Ace Austin is one of the best young talents in pro wrestling.
To me, that’s not even debatable as his fantastic work in Impact Wrestling speaks for itself. I’d go as far as to say that he has the most outstanding persona in the business when it comes to anyone under the age of 25. Ace has shown some amazing character development in just over twelve months time. That’s right, Ace Austin (the current X-Division Champion) has been in Impact for merely one year as a full-time performer.
Think about that. Ace is the sports equivalent of “Rookie of the Year” in professional wrestling (as far as major promotions go) for that period of time. You have to ponder how much better this guy is going to be in another year, or say five more years down the road. Also, the fact that he’s only twenty-three years old is pretty crazy when you consider that there are other famous wrestlers out there in the industry that may be ten or even twenty years older that will never have the charisma and natural ability that Ace already possesses. You simply can’t teach the “it factor” that he already has. The One True Ace can be one of the cornerstones of Impact Wrestling if he continues on this very impressive path.
It’s also clear to me that he’s an underrated wrestler in the ring. Now, he’s going to get more seasoning and I assume that he’ll continue to improve his pro wrestling skills over time, but he’s actually really good already. For example, go back and watch the recent match that he had against Tessa Blanchard on Impact for the X-Division Title. The style he used in that fight to tell the current story with him and Tessa was exceptional. He’s shown the ability to really adapt to each individual situation no matter who the opponent is. His finishing maneuver, “The Fold” is a simple yet effective way to end a match and he’s really made it his own.
The amount of flips and dives in pro wrestling has become excessive and over-saturated, but I enjoy the more calculated approach that Austin takes in that regard. He doesn’t need to use them in every single match as he tends to pick his spots more carefully. Yet he remains a risk taker that has done some insanely dangerous stuff during matches when he needs to. He is a master of that kick to the face that he delivers to his opponents when he walks the ring apron. It’s also the little things that he does that I can appreciate. In that same bout with Blanchard, Taya interfered as she attacked Tessa and caused the DQ ending. Meanwhile, Ace is sitting next to one of the cameras and watching it all unfold with pleasure while exclaiming, “I think I’m in love!”. Those kind of instincts are priceless.
His XXX gimmick is a great fit for the adult direction of Impact Wrestling. He’s sleazy and he doesn’t give a rats ass what you think about it. There are other racy acts with Joey Ryan and Katie Forbes but Ace Austin has his own unique appeal, even in comparison to those two performers. He’s kayfabe starred in porn videos. He wants to bang your wife and/or your mom as we’ve seen in storylines with Alisha Edwards and Ms. Miguel. He was so over in Las Vegas during this last set of tapings to the point that there were a group of fans near ringside loudly shouting, “Bang my wife!” over and over and over. That chant might actually become a thing moving forward but we’ll see.
Joining forces with Reno Scum has somewhat elevated them as a tag team, and to a certain degree, Ace as a singles wrestler too. It makes sense to put these guys together, at least in the short term, because Austin has a scumbag persona and Reno Scum lives and breathes their namesake. Ace is the obvious stand out but it’s pretty remarkable that someone his age could make a tag team (much older than him) look better by simply standing next to them. He’s certainly the leader and the star of the three and it seems like he could drop them in a heartbeat at any time and not blink an eye about it.
Personally, I’d like to see Ace get even more mean and ruthless when it comes to aggression in and out of the ring. He already embraces being a bad guy and getting a heel reaction from the crowd, but there’s another level that he can take it to. Although, I honestly don’t recall another wrestler at this early stage of their career who enjoys being an asshole as much as he does. He’s definitely on the right path to being more menacing and imposing. I get the impression from his Twitter account that he’s in the process of adding more muscle weight to his frame. By the way, if you’re not already following him on Twitter, get on it because this dude needs to be verified and deserves to have at least 10,000 followers ASAP.
The feud with Trey of The Rascalz was well done and provided an interesting storyline to follow. I’m excited to see who his next X-Division program will be with. The popular guess amongst fans is that Chris Bey would fit the bill very well. Not only would their matches be awesome, but it could really help us get to know Bey’s personality more while giving both men a boost. Obviously, Ace is capable of working an intergender feud but I could see him matching up well against the likes of Willie Mack or Fallah Bahh or even Rob Van Dam. He’s not going to be limited to just the X-Division because he has a nice versatility.
Ace Austin could go down in Impact history as one of the best signings that they’ve ever made when it’s all said and done. Time will tell, but the decision makers were ahead of the game in getting him under contract and making him a home-grown guy. As much as some Impact fans want to see bigger names be brought in to get more eyes on the product, the smart move is to make great signings of younger talents and then develop those wrestlers into stars. You can’t necessarily control the long-term future of someone with the potential star power that Ace has, but helping him hone his craft and proving that you want him to be a big player can go quite a ways towards retaining him for a long, long time. In other words, you can’t force someone to be loyal, but you can create a quality work environment that would help keep someone like Austin for several years.
There’s no doubt that the war he had with Eddie Edwards helped get him to the point he’s at today. It put him on the map to really be able to “get in the head” of one of Impact’s best veterans. However, when I saw the transition that Ace made with the purple hair, the flashy clothes and increased sex appeal at the end of last year, that was an indicator that his role was being bumped up significantly. My only minor critique with his look would be to maybe eventually lose the pop up cane. I understand that it’s been part of the magic act gimmick but there’s been a couple times where it has broke easily and it feels like his character has evolved past the point of needing it. The Ace sign that he makes with his hands is a nice touch and the laminated ace playing card is actually unique and cool as it comes into play with executing heel tactics. His promo work will continue to be refined but it has improved tremendously also.
It’s apparent that Impact management really believes in him. Don Callis talks about Ace being his favorite wrestler constantly on commentary. Austin is part of a youthful, hungry group of Impact wrestlers like The Rascalz, Tessa, Jordynne Grace, Chris Bey and others that will help shape the future of the company moving forward. He has the whole wrestling world in the palm of his hand. Ace Austin is World Championship material and one of the best talents in the business, including AEW and the WWE. It’s going to be “Aces Up” for several years to come as his future is limitless.