Wardlow (wrestler)

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Wardlow
Wardlow in 2018
Birth nameMichael Austin Wardlow[1]
Born (1988-01-19) January 19, 1988 (age 36)
Middlefield, Ohio, U.S.[2]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Michael Wardlow
Wardlow
Billed height6 ft 3 in (191 cm)[3]
Billed weight266 lb (121 kg)[3]
Billed fromCleveland, Ohio
Trained byJosh Emanuel[3]
Debut2014[1]

Michael Austin Wardlow (born January 19, 1988) is an American professional wrestler. He is currently signed to All Elite Wrestling (AEW) where he performs under the mononymous ring name Wardlow, and is a member of the Undisputed Kingdom stable. He is a former three-time AEW TNT Champion.

Early life

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Michael Wardlow was born in Middlefield, Ohio. He was raised by a single mother and has two older sisters. He has a background in boxing and jujitsu.[1]

Professional wrestling career

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Independent circuit (2014–2019)

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Wardlow made his professional wrestling debut on March 15, 2014, for the independent promotion, American Revolution Wrestling, where he was defeated by Nickie Valentino.[4] In the following years, Wardlow began to wrestle in other promotions, including the International Wrestling Cartel (IWC).[5] In December 2016, Wardlow won his first championship by way of defeating RJ City to capture the vacant IWC Heavyweight Championship. He would win the title on two further occasions.[6] Also around this time, Wardlow had a try out to earn a developmental contract with WWE, but was not offered a position. Shortly after, he started training with Kurt Angle.[7] He then spent another year on the indies winning titles.[8][9] In March 2019, he won the IWC Super Indy Championship,[10] but lost it to Josh Alexander in August.[11] Also in 2019, Wardlow won the Revenge Pro Wrestling World Title.[12]

All Elite Wrestling (2019–present)

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Bodyguard of MJF and The Pinnacle (2019–2022)

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At All Elite Wrestling (AEW)'s All Out pay-per-view on August 31, 2019, a video package aired, promoting Wardlow's impending debut.[13] Wardlow made his debut for AEW on the November 13 episode of Dynamite, attacking Cody.[14] He would then align himself with Cody's rival MJF and became his bodyguard.[15] Wardlow wrestled his AEW debut match on the February 19, 2020, episode of Dynamite, where he lost to Cody in a steel cage match.[16] In October, Wardlow would participate in a tournament to determine the number one contender for the AEW World Championship, defeating Jungle Boy in the first round before ultimately being eliminated by Adam Page in the semi-finals.[17][18] Following this, Wardlow and MJF would join The Inner Circle faction, also consisting of Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Jake Hager, Santana, and Ortiz.[19] However, after months of tension within the group, Wardlow and MJF separated from The Inner Circle in March 2021 to form a new group called The Pinnacle, also made up of Shawn Spears and FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood), sparking a feud between the two groups.[20] At the Blood and Guts event on May 5, The Pinnacle defeated The Inner Circle in the inaugural Blood and Guts match.[21] At the Double or Nothing pay-per-view later that month, The Pinnacle were defeated by The Inner Circle in a Stadium Stampede match.[22] On the June 18 episode of Dynamite, Wardlow was defeated by Hager in a MMA rules cage match.[23] On the August 11 episode, Wardlow faced Jericho, but was unsuccessful.[24] On the December 8 episode, Wardlow competed in the Dynamite Dozen Battle Royale, but he was inadvertently eliminated by MJF, thus beginning to tease a face turn due to growing dissension with MJF.[25] Over the following weeks, the tension would continue to grow as Wardlow came into conflict with Shawn Spears, MJF, and other members of The Pinnacle, culminating in the March 2, 2022, episode, where MJF slapped Wardlow in a heated confrontation.

On March 6, 2022, Wardlow won the "Face of the Revolution" ladder match at the Revolution pay-per-view, guaranteeing him a future match for the AEW TNT Championship. Later that same evening, Wardlow would help CM Punk defeat MJF (after helping MJF cheat his previous victory against Punk) during their Dog Collar match by handing him the AEW Dynamite Diamond Ring, thus turning face.[26][27] On the following episode of Dynamite, Wardlow cemented his turn in a promo, declaring that he was no longer MJF's bodyguard and no longer a member of The Pinnacle.[28] On the March 16, 2022, episode, Wardlow would lose his TNT Championship match to reigning champion Scorpio Sky following interference from MJF and Shawn Spears.[29] Wardlow also had a confrontation with Austin Vanderford, who later assisted MJF and Spears in attacking him after the match ended.[29] Within storyline, Wardlow was not employed by AEW but by MJF, who could forbid him from wrestling him or for AEW altogether. MJF set up stipulations under which he would let him out of the contract, such as being lashed 10 times.[30] On the May 25 episode, Wardlow completed the final stipulation by defeating Spears in a steel cage match, with MJF serving unsuccessfully as the special guest referee. This guaranteed him a match with MJF at the Double or Nothing pay-per-view,[31] where if Wardlow won, he would officially be released from his contract with MJF, but if he lost, he would be banned from obtaining a new AEW contract and would be required to remain under MJF's employment.[32] At the event, Wardlow defeated MJF after hitting him with ten consecutive powerbombs to win the match and was freed of his contract; as a result, Wardlow also earned a new AEW contract which in storyline made him an official member of the AEW roster.[33] On the June 1, 2022, episode of Dynamite, Wardlow wrestled in his first match as an official member of the AEW roster, defeating J.D. Drake.[34][35]

TNT Champion (2022–2023)

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On the July 6 episode of Dynamite, Wardlow defeated Scorpio Sky in a street fight to win the TNT Championship, his first championship in AEW. Wardlow's first defense of the title was against Orange Cassidy on the first night of the Fyter Fest event on July 13, 2022. Wardlow beat Cassidy with his powerbomb finishing move, after catching the challenger midair.[36] On the July 29, 2022, episode of Rampage, Wardlow intervened to save Cassidy from an attack by Jay Lethal. On the following episode of Dynamite, Lethal's manager, Sonjay Dutt, challenged Wardlow to defend his TNT Championship against his client. Wardlow accepted the challenge,[37] and retained the title against Lethal at the Battle of the Belts III event on August 6, winning with a head butt and powerbomb finish.[38] He then lost the title to Samoa Joe on November 19 at the Full Gear pay-per-view, ending his first TNT Championship reign at 136 days.[39] He won the title back from Joe at the next pay-per-view, Revolution, on March 5, 2023,[40] but his reign was cut short as 2023 Face of the Revolution ladder match winner Powerhouse Hobbs defeated Wardlow for the title by technical knockout in a Falls Count Anywhere match on the March 8 episode of Dynamite, ending his second reign at just three days.[41] Wardlow would then defeat Hobbs in a rematch on the April 19 episode to win back the title, becoming a record-tying three-time TNT Champion.[42] On June 17 at the premiere episode of Collision, Wardlow lost the TNT Championship title to Luchasaurus.[43]

Undisputed Kingdom (2023–present)

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On the October 4 episode of AEW Dynamite, Wardlow returned as a heel and defeated Griff Garrison after 5 consecutive Powerbombs.[44] Wardlow defeated Matt Sydal on the October 10 episode of Dynamite by referee stoppage.[45] He then defeated Ryan Nemeth on the October 18 episode of Dynamite. After the match, he motioned that he would be coming after AEW World Champion MJF.[46] On December 30 at AEW Worlds End, Wardlow revealed himself as one of The Devil's Masked Men, along with Roderick Strong, Matt Taven and Mike Bennett attacked MJF, with Adam Cole revealing himself as the Devil.[47] On the January 3, 2024, episode of Dynamite, Cole announced that the stable had changed its name to The Undisputed Kingdom and laid out their goals, which included Wardlow capturing the AEW World Championship and give it to Cole.[48] On March 3, 2024 at Revolution, Wardlow won an All-Star Scramble match where he will receive a future AEW World Championship match.[49] On the following episode of Dynamite, Wardlow was scheduled to receive his AEW World Championship match against Samoa Joe the following week at Dynamite: Big Business,[50] where Joe retained.[51]

Championships and accomplishments

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References

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  1. ^ a b c Lealos, Shawn S. (August 31, 2019). "Who is Michael Wardlow, the man promoted on AEW All Out". Monsters and Critics. Archived from the original on December 4, 2019. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  2. ^ Felstead, Scott (May 27, 2021). "AEW Heavy Hitter Wardlow Talks Wrestling and Love of the Gym". Muscle & Fitness. Retrieved January 28, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c "Wardlow". www.cagematch.net. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
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  5. ^ "Meadville hosts Night of Superstars". Meadville Tribune. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
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  7. ^ Lambert, Jeremy (December 4, 2020). "Wardlow Recalls WWE Tryout, Training With Kurt Angle For His Final Run". Fightful. Retrieved April 19, 2023.
  8. ^ "IWC Seventeen". www.cagematch.net. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  9. ^ "IWC The First Annual Pittsburgh Pro Wrestling Classic". www.cagematch.net. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
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  13. ^ Powell, Jason (August 31, 2019). "AEW All Out results: Powell's live review of Chris Jericho vs. Hangman Page to become the first AEW Champion, Pentagon Jr. and Fenix vs. The Young Bucks in a ladder match for the AAA Tag Titles, Cody vs. Shawn Spears, Kenny Omega vs. Pac". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  14. ^ "AEW DYNAMITE Results November 13, 2019". allelitewrestling.com. November 14, 2019. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  15. ^ Woodward, Hamish (February 2, 2023). "Wardlow's AEW Debut Was In The Company's First Ever Cage Match". Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  16. ^ Barnett, Jake (February 19, 2020). "2/19 AEW Dynamite TV results: Barnett's live review of Cody vs. Wardlow in a steel cage match, Jon Moxley vs. Jeff Cobb, Kenny Omega and Hangman Page vs. Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix for the AEW Tag Titles, Tag Team battle royal for a tag title shot at AEW Revolution". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  17. ^ Powell, Jason (October 21, 2020). "10/21 AEW Dynamite results: Powell's live review of Penta El Zero M vs. Rey Fenix, Kenny Omega vs. Sonny Kiss, Colt Cabana vs. Hangman Page, and Wardlow vs. Jungle Boy in AEW Title Eliminator first-round tournament matches". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  18. ^ Powell, Jason (October 28, 2020). "10/28 AEW Dynamite results: Powell's live review of Cody vs. Orange Cassidy in a lumberjack match for the TNT Championship, Hangman Page vs. Wardlow, and Kenny Omega vs. Penta El 0M in eliminator tournament semifinal matches, Serena Deeb vs. Leyla Hirsch for the NWA Women's Title, Eddie Kingston vs. Matt Sydal". Prowrestling.net. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
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  20. ^ Defelice, Robert (March 10, 2021). "MJF Swerves The Inner Circle, Forms New Faction And Leaves Chris Jericho Bloodied". Fightful.com. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
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  22. ^ Powell, Jason (May 30, 2021). "AEW Double Or Nothing results: Powell's live review of Kenny Omega vs. Orange Cassidy vs. Pac for the AEW Championship, Hikaru Shida vs. Britt Baker for the AEW Women's Title, Miro vs. Lance Archer for the TNT Title, The Young Bucks vs. Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston for the AEW Tag Titles, The Pinnacle vs. The Inner Circle in a Stadium Stampede match". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  23. ^ "AEW Dynamite Results for June 18, 2021". All Elite Wrestling. June 19, 2021. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  24. ^ Barnett, Jake (August 11, 2021). "8/11 AEW Dynamite results: Barnett's live review of Chris Jericho vs. Wardlow, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Evil Uno and Stu Grayson for the Impact Tag Team Titles, Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson vs. Matt Sydal, Mike Sydal, and Dante Martin, Nyla Rose vs. Kris Statlander". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  25. ^ "AEW Dynamite live results: Dynamite Diamond Battle Royale". December 8, 2021.
  26. ^ All Elite Wrestling [@AEW] (March 7, 2022). "@RealWardlow with a convenient memory lapse during this #DogCollar match between @CMPunk and @The_MJF" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  27. ^ Thomas, Jeremy (March 6, 2022). "CM Punk Beats MJF In Bloody Dog Collar Match At AEW Revolution, Wardlow Turns On MJF (Clips)". 411 Mania. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
  28. ^ Rueter, Sean (March 9, 2022). "Wardlow nails his first big babyface promo". Cageside Seats. Retrieved March 10, 2022.
