The Elite ain’t Cutting it in AEW!

It’s been a few months and after some time, deliberation, and even an open mind I can safely say… The Elite are not working.

The current big heel four of The Young Bucks, Jack Perry and Kazuchika Okada have been nothing short of an albatross around AEW’s neck. Every time they are on television, the ratings drop significantly, and fans view them as toxic. And while they play the role of heels in charge, too often the whole gimmick comes across as stale and lazy. But the bigger issue is something much bigger and deeper than everything above and that is simply this:

The Elite are the most non-threatening, uncool and unimposing main even heel stable in the history of pro wrestling.

And while you can certainly blame Tony Khan for this, you also have to blame the Young Bucks for putting this whole squad together.

Don’t believe me then just consider the last thirty years of big heel stables that were forces in American pro wrestling; The New World Order, Evolution, Four Horsemen, The Shield, Wyatt Family, Aces & Eights, The Bloodline, Nation of Domination, Hurt Business and DX.

The first thing you can point to is that all of these groups had men bigger and stronger than anyone in the Elite. Even Aces & Eights (which has been mocked by everyone) featured the likes of Bully Ray, D-Von, Doc Gallows, Knox and Mr. Anderson; all of them over 6’2 and at least 230 pounds.

Those are large men who can simply walk over to 90 percent of the population and instantly put fear in you. Because you know that if you get smart with them in real life, they can knock your teeth down your throat.

Compare that to the Elite who feature three of the four men standing at under 5’11 and 190 pounds and it is laughable.

The biggest issue is that in pro wrestling, to be taken seriously as a heel you have to project a feeling of fear and intimidation. What makes the storylines good is that the good guy triumphs over the big bad heels despite the numbers and size disadvantage.

It’s been that way ever since Bruno Sammartino to Dusty Rhodes to Hulk Hogan to Steve Austin and now Cody Rhodes. That visual image of the hero looking around and knowing that he might get the crap kicked out of him. The problem with the Elite is that you can’t honestly believe that the Bucks, Perry and even Okada are going to do that.

As one wrestling podcast put it “The Elite are not cool and I could probably beat them up in real life.”

Do you ever think people would say that about Triple H, Bully Ray, Roman Reigns or The Undertaker in a serious manner?

Even the way the Bucks and Perry dress is embarrassing for a heel stable that is supposed to be in charge. The Bucks look like they have outfits that resemble a cross between what Michelle Obama and Jimmy Kimmel would wear. Not two Executive Vice Presidents of a company that is supposed to be worth “Billions of dollars”.

Meanwhile Jack Perry continues to try to be the dangerous guy even if that dangerous guy was dressed and looked like a CW Teen drama. And people still remember the image of CM Punk getting him in a front facelock and punking him out.

Even Okada is tough to take advantage of as he dresses like a CEO but his role is that of the enforcer/muscle of the group. Anybody think that Okada could beat up Batista, Roman, Big Show, Doc Gallows, Bobby Lashley or Ron Simmons is lying to themselves.

Its one of the biggest problem’s with Tony in that he has neutered the big man in wrestling in AEW. Guys like Wardlow, Powerhouse Hobbs and Lance Archer are often portrayed as dangerous as guys like Perry or Orange Cassidy.

When you do that and you base a heel group around guys like Perry and the Bucks, most wrestling fans just tune out.

Villains are supposed to be the guys that are sinister and calculating while also being threatening. Even iconic movies where the villain was in power always had had a guy who was imposing and strong.

Image if instead of Darth Vader, Star Wars main villain was a guy the size of an Ewok. That franchise would have died quicker than it is right now with the Acolyte’s horrible episodes.

Meanwhile we have seen thanks to the booking of Tony Khan that the Bucks don’t have any power anymore. With the Authority, babyfaces had to constantly worry about McMahon/Helmsley screwing them over due to the office rules.

The Elite one week started fining The Acclaimed for their raps making fun of them, only to have Tony Khan and new VP Christopher Daniels rescind the fines the very next week.

