Face of an angel, soul of a devil (ideas for AEW Devil)
By Scott Keith on 19th November 2023
So who's the man that stole MJF's Devil mask and currently running amuck?
Before I list my suspects, let's ponder something for a bit: What is the Devil?
The devil, aka Lucifer is a fallen angel, God's favorite among his creations. A prideful creature of great beauty and charisma, who's vanity and pride led to his transformation from God's most loyal subordinates to his arch nemesis. Rebelling against God when God created mankind and ordered the Angels to serve them like they served God himself, the Lucifer was cast down into into the Inferno where he became ruler, after deciding that it would be better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven.
Also, the Devil is not one to hide and make the world think he doesn't exist as Usual Suspects infamously stated in it's meme line of dialogue. The Devil is nothing if not open and public in what he does and what he wants. All the better to laugh when he ensnarls your soul into damnation by reminding you after the fact that he warned repeatedly before you finalized your deal with him.
There are several wrestlers who would fit that archetype. And here are the three most likely candidates and how them being revealed as the man behind the mask could save the dying AEW.
1. Matt Cardona.
Motive: Once one of the brightest rising stars in the WWE during it's second golden age (IE 2009-2013), Matt's ambitions were ruthlessly crushed by Vince to make him an example to others of what would happen if you managed to get yourself over with fans without management's approval. Having been buck broken, Matt limped along for ages with his only notable moment being a feud with FTR before being cast out by Vince. While he resurfaced in AEW, the case can be made that he saw how corrupt and toxic Cody's friends IE the Elite were and how incompetent Tony Khan was from his cup of coffee tenure with the company and realized that anyone with a brain could probably take over the company if they put their brains to it. Along with the realization that his fans will buy ANYTHING with his name or face put on it (hence his line of merch).
Hence Matt embracing hate and becoming evil, all in the name of gathering strength and the will to power to return to AEW and take over the place in a hostile takeover. It would also explain how he stole MJF's mask (his teacher Brian Meyers grabbed it for him while visiting his protege) and why he's framing MJF: Matt knows full well that MJF won't survive a day in the nightmare jungle of the WWE and once he unmasks, Matt intends to force MJF to bend the knee to the him and pledge his loyalty to him or be destroyed as Matt becomes the ruler of AEW. The ultimate lesson as it were, to MJF who claims to be the devil but is in truth (to steal a line from Tori Amos, “Squire the Dimness”.
What he can bring: besides giving MJF a true nemesis, Matt can go after Chris Jericho by way of destroying Daniel Garcia just to remind Jericho that there is a new villain in charge of the AEW heel locker room. Matt also has extensive ties to Edge, who mentored Matt during Matt's early years as far as Matt being the 21 to Edge's Monarch, and you can have Matt retire Edge once and for all to further Matt's reign of terror. You also have Matt versus Dax Harwood (Matt finds Dax's reformation into being a good guy to be a joke given how Dax bullied and tormented Brian during their time in WWE) and you can work the Young Bucks into it, because Matt considers them losers who's crappiness allowed Dax and Cash to win over the fans as far as not crushing them completely when they had the chance. Not to mention Matt vs Adam Cole with Matt accusing Adam of “making MJF weak” through their friendship. And of course, as Matt gains more and power and influence in AEW, Matt versus Kenny Omega, as Omega is both repulsed by Matt's villainy but suddenly having a proper villain to live out his anime fanboy dream in terms of Matt being the Cell to his Goku.
2. Dasher Hatfield (aka Avery Good).
Motive: The Independent Wrestling God who refused to sell out and become one of Tony Khan's living toys that he owned body and soul. A true fallen angel who's pride driven descent into villainy was the high point of end stage Chikara, who went into retirement never repenting his villainy and who beat the last two remaining people who held a chance to make him pay for his crimes and who later betrayed his villainous partner in crime (Dan Champion) in Dan's hour of need. Someone who saw Eddie Kingston make a splash in AEW calling out Jon Moxley being a sell out fraud only to immediately kiss his ass once Moxley got him a contract with the company. Who has seen so many of his fellow Chikara alumni betray the DIY Indie Pride ethos of Chikara to take Tony Khan's money and be part of “the machine” Chikara raged against for nearly two decades. So why not come out of retirement to destroy the machine that helped decimate his beloved Chikara, and put that snot nosed MJF in his place for the hubris of thinking himself as being equal to Lucifer? After all, MJF never fell from grace like Dasher/Avery did when he renounced fair play and being a paragon of virtue and became a devil. Which would allow for some much needed character development for MJF, in that he realizes that it's one thing to play the villain but it's another when an actual villain takes umbrage to you putting on heirs and acting like a big shot villain when you've only been around a couple of years.
