WWE Falls Count Anywhere WWE Falls Count Anywhere is back for the new year! Photo Credit: WWE.com

We have a loaded edition of WWE Falls Count Anywhere today. So, there’s no point in standing on ceremony. Time to dive right in. 

My goodness, they’re gonna do it

The Rock appeared at Raw Day 1 on Monday night in San Diego. Formerly known as The Great One, Rocky surprised the WWE Universe and stamped his foot on the mat for 2024. After an admittedly unusual promo with Jinder Mahal that critics said featured a bit too much American flavor, Rock spoke to the San Diego crowd. He said he planned to go get food after the show and then presented three options for where he could sit: In a booth, at the bar…

Or at the Head of the Table.

It sure sounds like they’re going to do Rock-Roman Reigns. If you read the tea leaves, it appears that it might happen at Elimination Chamber in Australia in February. Perth’s Optus Stadium will host the event, and the massive stage will be worthy of this epic clash.

Some might argue that it happening on another continent would be insane. WWE is going global now. This appears to be the way. Definitions can change as we go along, and this is no B-show. A crowd of 70,000 could be expected. That would qualify as something more significant by the naked eye alone.

There’s a lot that can be said about this. But we’ll at least wait until The Tribal Chief likely responds on Friday night. After that, there’ll be much more to say. Just stay with us with for now.

McIntyre and Priest both fall short as Rollins stays on top

Both Damian Priest and Drew McIntyre felt what it was like to lose on Monday night. Priest and McIntyre saw their chances at becoming World Heavyweight Champion go up in smoke partly because of each other. McIntyre intervened in Priest’s attempted cash-in. But because Drew took his eye off the ball, Rollins could swoop in, take advantage, and pick up the victory.

Not before some dramatics, though, as the two pulled off an incredible near fall that reminded fans of another situation several years ago featuring Rollins and former WWE superstar Adrian Neville.

The match managed to pull in a massive audience at the show’s end. Viewers who tuned in were treated to a great match that showcased pretty much everyone’s strengths involved.

The next few months on Monday Night Raw will be interesting. Rollins seems destined to defend his championship at WrestleMania. Who will it be against? If it’s CM Punk, where does that leave everyone else? There are many options and routes, and nearly all look tantalizing.

Rhea Ripley and Ivy Nile shine

Shout out to Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley and newcomer Ivy Nile. The two tangoed on Raw in a match that many had low expectations for. It wasn’t so much either’s ability, but more so that Ripley has been presented as dominant. They instead offered up a match that saw Nile look really good at times. She came close to pinning Ripley on a particular occasion and worked fluidly as well.

Nile was in the background most of the time with the Creed Brothers in NXT. It’s fair to argue if she really got a ‘run’ in NXT while she was there. This was very much her best showing yet and a very encouraging one too. The division, in order to succeed, will need depth. Someone of Nile’s responsibility and ability asks is needed. And if she can put on a performance like this? Then they might have something here.

A Mercedes Moné discussion, if we must

Alright. Here we go.

As you may have heard by now, Mercedes Moné, formerly known as Sasha Banks, is a free agent. The rumor mill has ebbed and flowed in many directions. But there’s no denying that it’s a WWE-related story whether she lands back with the company again, or with AEW.

In May 2022, Banks and Naomi walked out of WWE. They, as the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, departed the company in no doubt ugly fashion. Commentary was harsh on them and they both have yet to come back around the bend.

Moné is, simply, a complicated story. As a worker, when healthy, she’s practically unrivaled. She’s among the best in-ring workers in the world when she’s on, and when the bright lights are on her, she shines even more. Moné has been credited with some of the best matches of the 2010s, genders be damned. She’s spent a year as arguably the best wrestler on Planet Earth. She has inspired current wrestlers and hopefuls alike. There’s no denying that.

Now… let’s cut to the teeth of it.

At the baseline, she walked out on the company in 2022. It happened. For whatever reasons, justified or not, it happened. Since then, she hasn’t been in the picture. A cycle of rumors have suggested that she’ll end up in AEW. Every single time thus far, they haven’t made the mark. So, that cycle repeats itself in such a way that, 20 months later, has gotten admittedly a bit fatiguing. But given that she walked out, it’s worth asking if it would happen again. When you do something once, and in the fashion that it did, some might be cautious and might think you’ll do it again.

