Fan speculation is running rampant about who might be the mystery man AEW promises to sign to a multi-year contract at their Revolution pay-per-view this Sunday, Mar. 7.
I can’t really blame fans for getting carried away with their guesses on this one. Paul Wight called it the “biggest scoop ever.” He said the person is a “Hall of Fame worthy talent” and will be a “huge surprise.” Tony Khan followed up by saying that “he” is a “huge, huge star,” and the promise of a “big surprise” is “no joke.”
These are lofty words. On the one hand, it’s a masterful bit of promoting and is a highly effective way to create additional interest in AEW’s first pay-per-view event of 2021. On the other hand, that means there is pressure to deliver a wrestler who lives up to the hype. AEW came through in a big way by adding Sting to the roster three months ago. This surprise signing feels like it should be a similar level of star to Sting. Ryback definitely won’t cut it on this one, for example.
The “Hall of Fame worthy” phrasing has some folks assuming it means the star is not in the WWE Hall of Fame. If you’re really shooting for the moon with your guesses, the biggest stars not currently in the WWE Hall of Fame and not necessarily locked down by WWE include names like The Rock, John Cena, Brock Lesnar, and CM Punk. The first two names simply don’t seem like realistic possibilities.
The latter two names aren’t purely in the realm of fantasy, but they appear to be long shots at best. Lesnar seems like a poor fit for the AEW roster on several fronts, so I really doubt that it’s him. As for Punk, he has already denied being the guy. But AEW actually has two mystery people showing up at Revolution, so perhaps Punk is playing word games and truthfully admitting that he’s not the ladder match mystery guy. We can also probably rule out Batista due to his actual real legitimate genuine in-ring retirement, and not the typically phony pro wrestling kind of retirement that can’t stand the test of time or resist the temptation of Saudi Arabian money.
I think expectations should probably be dropped a notch or two below that level. I also think that Wight’s phrasing doesn’t necessarily mean the star isn’t in the WWE Hall of Fame. After all, someone who is in a Hall of Fame is, by definition, worthy of being a Hall of Famer. We can quibble about the lack of meaning of WWE’s Hall of Fame another time.
So who else is out there that might end up being AEW’s mystery signing? I trust the Cageside community more than any other group of pro wrestling fans out there (cheap pop!), and here are some of the names I’ve seen floated about among the comments, in addition to the big five names touched on above:
- Kurt Angle
- Bret Hart
- Mick Foley
- Sean Waltman
- Becky Lynch
- Ken Shamrock
- Cain Velasquez
- Tessa Blanchard
- Bully Ray
- Mark Henry
- The Great Sasuke
- Scott Steiner
- Bray Wyatt’s burned corpse
- Renee Young
- Rob Van Dam
- Zelina Vega
- Vince McMahon
- Big Cass
I could go on, but I should stop there since I’ve already reached Big Cass.
Some of these names aren’t possible, some aren’t Hall of Fame worthy, and plenty of them don’t fit the hype. I’m not saying this as a slight to the fans who have suggested these names; I’m just trying to demonstrate how difficult it might be for Tony Khan to deliver on the hype if he doesn’t have Brock Lesnar or CM Punk ready to sign that contract at Revolution.
How would you feel if the mystery person ends up being Kurt Angle? He’s one of my all-time favorites, but he had a rough go of it in the ring during his last run in WWE, which lowers the excitement level.
What about a legend who clearly won’t be wrestling, like Mick Foley or Bret Hart? They are big stars, for sure, but I think fans are expecting someone who can still have a few matches.
Perhaps Christian or Sean Waltman are more realistic. Despite Jon Moxley’s dream guy being there, would those names really live up to the “huge, huge star” and “biggest scoop ever” hype?
What if the whole thing is a giant troll job, and this will simply be Paul Wight’s inevitable first heel turn in AEW?
I can’t really come up with any confident guesses about the identity of AEW’s mystery signing, and that’s part of the fun with trying to reach into the past, digging up names like Gene Snitsky or The Yeti, and wondering if there is a snowball’s chance in hell that they could be AEW’s mystery person at Revolution. I am greatly enjoying this exercise, no matter how futile it is. Hell, this is the fourth post I’ve written about the topic today. Feed me more!
Do you think AEW has raised expectations too high on this one, or will they be able to deliver on the hype this Sunday at Revolution?