In its third mega-successful year, All-Elite Wrestling has become the hottest pro-wrestling company in North America.
AEW came to San Diego Comic Con for the first time to present the AEW Heroes and Villains panel, a convergence of pro-wrestling and Comic Con.
Prior to the AEW Heroes and Villains panel, ScreenRant spoke to AEW’s finest, World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk, TBS Champion Jade Cargill, Bryan Danielson, Dr. Britt Baker DMD, Darby Allin, and Orange Cassidy about what it takes to be a hero and a villain in pro wrestling in 2022.
Welcome, guys. Welcome to Comic Con. When did you guys get here?
Jade Cargill: Friday.
Britt Baker: I got in…When did we get in?
CM Punk: We all arrived morning together on a blimp yesterday.
The Tony Khan Blimp?
Bryan Danielson: Except me. I have my own private blimp.
What have you guys been doing since you’ve been here? What have you been geeking out about? This is Comic Con.
CM Punk: We’ve legitimately just been working. We didn’t have a chance to geek out about anything yet. It’s been interview after interview. I was on a yacht.
The IMDB Boat?
CM Punk: Yeah, that was kind of interesting. But then it was really more of doing press. But on a yacht. It was very fancy.
Well, what do you want to geek out about? When you get some free time, when you get on the show floor, what do you want to look at?
Jade Cargill: The cosplay. I want to see all the cosplay. I don’t know if we’ll be able to walk through like that. Not with CM Punk and Bryan sitting here. But that’s something I’m geeked out to see.
Well, you’re a super cosplayer. You’ve cosplayed as the Mortal Kombat Jade, you’ve cosplayed as Storm. Are you gonna cosplay here?
Jade Cargill: I’m here for work, so no. I wish I could! I wish I could. But no, I’m here for work.
What will be your next cosplay when you get a chance to?
Jade Cargill: I guess you’ll see at the next pay-per-view.
Which is All Out.
Jade Cargill: Yeah.
Awesome. This is the AEW’s first time at Comic Con and you’re all here for the AEW Heroes and Villains panel. So much about pro wrestling is about good versus evil, heels versus baby faces. So let’s talk about heroes and villains in AEW. Let’s start with Punk, the World Champion. Punk, you’ve been a hero and a villain in your career.
CM Punk: Yes.
Wrestling fans can be tough and demanding, but since your comeback, you’ve been quite beloved. What does it take to be a hero now in AEW fans’ eyes?
CM Punk: I think I have a currency with the audience just having been around for so long, coming from the Indies, going to the old WWF, and you know being around the block. Leaving, coming back after seven years, there’s a connection that I have.
I don’t necessarily enjoy being a good guy. I feel like it’s hard work. It’s a lot easier to get people to dislike you. But I feel you’d be it would be wasteful to, as I said, just discard this currency that I have with the audience because it is, I feel, a special connection.
You know, they’re chanting my name for seven years. I came back. They’re still stoked about it. So I feel like every time I’m in the ring is special to me and I don’t want to squander that, and I feel like it’s just a giant party with a bunch of your friends, you know? I just want to have a good time with them.
That’s awesome. Dr. Britt Baker DMD, there’s a lot of fans actually that want to cheer you but you work really hard to be booed. So what’s the secret to controlling the crowd’s emotions and making sure that they react how you want them to react?
Britt Baker: I think even specifically post-pandemic, fans just want to cheer everybody. The good, the evil, the in-between, there they’re just so excited to be back in the live crowd and be able to be a part of the show with us.
But it also kind of goes against being a heel that I have a chant, a DMD. Fans always want to make noise they want to, again, be apart of the show and the program. But as long as they’re making noise, as long as there’s a reaction, whether they love somebody or hate somebody, I think that’s what makes the wrestling show fun. I think that’s what makes it professional wrestling.
Britt Baker: And you know, I still think most of them hate me. They still want to boo me. They just do the chant because they like to be heard and take part in the fun.
Darby, how are you feeling, man? you okay? You had an intense match on Wednesday against Brody King.
Darby Allin: Yeah, I’ll live.
I’m glad. “Please don’t die.” That chant. So you’re partnered with Sting, one of the greatest heroes in wrestling for decades. What have you taught about being a hero?
