The Fantasy Book on In With the New (Kazuchika Okada, Asuka, Finn Balor)

Aloha.

I figured that would be a good way to start this column. As you probably know, the word “aloha” is used both at greeting and at departure. Last week, we said goodbye to a number of people in professional wrestling by asking them to retire. This week we say hello to the new breed, the ones who could step forward and lead the wrestling world into unknown waters.

I am not going to talk again about Kazuchika Okada, Jay Lethal, or Marty Scurll. If you have read any of my work here at Inside Pulse you are aware of my love for these three performers. Everyone knows that I think they are the three greatest performers in the world right now and deserve the big stage in WWE. But I’ve talked about them before.

Today I will touch on some people who may already be involved in major ways already, but could even get bigger. Or underused talents waiting to break out. Basically, I’m using my gut on a lot of these, so let’s see what plays out.

  1. Finn Balor – There have been a few people that I can name off the top of my head that just have a feel for the business. And they use that feel for the business to revolutionize the industry. Paul Heyman is one. Raven is another. And Finn Balor is one that just has that “it” feel. I sense that Balor just knows what he is doing every second he is around. He has gotten over as both a heel (in the Bullet Club) and as a face (in the WWE). He understands the mystique around characters. He is athletic and has an interesting moveset in the ring. His mic work needs a bit of fine tuning, but it is coming along. And from what I have read, he has a head for the business, knowing what will work and what won’t. I would suggest Balor be the main face of the WWE going forward. Not only as the one promoted and provided the spotlight, but also be given the reigns to increasing creative responsibilites.
  2. Corey Graves – When JBL first started on color commentary, everyone loved him. He brought insight and history to the announce team. Along the way, he turned into something else, but when he started it felt like a shot in the arm to the announce team. Corey Graves doesn’t feel like a shot in the arm. Corey Graves feels like a damn land mine landed on the announce team’s collective head. He is so much better than anyone else I have heard on commentary since maybe the late, great Bobby Heenan. But Graves also has cache with the younger crowd. He seems cool. He seems like he is someone you would hang out with. He knows his stuff, isn’t a complete heel commentator, and just makes the broadcasts seem smarter when he is out there. If Finn Balor should be the face of this wrestling generation, Corey Graves should be the voice of this wrestling generation.
  3. Renee Young – Renee should be the host of every backstage, pre-show, and post-show panel/discussion. She is a natural born host and bringing her to the forefront is what is best for business.
  4. Aleister Black – I have to admit to not having seen of the former Tommy End, but what I have seen has been impressive. He has a unique look, has brought a lot of different elements into his wrestling, and looks like a believable badass. I still don’t know if he can cut a promo, but I think he could easily be pushed as the next big thing and someone that the UFC crowd would stick around for.
  5. Asuka – Frankly, she should be the first person any modern viewer names when asked about woman’s wrestling. People with a grasp of history might name Fabulous Moolah or Trish Stratus or someone else, but Asuka is the best woman wrestler that has ever stepped in the ring. She is the Michael Jordan in her sport and we should be honored to get to see her perform.
  6. William Regal – I am sure some people may disagree with this one. I know I will hear: “Isn’t he past his prime?” “He’s done too much silly stuff to be taken seriously.” “He has never shown to be able to rise above the mid-card.” To those naysayers, I dare you to say any of that to Mr. Regal’s face. Regal is a legitimate tough guy. He will break your face and then stretch you like Gonzo. His mic work is great and often understated. He has a deep voice with a deep accent and that sometimes makes it tough for audiences to get invested in what he says, but he can sell any situation. His facial expressions are the absolute best. He hasn’t just seen it all, he’s been through it all. He has a great eye for talent and a matching mind for the sport. I would be curious to see how he could do in a position of control, and not just an on-air GM position.
  7. The Briscoe Brothers – Honestly, either as a tag team or as singles competitors, the Briscoes bring an intensity I haven’t seen in the ring since early days of the Road Warriors. Jay is the more decorated of the two brothers, and brings a reckless wildman spirit to the ring. Mark is hilarious, great on the mic, and just as good in the ring. Mark takes losses easier though, due to his character. Whatever issues the Briscoes have, I still can see them as standard bearers for a company that has their backs.

Okay, so I don’t have as many people listed for future greatness, but remember I didn’t include my three favorites either. Feel free to agree or argue in the comments.

Until next week…

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