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Anna Jay

Anna Jay is going to be a long term project who is going to be someone to watch if AEW is careful with her. She’s got one thing very right in that she doesn’t attempt to try to do too much in order to fit into the current climate of AEW wrestling. By staying with what she can do and not trying to be overly choreographed, she doesn’t end up exposing her relative inexperience. Her corner round kick and Natural selection variation look good and her rear naked choke works well. It’s a very basic finish so it depends on the way she does it rather than the actual execution of the hold itself. So her slinking in and taking a moment to lock it in is very important and she does that well.

Look wise, I sort of miss the Zatanna cufflinks and hat but it wouldn’t fit in the Dark Order. What she has now is a bit more generic but does the job and doesn’t detract from her presentation.

Booking wise, she managed to get out of a Brandi Rhodes angle without any damage which is a minor miracle. The angle with Tay Conti is going well although I think some of the stuff with Conti being conflicted about passing or getting a steel chair is pretty hacky. It works because they have obvious chemistry and they should have just paired them together by now. It was kind of a shame that they didn’t win the tag team thing instead of Diamante and Ivelisse. 

All in all, Anna Jay has lots of potential to lead the division once she develops with some experience. She has some good tools and the right instincts. The team with Conti would be a good place to put her to let her get that time, I just hope they don’t drag it out so long everyone loses interest.
 

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Two Quick Hitters

Anthony Bowens

Bowens is a bit new to really dive into at this point. His physical presence is impressive for someone of average size and it’s his best quality. He serves well as the substance to Max Caster’s style. I think he needs a few more mid match spots to build his matches around.

Awesome Kong

Hasn’t been around for quite some time. She looked like she was physically spent the last we saw her to the point of being unable to bump. If she comes back the same way she left, she should stay gone. 

Brandi booking vortex.
 

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There was much rejoicing on Gay Wrestling Twitter when Anthony Bowens got signed, because he is both Out and Proud. And because it proved that AEW is signing people on merit, rather than trying to fill some woke quota.

The thing I loved about the last Acclaimed squash on Dark was, when Caster went for the final cover and Bowens went to block the partner from breaking it up, he didn't dive out of the ring onto him or anything. He just stood their and looked mean, daring the guy to try and get past him. And the guy - very believably - backed down like he was scared to even try anything that might annoy Bowens. I liked that. Less is more, in this case.

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11 hours ago, El Gran Gordi said:

I think that what is going on here is that @christopher.anninocombined IMHO (in my humble opinion) with the Cibernetico joke while commenting on a female wrestler's (Abadon's) appearance to make IMHneticoO... then @J.T.... I dunno, maybe he misunderstood christopher's joke and thought that IMHneticoO was the name of Abadon's attractive altar ego, or maybe he was continuing the joke?

I was perpetuating the joke.  

As @Jijidiscovered much to his dismay (and as I alluded to earlier) Abadon sans make-up looks nothing like her zombie girl gimmick, so you could conceivably pass her off as a different worker and no one would be the wiser especially given that Abadon does not speak when she's in her dead girl persona.

She's the female Joseph Park / Abyss.

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34 minutes ago, Goodear said:

Anna Jay

Anna Jay is in the boat that Britt Baker and Penelope Ford used to be in.  She has got the heel persona down solid but her in ring work needs some polish.  Anna gave Shida as good of a match as I have seen anyone give her last week, but it definitely pales in comparison to the clinic that Serena Deeb and Thunder Rosa put on the week before.

AEW seriously needs to consider giving the ladies more ring time on Dark to work their craft because there is a huge talent gap between the champion, the title contenders, and the women battling for a seat at the table.

I have noticed marketable improvement in Ford and Baker and hopefully Jay will come along as well.

Edited by J.T.
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Austin Gunn

Austin has some real douche bag energy where he's naturally unlikable and thus a bit miscast as a babyface. His whole presentation with the headband and his stupid face and his loud mannerisms all scream heel to me and I think that's where he will find success when he moves out on his own. The last two weeks have shown him to the be the worker of the Gunn Sons as Colt is pretty awkward at this stage so Austin will end up being in the ring a lot which should be good for his development. 

Austin works in a very WWE style with a focus on basics and signature spots as opposed to being overly move orientated which my hinder his ceiling in AEW more than it would in other promotions. He feels very performance center which is not a knock really, he's just not in the best element for that right now. His finish is very WWE as well as it's not particularly impactful and the camera often misses him setting up for it. The hip toss neckbreaker works better for Billy since he towers over everyone in AEW, it's less useful for his smaller son. 

Look wise, again, I don't see anything wrong with it if he was cast as a heel. As a white meat babyface, it seems less well suited to what he's doing. He doesn't come off as having positive qualities for a face like toughness or determination. He looks annoying.

He's another project at this point but I think he'd be one of the few AEW people better served elsewhere.

