There was a time when 2point0 weren’t exactly the most popular performers in the AEW Galaxy.
Now granted, to more recent fans of the promotion, this sounds crazy; there wouldn’t be an AEW Galaxy, the term, if it wasn’t for Angelo Parker blurting out the phrase in a promotional segment for his faction, the Jericho Appreciation Society – or JAS for short – but how could “Cool Hand” and his partner, “Daddy Magic” Matt Menard not have always been the cream in AEW’s coffee?
Well, it’s true, as Tony Khan pointed out in a very weird Twitter interaction that eventually turned into a promo for Rampage, AEW’s head booker was routinely berated online for booking the unlikely trio of 2point0 and Daniel Garcia, with some unable to comprehend what the two Canadian grapplers brought to the table. I mean come on, this wasn’t, like, signing Claudio Castagnoli away from The Fed when his contract expired to immediately give him the Ring of Honor World Championship belt; this was the team formerly known as Ever-Rise, the goofy duo from NXT who tried to tag Hit Row’s car while wearing ski masks and their own merch. How could they be an asset to AEW?
Well guess what? That’s exactly what happened; slowly but surely, fans became enamored by the weirdness of 2point0, and once they connected with Chris Jericho, a rocket was tied to their backs that has yet to slow down. They epitomize what it means to be “Sports Entertainers,” and when Menard’s voice hits during a member of JAS’s intro, the crowd goes wild every darn time.
Fortunately, that excitement isn’t about to go away any time soon. Why? Well, because according to Fightful, 2point0 just signed long-term extensions with AEW to stick with the company for the foreseeable future. Folks, the “Daddy Magic” is here to stay.
AEW understood that 2point0 is more than just “The Show.”
When 2point0 arrived in WWE, creative wasn’t really sure what to do with them. They were well-traveled veterans, sure, with more than a few big-time bouts on their resume in PWG, CZW, and Chikara, but they weren’t big, weren’t former athletes, and weren’t going to make anyone forget about the likes of Bron Breakker or Omos any time soon.
Fortunately, the duo found a way to get themselves over the 2.0 “The Show,” which became Ever-Rise Live, a show that rapidly captured the attention of creative as per Angelo Park on Talk is Jericho via a transcription from Wrestling Inc.’s Jason Ounpraseuth.
“Now, office gets the attention (of The Show). Hunter start seeing it. Shawn Michaels starts seeing it, and they start coming to talk to us about it at TV. We’re doing 205, but we’re not in NXT. We’ll do stuff on there when they need something to fill a gap, but now they start taking notice. There’s something really here. The ideas start coming up. Maybe we’ll just have you guys as background characters. Just be in the background, maybe you’ll say a quip and now you can talk about that on your show. Awesome and then we have stuff where we’re lowering signs on TV plugging the Ever-Rise Live.”
“They move the show over to WWE’s YouTube channel. We’re like, oh, that’s a huge step, hundreds of 1000s of views. Since the month of October, we were on TV, whether 205 or NXT, every single week. We’re doing segments all the time, and now crowds are coming back in.”
And yet, despite setting the foundation for something seemingly very cool, fans never got to see it, as WWE upper management decided to say goodbye to the former members of Ever-Rise two years and three months after their NXT debut, just as “business was picking up” in NXT proper.
“We had plans moving forward,” Lee added. “Then they pulled the rug under us. I think it’s budget cuts, A, and we were told they were moving in a different direction, whatever that means,” Parker said. “Youth and big. I think it’s back to the six-foot, former athletes, and if that’s what it is, well, I can understand why some people don’t fit that bill.”
So what would Ever-Rise do from there? Obviously, they would go back to being called 2.0, as they didn’t own the rights to the Ever-Rise name, but the prospects of finding a new home in their mid-30s after 40 combined years of in-ring work were certainly daunting. While the duo didn’t miss a beat with their show, as “The Show” returned one day after they were fired, the opportunity to come to AEW actually arose via Kevin Owens, who put in a call to his former tag team partner, Jericho, about bringing their fellow countrymen into the AEW Galaxy. Jericho pointed this out back in March when he re-introduced the AEW world to Menard and Parker when they joined his faction, as dictated by Aidan Gibbons of Cultaholic.
Jericho said: “Why do they appreciate me? A year ago, I got a call from my former best friend Kevin, who said, ‘Hey, I need some help for some buddies of mine who just got fired [by WWE]. Can you please put them on Talk Is Jericho so they can get a job?’ So I brought these two men into my house, even though I’d never met them before. At the end of that podcast, I realised these guys have passion and desire. AEW hired them. That’s why they appreciate me.”
And the rest, as they say, is history; 2point0 signed with AEW, worked with Garcia, and eventually folded their trio into the JAS, where they are having the best success of their career. The moral of the story? Just keep grinding, and good things will come, like earning a match with Hook for the FTW Championship.
What if the #FTW Championship was held by a… Sports Entertainer? Does FTW Champ HOOK want a taste?
Tune in NOW to #AEWRampage on TNT! pic.twitter.com/CUL70kuFmG
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) August 20, 2022