Shawn Spears delivered the shot heard ‘round the pro wrestling world when he smashed a steel chair into the head of former best friend Cody Rhodes. The moment came at AEW’s Fyter Fest on June 29, following Cody’s match with Darby Allin. Spears made his way to the ring and made an immediate impact on the new company.
But he also made a statement. This was not the lovable Tye Dillinger that WWE fans were familiar with. This was a man with a new attitude and a new taste for violence. This new outlook was further cemented by the addition of WWE Hall of Famer Tully Blanchard, who will serve as Spears’ Exclusive Advisor. It’s definitely an intriguing turn of events as it’s providing what could become AEW’s biggest storyline.
Longterm storytelling has not really been on the table thus far for AEW. The company likely has plans in place for months ahead and the angle with Rhodes and Spears is just one of them. But as pro wrestling fans have followed AEW, they’ve done so on a show by show basis and no one’s really been able to predict the future, with a few exceptions.
Watch Spears’ interview with Jim Ross!
Those exceptions include The Lucha Bros continued heat with The Young Bucks, as well as Jon Moxley’s growing rivalry with Kenny Omega. Chris Jericho has heat with everyone of course and AEW’s evolving landscape will certainly become littered with feuds as time goes on.
But Cody Rhodes versus Shawn Spears is current and it just has a different feel to it. That’s especially true because of Blanchard, whose history with the Rhodes family goes back nearly 40 years. He and Dusty Rhodes had one of the all-time great blood feuds of the industry and it’s still being talked about to this day.
Longtime fans will never forget the wars that Tully and Dusty had through Jim Crockett Promotions. Those wars were fought all over the world and every time the two men stepped into the ring, they made brutal magic together. Each man was the perfect opponent for the other and it showed both in the ring and on the mic. Tully was the complete opposite of Dusty in nearly every way and that’s one of the reasons why they had such great chemistry.
Watch Spears attack Cody!
When fans looked at Tully, they saw a privileged and petty individual who only cared about himself. Blanchard was more concerned with flaunting his money and living life in the fast lane. People were pawns to him and making friends was a means to an end. Tully Blanchard wanted the world and he believed he deserved to have it.
Dusty Rhodes was The American Dream, a blue collar man of the people. He cared more about pleasing his fans than he did trying to prove he was the baddest man in the room. NWA fans knew that Dusty was the real deal, just as they knew that Tully often needed help from The Four Horsemen to win a match. The Dream didn’t always go to war alone, but he was more than willing to do so.
Fast forward to 2019 and suddenly the bitter rivalry between Tully and Dusty is being revisited upon The Dream’s youngest son. While the foundation of Cody versus Shawn may or may not be directly linked to Dusty versus Tully, the connection is obviously there. Fans will see it, AEW will likely explore it and in the long run, it’s a good thing for the company.
But Cody versus Shawn also has an interesting vibe, due to the shared history between both men. They worked together in WWE, where they learned the business in developmental. Rhodes has publicly said before that Spears taught him how to work, so it’s clear that Shawn played a huge part in Cody’s evolution in the industry. AEW is using that fact in this storyline, which is fueling Spears’ vendetta against the company founder.
Relive some of the history between Dusty Rhodes and Tully Blanchard!
Then there’s the fact that AEW now has a major new heel with Shawn Spears. When the company first formed and journeyed down the inevitable path of weekly TV, which will begin this October on TNT, it was impossible to know what the future held. Who would have guessed that the former Tye Dillinger would become one of the most hated top guys in the fledgling company? But now it’s a reality and it’s one that will surely bode well for AEW.
The company needs some established stars on top but more importantly, the company needs to build its own top guys as well. Shawn Spears is now one of those guys and it gives AEW more booking options for the future. He will surely not be the only deserving talent that gets an opportunity at fame thanks to AEW. But he does have the distinction of being a talent who’s perfect for that shot.
Chis Jericho versus the world is an entertaining angle, just as Jon Moxley fighting for redemption is surely a great draw. But AEW needs layers to its storytelling and it also needs fresh faces on top. Shawn Spears checks both of those boxes. It will be interesting to see how the blood feud between him and Cody Rhodes progresses from this point on. Tully Blanchard is the ideal legend for to this story and he will certainly bring some of that famous Horsemen magic with him.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes,YouTube, iHeart Radio, boinkstudios.com and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live