78 Degrees of Wrestling: The Major Arcana of AEW (Part III: The Soul of Reason)

The third and final installment of our All Elite Wrestling Tarot Breakdown.

XV. The Devil: MJF

AEW

Another obvious corollary; is there any figure in AEW more contemptible than Maxwell Jacob Friedman? And yet, there are many captivated by his spell. For starters, I must begrudgingly admit he’s a good pro wrestler—so good to the point where there are actually people out there who are telegraphing an eventual babyface turn. (I think there are wrestlers who should never cross the character alignment boundary. MJF should never be a good guy. You can change his motivations, but only an exceptional cosmetic surgeon could make that face less punchable.) The Devil has followers bound in chains, MJF has the Pinnacle—and more specifically the truly awesome Wardlow, who has been by Max’s side for the entirety of his AEW career. Max’s gift of gab could be the pull he (much like the Devil when he shows up in a tarot reading) has on people. But the Devil is a glaring reminder this attraction is not healthy.

 

XVI. The Tower: The Young Bucks

AEW

Another card signifying sweeping changes, the Tower appears at the catastrophic event which alters our lives irrevocably. On a personal note, I’ve pulled the Tower many times over the course of the past year or so—including on January 5th, the night before the Capitol Riots (or as I like to call it, the White Privilege Parade). Since turning heel, Matt and Nick Jackson have been agents of chaos and change for better or worse—spearheading the violence which led to the Lucha Bros finally capturing the AEW World Tag Team Championships and ending the tag team run of SCU (as well as the AEW career of Christopher Daniels). From their outfits to their wrestling style, their whole deal is a flash grenade of provocation and bad taste. As you’ve might have gleaned by making it this far through this guide to the Major Arcana, I don’t believe in negative cards—every component of tarot is there to help you learn about what’s happening in your life. The Tower might be a tough card to take in, but the debris from the destruction leads to the sort of rebuilding process that usually leads to true understanding.

XVII. The Star: Bryan Danielson

The Major Arcana is often referred to by mystics as the “Path to Illumination,” and after getting demolished by the Tower, the quest is more or less smooth sailing from here. The Star is the card of healing, of new beginnings; of hope, creativity, generosity, inspiration. There was a point in Bryan Danielson’s life where he thought he would never wrestle again. He not only returned, he was able to find a whole new approach to wrestling. He competed in the main event of Wrestlemania for the second time in his career. He made a big career change and became one of the biggest talent acquisitions in AEW history. Not to mention there is a huge contingent of fans—of which I include myself—who feel he might just be the greatest wrestler of all-time. The Star is the card of spiritual renewal, where we nourish ourselves with the optimism that we might just be okay. In five years, Danielson went from giving his retirement speech to wrestling critically acclaimed matches and truly cementing himself as the top competitor of his generation (at the very least). Regardless of his unsavory attitude prior to his recent shot at the AEW World Championship, there’s no reasonable argument against Danielson’s tenure in AEW as a full spiritual refresh. If the Fool and the Magician show us what is possible when we are first starting out, the Star is emblematic of what we can still do after we’ve gained experience, faced adversity, and still manage to find ourselves in our prime.

AEW

XVIII. The Moon: Eddie Kingston

The Moon is primarily known as a vehicle for sensitivity. Sometimes when the word “sensitivity” is used, there’s a feeling that what you’re describing can’t also be tough. So let me dispel that notion real quick: Obviously Eddie Kingston is one of the toughest motherfuckers to have ever stepped in a wrestling ring. He’s also a person who feels everything. In his aforementioned rivalry with Jon Moxley, Kingston centered his grievances around the fact that Mox deserted him and a generation of like-minded artists when he scampered away to “the land of the sports entertainers.” He’s arguably—and like I’ve said plenty of times, it’s a very small argument—the best promo of his generation because he allows himself to let his emotions carry him away. Not to mention his ability to fly off the handle, which is a great many people tend to do when the moon is full.

The Moon is also what brings light to the world in times of darkness, which brings to mind his story upon being hired by AEW; the fact that when he got the call, he was going to sell his gear in order to pay his mortgage. His absorption and understanding of loss (see also: lamenting not having a wife and child because he gave his life to wrestling) is incredibly in tune with what the Moon teaches us, which is to sit with the things we’re fearful of.

XIX. The Sun: Tony Schiavone

AEW

Is there any fan of wrestling who doesn’t think Schiavone is an absolute ray of sunshine? He’s the kindly symbol of positivity and benevolence in the often overwhelmingly toxic world of professional wrestling. He might be the only male character in the history of wrestling who normalizes having platonic relationships with attractive women. Characters open up to him, the show’s heels antagonize him only because they know how much everybody loves him. And after the darkness that the Fool’s Journey provides—something Tony has experienced in his own career—the Sun comes out and nourishes the world. 

 

 

XX. Judgement: CM Punk

AEW

Few wrestlers have seen it all to the extent CM Punk has; short of main eventing Wrestlemania and the Tokyo Dome, he has more or less done everything there is to do in wrestling. This wealth of life experience lends credence to him being on the weightier end of the Fool’s Journey. Since his improbable return to wrestling, Punk has served as the barometer for which pretty much every wrestler wants to be judged. Everybody wants to know where they measure up against Punk, which has been his story thus far in AEW. It makes perfect sense that in this victory lap of a return he has made, he’s been taking stock of his career up to this point. Judgement is an incredibly retrospective card; it urges you to look back and see which parts of your life karma has served you and where it has bitten you in the ass. In looking at where we’ve ended up in life, we have a chance to look at where we can improve, where we can serve. Judgement doesn’t mean your path is over, it just means you’re on your way to the next stage—so you might want to make sure you’re doing the work to make sure bad karma doesn’t catch up to you on your next journey.

XXI. The World: Kenny Omega

AEW

The World doesn’t mean you’ve learned all you need to learn in life. It doesn’t mean your path to illumination has stopped. It just means you’re on to the next journey. Kenny Omega isn’t the platonic ideal of what a wrestler can be, he’s not the end-all be-all. But as it stands, he was the longest-reigning AEW World Champion to date (a great spot for a wrestler to be), and very likely the most critically acclaimed wrestler of all-time. And what artist in any field doesn’t want critical acclaim? He’s held three title belts simultaneously, he’s got a higher star rating average than the Big Dipper. Omega has been at the top everywhere he goes in wrestling, and it’s been that way for several years now. When you pull the World in a tarot reading, you’re likely feeling that same sense of wholeness, a similar satisfaction from the success you’ve obtained. 

It doesn’t get any higher than this, so the Fool’s journey starts all over again.  And again, and again, until your quest has completed for good. As Omega ended this quest on the path to illumination with a huge championship loss and multiple surgeries on the docket, Omega is ready to pack his bag and start at zero again.