Fast-forward to now. There’s been a discussion online about the rumored salary. Some have suggested she wants “more than Charlotte Flair.” People, mostly her fans, have said that WWE should give her the world and then some. I’ll never begrudge somebody for going after the money. This is America, and that’s what this is all about. From the company’s perspective, should they concede? No matter how great a wrestler she is, and again – when healthy, she’s phenomenal – she still walked out. Reliability is often demanded. Banks arguably had her biggest run of prominence under Triple H in 2015, when she was arguably the best wrestler on the entire freaking planet. TakeOver: Brooklyn vs. Bayley spawned a generation of women’s wrestlers and is the most significant women’s match of all time. But she walked out. She’s had absences in the past too. If you’re going to pay someone a lot of money, then it needs to make sense for everybody.

(Which is another aside for another day, because the narrative that Sasha Banks is something instead of a wrestling legend, a trail blazing icon, and an inspiration to women who are literally wrestling right now, should be extinguished. Immediately. You can’t argue that someone is so great while simultaneously talking about how hard done they’ve been.)

This brings us to the other arm of this discussion, which includes this: Since Payback 2020, according to Cagematch, Moné wrestled 49 times. Since her WrestleMania 37 main event match with Belair, she’s wrestled 31 times. That includes her five 2023 matches and accounts for her injury this past year, the time between the walk-out and her first match in Japan, and then also the injury she sustained in January 2022.

By comparison, Roman Reigns, often flogged online for never appearing at work, never being willing to defend his championship, has wrestled 48 times. He has 36 matches since his main event match at WrestleMania 37, in which he stacked former WWE superstars Daniel Bryan and Edge up and pinned them. The reality is that she was already slowing down. She might be 32, but everyone knows that there’s a lot of tread on those tires.

So would they want to pay for someone who’s slowing down? A part-time woman in WWE hasn’t ever been seen. And in 2024, it’s probably a tough ask, especially while they pave out a new generation of stars with another generation waiting in Florida at NXT. So, from that perspective, with all that in mind and her increased injury history, then WWE may be justified in balking if they so choose to. If they don’t think it’s right for them, they won’t think it’s right for them. The money thing also falls short for me too, as I’d highly doubt that WWE, at this point in time, is gunshy about opening up the checkbook. But we’ll see.

Like CM Punk, it’s also understandable why WWE would want her back. Even under a different persona, the company can make a ton of money off of it. It wouldn’t be the first time that somebody had a different persona in the company. Hello, Mick Foley, for one. Gregory Helms, even, for another. By proxy, it enhances her lineage. She excelled as “Sasha Banks,” so what could she do as Mercedes Moné? Ironically, “the sky is the limit,” as they say. Moné has an injury history piling up, but WWE has such a safe and conservative style and approach that they can limit it. Just as long as her body plays up to her level. And much like Punk, it’d be understandable if people in the company felt a way about her. But the company signing Punk signals that they’re willing to overlook potential beef if it means making money. Moné, and those willing to play nice with Moné, would probably produce some great work.

At the end of the day, Moné is a grown adult and is entitled to her own decisions. AEW is entitled to either bring her on or balk at her. Although, in this writer’s opinion, and in the opinion of probably many online, balking at Moné at this point in your company’s state would be a ludicrous decision.

But, so is WWE. If WWE decides that they don’t want to meet her demands? Then they’ll carry on as they have. The cold reality in that company, and pretty much everywhere, is everyone is replaceable. The company probably “needs” Reigns, Cody Rhodes, Lynch, and Belair. Add Charlotte Flair to the list there and probably Rollins, and everyone else? They could be gone tomorrow and replaced by next week. The business’ history tells that story. Even the top guys and girls don’t have it for long.

Hopefully, when the decision is finally reached, the tides can just subside.

Nobody believes you, Carmelo Hayes

Trick Williams saw his title match opportunity go up in smoke on Tuesday. Thanks to Ilja Dragunov’s bad neck, Williams couldn’t challenge for the NXT Championship. Alleged friend Carmelo Hayes offered up his alleged friend’s contendership against former adversary Grayson Waller.

We’ll give Melo a 10/10 on what we like to call, “The Bayley.” But even at her gaslighting, deceitful self, Bayley wasn’t this obvious with her obvious animosity. It seemed like Melo was going to try and laugh it off and say he told Kevin Owens to appear. If Owens continues to appear, and he may well — there’s history now with those two, as they met in the United States Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament on Smackdown — we imagine KO will keep being the truth-teller he always has been.

I don’t know what that announcement on Peacock will be…

But all I know is Evolution: The Sequel, would be grand. Push the button. You know you want to.


He’s a Dad now! Congrats to him.

Did you know…

That IYO SKY made history over the holiday break?

Fellow Damage CTRL teammate and friend of The Comeback Bayley previously held the longest women’s championship reign following a Money in the Bank cash-in. Bayley’s 140-day reign in 2019 was unchallenged for several years. That is until IYO just surpassed it. SKY currently has held the WWE Women’s Championship for 151 days and counting. So she accomplished that feat on Christmas Eve. Heck of a present, huh?

