An announcement that many had been waiting for came out of nowhere on what was a newsworthy show. With the unveiling of the belts, all the speculation has started and we at Pro Wrestling Musings will help your navigate the talking points with our opinions.
A massive thank you to the following for their additions for this roundtable
Craig William @CraigWilliam
Gareth Ford-Elliott @Gareth_EW
Dan H @WrestlingRhymes
Peter Edge @PeterEdge7
Q1- The long awaited announcement that Trios Title are coming to AEW was made on Dynamite this past week. Is this the right time to introduce the belts? Should this have happened earlier in AEW's history? Should they even be introduced full stop?
Dan - There is definitely room for the trios titles in the current AEW landscape. I’ll mention the number of titles later, but either way these belts offer something very different from what is already in place in Jacksonville. This will particularly be the case if the matches deliver the match quality that I think we are all expecting.
Whilst AEW is undoubtedly the story-telling promotion, I would argue that with the trios titles you wouldn’t always need a narrative to drive the matches. Such is the talent available on that roster that these trios matches can just be cocaine bangers that give every show they feature on an immediate lift…yes even Rampage! It’s something that would be pretty unique to North American wrestling and AEW could really make it their own.
Should they have come earlier? Possibly. Certainly when we got the All Atlantic Title I was wondering why the trios belts had been delayed, but I think the answer to that is one name….Kenny Omega. These titles felt like they had his eyes all over them from the moment they were rumoured, and if they were waiting for him to come back from injury before launching these belts into the wrestling ether then I think that’s the right call.
Craig - Yes and yes. 2021 saw a slew of excellent trios matches Which prompted Pro Wrestling Musing’s Huw to write this article. For me, I remember a period at the start of that year that saw the Young Bucks, Kenny Omega and the Lucha Bros involved in various trios matches with varying combinations with other AEW wrestlers. These matches were action packed and invited comparisons to the PWG-style. At the time I felt this could be AEW’s WCW Cruiserweight Division.
The WCW Cruiserweight Division is well remembered because it was fresh, exciting and different at the time. With so much having been done in wrestling, it can be hard to find a style that can stick out like the WCW Cruiserweight Division did. AEW sort of managed this with tag team wrestling.
A lot of AEW’s most critically acclaimed matches are tag matches. Their fast paced matches with cool and inventive double team moves were a breath of fresh air. In 2021, it felt like this was being taken to the next level with their trios matches. These matches provided an extra layer of complexity to play around with in the form of the two extra wrestlers. This meant creative forces such as the Bucks and the Lucha Bros marshalled complex multi man exchanged and engineered inventive triple team moves or sequences.
So yes. I’d suggest making this a staple of the program and make that concrete and purposeful with the addition of trios championships.
Gareth - I echo many of the thoughts above. I definitely think the Trio’s Titles are a welcome addition. AEW is great at trio’s matches in the middle of shows. I much prefer that to a slow 1v1 in those periods of shows, and the titles give those matches meaning.
It could have happened earlier. It arguably should have. But I’m just glad it’s here now.
Peter- It was a matter of time before we saw the Trios Title announcement. Personally for me, 2021 would have been the perfect time for them to be unveiled after giving the AEW Tag belts two years to set the standards that fans expected with the roster on hand. But maybe in the scheme of things, this is the perfect time with the story of the Elite playing alongside the Trios Title tourney.
Q2- Name your 8 teams to fight it out to become inaugural Champs and who should The Young Bucks team with and why?
Undisputed Elite (Cole/O’Reilly/Fish)
House of Black (Black/King/Matthews)
Death Triangle (PAC/Penta/Fenix)
Dark Order (Silver/Grayson/??????)
Team of Bastards (Kingston/Santana/Ortiz)
Ingobernables de AEW (Andrade/Rush/Bandido)
The Elite? (N. Jackson/M. Jackson/??????)
How difficult it is just trying to narrow this down to 8 teams shows how much depth of talent there is in AEW. I’ve had to leave out Best Friends and Blackpool Combat Club as I suspect they may have other more pressing stories to deal with. There’s also no space for the teams from Dark and Dark Elevation such as the Factory, and also limited space for a surprise random collection of dudes.
The one wild card I’ve included is Bandido being added to Andrade and Rush’s burgeoning stable. This could quite easily be Dragon Lee, and to be honest that would be much more likely, but I just needed to add in Bandido because seeing him in a tournament like this would be hugely exhilarating.
As for the Bucks? I genuinely don’t know. Having said these titles don’t need stories, I suspect the initial tournament and title match will have Elite melodrama writ large throughout and we are already seeing the teases of Hangman and the Bucks reaching a point of reconciliation.
For me, assuming Kenny is coming back, I think he has to team with the Bucks as he doesn’t really fit in with any other teams, and that then leaves Hangman to team with his Dark Order buddies. How you then keep all four of the redeemed Bucks, the repentant Kenny and the hero Hangman babyface is a tricky balancing act.
Fantasy booking time? I’d have the Bucks and Kenny beat Page and the Dark Order, but with there being a lot of RESPECT at the end of the contest. When the original Elite then come up against the Undisputed Elite, maybe it’s Hangman who helps save the day for his former, and future, friends. God that would be emosh.
