Hi folks! As we head towards AEW’s television debut, I figured we take a second look at some talents we might not know. Most of us are aware of the bigger names like Cody Rhodes, Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks etc. But what about the rest? Who are the new guys & girls and why should we tune in for them? If you missed the first you can find it here. Credit to for three of the choices (sorry dude, but Brian Pillman Jr and Dustin Thomas are not currently signed to AEW).
#1 – Private Party
Semantics. Yes, so technically I am covering six wrestlers today, but you’ll have to live with the fact I’m counting Private Party as one. They are graduates of Amazing Red’s House Of Glory wrestling school. Marq Quen & Isiah Kassidy are known for their high-flying tandem offense, and it’s easy to see Amazing Red’s influence on their style. What is particularly amazing is their chemistry, as they always know what the other is doing like any great tag team. And just to give them a badge of approval, they were hand-picked by none other than The Young Bucks.
Private Party spent much of its time wrestling in HOG, becoming the tag team champions by defeating Ortiz & Santana (LAX), and later losing the belts to their heroes The Hardy Boyz. They have won other tag titles in various independent promotions, so they are no strangers to having gold around their waists. Get the drinks in guys, as Marq & Isiah show us how to party every Wednesday night. The video is must-see, as they share how they got in to the business.
#2 – Allie
Out of these five names, I know Allie the most from her time in Impact Wrestling. Before that, she was known for her hard work as “Cherry Bomb” in the SHIMMER & Shine promotions. Upon her Impact debut, she changed her name and appeared in backstage segments alongside Maria Kanellis as her apprentice.
She didn’t wrestle for months. Instead, she became more of a punching bag for Maria. Allie was often mistreated by her and the other Knockouts. Despite being known as a veteran wrestler elsewhere .. her character was new to the business with very little wrestling experience. Fans encouraged Allie to fire back at Maria, but she was afraid of losing her job. Kanellis forced her in to a five-way match for the Knockouts title (as some kind of punishment) at Turning Point 2016 .. and she accidentally won! Of course, this upset Kanellis and she was made to lie down and lose the title on the following episode of Impact Wrestling.
After months of having to do as commanded, she finally had enough and slapped Maria in the face (but remained employed). A week later, Allie revealed she was getting wrestling training from Braxton Sutter. In some bizarre storyline, Sutter ended up in a very one-sided relationship with Allie’s rival Laurel Van Ness; and they were hastily engaged to be married despite him having feelings for Allie. At the wedding, Sutter waited to the very last moment to show his true feelings, which came as a huge relief for him & Allie. Maria soon left the company, so she was free to work as a wrestler in her own time. No longer “new” to the business, she quickly improved her in-ring ability and set her sights on the Knockouts Championship.
There’s so much more which happened after the wedding, but let’s skip ahead. Near the end of her time in Impact Wrestling, she became embroiled in the middle of Rosemary and Su Yung’s feud. She was coerced in to the dark side by Father James Mitchell and was transformed in to “Dark Allie”. She turned on her friend Kiera Hogan, who seeked the missing Rosemary to help get her friend back.
Rosemary did not want to help, as she warned “The Bunny” (as she calls Allie) not to get involved. Despite this, she would eventually show up in the dark side after Kiera went in after choosing to ignore her threat. In the final showdown between Rosemary & Su Yung, Allie was killed in the crossfire by getting clawed straight through the throat. When debuting with AEW, she resurrected as her usual, cheerful self. Time will tell if she can evolve Allie in to an entirely new direction.
#3 – Michael Nakazawa
Michael Nakazawa is a 14-year veteran in Japan working for DDT Pro-Wrestling, along with several other promotions; also includes Ring Of Honor & CHIKARA in the United States. At 43-years-old, he is a four-time DDT champion and is known for his comical style. What is interesting about his signing over others, is the fact that he is a long-time friend of Kenny Omega. They have fought and teamed together well over 30 times, and the last time was in 2014.
With the ability to speak fluent English (he studied in America), he is likely to provide comic relief at this stage of his career. Originally meant to get an office job, Kenny Omega believes he can do more; he can serve as a bridge to DDT so they have another place to scout talent. Nakazawa’s best days might be behind him, but his signing may open doors for other talent they may never have considered. Another perk is that he’s able to translate for Japanese wrestlers who have trouble with English, and vice versa. He’s a fun personality which I’m sure many will enjoy.
#4 – Wardlow
The Hoss. Mr. Mayhem. Daddy Of All Daddy’s. These are just some of the nicknames Wardlow likes to go by. Standing at 6’2″ and weighing in at 249 Ibs, he’s undoubtedly one of the biggest wrestlers on the AEW roster. He’s similar to Keith Lee or Dominick Dijakovic in that he’s a powerhouse, but has the athleticism to fly around the ring as well. Wardlow is very well-liked in IWC Wrestling, and they were absolutely stoked to hear he’d signed with AEW.
According to one of his followers, he once broke a ring just by getting in. Watch out for his lariat as well, it’s pretty mean! Aside from these facts, there’s not much else to know about Wardlow. He’s a clean slate, ready to become whatever AEW needs him to be. Going by his vignette, it’s likely he will be accompanied by a manager. Skip forward to 43:23 to watch his AEW debut vignette.
#5 – Hikaru Shida
Hikaru isn’t just a wrestler, she’s multi-talented. For over a decade she’s known for her music single and working as an actress in movies and on television. Five years ago, she released her first gravure DVD (a gravure model is known for posing partially nude in an innocent, playful manner) titled Nure Shiri. In wrestling, she has won many championships in the Oz Academy, Pro Wrestling Wave and Ice Ribbon; she also worked for SHIMMER and Smash (Japan’s version). The reason why most English-speaking fans aren’t aware of her is because she’s still relatively unknown outside her home nation.
One of the more recognizable opponents she faced in SHIMMER is WWE’s Ember Moon; which you can watch in the video below. She has also faced Aja Kong in a one-on-one classic (could we see a repeat in AEW?), as well as winning a tag team championship with the legend. Having grown up learning judo and kendo (3rd dan), her kicks are lethal. If there’s one thing you don’t want to be on the end of it’s her devastating kicks. After losing to Riho at All Out, Hikaru will have to wait patiently to get a shot at the Women’s Championship.
In conclusion, AEW already has a roster of over 50 wrestlers, and it will be interesting to see how management handles it. Who do you think will prove themselves as the cream of the crop? And who do you think is most likely to surprise people? Establishing AEW’s place on television will take time, and the wrestlers will play the biggest part in building the brand from the ground up.
With few limits they can go above and beyond to ensure a bright future for professional wrestling. Can they do it? Or will it crumble under a wave of mismanagement? In closing, if you would like to see more talents profiled? Please let us know in the comments. And you know, I’m glad I made this .. Hikaru Shida cosplaying Final Fantasy VII’s Tifa Lockhart? Phwoar. As always, thank you for reading!