What he can bring: Dasher/Avery has ties to Orange Cassidy, which once he destroys MJF and takes the title from him, Orange can finally transition to the main event as he tries to get his childhood friend to renounce his evil ways. You have Claudio and Wheeler, the former of which trained Dasher/Avery and can create some drama with Claudio being horrified at his protege's descent into evil and watching Wheeler betray/destroy the BCC once and for all by siding with Dasher/Avery. You have Dark Order, who can finally be destroyed for good by Dasher/Avery as Evil Uno and company are fed to him so he can take credit for riding AEW of the group once and for all, along with Eddie Kingston, who also falls to the Dasher/Avery and Wheeler Yuta duo. You have Adam Page, Chris Jericho, and the Bucks be destroyed by Dasher/Avery and Wheeler, leaving Omega with no allies and having Omega put over Dasher/Avery to establish not even the Elite can stop Hurricane Dasher/Avery and a revitalized Wheeler Yuta. And when Dasher/Avery retire Sting, with him mocking WCW as he ends Sting's in-ring career through violently brutalizing him and forcing Darby to watch helplessly as he's handcuffed to the ropes begging and screaming his voice raw as Dasher/Avery brutalizes and cripples Sting, Orange (who up until this point has refused to physically attack Dasher/Avery in desperate hope that he can reason with his former friend, finally intervenes physically to save Darby from facing the same fate as Sting. Setting into motion Orange vs Dasher/Avery, as Orange ultimately beats his childhood friend to finally become world champion of AEW. While Wheeler Yuta faces down Adam Cole, who seeks to avenge MJF.
3. Great Muta:
Motive: This is the simplest one. Great Muta came to America and helped lead the way for Japanese wrestlers getting over big in the United States. He was on the cusp of greatness, until a young American named Sting came along and upstaged him. Sting beat Muta in their various battles whenever they clashed and upstaged Muta to the point that he ultimately left the US and went back to Japan. Though he achieved legend status in the US, he never had another run like he did when he first appeared in the US while watching Sting gain icon status. While Muta resumed a career in Japan that was the stuff of legends, he has held a longstanding hatred and jealousy towards Sting for costing his chance to make it big in the US and now wants revenge.
As for MJF? He also hates MJF, just because he finds him to be a bore (cue Quagmire speech from Muta when MJF asks why he stole his mask and impersonated him). And more to the point, he wants to retire Sting while AEW champion to twist the knife into Sting by pointing out that he'll never get to be AEW champion as far as Muta denying him that honor. Leaving MJF to have to avenge Sting and bring the world title back to AEW proper and end the Muta reign of terror.
What he can bring: Muta being the great villain of the past, long forgotten by most young wrestlers of the current year who never knew of him or only as a footnote in WCW history. The great long forgotten evil would make for a great existential threat to MJF, who will be facing his greatest challenge yet in the form of a living legend who sees him as a impudent child, a novice to be played with before Muta reveals himself before his true nemesis: Sting. It would also allow for Flair to do something too, as he teamed with Sting to fight Muta in 1989 so when MJF thinks Muta's some old fogey, Flair can warn him that Muta is a dangerous threat who not only was one of the top stars of Japan but was personally mentored by Terry Funk, making him even more dangerous and vicious due to the things Funk taught Muta. Which gives us our Rocky arc: MJF loses the first fight to Muta and the belt with it, then watches Sting fall, and has to have Flair help him find his inner strength to overcome Muta in the rematch and fully cement MJF as a good guy by having him defeat a true and proper villain.
Oh my gosh how could we all forget about Dasher Henshaw? The answer has been RIGHT THERE all along and Jesse finally said it out loud.