The Elite (Young Bucks, Adam Page)
House of Black
Blackpool Combat Club
JAS (Garcia and 2point0)
Dark Order (Silver, Reynolds, Uno)
I’ve gone the all star route. I don’t believe Tony Khan will put all these teams in the tournament. I think you can expect to see teams in the ilk of The Factory and the Gunn Club. Tony Khan has shown before that he prefer to book tournaments with beatable low level guys rather than taking the braver New Japan approach where even the champion can take a loss.
The hardest of these trios to predict are 1 and 8 on my list. Who partners the Bucks; Kenny, Page or even a scenario where they’re left with Cutler, and whether Page chooses the Bucks or the Dark Order.
Based on clues on Being The Elite, I’ve gone with Page siding with the Bucks and Dark Order having to do without Page. I’m hoping Omega takes more time out as I’d rather he takes more time than necessary to ensure he gets to his best possible state at this point of his career.
Gareth - I like the selections Craig and Dan have put forward. Really I expect a slightly weaker line-up than that, but agree with Craig that I would like to see more brave booking in the tournament.
As for The Young Bucks, the obvious answer is Kenny Omega is fit and firing. But if he isn’t, there is a really interesting story to tell with Hangman. However, I would hope for The Elite in all their glory. And I would hope they face Hangman, Reynolds & Silver in the semi-finals.
Obviously The Elite would win this match. But after it you could recreate that iconic photo from Revolution 2020, where Hangman faces The Elite in the ring. Except this time, instead of walking away, The Elite offers Hangman a hug.
Depending on where we are with Adam Cole and the Elite at this point, perhaps he, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish (Paragon) could attack them. Setting up the final for All Out. And, if you really want to give me my absolute dream scenario, have Jay White join Paragon in the attack and do Hangman vs. Jay White at the PPV.
Fantasy booking time over, there’s various exciting directions they could go in depending on who the Bucks team with. But that would be my preference.
Peter- Adam Cole/reDRagon
Garcia/2point0 (if Menard is injured then Hager replaces him)
I wouldn't be surprised to see a Blackpool Combat Club vs JAS first round match because this feud must continue. With Buddy Matthews’ absence I don't think we will see House of Black in the tournament. Gunn Club, Best Friends and Dark Order are teams to be beaten in the first round.
And to answer the second part of the question, Young Bucks will team with Kenny Omega.
If Sean Ross Sapp is correct (and his batting average for getting scoops is very decent) and Kenny Omega is coming back soon and with TK’s comment about the Trios belts only coming in when Kenny was back, the only sensible booking idea is Omega and the Bucks. Where does that leave Hangman? It did take Ross and Rachel 7 years to get back together even with a marriage and a child in those years and maybe in a world where patience isn't as prevalent as previous generations, the long build might be the answer to the story of the Elite.
Q3- Do you think that the introduction of Trios Titles means that we have too many titles in AEW? If so, what do you want to happen to the title landscape at All Elite Wrestling?
Dan - There’s definitely a fair concern that there are too many belts on AEW. The name of the company itself suggests that the wrestling should be ‘elite’ and if you start putting belts on 50% of the roster that does bring the risk of devaluing the very concept of the straps.
Having said that the two Owen Hart Tournament belts seem to have largely drifted off television, the FTW title is an anomaly that we can easily manage when it is featured a few times a year, and the All-Atlantic Championship looks like it is largely going to be used off television for now.
The main cause of the feeing of title over-saturation is the ROH belts that simply feel as if they are cluttering up AEW at the moment. Generally AEW need to decide what to do with ROH, or simply cut it loose and utilise the video library, because at the moment it feels like more of a hindrance than a help. But if those ROH belts can all be shuffled off to their own promotion/TV deal, then there’s absolutely more than enough time that can be devoted to one trios fireworks-fest every week.
Craig - I don’t think that’s an issue. The eternal place of comparison, the WWE, don’t have too many titles, they just don’t book titles well. Ironically that’s becoming an accusation that’s fair to be made of AEW too, more recently.
As long as the titles have clear identities and are differentiated then there shouldn’t be a problem. AEW themselves have a great template for this in how they treated the TNT Championship up to when Miro dropped that belt.
AEW is very faction orientated, the trios belts feed into that. You could even see factions freebird the trios belts of you wanted to make them an indicator of the most dominant faction in the company.
Gareth - Some people have made that claim, and to an extent I think it’s a valid complaint. I don’t think the All-Atlantic Championship was very necessary. And I certainly wouldn’t add any more championships on top of the trio’s titles for a while now. Maybe women’s tag titles in the future once they’ve built a division.
But as I said earlier, AEW are great at trio’s matches and they’re going to keep doing them. So we might as well have a prize on the line to give those matches some more meaning, and occupy the careers of different wrestlers.
Pete-Are there too many titles in AEW? That's an answer best suited to a 5,000 word article in the future.
The short answer is no if they give each title its own identity. We know what the World Championship means, it's about who the best in the world is. Same for the tag belts. The TNT belt is at its best with the open challenge element to it. The All-Atlantic Title felt like one singles belt too many on its unveiling but so far I've really enjoyed what we've seen with PAC defending the belt on Rev Pro and OTT shows with the match shown on Dark enhancing the shows quality and prestige. So what identity should be put on the Trios belt? Like Craig said in his entry for Q1, AEW have a chance to promote a new style like WCW did with the Cruiserweights in the mid nineties and also they have a mechanism at hand when to tell the stories that fans want to see from AEW.