It is tough to retrace the steps of All Elite Wrestling much like it was for WWE as last year was unlike any other year before and hopefully any year since. I will leave the Brodie Lee tribute show out for obvious reasons as this event is on a level of it's own. I don't often watch AEW, but I've seen enough to be able to acknowledge a few moments from the last twelve months including Jungle Boy vs MJF's five star classic from earlier in the year and FTR joining up with Tully Blanchard after attacking the Rock N Roll Express.
By far though the top moment from AEW is the shocking arrival of Sting on Dynamite. The feud between Team Taz, Cody and Darby Allin has been one of the top feuds in wrestling the last twelve months. Adding Sting to the mix has given the good guys a wild card and it is still unclear what to expect from Sting in his home. For the first time since the last Nitro in 2001, Sting appears on the same network he called home for the early part of his career. Sting became a free agent from his WWE contract in early 2020 and finally was allowed to move on from WWE. After seeing Undertaker compete in a cinematic match, Sting had been campaging for a similar match, but WWE turned him down and now he gets the opportunity to do exactly that with AEW.
Again putting aside the tragic passing of Brodie Lee we will pick another part of the last twelve months. For the most part the last twelve months has been mostly positive for the promotion, but if I could pick one moment. It would be the feud between Sammy Guevara and Matt Hardy! Sammy and Matt are two of the best in AEW, but they really didn't click together in the ring. The promotion leaned far to much on the unsafe nature of the Sammy's in ring style risking the well being of Matt Hardy. This feud could've gone better for both men and really given Sammy the platform he needed to begin to standalone from The Inner Circle. At this point, Matt is in a better place working with young talent and Sammy is still alongside the Inner Circle, but still is a faceless member needing development. I for one hope that Sammy has a break through 2021 as he one person with a ton of potential ready to break through.
It is impossible to put into words how I felt when I saw that Brodie Lee passed away last weekend it is something I never expected to see. Honestly it didn't sink in right away when I saw the tweets pour in from AEW and other wrestlers as I didn't think that it would be happening. I'm not usually short on words, but in this situation I can't do the situation justice at all. In this generation there have been a number of underrated stars, but few have hit the status of Brodie Lee who is by far the most agile big man I've ever had the pleasure to see in the ring.
Since arriving in AEW it was clear that Brodie was going to be given a chance to finally shine unlike he was given in WWE. As Luke Harper he was seen as a tag team specialist which is fine for some, but Brodie could've been a lot more and he was showing that in All Elite Wrestling. It is incredibly tragic to know that this happen and such a pure, loving, funny human was taken from us long before his time. I would like to send every ounce of condolences to his family and friends in this unimaginable time. I have a ton of respect for AEW as they went all out to pay tribute for one for the most genuine member of the wrestling world. I will let the AEW tribute put the rest into perspective. Thank you for all the memories Brodie you will never ever be forgotten god bless big man.
The past year has shown us aside of pro-wrestling we never thought we'd see, but due to the global pandemic it became a must that being wrestling without an audience. Even though it's sort of common place now it will always feel like something is missing until the day comes when fans are allowed back into the areas. The big piece aside wrestling has also seen the ascension of some fresh faces who will likely have every opportunity to break through next year in 2021.
One name that has seen his stock rise a lot more in a year then some likely would've expected is Ricky Starks. Earlier in the year Ricky was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance and had held the NWA World Television Championship for a cup of coffee, but was hot on the heals of then champion Zicky Dice. Starks was seen as a bright spot for the NWA prior to the outbreak of the current pandemic. As the NWA went on a hiatus due to the current situation we later found out that Ricky Starks had decided to walk away from NWA and move onto All Elite Wrestling.
At first it seemed like Starks was going to follow his simple gimmick from NWA and work as a good guy, but then AEW made the right decision to allow Starks to turn heel and become a star. Sometimes in wrestling you can tell when someone is more of a natural heel then face and Ricky Starks is absolutely more of a natural heel then face. Starks has only seen his stock in AEW continue to rise due to his association with Taz and Brian Cage who have been feuding with Cody and current TNT Champion Darby Allin. Starks has gold in his eyes and a bright future ahead of him, but is also one wrestler that is better served learning to be a heel to be able to turn face as oppose to being a face and learning the reverse. 2020 has been an incredible year for Ricky Starks and even with all he has accomplished and his stock rising as high as it has he still has so much untapped potential which we will undoubtedly see him continue to progress toward in 2021.