Darby Allin: That you can get batsh*t crazy at 63. And that’s all I wanted to know.
I feel like you’ve certainly inspired him to dive off high places.
Darby Allin: No, I haven’t. Literally, that’s all him. I knew people are gonna be like, “Yo, Darby’s a horrible influence on you, Sting.” But that was literally him. He’s like, “Today…” I’m like, “What’s up?” “Today, I’m jumping off that balcony.” I’m like, “Oh okay.”
You never tried to rein him in?
Darby Allin: No, no. He’s a grown man.
Bryan, you founded the Blackpool Combat Club with the Interim AEW Champion Jon Moxley, and you know, the fans absolutely love you guys but you also purport pro wrestling violence. So, in your mind are the Blackpool Combat Club heroes?
Bryan Danielson: So I think some members are heroes and some members, myself included, are more villainous. And I think that’s an interesting dynamic that good people and bad people can be friends and can have similar goals but go about them in different ways.
Bryan, when you were the champion of the other company, you talked a lot about climate change. You talked a lot about veganism. Really important social issues, but somehow you were the bad guy in that whole storyline. That never made sense.
Bryan Danielson: Well, I would say a lot of people are a little bit backwards on some of the issues, to be honest. It’s not the issues, it’s the way that you talk about it, right? So you could say, Peace, but like, we want peace in the world, right? It sounds like a great thing. But if you say you assholes are the reason that we don’t have peace, they’re going to boo you, right? Right.
And I think I found that out a lot being vegan. Veganism is great. But some of the vegans that I know are the meanest people in the world, so… (laugh) The meanest, most judgmental people in the world. So, you know, I picked up a lot from some of my friends. (laughs)
Orange Cassidy, you had an amazing match with Wardlow a couple of weeks ago. I feel like you’re just always Orange Cassidy but the fans just love you anyway. Is that fair to say?
Orange Cassidy: I feel I’m very Chaotic Neutral.
That’s perfect. That’s probably the most perfect way to describe you.
Orange Cassidy: Hey, nailed it.
Jade, congratulations on being undefeated.
Jade Cargill: Thank you.
You strike me as someone who really enjoys being bad.
Jade Cargill: I do. Gone. It’s fun. It’s just an extension of myself. I mean, I’m That Bitch.
What does it take to be a Baddie?
Jade Cargill: Just knowing who you are and not letting people tell you who you are. Being confident. It’s not about how you look, it’s about your presence. Your aura. And just standing for something.
Founded by CEO, GM and Head of Creative Tony Khan, AEW is a new professional wrestling league headed by Hangman Page, Dr. Britt Baker, CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) , Adam Cole, Sting, Jon Moxley, Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, Jade Cargill, Sammy Guevara, Miro, Lucha Bros., PAC, MJF, Darby Allin, Nyla Rose, Red Velvet, Ruby Soho, Hikaru Shida, Thunder Rosa, Malakai Black , Andrade El Idolo, Christian Cage, Eddie Kingston, Scorpio Sky, Ethan Page, Orange Cassidy, Ricky Starks, Powerhouse Hobbs, Lance Archer, Keith Lee and many more. For the first time in many years, AEW is offering an alternative to mainstream wrestling, with a roster of world-class talent that is injecting new spirit, freshness and energy into the industry.
“AEW: Dynamite” airs every Wednesday from 8-10 pm ET on TBS and attracts the youngest wrestling audience on television. The fight-forward show “AEW: Rampage” airs every Friday from 10-11 pm ET on TNT. AEW’s multi-platform content also includes “AEW Dark” and “AEW Dark: Elevation,” two weekly professional wrestling YouTube series, “Being the Elite,” a weekly behind-the-scenes YouTube series, and “AEW Unrestricted,” a weekly podcast series. (from AEW’s official site)
Check out our other SDCC 2022 interviews with the casts of The Sandman, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Powerand Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Next: CM Punk Rips Vince McMahon, WWE In Expletive-Filled Rant
AEW All Out 2022 will be available through pay-per-view on September 4.
All Of Smallville’s Boldest Choices Eventually Backfired
About The Author