This past Saturday night, boxing legend and current hot topic Mike Tyson was a guest at the All Elite Wrestling (AEW) pay-per-view event Double or Nothing in Jacksonville, yawning and cheering and taking off his shirt and presenting a championship belt to a match winner.
I called that a dignified return to the wrestling world for Mike Tyson; it looked as though he was there to maybe bump a buyrate by a few thousand curious folks or whatever, and that was that.
But tonight on AEW Dynamite, the company’s weekly Wednesday night show on TNT, Tyson was back, flagged by the likes of Henry Cejudo and Vitor Belfort, among others, to confront Chris Jericho and his Inner Circle faction.
Like most things that involve outsiders trying to act their way through wrestling promos and whatnot, Tyson and Co. came off corny even among the corny. Pro wrestling acting may be awful acting, but it is its own particular style of acting; in fact, the worst offenders at overdoing it and coming off too camp for the camp are usually trained actors.
Tyson isn’t an actor at all, and you can constantly see him — quite probably very high — on the verge of breaking. But he doesn’t, which is good enough.
This seems to be setting up for some type of match involving Tyson and Chris Jericho, who is a longtime top star in wrestling, a real living legend still in the game. Tyson isn’t going to become a trained pro wrestler at 53, even as much as Tyson Fury did for a WWE match last year (which wasn’t much), but during the COVID-19 pandemic, AEW, WWE, and other wrestling companies that run on TV have taken an occasionally more “cinematic” approach, doing heavily edited, pre-recorded matches that are more story than the well-trained physicality you’d see from a normal wrestling match.
My point is there’s probably something they can do with Tyson. Jericho is as much an expert or genius as wrestling has active these days, and if anyone could help make it watchable, it’s him.
For me, everything Mike Tyson does that isn’t signing for some sort of actual fight for some bundle of money someone will give him at age 53 is fine, so this is a net positive.