Now, I don’t know a lot about the video movie stars or television fiction celebrities, so I’m not much for a traditional casting post. I’ve got other plans in mind. No one asked but I’m here anyway to tell you what WWE and NXT professional wrestlers I’d cast as the characters of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series.
(This post contains extensive spoilers for the first Mistborn trilogy, all NXT pay-per-views, and WWE Battleground.)
Kelsier (the Man)
The Survivor of Hathsin is a kind, good-humored man, an eternal optimist, and the natural subject of a cult of personality. He inspired everyone he ever met, driving them to be better than they naturally were. His passing left his friends listless, unable to cope with the void he left and bewildered by the legend he inspired. In other words, he’s Sami Zayn.
The true hero of NXT, Sami battled his way up from obscurity, wrestling all over the world both under his own name and as the Luchador El Generico, to claim the NXT Championship belt from Adrian Neville at NXT TakeOver: R Evolution (I don’t come up with these names). Sami has the best smile in the business, a boundless determination, and a Helluva kick. He’s the hero we want, not the hero we deserve. Unfortunately, he’s Kelsier, and his story doesn’t have a happy ending. Which brings us to…
The Lord Ruler
The Lord Ruler is a Feruchemist, an Allomancer, and a Hemalurge. He reshaped the world and founded an empire that he ruled for a thousand years. Most importantly, though, the Lord Ruler is a liar. Born Rashek, a Terris packman, the Lord Ruler ascended to power by killing the man everyone thought was the Hero of Ages and stealing the power of the Well of Ascension. He fabricated a backstory for himself, eliminated every trace of dissent, and crushed everyone who stood in his way, including Kelsier.
The Lord Ruler is Kevin Owens, the man who took Sami Zayn out of contention. Kevin and Sami wrestled together in the indies, and he was introduced to NXT on the same night Sami won the title. After the cheering crowds cleared, he and Sami walked down from the ring arm in arm, best friends 5ever. Then Kevin picked his best friend up and powerbombed him into the ring. Kevin Owens has beaten his best friend up so many times that Sami hasn’t wrestled in months. He stole Sami’s title and enforced his championship with a grim efficiency. And the entire time he’s been claiming that he’s doing all this to feed his family. Kevin Owens is one of the most interesting wrestlers I’ve seen, and figuring out his motives is nearly impossible. He’s also CRAZY ambitious. He started a feud with John Cena, the biggest face in the WWE, while Kevin was still in the development league.
Kelsier (THE LEGEND)
After his death, Kelsier was basically deified by the masses. Everyone has an overblown opinion of him, treating him like a god when he was really just some guy. Kelsier the God is John Cena, the most overhyped man in wrestling. Look at him. Look at his little wristbands. Moving on.
Our hero! Vin is the true protagonist of the first Mistborn trilogy, although she may not want to be. She has a long and elaborate history of being duped by villains, whether it be Zane or Ruin itself. Growing up on the streets left her deeply untrusting, and she spends the majority of the series trying to open up and accept the help of the people worth trusting. Her power as a Mistborn is matched with a wildly improvisational style.
Vin is the female character in the Mistborn series who most closely matches wrestling personalities, but it’s still not easy finding a match for her rich interiority in a culture mostly defined by bright lights, loud colors, and doing cartwheels. My pick is Becky Lynch, shown above as some kind of steampunk assassin. Becky was introduced as a crony to Sasha Banks, the Boss of NXT and current NXT Women’s Champion. Becky is an incredibly powerful wrestler, flinging herself about the ring with a wild abandon that often overbalances her, and pulling out moves that make my jaw drop. By feuding with Sasha Banks, she’s begun a transition from heel to face, and her amazing title match against Sasha at NXT Takeover: Unstoppable shows how dominant a character she’s going to become. Seriously, find a way to watch that match, it’s the best I’ve ever seen.
Elend is a clever, sarcastic, scholarly man who ends up winning Vin’s heart and conquering most of the world at her side. He usually has his nose in a book, making him even harder to cast because this is wrestling and books are for nerds. HOWEVER, I set myself this task and I’m going to carry it out.
Meet Hideo Itami. He made his name in Japan and signed with NXT in 2014, where he systematically dismantled his competition. For a while he was being feuded with by a tag team called The Ascension, and he won that feud. He wears a mean suit and can see every weakness in his enemies. He also once said that he hoped Kevin Owens won a title match, because Owens is a bad man and it would be more enjoyable to beat him. (There’s no romance plotline between Itami and Lynch, but I think they’d be cute together so y’all can shut up.)
Kelsier’s brother is exactly as serious and businesslike as Kelsier isn’t. He came up through the skaa rebellion, then left it when he decided they weren’t serious enough. He worked as a spy for Kelsier’s crew. His nickname used to be Ironeyes, which became predictably ironic when he was made a Steel Inquisitor and had metal spikes jammed through his eyes so Ruin could control him. HE’D CRY BUT…YOU KNOW.
Marsh is a great fit for Roman Reigns, a man who left Canadian Football to become a professional wrestler when it became clear Canadian Football wasn’t serious enough. He was introduced to the WWE as a member of the Shield, a trio of goons who beat people up in order to “fight injustice.” The members of the Shield were used as enforcers and mercenaries by a series of businesslike heels, but Roman eventually escaped that pit of darkness to become a hero in his own right. Look at that gaze. I’m melting.
The real hero of the series, Sazed is a wandering scholar and connoisseur of religions. The story of Sazed’s lost faith and his long journey to rediscover it is the most important arc of the first Mistborn trilogy. I have to wonder, though, whether becoming a god is really compensation for having lost your faith. He seems happy enough, so I guess it’s not worth questioning.
Enter Samoa Joe. Joe signed with NXT this May, but he’s been wrestling professionally since 1999. His journey has been long and tumultuous, spending years being the best thing about whatever circuit he happened to be in. After ten years in the desert of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), Joe set himself on a new course by leaving that league and heading to the WWE. Will he rise to godhood? I’m betting yes.
Ruin is the god who will eventually get to destroy all life, everywhere. He’s, ah, not a pleasant fellow. He has this nasty habit of getting released from his constraints, setting the world on a path of inevitable cataclysm. He mostly does this by causing typos, which will show those book-loving nerds what for.
Meet Brock Lesnar, the god of violent retribution. That’s not me editorializing! That’s how manager and prophet Paul Heyman described Brocklesnar [STET] while he was ripping the doors off an expensive automobile with his bare hands. Brock Lesnar is the man who beat the Undertaker at Wrestlemania, ending a 21-win streak. Brock Lesnar is the man who ignores signature takedowns, who wins three-on-ones, who laughs when he bleeds. Wherever he goes becomes Suplex City. I don’t recommend visiting Suplex City.
Wax and Wayne
The Vaudevillains. Look at them. We can go home now.
Carl Engle-Laird is an editorial assistant at Tor.com, where he acquires and edits original fiction. He recently discovered professional wrestling, and hopes to someday be a hoss. You can follow him on Twitter here.