Who Is That Masked Man? Getting to Know AEW’s Excalibur (Part 2)
In this conclusion to AllEliteWrestling.com’s exclusive interview with Excalibur, we’ll discover some of the insights that hall of fame broadcaster Jim Ross shared as they prepped for Double or Nothing, Excalibur’s thoughts on Moxley vs. Janela, his advice for Cody’s camp, and also look ahead at ALL OUT.
ALL ELITE WRESTLING (AEW):
All Elite Wrestling has a trio behind the broadcast table calling the action. You collaborate with Alex Marvez and the legendary Jim Ross. To prepare for Double or Nothing, what were some key pieces of advice or lessons that J.R. shared with you?
Ahead of the broadcast, J.R. mentioned I should think about the economy of my words; why use eight words when you can say it in five? The audience is watching for the wrestling, and I have two other broadcast partners to share the ball with, each with their own comments or insights. The more efficient I can be in expressing myself, the easier it will be for the audience to understand what I’m trying to convey. Working with J.R. has been a profoundly educational experience, and any time he offers feedback I make an immediate note of it.
It is evident that you’re quite familiar and comfortable calling the smorgasbord of styles that an AEW event offers, and fans and journalists alike took notice of your knowledge and passion during Double or Nothing. Speaking strictly as a fan, what do you love about the sport of pro-wrestling?
This is a really tough question because there are so many things. I love that professional wrestling is a unifying factor in the lives of so many diverse people. I love that professional wrestling can be a window into cultures from all over the world. I love that professional wrestling is essentially folkloric legends or superheroes doing battle in front of our eyes. I love that professional wrestling is an art form for people who may not have had an opportunity to otherwise express themselves, fans and wrestlers alike.
My answers are all over the place, but maybe that’s the answer? I love pro-wrestling because it is whatever someone needs it to be: competition, entertainment, self-expression, or a million other things.
All Elite Wrestling has Fyter Fest on Saturday, June 29th, at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. This will be Jon Moxley’s debut match in All Elite Wrestling, as he is set to compete against “Bad Boy” Joey Janela. There’s so much momentum behind Moxley right now. He’s a top guy in the sport, and despite his past success, Moxley claims at one point, while rehabbing an injury, he was depressed, and wasn’t firing on all cylinders. If I’m Joey Janela, I might be alarmed by the notion that we might not have seen Moxley at his full potential, but now that he is in AEW, the shackles are off. On the flipside, Joey Janela has been steadily building this underground reputation for himself as a fighter who’ll risk life and limb to get the job done. What can fans expect from Moxley vs. Janela?
Joey Janela and Jon Moxley are cut from the same cloth. I feel like when Moxley left the indies in 2011, Janela picked up right where Mox left off. But because Joey is who he is, he took things in his own direction and now this high-risk style of professional wrestling is in a very different place than where Moxley may have anticipated it going.
Imagine not riding a bicycle for eight years, and then when you get back on you have to pedal backwards to go forward. And you’re riding on a tight rope. Moxley’s first match in AEW is against someone that been living, breathing, and bleeding this style of wrestling for years. Yeah, Moxley is a top guy, but Joey Janela has changed the game.
My expectation is that Joey Janela will quickly try to make Jon Moxley uncomfortable, and it will be up to Moxley to adapt and react. I believe he can, but will he be able to do it quick enough to beat Janela? Who knows. There are very few times I’ve been worried about a match that I wasn’t involved in. This is one of those times.
Also at Fyter Fest, Cody will be squaring off against Darby Allin. There’s that old adage that styles make matches, and if so, this could be the sleeper hit of the night. Cody is at the top of his game and with his background, possesses that classic, traditional American style of pro-wrestling. Casual fans may be unfamiliar with Darby Allin, but those in the know, such as Vice, have cited Allin’s “seeming indifference to pain.” Judging by his recent tweet, Darby Allin is quite aware that all eyes will be on him: “This will be the match that I show the world what exactly I’m capable of.” What advice would you give Cody’s camp?
I would tell Cody to make this a wrestling match. Not a professional wrestling match, because Darby Allin is highly skilled in that regard, Cody needs to turn this match into the 2003 Georgia State High School Wrestling Championship. Darby is younger and faster, he’s seemingly impervious to pain, he’s way better off the top rope, he’s got unexpected international influences and counters; Darby Allin is a real problem for Cody.
However, Cody has experience. If he can maintain his composure, if he can turn this into a grappling contest and force Darby to grind it out, to carry Cody’s weight, then maybe Cody can fatigue him. Maybe Darby will be less resilient if he’s been fighting for position with a larger opponent. Maybe that might negate the speed advantage. Maybe.
Looking ahead at AEW’s title picture, Chris Jericho and “Hangman” Adam Page will be wrestling to determine the first AEW World Champion, to be settled at ALL OUT on Saturday, August 31st, at Sears Centre Arena in Chicago, Illinois. Jericho seems hell-bent on showing the world that there’d be no AEW without his presence, while “Hangman” Page is poised to step out of the shadows and prove he can become a franchise player. What does a victory like this do for either man’s career?
Victory for Adam Page cements his position as one of the top talents in professional wrestling. He’s already in the conversation by virtue of being in the first-ever AEW World Championship title match alone, but a victory over Chris Jericho at ALL OUT would cease the debate. “Hangman” would also become a celebrity overnight. Chris Jericho is not just one of the best professional wrestlers ever, he’s a crossover star; a victory over Jericho would make international news. Winning the match and the title would turn Adam Page into the face of the hottest professional wrestling promotion on the planet.
Most importantly for “Hangman,” it would exceed his wildest dreams. The years of dedication and sacrifice culminating in becoming a world champion is every professional wrestler’s dream. But the inaugural champion for All Elite Wrestling? There’s no way he could have anticipated it, but now he has to have it.
Chris Jericho has made it abundantly clear that he feels AEW needs Jericho more than Jericho needs AEW. Becoming the first-ever AEW World Champion would cement his position as one of the top professional wrestlers of all time and it could, as much as I hate to say it, prove him right. Jericho was recognized as having a hall of fame career ten years ago; a victory in Chicago could make the case for him being inducted a second time.
While I never said it publicly, I thought Kenny Omega would make short work of Jericho at Double or Nothing. I was proven wrong in Las Vegas, and if Chris Jericho defeats Adam Page at ALL OUT I will be the first person to say “thank you” on August 31st.
AEW & CEO GAMING Present Fyter Fest Saturday, June 29th Daytona Beach, Florida. Visit the official Fyter Fest website for tickets and info. This event will also be streaming on the B/R Live app FREE OF CHARGE when it takes place on June 29th!
Fyter Fest Card:
• Michael Nakazawa vs. Alex Jebailey (hardcore match)
• Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta) vs. SoCal Uncensored (Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian) vs. Private Party (Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen)
• Cody vs. Darby Allin
• Yuka Sakazaki vs. Riho vs. Nyla Rose
• Adam Page vs. Jimmy Havoc vs. Jungle Boy vs. MJF
• The Elite (Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) vs. The Lucha Brothers (Penta El Zero M and Fénix) and a mystery partner
• Jon Moxley vs. Joey Janela
AEW Present Fight For The Fallen Saturday, July 13th Jacksonville, Florida.
Fight For The Fallen Card:
• The Young Bucks vs. Cody & Dustin Rhodes
• Kenny Omega vs. CIMA
• Brandi Rhodes vs. Allie
AEW Present ALL OUT Saturday, August 31st Chicago, Illinois.
All Out Card:
• Adam Page vs. Chris Jericho (AEW World Championship)
• Kenny Omega vs. Jon Moxley