Matt Sydal is proof that AEW has plenty of tools to get good talent over.
Matt Sydal was immediately put into a bad situation in AEW.
After being revealed as the “Joker” entrant during All Out’s Casino Battle Royale, his first big move, an attempted shooting star press off the top rope, was badly botched, leading to him slipping onto the mat. Thankfully, he wasn’t injured and was able to finish his part in the Battle Royale.
In the aftermath, the botch drew numerous comparisons to the legendary debut of The Shockmaster in WCW, and coming from someone who has rewatched that debut numerous times, that’s kind of harsh. Sydal was attempting an actual move in extremely harsh Florida weather conditions. He wasn’t wearing a sparkly stormtrooper helmet, and his fall wasn’t at the hands of a 2×4.
There was no telling whether this would be his lone appearance with the promotion or if he could rebound from the debut. One thing was for sure though: it was hard not to root for the man. He deserved a second chance, and there was potential to turn the botch into an opportunity for him to get properly over.
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Fortunately, AEW’s programming is varied enough to give wrestlers like Sydal a chance and a platform to do just that.
On episode 221 of the Being the Elite web series, it was revealed that it was wrong to blame the humidity earlier on Sydal’s slip, when in actuality, he was the victim of oily tampering done by none other than Michael Nakazawa in a fit of jealousy. Sydal himself even made an appearance on the show, learning the truth from Nakazawa – something he didn’t exactly take very well.
Now Sydal could have easily tried to lay low and hope people would forget about the botch, and I’m sure it took some bravery to bring it up again in such a lighthearted way, but being on BTE ultimately made him all the more endearing to viewers.
Matt Sydal turned the botch into an opportunity for this AEW character
Botches happen, and a bad botch can ruin a career almost instantly. The Shockmaster was all but done as a character the second he tripped over the wall – though I seriously can’t see a viable long-term career for such a persona.
But with that in mind, showing that you can be a good sport and go with the joke really shows character, and it is generally a good rule of thumb to not take yourself too seriously. Not to mention that this is professional wrestling, where just about anything can be turned into a storyline.
In fact, something similar happened with Christopher Daniels after he botched an Arabian Moonsault against Penta El Zero M (known as Pentagon Jr. at the time). The botch was addressed and given some weight on BTE, making it a part of Daniels’ character growth. This mini-storyline was great for what it was, and dedicated fans of AEW and BTE no doubt popped when he finally successfully did the moonsault weeks later.
Sydal’s situation on BTE with Nakazawa is decidedly more comedic than what Daniels went through, but it again shows that he is capable of going with the joke, and it fits perfectly into the context of BTE’s hijinks. It also helps that Sydal was able to use other AEW programming to re-establish himself as a talented wrestler.
On September 24th, Sydal wrestled Shawn Spears for the main event of the experimental Late Night Dynamite. Spears may have won the match, and the clear takeaway in the aftermath was the budding feud between him and Scorpio Sky, but Sydal was able to properly show his skills in the ring, and it was a very good match.
Matt Sydal showed he is a strong addition to the AEW roster against Shawn Spears
His performance did a good job of showing that Sydal is more than capable of being a worthwhile AEW addition. Though he was not able to make too big of a splash as Evan Bourne in WWE, he’s had plenty of experience with other promotions and on the indies. He’s always had talent, and he can still show it.
Since then, Sydal has faced off against Nakazawa on the most recent episode of AEW Dark. After cutting a good promo – one that makes me excited to see him cut promos on other topics – the match was decidedly quick. Nakazawa did his antics, oiling the ropes and using his underwear for a twisted version of Mr. Socko, but Sydal got the victory with a pretty impressive leg sweep that transitioned into a submission hold. All in all, it was an entertaining match that should put that botch to rest without losing the momentum he has gained on Dynamite.
This marks three different shows that he has been on since his debut, and with these shows, he has been able to laugh off his botch and get a platform to show his skills in singles action.
Again, it is really hard not to root for Matt Sydal. He’s clearly a charismatic man and a good worker that simply had a bad break. All he needed was a platform to show who he is to AEW’s fanbase, and between Being the Elite, Dark, and Dynamite, that platform was his for the taking.
All in all, it’s very exciting to see all of the tools at AEW’s disposal, and whatever happens to Matt Sydal moving forward, he’s in a much better place to succeed now than he was on September 5th.