With the release of this week’s rankings, Brian Cage is officially the top ranked member of the AEW Men’s division. And after all, it certainly feels right for Cage to be at the top of the pile as he heads into what is quite possibly the biggest match of his career Wednesday night at Fight for the Fallen where he will take on AEW World Champion Jon Moxley for the company’s most important title.
Since landing in AEW as the surprise entrant in the Casino Ladder Match, Brian Cage has made his presence felt by everyone in his division. After winning his first match to become the #1 contender for Jon Moxley’s title, Cage has run over every competitor that’s dared step into his ring. The Machine recently spoke with TSN.ca about how he ended up in AEW, what it’s been like to work with Taz, and why he likes being a face.
“There were multiple factors,” said Cage on his decision to sign with AEW. “I think just overall, it was the cool, new thing that everybody wants to be a part of, obviously, but to be able to break through the reach I’d already done – the Ring of Honor crowd, the Impact crowd and so on – and I felt like I needed to go to a bigger, national scene like an AEW. And another big thing was AEW had the most unique, cooler [potential] matches, if you will, and all of them would be first-time ever matches, whereas everywhere else would have been repeats and not as exciting. And if I were to go to WWE, I wouldn’t have as much creative control. That, artistically speaking, was a big reason why. I’m going to go to a place where I can showcase my abilities and have the most fun, intriguing matches and I had more personal desire to go to AEW than anywhere else.”
As we all know, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there wasn’t any wrestling in Las Vegas this year for Double or Nothing. Despite that, Cage still enjoyed himself.
“I was way more excited than I thought I would be,” Cage said. “I didn’t think I would have the same level of adrenaline with no crowd, but it was so great to debut there. And the way AEW does it, too, with the crowd at ringside [mostly made up of other wrestlers on the roster and preliminary talent] – it’s such a little thing, but it goes such a long way.”
When you think of Taz, you probably don’t think of a manager or promo guy. Most of us probably picture people tapping out or slipping into unconsciousness while wrapped up in a Taz mission. Cage is no different in that regard, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t happy about how things have worked out with the legendary ECW veteran.
“I think Taz is great and I think he’s a phenomenal commentator and, obviously, a great wrestler,” Cage said. “When you think of Taz, you think of him suplexing people and choking people out, but his promos weren’t the first thing that jumped out at me. And until I was standing next to him for our very first promo did it hit me like, ‘Oh dude, Taz is great at promos!’ I knew he was a great commentator and he could cut promos, but I didn’t really think of him as a promo guy. That’s not the first thing that jumps out at you. But dude, he can kill it on the promos.”
While Cage enjoys the dynamic he has with Taz, he isn’t looking to be in a Brock Lesnar-Paul Heyman type of partnership.
“I want to talk more,” Cage said. “I don’t wanna be the guy who just stands around. And, actually, I’m not the biggest fan of being a heel. Almost every wrestler likes to be a heel more than [a] face, but I prefer to be a face than a heel, which is, I think, more of a rarity. I think it’s more so because if you think of bigger heels, they often get painted in these big bully meathead roles. I just think that’s very one-dimensional and a little meh – a little vanilla to me. I’d much rather get over as a face and then turn heel.”
Even though his body type is a bit of a cookie cutter heel archetype, Cage finds there’s a lot less versatility than when working as a face.
“When they’re a heel or face, they’re not really doing anything differently,” Cage said. “They’re the same exact person…like when The Rock was super heel and then turned face, all his catchphrases and everything were exactly the same, but now he’s getting cheered for them instead of booed for them. And I don’t mind being a heel, I just feel like there’s less versatility. I’m the high school bully, that’s the go-to [for muscular heels]. And it’s fine, but the substance there to work with is very limited. So thank God that I actually have Taz because that gives some more versatility to work with. But I haven’t been there long. I haven’t done a whole lot. I haven’t even technically had a really real match – I’ve just been killing guys. I think we have plenty of things to work with going forward that we haven’t even begun to open up yet.”
You can watch Brian Cage challenge Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship tonight at AEW’s Fight for the Fallen pay-per-view event on TNT at 8 PM EST.
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