They were out to cause trouble—American Top Team. Another faction, yes, but…one that featured Junior Dos Santos.
Junior Dos Santos!
That’s a big name. AEW must be delighted with the MMA cross-pollination. It was a big moment. And all I could think of was. ‘poor Scorpio Sky’.
He was on the sidelines. Literally. With Dan Lambert talking for him. Not that Lambert isn’t a great talker; in a recent edition of AEW Dynamite, he professed his hatred of Jericho’s theme song ‘Judas’, just as it was dying away, causing the fans to retort via the full-throated singing of it. That’s class.
So it isn’t Lambert. It’s because Sky doesn’t need him. He can handle a good interview himself. And so can his tag partner, Ethan Page. And by the way, where was Ethan Page?
Don’t Get Your Hopes Up
When Ethan Page escaped from the oncoming disaster of his ‘Karate Man’ character in Impact and signed with AEW, I sighed with relief. Yes, the character had come from his own work and, of course, he was a very funny performer, but even he would have trouble making that work, particularly with an Impact Wrestling writing and booking team who thought that splitting up The North, one of the best tag teams in North America, was a great way to go.
And then there was Scorpio Sky. A coming man for years throughout the indies and in promotions like PWG and ROH, it was good to see him at AEW. He had palled up with his mates, Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian, in So Cal Uncensored and they had been the first-ever AEW Tag Team Champions. 3 of the original signings, no less. That should be great, shouldn’t it?
But it wasn’t, quite. They succeeded, sure they did. But to me, they never seemed like leaders, fun though they were. Then they were crowded out by other signings. Sky seemed to be moving away from the team. He even won the ‘Face Of The Revolution’ Ladder Match. Yeah, how’d that go again?
They were put in a tag team when they could have made such a splash in the singles world. They were called The Men Of The Year. Even taking that into consideration, I was happy that they were being given a chance. They even had their locker room laughter act down pat.
And since then? A push of Darby Allen down the stairs here. A seat at the back of the hall there. Page was coffin dropped into a literal coffin.
Well, they defeated Jericho and Hager, which has been called ‘The Upset Of The Year’. But this was Jericho with Hager. Not an established tag team. And on Rampage. Not an established programme. And they didn’t get a clean pin.
What else have the Men Of The Year done? Erm. They’ve been around. Just not doing much. And, it seems, not often on Dynamite.
What Are The Problems Here?
There’s no plan for them. Tony Khan loves wrestling. And he has money. He’s brought in some fantastic talent. The worry I have about that is that, with so many new acquisitions, the shine comes off very quickly. I believe this has happened to Page and Sky. Is there anything we can look forward to for them?
Are they title contenders? No.
Do they prefer to cause all sorts of mayhem? No.
Are they a tag team that are prized for their in-ring work? No.
That last one is the most worrying. Because these two can really go. High flying. And solid. With moves. And fluidity. It’s a shame to let them fester.
And they are doing that. They’re hanging around on the periphery of things. They aren’t in control of anything.
Festering In The Faction
Factions are for people who need to belong somewhere; wrestlers who are lost in the shuffle, like the Wingmen, a faction seemingly built around the idea that they need to band together to be seen and heard. Sometimes, though, being in a faction buries you in a group and you can’t get the space you need to perform, the air you need to breathe.
I could be writing this about Private Party, a tag team who are innovative, charismatic, fun, just like the current champs, the Lucha Bros. Imagine a proper programme between those two teams for the title. Mouthwatering.
Never happen. It’ll never happen. PP are now working on Impact and seem to be Matt Hardy’s minions.
That diversion is meaningful, by the way. Because this is where the Men Of The Year are going now. American Top Team is not the place for them. Jorge Masvidal. Dos Santos. This is not a wrestling group. This is as much of a FrankenFaction as the Bruiser Brody lookalike and the ex-boxer in the Nightmare Factory.
I know Sky came up through combat sports and has said to Wrestlezone, “As for myself and Ethan and how we fit in, we’re both former martial artists ourselves.”
That’s great. But this isn’t an MMA group. It’s a loudmouthed manager and a group of combat personalities, it’s a group that doesn’t fit in wrestling. The wrestlers in that group should dominate. But they don’t. Lambert talks for them. The pull of Dos Santos overshadows them. They don’t even lead the shenanigans.
Sky told Wrestlezone that, “So we’re badasses. Just like the badasses that roll with Dan Lambert.” But they aren’t. They’re wrestlers. Being with the Top Team may be interesting, but it doesn’t extend your appeal as wrestlers.
What To Do?
As Raphael Garcia said in Fansided, “The focal point should be on Sky and Page.” Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But there are too many wrestlers at the top of the card. And that’s constantly being replenished.
Scorpio and Ethan could pitch for a singles run. And if Tony says yes, how will that help? There are too many people who wrestle at their weight; they’d be behind Cole, Cody Rhodes, Punk, Jungle Boy, Christian Cage and so many others.
That’s a hugely talented group of co-workers. For some wrestlers, it’s bound to push them out a little. Some of them may be your favourite, some of them might feel like a shame, for others it may be a lost opportunity.
With Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page, it might be all three. Oh well, at least they’re wrestling on the next Rampage! As part of a team…
The Men Of The Year? You wouldn’t know it from AEW…