So the top level heels in the company are Jericho w/ his squad, MJF, and the Bastard PAC. Each fit into a different style of being a douche. Jericho will win in the big matches but tag out in tv tag matches. Lead his group to do his bidding. Play the role of entitled rock star of yesteryear. As @The Natural posted, MJF will sign a fan’s autograph as TO WHORE with a straight face one. His feud with Cody is going to be so fun to watch him rip everyone apart with his words. Classic hatable always-Heel character. PAC is the traditional slimy f’er. So much physical talent but doesn’t shy away from a nut-kick. Always feels he’s overlooked (maybe rightfully so with the rankings, which I personally enjoy). Just a dark force of negativity. Unlike Jericho who can go between serious heel and comical, PAC is more straight forward evil and I don’t ever see joining or starting a faction. MJF being more of an opportunist, PAC will probably never fake a friendship. He’ll even smash your legs up with a chair before a match because he doesn’t like you. Jericho could do that, but he’d use Hager. I also don’t feel that Jericho is lying about his love for the rest Inner Circle. Maybe he could turn his feelings down the road, but with Proud n Powerful they joined up because they thanked him and played to his huge ego. Sammy Guevara looks up to Jericho and it’s like a father figure relationship. Jericho seems to respect Hager and his strength and attitude. Their literally his “Inner Circle” of friends. Like a douchey 80’s Band where the lead singer is the main star but everyone is getting laid. MJF in a group wouldn’t work outside of the end result being he’d manipulate everyone in the end. PAC would find Sammy Guevara annoying and want to (and successfully) beat the hell out of him. It’s a unique group of band guys at the top that you can mix in and out with different faces. At the top and throughout the midcard.
The top three (male) Faces currently are Cody, Kenny Omega and Hangman Adam Page. It’s tough because they’re all in the same faction, but I think think they represent something different. Cody leading up to this last PPV was the most over person with this fanbase. Super good guy, to the point of maybe being too gullible. A bunch of you guys relate him to surfer Sting and I think that’s a great comparison. Add the Rhodes lineage and you got someone everyone can get behind. Plus, he seems like the face and voice of the company. The lead up to ALL IN he seemed to have the biggest Twitter posts to hype everyone up, he’s having the big post event speeches, he’s the one (with it really being all the Elite guys plus Tony Kahn) that is looked at as bringing this new company to be and lovingly thanked for it. Kenny Omega is the one that you could label the Superman of the group. Past few years putting on what the fans view as these legendary bouts in Japan. Not literally comparing them in how they work or act, but if Cody is Sting than Omega is like Bret Hart. A lot of personality there, but the heart of it is that their viewed as the best wrestler in the ring. Which I think will play into the future of him vs disgruntled former WWE worker Moxley (not saying he actually is but it’s a fun aspect of the character that he’s unleashed). Now take into account that he’s a big video game nerd and people feel close to him as a person because of that. Thanks to Twitter, a big part of being a face is that you can connect with fans on a much deeper level that becomes multi-layered. Hangman (Who could turn) is included in these three because he was the first title match. Him falling short I feel adds to his character of let’s now watch this guy grow. In a year or so when he wins the title, if he stays face, will be a huge emotional moment. I’ve become a mark for him. Never got into things that were too Southern (how Vince of me) but dear lord cowboys are cool. Just his look and how he presents himself could be big with a large part of the country that in the WWE I don’t know if it’s tapped into or represented in a way that’s not overly silly. I want his shirt and I want him to refer me as cool, casually in front of my friends.
The big Tweeners are Jon Moxley and The Young Bucks. Both huuuuuuge names in the company and probably could/ should be considered the faces. But for different reasons I look at them as the Tweeners. Moxley being the biggest steal they got is sheer money. Great promos, has a cool enterance, and everything he does seems legitimate to his character. I can see him fighting everybody. He has such a presence that he will always get cheered, but his anti-hero fighter mentality doesn’t put him in a box. He’ll beat up the Kenny Omega because he’s the poster boy of the company, he’ll fight PAC for being dishonorable, and he’ll kill Janela as a warmup. Each one of those separately fits the mold of being either a good guy action or a bad guy antic. But all within the same character adds a layer of gray depth that leads him open to any role within a feud, as an antagonist or a hero. The Young Bucks, merch freeeeeaks, are a big reason why the possibility of a second national level company could come to be and succeed. They’ll always be over with their fans. They should be the Faces. But just like Moxley’s depth, they too can show shades of gray. Not in a traditional tough guy way, but in how confident and cocky they are. Watching them reminds me of the Golden State Warriors from the past few years. They’re so good that truly impressive and tough things seem so effortless. They’re fun to watch and sell a crazy amount of jerseys. But Jesus, they’re so cocky that it’ll lead to turnovers and douchey things said in interviews. The Young Bucks are such good guys, but their playful attitude lead them to being the bad guys in their matches with The Private Party and the Rhodes Brothers. It was pretty even feud with The Lucha Bros but taking off Pentagon Jr’s mask On the ladder was a super heel move. They’re currently the good guys in their feud with the Proud and Powerful and to me it doesn’t seem out of character. Plus it seems their main job is to raise everybody else up in the tag division. Good and bad. They made Lucha Bros seem among the greatest tag teams in the world right now and gave the Private Party the biggest rub with that shock win. Even SCU feels legitimate being champions of a division they’re in, without even having a match with them. Motley’s job is more self driven. He should be in entertaining feuds and kill people. Him vs PAC vs Omega three-way (if it happens and if they build to that) will/ would be a huge Face v Heel v Tweener battle for supremacy.
All these guys can be plotted in and out various positions on the cards and feud with each other. Or can be plotted against other members of the roster for big money matches. Can’t have that without a solid rest of the roster though.
