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Junior Dos Santos and the track record of AEW guest appearances

via CBS Sports

In its near three year history, All Elite Wrestling has had a good amount of guest appearances on both their weekly Dynamite show and on pay-per-views. 

Looking at their track record so far, they’ve handled the celebrities with respect and put them into positions enabling them to succeed. It’s a short time-based window compared to other companies like WWE or IMPACT/TNA that have had a lot more, but it’s still impressive given how new the company is, and how they’ve handled them so far. 

The first one most will remember is with NBA Hall Of Famer Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq appeared in a mixed tag match on March 3rd, teaming with Jade Cargill (in her first match) to face Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet. The match was great and received positive ratings all-around. Nobody was made to look silly in the situation and it helped bring Jade Cargill to the forefront of the women’s division. 

Mike Tyson is another name who pops into fans’ memory banks, as he’s appeared on AEW TV a few times. Tyson’s original appearance came at 2020’s Double Or Nothing pay-per-view, where he was the guest timekeeper in the Cody vs. Lance Archer TNT Championship match. Tyson didn’t get physically involved, but he presented the TNT Title to Cody once the match was over. Aside from the camera cut that caught him yawning, the appearance was rather harmless. 

Tyson would appear again in AEW nearly a year later, helping out the Inner Circle in their feud against The Pinnacle.

Snoop Dogg is another example of a fun celebrity appearance. The Grammy award-winning rapper appeared in Cody Rhodes’ corner in a match in January, promoting the duo’s new TV show, The Go Big Show. He delivered an awful frog splash to Serpentico after the match and rode off into the sunset. 

Alongside multiple MMA names associated with American Top Team, Jorge Masvidal has appeared for the company multiple times recently as well. Masvidal even recently delivered a running knee to Chris Jericho on an episode of AEW Rampage. Junior Dos Santos, also from ATT, is set to make his pro wrestling debut on Friday’s Rampage when he teams up with Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky to take on the Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, and Sammy Guevara).

Which leads me to my final point here: based on what we’ve seen so far, Junior Dos Santos’ wrestling debut should go just fine. There is no reason to believe that Santos would be put put in this position if he wasn’t capable of doing what is expected of him. And based on his interview with ESPN’s Marc Raimondi, he’s getting into his heel persona just a little bit.

While the transition from MMA to professional wrestling has been natural for people like Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler and Matt Riddle, others like Tito Ortiz and Cain Velasquez (if you just count his WWE appearances) haven’t fared so well. Due to the nature of the match that Santos is competing in, a fair opinion on his in-ring skill won’t be able to be formed unless he continues competing in matches in AEW.

Santos probably won’t see a ton of action in the match as Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page will take majority of the work, but for whatever ring time he does see, I expect he’ll be great for what he is. AEW’s track record with these guest appearances is nearly flawless, so we should expect good things from Santos’ appearance. I expect that his appearance eventually leads to a singles match between either Dos Santos and Jericho or Masvidal and Jericho. In the end, AEW should be trusted with these guest appearances like this until they prove otherwise.

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