Earlier this week, AEW appointed a crew of highly experienced people to support talent in a major overhaul to their talent relations division. The decision comes after multiple wrestlers have signed poor communication between wrestlers and the head of AEW, Tony Khan.
One of the names on this list is former Knockouts Champion Madison Rayne, now head of AEW’s Women’s Division. After becoming All Elite, Rayne made her AEW in-ring debut against Leila Grey on this week’s Rampage.
With Grey only having two years of wrestling experience, it was up to Rayne to take control and dictate the pass of this match as the veteran.
What followed was a competent match without any flashiness. Rayne proved that she still has the capabilities of a solid wrestler, busting out some impressive suplexes. Yet the entire match felt clunky. As the two women exchanged standing switches, there was a lack of smoothness and urgency that you want in a wrestling match.
After gaining the upper hand courtesy of a Stokely Hathaway distraction, Grey locks in a chin clock which causes the already quiet crowd to go silent. Battling out, Rayne launches into her comeback and ultimately wins after hitting the Crossraynes. Overall, a completely satisfactory AEW debut for Rayne.
But Rayne’s night was not over yet. After the bell had rung, Jade Cargill made her way to the ring. Declaring Rampage her show, the TBS Champion issued a challenge to Rayne. Next week on AEW Dynamite, Jade would be more than happy to take on Rayne for the TBS title and once again prove why she is that b****.
With one last trick up her sleeve, Jade tries to get the jump on Rayne with a sneak attack from Keria Hogan. Jade’s ploy backfired royally with Rayne hitting another Crossraynes and standing tall heading into next week’s Dynamite.
Undoubtedly Rayne is an excellent addition to AEW’s back-of-house staff. As a veteran wrestler, Rayne has years of experience and knowledge that could be invaluable to any up-and-coming wrestler. She helps to fill the gap that has been left ever since Brandi Rhodes’ departure, someone with a vested interest in the woman’s division and the experience of working in one.
However, it is hard to see the justification for having Rayne in both on-screen and backstage roles. Surely an in-ring role would take time and effort away from helping build the women’s division.
If you look at the other names who have been signed to senior backstage positions, many have put wrestling on the back burner. Christopher Daniels has taken a step back from wrestling in AEW since being assigned the Head of Talent Relations role. Sonjay Dutt, now AEW’s Vice President of Production and Creative Coordination, has barely wrestled since 2017.
The length of Rayne’s tenure as an in-ring competitor remains to be seen. Paul White had one feud before disappearing from in-ring competition, so perhaps Rayne’s time wrestling in AEW could be brief. That being said, Rayne also has a long history with several AEW wrestlers, including Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa. So, there are plenty of avenues for her to explore if she chooses to continue. Hopefully, Madison Rayne can use her years of experience to help elevate AEW Women’s division even further, whether in or out of the ring.
Those are my thoughts, but what do you think? Is Madison Rayne the right fit for AEW? Should she have a role both in-ring and backstage? Is she the right person to be taking on Jade Cargill? Let us know what you have to say.