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Anna Jay has a lot of the tools you can't teach. She's athletic, beautiful and has a strong physical charisma about her (even if she isn't a good talker yet). She's still at probably, what, less than 20 professional matches? My only worry long term is getting her those reps, as she needs to be in the ring a couple of times a week somehow.  And I think by her 100th match she'll be really good (while already being completely respectable). She's got as much or more upside than all but maybe 8-10 names we're going to talk about in this thread. 

Austin Gunn- Just a Guy. Minimal opportunities but hasn't shown much. Not even Curt Axel upside yet. Maybe there's some babyface fire in there?

Bowens - Has looked great on Dark. Early days but there's something there. 

Awesome King - I presume retired.

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I’m going to be in the car most of the day so I will only likely get one out today. But this one is big!

Big Swole

Okay, it’s a bad pun but I have words to fill here so I don’t look lazy. Big Swole is a case where her story is great and when she tells that story, she’s great at doing it. The issue is she told the story once that I know about and the rest of the time she’s been Big Swole. And Big Swole is kind of terrible.


In fairness, one of the things that originally was a major issue for Swole was her series of strike combinations that all looked really stagey and bad. She’s dropped some of that but she still has a tendency to throw sweep kicks that have never landed to set up follow up strikes that are always a step slow. Like here’s the sweep, pause, are you ready, okay here comes the headbutt.  Which sort of defeats the point of throwing the combination. She’s really best at throwing long kicks that tend to look more solid and less contrived. Her new cloverleaf finish is a lot better than Dirty Dancing which was a ripcord, spinning punch which proved that as long as you throw enough shit on a move it can be a finish. The double arm dump into the cloverleaf is super lazy though and amounts to the person taking the move basically doing a front flip.


Her look is okay although the hair can prove to be a distraction at times as she often has to whip it out of her face. It does help create an illusion for her headbutt but it is just in the way a lot of the time.

I hate the name Big Swole. I didn’t like it in the No Limit Soldiers and I don’t like it now. It would be a fine nickname but it sounds silly when the announcers have to say it 100 times a match. It was especially bad when she was teaming with Little Swole (who was impressive but is gone already) for the wacky tag team fiesta.
 

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I think Big Swole need shorter hair. Or a scrunchie. On Dark this week, she seemed more interested in getting her hair into place than she was in working the match. I wish that they would have kept Nicole Savoy around, as she is leaps and bounds better in-ring than Swole, but Swole seems to have the better grasp of character of the two of them. 

Big Swole is also a weapons grade dumb name. She is hella short, and isn't really "swole" at all. She's ripped as shit, but I have always thought "swole" to be really bulky muscular types, like Brian Cage. I really dug the Aerial Monroe name she used in the Mae Young Classic, but that is likely off-limits. 

Both Swole and the I believe still independent Rache Chanel have their character work supremely dialed in, but both are pretty well dogshit in the ring. Swole moves at quarter-speed a lot of the time, and leaves quite a bit of daylight on strikes, or throws them so softly / slowly that they look awful. Also, she didn't do a motherfucking thing to get Vipress up and over for the Tiger Driver to set up the cloverleaf, so it looked like Vipress did all the work herself, in addition to being pretty goddamn close to being a head-drop. If your whole gimmick is about how jacked and strong you are, let's establish some power in your lifts and slams. 

Chanel probably won't get a write-up, but she needs to learn some llave-style submissions and start throwing bombs, because when she has been more snug in-ring, she's a lot more fun.

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3 hours ago, grilledcheese said:

Big Swole is also a weapons grade dumb name. She is hella short, and isn't really "swole" at all. She's ripped as shit, but I have always thought "swole" to be really bulky muscular types, like Brian Cage. I really dug the Aerial Monroe name she used in the Mae Young Classic, but that is likely off-limits. 

That was always her name on the indys and only turned to Big Swole last year. I too hated that change and used to hope they would leave Big Swole as her nickname rather than forcing it as her actual ring name like it's now become. 

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Want to talk about Brandon Culter? I do!

So I have a theory about great wrestling gimmicks and it is as follows: the truly great not only informs the character’s motivation by telling you about the person but also the actual style in which the wrestler works. So Bunkhouse Buck looked like a derelict farmhand and wrestled like one too. 
So Cutler’s gimmick doesn’t do any of that. He’s a dungeon master. I have nooo idea what I’m supposed to feel about that. It’s a neutral hobby unlike say skinning baby seals. I also don’t know how a DM is supposed to wrestle or why it should matter to me as a viewer. I mean I like D&D but someone liking something I do is not enough for me to like them.

I like his entrance attire but it falls away when he actually gets to the working.
Actual work wise, Cutler doesn’t really impress. His springboards have some nice loft to them and his kicks are okay. His finish is meh. He’s obviously an undercard talent but I don’t feel for him. He doesn’t make me feel a lot at all to be honest. And that’s the real problem. Even with the long losing streak, I really don’t have a connection to him as a person because his gimmick doesn’t inform on him at all. It creates a disconnect rather than informing us about who he is.

