As of last month, the Vaudevillains, everyone’s favorite Smackdown tag team, are no more. Simon Gotch was released from his contract, essentially dissolving the team. Meanwhile, Aiden English remains employed by WWE. For the purpose of writing this article, I asked myself, “what is next for Aiden English?” What could he do? What would he do? Is he a future world champion? I don’t really know the answers to these questions, but I’m writing an article, so I’ll pretend I do.
What He’s Done So Far
English returned to his roots as a character. He wasn’t always a Vaudevillain. Before he was tagging with Simon Gotch, he was “The Artiste”, a hipster-looking singer who sang his way to the ring. Barring a few minor changes, he’s pretty much playing the same character. To his credit, he makes this a very interesting character. Check out his sing-off against Big Cass back in 2013ish NXT. Good stuff.
As for those minor changes, I do believe they will help make an interesting character even better. Instead of playing a hipster, the Artiste seems to be more of a “tortured artist” character. He calls himself a bunch of fancy names such as the “Rembrandt of Rage” and the “Maestro of Misery.” He also threw a really bad tantrum after suffering a loss to Tye Dillinger. I thought it was a nice touch. It added a hint of character and depth to someone who is now essentially a clean slate.
Sure, some people felt bad for him (I know I did), if he keeps repeating it, then we’ll all realize that he’s being kind of annoying. Nobody likes a whiner. And let’s realize that not every heel can be as despicable as Kevin Owens; we need other heels who we find infuriating rather than detestable.
What Seems to Be the Plan?
Right now, English does not seem to be a priority in terms of being built up. That’s fine. He’s only 29; he’ll be wrestling for a long time if he wants to. Meanwhile, it looks like WWE is trying their best to build up Tye Dillinger. He’s a new arrival, so they have to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. By giving Dillinger a few wins under his belt, he becomes a potentially viable contender to the United States Championship. I don’t know if Dillinger has faced Kevin Owens in NXT, but it sounds like an interesting program for the title.
Dillinger is probably going to handily defeat English to solidify his place on the card. Probably on the Backlash Pre-Show, or even the main card if they need more matches. No matter when and where, Dillinger will steamroll through English.
After that? It’s harder to say. Will they make him lose to Sin Cara and Sami Zayn? Probably. Sami Zayn needs to win every now and then to seem like a legitimate contender. Sin Cara probably gets wins every now and then as well.
But that’s in the immediate future. The Artiste has a lot of time to play his cards right.
The Potential of Aiden English
The man is no slouch in the ring, that’s for sure. His finisher (he has a finisher?) is a swanton bomb, for goodness’ sake. It’ just a mid-rope swanton, but how many of us can do swantons at all? Maybe like 5 of us.
So while he may not be AJ Styles, he certainly isn’t a Khali. But his real strength, I believe, is in his character work. He has a background in theater. He knows what it means to bring a character to life. He’s doing that right now. His mental breakdown showed his acting chops. Most wrestlers aren’t actors, which gives English an edge that not many others possess.
We’ve got to remember that more often than not, that WWE prefers characters, not wrestlers. John Cena was the biggest star at the same time athletes such as CM Punk and Daniel Bryan were on the roster. Hulk Hogan was the household name, not Ricky Steamboat. Steve Austin was more than capable of wrestling a technical style, but he relied on his character work. This is not a knock against the more athletic men on the roster. It just so happens that WWE prefers stories to matches.
That said, is Aiden English a future World Champion? Probably not. But if he is built up properly, give it a year or two, then we could see him challenging for either the United States or Intercontinental championship and totally buy it. Don’t be surprised if he does just that.