In life, we need pillars. They help us from falling down and prevent us from collapsing. However, in the case of All Elite Wrestling, the biggest question tends to be about developing their young talent. There is no mistake that there are names with a massive track record behind them with names like CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Adam Cole, Matt Hardy, Christian Cage, and Kenny Omega. The challenge is how do they best position themselves for the future? The company never had a developmental system; they brought in independent talent with the hopes of honing them and making them into something special. Below are a group of names of talent that could arguably fall into that category as a future pillar for AEW. Will it happen, or could it happen? Only time will tell for sure. With injuries, contracts, and simply life, in general, playing a part, anything can happen. However, if we simply go on what is presented today, these names may be the company’s positioning to lead them forward.
From the moment he arrived in AEW, Seattle native Darby Allin came in with a great deal of fanfare. Those familiar with his rise on the Pacific Northwest will point out how in-demand he had become. As his time in All Elite Wrestling continued to grow, it was clear that those within the company have a great deal of faith in him. When we consider his rise to popularity and eventual TNT Championship match against Cody Rhodes, it was clear that the company’s intentions with him were clear. After defeating Cody for the TNT Championship, fans will recall how Rhodes handed Allin the title. It immediately felt like the passing of the guard. There was something special about Allin right away. From an aesthetic point of view, he’s marketable.
With his face paint and skater boy look, it was as though Jeff Hardy had inherited a shade of darkness from The Undertaker and was now in All Elite Wrestling. He has a character that resembles one fans can easily connect with. Allin doesn’t quit when it appears as though his body does. Time and time again, fans will see Allin outmatched and result in him ultimately walking away victorious. Fans will recall that although he lost to Miro for the TNT Championship, he didn’t submit even in defeat. Allin had to pass out in order for Miro to earn the victory. His recent match against CM Punk may have resulted in a loss, but even being in the ring with the former world champion is a testament to how he can be seen as a pillar of the company in years to come.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman
He’s better than you, and you know it! Since it was first announced that Maxwell Jacob Friedman would be coming to AEW, it was impossible to ignore what this meant. For those prior to his arrival in the promotion, it signified that he had an incredible ability. With the gift to gab, this easily despised individual has captivated audiences with his feuds in the promotion to date. There is no mistaking his ability to degrade and disrespect every individual he comes across. There was no greater disrespect than to that of the late Brian Pillman to both his son and daughter. But this is par for the course for MJF. He has a natural ability to deliver promo after promo that is both seething, cutting and demonstrates a sense of arrogance rare in today’s wrestling.
In some ways, MJF’s promos are a throwback to a time when jeering the heel was what was encouraged. However, there is no cheering the heel here as he is relentless in what he says and who he says it to. Regardless of whether it is Cody Rhodes or Chris Jericho, MJF has positioned himself as the face to continue to watch in the company for years to come. While his promos show his strength as a character, in the ring, he manages to weave a tapestry of chickensh*t/a**hole with cunning cleverness unmatched by several wrestlers today.
If ever there was a polarizing character in AEW today, it would be this man. His cavalier attitude and manner in which it appears he couldn’t care less infuriated wrestling purists. It’s understood why it would too. To act deliberately like you don’t care when others are trying seems frustrating. It seems, though, that the joke is on us. He does care, in fact. In fact, several more seasoned veterans believe in Cassidy’s character so much that it is a testament to it. Fans will recall Cassidy’s program with Chris Jericho. Cassidy would engage in countless acts that would embarrass and humiliate Jericho. This would result in a match where it was ultimately Cassidy who would prevail. Cassidy has also challenged for the AEW World Championship as well.
If the character didn’t care, he has an interesting way of hiding it. The character resembles the ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ part of life in some ways. Oftentimes, it is okay to sit back and see what characters can do, and Cassidy is one of those men. He has recently been engaged in a feud with another longtime veteran in Matt Hardy. While their rivalry has not drawn to a close, it is another example of the company’s faith in him and that fans want to see him. His laid-back demeanor is meant to infuriate the more serious and headstrong characters in the company. Each match-up lends itself to some equally fun exchanges.
He’s rarely alone. In fact, as a member of Jurassic Express, some may see it difficult to see him ride alone. However, Jungle Boy (Jack Perry, as Jim Ross calls him) has quietly worked to built a name for himself before coming to AEW. As the son of the late Beverly Hills 90210 actor, Luke Perry, Jungle Boy’s entry into the company was bittersweet. He had now been signed to a major company and been granted his dream of competing on television. Sadly, Jack’s father, Luke, passed away suddenly, never having the opportunity to see him compete in an AEW ring. If he did, he’d be proud of what has come of his son. Jungle Boy has tools that make the future bright for both him and All Elite Wrestling.
With his long hair and look reminiscent of a young Tarzan, the company showed their faith in him by helping to push him forward and acquiring the rights to the song Tarzan Boy by Baltimora. The track is one fans are easily able to sing along to and participate in while waving their hands. But even more than a catchy song that encourages fan participation, Jungle Boy has the physical tools to shock and amaze. As the smaller rope walker of the trio, Perry has engaged in championship opportunities for both the TNT and AEW title. His future is bright and is likely to be one fans will look at to be the company’s future for years to come.
Honorable Mention: Sammy Guevara
Chris Jericho himself has spoken highly of and the younger statesmen of the Inner Circle, Guevara is something special to watch in the ring. Much like those mentioned above, Guevara may be the future of the company as well. Although he’s had some challenges earlier on in the company (comments regarding Sasha Banks) that reflected poorly on him, Guervara appears to have grown since then. Whether or not he is considered an unofficial pillar of the promotion is still yet to be determined. As they say, only time will tell.
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