not the Cole injury, and of course, the hardcore fanbase is cheering him on for going back to a more sports-based presentation.


And look, if that's what AEW wants to be, and if that's what its fans want it to be, fine. I don't particularly care about AEW's success as a business. But it seems to me that's a version of AEW that isn't a good fit for what MJF brings to the table. He's a guy that has been in a lot of people's yearbooks as "Most likely to jump ship to WWE" for a while now, and I honestly think WWE would get way more out of him than AEW under what seems to be the current vision.

Yes, I know he's probably under contract for the next million years or whatever. I'm not saying MJF to WWE is imminent (though I'd be shocked if it never happened). I just think it's ironic that AEW appears to be resetting to a version of itself that isn't particularly well-tailored to the gifts of the 27-year-old who just held the world title for a calendar year, and it's kind of sad that so many AEW fans (at least, from what I've seen) are ready to move forward without him.

Written by Miles Schneiderman