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AEW Scouting Report


Goodear
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Something of a non-sequitur, but since it has been brought up, Tolkien absolutely does nudge up against the fourth wall several times on LoTR: Bilbo joking that Frodo has had several chapters worth of adventures before reaching Rivendell (the books exist in-universe) but will need help writing it all up, Sam's "It's like in the great stories" speech, etc. Most fiction comments on its medium, to one extent or another. That needn't ruin immersion. 

Broadly, I just don't see any evidence here. Doesn't Cassidy tend to draw pretty well? Doesn't his merch sell? Don't his youtube videos rank among the most watched? I know his main event with Jericho didn't pull a good number, but I think that speaks more to his ceiling, rather than a total lack of utility. 

I get not being a fan, but wrestling has basically always been a variety show to varying degrees, without hurting the dramatic aspects--even when comedy intersects. (Minoru Suzuki can feud with Yano, and even suffer a string of losses to him, without losing credibility, as a for-instance.)

Also, most people outside of wrestling don't know a single current wrestler. It's a niche product. If they think it's a joke and don't take it seriously, they do so because they dismiss the whole enterprise prima facie. 

 

Edited by Beech27
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Prest10 Vance

Vance has an issue that I'm thinking about naming after him due to me being unable to think of another example. And that issue is with his spinebuster. But wait, you may say, what is wrong with his spinebuster? It's pretty good actually! And I would say you're correct. In fact, I'd day his spinebuster is his best spot and should be his finish. The issue is that as an underneath guy, 10 isn't going to be winning a ton so he doesn't have a lot of opportunity to actually use his finish. So does 10 not use his best spot most of his matches or does he not use it as a finish? I think this is a really interesting problem and welcome other people's thoughts.

Vance cuts an imposing figure and would serve The Dark Order well as the looming muscle if they kept him in the ring infrequently in order to minimize his exposure. He should get reps off camera until they are ready to use him in a more meaningful way. As mentioned in the Angels report a long time ago, I'm not a fan of the white color scheme for the pair of them. 

Vance feels like a WCW Power Plant guy to me just like Austin Gunn feels like a Performance Center guy. This isn't a knock. Just an observation. He's physically impressive but needs seasoning and probably isn't ready to be working long matches on television. If they wanted him to massacre someone in 5 minutes, that would be great for him.

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QT Marshall

He's okay but comically enough over pushed as Dustin's regular partner and as a member of the Nightmare Family. I thought he was better off proving people wrong when he was selected to be Cody's partner for that Butcher and The Blade tag match. But really, everyone in the story pretty much accepted him immediately afterward which makes the whole concept moot. Then he teamed with Dustin regularly which felt like water treading for Rhodes and moved to the angle with Allie. That angle dragged and then Allie became accepted for no real reason and then blew off the angle to no fanfare. The Bunkhouse match was good in a vacuum but I don't think it helped anyone in the end. Now QT is a guy with a relationship with the Rhodes family that sprung up from almost nowhere. Talking about his role in the Nightmare Family is impossible because no one has a role in the Nightmare Family and you're almost thinking it no longer exists when they show up with team jackets and go 'oh this is still a thing'. Wouldn't he just be better off teaming with Lee Johnson as a mentor?

 

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1 hour ago, Hustler of Culture said:

The part of the joke that prospective fans don't get is the hands in the pockets, being a mute, dressed up in denim, etc.  The kicks are because...I guess he's lazy.  Who knows.

I agree with Goodear in that I don't have a problem with say, Chikara.  It's a comedy promotion and if they do all of this outlandish comedy in a show...well, that's exactly what I knew was going to happen. But AEW was supposed to be a 'sports based' promotion and an alternative to the WWE and here we are with some guy doing faux kicks with his hands in his pockets.

Once again, your argument is predicated on you (and only you) knowing what jokes an audience does or doesn't get vs. the audience literally telling you they get the joke, anecdotally telling you how non-fans get the joke, and objective data (views + merch sales) telling you the gimmick (and thus the joke) are over.