Dustin Rhodes, Tully Blanchard, JR and Tony Schiavone bring such legitimacy to the product. Dustin is and will always be money. He could be aaaaaannnnnnyyyyywhere on the card and it will be money. He could battle Jericho in a championship epic that will make me endlessly fist pump. He could be in a tag match with Sonny Kiss and raise his stock as a mentor. He probably is teaching the youngster behind the scenes what works and what doesn’t. He already brought everyone to tears in his match against Cody. He is more than a comedy character he was viewed at previously, but now looked at among the fans as a respected veteran. That Rhodes name (Dusty being the house ghost of the promotion) really helps. Tully being next to Shawn Spears really helps him. I enjoy the angle. I know a lot of people here don’t care for Shawn, but I feel Tully is really adding to the gimmick. Him being added to the Cody feud build up singlehandedly made that short feud interesting. Mainly the promo of him looking over the contracts. Now him helping with that pile driver and sliding chairs into the ring really makes a middle of the show eh match highly enjoyable. People online seem to dislike JR. At times he can be annoying, but his banter with Tony and Excalibur adds so much to the show. Tony too. In an interesting way it is putting Excalibur over in such a way that I’m the future when’s is just him, he’ll feel like the guy. Right now he feels equal to two legends, which makes what’s being said by him in matches such an important part of the show.
For the women, sadly it’s still building. I have faith that they can people can rise to the occasion. Awesome Kong will be very fun to watch with Brandi (Who with the right gimmick/ storyline is very enjoyable) speaking for her will be fun to watch. Hikura seems like she’ll be treated as a great worker that will always be tough to beat. Big Swole seems cool. Priestly is a badass. Britt Baker is someone people seem to like or dislike. I wonder if they’ll Roman Reigns her or of her being on the pre-show is because how lukewarm people are on her. I think fear of her flu probably added to it, but we’ll see. A few maybe rising stars they’re in the process of debuting that have potential. The only STAR in the women’s division is Riho. And she’s super over. Such an underdog that it is impossible not to cheer for her. Whoever beats her down the road will get a super heel reaction. Nyla Rose, Priestly, Hayter, Kong? This will be fun to see develope. But until they can get a big 3 or Four Pillar of women, it’ll be looked at as a lesser division. Especially with tge WWE have such a phenomenal group of female workers. Some people think it’s unfair to compare but I find it to be fair game on both sides. Especially with how hyped up the tag division is.
Who are the big three for the tag teams? The Young Bucks for sure. The Lucha Bros feel like such a big deal to me now. The third spot is up in the air because there is quite a few that could fit in there. The Private Party seem lovable, but not quite big 3. SCU are the champions and worthy first champions at that. But even then I feel like the endgame for them might be as a vehicle to get Scorpio Sky to the next level. Dark Order and Best Friends are midcard acts (good spot for them). It’s probably the Proud and Powerful. But even then, they feel more apart of a bigger evil with The Inner Circle than just those two being big. But that’s not a bad thing. Tag team wrestling in AEW feels like such an important thing with a pretty open field for who can be a marquee team.
Rising stars? Not including Jungle Express because I don’t think we’ve seen the big green dude on TV yet. But they’ll become huge if done right. Big faith in Darby Allin becoming a big star. Totally has a modern Jeff Hardy vibe. I wasn’t as big on his match with Jericho, but it was a great moment for both of them. I could see Janela being a fan favorite if he keeps himself out of dumb twitter videos. Sammy Guevara feels like the Orton in Evolution of the Inner Circle. He’s already getting good TV time and has such a punchable smirk. Keep him with Jericho as long as you can. Sonny Kiss isn’t there yet. If he can channel that high charisma and spunk into promos all I’ll be able to say is MONEY. Priestly and Hayter both have IT as well. The more I see the more fun it will be to see the rise up the women’s division. Orange Cassidy will be huge. As a manager he found his calling. Don’t give him singles matches. Maybe a funny tag spot. But he’s perfect for a manager. Fits in so well with Best Friends.
People who seem to just be there? Every company needs a strong middle. Some people would say Britt Baker. I’m more positive than most. We’ll see if that Full Gear match being on the pre-show was because of her or if she’ll continue to be pushed. Shawn Spears I don’t see rising past the midcard area. Losing to Cody with a good build up hurt him. But politically it’s goid hes there probably. A look disgruntled talent of WWE that isn’t being pushed, we got Tye Dillinger a cool legend for a manager and he’s on tv with neat contact lenses. Sign with us and you can choose your eye color. I’m higher on Jimmy Havoc than most, but if he doesn’t get fired than I see him as being a good just being there guy. A good hand if you will. Darby Allin was helped by beating him in that number one contender match. Branden Cutler is a cool enhancement talent. He has a cool shirt and can be a guy they reliably use in BTE and put other workers over. A great spot for him. I like his smile. QT Marshall is just there. I don’t get it and I thought he was was more of an executive type. But hey, have him take a finisher and eating apples as a gimmick is fun. The Librarians are now in a great spot. They were pushed too hard early and the fans were vocal about that. They should be heel Brandon Cutler. BTE bits and matches on Dark that put people over. Or a segment on Dynamite to do a commercial promo for the crowd and take a televised finisher.
In my opinion, that’s a pretty good roster for a tv wrestling company. A few areas they need to flesh out more. But all in all, they have a nice and reliable set up. As long as they maintain good storytelling like they have been on Dynamite, I’m going to keep watching every Wednesday. Sadly, I’m too broke for PPV buys, but tune into TDE Wrestling twitter to see spots and avidly read your guys post-event thoughts. I’ll probably buy that Hangman Page shirt where he has on the bandana.