AEW has a fantastic roster that can give any other promotion a run for their money. Tony Khan's company fashions itself as a brand offering much more creative freedom to its superstars.
A few of those AEW stars are purely committed to their personalities. They try their best to stay loyal to their characters and uphold the sanctity of kayfabe. Back in the day, the art of "kayfabe" was the most sacred law in professional wrestling. It was the belief that the wrestlers had to carry their onscreen personalities everywhere with them.
The events inside the squared circle had to be backed by how they acted outside in their real lives. Wrestlers never had to break their personas in any of their public appearances.
Eventually, with time, the art of kayfabe diluted. Events such as "The Curtain Call" and wrestlers admitting that wrestling is a pre-determined sport have ended the belief of wrestling being "completely real."
However, a few wrestlers are still trying to carry on the art of maintaining kayfabe in the modern era. Let us take a look at five such wrestlers in AEW who never break kayfabe.
#4 Pac's intensity is a delight for AEW fans
Pac carried the 205 Live Brand on his shoulders, but after his final match for WWE in September 2017, he eventually left the company. The persona known as Neville no longer held any significance moving forward. All one could see now was a mysterious man with a vendetta against the corrupt world. Ever since then, Pac has adopted his villainous persona.
Pac would lay low for over a year after leaving WWE. Living off the grid completely, he would create a sense of mystery around him. People couldn't guess if he would return to pro wrestling or had he called it a day.
Out of the blue, he took over social media by storm when he made his surprise return to Dragon Gate in October 2018.
Since joining the AEW brand, he has started living and breathing as the "Bastard" character. He has affiliated himself with the brothers Penta and Rey Fenix in AEW, who are also very character-driven luchadors. The trio is exceptionally talented in the ring.
AEW fans enjoy the enigma around Pac. Even after all these years, much remains to be discovered about the man.
Even Pac likes to keep it that way, maintaining his fair share of kayfabe that does justice to his character.
#3 Abadon is the scariest character to watch in AEW
When Abadon made her debut on AEW Dark in March of 2020, people were taken aback by the horrific image she portrayed of herself. The look was grotesque and scary. Her untidy, bloodshot face-paint with discolored eyes was a manifestation of all things creepy.
We all have our favorite spooky characters in the world of pro wrestling, but Abadon is something entirely extraordinary. She channels her persona even in her wrestling style, which is quite uncomfortable to watch on AEW. "The Living Dead Girl" stays in character much like Rosemary of Impact Wrestling. She carries her eerie demeanor everywhere with her.
Social media is no exception, where she only posts creepy zombie-themed content.
What she does is simply commendable as we don't often see a female star carrying on kayfabe with so much compassion.
She was recently interviewed by Lexy Nair, which turned out to be awkwardly hilarious. Abadon never broke her commitment to the character, and Lexy was all by herself in an uncomfortable situation.
#2 Orange Cassidy remains a fan-favorite in AEW
Before Orange Cassidy made it big in AEW, he was a beloved indie darling. He created a unique gimmick for himself that would help him propel to new heights in the world of pro wrestling.
Maintaining a character without breaking kayfabe is a particularly unimaginable task in the independent scene. Orange Cassidy made it work with enormous struggle. He never breaks his character.
His personality is that of a cool, calm, and composed lazy being. He dons sunglasses indoors and wears denim clothes. He conserves energy as much as possible by not paying heed to most of the things around him. Even in a 21-minute video with Brandi Rhodes on YouTube, he magnificently carried his persona like it's no big deal.
His bizarre gimmick initially perplexed many fans. They took quite some time to pick up on the humor of the gimmick. Cassidy has maintained a calm demeanor in several segments where he generally gives one-word answers to the questions asked to him. You won't see him posting long paragraphs on social media either.
Cassidy conserves energy and bursts it out only during desperate moments in the ring. Such instances always receive a huge pop when he goes berserk and lays vengeance on his opponents.
#1 AEW's MJF goes to extreme lengths to stay in character
Maxwell Jacob Friedman could very well be the best thing about AEW. The 25-year old's dedication to kayfabe is especially commendable, that too, during a time when fans thought kayfabe was dead.
MJF found his big break after joining AEW. The man is naturally amazing. He carries Ric Flair's charisma and simultaneously possesses the special ability to annoy fans in an instant. He has spectacular promo skills that are second to none.
MJF carries an arrogant persona who feels entitled to everything. He acts like a complete dirtbag and thinks he is better than everyone. There are no clearly established boundaries between MJF's gimmick and his true self. It's that real and praiseworthy.
Even during interviews and autograph signings, MJF never drops his character for a second. Two incidents, in particular, stand out in this case.
One is when MJF flipped off a seven-year-old fan during an autograph signing and later did not even apologize. When the media asked about the incident, he replied, "F*** them kids."
Another instance took place during AEW's tribute show for the late great Jon Huber (Brodie Lee). The untimely passing of Brodie Lee broke the hearts of many. Both fans and performers looked visibly emotional throughout the tribute show.
But MJF maintained his character and chose to talk smack to Brodie Lee's son, who goes by the moniker — Negative One (-1). He even went on to snatch the little one's Dark Order-themed mask. To everyone's satisfaction, Negative One smacked a kendo stick right on MJF's temple for his behavior.
Clearly, MJF believes in the art of kayfabe more than most wrestlers in the modern era of professional wrestling.