The image of a professional wrestler, to most, is one of a muscled-up, sweat-drenched man screaming into a camera about his desire to claim vindication through violence, bodyslamming his foe and being bodyslammed in a tooth-and-nail struggle for melodramatic supremacy. Orange Cassidy completely subverts this. His hands in his pockets leave him vulnerable to attack, subverting the presumed motivations of a wrestler (comedy!) while providing a sort of "trap" for Cassidy's counters in the way that a counterpunching boxer would drop their hands (psychology!). Being mute subverts the expected big, screamy wrestling promo and creates an air of unexpectedness because he's not responding how wrestlers (or normal people) respond. COMEDY! And when he does talk, he's subverting his own subversion, creating more layers and more potential for comedy and storytelling. And when you peel it all back and put OC's back against the wall, he wrestles like a 16-year veteran who was a standout student of the Quackenbush/Hero-era CZW/CHIKARA Wrestlefactory who spent 10 years being the A-side of a tag team with Drew Gulak. Y'know, a pretty good wrestler.

This is not subtle stuff. The gimmick reads. Not liking ANY comedy in your pro-wrestling product is certainly an opinion some people have, but to say that nobody gets it is to imply that anyone who likes something you don't like is doing so from a place of ignorance. Whatever, man.

Edited by John E. Dynamite
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2 hours ago, Hustler of Culture said:

Most people outside of wrestling have no idea who Orange Cassidy is.

And I would argue that most pro wrestling fans don't even know who he is.

Well, most people outside of wrestling have no idea who anyone in wrestling is. And I don't know how you define the spectrum of pro wrestling fans here, but most pro wrestling fans probably only know WWE guys or guys from whatever promotion they choose to follow. So, what exactly is the point here?

The thing with Orange Cassidy is that YouTube and several board members own experience seem to point out that he's a pretty good guy to get non-wrestling fans into wrestling. He's selling a good amount of merch, too, so that's nice. I really don't see a good reason for AEW to not feature him.

Edited by MrKothoga
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It's funny (and maybe a tad bit annoying to some) that we're still discussing Orange.  But I just want to point out that one main reason that Orange works is that he doesn't care until he needs to care.  And when he does it's pretty darn good.  Heck, for awhile I didn't get him until somebody mentioned his match against Starr.  Once I saw that I became a believer.  And it's also worth imagining if somebody did this and couldn't wrestle one bit.  Then it'd just be all comedy without substance.  I mean that works for some but with Orange having the ability and experience there's something there that more people can get into.  Unless you're Cornette but that's for a different thread.

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QT has a job for life with that company, he's nice guy by all accounts and I'm sure he works very hard behind the scenes but I hope the blow off with Butcher and Blade was the most we see of him on Dynamite. His overall look and shaky execution (although he says that's an act) lead me to think he should have a wrestling loser gimmick, as part of the Nightmares he's not enough of a loser to have that gimmick so instead he's Dustin's lame partner in a team that has no chance of going anywhere. He's had some real 'duh' moments on live TV too so he's more suited for Dark and backstage anyway.

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I'm not a huge fan of Orange Cassidy's character but his in ring stuff is pretty good especially once he gets into the meat of the match. I think it will be interesting to see how truly over guys like him and John Silver are once we get crowds back.

I don't mind comedy in wrestling, however it (and things like sex appeal) should be the icing on the cake and far too often people see to be trying to build a cake out of icing.

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3 hours ago, MrKothoga said:

Well, most people outside of wrestling have no idea who anyone in wrestling is. And I don't know how you define the spectrum of pro wrestling fans here, but most pro wrestling fans probably only know WWE guys or guys from whatever promotion they choose to follow. So, what exactly is the point here?

The thing with Orange Cassidy is that YouTube and several board members own experience seem to point out that he's a pretty good guy to get non-wrestling fans into wrestling. He's selling a good amount of merch, too, so that's nice. I really don't see a good reason for AEW to not feature him.

I would be all for OC if he was bringing non-wrestling fans/casual fans/lapsed fans/fans Vince killed off/etc. back into pro wrestling and that would mean getting them interested in the rest of the AEW promotion like more serious wrestlers like Cody, Darby, etc.  That would be worth it.

