wrestling / Columns

Magnificent Seven: Names Rumored To Be Joining All Elite Wrestling

January 7, 2019 | Posted by Steve Cook
All Elite Wrestling

We entered a new era of professional wrestling last week, and we enter a new era of the Magnificent Seven this week. I want to thank Mike Chin for all of his contributions to 411mania over the years. I invite you to follow him on Twitter to keep up with his future endeavors.

This type of column is one of the few things I haven’t done during my lengthy stay at 411, so I was happy to accept the baton when it was passed to me. I also invite you to follow me on Twitter, where you can suggest future Magnificent Seven topics, throw me a Botch or two, or shoot the bull about the wrestling or whatever. I’ve been advised not to repeat any of Mike’s topics anytime soon, so it’s rather fortunate for me that All Elite Wrestling announced its existence after his last edition was posted.

I’ve already written a little bit about AEW & what we need to know, but so many new & exciting rumors have popped up since then. As a sports fan, there’s nothing more exciting than when organizations are trying to out-bid each other for talent. Free agency keeps fan interest up all year, even when the games aren’t being played. I, for one, miss the days when WCW was around to try & take talent from the WWF, the WWF would grab some WCW guys here & there, and ECW would pick up the leftovers & make chicken salad out of chicken something else.

Many different names have been connected with AEW in the past couple of days. Here are the seven rumored names that I find most interesting.

Tye Dillinger Talking Smack Smackdown

7. Tye Dillinger

With new competition on the horizon, people unhappy with their position in WWE would be foolish not to seek greener pastures. The Perfect 10’s main roster run hasn’t exactly gone perfectly, and a lot of people noticed him re-tweeting the AEW announcements this week. He also replied to a Cody Rhodes tweet, which fanned the flames even more.

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with maintaining old friendships. I wouldn’t expect Dillinger to be trying to get out of his contract or anything like that. He’s also engaged to Peyton Royce, which complicates any ideas that a younger, unattached man might have about breaking free of the machine.

Zack Ryder WWE Main Event

6. Zack Ryder

Ryder’s story is well-known to most Internet wrestling fans. He got over using social media. WWE buried him in response, and while he’s still employed and building up a solid bank account (which goes directly into action figures), he’s rarely used on WWE television. Ryder had a whopping one appearance on WWE main shows in 2018, and that was on the New Year’s Eve edition of Raw.

There comes a point where you hit a dead end at your workplace & can’t advance any further. Ryder reached that in WWE years ago. I’ve never said he’s a main event level wrestler, but he can be a entertaining mid-card hand that’s always over with the audience. AEW is going to need people like that, and Ryder is popular with the fanbase they’ll be trying to attract viewers from.

It makes too much sense for both sides.

Britt Baker

5. Britt Baker

I know that many of you reading this won’t be too familiar with Britt. She was on the first All In show. A lot was going on that night, so you may have forgotten. She’s still early into her career and hasn’t done enough to be considered a draw yet, but her name being associated with AEW is a good sign.

One of the complaints about the All In event was the comparative lack of women on the card. There was one four-way match, which was pretty good, but other than that, the only women appearing on the show were Brandi Rhodes & Penelope Ford, both seconding male wrestlers. Mandy Leon & Tenille Dashwood were also in the broadcast booth for the four-way, but other than that, the show was a total sausage fest.

If Britt Baker is coming to All Elite Wrestling, the odds are good that she won’t be coming alone. AEW will need to have some form of a women’s division to avoid the criticism that would come without one. We already have New Japan dealing with some backlash from their lack of a women’s division, there’s no need for AEW to add themselves to that cluster.

Jim Ross Jim Ross'

4. Jim Ross

Many people that watch New Japan’s AXS TV show say that JR’s lost a step or two on the microphone. Which is understandable given that he’s been announcing pro wrestling over thirty years. Even if Ross isn’t the announcer he was in 1989 or 1999, he would still be a valuable addition to AEW’s television product.

