The WWE has welcomed some pretty surprising athletes back into its roster as of late, so there’s almost no telling who might pop up or get formally namechecked on TV or at a pay-per-view. With that said, I doubt many fans expected AJ Styles to reference former superstar James Ellsworth in the same breath as dissing Dominic Mysterio. Ellsworth caught wind of the mention and responded on social media in a rather hilarious way.
For wrestling fans who missed the segment, AJ Styles couldn’t keep his mouth shut after Dominic Mysterio proudly declared himself this generation’s version of Eddie Guerrero. Styles had to let the son of Rey Mysterio know not only did he fall short of the late Guerrero, but that he's actually the James Ellsworth of his generation. Ellsworth, who consistently proved during his stint during the mid-2010s that he knows how to deliver and land a joke, knew just what to say on Twitter in response:
What the hell AJ say?? #WWERaw ..October 25, 2022
Now, that may not seem like a hilarious response at first, but anyone with a Peacock Premium subscription can go back and watch what happened the last time James Ellsworth had beef with AJ Styles to better understand this. The two had a memorable feud back in 2016 where Ellsworth — an established indie wrestler whose gimmick was looking incredibly weak and inexperienced — kept beating Styles in matches due to interference from other superstars or sheer luck. This eventually led to Ellsworth presenting as cocky, to the point where he challenged Styles for the WWE title. Styles accepted, and after a one-minute squash match, Styles retained his role as champion.
In James Ellsworth’s kayfabe mind, of course, he's still on equal ground with everyone else, so this is definitely the wrestler hamming it up in character as opposed to actual anger. In case anyone needed further evidence of this, Ellsworth posted a follow-up video that showed his real-time reaction to the moment:
Here was my reaction to #AjStyles comparing me to #DominikMysterio on #WWERaw .. pic.twitter.com/GwNrJ9cmgHOctober 25, 2022
Could the WWE actually be angling to welcome James Ellsworth back into its fold in the future? I’m sure they’d much sooner plan for a return centered around Cody Rhodes or keep a slot open in case Randy Orton is headed back sometime soon (though Orton’s return sounds unlikely). With that said, it would be funny if Ellsworth re-emerged after the call-out in the coming weeks for at least a one-off segment, if only to remind fans of one of the WWE's sillier storylines from the relatively recent past.
Hey, he could even join the ranks of jobbers continually challenging the recently returned Braun Strowman as of late, which would make a nice little call-back to the debut that ultimately led to his signing.
The WWE is doing a lot of great things with its story-telling as of late, so if James Ellsworth is somehow in the mix regarding one of the remaining upcoming WWE events in 2022, I’ll trust the process and see what happens. With that said, I don't think fans should hold their breaths with hopes he’ll actually return, but it was nice to see AJ Styles give him a shoutout to remind the wrestling world of him all the same.
Monday Night Raw airs on USA Network on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET. We’re just a few weeks out from the Crown Jewel pay-per-view, so be sure to keep an eye on these developing storylines and see who will ultimately end up on the card.
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Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.