After winning the Casino Battle Royale at Double or Nothing, the face of Jurassic Express will now challenge the AEW World Champion and look to gain his first title in the company. He’s been in the mix for the TNT Title and Tag Team Titles during his run in AEW so far, but Jungle Boy is yet to challenge for the top prize. And while nobody is really expecting him to take the title off Omega right now, AEW needs to go all out in making sure this match feels like a big deal.
There are still two episodes of Dynamite remaining before Jungle Boy gets his title shot, and that is more than enough time to hype this up.
The 23-year-old isn’t the world’s greatest talker at this stage of his career, so less is more in that department. Throwing him a microphone and sending him out there for a 10-minute promo in front of a live crowd won’t do him any favors. Instead, AEW needs to lean into the backstage stuff that they do so well.
Have the challenger sit down with Tony Schiavone or Jim Ross for a pre-taped interview and emphasize how important this is to him and his family. They’ve done it before with him before he faced Chris Jericho in December 2019 and it worked a treat.
Put together a full-blown video package with talking heads, similar to what NXT does with their ‘Prime Target’ packages before big matches. AEW has a plethora of legendary wrestlers who would be perfect in that spot – Big Show, Mark Henry, and Christian, just to name a few. If some of the sport’s greatest performers are excited and interested in watching this match, the audience knows they should be as well.
Kenny Omega is such a narcissistic and arrogant heel, which is going to make it so much easier to root for Jungle Boy. Let the champion carry the workload on the microphone and talk down to his challenger. The final component of the build-up to this match is to keep them at a distance – the pair should have no physicality with each other before the bell rings on June 26th.
Don’t even let either man wrestle until the match. It’s only two weeks away and AEW has a huge roster, so you aren’t going to lose anything by keeping them out of the ring during that time.
The match itself is where both of these men are going to do their best work.
Jungle Boy has shown that he can mix it with some of the top in-ring performers in the company, whether it be in singles competition or tagging with Luchasaurus. And in terms of in-ring work, Omega is arguably the best in the world today. ‘The Best Bout Machine’ isn’t just a moniker, it’s the truth.
If AEW is serious about making Jungle Boy a star coming out of this match, it needs time. While it is only a TV match, we’ve seen AEW give matches lengthy main-event time slots and there is no reason why this couldn’t go three segments.
Jungle Boy is probably going to lose this match, with Hangman Page the more likely candidate to take the title off Omega down the line.
But as we have seen over the years, stars can be made just as much in losing efforts as they can be in victory. Prime examples of this include Stone Cold Steve Austin against Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13; John Cena in his debut on SmackDown against Kurt Angle; and even Seth Rollins in the triple threat match against Cena and Brock Lesnar in 2015.
That is exactly what AEW can do here with Jungle Boy. He is believable enough to be a threat to Omega and giving him plenty of time and even a few near-falls on the champion will get the audience in his corner.
Omega has been cheating his way to victory quite often in his recent matches, and it’s a pretty fair chance that happens again here. Less interference from the Young Bucks and Don Callis the better – a simple low blow or grabbing the tights would be sufficient. It keeps the heat on Omega as champion and would allow the audience to believe Jungle Boy could beat him one day.
While the match itself will be fantastic if they are given time, what happens afterward is almost as important.
Keep the two apart physically once this match is done, but keep it in the back of the audience’s mind. Have the challenger mention it in promos every now and again – it keeps an ace up the sleeve for AEW to go back to that match down the line.
Jungle Boy needs to keep momentum after this likely defeat, and that means victories on TV. Once live crowds are back and the company are touring around the country, the fans are going to be right behind him in his quest for championship gold.
The other thing that could happen after this match is a more serious side to Jungle Boy. We’ve heard Jim Ross refer to him as ‘Jungle Boy Jack Perry’ on Dynamite quite regularly, and having him start using his actual name and keep the ‘Jungle Boy’ as a nickname in front of it will make it easier for casual viewers to take him seriously.
If WWE had Steve Austin simply go by ‘Stone Cold’ or Shawn Michaels only ever known as ‘The Heartbreak Kid’, they would come across as second-rate. Jungle Boy is not a name that casual fans would take seriously as a main event attraction and world champion.
Still, only 23 years of age, Jungle Boy’s time as champion will come and AEW has shown they know exactly when to pull the trigger on certain acts.
Trust that they will do that with him in the next year or two.