The NXT spotlight goes to…

Tatum Paxley, who has emerged with a downright creepy character on NXT lately. Paxley has stalked Women’s Champion Lyra Valkyria in an unsettling way. Paxley, to her credit, has leaned all the way into it and the rest of the women’s locker room has played along on social media. It’s made for… quite an angle, which was enhanced by Paxley flying out of the sky to take Lola Vice out while she tried to cash in her Women’s Breakout Tournament contract.

The main roster spotlight goes to…

Good Guy Cody Rhodes, who emerged with an incredible gesture online on Wednesday night.

Rhodes picked up the tab on The Wrestling Club for WrestleMania 40. The Wrestling Club is led by Victor Taylor Perry, a New York City teacher who holds a pro wrestling club at his school. TWC had been hosting a fundraiser, selling popcorn, in order to get tickets for the event.

Alright. It’s high time to open up the mailbag.

Please read the following text in Steve Burns’ voice. I lived in a Blue’s Clues household.


Yes. 100%. I not only foresee it, under the right circumstances I would wager on it happening by 2025.

Arianna Grace is a riot. She’s so damn funny. It’s so obvious where her genes come from and she plays it all super well. She’s going to be great.

I really like how Fallon Henley has come on. She has risen the occasion and has become a focal point on television. She remains interesting even if her gimmick, a cowgirl, isn’t layered or anything necesarily unique to TV. And yet, I find myself ready to be amused at her upcoming segments on the farm with Tiffany Stratton.

Jacy Jayne and Thea Hail have become great television characters, which does matter in this day and age. I’m ready for Jace U. Are you?

Kelani Jordan is someone with a lot of promise. That RVD fandom is evident.

She has a bit to go still, but the fact that people were so harsh on Lash Legend was so ridiculous. She has come on lately and Lash looked impressive in the Iron Survivor Match last month. I like her future.

And we already put the spotlight on her but, for posterity sake, Tatum Paxley.

As we talked about before, the definitions change, so them running Rock-Roman at Elimination Chamber in front of 70,000+ people makes a lot of sense. They will be fine.

Based on no knowledge, I would say Bray Wyatt feels like a very easy choice in posthumous fashion, just like they did with Eddie Guerrero in 2006. Batista would be great, and so would Paul Heyman.

They’re in Philadelphia, so maybe you reach somewhere in the ECW pool. It’s hard to pick these sorts things sometimes, to be fair. But, those three feel like the lead choices.

I feel like they should keep the NXT-WWE stuff to a minimum. Part of the problem that I had with NXT when it was first starting on USA Network was the fact that they wer branded as a competing brand and not a developmental brand. It sent the wrong message and created a lot of cultural rot that, thankfully, we don’t have to deal with anymore. So, they can do things sporadically like they do now. But that’s as far as I’m willing to go.

Fantastic question. I think all three are in the Top 5 all-time for in-ring, along with Bryan Danielson and AJ Styles. However, having seen more of him, I would rate Angle over both Michaels and Hart. Feel free to debate me. It’s fine.


I think Cora needs to go up first between the two of them. She’s been there for three years now and that, to me, feels like more than enough time to make some kind of decision. She held her own on Raw a few months ago, and I think she’d still do the same now. Let her build from the ground up, maybe link up with a notable name, and go from there.

Roxanne is an interesting one. She’s starting to descend and she’s looking awfully similar to her noted idol AJ Lee (come back!). I think letting her carve that out and then seeing what you have in that persona is the way to go. She’s also still very young.

Both of them are very young, but I feel like Cora’s been there longer, so she should go up sooner. Roxanne feels more likely for 2025. And, honestly, I’d expect huge things out of her. Probably someone with the highest ceiling that I’ve seen in a long time. And that does include the current big stars.

I’ve talked about this before, but honestly, I feel like it would be too clouded right now. The divisions need to swell and there needs to be more structure and hierarchy. It’s too easy to look at Becky Lynch’s title reign and say they should do it. I would agree that it was proof of concept. I do, however, think a lot had to do with Lynch, her prowess backstage, and the things she could do in the ring. The fans need to be accepting that every title reign isn’t going to be the same and every title reign isn’t going to just be great match after great match, etc. Everybody has to buy in. I think there needs to be more time here. Not much longer, but more time is required.

Ah… this is a great question. I just need more time to figure out what the angle is. A lot will be contingent on the Royal Rumble. We’ll talk later about this one. Circle back to it.

Honestly, for someone like her, you’re not reinventing the wheel. Just have her wrestle. Sometimes, that is all it takes. You need more than that after a certain time period. But, just putting her in a direction, slingshotting her, and letting her work to pass the time on the show will do what it takes.

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022