What does a colorful kids’ cartoon have in common with the hottest upstart promotion in professional wrestling today? A whole lot more than you’d think: unique personalities, continuing storylines, and messages about the importance of friendship and how it can change the world. Let’s take a look at the main players of up-and-coming wrestling organization All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and their four-hoofed counterparts in the “mane six” ponies of Equestria.
AEW: A Brief History Lesson
Once upon a time, a trio of wrestlers had a dream to “change the world,” dubbing themselves The Elite. In 2016, they started a YouTube channel that chronicled their travels and featured short, funny skits that gave fans a peek at the people behind the performers on a weekly basis.
The original three members — brothers Matt and Nick Jackson (aka – The Young Bucks) and their friend Kenny Omega — ran the circuit between Ring of Honor (ROH) and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) after having plied their trades elsewhere, including WWE where they were briefly relegated to “enhancement talent” status.
However, the stones the builder rejected have now become the foundation of what’s poised to be a monument to a new era in pro wrestling. This trio, joined by Cody Rhodes (scion of Dusty Rhodes and the youngest member of the wrestling dynasty), are now Executive Vice Presidents of AEW. Like Omega and the Jackson brothers, Rhodes had also found new life for himself in ROH and NJPW, having shrugged off the shackles of WWE and wanting something more from a creative standpoint.
While money may be nice, the real driver behind AEW and the mandate of their executive team is to build the best possible company comprised of wrestlers from around the globe and to change the world by giving wrestling fans an alternative to what’s currently out there.
Founded On Friendship & Common Ground
One of the most compelling stories behind AEW was whether or not Kenny Omega would join his Elite brethren in AEW when his contract with NJPW expired. Rumors flew that WWE offered him a huge chunk of change. However, the ability to create something new in the wrestling industry and the bonds of friendship triumphed when it was announced on February 7, 2019 that The Elite were once again (almost) complete with Omega having signed with AEW.
As a wrestling fan, this warmed the cockles of my jaded, marked-out heart — that friendship wins. That good things can happen when friends take an active role rooting for each other and helping create success for one another.
It reminded me of the message of another of my favorite fandoms — My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. A chirpy Saturday morning cartoon geared towards kids but peppered with jokes adults can enjoy, the show focuses on six ponies who each have their own unique talents, but work together to better their homeland of Equestria. Like The Elite, My Little Pony is comprised of six core members who are close friends. Thinking about it further, the two groups of pals have some distinct similarities and parallels to one other. In fact, each member of the “mane six” has their own counterpart in The Elite. Let’s take a look!
Kenny Omega: Pinkie Pie
Friendly, full of boundless energy, and consistently the life of the party, Kenny Omega has much more in common with Pinkie Pie than lots of curly hair. While Pinkamena Diane Pie has likely never had a 6-star match, both she and Kenny are always ready to take part in a celebration — be it a Superkick Party or attending Marty Scurll’s Unconventional New Year’s Day Party. Adding to the similarities, both Pinkie and Kenny have both been known to break into song. Both frequently provide alternating bouts of comic relief and heartwarming sweetness and sincerity.
Cody Rhodes: Twilight Sparkle
Like Twilight Sparkle, Cody Rhodes demonstrates leadership qualities and belongs to a “royal family” of sorts within their respective realms. While Cody isn’t a student of magic like Twilight Sparkle whose “leveling up” allowed her to transform into an alicorn, Cody has evolved to become one of the top names in professional wrestling. And like Twilight Sparkle, Cody was also possessed for a brief period of time. Also, the name “Twilight Sparkle” sounds eerily similar to a certain, celestial-themed former gimmick of Cody Rhodes that Shall Not Be Named.
Nick Jackson of The Young Bucks: Fluttershy
The quieter of the two Jackson brothers, Nick Jackson is the Fluttershy of the group. Nick, the younger of the two Young Bucks, is a high-flyer like his brother. While Fluttershy doesn’t do much flying and prefers to stay grounded, nevertheless, she’s a pegasus and has wings. While Nick seems to be quiet, he has moments where he comes out of his shell and delivers some surprisingly zingy reactions and one-liners. He’s also very family-oriented, like Fluttershy who is devoted to her friends and collection of animal pals.
Matt Jackson of The Young Bucks: Rainbow Dash
Both Jackson brothers are the pegususes (pegasi?) of their respective groups, being high-flyers. (“Spot monkeys” if you’re nasty… or Jim Cornette.) Rainbow Dash enjoys going full-throttle at all times, showing off her superlative flying skills and living her dream of joining the Wonderbolts. Like Rainbow Dash, Matt Jackson is living his own childhood dream alongside his brother and bringing their friends along for the ride. Like Matt, Rainbow Dash is always down for adventure and has a literary side. While Rainbow Dash is a fan of the “Daring Do” series of adventure novels, Matt (along with his brother) penned a children’s book that teaches kids the value of believing in yourself.
Adam “Hangman” Page: Applejack
This one was perhaps the most obvious comparison to draw since both Hangman and Applejack have a hankering for country living. Hardworking and uncomfortable with lying (even if that means harboring a secret involving the murder of a certain famous dick wrestler), Applejack and Page are both earnest, likeable, and determined to accomplish any task set in front of them. Unlike Page, however, Applejack is consistently in “full gear” wearing her cowboy hat and distinctive cutie mark. Yet, Hangman Page may still have the advantage since Applejack has never had a pair of cowboy boots that talked.
Marty Scurll: Rarity
Beyond their British accents, both Marty Scurll and Rarity are never seen without “sharp” accessories: unicorn Rarity has a pointy horn, while “The Villain” is rarely without his trademark umbrella with its pointed end and hook-billed plague mask. Like Rarity who has an unlikely friendship with baby dragon Spike, Marty has also been one half of an odd pairing with young Flip Gordon, who he begrudgingly took under his wing before growing fond of the guy. Although Marty and Rarity can sometimes irritate their friends (Rarity with her perfectionism and Marty with his off-key singing) — or concoct grandiose events (like Rarity’s fashion shows and Marty’s Unconventional New Year’s Day Party), they are generally beloved by their respective friend groups. Only now, poor Marty is all alone **sniffle** in ROH — at least until his contract is up and he can join AEW.
When it comes to finding common ground between AEW and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, there’s no law that says you can’t like both ponies and pinfalls. Both wrestling and cartoons can be enjoyed by those who are young and young at heart. Both tell action-packed stories with larger-than-life characters — and in many cases, they sneak in some adult-oriented humor as a knowing wink to a portion of their audiences. And both wrestling and cartoons weave life lessons that resonate into the fabric of the stories they tell, no matter how young or old you are.
All wrestling images sourced from Wikimedia Commons
My Little Pony image credits: