After their explosive debut on TNT this week, the AEW Rugby XV are the next team off the blocks as the Rugby World Cup rages on.
Some tight calls were made in this team and potentially one very interesting call. So let’s get going and see what side Tony Khan could field if he added rugby to his list of sports franchises that he runs…
15 – Fenix
One half of the Lucha Brothers was a dead cert for this side, butwhere to place him was the question. Full back seemed the most logical position; with great speed and a fearless head down attitude (we put this down to his brother rubbing off on him). Size could be viewed as an issue but not when this man is considered.
14 – Darby Allin
A man who will keep on running until he is literally dragged to the ground and will believe he has the beating of any man he come up against. His background in skateboarding will see him be fine with taking big hits and being able to get back up from them.
13 – MJF
The cocky, smug, braggadocious man had to be set in the centres with his best friend; a well-built frame with the mind to match. The outside centre is usually the defensive line co-ordinator in a rugby side so who better to have than this loud mouth.
12 – Cody Rhodes
The Roller Codester, the only man that could partner MJF in the centres due to the strong bond the two men have. On his own merit, Cody has the mid frame to see everything that’s around him and make educated and experienced decisions for the benefit of his team.
11 – Joey Janela
I know what you’re thinking: the Young Bucks should be the wingers in this side. Maybe you’re right and maybe you’re wrong, but this is my side and I’m sticking with two crazy bastards. Janela will be very much in the vein of Darby Allin on the other wing, a tireless work rate and his disregard for fearing another man will be worth its weight here.
10 – Kenny Omega
The man that can do it all, right? Kenny exudes that fly half class, everything he does he makes it look impressive whilst making it look easy. If he were to play rugby, I bet he’d be like Jonny Wilkson, could pass long distances effortlessly off both hands and kick with both feet better than most could kick with their favoured foot. You’d never worry about his defensive capabilities as he’d almost never miss a tackle.
9 – PAC
A self-proclaimed ‘bastard’, it’s just fitting that he would be the scrum half. Yeah the little annoying bugger that you play against, he doesn’t shut up, he’s always in your face and usually starts a fight with the biggest guy on the opponent’s side but more than capable of handling himself.
1 – Evil Uno
Someone evil to pack down in the front row just sounds too perfect. The former Player Uno (the fact he’s playing in the number one shirt is a pure coincidence, I promise) will pack down extremely well in the front row and be more than capable of causing plenty of havoc around the pitch and at scrum time where you’ll always want that extra edge.
2 – Pentagon El Zero M
The man with Cero Miedo is not only a must for this team but for a slot in the front row. The luchador will be AEWs version of Ireland’s Keith Wood, a man who will always offer himself as a ball carrier no matter the quality of defence and will revel in the scrummaging aspect and the gamesmanship between front rows at scrum time.
3 – Awesome Kong
I’ve decided to go with a female representative for this side. Rugby has always been a game for all shapes, sizes and genders, and I feel Awesome Kong is a more than deserving on her own merits. An anchor to the scrum at tight head, whilst being a physically bruising player in open play. If you’re going to tackle her, then you’re going to need to get your tackle technique correct or it won’t end well for you.
4 – Jake Hager
Hot off his debut, the new signing makes his way into the starting line-up. The All-American American has the skill set needed to be the enforcer of the pack from the number 4 jersey. His amateur wrestling background gives him an advantage at ruck, maul and tackle time, while he won’t be afraid of making a late tackle on an opponent to put the cat amongst the pigeons, so to speak.
5 – Luchasaurus
At 65 million years old, he will be the oldest player in the side but when you add all that wisdom and his Master’s degree he will probably be one of your your smartest and most trusted. His 6 foot 5 frame will be needed at lineout and kick off time – inevitably I can help but see similarities between him and the great Alun-Wyn Jones.
6 – Jimmy Havoc
I doubt Jimmy has ever played a game of rugby in his life, but his love of violence and brutality makes him a great fit here. He won’t have any fear for anything that can go on during a game of rugby, I just worry that he may be the sort of player who could attract the referees’ attention with his off the ball antics.
7 – Jon Moxley
You want your Openside to just be ruthless, almost an animal. Moxley is the perfect fit for this – he will love hunting down the opposition’s fly half at set plays and is almost certain of a 100% tackle percentage as you could rely on him to never let anyone past him. On the flip side, he has shown in his wrestling career to have a wide skillset, I’m sure he would have great handling skills and always chip in with a few tries for his side.
8 – Shawn Spears
Some may say that he should be wearing the 10 jersey but this is a different universe and he just couldn’t wear that jersey in this side. Spears gives us the perfect (no pun intended) balance between the finesse of a silky-smooth runner and the crash, bang, wallop sort of player a number 8 should be. Give him a gap on the outside and he’ll go past you, tighten up your defence then he’ll take the ball route one and go head down through you.
Coach – Christopher Daniels
The wise old head would be the mastermind for the side. There won’t have been much that this veteran wouldn’t have seen and a man so revered by his colleagues is always a solid choice as your coach.
Kit Makers – Nick and Matt Jackson
Okay, I had to find a spot for the remaining EVPs. Although they didn’t make it into the side, their talents would be incredible off the pitch in their design work for the whole set that the side would wear to play, train and socialise in. And if anything gets out of hand, then they’ll always be there to throw a super kick party to sort it out.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @MikeCMears. Thanks for reading!