Disclaimer I know I haven't been as active as I should be on the site but I will start working on that trying to keep the site a bit more updated. Starting with the current happenings on Dynamite! Specifically the arrival of a certain wrestling "Icon." It has been 19 years since the last time we saw Sting on TNT when he and Ric Flair closed the book on WCW Monday Nitro. By the way it has been 19 years not 18 years like they said more than more then once on Dynamite last week. At this point I don't what to expect from the arrival of Sting in AEW and it would be best to wait and see as opposed to making assumptions about what we will see from "Stinger" in AEW. This week on Dynamite will be interesting!
One person who has seen a bit of change of allegiance in recent months thanks to a feud with Eddie Kingston that being Lance Archer and Jake Roberts. I didn't expect these two to turn to the good side, but Archer and Kingston have such chemistry with one another it was a logical decision. Seeing Jake get physical last week in the brawl with Kingston and cronies peaked my interest as this prompts the idea of possibly seeing Roberts give us DDT payoff. If this does happen then it will be the first time Jake has dropped someone in many many years. In my opinion, Archer's turn was done to keep balance with PAC not exactly being a secure in his travel plans due to the ongoing global restrictions. Intensity is the best way to describe this feud and it is plain the see that Kingston is the hottest heel in wrestling right now!!
One of the main problems that All Elite Wrestling has faced since the start of Dynamite is really allowing the less established talent the opportunity to stick out and grow. Other than Sammy Guevara and MJF very few names have really stuck out as talent that have been given opportunities to really grow into superstars. Darby Allin has a start and stop push since the start of Dynamite, but the reputation seems to finally be turning toward something good. After winning the TNT Championship it seems like Darby finally will be given a bigger platform to shine and move up the card and with Ricky Starks getting consistent television time it is only a matter of time before his natural charisma shines making him into a star.
Speaking of Ricky Starks his new stablemate has been given a massive opportunity and his name is Will Hobbs who just joined Team Taz on the most recent edition of Dynamite. Hobbs only debuted for AEW back in July on AEW Dark and was given contract based on his performance in the Casino Battle Royal back at All Out in September. Now fast forward two months and he has found himself in one of the featured rivalries on Dynamite feuding with Cody and Darby Allin after aligning himself with Team Taz (Brian Cage & Ricky Starks.) I haven't seen much of Hobbs, but at 30 years old and after ten years in the business it is always nice to see feel good story where someone is on the cusp of realizing their potential after finally getting one big break.
It has been a long time since I looked into this series, but after seeing the article about Cody discussing bringing back safe chair shots to the head. The interview can be found at the link provided here! I will not be discussing that subject and instead will talk about how I would've booked Shawn Spears vs Cody from last year. Cody was attacked at Fyter Fest last year by the debuting Shawn Spears who surprised him with a chair shot to the head sparking what should've been a heated rivalry between the two former friends.
I would've kept the chair shot to the head, but I would've changed how it was treated by AEW and keep in mind Dynamite hasn't started at this point. Cody would disappear from the company after the attack and we wouldn't hear from Shawn Spears until the revel of Tully Blanchard as his manager which would happen in September on PPV at Full Gear. At this event we'd have an impromptu match with Q.T Marshall and Shawn Spears as he'd Cody's friend stepping forward to defend him.
The reality is we should drum up the intensity and craziness that should've been made of from the chair shot. Basically the chair shot should've been made a bigger deal as it had been a long time since we had last seen a chair shot of that magnitude. Following his match with Q.T we need to have Shawn about to grab a chair but be stopped by Dustin which in turn sets up his next match. In the weeks leading to the debut of Dynamite we get the build for Dustin Rhodes vs Shawn Spears. Everything continues to revolve around the Fyter Fest attack being the straw that broke the camels back. In the "Road to Dynamite" we have Tony Khan show up announcing that Dustin vs Shawn Spears will be an unsanctioned contest. Tony also mentions that "I've spoken with Cody and he will be in the building for the first episode of Dynamite."
On the first episode of Dynamite we will see Dustin and Shawn in a bloody battle to end Dynamite. After the match which Spears would win we have Cody's theme start, but no Cody. This would make Tully and Spears brag about Cody being afraid of them and unwilling to show his face that he went back on his word. Shawn would main event again the following week against Hangman Page which would end in count-out with Cody's song starting and a figure appearing on stage which makes Spears run from the ring thinking it's Cody. This is where the episode ends leaving us to wonder if it was Cody or not.
In the week between episode two and three we see part of "Road to Dynamite" dedicated to finding Cody. For example, other wrestlers talking about if they think it was Cody last week or not. As well we see Dustin talking to someone assuming it is going to be Cody. However, for answers to these mysteries we need to wait for part two of this series.
