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Red Velvet is an outstanding homegrown talent for AEW with tremendous potential. She’s lightning quick, tenacious, and as athletic and flexible as seemingly anyone on the roster. It’s not a comparison I think many would make, but she checks a lot of the same boxes that Darby Allin does. She can make opponents like Jade Cargill and Kris Statlander look like they have super human strength, and her flexibility allows her to sell bumps that others couldn’t.
Despite being a natural sympathetic underdog with energy to burn for those babyface fire-up spots, Red Velvet’s character has never been fully fleshed out, I feel, which makes it hard to connect with a wrestler. And after seeing Red get booed against Britt Baker (in Pittsburgh, mind you), and Skye Blue (in her hometown of Chicago, mind you), and then Willow Nightingale (and it doesn’t matter where you are, Willow is the babyface), it felt like Tony Khan pulled the escape hatch on her babyface run. Her chemistry with Jade and The Baddies was a natural fit at the time but, again, it was hard to answer the question: Who is Red Velvet? So when she turned against Jade Cargill, I don’t get the sense that any fan felt like she was the babyface in the feud. At best it was a heel vs heel match.
The good news is that despite a lacklustre character build, Red Velvet is very cemented into this roster and her run as a Baddie is at least memorable (in that, she was a Baddie), so the building blocks of a backstory within AEW exist. AEW also has, but hasn’t leaned on yet, a backstory of Red’s from before wrestling. And I think that may be the perfect vehicle for developing her character and in-ring traits. But before I get into my Pitch Please! creative pitch, I’ll just mention that most importantly, I think AEW fans want to see Red Velvet reach the next level and will be very welcoming and excited at any hint that AEW’s creative is getting behind her.
Alright, so here’s the pitch…
Like I said, Red Velvet kind of has two separate backstories that I’d like to marry together.
The first is her almost freakishly coincidental connection to Jade Cargill. They not only came up through the Nightmare Factory and into AEW together, they came into this planet together. Same birthday, same birth year!
The second is her family connection to boxing. Her father, Prudencio Cardona, and her uncle, Ricardo Cardona, were both World Boxing Champions. Her father, now passed, apparently suffered with Alzheimer’s. I know on a firsthand basis what an awful disease that is so I wouldn’t ever presume Red Velvet would want to bring that real life situation into her character but apparently it was a factor in her mother shielding her away from boxing, so in the interest of good taste, I will leave that part out of my pitch but leave in that her mother didn’t want her to box.
Red Velvet’s revamp starts with a vignette…
Part I: Putting Jade Behind Her
We get a video segment on Dynamite that opens with altered video clips of Red Velvet getting pinned by Jade Cargill in the 3 matches they’ve faced each other in.
Red Velvet talks about her cosmic connection to Jade Cargill. She talks about them both coming up through wrestling together but also even entering life together as they were both born on the exact same day: June 3rd, 1992. Jade was born just a few hours up the road from Miami where she was born.
Despite this, Jade has always come out on top. After losing to Jade the second time, she changed up her tactic. “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. That’s exactly what she did as Jade’s Baddie. She worked along side Jade. Trained with Jade. Scouted for possible weaknesses. But in the end, it still wasn’t enough to beat her.
Red says she knows she’s obsessed. But as they say, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. So she has to put Jade in the rear view for now. She needs to level up and get better. And if she does that, her and Jade’s paths will naturally cross again. Because she won’t rest until she’s the best. And to do that, she’ll need to beat the best. And that’s Jade.
So this establishes a character motivation. Red Velvet wants to be the best and in her books, that means being able to beat Jade Cargill.
Part II: Match vs Willow Nightingale
It was Red Velvet’s less than ideal crowd response in a match against Willow Nightingale during the Owen Hart Cup which ultimately led to her pivoting to a heel turn. It seems appropriate that another less than ideal outcome versus Willow Nightingale would spark the next stage in her metamorphosis.
Commentary puts over how Red Velvet is trying to pivot in her career. They put over how much she’s really broken out since her early days in AEW but that she’s so demanding of herself and won’t be satisfied with being second best to anyone.
The match is a mighty struggle. There are a couple times during the match where Red finds she has a distinct advantage at striking and dodging strikes but she keeps following those sequences up with high-risk moves that cost her and ultimately cost her the match as Willow wins shortly after one of these instances. After the match, we see Red Velvet sitting in the ring looking despondent. Crushed in fact, as she starts pulling off her gauntlets and tossing them to the floor. Commentary put over her frustration.
Part III: Red Velvet on Dark/Elevation
After a short break from appearing in AEW, Red Velvet appears on Dark Elevation. She’s changed her look only slightly, most notably, she’s changed her gantlets for gear that covers her knuckles (whether that’s tape, padded gloves, or something decorative that covers her knuckles—whatever she’s most comfortable with).
Against enhancement talent, we see Red open matches by faking that she’s going to lockup but then evading them and hitting them with some body jabs and hooks followed by a wrestling move. She uses this strategy of opening up her opponents with a boxing-like technique before hitting moves. All her opponents are much bigger than she is.
