There’s a lot of negativity in the wrestling world and beyond these days. It’s easy to focus on the negatives, but in doing so, fans lose sight of the positives. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, let’s take a look at some of the best examples of things to be grateful for in what has been a wild year in the wrestling industry.
Young Stars Shine In AEW
All Elite Wrestling has been tested more than its fair share in recent months. First, CM Punk got hurt just days after he won the world title. Then, he reportedly got into a brawl with Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks after All Out, and the incident has changed the course of the company in a number of ways. Punk remains absent, and his future remains unclear. With him out of the picture, at least for now, others have had to step up. While proven names like Jon Moxley, Chris Jericho, and Bryan Danielson have helped carry the company in the aftermath of “Brawl Out”, some young stars have risen to the forefront in exciting ways.
MJF finally had his crowning moment at AEW Full Gear after it looked like his own future with the company was in jeopardy following some reported frustrations about his contract. This situation remains murky, as “The Salt of the Earth” is still seemingly set to enter free agency in 2024. But for now, there’s no doubt that MJF is one of the most gifted performers in the game today; his promos are magnetizing, and his storylines often produce some of the most compelling content in the wrestling world. Having MJF firmly established as AEW’s champion, AEW is set to enter a new era with a homegrown star, which is certainly a reason for optimism
Speaking of homegrown stars, The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens and Max Caster) have caught lightning in a bottle, as the charismatic duo have become some of the most over stars in all of wrestling. Fueled by their love of scissoring, which has caught on in a big way among fans, Bowens and Caster have climbed to the top of AEW’s tag team division. Alongside “Daddy Ass” Billy Gunn, they consistently deliver some of the most hilarious moments you’ll see in all of wrestling.
At times, there’s a powerful undertone to the duo’s rise; during their “National Scissoring Day” celebration, they paired comedy with a meaningful message about how The Acclaimed is for everyone. “It’s our duty to bring everyone together. Today, there is no left and no right, no red, no blue. The Acclaimed wears pink, and everyone looks good in pink, baby. We are the people’s choice, we are the people’s voice, and we’re gonna make history here tonight. We’re gonna do the first-ever bipartisan scissor to unite this country.”
Clearly, AEW is in good hands, and it’ll be exciting to see how these young stars continue to grow.
RELATED: The Acclaimed: We’re Going To Keep Kicking Ass And Keep Scissoring The Hell Out Of Everbody
WWE’s Regime Change Offers Hope
2022 has been a crazy year for WWE as well, with Vince McMahon’s retirement remaining the most substantial change for the company. McMahon, the former chairman and CEO, retired amidst allegations of sexual misconduct, on July 22, and Triple H was subsequently named the new head of creative. Over the course of the next few weeks, the WWE product changed in a number of ways; matches received more time, commentators got more freedom, and in a general sense, the buzz surrounding the company made shows fun again. Triple H also brought back a number of stars who were released by the previous regime, including Karrion Kross and Dakota Kai. Of course, Bray Wyatt’s return was the most thrilling home run swing of them all.
Weeks of mysterious vignettes and QR codes linked to “The White Rabbit” generated plenty of excitement ahead of Wyatt’s long-awaited arrival at WWE Extreme Rules. The electric atmosphere in the arena and the deafening cheers for Wyatt produced one of the most unforgettable moments in recent memory.
While the honeymoon phase is fading as the novelty of the new era wanes, it’s still safe to say that, compared to a a year ago, WWE is much more fun than it used to be, and there’s every reason to think the product will continue to improve under the new regime.
Read More: Mark Henry On Triple H Running WWE: I Never Met Anybody More Passionate About Pro Wrestling Than Him
Return to Normalcy (?)
For the most part, wrestling itself is back to normal, or at least some semblance of it, after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic turned the business on its head in 2020. Not only are companies touring again, as they were by this time last year, but wrestlers themselves are traveling more easily than they could during the height of the pandemic. Competitors in the United States can travel the world and wrestle for companies around the globe, while some promotions themselves are capitalizing on the opportunity as well. AEW made its debut in Canada in October, while WWE announced the looming launch of NXT Europe, which could expand the promotion’s reach in the region.
For far too long, wrestling felt like it was limited, but comparatively speaking, the handcuffs are off now compared to where the business was a year ago. As fans, that is something we can all be grateful for.