Announcers with name value help. One of the knocks people had on the very early Ring of Honor product was the sub-standard announcing from people nobody had ever heard of. People wouldn’t give TNA a chance for years because they didn’t recognize the awesomeness of Don West. Don’t even get me started on the criticism of every WWE announcer to come along after JR. Having him on your show gives you a certain level of gravitas, even if other announcers have passed him in the “Best Announcer” polls.

If nothing else, JR’s voice will make a channel-surfer that was a wrestling fan back in the day pause for a second and say “Hey, isn’t that Good ol’ JR?”. Then maybe they keep it on for a few minutes and see enough reasons to add the show to the DVR list.

Bill Goldberg Hall of Fame

3. Goldberg

I have to be honest and say that I didn’t expect Bill Goldberg to be part of any start-up feds. The connection here is with Barry Bloom, the agent whose name was part of the original rumors that foretold AEW’s formation. Every wrestling company needs some involvement from a legend, and Goldberg is probably the biggest name in American wrestling past or present that isn’t under some kind of contract with WWE right now. Is Steve Austin under a legends contract? I assume he has some kind of agreement with WWE.

So what do you do with Goldberg in 2019 & beyond? Two roles spring to mind.

TV Analyst: I remember Goldberg doing some MMA commentary back in the days of StrikeForce on ShowTime. He wasn’t bad at it. Bill doesn’t have that radio show host voice, but it works for a grizzled veteran.

Babyface Commissioner: I can see Goldberg as the 21st century version of Bullet Bob Armstrong. Bob was the commissioner of Smoky Moutain Wrestling for most of its existence and did what he could to keep Jim Cornette & his miscreants in line. Every once in awhile he would have to step into the ring to dish out some justice, and it always went over well. Goldberg could do this role.

And as an added bonus, it’s a variation of an old Jim Cornette idea. I bet that the Bucks using his stuff would grind his gears.

chris jericho dominion2 NJPW

2. Chris Jericho

There might have been a pro wrestler that did a better job of constantly reinventing himself and staying relevant than Chris Jericho. It hasn’t happened during my lifetime. The guy knows his audience and the craft of working them like no other. Everything he does is met with rave reviews, and for good reason. What he does works.

All Elite Wrestling could announce that Chris Jericho will be appearing on their first event to take a dump in the middle of the ring. Not only would people tune in for that, afterwards they would talk about how amazing Jericho’s stool was for a man his age. People would be mocking Dave Meltzer, saying if Jericho had crapped in the middle of Tokyo Dome he would have given it five stars.

I think that actually happened once.

Kenny Omega njpw

1. Kenny Omega

Kenny isn’t the biggest mainstream name on this list. He is the biggest current name, though. Omega has been near the top of everybody’s Wrestler of the Year list the past couple of years. His Internet following is immense, and he’s gotten over great in the place he’s worked too. He’s reportedly finished up with New Japan Pro Wrestling, and now the $64,000 question is where he’ll go next.

This whole “Elite” thing started with Kenny & the Bucks. Cody, Marty Scrull, Hangman Page & other friends joined the Elite universe later, but Kenny, Nick & Matt are the Hogan, Hall & Nash. Without one of them, it isn’t quite the same. Kenny’s spoken about how close he is with Nick & Matt before, and one assumes any vision of AEW has Kenny Omega involved in some form or fashion.

But there’s also WWE. The term being thrown about is “fantastic offer”. You know that WWE would love to have Omega for any number of reasons. One of those reasons would be to stick it to the Elite before they even get the ball rolling. It would hurt AEW from a perception angle…can you really call it “All Elite” if the most talented one in the group isn’t there? And how does it make AEW look from a business perspective? It would be just like when Taz & the Dudleys got signed by the WWF right when ECW made a deal with TNN.

The AEW brass knows all this. There’s a reason Kenny hasn’t been involved with all the stuff hyping the new promotion. Odds are that he won’t be there. They should be fine without him, but having Kenny on board would make things much easier. The optics of Kenny turning down WWE to run with his buddies would be huge, and help make AEW a player from Day One.

Until next time, keep your stick on the ice.