Paul Wight's First Feud
With Double or Nothing coming up in May it's time to start talking about who might be a part of the big event for AEW. In the last few months we have seen two legends from WWE jump ship to greener pastures in All Elite namely Christian Cage and Paul Wight. Recently, it seems like Christian might have his first feud ready to go with his former rival in Kazarian, but that leaves what happens first for Paul Wight. Now I know Paul is also a part of the broadcast team on Elevation so he doesn't need to be a featured part of the main show, but having him compete here and there should be something that is considered as I don't think Wight is here just to commentate at least not yet.
In my opinion, I think dream matches are something that should be worked on first and then move toward other matches that fans didn't know they wanted to see. I would think based on guessing that Paul Wight will likely have at least a year or maybe two before calling it a career as I believe going to AEW was more about going out on his terms instead of just prolonging his career. Looking at the AEW roster there are two names that jump out at me for the first people to dance with Paul Wight in AEW they are Lance Archer and Powerhouse Hobbs.
Outside of his feud a few months ago with Eddie Kingston things have been quite for the "Muderhawk Monster" and Jake Roberts. I have enjoyed the work Roberts has done since arriving in AEW giving him more of the spotlight would be a nice way to shake things up especially giving them a feud with Wight. As for Powerhouse Hobbs he has a position in Team Taz as the third string quarterback behind Starks and Brian Cage. Giving him the spotlight against Paul Wight would be a nice opportunity for Hobbs to prove himself and stick out from his stablemates. Also after planting seeds of descension among Team Taz when Cage said he respected Sting you could have Taz shift his focus from Cage to Hobbs as a way to continue the descension in the group.
Hobbs is one of those names that have been consistently featured on Dark or Elevation, but isn't always given the Dynamite spotlight. This means that there is plenty of footage of him dominating his opponents and could set up an interesting rivalry with Paul Wight and Brian Cage down the road. Hobbs is a future big man and has potential to be a great signing for AEW, but it's a bad time to test a wrestler to see what they should be working on. I think Hobbs would the right choice to give Wight the opportunity to win his first feud and establish himself in AEW as oppose to lose his first feud and rest on his name, winning his first feud would make him look better.
Darby Needs Consistency
For months Darby and Cody fought with Team Taz and then Sting joined the team against Taz, Brian Cage, Ricky Starks, and others. It has become common knowledge at this point that Darby has only defended the TNT Championship on four occasions. At this point Allin has held the title for 140+ days and counting though he has made an impact so far as champion he can do more if given the opportunity. Considering the fact that AEW only does quarterly PPV events it is clear that Allin can't only defend the gold on PPV and needs to defend the title on weekly programming from time to time. As of this writing it seems likely that "Big Money" Matt Hardy will be the next challenger for the TNT Championship. This will be a nice test for the youngster seeing how well he can work against a veteran.
One question worth noting is that if Hardy has moved into title contention where does that leave his former rival Hangman Page as a possible challenger against Darby Allin. Another veteran I believe could be a top challenger against Darby is "The Natural" Dustin Rhodes. It would be another nice test for Darby getting his chance to show his stuff against another veteran of wrestling. Looking up and down the AEW roster there are a number of stars that Darby can defend the title against and I'm not saying he has to defend the title every week just having him defend the gold a little more it would help everyone involved. The other programming under the AEW banner in Dark and Elevation could be used to get Darby more challengers as Darby doesn't need a new rivalry for a right away until we get closer to the next PPV event which would be Double or Nothing in May.
In my opinion, writing off names like Lee Johnson, Matt Sydal, Kip Sabian, and others as possible challengers would be a mistake. Darby has reached a point where he could help bring other stars forward and elevate them into a more believable position for fans to care about them and have more interest in seeing some fresh talent. Ultimately, it is up to AEW how they see this championship if they want Darby to be a fighting champion and allow his guts be what ends a record setting reign as champion.
