Wardlow has all the character traits to be a bona fide babyface monster in AEW.
AEW has no shortage of talent on its roster. In fact, of all the wrestlers under contract, they may have too much talent on the roster. It’s hard to feature every single person on a roster that is just so deep.
All Elite Wrestling has young stars such as Wheeler Yuta and Daniel Garcia, who have barely scratched the surface of being a focal point on AEW television. While they’re both in a great program together between the Jericho Appreciation Society and Blackpool Combat Club, other talents haven’t been as lucky. John Silver and Alex Reynolds aren’t on TV as much as they should be, and I can also say the same about Miro, Brian Cage, and the entirety of the women’s roster.
One thing AEW has done a good job with is featuring Wardlow. The Middlefield, Ohio native is shown heavily on both AEW Dynamite, as well as AEW Rampage. The current TNT Champion has been on a great run since he won the belt and has gained an ally in Samoa Joe.
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Joe and Wardlow are one of those dream teams you never know you wanted until you’re seeing it for yourself with your own eyes. Honestly, though, this team is absolutely amazing, and they work so well together. I hope one day when it’s time for one of them to turn on the other, I hope it’s Joe turning because they need to keep Wardlow as he is because he’s a massive babyface star.
MJF “contracted” Wardlow to be his enforcer in his debut in late 2019. After many teases of being annoyed by MJF and his constant antics, Wardlow reluctantly helped MJF time after time. And with a two-and-a-half-year build, the moment he neglected to help MJF at AEW Revolution 2022, was the start of something special for Wardlow in AEW.
The pop that he received when he turned on MJF was deafening, which started his run as a big-time babyface. The entire feud between MJF and Wardlow was appointment TV every Wednesday night. From having Wardlow destroy ten security guards, coming through the crowd only to get his hands on Shawn Spears while MJF barely scurried was highly entertaining. And while the feud didn’t last as long as I thought it would, I’m hoping those two will meet in the ring again.
Right after his feud against MJF, he immediately targeted Scorpio Sky and the TNT Championship, which he won rather easily. I wouldn’t be surprised if he holds the title for longer than a year. Right now, no person on the current AEW roster should be beating Wardlow for the AEW TNT title.
Wardlow’s presentation is top-notch right from the beginning of his entrance, showing him backstage entering through the curtains, the Wardlow chants from the crowd, and the incredible “Powerbomb Symphony.” The 34-year-old can easily play into the crowd with the Powerbomb Symphony, and it often gets the fans all riled up and that’s always a great thing when you’re a babyface. There’s just lot to love when you see a guy like Wardlow perform.
They may run into a problem when they eventually must take the TNT title off him, which will be incredibly difficult. All Elite Wrestling and Tony Khan must be very careful how they book Wardlow to lose the title. Wardlow would need to bounce back rather quickly and be pushed to the main event picture immediately.
Another obstacle AEW must avoid is losing Wardlow to WWE when his contract expires. The bidding war of 2024 will revolve around MJF, but if the company loses one or both wrestlers to WWE, it will leave a huge hole in the AEW roster. Wardlow is due for a pay raise, and AEW will have to open its checkbook when it comes time to pay the big man.
Wardlow should be treated as a mainstay in AEW, like how Triple H and Undertaker are permanent fixtures for WWE. Wardlow is a future AEW World Champion and the future face of the company. And if All Elite Wrestling fails to recognize that before it’s too late, it will be one of the biggest blunders Tony Khan may never come back from.