AEW has become the land of new and old talent in hopes of becoming one of the better professional wrestling companies in the world. And in their first year, they have done just that, as Dynamite has, for the most part, dominated in terms of views and they are going strong as they approach one full year being on air. However, there was a period there where most would agree that they were falling down a path of uncertainty with a number of older talents getting more TV time than the fresh, non-WWE talents that make AEW such an appealing brand, and once was the calling card of a certain TNA. Here’s a look at the contrast of their talent use and why they have flipped the script after some disparaging weeks.
Subtracting The Old, Tiresome Faces From Main Television
There was a time when Matt Hardy was a draw for a company like IMPACT Wrestling as he brought his “Broken” self and the world around it to life in a unique way that many people enjoyed. And when he signed with AEW, hope was brought that he could recapture that magic again. From the crazy “Ultimate Deletion” styled matches at the Hardy Compound to the hilarious occurrences for the character itself, fans were welcoming that. But the “Broken” Matt Hardy version didn’t fit in and for the most part, Matt Hardy hasn’t fit either.
There is still time to right that as Hardy attempts to find the true Matthew Hardy and put all his other versions on the back burner. But it has been clear that the multiple acquisitions of old WWE talent and using them more than the newer talent has hurt more than helped. There are some that have become the biggest assets to the company as AEW World Champion Jon Moxley and Chris Jericho have been amongst the most popular. The use of others like Shawn Spears has also slowed down for the new talents that present a more appealing future to AEW. Perhaps Brodie Lee, Jake Hager (hopefully), and FTR could join the list sometime, depending on how the views continue when they are on TV.
The New, Shining Talent That Makes AEW
When AEW was made, it was a chance to shine a light on a lot of talents from the independent wrestling scene that many had not either known about or hadn’t got the chance to prior. For a while, they began to get away from that by it being The Elite and former WWE wrestlers show for a while in 2020. Understandable, considering the fact that a former star like Matt Hardy carries plenty of intrigue still with his name alone. But they realized once again why they are such an interesting brand and worth the time. Here are some of the talents in the past month that has really had the chance to shine and make AEW a better show overall.
Eddie Kingston answered Cody‘s TNT Championship open challenge last week and instantly made an impact through the mic and in the ring. While Kingston was unlikely to sign with the company, giving him his first opportunity to be on the big stage like AEW and the TNT channel was a welcome sight. People learned what the independent scenes have while Kingston made sure to leave the people wanting more through his incredible promo work and rough and tough delivery inside the squared circle. The open challenge has been a source of giving fresh talent a spotlight, a credit to Cody and AEW.
Now THAT’S an entrance by Sonny Kiss.
— WrestleNews365 (@365Wrestle) July 16, 2020
Speaking of the open challenge, Sonny Kiss finally got a chance to shine in singles action at Fight for the Fallen when he answered the challenge for the TNT Championship. And what he managed to do is show how good he can be in the ring, even if he was raw. It was a sign of respect following Kiss’ defeat, as Cody and the rest of the world was impressed by how good the at times underutilized Kiss was inside the ring. And the entertainment factor that he brings week in and out is at the top for anyone in the company.
While Kingston and Kiss’ recent exposure can be accredited to the last few weeks and Cody’s open challenge, Orange Cassidy has slowly shown that he is not only someone to follow, but someone that will be at the top of AEW for the foreseeable future. When he stepped up to Chris Jericho, it was a moment of realization that his time was finally here to show the world what he could do. And doing so against Jericho is the biggest platform and opponent you can have in AEW outside of the world champion. Whether it was pouring the orange juice on the entire Inner Circle or his match with Jericho, Cassidy has shown that his fresher face is what should be featured on AEW television moving forward.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) July 22, 2020
Last year, Jurassic Express somewhat shockingly established itself as one of the more popular groups on AEW television as Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, and Marko Stunt showed an excellent group with a ton of promise in the future. When AEW finally got to TV, however, they were slighted for other more prominent and known teams and groups. In the past two months or so, they have once again returned to weekly television and continue to deliver in that new spotlight. First was Jungle Boy’s win in the battle royal to become the first contender for Cody’s TNT Championship, then their chance to take on The Elite in six-man action. Now, they are helping out Best Friends and Orange Cassidy against The Inner Circle.
The opportunity was presented to them and they have really grabbed it, showing the future is in good hands and that championship gold could be in their future with just a little more seasoning. The popularity is still there even if fans are not in attendance like they had been, you can see Twitter get a grasp. Our of the many teams and groups AEW has on their roster, Jurassic Express displays some of the most potential. Keep them on TV and continue to experience success.
More From LWOPW
Stay tuned to Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can catch AEW Wednesday nights at 8 PM ET on TNT and weekly on YouTube.