With news that Miro, formerly WWE superstar Rusev, has signed with AEW, and can work dates with NJPW, which dream matches could now become a reality?
On the most recent episode of AEW Dynamite, Kip Sabian introduced “The Best Man.” While the idea seemed at first to be a bit of a joke about who would be Kip’s Best Man at his wedding, the moment paid off when “The Best Man” Miro appeared and made his first appearance with AEW.
Formerly known as Rusev during his time in WWE, Miro is a huge signing for AEW and everyone is already chomping at the bit for the possibilities this opens up. With the exception of a few short years training under Gangrel and Rikishi and a handful of independent matches, Miro has spent a decade of his almost 12-year career in WWE.
We’re about to get the first glimpse of an unleashed Miro that isn’t confined by WWE’s rigid system and in-ring style. That’s exciting considering what kind of style we might see with him, but also because of the variety of opponents that are now open to him.
Perhaps even more exciting is the news that Fightful Select has reported Miro’s deal with AEW does include a provision to work some dates with NJPW. It’s reportedly going to work similarly to Jon Moxley’s deal, which means he can’t work televised non-AEW dates in the United States, but can work in Japan.
That means working doing something like the NJPW Strong tour in America won’t be an option, but potentially doing a tour of Japan in the future when the global pandemic has calmed and travel restrictions lift is very much a possibility. Even if we don’t see it until 2021, there are a few very key dream matches with NJPW talent that this opportunity opens up.
Meanwhile, there are some unique talents in AEW that will be exciting to watch step in the ring with Miro for the first time ever. These five competitors, from both AEW and NJPW, stand out as the most must-see first time ever dream matches with Miro that now seem like a possibility.
The only man on this list who actually has some WWE tenure prior to arriving in AEW is Lance Archer, but don’t let that technicality fool you. Archer was only with WWE for a year and was released within a few months of Miro signing his first developmental deal with the company.
Since leaving WWE, Lance Archer worked hard to reinvent himself and went on to have notable stints in NJPW and even became IWGP US Heavyweight Champion. That’s the same title currently held by AEW World Champion Jon Moxley.
At 6′ 8” tall and 273 pounds, Archer legitimately towers over the competition, and it will be fascinating to watch stature come up against the legitimate power of Miro. Archer’s 2020 AEW Record has him at 13-1, with Cody Rhodes delivering the one blemish, and Miro could be a fascinating challenge for “The Murderhawk.”
One of two NJPW dream opponents on this list, we have 5-time NEVER Openweight Champion Tomohiro Ishii. The annual Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards picks the industry’s Best Brawler, and while it’s included names like Stan Hansen, Bruiser Brody, Cactus Jack, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Ishii has dominated and earned the award for six years straight.
Despite standing only 5′ 5” tall, “The Stone Pitbull” Tomohiro Ishii is one of the hardest hitting and toughest competitors in the entire industry. We’ve seen glimpses of the power and toughness that Miro can deliver in WWE, but always constrained by what is allowed by WWE.
With a shift into the environment of NJPW, whether at next year’s G1 Climax or any other event, Miro could truly become unleashed and push himself against arguably the most intense competitor in the entire industry. Miro vs. Ishii is an instant must-see match, and we can only hope the potential for working in NJPW makes this dream a reality.
There’s no doubt that Orange Cassidy is one of the most unique talents in all of AEW. The carefree competitor has slowly peeled back a lax shell to reveal an unpredictable and skilled in-ring performer.
Initially with his match against PAC and recently during his rivalry with Chris Jericho, now more than ever we’re seeing exactly what Orange Cassidy is capable of when he actually tries. The same might be true for Miro, who though he certainly put his all into his WWE run, his effort was often restricted by a company that never seemed to truly understand his potential.
We’ve also gotten glimpses of Miro on the microphone, and seeing him tell a story over time with Cassidy could be compelling television. A rivalry, or even a one-off match, between Miro and Orange Cassidy would be a sight to behold, as Cassidy’s unique style could push Miro to adapt and compete in ways he never has before.
The other NJPW entry here is certainly on the same wavelength as Tomohiro Ishii, but the intensity and intimidating nature of Minoru Suzuki don’t only come from the stiffness of his strikes. Suzuki’s terror is magnified by the fact that, even at 52 years old, he carries himself with an unflinching ferocity and confidence.
Minoru Suzuki’s demeanor and ruthlessness, combined with his age, have earned him the moniker “Murder Grandpa” among fans. We’ve seen the intensity Miro was able to bring in WWE, but going face to face with someone like Suzuki is an entirely different experience.
Like Ishii, this clash could happen in the annual G1 Climax, similar to how Jon Moxley worked that tournament after leaving WWE, or we could see Miro make his presence known as other events. Regardless of when it happens, the real-world possibility of seeing Suzuki vs. Miro is something to be excited about.
Finally, we have one of AEW’s newest signings in Eddie Kingston. While he hasn’t been in AEW much longer than Miro, Eddie Kingston is a veteran of the independent scene with nearly two decades of in-ring experience under his belt.
Since arriving in AEW, Kingston has already shown what he’s capable of in the ring, but even more importantly the power he has when he’s holding a microphone. While I’m certainly excited by the idea of Eddie Kingston vs. Miro when it comes to the in-ring action, it’s the verbal sparring that I’m most looking forward to.
Whether it’s through his tenure in WWE, or getting to show a more real side of himself via Twitch or YouTube, or even his short and sweet promo after appearing this week on AEW Dynamite, Miro is no slouch on the microphone. Getting to see him go face to face with Eddie Kingston, microphones in hand, could be a promo battle for the ages.