It has been interesting and unexpected to watch the build to what has now become a match at Full Gear in less than a week. For the last few months Jericho has been trying to elevate the unproven stars on the All Elite Wrestling roster. Even though MJF is by far one of the top stars in the company he is still an unproven commodity in the world of wrestling. This feud will allow Max to further raise his stock in wrestling which has been something that AEW has needed to do since the start of Dynamite last year.
Possibly next to Moxley it is clear that Jericho is the biggest box office draw in the company which allows him to try and elevate the other members of the AEW roster. Though I think they could've gotten more mileage out of putting off the match, but considering this is the last PPV of the year for AEW as they do quarterly events. Jericho and MJF have put together segment gold in recent weeks and have been able to show off the talent they have.
In my opinion, Jericho will need to keep his stock high to be able to elevate other talent on the AEW roster to help stabilize a roster that needs a bit more direction. We saw a glimpse of his skills when he worked with Jungle Boy last year and then again with Orange Cassidy earlier this year who wasn't someone worth investing in before his feud with Jericho. Truthfully I looked at Cassidy as a joke and just comedic relief prior to Jericho, but that feud change my opinion on him as a talent as we were able see a more serious side of him. As far as MJF his feud with Moxley wasn't needed as they wanted to protect Max from losing to much momentum in a feud with the World Champion instead of just having a clear winner. It will be interesting to see what comes at Full Gear on the 7 of November.
One of the many things that WWE is guilty of has been their over reliance on the previous generation and seemingly fearing giving the spotlight to the new generation as the ratings aren't as high as they once were. Since the debut of AEW Dynamite though we have seen a number of legend appreciation night including a few appearances from the Rock N Roll Express and honoring Memphis Wrestling. Recently though they honored Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard as well as Rock N Roll Express. This was sight to behold as Tully had been out of the limelight for many years and this was the first time these two teams were together in the last two decades on national television.
This was the first time that Tully really put on display his rare skills on the microphone and the passion that he delivers one promo. Following that with emotions on a high FTR jump Ricky & Robert effectively turning heel and they end up spiking Ricky with a piledriver shades of Arn and Tully from back in the day. One move makes FTR more interesting then they have been since they were members of the NXT roster years ago before making the move to the main roster in WWE. Now all we need to know is will AEW be able to ride this wave of interest or will they mess it up like WWE did when they had their chance with FTR.
First off I feel like All Elite Wrestling has done a better job of using AEW Dark to give other talent an opportunity that doesn't always get a chance to shine on the main show. Comparing WWE Main Event to AEW Dark it's almost like WWE doesn't care if you watch it, but AEW doesn't hide the fact that Dark exists like WWE does with Main Event. It's like Main Event doesn't matter, but Dark actually has been used to get wrestlers attention or test someone new in a commentary spot.
One thing that has seemingly tailed off due to the current situation in society is the status of the National Wrestling Alliance. I will be breaking down that aspect of the situation at a latter date due to that not being the focus of this article. Ricky Starks was one of the highlights of the NWA from the beginning and got to put his potential on display with an endorsement from NWA Worlds Champion Nick Aldis it was clear that management had big plans for Starks, but everything changed when the Pandemic began. Now Starks has his chance to show his worth on a bigger stage and on national television. Ricky does fit very well in All Elite Wrestling especially since he has made the move to being a heel which fits a lot more then him as a good guy, but either way it's Starks chance to really shine in AEW and as a part of one of the top feuds in the company.
Considering I have done this series on and off for a while I haven't touched anyone from All Elite Wrestling that came over from WWE. Some major names like Chris Jericho, Dean Ambrose, The Revival, Cody, and various others could've been booked better in the major company then they have been in AEW. Jericho and Cody will be two people exempt from the series due to there status in the company and how much they've done since leaving WWE.
The focus of this edition will be focused on Jon Moxley who was made to be looked as a fool in WWE near the end with the only depth his character was given is either a germaphobe or a poor excuse for a lunatic. They never allowed Dean to take a step into a darker lunatic and only allowed him to be a comedic excuse for a lunatic. It seemed like at one point they could've given him room to grow or show actual personality, but that ship sailed a long time ago at least in WWE.
I remember Moxley from his pre-WWE career and he spoke slow, had personality, and reminded me a lot of Jake Roberts or Arn Anderson. In WWE he quickly became a neutered version of those legends, because they wouldn't let him have freedom at all. Since arriving in AEW you can see that Moxley is a lot happier and has more freedom to give his character the depth it deserves. Even without the nickname he's more of a lunatic in AEW then he ever was in WWE. I mean he fought the Inner Circle with an eye patch and won, in a year AEW and Moxley have given his character more identifying qualities then he got in six years with WWE. The only comparison here is how badly WWE missed the boat on someone who could've been a big draw for them when they needed someone new on top.
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