Impact vs All Elite
In January 2019, the wrestling world was turned on it's head when All Elite Wrestling was founded by Cody, and Young Bucks with financial backing from Tony Khan. The announcement was expected, but still a shock when it happened as this was first time in our lifetime that we saw the founding a new major wrestling promotion. All Elite Wrestling suddenly became the second wrestling company in the United States behind WWE which put a lot of pressure on those in the ring and behind the camera. Inexperience was a fixture in a lot of the decisions that plagued All Elite Wrestling within the first year. Similarly after Impact Wrestling rebranded there were growing pains which AEW suffered from and are finally coming to light. Even though the growing pains came to light it wasn't seen in a bad way as these growing pains showed how far both AEW and Impact have come in a very short period of time.
Admittedly, AEW has done quite well learning from their mistakes and building a foundation of positive momentum which is something that Impact Wrestling had to do as well. The only difference is that Impact had undo mistakes not just learn from them. In my opinion, a reason that this agreement is working out doesn't just have to do with Don Callis being the main reason behind it, but also the fact that both companies are growing and moving forward, but instead of trying to do it separately they are working together. In the past wrestling use to be all about working together, and then it became a business all about the individual instead of the group.
This working agreement with AEW and Impact that likely also includes New Japan will benefit all parties involved, because everyone involved wants it to succeed. The only thing that needs to be put over is that AEW needs to understand that Impact will not always be willing to lose and that their needs to be a balance same with New Japan. Booking needs to be sometimes thought of in a direction that will not just benefit the talent, but what will benefit the working agreement as well. Speaking of the agreement on April 24 at Rebellion Kenny Omega vs Rich Swann Title vs Title.
Baker vs Rosa
On Dynamite we saw two of the toughest women in the world tear down the house and raise the bar of expectation for the women's wrestling in AEW. For the most part one of the main criticisms from fans about AEW since the formation of the promotion is the women's division hasn't seen a lot of investment on programming. The main praise for the women's division has been Britt Baker who undoubtedly is the top star on the women's roster for AEW. Over the last few weeks we have seen an intense rivalry develop between Britt and Thunder Rosa which lead to this light out or unsanctioned contest.
Rosa first made her appearance representing the NWA as their Women's champion and since then she has slowly became a staple of the AEW Women's division. The first I saw of Thunder Rosa was on NWA Power and she impressed as a high point of weak Women's division. Adding Thunder to the division allows AEW to find an easy upgrade to what was also an underdeveloped division. I've said from the beginning that AEW needs to invest in explaining to us who some of these women are and outside of Britt and Rosa we still don't know.
AEW seems to have a specialty the knock down drag out brawl look back at Dustin vs Cody from the first Double or Nothing in 2019. This is match was very unexpected though, because you never really expect to see blood in a women's match and never expect them to go "hardcore." I don't think this is something we should see more often, but giving the women's division an opportunity to steal the show if they can should be entertained more often. Baker and Rosa proved not just how much chemistry they have with one another, but given the chance they can impress.
MJF Faction Formation
Even though it was perfect timing for the new faction to strike, and really bring make an impact and they did exactly that on Dynamite. Tension had been rising for weeks and the actions of MJF is what drove Sammy Guevara away from the Inner Circle leaving the group a few weeks ago. It was in the cards that a turn would come soon enough, but it was just unclear when the turn would come. The formation this faction was unexpected at best, because it took months for Shawn Spears to find his way in and now within a few weeks we have someone new in the cards as well.
For months Tully Blanchard and FTR had been feuding with the Jurassic Express then last week for the first time in thirty years Tully stepped in the ring for a six man tag team match. The match ended when a masked man helped the heels pull out the win and it was reveled the masked man was Shawn Spears returning to AEW. Fast forward to the Inner Circle's War Council and the lights went out when they came back on Shawn Spears, Wardlow, FTR, and Tully Blanchard were sharing the ring with the Inner Circle and the fight was on from there. With a smile on his face he strikes Jake Hager with the a bottle taking him out of the picture. It was unexpected from start to finish, even though I knew a new member would join the group I didn't expect it to happen so quickly after Spears returned.