  29. ^ a b Barnett, Jake (March 16, 2022). "3/16 AEW Dynamite results: Barnett's live review of Britt Baker vs. Thunder Rosa in a cage match for the AEW Women's Title, Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy vs. Private Party, Scorpio Sky vs. Wardlow for the TNT Title, Hangman Page, Jungle Boy, and Luchasaurus vs. Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O'Reilly, Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley vs. Wheeler Yuta and Chuck Taylor". Prowrestling.net. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  30. ^ "AEW Dynamite: Wild Card Wednesday Results for May 18, 2022". AEW. May 18, 2022. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  31. ^ Klyn, Parker (May 25, 2022). "AEW Dynamite live results: Double or Nothing go-home show. Wardlow faces Shawn Spears in a cage match, plus Britt Baker takes on Toni Storm on the final Dynamite before Sunday's pay-per-view". Figure Four Online. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  32. ^ Nation, Josh (May 25, 2022). "MJF vs. Wardlow officially set for AEW Double or Nothing". Figure Four Online. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  33. ^ Nation, Josh (May 28, 2022). "Wardlow defeats MJF at AEW Double or Nothing, earns contract". Figure Four Online. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  34. ^ Beaston, Erik (June 1, 2022). "AEW Dynamite Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Analysis from June 1". Bleacher Report. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  35. ^ Keller, Wade (June 1, 2022). "6/1 AEW DYNAMITE RESULTS: Keller's report on Double or Nothing fallout, MJF speaks, Punk's first week as champion in six-man tag, more". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  36. ^ Blanchard, Matthew (July 13, 2022). "AEW Fyter Fest Night One Results: Wardlow Defeats Orange Cassidy To Retain TNT Championship (07/13)". The Overtimer. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  37. ^ Staff, A. E. W. (August 4, 2022). "AEW Dynamite Results for August 3, 2022". All Elite Wrestling. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  38. ^ "Satnam Singh Destroys Wardlow, Championship Match Graphics, More | Battle Of The Belts Fight Size | Fightful News". www.fightful.com. Retrieved August 7, 2022.
  39. ^ Powell, Jason (November 19, 2022). "AEW Full Gear results: Powell's live review of Jon Moxley vs. MJF for the AEW World Championship, The Acclaimed vs. Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee for the AEW Tag Titles, Toni Storm vs. Jamie Hayter for the Interim AEW Women's Title, Death Triangle vs. The Elite for the AEW Trios Titles, Saraya vs. Britt Baker". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  40. ^ Powell, Jason (March 5, 2023). "AEW Revolution results: Powell's live review of MJF vs. Bryan Danielson in an Iron Man match for the AEW World Championship, Jamie Hayter vs. Saraya vs. Ruby Soho in a three-way for the AEW Women's Title, Jon Moxley vs. Hangman Page in a Texas Death match, Samoa Joe vs. Wardlow for the TNT Title, The Elite vs. House of Black for the AEW Trios Titles". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved March 6, 2023.
  41. ^ Powell, Jason (March 8, 2023). "3/8 AEW Dynamite results: Powell's live review of Wardlow vs. Powerhouse Hobbs for the TNT Title, Orange Cassidy vs. Jay Lethal for the AEW All-Atlantic Title, Chris Jericho, Daniel Garcia, and Sammy Guevara vs. AR Fox and Top Flight, Ruby Soho vs. Skye Blue, Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli vs. John Silver and Alex Reynolds". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved March 9, 2023.
  42. ^ Powell, Jason (April 19, 2023). "4/19 AEW Dynamite results: Powell's live review of Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Wardlow for the TNT Title, Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker vs. Ruby Soho and Toni Storm, Max Caster, Anthony Bowens, and Daddy Ass vs. Matt Menard, Angelo Parker, and Jake Hager, Jay White vs. Komander". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 19, 2023.
  43. ^ Powell, Jason (June 17, 2023). "AEW Collision results (6/17): Powell's live review of CM Punk and FTR vs. Samoa Joe, Jay White, and Juice Robinson, Wardlow vs. Luchasaurus for the TNT Title, Toni Storm and Ruby Soho vs. Willow Nightingale and Skye Blue, Andrade El Idolo vs. Buddy Matthews, Miro in action". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved June 17, 2023.
  44. ^ "Wardlow returns to AEW at Dynamite Anniversary". October 4, 2023.
  45. ^ https://www.sportskeeda.com/aew/news-wardlow-squashes-former-wwe-tag-team-champion-less-minute-aew-dynamite
  46. ^ "AEW Dynamite live results: Dynamite Dozen battle royale". October 18, 2023.
  47. ^ Powell, Jason (December 30, 2023). "AEW Worlds End results: Powell's live review of MJF vs. Samoa Joe for the AEW World Championship, Eddie Kingston vs. Jon Moxley to become the first AEW Triple Crown Champion". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved December 30, 2023.
  48. ^ Powell, Jason (January 3, 2024). "AEW Dynamite results (1/3): Powell's live review of Samoa Joe's first appearance as AEW World Champion, Adam Cole explains why he turned on MJF, Orange Cassidy vs. Dante Martin for the AEW International Title". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved January 18, 2024.
  49. ^ Powell, Jason (March 3, 2024). "AEW Revolution results: Powell's live review of Sting and Darby Allin vs. The Young Bucks for the AEW Tag Titles in Sting's final match, Samoa Joe vs. Swerve Strickland vs. Hangman Page for the AEW World Championship". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved March 3, 2024.
  50. ^ Renner, Ethan (March 6, 2024). "World title match added to AEW Big Business". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved March 13, 2024.
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  52. ^ "AEW TNT Championship". All Elite Wrestling (AEW).
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