What’s the point of the Bucks being EVP’s if they can’t even use their status to fire, fine or suspend people in the storyline? One of the few advantages the Bucks had was that they were in power and able to fine, suspend, fire or remove wrestlers due to being their boss.

And because Tony can’t help himself, he not only comes back but also has Christopher Daniels installed as his VP/GM. It makes one’s head spin and continues to make the Elite less dangerous or even imposing.

Think about this; the biggest reason people hate the Bucks and Perry is because of what they did in real life and chased CM Punk out of the company. Right away there is no big payoff as Punk is already in the WWE and seemingly happy and content.

There is no payoff and since Punk left, AEW has seen ratings and momentum crater to lows that don’t seem to have an end. The Elite don’t have heel heat or badass heat but “Get off the TV” heat of people wanting them to get off their television.

And as far as promos go, this is an even worse part of Elite as they are not captivating or witty on the microphone. The Bloodline was built for example behind the genius of Paul Heyman and Roman Reign’s mannerisms. The sound and the fury or Heyman’s gift of gab with Reign’s sneers, underrated ability to go from psychotic to charming.

The Bucks on the mic just come across as dorks who try to act tough and cool. Their humor was never their strong suit and even their promos were okay at best. Perry is not someone who is an imposing presence on promos and Okada is a guy who English is a second language.

Compare that to guys like Adam Cole, MJF and Christian Cage who understand how to get overusing their words. It’s the equivalent of going to see Hamilton and instead you get a high school production of Rent.

The more the Elite come out and take up screen time as the major heel faction, the more AEW looks like an Indy faction that doesn’t get it. That pro wrestling needs strong and powerful heels to make the babyfaces compelling and for fans to get invested.

It’s mind boggling that this continues to happen when you factor in who Tony has hired as creative minds and writers in the company. Arn Anderson, Jim Ross, Jake Roberts and Tully Blanchard have all had hands in creating or being part of big heel stables. Tony could have easily asked them to sit down and give their thoughts on who should be in the big stable.

I would bet dollars to donuts that JR, Arn and Tully would be able to create an imposing heel stable in their sleep. And the Elite would not have been anywhere near the big heel stable that is supposed to run roughshod over AEW.

The only thing that the Elite have in common with the NWO is that both stables had talent with massive egos and too much power. Hogan, Hall and Nash were major reasons why WCW sagged and why creative went down the crapper. But at the very least, the three men were major stars in pro wrestling, and all were very large men who could intimidate and capture the audience’s imagination.

The Young Bucks have the ego but have never been the focal point nor succeeded in any major promotion as the main stars. Right or wrong, they flamed out in TNA and were viewed as enhancement talents at best. Even in New Japan’s Bullet Club they were more of the ensemble rather than the feature players.

You can even argue in the height of the Elite AEW, they were not even the second or third biggest stars. That was Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes and Hangman Page while the Bucks were the secondary players.

If Tony wants to change momentum with AEW, his first priority should be to break up the Elite at once. Okada can still be a big player, but he is more a babyface wrestler than a big heavy heel. The Bucks should be phased out completely as they are just toxic right now behind and in front of the camera.

Even Jack Perry needs tweaking as he could thrive as a heel but with a huge bodyguard partner. Think AJ Styles and Omos except with a more experienced big man.

I can already hear the AEW fanatics calling me a “hater”, “WWE-Fed”, “Anti AEW” because of this take. I can tell you right off the bat, that if you truly think that and this is an Anti-AEW rant, you can check yourself.

I loved the Bullet Club because at its height, they had a combination of big men, workhorses, charismatic leader and were hot and popular. The Bullet Club was cool and had people buying merchandise, following them, and even fearing and wanting to be them.

The Elite are none of that and it’s becoming painfully obvious what their shortcomings are, in and out of the ring.

At this point, the only thing certain about The Elite is as soon as they come on the television… fans are changing the channel from boredom and annoyance.

Time to retire and file this as something that is great in theory… but horrible in reality.

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