You can draw many similarities between All Elite Wrestling’s Wardlow and six-time WWE world champion Batista. Both are behemoth apex predators in the ring. They have a knack for driving opponents through the mat with wicked powerbombs. Each served as an enforcer for groups of pompous and extraordinary talented men. Oh, and the two look pretty sharp in suits.
The parallels between Wardlow’s trajectory and Batista’s are not lost on the AEW star. Wardlow recently split from villainous Pinnacle leader MJF in a storyline reminiscent of how Batista parted ways with Evolution frontman Triple H. Wardlow credits Dave Bautista for inspiring him to lace up the boots and welcomes the comparisons with open (and enormous) arms.
“The crazy thing [is] that we did without even realizing it,” Wardlow told CBS Sports ahead of AEW Double or Nothing. “We kind of mirrored it in a way. It was very different, but also the same. The crazy thing is this wasn’t my idea. I didn’t have any say so in this. It just organically happened. My career just seems to be mimicking a little bit of a Batista’s. You can compare The Pinnacle to Evolution and you can compare myself and Max to Triple H [and] Batista. It has really unfolded very similar to how that did. It’s a real special thing because we didn’t plan it that way.”
Check out the full interview with Wardlow below.
The breakdown between MJF and Wardlow was inevitable. Despite their early cohesion, MJF had a habit of talking down to his powerhouse bodyguard. Wardlow always expected their rivalry to do well, but even he is surprised by the feverish fandom for his breakout solo run.
“This is the ultimate dream come true. It’s one thing to have your own action figure, to be in a video game, to be a professional wrestler. But for me, the real dream is having an arena full of people chanting my name consistently week after week wanting to see Wardlow. That’s still something I’m trying to comprehend because it’s something that I’ve thought about and I’ve created in my head since I was literally in elementary school. I’ve thought about this. So I have to take the time to really sit back and go, ‘This is happening. This is real. It’s happening right now.’ It’s truly the best feeling in the entire world and nothing can compare to it.
“You know some things are going to work. I always describe what I’m experiencing in life right now as this weird combination of, ‘of course this is happening. I’ve thought about this my entire life. W knew this was going to happen’ mixed with an equal amount of ‘Holy crap, I can’t believe this is actually happening.’ It is a unique mix of emotions.”
Prior to his alignment with MJF, Wardlow’s character had a slightly different presentation. Wardlow’s AEW debut was hyped in a vignette in which he, accompanied by a beautiful woman (who later became AEW’s Anna Jay), fought off three men in a parking lot.
“So the original plans for my character are essentially still what they are with just a little bit altered with the Max thing. Wardlow is Wardlow. He is Ric Flair meets James Bond meets John Wick,” Wardlow said. “Wardlow is always going to be dressed nice. He’s always going to be in a suit. He’s always going to have a beautiful lady on his arm, and he’s always going to be whooping asses. That’s what you can always expect from Wardlow. Essentially, that’s really where we’re at. We just gave Wardlow the role of the bodyguard protecting Max.”
Wardlow sported a rather grisly-looking shoulder wound in the vignette.
“That’s funny, I actually forgot about that,” Wardlow said. “Those were injuries acquired from all of my parking lot fighting. Those were fresh wounds from the date the night before and the fight the night before.”