Edited by Goodear
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Cutler is a decent enough undercard guy.  He's got the physique for television and the red dragon look makes his Killer DM gimmick seem a little less silly.  The TPK (Total Party Kill) is an okay finish for a mid-card guy and it's somewhat safe to take, which is something you can't really say about a lot of AEW finishers.  I don't think he needs to be hitting Vertebreakers or Avalance Drillclaws to secure a victory.

I think he could make for a solid gateway guy on Dark; jobbing for breakout talent while still recording enough wins to give the illusion that he's a threat.

The Bucks trained him and he's probably still tight with them, so I think Cutler has a home there for as long as he wants one.  

The Cutler / Avalon feud deserved more than one blow-off match.  I think AEW could've built it into a cult classic superfeud.  I think I would watch Dark more often if those matches had half the story that Cutler / Avalon did.

Edited by J.T.
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Cutler is fine to me as the "DM" / host of BTE and undercard guy on Dark. He's an easy foil for heels picking on him and is relatable enough to me that I don't actively want to see him off my TV when he's on it or anything. Compare this with say, Shawn Spears, who just needs to go away. Cutler is basically Yeah Yeah from the Sandlot, and that's okay. 

Also Cutler/Avalon was a top tier Dark match this year and I marked out for the 10 sided dice thumbtack spot.

Edited by For Great Justice
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4 hours ago, For Great Justice said:

 Also Cutler/Avalon was a top tier Dark match this year and I marked out for the 10 sided dice thumbtack spot.

That was a great Rick Fuller vs. The Gambler style match.  It had the right balance of work and comedy and not the kind of cringe comedy that Kenny Omega brings when he's on the mic for too long. 

The blow-off match made me sad.  The Cutler / Rivalry should still be going on.  It was the best storyline in AEW by miles.  The sum of Cutler / Avalon / Leva Bates is greater than the parts.

I am bummed that this unit is broken up because all three workers created such a compelling story together, but the AEW women's division really does need a competent worker like Leva working singles matches.

Edited by J.T.
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20 hours ago, DreamBroken said:

That was always her name on the indys and only turned to Big Swole last year. I too hated that change and used to hope they would leave Big Swole as her nickname rather than forcing it as her actual ring name like it's now become. 

During the MYC they mentioned Big Swole just as a nickname. Why did she change it to her ring name?

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Big Swole overcomplicates simple moves, then can't hit them well because they're too complicated and looks sloppy. The ripcord rolling elbow she does always looks like trash, for instance. I think she could benefit from a less is more approach.

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Brian Cage

Ever wonder what ‘it’ is? If you could define it with a negative it would be Brian Cage. Jacked to the gills, mammoth athletic ability and about as much ability to draw attention and dollars as a wet dishrag. Take a Scott Steiner when he wasn’t crippled and remove every bit of personality and you get Brian Cage. If a wrestler was beige, it would be Brian Cage. This is me trying to be funny.

So to AEW’s credit, they try to cover for Cage with as much smoke and mirrors as you can find at a magic show. Here’s Taz to cut promos for him! Here’s the FTW belt to use as prop to make sure you know he is important! Here’s Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs to stand next to and oh boy do they make Cage look like they backed the wrong horse. Hobbs seems to have a better idea about how to get over in a quarter of the time. Hobbs know that sometimes, shorter is better. Hell, he knew that when he was doing jobs for Orange Cassidy and knew to get in and out. Cage is the type of guy who would go ten minutes and make himself look on par with whoever he's working. 

Let’s put it this way, if I had to book a ‘good match’ I might book Cage. But if I wanted to build a promotion about making money? I take either Hobbs or Wardlow twice as fast as Cage changes his one facial expression.

Talking about his skills is almost a waste of time since he’s in such a charisma deficit that I don’t think he can overcome it. He's the type of guy who would kill in the Apter mags era because seeing him in motion is such a let down from the physical potential.

Edited by Goodear
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On 11/27/2020 at 8:56 AM, J.T. said:

Anna Jay is in the boat that Britt Baker and Penelope Ford used to be in.  She has got the heel persona down solid but her in ring work needs some polish.  Anna gave Shida as good of a match as I have seen anyone give her last week, but it definitely pales in comparison to the clinic that Serena Deeb and Thunder Rosa put on the week before.

AEW seriously needs to consider giving the ladies more ring time on Dark to work their craft because there is a huge talent gap between the champion, the title contenders, and the women battling for a seat at the table.

I have noticed marketable improvement in Ford and Baker and hopefully Jay will come along as well.

Anna Jay needs an excursion when one is doable.   I'd give her a year in Japan in TJPW to learn.

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