 

But I just don't see that happening when looking at the ratings figures.  In fact, at one point him and Jericho had the worst rated segment in AEW history.  


Instead I see that a very minimal amount of the fans I listed actually come to watch OC and then have no interest in the rest of the card because OC is comic relief that the rest of the card cannot provide.  

 

Given his ratings with Jericho were generally piss poor and how he diminished Pac's status...I don't think 'featuring' him is the right idea.  Like I stated earlier, announce that he'll be on the show, put him at the 10 o'clock hour and have him in matches with mid-card talent that nobody cares about and/or have little in the way of potential.  

 

 

 

HoC

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4 hours ago, John E. Dynamite said:

The image of a professional wrestler, to most, is one of a muscled-up, sweat-drenched man screaming into a camera about his desire to claim vindication through violence, bodyslamming his foe and being bodyslammed in a tooth-and-nail struggle for melodramatic supremacy.

And yet AEW is filled with wrestlers that are anything but that.  The Young Bucks, Guevara, Top Flight, Chuck Taylor, Darby, Jungle Boy, Janela, Marko Stunt, etc. aren't bigger than OC.  I guess they can all be ironic comedy wrestlers.

And what happens when the joke gets old?  That's the thing about all types of comedy...jokes get stale and lose their effect over time.

The average passerby doesn't get the joke.  They don't get why he's in denim, why he has his hands in his pockets.  They don't get why none of the heels just don't slap the taste out of his mouth or take a heel seriously when he puts over moves done while his hands are in his pockets. 

It just comes off as goofy, amateur hour wrestling.  Granted, it's more humorous than anything Vince would put up...but that's like saying the urinal cake tastes better than the dog shit on the front lawn.

 

 

 

HoC

 

 

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QT Marshall works as a loyal buddy to a top babyface and is a solid, but far from unspectacular worker.  He needs to get more wins sprinkled with the occasional either big win/or close to big win to get him over as a reliable backup to the Rhodes family.  The bigger issue with him is that he looks like an ad exec.  Of course, Verne Gagne always looked like an tax accountant to me, but was mega-over.

 

I think this role could have been better filled by Shawn Spears, but they turned him right away and then botched the every loving shit out of his character development.  Now nobody takes Spears seriously.   I feel Spears has more presence and can work in the ring just as well as Marshall.  He also has a more legitimate backstory to being the loyal friend to a top babyface.  

 

The good thing about Marshall is that he understands his role is to get people over instead of getting his shit in and he doesn't have an ego about it.  Often times that is more of value to the company than the guy that has all of the potential and can do all of the spots, but refuses to understand their role and doesn't know how to get others over.

 

 

 

HoC

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On 12/30/2020 at 1:57 AM, Goodear said:

Prest10 Vance

Vance has an issue that I'm thinking about naming after him due to me being unable to think of another example. And that issue is with his spinebuster. But wait, you may say, what is wrong with his spinebuster? It's pretty good actually! And I would say you're correct. In fact, I'd day his spinebuster is his best spot and should be his finish. The issue is that as an underneath guy, 10 isn't going to be winning a ton so he doesn't have a lot of opportunity to actually use his finish. So does 10 not use his best spot most of his matches or does he not use it as a finish? I think this is a really interesting problem and welcome other people's thoughts.

 

How cool is it that, not long after you posted this, he got the chance to use it as the finisher in the main event match of an absolutely incredible show? I marked out pretty hard for that. Maybe maybe maybe it means that he'll get to use it as a finisher a little more moving forward. 

Edited by El Gran Gordi
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Rey Fenix

Rey's major issue is a lack of diversity in the roster in terms of everyone trying to be spectacular so much that it lessens how special each individual is. Fenix compensates with his rather unique ability to run across the top rope and bounce from middle to top rope in succession. He may be better off in a place where he's not surrounded by people with similar skill sets so he could pop off the screen more. He also needs to either exercise more control in his dives or chose who he dives on more carefully as he has wiped out noticeably twice in the last few months where he required time off to recover. He'd be better served choosing his spots more carefully so he gets more out of his dives. He's surprisingly snug with some things (notably his corner spin kick) and much looser with others. It's almost as though he trusts his feet more than his hands for accuracy which is strange. His muscle buster variation finish is pretty great, I'm not as much a fan of the Lucha Brother's tag finish with the double stomp-package piledriver combination as AEW has like 3 teams that use the double stomp as a set up to their finish.

