Saw that WWE made a few releases; some surprising, others not so surprising. The three that made me look twice were Samoa Joe, the Iiconics and Mickie James. I only say look twice because those were the three people I was most familiar with as I do not keep up with the product. There were others as well but the only other name I’m somewhat familiar with is Chelsea Green.
The only name that really stings I think in this group is Samoa Joe. But I have a feeling that the WWE never was truly high on him nor do I feel that he was there outside of the fact that AJ Styles and a few others had gone there to work, making the environment more bearable. Samoa Joe honestly is just a professional and smart enough on his own where he’s more for a purist.Yet by the time the WWE got him, his best days were long gone.
Mickie James probably was there to help get over some of the newer girls. However, at 41 she’s way passed her prime with regards to the WWE. Also, there’s enough women who are making their mark such that they don’t really have a place for her there compared to those who might fit the mold a bit better like Asuka (whom they can still use to transition people to the title like Rhea Ripley)
The fact that the others didn’t make an impact on me says a lot about the way the WWE views their talent these days. My guess is that if they didn’t see progress in sales and ratings on a per talent basis, especially after Stefanie McMahon admitted their data driven analysis, they can quickly cut talent; after all, they have their own talent training ground with the Performance Center and the smaller stage of NXT to give people the ability to perform in front of a crowd (well, at least TV)
Pretty much wrestlers are turnkey in the WWE’s eyes at this point. I think it’s easier for them to churn out people through their system rather than have a permanent big shot they develop like a Bret Hart or Hulk Hogan who might prove problematic and hard to control in the future. Not only that with the pandemic, there’s little reason to invest more than a few key years in trying to cycle through talent since live events with crowds are heavily impacted; instead, they can rely on their brand name for TV, PPV, etc. especially when another network is paying for their content.
Of course, the big question from this is whether or not AEW will set their eyes on these people. I think again of all the ones they would seek out, Samoa Joe makes the most logical choice since there’s quite a few people he’s either worked with in AEW or might have a new opportunity to work with.
Now, the people I think that would do well in AEW are the Iiconics and Mickie James. Mickie James, in particular, might be the best person for AEW to pick up outside of Joe just because of her veteran status. While AEW has various women within their roster, the problem is that they don’t have enough veterans. Mickie James might provide a nice boon to their fledgling women’s division.
The Iiconics don’t have that level of experience but I think they still have enough name recognition where AEW would be a great spot for them to develop themselves, especially as a tag team. It would be very easy for AEW to capitalize on them to setup a tag team title since there are no set teams at the moment.
Of course, the real question is whether AEW should acquire more people. I think the four names I mentioned above would be worth it. Samoa Joe, definitely, is a natural fit while the reasons I cited would help their women’s division somewhat.
The real question is whether the booking can improve. Right now, AEW’s booking is dreadful. It won’t beat the awfulness of the Fiend, Randy Orton and Alexa Bliss, but the bottom is so low right now that it’s really hard to get excited about anything in wrestling. So I don’t think outside of a quick blip these additions would create a revolution. Maybe in the long term, they will help out but AEW truly needs to sort out its booking before I can place any confidence into their product.