Friday, June 4, 2021

Where Should They Go?

Lovelace would be a wonderful addition to STARDOM in her post-WWE career.
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Wednesday, WWE let go six wrestlers in an attempt at shaving the budget. How a multibillion dollar corporation with no fewer than three revenue sources that pay them billions of dollars before the first fan walks through the turnstile or fires up a streaming service can cut talent for budgetary reasons would be beyond me if I were born yesterday. Either Vince McMahon and his shareholders are gearing up to sell the company to a multinational media conglomerate, or he's once again showing his true colors as the greediest shitbag even among the greedy shitbags that populate the ranks of wrestling promoters both currently and throughout history.

McMahon isn't the only person in play here, as the six wrestlers he released from their contracts will more than likely continue on in this field of labor that they chose at some point between being born and stepping foot into wrestling school for the first time. The nature of being released from their contract as opposed to allowing it to expire naturally is that they are all subject to a 90-day no-compete clause. I have never agreed with that stipulation in any contract, but wrestlers are the most down-bad workforce in the world, so they'll pretty much agree to anything as long as they get a fleeting whiff of hitting the ring on a Monday or Friday night. It also doesn't matter what I believe anyway. If any of these wrestlers wanted to wrestle for any company in America that had television, they'd have to wait until September 2. All Out in Chicago is September 5, as a reference point. Go ahead and salivate.

However, for as much as All Elite Wrestling might want to sign any or all of these wrestlers, should they? I would argue they have a glut of wrestlers that they don't have television time to whom they can allocate, and they just signed Lio Rush, who is a hot young star who made a marquee debut at Double or Nothing and has a pound of flesh he needs to take from Matt Hardy and his two young boys, Private Party. Would I be happy if any of them showed up at All Out? Sure, with one major exception. I'm just saying it might not be best for them. What would be best for these wrestlers though? Well, I am going to attempt to parse that in my own purview.

Adam Scherr/Braun Strowman - Scherr has said in the past that if ever came a day that he wasn't wrestling for WWE that he would hang up the boots. I wonder if he ever thought his day leaving WWE would be at age 37 coming off a WrestleMania program against Shane McMahon and not age 50 after a long, storied career as WWE's big bad final boss. For as uneven as his WWE tenure has been, there's no denying he has presence and star power. At 37, he's not exactly a spring chicken, but at his level of training, he may not be able to transition smoothly into another major promotion. The talent is there though. The myth is that great wrestlers can carry awful wrestlers to incredible matches, but I don't buy that for one second. You have to have something. The fact that Scherr had some bangers with Roman Reigns before The Big Dog really came into his own tells me he can still have a late-blooming career elsewhere in wrestling.

Someone of his size and reputation for being, for lack of a better term, stiff might be able to thrive in a place where accidentally throwing a potato at your opponent is more easily forgiven. Brock Lesnar kicked his ass for being sloppy, but you gotta think someone like Tomohiro Ishii or even Chris Dickinson might take it as a rite of passage. Scherr totally should call up Katsuyori Shibata at the LA Dojo, humble himself, and get that last bit of training he might need to have one last Batista/Lance Archer-like run. Whether he stays stateside like fellow WWE expat Fred Rosser (fka Darren Young) or heads over to Japan to run with the big boys, I see him having the brightest future with the King of Sport.

Buddy Murphy - The chatter of him being better than Kenny Omega when he was trained as a pure imitation of Omega to work for WWE was always annoying, and it did him no favors either. Murphy was always much more than WWE's spiteful attempt to have a wrestler who'd spurned them so many times after they somehow let him get away from their developmental system, back when Deep South Wrestling was their developmental system. The point I'm trying to make here is that Murphy was given that mantel not just because he looked kinda like Omega if you squinted. The temptation to have him head to AEW is great, especially for them to run the Omega mirror match and totally throw a 40 megaton spite bomb at McMahon and WWE. However, the indies are in need of a shot in the arm after WWE vacuumed up all the talent and left them with deathmatch guys and homeless Chikara students. If there ever was to be a workrate renaissance, it would have to be sparked by a guy returning to the scene from WWE, right?

To the best of my knowledge, Murphy hadn't worked in the American indie scene before he went to WWE from Australia. That being said, you don't need a one-to-one comparison to make his eventual blazing workrate run, well, work. I imagine him becoming the co-ace of Game Changer Wrestling along with Nick Gage and reinvigorating a scene that needs workhorses to attract old and new fans to arenas. I guess the big problem would be sorting out work visas and such, but I'm sure Brett Lauderdale, in between tweeting and trying to half-ass COVID response, can get that done.

Heidi Lovelace/Ruby Riott - On one hand, this release sucks because if anyone deserved to make money as a wrestler while strutting her stuff every week, it was Heidi F'n Lovelace. On the other hand, having a wrestler of her caliber free from the sexist clutches of a WWE that didn't have any idea how to deploy her talents isn't such a bad thing. The only thing keeping me from emphatically saying she should show up at All Out and kick Britt Baker upside her head is the fact that AEW already has so many talented female wrestlers that they don't already use because Tony Khan thinks having two women's feuds on the show every week is a bit much. Heidi Lovelace isn't meant to sit in the front row as a plant and wrestle every other week on fucking YouTube. She's a star.

So it should follow that a star of her caliber should be able to show off said stardom... in STARDOM. They are down a gaijin superstar since Bea Priestley announced she was heading back to the UK, and honestly, I would make that trade a trillion times out of ten. The upgrade would be MASSIVE. Lovelace's willingness to ragdoll herself for the entertainment of crowds of all sizes and her manic energy would play well in a joshi setting, and who knows, maybe she could get in as a name freelancer so she could take a few trips over to the Choco Pro classroom to challenge Lulu Pencil in EXTREME WARFARE.

CJ Perry/Lana - They say you shouldn't really work with your husband, and generally, having spouses work at different places is good for mental health. That being said, Lana was such an integral part to the early Rusev act in WWE that I might want to see CJ Perry enhance Miro in AEW. Most of why Perry's tenure vis-a-vis Miro in WWE didn't work was because McMahon was absolutely psychotic with dealing with their personal life. All billionaires are bastards, but some are more chill with things like "personal space" than others. I feel like Khan might get that he shouldn't be putting the two in cuck angles to make things work.

Tommy End/Aleister Black - End is probably a lot of people's crown jewel and for good reason. He was perhaps the best wrestler on the mainland European continent until he signed with WWE. Of course, COVID-19, Speaking Out, and WWE's expansionist tentacles have all wrought havoc on the European scene, mainland or Great Britain (Please note for first-time readers of this blog I am not saying Speaking Out was bad). In a perfect world, he'd go back to Westside Xtreme Wrestling and lead it to a renaissance, but if he did that, he would be walking back into a WWE puppet state promotion.

For as much as Scherr needs some fine tuning in his game, End can walk right into New Japan Pro Wrestling and throw his heft around. Again, with Will Ospreay on the shelf and in his feelings, the company could use another guy they could market to Americans and Europeans, especially since End doesn't have pesky things like "accusations" following him around. The ideal landing spot for him would be a shoot-style promotion, but there aren't any of those around regularly. He can fill a void as the edgy and stiff loner that Shibata held before he got injured and robbed of his career, and when Josh Barnett comes calling, he can do Bloodsport as a treat for stateside fans.

Santana Garrett - She should go straight to hell, along with Ivelisse Velez, Amber Nova, Aaron Epic, and most especially Chasyn Rance. Get all these shitbags out of wrestling.