Fenix has a good look if his tattoos are a bit much with no unifying theme. So he looks like he got a bunch at different times and for different reasons and for a person, do what you want, but for a professional wrestler's look, it feels more slapdash. 

Fenix is caught in a bit of a roster position bind with The Lucha Brothers being tag team number 4 or 5 in terms of booking importance and Rey personally being well below the singles title pictures (him getting a title shot notwithstanding, there's no chance he's beating Omega). So Rey sort of floats in this middle ground in both divisions, doing jobs for the bigger players. I don't think that he's damaged himself in this role per say, but I don't see him leaving this position either. Like Penta, he might be better off moving a smaller playing field to become a bigger star. There just aren't a lot of those fields around. 

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Ricky Starks

Boy I love me some Ricky Starks. First let's hit the nitpicks. I think he could use one or two more mid match spots in his matches as some of his stuff is so generic it doesn't really belong to him (like a elbow off the ropes or a belly-to-back suplex). I also think he's been used as the heater in Team Taz where the roles should be reversed and Cage should be protecting Starks from jobs rather than the other way around. He also has a bit of a performance center entrance striking a somewhat awkward pose that looks selected specifically because no would ever do it by accident.

Other than that, I'm very high on Starks. He wrestles with good aggression and looks like he's actually trying to hurt someone with his offense rather than being fancy for the sake of it. He's got good timing and seems like he knows where he is in terms of ring positioning. Starks has a really good spear and his other finish which I actually know the name of but cannot spell is good jobber killing material. Starks looks great with lots of natural poise. JR might want him to thicken out, but for AEW he is not going to be at a size disparity worth mentioning. And standing next to Cage and Hobbs? He doesn't need to be jacked, his thinner physique compliments their Hoss looks.

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That was my first time watching Pres10 Vance.  Given his lack of experience, I liked what I saw...I just hate the entire Dark Order gimmick.  AEW could have gone a long way with me by never having the Dark Order gimmick to begin with (and other gimmicks like The Librarian).  But Vance showed some real potential.  He's a good athlete, has decent size...just needs more and more ring time.  And that's the big problem I see with pro wrestling's future, so many guys not getting the ring time that they would have gotten in the territory days and it creates an inferior product.

 

I think your assessment of Fenix, once again, is spot on.  Like the Young Bucks, the Lucha Bros are limited in that they can only effectively work lucha style, tornado style and TLC type tag matches.  If that's the sort of thing you prefer, then they are great at that.  I don't prefer the lucha style and the tornado and TLC style should be something that they build up into a feud.  

Since AEW is 'bringing back tag team wrestling' and they have so many tag teams, they can afford to have an upper tier level of tag teams.  The problem is I don't know where I would put the Lucha Bros at this point.  I think the upper tier in tag teams should be no more than 4 teams who only do the job to one another.  If they go with 3 teams, that's fine.  The Young Bucks and FTR are definitely in the upper tier.  But after that it's a tie between Santana/Ortiz, The Best Friends, SCU, Butcher and Blade and the Lucha Bros.

So like you said, he just gets lost in the shuffle.  Which isn't entirely bad in itself, but I may have a problem with that if I'm trying to appeal to lucha fans and fans in Mexico.

 

 

 

HoC

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38 minutes ago, Goodear said:

his other finish which I actually know the name of but cannot spell

Rochambeau.

