In the two years since leaving the WWE, Erick Redbeard, aka Erick Rowan, has wrestled 24 matches, including notable bouts for GCW, NEW, CYN, The Crash, IWR, and one very interesting bout for AEW, where he, alongside PAC and Penta Oscuro of Death Triangle, turned in an absolute barnburner in a Revolution Buy-In bout versus the House of Black. He doesn't have a “home” territory, with his 24 matches being worked in 20 different promotions, and other than a cross-promotional feud with Wrecking Ball Legursky of NWA fame, his matches really haven't been telling an overarching story the likes of which some indie performers – see Cody Rhodes – have carved out between long-term contracts.
And yet, because of his size, his look, and his intensive experience wrestling alongside the likes of Bray Wyatt, Brodie Lee, and Daniel Bryan/Bryan Danielson, and against everyone from The Shield, to The Usos, to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – ever heard of him? – Redbeard has remained a popular performer on the indies who can draw bodies to a local show, and the type of wrestler that fans have “shipped” to their preferred promotion for one reason or another.
Erick Redbeard has specific conditions he needs to join AEW full-time.
Will Redbeard ever return to wrestling full-time? Potentially so, but it would need to be in the correct storyline, as he detailed to Dr. Chris Featherstone via his Sportskeeda UnSKripted show as per a transcription from Fightful.
“I got no answer to any of these questions. They’re all great questions. But thank you, thank you for wanting to see me. But like I said, storyline wrestling is what I want, and if the storyline works out in the future for both parties, then I’m more than open to it.”
Storyline wrestling, you say? AEW certainly knows a thing or two about impressive, long-term storytelling. Speaking of AEW, Redbeard was asked and answered a question about his relationship with the Black and Yellow brand, too, as you can read below.
“We kept in contact, possibilities of doing things in the future, may or may not have had things to do that didn’t follow through with. But stuff happens. It has to be the right time, the right place.”
Huh, the right place, you say? Could that place be Minneapolis, Minnesota? Because according to Sean Ross Sapp, the “Redbarded One” is actually backstage at his hometown show for the promotion's Quake at the Lake premium televised event.
Hmmm… no way those two things aren't related, right?
Now granted, maybe this is all a coincidence; maybe Redbeard is simply meeting with his friends backstage, and fans will rapidly forget that he even attended the AEW show. But then again, when there's smoke there's often fire, and after having a less than ideal week in the news due to a slew of performers speaking out on their booking, maybe Tony Khan sees the red-ness of Erick's beard as the heat needed to get some positive press for his company. Either way, it's nice to know that Redbeard is willing to do business with the AEW Galaxy if the right storyline comes around, maybe as the muscle needed to even the odds between the House of Black and the dynamic duo of Darby Allin and Sting.
Fortunately, or not, depending on your opinion, one storyline AEW fans won't have to watch is Redbeard taking over for his fallen friend as the leader of the Dark Order, as he ended any speculation on the topic once and for all.
“The answer is absolutely not. To me, that’s what Jon creates. Especially the short amount of time he made it memorable. It’s his legacy to that company, that and the TNT Title. To me, just leave it alone. End it. I don’t think they should go. But I think that there shouldn’t be a new leader.”
Ultimately, that is probably the right decision, but something tells me it won't be the last time the two parties are linked together, at least until someone – “Hangman” Adam Page? – re-takes up the Dark Order mantle and returns the faction to its previous glory.
If Erick – Redbeard or Rowan – never wrestled another match for a major promotion again, his legacy would already be a noteworthy one. He was part of one of the biggest groups in recent WWE history with the Wyatt Family, which may very well earn him a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame, and his surprise appearance at the Brodie Lee tribute episode of Dynamite was a beautifully tear-jerking moment that played a large role in making that show one of the best Dynamites of all time. However, if there are indeed still stories to tell, Rowan absolutely deserves to play his part in them.
UPDATE: Erick Redbeard is officially teaming up with Danhausen as “Beardhausen” on AEW Rampage – that just feels right.
Erick Redbeard / Rowan confirmed for Rampage!#AEWDynamite pic.twitter.com/S8hK3M4ACd
— Ɔ Wrestling (@CWrestlingUK) August 11, 2022