If Tony Khan had a time machine, these are five performers from the past he should think about bringing to the future for AEW.
When you are a wrestling nerd, like me, you find yourself sitting back and watching shows from yesteryear and thinking “man, this person would have been a perfect fit for today’s wrestling.” You could obviously take guys like Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, or Bret Hart and drop them anywhere you want on a wrestling timeline, and they would excel. It’s just who they are. That being said, there are several vets that seem as though they would be picture-perfect for All Elite Wrestling.
“Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig
Sports Illustrated’s 39th-ranked wrestler of all time, Hennig had the perfect combination of talent both in the ring and on the mic. Curt Hennig was one of the greatest athletes to ever put on a pair of wrestling boots,” Bret Hard told SI’s, Justin Barrasso. He was always so easy to hate because he was great at everything, and he knew it.
Rob Van Dam
I want to clarify, I’m talking about ECW Van Dam. The Whole F’N Show Van Dam. His work in WWE was solid but when he was in the process of becoming the longest-reigning television champion in ECW history he was on another level. Having Bill Alfonso at his side as a heat magnet and hype man was the cherry on top for an act that would fit right in on a weekly episode of Dynamite.
The Fabulous Freebirds
Is that cheating? AEW thrives on the number of credible factions that have been formed during the company’s history. In order to be relevant in today’s wrestling world you have to be able to hold your own on the microphone. Arguably, this is more important than how good you are in the ring. The beauty of a group, such as the Freebirds, is the fact that you need to have a strong worker (Buddy Roberts), some muscle (Terry Gordy), and a mouth (Michael Hayes). They would be quite a force in the AEW Trio title picture.
I’m going right back to the old WCCW days and throwing Gino Hernandez into the mix as well. Gino was MJF before MJF was a twinkle in his parent’s eyes. Flamboyant, flashy, smug, and extremely talented. He was the kind of heel that you love to hate but also had the ability to have the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand like Ricky Starks does today. Gino’s time was cut tragically short so there is no telling just how different his legacy could have been had things worked out a little differently.
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
So, I feel like I’ve gone down a very similar path with all my previous selections. The arrogant heel that can talk his way into a fight is seemingly a trend, so I’ll change gears here. There aren’t many wrestlers in history that could work as the smiling babyface role better than Steamboat. Believable in the ring with a character that you can’t help but cheer for “The Dragon” could easily be put in a main event angle with the company’s top heel.