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Sammy Guevara 

Sammy has a world of potential and definitely should both be someone to watch for in the future and someone they can use right now effectively. Sammy has been compared to Eddie Guerrero but I think he's more in line to be a Sean Waltman, a highly athletic heel who no one likes or respects. Which is fabulous! People talked about X Pac heat like it was a bad thing, but they always popped when it was time to beat him. Guevara has a similar path where he can be spectacular in terms of work but just be so obnoxious that the crowd wants him dead. He just needs to stop taking ridiculously stupid bumps before he actually gets maimed. And this goes beyond the Matt Hardy series and the craziness but also to the golf cart bump and all the other times he did stuff not in a ring. 

Sammy really excels in the moments between moves. The laying out on someone after a dive, the mugging with Jericho, the way he kips up and pauses with the back arch are just great heel mannerisms. I literally remember those moments more clearly than anything he actually does. That's not a knock either. I'm not really a fan of his torture rack go to sleep thing as that looks like more of a power death move to give to a tall guy like Lance Archer than the undersized asshole would have. It does look good when he is working someone really his size or smaller, but I wouldn't have him do it to anyone Hangman Page's size or bigger. I just don't think Sammy needs to emphasis his strength when he's such a good whiney little douche.

If I had my wish right now, Sammy would be teaming with Jericho a lot more right now to serve as his understudy. Sammy ended up taking a lot of falls in Inner Circle matches and that's okay but it's kind of time to raise him up a bit more in the pecking order. They'd be well suited to challenging the Young Bucks right now as they haven't really moved on to anything since winning the tag team belts from FTR. Le Sex Gods could easily be working television main events all the time and get some rub on Sammy in the process. 

Sammy has a high ceiling as he develops. He would be well suited to calming down the bumps to keep from  hurting his ability to be around long term. He could be built to a good TNT champion in six months, a good tag team champion in 6 days and... maybe not World Champion in 6 years. That's a ways off.

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I think Sammy could be an excellent face, that's one area where I think he's better than Waltman, who never could play a really good face.

The fans seemed ready to pop for Sammy when he stood up to MJF, some of that was MJF being the biggest asshole in the company, but Sammy has some endearing qualities.

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Santana

I really like Santana. Like a younger Eddie Kingston, he has an air of violence and a seriousness about him. He was able to hold his own in that match with Moxley and I think he's got a higher ceiling than Ortiz if we were to compare them. I think he's got singles star potential, he's just got to get the reps in and maybe shake out of the tag team. I talk about guys and their developmental path frequently in terms of people we've already seen. Santana seems to me to be just about hat point where our guy on the rise leaves a long term tag team to slowly start his singles career full time. He's going to have to put in some years as a singles guy and develop more of a singles moveset and identity but I think the pieces are there. I think he's clearly the Edge, Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels of the pair. 

Santana and Ortiz as a pair (again) suffer from some tonal shift with Ortiz being more silly and Santana being more serious. That can work if the shift isn't too drastic so they would either need to make Santana more goofy which ... no. Or make Ortiz more serious which is what they've slowly being doing. But the former LAX really just isn't getting the attention they deserve since the Inner Circle cycled out of the main event. I'm not sure how I feel about their powerbomb-reverse roll-punt kick finish at this point. It's a little too convoluted for me but it's nice to get away from the "one guy comes off the top rope while the other guy holds the opponent" paradigm.

 

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2 minutes ago, alstein said:

I think Sammy could be an excellent face, that's one area where I think he's better than Waltman, who never could play a really good face.

The fans seemed ready to pop for Sammy when he stood up to MJF, some of that was MJF being the biggest asshole in the company, but Sammy has some endearing qualities.

Waltman was a good face for a number of runs (original 1-2-3 Kid run, sing-a-long DX run, the tag team with Kane) before the crowd tired of him getting away with too much as a heel off the turn on Kane. I think Sammy could run face but it seems like his true talent is being an ass so why not run with it before having him turn face inevitably on Jericho to really put him over? I don't think he's mined the heel thing for everything they could yet. The bow up on Jericho and MJF in that promo were good signs though. 

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1 hour ago, Goodear said:

Santana and Ortiz as a pair (again) suffer from some tonal shift with Ortiz being more silly and Santana being more serious. That can work if the shift isn't too drastic 

 

Santana's original ring name was Mike Draztik. 

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