How AEW Turns Trash Into Treasure

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jack swagger

Earlier this year, Dean Ambrose was trash in the minds of pro wrestling fans.

After possibly the most mishandled return in WWE history, on subsequent evidence, his run was so poor that it actually lent credence to the old !*$% of the ‘Royal Rumble curse’. He drew #14, told management of his desire to leave, and was promptly, suspiciously, embarrassed by Nia Jax. This is after being scripted to blame Roman Reigns for his own leukaemia diagnosis. He worked hard on RAW, but his in-ring performance dipped markedly.

Tye Dillinger was trash.

Banished to the live event loop last year after doing nothing on WWE television beyond enduring the torture of Randy Orton, for what use he was, he was practically a Creative Writer. At least with the writing staff, Vince McMahon rubbishes their work at the last minute. The COO essentially ignored Dillinger’s existence, going so far as to releasing him. In 2019, that’s when you know you are deemed worthless.

Jack Swagger has been trash for years.

He seemed to lose interest in wrestling entirely after requesting his WWE release in 2017, and only surfaced to bag himself the odd bumper payday at the BritWres boom. His awful promo delivery became something of an in-joke among dedicated UK fans, which was some indictment: it was the height of his relevance. A stint in Lucha Underground went largely ignored.

And now, Jon Moxley, Shawn Spears and Jake Hager have made waves in All Elite Wrestling’s formative and improbably popular launch period.

But how?

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Michael Sidgwick is an editor, writer and podcaster for WhatCulture Wrestling. With over seven years of experience in wrestling analysis, Michael was published in the influential institution that was Power Slam magazine, and specialises in providing insights into All Elite Wrestling - so much so that he wrote a book about the subject. You can order Becoming All Elite: The Rise Of AEW on Amazon. Possessing a deep knowledge also of WWE, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Michael’s work has been publicly praised by former AEW World Champion Kenny Omega, present AEW World Champion MJF, and surefire Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Cody Rhodes. When he isn’t putting your finger on why things are the way they are in the endlessly fascinating world of professional wrestling, Michael wraps his own around a hand grinder to explore the world of specialty coffee. Follow Michael on X (formerly known as Twitter) @MSidgwick for more!