Tossing Salt Presents:
Ultimate Wrestling Q&A
Lots of AEW, CM Punk & More
December 20, 2019
Greetings, salutations and welcome to the Ultimate Wrestling Q&A. A lot of new questions were in the inbox this morning, courtesy of the Brian’s… Brian M. and Brian FKA HBKid. It’s mostly taking a look at the Elite that is AEW and it’s a fun time for all, I promise. I wish those clothes would finish in the dryer so I could go to bed. But while I’m waiting, let’s get busy and do this…
I had a question regarding AEW that has been nagging me for a while.
1) Why was Jericho made the first champion? I understand the publicity boost, and he’s been excellent in the role – but I firmly believe it should have been Kenny Omega, with Jericho being the second champion to give the company a booster shot after the first few months….
Jericho was the first champion because Tony Khan and the AEW EVP’s wanted him to be the first champion. Omega is an interesting choice because while he’s got a great reputation in Japan and among the die hard fans, the casual fan doesn’t really know much about him. Better to use AEW to build him up to the U.S. audience first before having Omega as the figurehead of the company. Jericho is well known to even the most casual fans and was, in my opinion, the best choice from the AEW superstars considered.
2) The way it seems to be going, it seems like Moxley will take the title off of Jericho. Another ex-WWE household name, my question simply is what are they thinking?
I don’t think Moxley will be the one to take the title off of Jericho, but if he is the one, so what? As you said, he’s a household name and most fans, even the casual ones, know who he is. The ex-WWE guys draw the audience and casual fans and the other talent, the up and comers if you will,.give them a reason to keep tuning in. AEW is still a new company and they need to find that person to drawn the crowd and generate interest and viewers. The ex-WWE talent has been there and done that with a track record to back them up so AEW goes to them first. It’s common sense and good business.
3) Outside of MJF, have they established any new main eventers? They’re working on some others, but so far no one seems to have truly broken through.
I think Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy are on the crest of breaking through and Dr. Britt Baker is drawing eyes for the women. Building main event stars is not a quick process and outside of the former WWE talent, most of the others superstars are still unknown to the causal fans. It’s a work in progress and you have to give AEW time to build and develop. The main event stars are coming. Just have patience.
Brian / FKA HBKid
1) This is a bit of a petty question in some respects. Looking at Chris Jericho today versus interviews in early 2018, he seems to have aged a decade in a less than two years. Is everything alright by him, is he healthy?
It’s just Mother Nature and Father Time taking their toll and also, I would think, the pressure that Jericho faces daily with his podcast, working with Fozzy and of course, carrying AEW on his shoulders after burning his ties to the WWE. So far as I know, Jericho is healthy and doing great, but as Larry Zbyszko once said, “Time fears only the Pyramids and the legends of Pro Wrestling.”
2) Chris Jericho took a significant risk by signing with AEW and truly in many respects putting the company on the map – how do you view this in terms of impacting his legacy? I think it is somewhat similar to Kurt Angle jumping to TNA. Some of Angle’s best work as a performer came during his TNA run, but with the company ultimately not succeeding to the level anticipated, Angle would likely be viewed with more respect by fans if he had stuck around in WWE…. Jericho is later on in his career than Angle was – do you view his legacy as tied to the success or lack thereof of AEW?
Jericho did take a big chance on going to AEW and breaking the ties with WWE, but I don’t think it will hurt his legacy and reputation at all. The comparison to Angle is moot because Angle only went to TNA after refusing to go to rehab for WWE and it wasn’t his choice, but the only option he had aside from retirement. Jericho had several options in front of him and took what he seems to believe would be the biggest challenge and the best for his career. Regardless, I think his legacy and rep are safe.
3) Who do you see as the major breakout stars from AEW thus far? To me, outside of the expected names, really only MJF and Sammy Guevara have truly appeared to have star potential. Am I missing some, what is your take? MJF is only 23 and Guevera is 26. The both seem to have the potential to be major star for decades to come in the industry.
I think AJF and Sammy Guevara are poised to be big names as you suggested and I also think that the Jurrasic Express of Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy are also two to keep an eye on. The entire “Inner Circle” is worth watching, especially the former Jack Swagger, Jake Hager. And Dr. Britt Baker is a future star for the women ready to break out and be a top talent.
4) Does CM Punk live to go against the grain? Signing with Fox to be apart of WWE Backstage seems like the absolute least predictable option. I wonder if his deal with Fox includes other programming beyond the wrestling world. I mean, from an audience perspective, he would’ve been better off going to TNA or ROH.
I think WWE is the best place for Punk to be because they have the money he wanted and he helps make WWE Backstage more interesting. Does he live to go beyond the grain? Well, he is CM Punk and he’s best known for speaking for the voiceless and trying to stir the pot, aka the “pipebomb”. So WWE is where he belongs and he likes to ruffle the feathers and stir the shit cause that’s how he rolls.
5) Kenny Omega finally performing in the America’s makes me truly wonder what if. At 36 he is just beginning his career within the US as a wrestler, but good lord is the guy talented. What would you say kept him away from the US wrestling scene for so long? He seems like he could’ve walked into WWE and been the top guy half a decade ago if he chose to.
Omega had a great deal going in Japan, one of the most beautiful nations in the world and was making great money in the process. So why give that up to face an uncertain future with WWE and living at the ever-changing whim and moods of Vince McMahon? Omega enjoys his freedom and in Japan, he had it. In WWE, not so much so that’s my opinion as to why it took him so long to make the move to the U.S. full time.
6) As a fan, I know that wrestling isn’t “real”, but the performers do perform stunts that have real pain. The Omega – Moxley match at Full Gear was cringe-worthy – how do performers go through those sort of matches and how do they protect each other from what I can only imagine is an ungodly level of pain – i.e. landing on broken glass.
I don’t know how they do it either, but the pain and injuries are definitely real and it takes a tough person to do what these men and women do and deal with that pain on a daily basis. It’s all about attitude, courage and a high tolerance for pain. The wrestlers protect each other as best they can and try to keep the injuries to a minimum. They’re just a special breed of athlete, truly the best in the world. That’s all I can say about that.
7) As a continuation to the my previous question – when I was younger I loved watching old ECW matches; as I’ve grown I truly find CZW / extreme hardcore matches disgusting, I usually just skip them. How are the performers able to tolerate the pain level that must be involved with performing the stunts involved?
As the match happens, I think the adrenaline rush of being out there in front of the crowd and performing numbs a lot of the pain and being caught up in the moment, they just don’t realize or feel the cuts and scratches at the time they happen. Later on, when the rush is over and reality sets in, it’s usually a different story, but the average wrestler is a tough and fearless hombre and the pain, they just take it and deal with it and move on. It’s the show and match that matters, not their own personal well being.
8) Who do you see on the WWE roster as future stars? I truly don’t believe there is anyone who can make it to the mainstream to the extent that John Cena did.
To reach the level of Cena, I don’t really see anyone either. But so far as future stars go, Ricochet, The Revival, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Asuka are all well on the way to breaking that glass ceiling in my opinion.
And there you go. My thanks to the Brian’s for the questions. Any comments, thoughts or questions, please drop me a line and let’s talk. My thanks for reading. And with that, it’s time to go throw clothes into the dryer. Have a great one, stay safe and I’ll see you at the matches.