Taz on commentary puts over that this is a smart approach for Red Velvet since in a lock-up, when you’re smaller, it can be an uphill climb to dictate the fight but by moving and striking, she can grapple opponents who are out of their defensive posture or off balance, making it more likely she can successfully hit her moves because their feet aren’t as firmly planted. So I’m not advocating that Red Velvet takes on a boxer gimmick like Anthony Ogogo but rather she utilizes as a tactic in amalgamation with her wrestling.
Red Velvet finishes each of these matches by throwing a right hook into her opponents’ oblique to get them to hunch over to that side before hitting an Angle Slam. It’s sort of like how Stone Cold would do a gut kick to setup his opponent into position for the Stunner.
Part IV: Match vs Nyla Rose
In the weeks before this match, fans are wrong footed by having Nyla Rose booked as being in the early stages of being built up to challenge for the World Title. Last week she obliterated a credible threat and made her intentions known after the match. So this match scans as Nyla beating Red Velvet as a storyline beat on that path. Instead though, Red Velvet utilizes her new technique on Nyla Rose and it actually catches her off guard. Red Velvet even executes a German Suplex on Nyla by getting behind her and hitting her with jabs to the lower back which cause Nyla to arch back and lend that momentum to Red for the move. Red Velvet, just like her matches on Dark/Elevation, gets some right hooks in on Nyla’s oblique and then Angle Slams her for the win.
Backstage Red Velvet is about to be congratulated in a interview by Renee Paquette when Nyla barges in claiming that was a fluke and that she wants a rematch. Red says “Anytime, anywhere”.
Part V: Boxing Is In Her Blood
We get clips of Red Velvet taping up her hands and doing some boxing training. Red Velvet talks about how her father and uncle where both World Champion Boxers, as we now get photos of her father from his boxing days and maybe photos of her as a child with her parents. Velvet explains that’s where she gets her competitive fire from. But her mom never wanted her to get into boxing, so it’s a discipline she’s never fully dug into. But like it or not, boxing is in her blood. Again, however far Red feels like going into this backstory is up to her. I respect any wrestler’s wishes to keep their personal life separate. But it would give the audience something to legitimately relate to her on and feel sympathetic towards and that is the lifeblood of a true babyface.
Highlights from her match versus Willow Nightingale are shown as she explains that in her match against Willow, she found some of the best looks she was getting at Willow came after hitting some body strikes but she needed to figure out how to utilize those openings.
Clips from Dark Elevation are spliced in with her doing boxing training and hitting wrestling moves as Red talks about how she needed to figure out how to put larger off balance so they couldn’t just leverage their size advantage over her.
Clips from her match against Nyla Rose are shown. Red continues, saying now that she knows she can do this against Nyla Rose, she knows she can use this style against anyone. But her biggest challenge will be fighting Nyla Rose again, since Nyla now knows what she’s going to do. This technique doesn’t go anywhere if it can be scouted and easily defended.
Part VI: Rematch vs Nyla Rose
We get a “tale of the tape” before this match showing all of Red Velvet’s and Nyla’s stats to help put over what a size disadvantage Red is at, to give it a “big fight” feel, and to really drive home the story that Red Velvet has found a new technical edge that gave her an advantage in their prior match but in this match we’re assuming Nyla will have brought a different strategy.
So in agenting the match; There needs to be an adjustment to Nyla’s game plan but then Red Velvet needs to be able to adjust to Nyla’s adjustments. Because that’s what a smart fighter would do. Here’s how that would work…
Whereas Nyla was a lot more aggressive in their prior match, she’s slower to approach and has her hands up more. Red comes in for some punches but Nyla blocks and then grabs her and hits power moves on her. Red really takes a beating as commentary puts over that Nyla seems to have successfully slowed Red Velvet down. Commentary relays to the audience that Nyla looks like she’s come in with a perfect game plan for Red Velvet. Red tries to resort back to her fast-paced high octane offence but Nyla is able to thwart this due to her power advantage. She hits a Beast Bomb on Red Velvet but she kicks out at two!
Red Velvet survives long enough to find her opening as Nyla whips her into the ropes and she comes back with a low dropkick to one of Nyla’s legs. Nyla spins out and grabs her ankle. Red pounces on this and attacks her ankle with kicks and a heel hook. Nyla is able to get to the rope and escape to the floor. Red pursues her and is able to use kicks to knock her off balance and then back drop her on the floor. Red applies a heel hook on the floor where there is no rope break. The match gets back into the ring and Nyla takes a different stance, positioning her bad ankle behind her. Red Velvet does a running crossbody because even though Nyla easily catches her, it forces Nyla to shift her weight onto that bad ankle and she crumbles onto all fours. Red stands over top and starts feeding punches into her oblique. Nyla holds her side as she tries to get up but Red immediately turns that into an Angle Slam and pins Nyla for the win.
Commentary puts over what a gutsy and heady win this was for Red Velvet.
That’s where the pitch ends. Hopefully it’s developed more of a character for Red Velvet as well as sets her up to be seen as a credible challenger to anyone no matter how big. Even as big as Jade Cargill.
So what do you think? Is there more that you would do to get fans to relate to Red Velvet? Do you think this in-ring strategy would get over? Let me know in the comments below or look me up on Twitter at @aew_one. Thanks for reading and, as always, make sure you let the women in your life know how much you appreciate them. 🙂