Is Jack Perry AEW’s Black Scorpion?

You’ve heard the cliche that history repeats itself, but it’s a cliche for a reason and it’s one that applied to pro wrestling often throughout the extensive history of the genre. Sometimes, the cliche can be the correct decision because the easiest answer is also often the right answer. On the other hand, if a cliche is a miss, it can be a huge miss. As we know, part of the art of booking and thus the journey that an angle takes the audience on as they follow the narrative is the conclusion. Is the payoff worth the time that the audience invested to follow the storyline, and was it worth the money that the company invested to promote it?

Since sports entertainment, while stretching some of the limits of logic at times, is based on reality, there must be a concise and logical path for a storyline to make sense so that it can maximize the payoff. That payoff can be in the form of pay-per-view buys, increased ratings, increased attendance etc. The bottom line is, a successful major angle is be able to add revenue for the organization.

Without a clear destination, the path to get to the conclusion of a storyline can stray toward different points that ultimately hinder its effectiveness.

Once such example was the infamous Black Scorpion, voiced by Ole Anderson, that feuded with Sting during the early years of the Turner ownership of WCW. The persona looked rather generic and did honky illusion acts to add a layer of mystery to the character. Supposedly, Al Perez, who was a solid in-ring worker, was considered for the role, but quit the company. There were a revolving door of performers put underneath the mask at various times for on-screen appearances, but there wasn’t anyone with star power that was chosen for the role, partially because the parlor tricks The Black Scorpion did were lame instead of intimidating. It very much had the fingerprints of former Pizza Hut executive, Jim Herd on it as another cheap attempt to try to copy the WWF at the time.

Eventually, without anyone of major notoriety to put in the role for a proper reveal, Ric Flair was unmasked as The Black Scorpion, which was a total dud because Flair had just worked with Sting for the WCW Heavyweight championship a few months earlier so it was a complete retread of what the audience already watched.

Hopefully, All Elite Wrestling has its ducks in a row to prevent a massive letdown with the eventual reveal of who is under the devil mask.

As I wrote earlier this week in a review of The Full Gear pay-per-view, much of All Elite programming was built around the devil mask, and at the very least, it was strongly implied that something would be revealed at the pay-per-view. Instead, there was barely a mention of it, and the booking of the show has garnered some criticism online.

This past week on Dynamite, the masked figure made an appearance on the broadcast in a backstage segment and a distorted laugh might’ve given the fans a clue as it who it might be. Some have speculated that Jack Perry, who was suspended indefinitely following the physical altercation with CM Punk at All In at Wembley Stadium, might’ve been the performer under the mask. Perry hasn’t been seen since the backstage fight that sent him home and led to Tony Khan giving CM Punk a pink slip. The laugh certainly sounds similar to Jack Perry, but the idea of the former Jungle Boy has the reveal was almost unanimously panned on social media after Dynamite went off the air.

Granted, if Tony Khan really wanted to work the audience, it would be smart to put different wrestlers under the costume before the reveal since it would keep them guessing and technically, anyone can be used in the role until the character is unmasked. At the same time, a lot of this depends on if Tony had a destination for the angle before it started and if those plans are still in place. Taking into account the often half-hazard nature of the format of Dynamite, I’d guess the reveal of who will be under the mask wasn’t decided before the storyline started. In some ways,it almost seemed like Tony is stalling for time on the actual reveal, and if that’s the case then maybe that’s why there wasn’t any reveal at Full Gear. All things considered, I’m not sure if anyone that could realistically be used for the unmasking of the character would live up to the hype, and more importantly, whoever is under the mask will need a firm direction after they are revealed.

If it’s MJF, it’s expected and there no element of surprise. If it’s Adam Cole, I’m not sure how much impact it would have since the entire Cole/MJF storyline is so silly that it’d be difficult to immediately present him as a credible heel. Rodrick Strong is a great talent and has done a decent job with the “neck strong” gimmick, but is he the guy to lead a heel faction? Wardlow is an option, but he lost so much momentum and is basically in the same spot he was two years ago that it might be too much of a leap to suddenly put him in that role. Ironically, CM Punk, who was fired after the previously mentioned fight with Jack Perry backstage, would probably be the best reveal because of his history with MJF and it would allow an angle that could use the real-life heat to boost a storyline. That said, it’s very doubtful that Tony would be able to repair the rift with Punk, especially just a few months after he was fired so it’s not a realistic option.

If the reveal is Jack Perry, I’d expect the same reaction that the concept already received online. After his aloof appearance at a wrestling convention earlier this year, fans more or less soured on him because he sounded completely indifferent to the concept of pro wrestling. If Jack Perry doesn’t care about his matches, why should the fans care and more importantly why should they want to pay to watch them? Plus, Perry would be a rather illogical choice since his involvement with MJF or the main event scene as a whole has been very minimal. Quite frankly, Jack Perry is a secondary performer, and this angle should have a main event talent.

I’ve said that the MJF/Adam Cole angle hinders them both, but it’s still more or less the top angle in the company, with the intrigue being who is underneath the devil mask. If the reveal of who is underneath the costume is a flop, the argument could be made that the entire product would fall flat, too. Don’t get me wrong, fans still talk about The Black Scorpion in WCW more than thirty years later, but it’s because of how much of an infamous mishap it was for the Turner organization. Who knows what Tony Khan has planned, or if he even knows what direction the angle will go, but if Jack Perry is revealed as AEW’s Black Scorpion, it will be memorable for all the wrong reasons for the company.

What do you think? Share your thoughts, opinions, feedback, and anything else that was raised on Twitter @PWMania and

Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

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