What’s Next For The Villain?

When the overlooked UK scene finally got the notoriety it deserved a few years ago, groups like Progress, Revolution Pro, ICW, and others made headlines for jam-packed crowds in venues across Europe. Names like Mark Andrews, Pete Dunne, Zack Sabre Jr. and others had the chance to travel to the United States to put their names on an international level. The European influence from the UK boom in recent years can be seen literally around the globe, as Andrews, Dunne, Walter, and several other stellar athletes are under a flexible contract with NXT UK while they can still compete at certain WWE-approved independent shows. At the same time, Zack Sabre Jr. is considered one of the best technical wrestlers on the New Japan roster, an organization known for its tremendous in-ring action.

The European scene has undoubtedly had a notable influence on the current wrestling landscape, but another English grappler could have a profound impact on the industry next year.

“The Villain” Marty Scurll started his career during his teenage years in 2005 and spent nearly a decade honing his craft around the UK circuit before the previously mentioned UK boom period and his villain persona got him noticed, not only around Britain, but in the United States as well. He actually had a brief stint in Impact Wrestling in 2012 as “Party Marty,” but a few years later he found himself as the umbrella-wielding heel. In 2015, his performances in PWG gained him momentum in America and he inked a deal with Ring Of Honor the following year. He eventually become associated with The Bullet Club’s elite stable in New Japan in 2017 and he was one of the most popular stars in Ring Of Honor when the group surged in popularity the past few years with the help of the stars that become the core of All Elite Wrestling this year.

Speaking of All Elite Wrestling, as is well-documented, the exodus from ROH of the Elite stable of Cody, The Young Bucks, Adam Page, and Kenny Omega after the Final Battle pay-per-view last year was the beginning of the AEW project that is on TNT today while Ring Of Honor is still looking to truly replenish its roster. Don’t get me wrong, ROH has a very talented roster, but reestablishing new stars as a draw isn’t an easy process, especially when there’s a lot of hype around the start of All Elite Wrestling with the NXT competition on Wednesday. The difference between the previously mentioned Scurll and his Elite stablemates is that his ROH contract had an extra year on it so he contractually couldn’t make the jump to AEW at the start of this year.

Ironically, Final Battle this past weekend saw The Villain conclude his run with ROH in similar fashion as the others in 2018. During Ring Of Honor’s Madison Square Garden event with New Japan this past April, Scurll was involved in a ladder match for the ROH championship, but with the speculation of his eventual exit to join AEW, the decision was made for Matt Taven to win the belt. Taven is a solid in-ring competitor, but Scurll was arguably the most popular star on the ROH roster so perhaps a six month title run would’ve been a better choice than a somewhat disappointing conclusion to the title match at the event.

Considering the rumors of Scurll’s future nearly a year before his ROH deal expired, the news of his exit from the company has prompted speculation about where he could sign next, mostly because the Wednesday night ratings competition gives free agents the ability to field offers from different organizations. Obviously, AEW is what most assume will be his eventual landing spot, but given the current climate of the industry, he would have to at least listen to the WWE offer.

Just a day after his final ROH match, he made a surprise appearance at the NWA pay-per-view and it seems as though he will be the next to challenge Nick Aldis for the heavyweight title, a rematch from the NWA 70 event earlier this year. Despite the possible title match, I would guess that The Villain’s run in the NWA is rather short and will only be a placeholder until the stage is set for a debut with either AEW or WWE. The NWA brand has provided a unique product for fans, but considering its limited distribution right now, it’s doubtful they would offer Scurll a full-time deal that would be comparative to the money he could make if he signed with the other organizations.

So, where does the Villain go next?

As mentioned, many will logically assume that he will join his stablemates in AEW, which would provide them with a solid boost to the roster and help continue the momentum that the organization is trying to build on TNT. However, considering that Vince McMahon went as far as to showcase the NXT talent very strong at Survivor Series to put them in a better position for the ratings battle against the Dynamite show, it’s very possible that signing Marty Scurll away from All Elite will be a priority for WWE. As is usually the case in these situations, it might be as simple as economics if the WWE is willing to offer him enough money to sign with NXT. The bottom line is, if the WWE makes Scurll an offer he can’t refuse then he will take the cash. At the same time, the amount it would take for him to ink a deal is something only he knows so if nothing else, he obviously has leverage with negotiations. At 31, Scurll is in the prime of his career and has the charisma and the in-ring skills to be a major star so he has the chance to sign a contract for the most money of his career.

All things considered, All Elite seems like a more natural fit for him because of the history he has with the core of the roster. As far as angles, he could join the Elite crew in its battle against the Inner Circle or turn heel for being left behind when the Elite stable left to form the promotion. On the NXT side, he could immediately become a major fixture on television, especially considering that Finn Balor was added to the brand to bring more star power to the shows. While its possible that Marty could get lost in the shuffle of the countless hours of WWE television, and AEW’s biggest hurdle might be the pace of the program as far as the introduction of new competitors, I will guess that he will eventually sign an All Elite contract. The biggest reason being that there’s a lot already set up for him to do on Dynamite, but he would have to find a place on the NXT brand. As repetitive as it might sound, this is why competition benefits everyone because the NXT product was pushed to a different level and it gives Marty Scurll a chance to make the best money possible for his next contract.

What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.

Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

E mail drwrestlingallpro@yahoo.com | You can follow me on Twitter @jimlamotta