I have been deliberating for a few weeks about giving an award to a deserving wrestling legend. This was going to be something different aside from the Hall of Fame as a way to not just honor the past, but also honor a deserving member of wrestling's present. In my opinion, only a few people would fit the mold to be mentioned as the first Eddie Graham Lifetime Achievement award winner. The person I chose has given a good chunk of his life to wrestling and is one of the most well respected members of the wrestling world. The first Eddie Graham Lifetime Achievement award winner is All Elite Wrestling Lead Announcer "Good Ole JR" Jim Ross.
I don't need to retrace the history Jim Ross has had in wrestling as he has been a part of wrestling since 1974 and has had every job imaginable in wrestling. Ross replaced legendary announcer Boyd Pierce in Mid-South Wrestling when Bill Watts wanted to go for a different sound. Ross also helped with booking Mid-South in the later years of the company. In WCW, Ross was on the writing team, helped train new commentators, and was the lead announcer for all WCW programming and PPV basically replacing Bob Caudle who had been in the position for decades prior.
The one place Jim is known for is in WWE where he spent the better part of 25 years from 1993 up until he signed with AEW. Pretty sure his last announcing gig for WWE was Undertaker vs Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania. Other than announcing though Ross again helped train commentators, was on the writing team, and actually became head of talent relations for many years. The day the news broke that AEW had signed Jim Ross to be a commentator it was surprise partially due to me thinking he retired, but also that he was actually going to leave WWE.
In my opinion, the generation prior to me had Gordon Solie, Lance Russell, and Bob Caudle as well as so many other great voices. My childhood was blessed to have Jim Ross and Gene Okerlund make so many moments that much more impactful. Jim Ross has given his life to the business he loves and even after all of this time he is still as much in love with pro-wrestling as he was nearly forty years ago when he first started with the "Cowboy." To call Jim Ross a legend would be an understatement as a long time ago he crossed into the arena of "icon." Nobody else was more deserving to be named the first Eddie Graham Lifetime Achievement award winner.
Last night we saw a sight some of us never thought possible CM Punk on a wrestling show again for the first time in seven years. The crowd in Chicago went bonkers seeing the hometown hero finally return to the profession he had called home for 15 years before leaving. Punk gave us a glimpse into his mindset returning to wrestling and he will continue to be a hot button issue for months to come. However, I'm taking a different approach and I'm not gonna just talk about how insane his debut was, but instead let's talk about where to next.... we know Darby Allin is his first stop on September 5 at All Out!!!
But what other matches shall we see from CM Punk now that he's gone All Elite. Let's see what this Top 5 can bring us:
Note: Kenny Omega will not be on the list as Punk should be kept away from the current champion for a while to allow Punk to get adjusted to being back and not have fans get the wrong idea. Punk can help elevate new stars not just sell tickets with those who are already established.
Though Darby Allin would've been number one on the list he can't be included due to the match being signed already between the two for All Out. Two names immediately popped out to me and both will be on the list, but we start with "All Ego" Ethan Page. Page was underrated signing by AEW a few months back and has found his footing in AEW after a feud with Sting & Darby Allin. Ironically enough it could be an interesting next opponent for Punk and a short term dance partner. Especially if Punk has to overcome the numbers game against Page and partner Scorpio Sky which could lead to Punk finding a partner to extend the program.
Page has a ton of potential to become a star in AEW and a feud with Punk will do him nothing but good from the standpoint of getting him back on television more often and putting him the ring with a household name. Either way Page would come out of a feud with Punk smelling like a rose and with momentum to grow to his potential.
Over the last year there has been a lot of bad press for WWE considering the amount of talent the promotion has released. Most recently, though, the promotion had released a number of NXT prospects that had never really gotten a chance or had just got a shot. Two names on the list were Matt Lee and Jeff Parker, collectively known as 2.0 made the jump to All Elite Wrestling. Since their arrival in AEW, they've seemingly been given a large spotlight and presented in a major way. I've always said that AEW needed to give time to allow their lesser known stars to develop.
Since 2.0 has arrived in All Elite, they've been presented as a serious threat and a confident tag team with a ton of potential. Starting with a six-man tag match against Jon Moxley, Eddie Kingston, and Darby Allin is a great start for anyone in a new company. Alongside Daniel Garcia, the trio have had a great start to their AEW careers. Moving from high point to high point and the next high point would be this week on Dynamite against Sting and Darby Allin.
Promoting Sting's first match back on TNT since the last episode of WCW in March 2001 is a great way to attract attention. But with 2.0 being given the spot to be across the ring against Sting in his first TNT match in 20 years shows how much the company believes in their newest tag team. Right the now, the Young Bucks might be leading the division, but once their time on top passes, they need to have depth in the division to let fresh teams to lead the charge. In my opinion, 2.0 have a ton of potential to become a top team in AEW.
With the news, official Ric Flair has mutually departed from WWE after nearly ten years with the promotion. I asked does this mean that Flair could end up heading to All Elite even for a short run to allow for fans to see the Horsemen back together one more time. Right now, both Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson are under contract in AEW and are in featured spots within the promotion. In the past, JJ Dillon has also appeared for the promotion alongside Tully Blanchard prior to the formation of The Pinnacle. I've seen fans speaking about the intriguing idea of Flair heading to AEW to join his former stablemates. Think about the amount of things that AEW has done with legends like Rock N Roll Express in the past.
For newer fans, the Four Horsemen were the faction that paved the way for pretty much every heel faction of the future. Even though Ole Anderson was featured in the first incarnation of the faction, in a lot of fans opinions it was the third incarnation of the group that was the best one, which included Barry Windham. Now imagine with how prevalent AEW has been in the southern region of the country and the big deal that the Horsemen were back in the day.
It has been 13 years since the last time the Horsemen were featured in a ring together as a part of the Ric Flair retirement ceremony. Flair sharing the ring with Arn Anderson again would be a start, but seeing Flair, Tully and Arn in the ring together would be a sight that I never thought I'd see again, especially if JJ Dillon or Barry Windham were able to be included. If there is a group with honoring that has never been given the proper spotlight, it would be the Four Horsemen. All I'm saying is that this could allow for one last ride for the greatest of all time, and it could allow for him to be in the ring with someone like MJF. Reality, Flair has a chance to finally end his career on his terms instead of having to rest and be himself again.
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