In the end, Chris Jericho would be power bombed off the stage by Wardlow ending this brutal attack with an exclamation point. The main question left is how does Sammy fit into this picture to my knowledge his departure hasn't been mentioned, but shouldn't be forgotten. This could be what rightfully brings him back to television and makes him look like the smartest guy in the room calling out MJF before anyone else had only to have nobody listened to him. It is likely though that Jericho will be missing for a few weeks so I would hold off Sammy until Jericho returns as there is no reason to rush him back. At this point the development has been slow and unexpected so far and there is no reason to change the pace they've been going at. Reality is MJF and his faction need time to be established and tell their story which won't happen over night. An intriguing step forward for All Elite Wrestling does this mean the Inner Circle have become good guys?
Charisma and a nightmare
In 2008, Christian Cage had his contract expire with Impact Wrestling and returned to WWE for the first time in three years. Cage took up the veteran spot on the ECW roster sharing the spot with Tommy Dreamer. Soon after his return Cage would win the ECW World Title, and always held an upper card spot within the company until his retirement in 2014. His arrival in AEW was a shock and unexpected then his appearance to help Moxley & Kingston at the end of Dynamite was again unexpected. We haven't had the chance to hear much from "Captain Charisma," but we will at some point at this point though all we have to go on is the seeds that have been planted.
Cage was interrupted by Kenny Omega at Revolution ending his interview before it really got going and then he returned the favor on Dynamite. The confrontation between Christian and Omega is planting seeds that could point to a match or rivalry down the road between the fellow Canadians. In my opinion, Don Callis having the ring with Christian would be an interesting sight considering both men came up in wrestling at around the same time and went through the same circuit to make an impact. Plus it would be an interesting place to start instead of rushing into a match with Kenny super quick.
Unexpectedly, Cody was interrupted by Penta El Zero M who enlisted the help of Spanish announcer Alex Marvez as a translator. Surprisingly the combination actually worked quite well and Penta really showed his bad guy side. For the longest time Penta had been working with Fenix and Pac as a member of Death Triangle, but with recent events it seems like they might be going with Fenix and Pac as a tag team. The real question is how will Penta fit into their story as he has spent on the injured list recently and now may have switched sides to shown his evil side. In many ways this is just another point of intrigue for us to stay tuned into Dynamite.
Last weekend we saw another installment of AEW Revolution and the expectations were high as usual for the event with the first barbed wire match on a major scale in the main event. To my knowledge the last major wrestling company to hold a bared wire match was ECW in 1997 between Terry Funk and Sabu where both men almost got severely injured. I will avoid pointing out that I was right about the main event and that it could've been done better if it wasn't confined to the gimmick. I thought a Cage match would've been able to accomplish the same blow off and then Kingston could've locked them inside.
The arrival of Ethan Page and Christian Cage is where my attention goes, because the ending of the event wasn't a shocked, but these debuts were. Page showed up in the "Face of Revolution" ladder match as the mystery opponent. Page had his contract with Impact Wrestling come up recently which made him a free agent. It was unclear what company would end up with Ethan as WWE seemed to have interest in him as well. Page and Alexander made up one of the best tag teams in wrestling for the last few years and now this is Page's chance to standout as a superstar. Page has always been a standout, but never got the opportunity to standout on a large scale until he ended up in Impact Wrestling.
In 2014, Christian would wrestle his last match after being forced into retirement by WWE before he was ready due to a concussion scare. Christian was stopped from competing due to not being cleared medically to get back in the ring. After walking out on stage at Revolution a new chapter of his career is ready to be written for him and he will hopefully be able to end his career on his terms. Originally the rumors kept our eyes on Kurt Angle and seeing Christian appear completely caught me off guard. I don't know what to expect from Christian now, but I will say it has me intrigued to see when Christian reappears on Dynamite and what comes next.
Passion Makes a difference
It is an understatement to say that passion in wrestling can sell tickets, because there is no question that passion in wrestling sells. Intensity makes a difference, passion makes a difference and can change your perception of a wrestler or two. Even though seeing intensity in every promo could dilute promos a little bit as is the case with everything in wrestling. However, it is exceptionally rare to see intensity and passion on display in wrestling promos. For one reason or another passion seems to a forgotten adjective to describe how a wrestler can handle himself in a promo. The reason for this in my opinion is that for the most part wrestlers aren't meant to talk fans into the arena anymore.
