Just a few weeks into 2022 and news was made across a few different promotions as the talent shuffles continue, which is something that has made the rejuvenated industry much more compelling. Granted, it’s very doubtful the business will see the week-to-week jumps of the late-90s because that was a completely different era and quite frankly, the contract structure of today is often designed to prevent such quick debuts in other organizations. Still, the talent exchanges have kept things fresh and provide intriguing narratives for each group.
Lance Archer made his return to All Elite Wrestling last week to seemingly set up a title feud with Adam Page, which might be exactly what Page needs to solidify his status as AEW champion. Archer took a scary bump on his head following a botched moonsault a few months ago so it’s great to see him back in the ring. Archer is a really solid talent and it’s disappointing that it took toward the latter stages of his career for him to be properly used on American TV, but he’s definitely an asset for AEW. At 44, it’s doubtful that Archer will necessarily be the future of the organization, but his work is at a level that it will keep him in the conversation for at least the next few years. Speaking of the future of the promotion, Adam Page is one of those guys and has all the skills to be a major player, particularly because the blue collar persona is very easy for the audience to connect with as far as the character work. That being said, for whatever reason, his title reign so far has been somewhat lukewarm. Don’t get me wrong, the one-hour draw with Bryan Danielson was an absolutely incredible bout, but outside of strictly the match quality, did it really put Page over strong as the new champion? Considering that Page has to be elevated to the main event level, did a tie in his first title defense really accomplish that goal? Sure, the rematch was another great contest, but I’m not sure Page has the hype around him as world champion as the previous wrestlers that had the belt. That’s why this angle with Archer is so valuable for Page’s status as champion because Archer is a monster heel, and the feud gives the blue collar champion a monster to slay. I would guess that this storyline will be very beneficial to Adam Page and cement him as the AEW champion.
Brody King made his surprise debut, aligning himself with Malakai Black, and for a company with a bloated roster, Brody is one of the few exceptions that should be made as an addition to the organization. He was known for him time on the indy circuit and ROH, but considering his look and skills, Brody King should be on a bigger platform. Despite the scheduled relaunch of Ring Of Honor in April, Brody is a level above working on a per-night basis so it made sense for him to take an AEW contract offer. He looks like a star and he can go in the ring, and quality additions to the roster shouldn’t be overlooked. That being said, and this is often the harsh reality of the business, you will probably see some of the original roster that signed at the launch of the company either have their deals not renewed or simply phased out of the product. That’s not to say that any of those people didn’t work hard or deserve the chance to work for a national group, but as the star power on the roster increased, there’s just not a spot for some talent that is more associated with the indies than national television. Peter Avalon might be a really nice guy, but he’s in the witness protection program as far as his exposure on AEW TV. Aaron Solow, Nick Comoroto, Serpentico, Luther, Anthony Ogogo, and a few others just aren’t as valuable to a national promotion as CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Adam Cole, Eddie Kingston, Malakai Black, or Brody King. Again, I want to make it clear, it’s not meant as a personal insult toward someone like Solow or Luther, but rather to point out that AEW simply can’t use some of those still on the roster. To be fair, sometimes, it’s just a matter of timing and some of these athletes might have a better run in a few years, but releases are a part of the wrestling business, even if Tony Khan wants to avoid some of the social media backlash when cuts are made to the roster.
Speaking of Brody King, his stablemate in Ring Of Honor, PCO reportedly signed a deal with Impact Wrestling to go along with the ROH angle currently booked in the organization. First of all, you have to give PCO credit for not only completely rejuvenating his career in the past five years, but arguably getting his best run in the past three decades. Most fans knew and identified him as one of the Quebeckers from early-90s WWF, despite the fact he remained on the undercard in the United States until 2000. The Frankenstein gimmick garnered him a cult following, and while his stint as ROH champion was rather lackluster because of the state of the company at the time, you can’t deny that the guy works hard. At 54, I’m not sure how many wild bumps he has left in his career, particularly because he showed his age during more recent matches, but I’m happy that he landed another full-time contract. As far as the ROH invasion as a whole, I doubt it will spark much interest for either promotion aside from the surprise run-ins at the Hard to Kill pay-per-view. Granted, on one hand, it’s very unique to see the ROH belts being defended on other shows and the name being kept in the conversation on Impact, but it’s important to remember that there was a reason that ROH had to go on hiatus in the first place. Furthermore, I’m not sure what the payoff is supposed to be for either group. Impact’s viewership is minimal in the grand scheme of things so while it keeps a narrative in the wrestling world for Ring Of Honor until the company’s scheduled return, it’s not as though Impact provides a level of exposure that could jump start ROH’s momentum for its relaunch. Plus, I still don’t think that ROH will make any full-time return because none of the reasons for the hiatus have been addressed, and the argument could be made that it will be more difficult for the group for find a niche now than it did before with some of its key talent signed to AEW. ROH didn’t have the buzz or generate the revenue to sustain itself, and as the competition between WWE and AEW gets more intense, specifically after the additions of names like CM Punk, Danielson, and Adam Cole, there might not be an opportunity for ROH to find an audience. Keep in mind, the competition between WWE and AEW boils down to securing revenue streams based on the audience. It might be ratings, sponsorships, tickets sales, or anything else either company can use to generate profit, any of those results in a smaller piece of the pie for the Sinclair company.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.
Until next week
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