AEW needs to use Stokely Hathaway in more ways

Modern wrestling, while more athletic than in the past, lacks something that could help them in the immediate and long-term future. If AEW increases Stokley Hathaway's presence on camera, they could benefit from someone who elevates everyone around him.
TBS's AEW Dynamite Los Angeles Debut After Party
TBS's AEW Dynamite Los Angeles Debut After Party / Leon Bennett/GettyImages

The Man Himself

AEW audiences know Stokely Hathaway as the quick-witted, obscure-reference-dishing manager. After Double or Nothing, Hathaway firmly fits in the heel category. In turning on Willow Nightingale, the minuscule manager could change his AEW fate with a few slides of the booker's pencil. Now, don't expect AEW to follow these tips, but booking Hathaway in this fashion would see his worth skyrocket while enhancing the product.

Fumbled The Bag

If you peruse social media, fans and media will proclaim that the WWE releasing X wrestler is the biggest blunder. In all honesty, Swerve Strickland sits atop that list. Sitting at number two, a manager who not only flashes the gift of gab, but also the chops to keep up and progress a storyline. If AEW sees a future with Stokely Hathaway, he will pay dividends for the next two or three years before the need to turn face or reinvent himself. You cannot lump Hathaway with Reverend Slick, Teddy Long, Clarence Mason, or Nana. Somehow, he made the Creed Brothers and Gable Stevenson's brother formidable and an intriguing watch. He needs to win a Nobel Prize for wizardry, because that remains the greatest act of sorcery in wrestling history.

Tone Down the Funny

Granted, Stokely, by nature, exudes a natural hilarity. Don't get it twisted, funny does draw money. Jim Cornette used ultra-acerbic wit in promos to convey their message. Yes, you laughed. However, the tone of the message incensed fans greatly. Fans reviled heel managers. Cornette recounts stories of attacks while just walking to ringside. Hathaway possesses a high level of snark, bolstered by intelligence. In order to do this, altering the approach. Run down the fans, the faces, management. Act a fool. Unlike the managers of yesterday, social media exists for just this.

Now, this does not mean working fans, but just turning up venom. Unlike you Dom Mysterio, fans don't really exhibit pure hatred for any talent in the industry. Make wrestling fans deeply hate someone again. Cool heels remain a dusty relic of days gone by, like JNCO jeans.

Pair Bryan Keith and EJ Nduka

If AEW wants to repackage Stokely Hathaway on the fly, give him two talented promo-thin talents to lead. Everyone watches Bryan Keith stay with the main event talent when called upon. Meanwhile, EJ Nduka brings serious explosion and athleticism to the table. Pairing them on Rampage, eventually Collison, and then Dynamite gives them time to gel as a team. Keith, the more polished pro will serve as the spotcaller, while Nduka lurks behind him as the force. Build them slowly, eventually culminating in a tag team title reign. Tony Khan must approach this approach with calmness and foresight, fighting his usual approach, rushing a program, watching it fizzle out. Alternatively, if he doesn't want Nduka and Keith on the main shows yet, team them on ROH, just obliterating people. The AEW tag team scene looks rather barren.

Break Up the Acclaimed

Granted, fans loved the Acclaimed for the longest minute. Yet, when the tag straps left, most of their popularity followed. Reverse booking does that. As a result, people think of Billy Gunn and what Max Caster rhymes more than the in-ring product. Under those circumstances, turn Anthony Bowens's heel and let him compete as a single in Hathaway's stable. Of the two, Bowens possesses a more natural personality and appears more focused on the work, rather than quippy rapping. Plus, between the ropes, Bowens displays excellent timing and speed. Bowens fits the role of midcard title contender with Stokely at his side. Additionally, the Acclaimed reached their relevance expiration date. With a stacked roster, AEW should not commit TV time to a tag team that will probably never see the tag belts.

The Long Game

Right now, Powerhouse Hobbs continues to rehab a knee injury. As a result, surrounding Hathaway with talent until Hobbs returns makes sense. In Hobbs, AEW employs someone with the look and talent of a world champion, even for a short stretch. The company repeatedly failed to place Hobbs in a meaningful situation with long-term potential. Watching Don Callis manage him felt like an anesthetic-free colonoscopy.

Whether it's generational or chemistry, everything felt forced and disjointed. Under Hathaway, AEW can legitimately book Hobbs like an unstoppable machine that lays waste to an opponent. At the same, Hathaway infuriates the crowd. Over four to six months, with momentum behind him, Hobbs wins the world title. Next to him, Stokely Hathaway cuts scathing promos, distracts referees, and runs interference. More importantly, Hibbs will avoid drifting like Wardlow. If Ricochet is " The Man That Gravity Forgot", Wardlow is " The Man That Audiences Ignored" Much like warts, and headaches, a cure for bad booking exists. For the love everything, this will permanently close the " Book of Hobbs"

Make Willow Nightingale Suffer Immensely

In order to generate heat, Hathaway must do the truly despicable: Make Willow Nightingale weep. Few athletes on the roster connect better with the crowd better than she does. Granted, after Kris Statlander's heel turn, you can see the wheels turn. However, making Nightingale the beleaguered, frustrated, sad, angry face helps everyone. By yelling, mocking, insulting, and deploying Statlander to attack her, this cements roles for all three. Statlander, light years away from the alien gimmick enjoys a run as a despised heel. Hathaway, her manager does all the talking. Lastly, Willow Nightingale evolves from a popular face to THE face of the women's division. While she will still exude the happiness that fans know and love, her promos will tell the story of pain and redemption, eventually leading to a world championship.


Fans like Stokley Hathaway. They need to hate him with the heat of a thousand Carolina Reapers. For him to take the next step and AEW to craft and finally build a competent stable, patience is the key. No reasonable wants to watch the thirteenth Chris Jericho stable taking up valuable airtime, That man has " please retire" heat". No manager in wrestling, and pretty much no personality in AEW that can flow word for word with him. Why not use that skill to develop talent, build credible storylines that pay off, and evoke emotion? Wrestling fans want entertainment. Elevating wrestlers that you've failed with miserably before, and giving them a manager sounds like a great place to start.