From the first time I saw Hardwood and Wheeler in the ring at their former employers I saw the comparison to Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard. One of the main differences between AEW and WWE is the way the two companies view tag team wrestling and is a major reason why the former Revival became FTR. Now to the featured promo:
Intensity from both members of FTR to a very calm speaking Shawn Spears and Tully Blanchard which made for a good balance. Finally it seems like they are ready to give Spears some direction and allow him to step up, but based on how this story has been told so far it is clear that AEW will take there time continuing to tell this groups formation. Spears had disappeared and the focus of his former manager shifted to FTR and now with Spears back again the only question that remain is JJ Dillon. All I know for certain is that AEW has my attention!
The Past is the Present
In twenty three years as a wrestling fan I never thought I'd be able to watch a live match involving Tully Blanchard, but on this week's edition of Dynamite I was proven wrong. For the first time in thirty years Tully Blanchard entered the ring and not just that entered the ring with JJ Dillon at ringside. During his prime JJ Dillon was at one point his manager replacing Baby Doll who had been Tully's second for a time prior to the formation of the Four Horsemen. This pairing though takes us back to a golden age of wrestling when the Horsemen were running the world of wrestling with four of the best in ring competitors normally making up the group.
It has taken sometime, but Tully has finally found his footing as a manager in AEW instead of someone without a direction he had been early on with the promotion. After his partnership with Shawn Spears went cold it became clear he needed something new and found that with FTR. In my opinion, it's like a perfect match as it allows FTR to avoid speaking and it gives someone to get them heat. Also it allows them to stick out from the pack and not be looked at as the same when compared to other teams.
At this time, I don't know if JJ Dillon will be sticking around or not it is doubtful and more likely that JJ was there for one night and may return here and there. With Shawn now a part of the group there is officially four of them, but remember back in the day there were four wrestlers and JJ made five. It will be interesting to see if they include another wrestler within the stable or if they keep it with Tully, FTR, and Shawn Spears. Odds are for the time being at least they will keep it with just the four of them as it worth noting how long it took for them to add Spears not just keep it a trio. It's also worth noting that Arn Anderson was shown doing the old hand motion to Dillon and watching the ring after the match which could be planting the seeds for something in the future between the former Horsemen members.
In my opinion, with every AEW PPV we are seeing the benefit of not having monthly events anymore and instead having quarterly events every year. It allows AEW to have not to rush build for matches and it makes every event matter more then diluting PPV's in favor of making certain events matter. WWE has had two PPV's already this year and will have another one before Wrestlemania yet this Revolution event will be AEW's first PPV of 2021. The Beach Break show was more of a special edition of Dynamite due to the fact that the event was on a Wednesday and not Sunday. This long term approach has really let everything simmer since late last year which means they've had four or five months to build up for this PPV on Sunday.
Revolution has the potential to really set All Elite Wrestling up for an insane 2021 as the first few months of the new year have left fans asking a lot of questions for us were we are going in the coming year. Seeing Big Show jump ship to AEW was unexpected to say the least and with more surprises planned for Sunday it was just a sign of things to come. An empty spot in the Face of Revolution Ladder match leaves asking questions of who could fill that spot especially after Tony Khan making clear that this spot was not in reference to who Paul Wight was speaking of on Dynamite.
My eyes are on the tag title match between Young Bucks and Inner Circle (Chris Jericho & MJF). This has been one of the many long developing stories on Dynamite layers have been formed with Sammy Guevara walking away from the Inner Circle due to him being untrusting of MJF. Either way the partnership of Jericho & MJF has grown to be successful the only question is if this partnership leads to a title reign for the Inner Circle. In my opinion, there is a long term story arch afoot with Jericho and MJF honestly I think that the next step forward for this evolving story. Maxwell is not someone that needs to be World Champion, but this long story will keep him busy for now. Chemistry and trust will only make this feud all the more intense if the turn comes down the road and Sammy should keep his attention to the feud as this doesn't need to lead to the end of the Inner Circle.
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