It’s odd for me to say this but I have been watching All Elite Wrestling more than the WWE’s brand of wrestling. Maybe that’s because I feel the current state of the WWE has become stale and the feuds just don’t interest me. AEW’s product does come off as more daring and this weird mixture of old school and new school wrestling ideas. My main issue with AEW is slowly fading away because there are definitely more storylines nowadays so All Elite Wrestling is heading in the right direction.
While I do love the current batch of storylines they’ve been putting out, like the weird camaraderie of “Hangman” Adam Page and Kenny Omega, the main reason why AEW has grabbed my full attention is the wrestling personalities they have on call. I am familiar with the likes of John Moxley (the former WWE Superstar Dean Ambrose), Cody
Rhodes and “Le Champion” Chris Jericho. However, it’s the new faces in AEW’s (rather slim) roster that does keep me coming back each and every week.
I know a lot of them aren’t technically new faces as they’ve been on the indy circuit for years. They are new to me, though! So let’s take a gander at some of these “newbies” in AEW’s roster!
Maxwell Jacob Friedman AKA MJF
Let’s start with probably one of the best heels I’ve seen in professional wrestling in a while, Maxwell Jacob Friedman or MJF!
MJF is one of those wrestlers that truly understands the psychology of classic heel wrestling. He is a superb technical wrestler and he is already dangerous in the ring. However, what puts MJF over the top is how he plays to the crowd with his arrogant persona. He has a knack of knowing how to get under the skin of the audience by acting all superior than everyone. The thing is, he has the skill and the power so that you can’t really fight back. He’s the classic bully that you just want to slap across the face but you can’t because he’ll be the one slapping you around… because he can!
Right now, he’s in a really big feud with Cody Rhodes, which does show how much faith AEW and, especially, Cody Rhodes has in him. So far, he’s been playing up the douche heel role to perfection. This is really amazing as, from what I know, he’s only 23 years of age! He’s definitely had a really bright future ahead in the world of professional wrestling as he totally gets it. Definitely one of the shining stars of AEW, even if is a black dwarf star.
“Superbad” Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford
Although this duo hasn’t been racking up impressive wins, the combination of “Superbad” Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford has been very entertaining each and every week.
In the world of professional wrestling, there is always room for the performer who may not ever get the highest prize in the land. However, they may get something akin to the 2nd best trophy. In the WWE, that would be something like the Intercontinental Championship. Right now, AEW doesn’t have something like that. If they did, though, I really hope “Superbad” Kip Sabian, along with Penelope Ford get it first.
I like this team because, like MJF, they remind me of good old classic heel wrestling. “Superbad” Kip Sabian may not be the fastest, strongest or even most technically skilled wrestler in AEW. What he does have, however, is the intelligence to break the rules without getting caught. Adding Penelope Ford into the mix, who is a great wrestler as well, to help him along the way, they form a really good heel team that can manage to squeak away with wins by hook or, more probably, by crook.
No offense to the former AEW Women’s Champion Riho, but if they wanted to promote a Japanese female wrestler to the top of the card, it should have been Hikaru Shida.
I would say Hikaru Shida is pretty much the total package. Her physique suggests that she’s quick yet can also be powerful at the same time. She’s can also be a very technical wrestler in the ring as well yet have the skill to throw in some hard hitting moves at the same time. I also like her overall look and she does seem to have a lot of charisma.
Unfortunately, there is one big chink in Hikaru Shida’s armor and that would be mic work. I don’t really know if she can speak a whole lot of English, which is pretty important if you want to get over in AEW. I don’t even remember hearing her speak a word of English as of now. That can easily be fixed if you just give her a manager to speak for her or something like that. Fix that and Hikaru Shida can be a bigger star in AEW.
You know what? Weird gimmicks meant for kids to enjoy are always welcome in the world of professional wrestling. Jurassic Express fills this slot flawlessly.
Jurassic Express is a very strange stable of wrestlers. You have a giant of a man wearing a dinosaur mask in Luchasaurus. You have a high flying skilled wrestler in Jungle Boy who just so happens to be the son of the deceased Luke Perry. You also have the diminutive Marco Stunt, who has the habit of biting off more than he can chew. However, you put them all together in the Jurassic Express and the trio just works.
They have a lot of synergy in the ring so, whenever they do perform as a team, it’s just fantastic. Individually, they’re also fantastic as well as they all know how to captivate the crowd. You can also tell that AEW has a lot of faith in them as they actually had Jungle Boy face off against “Le Champion” Chris Jericho in a 10-minute match! Hey, having a match against Chris Jericho is an honor in itself, let alone not being pinned by him!
The weirdest thing about why I like Jurassic Express is the story I made up in my mind the first time I saw them. It’s pretty much like in old comics where the feral boy (Jungle Boy) would manage to tame and befriend a misunderstood monster (Luchasaurus) in the wilds and make friends with a hyperactive kid (Marco Stunt). Now, I’m not saying that’s Jurassic Express’ “canon” storyline on how they got together… but I like to think in my mind it is!
The Dark Order
Hey! They even have their own website!
Wrestling has seen so many cults and, in some respects, The Dark Order is just another one of them. However, what makes The Dark Order so compelling to watch is the utter commitment they have to the entire gimmick! It may not be original but I have to give props to AEW for going all out with it, even going so far as to put up a website as well as putting together non-creepy and silly recruitment videos.
Right now, I may not be afraid by The Dark Order concept but there may just be some kids who are watching AEW who will see the team and be legitimately frightened by them as they do appeal to the darker side of humanity… supposedly. I have yet to see the two main figureheads, Evil Uno and Stu Grayson, really be in the ring but the vignettes of the entire Dark Order has me entralled thanks to its goofiness.
BONUS: Orange Cassidy
Orange Cassidy isn’t really a “new face” for me. I have seen a lot of his older matches on the Internet. I will say that I am truly entertained by his antics of being some kind of an “anti-wrestler” slacker in the ring.
Orange Cassidy is definitely one of the strangest wrestlers and difficult to explain to non-wrestling fans. Basically, he’s a joke wrestler but the fans love him because of how he flies in the face of everything wrestling is. Hard hitting moves? He just does a few taps to the shins. Bulldozing through the ropes with a suicide dive? He basically flops over them. Emotional after losing a big match? Orange Cassidy just shrugs it off. He’ll do all that without putting his hands out of his pockets!
Orange Cassidy is gold for wrestling fans who know that wrestling isn’t supposed to be taken so seriously. It’s a gimmick that shouldn’t work but it does. He’s the best thing in AEW without doing much to prove it.
Who else should you keep an eye out for in AEW? Let me know who they are in the comments below!