Wheeler Yuta’s acceptance into the Blackpool Combat Club seems to have caught a lot of fans by surprise, with fans suggesting different candidates that would have been better suited to the full-on fighting squad.
While I must admit I was also a little surprised, as Yuta had been working with the Best Friends and had been staring at the lights semi-regularly too, I also think Yuta has the qualities to be a junior member of the BCC, as anyone who has seen his work in ROH and elsewhere can attest to. Yuta can go hard (see his match on Rampage with Moxley).
Are there wrestlers I would have put into the Blackpool Combat Club before Yuta? Certainly. But the claim that Yuta doesn’t belong is ridiculous. Tony Khan has stated before how he wants Veterans to be helping to elevate young talent and this is a clear example of that. Getting the rub from Mox and Danielson will do Yuta the world of good, and when one or the other—or even both—eventually turn on Yuta, he is going to benefit further if he can give a star-making performance against either man.
With all that being said, outside of The Triple Threat and The Freebirds, I’ve never been a big fan of three-man stables. Maybe it’s just a residual effect of growing up as a fan of the Four Horsemen, but I’ve always found four-person stables to be the most satisfying. There’s just a perfect symmetry to a four-man stable without it being overblown into NWO/Bullet Club numbers.
So, for me, Yuta belongs but the Blackpool Combat Club is a member short. Luckily, AEW has a lot of solid potential to draw from. So who would I recruit into the BCC to complete the gang? Let’s take a look at the top four candidates for that fourth spot.
Having been a part of Team Taz since December 2020, Hook only made his pro wrestling debut a year later on December 8th 2021 by choking out Fuego Del Sol with his Redrum half-nelson choke finisher. Having been trained by, amongst others, the Nightmare Family, Hook shows a real aptitude for an MMA-style approach to wrestling and sometimes displays shades of his father Taz’s style, Taz of course being the original ‘Human Suplex Machine’ and not Brock Lesnar.
When Hook is in the ring, he shows a legitimacy and confidence that is super impressive considering the length of time he’s been in the ring for. That MMA style would lend itself well to the Blackpool Combat Club, with its sense of legitimacy and desire to fight. If the Club can help elevate Wheeler, why not have it elevate Hook too? It would certainly do more for Hook at this point than dallying with Danhausen (who I like, actually, but still).
Daniel Garcia is a guy who I feel is often dismissed by a section of fans because he is not considered to be a ‘wrestler’s size.’ Considering it’s not 1988 anymore and that the likes of Dean Malenko, Zack Sabre Jr and Jonathan Gresham have consistently proven that smaller wrestlers can not only go in the ring but they can also be technicians and warriors in that ring rather than just comedy characters and jobbers. If we accept it in MMA, why can’t we accept it in pro wrestling?
‘Red Death’ only debuted in 2018 but has achieved a hell of a lot in a short period of time, being a former C4, Limitless and Empire State Wrestling Heavyweight Champion, as well as winning this year’s PWG Battle of Los Angeles tournament and claiming their world title on May 1st. Not only that, but he had two very notable and bruising matches last year for West Coast Pro Wrestling against Jacob Fatu and Minoru Suzuki—and if you can hold against those two beasts, then you’ve got to be one tough bastard!
Garica is a technical wizard and can take it to the mat in a way I’m sure Regal and Danielson can appreciate, while he also likes to throw hands, which is something Moxley can respect. ‘Red Death’ is currently saddled with the unfortunate Jericho Appreciation Society group at the moment, which doesn’t really work; if you want a sports entertainer, go for someone who can work in that mould but can also benefit from the elevation, like Max Caster or Ricky Starks (and that’s not a criticism of either man). Garcia is not a sports entertainer; he’s a damn tough wrestler and that’s why he’d be perfect for the Blackpool Combat Club.
Let’s take it back the other way. Maybe the Blackpool Combat Club doesn’t add another member to elevate. Maybe what they’re after is someone they know and trust, someone who completes the unit with their fierceness and their desire to fight to the death, no matter what.
Enter Eddie Kingston.
Currently partnered up with Proud & Powerful as he feuds with Chris Jericho and his Appreciation Society, Eddie is going to need something to do once that feud ends. He could stick with Santana and Ortiz, or he could go it alone, but I think there’s a better option waiting for him. We know ‘The Mad King’ and Mox are closer than close and have tagged in AEW in the past. We also know Eddie’s genuine and passionate love for All Japan Pro Wrestling and the famous ‘King’s Road’ style of puroresu that the company promoted at its peak. What better way for Eddie to celebrate his love for Misawa, Kobashi et al. than by joining the one gang in AEW’s town that respects and upholds the kind of honour and toughness in fighting that the ‘King’s Road’ embodies?
Besides, who wouldn’t want to see Eddie and Mox tag up again?
The current ROH TV Champion is one of the greatest, hard-hitting wrestlers in pro wrestling history and rightly deserves his place with Bryan Danielson in the ROH Hall of Fame and at the top of the list of greatest pro wrestlers to emerge post-2000. His credentials as a fighter are well established—he’d be a perfect fit for the Blackpool Combat Club.
The benefit of having Joe in the group, then, works on a different basis. Tony Khan has announced that his purchase of ROH has finally closed, and I imagine in the near future we are going to get more details about ROH programming and such moving forward. Assuming Joe has a good run with the ROH TV title and is still champion when ROH relaunches officially, then ‘The Samoan Submission Machine’ might just provide, alongside ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta, a solid link between AEW and ROH for the Blackpool Combat Club to travel between, allowing for some cross-promotional feuds to take place. Maybe Joe and Yuta represent the Club in ROH, Mox and Danielson in AEW. That’s an interesting prospect for sure.
We know that ROH has a history of pure combat. Its current World Heavyweight Champion was a major part of the ‘Foundation’ of that division. Now, this may be wishful thinking, but imagine a Blackpool Combat Club vs. Foundation feud taking place across all of Tony Khan’s wrestling programming?
Now that would be one hell of a fight!
Who would you have become the fourth member of the Blackpool Combat Club? Let me know in the comments!