AEW is coming off a highly successful debut event with Double or Nothing in which actor Paul Walter Hauser was in attendance. Hauser is a huge wrestling fan who also wrote for the Edge and Christian Show, but he keeps tabs on all of the promotions out there including AEW.
Hauser spoke to Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast about AEW and who he thinks should be the company's first champion as we approach AEW on TNT.
"You gotta push the new generation. There's something exciting about a big name being the first champion. So, if you do Chris Jericho, it does set a precedent where our first champion was one of the greatest of all-time. But I do think you've gotta push younger talent and I think it's smart to put the strap on [Adam] Page. It sends a message and says something," stated Hauser.
"I'd like to see Adam Page beat Jericho and send a message. Then do a program where Jericho takes his strap. …Jericho could be like the new-age Ric Flair and your low-blowing people and doing all of these tactics leading to get the strap.
"My vote is on Adam to get the title and to hopefully have a clean, 6-12 month run where you make him matter and make Jericho chase him."
Double or Nothing also featured the culmination of the Cody vs. Dustin feud which had a couple of promos and video packages setting it up beforehand. Hauser was asked about what goes through his head, as a seasoned actor, when he sees Cody and Dustin put on such an emotional match.
"I'd like to give all the credit to those guys in the ring, but at the same time, those video packages were really influential in storytelling. Cody giving the whole 'I love my brother' promo and talking about him like a dog that needs to be put down…we don't even get promos like that anymore. We don't get writing that good anymore," said Hauser.
"Promos like that live on in history just the way his dad's did. That promo alone, plus Dustin's country music video package, is built in a way that we all believed it and bought in. Then, when you finally get us there…if you have done your due diligence with the story, we are in. Then the payoff was perfect."
Many are calling AEW's rise as the possible second coming of the Monday Night Wars. Hauser weighed in on if AEW could realistically take the top spot due to WWE's product.
"That's where I disagree with that, as AEW will compete but I don't think there will be a tidal wave," stated Hauser. "I don't think AEW is gonna drown WWE in any capacity. Right now it's about making the product great and making new fans.
"Do I think it will be the Monday Night Wars again? Probably not, but I think we're entering into a new war. It's not Monday Night Wars, it's computer wars. You're gonna see a lot of combative nature over the internet and social media that will almost be telling a story behind the story the whole way through."
Hauser had a supporting role in the film I, Tonya which was a biographical dark comedy on Tonya Harding. In the movie he played one of Harding's bodyguards, Shawn Eckhardt, and Hauser revealed if he channeled any wrestling heels to play Eckhardt.
"[Laughs] Oh my gosh, Shawn Eckhardt – I don't think he could cut a promo to save his own life or hit the ropes," said Hauser. "I will say that I think Shawn Eckhardt would have been great for the world of pro wrestling, because he's the guy you would assume is a dullard, and then maybe he is actually brilliant at orchestrating stuff.
"You'd think he's like a Hornswoggle or someone you bring out for comedy. And then you find out he's behind the Nexus movement."
Hauser has always been a fan of pro wrestling, so naturally he was asked if he could ever see himself making the leap to actually getting in a ring.
"I would love to, man. It's a dream of mine but it's currently a silly dream based on how I look. I saw what Chris Pratt did with his transformation, and I think in 6-12 months someone can have a radical transformation," stated Hauser.
"It's not crazy to think. My dream is that I can be ringside to manage somebody or do an appearance for AEW, then get attacked and thrown threw a table. Then I come back six months later and try to do what Stephen Amell did. That's the silly, childhood pipe dream but we'll see if it happens.
Paul Walter Hauser can be seen as part of YouTube Red's Cobra Kai which was recently renewed for a third season. You can follow his on Twitter @PaulWHauser.
Paul's full interview with Wrestling Inc was included in a recent episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded player at the bottom of this post. Some of what Paul discusses includes Jon Moxley's leap away from WWE to AEW, WWE's culture driving away fans and wrestlers, his advice for Vince McMahon, who should be the first AEW World Champion, his work in movies like "I, Tanya" and "Blackkklansman" and more.
You can check out past episodes of the WINCLY here.