When Lou Thesz was the perennial NWA World Champion within the Fifties, he had a really particular method to wrestling. Thesz’s promoting level was that he was a grasp wrestler, and he would go into totally different territories and placed on dominating shows of grappling ability, dispatching all-comers. The purpose of that form of reserving was that it established the NWA World Championship because the title that had probably the most credibility, because it was across the waist of a totally dominant performer who not solely by no means misplaced, however hardly ever ever appeared to be on the verge of dropping. Thesz was thought to be one of many legitimately hardest shooters within the enterprise, which added real-life credibility to the title as effectively.
Years later when Ric Aptitude was the perennial champion, he had a really totally different model.
Aptitude’s promoting level was that he would go into every territory and let every regional challenger, no matter precise ability, get very near beating him. Oftentimes the match would finish in a draw, or Aptitude would retain by heel shenanigans. The important thing was that Aptitude made it look like every regional star was adequate to develop into world champion, which helped the regional star really feel like an even bigger deal when working with their common opponents.
In trendy occasions, it’s a problem to strike a fragile steadiness between Thesz and Aptitude’s respective kinds. It’s necessary to have your champion introduced because the undisputed, prime wrestler within the firm, however on the identical time it’s extraordinarily helpful to leverage the credibility of the championship to assist elevate less-established expertise.
When Kenny Omega strode to the ring on Saturday night time, there was no denying he was the highest wrestler in AEW. Draped in gold, Omega was praised on commentary and whereas they chastised his heel antics, the announcers had been in settlement that he was one of the best wrestler on the earth. He entered the ring with credibility, each in kayfabe phrases due to his lengthy title reign, and in actual life due to the insanely excessive commonplace of in-ring efficiency he had established all through his profession.
Throughout the ring from Omega stood 24-year-old Jungle Boy, who very like Tommy Wealthy or David Von Erich, was a younger wrestler seeking to get some credibility by pushing the nice champion to his restrict. The results of the match was precisely what ought to occur when two skills like that get into the ring collectively; the younger man will get loads of possibilities to point out off their expertise and might get near beating the champion; however in the long run, the champion exhibits their class and places away the upstart challenger.
This sounds easy, nevertheless it’s an actual artform that not each professional wrestler can pull off. Omega, like Aptitude, is the uncommon sort of wrestler who can pull off each features of being a champion. He can appear to be one of the best wrestler on the earth, clearly a minimize above his competitors, whereas additionally being very giving to his opponent and make it look like they’re near knocking them off.
For a younger wrestler like Jungle Boy simply dipping his toes into the principle occasion scene, that’s all that they should transfer up a stage. He doesn’t must beat Omega, he simply must do sufficient to persuade followers that in the future he’ll.
It was nights like people who present that Kenny Omega is on his personal stage in relation to sure issues in skilled wrestling. No person can hit the ring with the popularity of being one of the best wrestler on the earth after which ship a back-and-forth match that makes a youthful man whereas additionally establishing himself as a dominant power that’s clearly higher than any of his opponents. There are numerous gifted wrestlers on the earth, however Omega appears to be one of the best at this essential ability, and AEW leaning on him to assist make new stars and add credibility to their youth motion might be one of the best use of his appreciable skills.
To match him to a different wrestler, Roman Reigns, the variations are usually not simply in ability, however total philosophy. Reigns is extra Thesz, he’s pushed onto an unreachable pedestal and eats individuals up in his matches, culminating in his match at WrestleMania the place he stacked each Edge and Daniel Bryan on prime of one another like firewood and pinned them on the identical time.
The first purpose with each Reigns match is to make him appear to be a powerful, dominant power and the affect it has on his opponents comes secondary.
That technique isn’t with out its deserves, normally, the most important attracts in wrestling historical past had been primarily unstoppable superstars who by no means misplaced; Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Mil Mascaras, Steve Austin, and so on. Taking one star and elevating them above the remainder has been a traditionally profitable method.
The issue with Reigns is that WWE has been pushing him to be above everybody else (aside from Brock Lesnar) for years and years, and in 2021 the issues stemming from that form of push are extraordinarily evident. No person on the roster seems like they’re on the identical stage as Reigns, which has left him devoid of competent challengers. There’s a time and place to arrange any individual to run by a complete roster; Hogan had a litany of challengers introduced in from the dying territories and Steve Austin had an extended record of prime names all lined up for when he first received the world title. Mascaras traveled the world trying to find contemporary opponents that may do a job for him.
For Reigns although, that likelihood has already come and gone.
Reigns has been cleansing out the roster for years and the time now needs to be devoted to elevating new names that may stand alongside him. As a substitute, Reigns is consuming up his opponents in matches and the consequence has been a profound lack of star energy in WWE.
Evaluating Reigns to Omega, there’s a clear distinction that showcases what makes Omega so nice. The aura of Roman Reigns is sort of fully tied to the truth that he’s WWE’s option to be the highest man, and is booked to destroy everybody in his wake. If Reigns wasn’t pushed as such a dominant power, like how Daniel Bryan was pushed, his attraction can be considerably weakened. Whereas Omega has loads of kayfabe accomplishments, he has by no means been booked to dominate everyone the way in which Reigns has.
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Omega’s aura comes from the real-life expertise of his in-ring talents. Very similar to Aptitude, if a younger wrestler hangs with Omega within the ring, a part of the story being informed is that the younger wrestler is matching probably the most expert wrestler on the earth. The followers purchased Aptitude as a result of he was the perennial world champion, however additionally they purchased him as a result of they knew that he was possibly the best performer within the historical past of wrestling. Omega is the closest performer now we have at present to Eighties Aptitude in relation to popularity. When you can grasp with Omega within the ring, it makes the story really feel a lot extra actual as a result of you possibly can’t pretend in-ring high quality the way in which you possibly can pretend kayfabe dominance.
When awards season comes and persons are debating about who the Wrestler of the Yr needs to be, I hope they keep in mind Omega’s match with Jungle Boy, or his match with Rey Fenix. You’ll be able to even return to his matches with literal nobodies like Alan Angels and see Omega’s pure high quality. Who’s extra helpful than a man that exudes god-tier aura whereas additionally having the ability to go on that shine to less-heralded rivals? No person else can actually provide that on the identical stage as Kenny Omega.
Within the newest episode of the Gents’s Wrestling Podcast, Jesse Collings and Jason Ounpraseuth speak in regards to the present wrestling media panorama. They go over the historical past of wrestling media, public confusion about what being a wrestling reporter really entails, the awkward state of WWE and AEW media calls, the surge of curiosity in wrestling information and way more.