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Maybe Brian Cage should try a mask? Jeff Cobb was way more interesting under a mask (the whole presentation of LU surely helped too) and now he's just a guy who's kinda good at pro wrestling sprinkled with some really cool spots. I mean, I like matches with Cobb and Cage, but I don't watch them because I want to see Cobb or Cage but because I want to see their opponents have a cool match. So... yeah, they're nice to have for sure.

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I think if AEW is to succeed and grow its important for fans to be critical, 15 years ago when TNA got on Spike a lot of wrestling fans where so hungry for a WWE alternative they refused to be critical and it feels like that era of TNA was a lost opportunity. I really hope AEW can grow beyond the 800,000 or so fans who watch every week. But to do that we can't just give them a pass on everything.

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20 hours ago, John E. Dynamite said:

I actually had no idea about the Kevin Sullivan/Impact/AEW situation until I started writing this post, but I guess he's one one of their guys now and I can't imagine anyone bringing him on and not at least bending their ear to him.

Just to clarify; the Kevin Sullivan in AEW is not Taskmaster Kevin Sullivan. Just a coincidental name. I don't know what his exact job in AEW is, but in TNA/Impact he was in charge of post production.

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19 hours ago, zendragon said:

I think if AEW is to succeed and grow its important for fans to be critical, 15 years ago when TNA got on Spike a lot of wrestling fans where so hungry for a WWE alternative they refused to be critical and it feels like that era of TNA was a lost opportunity. I really hope AEW can grow beyond the 800,000 or so fans who watch every week. But to do that we can't just give them a pass on everything.

I think you need to separate success from future growth here, cause AEW is already an objective success. Their solid base has made them profitable, and they will be a strong, financially sustainable promotion even if the current TV/PPV numbers remain static (especially when they can tour and perform in front of live crowds again). Any kind of bold chance that the company takes needs to keep this is mind, as you do not want to risk a successful formula solely just to chase future growth (and honestly, building  a solid, sustainable base is the most difficult part for a new company).

That said, I would love for AEW to continue to grow, but I would focus more on organic growth (with in house future big stars like Hangman and Ricky Starks) and continue to make strategic acquisitions when possible (Tommy End, Rush, Ryu/Dragon Lee among the current and potential future free agents), but not go for any potential big name. Moxley was the right guy to build first year-plus around, and he will have a big role post-title run, but I think that Hangman as the top singles star has even greater potential (ticks all of the traditional boxes, with a very modern backstory/character both in story and real life). To give a quick example of a bad, short sighted move for AEW, it would be signing Brock Lesnar. While they would garner some short-term mainstream buzz, I think Lesnar actually turns away educated fans (his Money in the Bank win was my final straw for following the WWE big shows). Where AEW is now, they do not need to take huge risks to chase greater glory. 

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Seriously. People think that for a wrestling company to be successful, it needs to do 1998 ratings numbers. The market is entirely different now, and even with that, you don't have to be THE top show on TV to be "successful."

This mentality of wrestling fans that if it's not #1, the sky is falling and something MUST change, is so weird. TNT execs are doing cartwheels over AEW's success. Insisting on more is almost gilding the lily.

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44 minutes ago, Big Z said:

I think you need to separate success from future growth here, cause AEW is already an objective success. Their solid base has made them profitable, and they will be a strong, financially sustainable promotion even if the current TV/PPV numbers remain static (especially when they can tour and perform in front of live crowds again). Any kind of bold chance that the company takes needs to keep this is mind, as you do not want to risk a successful formula solely just to chase future growth (and honestly, building  a solid, sustainable base is the most difficult part for a new company).

That said, I would love for AEW to continue to grow, but I would focus more on organic growth (with in house future big stars like Hangman and Ricky Starks) and continue to make strategic acquisitions when possible (Tommy End, Rush, Ryu/Dragon Lee among the current and potential future free agents), but not go for any potential big name. Moxley was the right guy to build first year-plus around, and he will have a big role post-title run, but I think that Hangman as the top singles star has even greater potential (ticks all of the traditional boxes, with a very modern backstory/character both in story and real life). To give a quick example of a bad, short sighted move for AEW, it would be signing Brock Lesnar. While they would garner some short-term mainstream buzz, I think Lesnar actually turns away educated fans (his Money in the Bank win was my final straw for following the WWE big shows). Where AEW is now, they do not need to take huge risks to chase greater glory. 

The only way I think it would make sense to bring someone like Brock Lesnar is if it was a supper shortterm program to put over Moxley (I could see a few other versions of this senerio Team 3D to put over FTR, RVD vs Cage for the FTW belt) but yhea keep the emphasis on the homegrown talent  

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On 11/28/2020 at 4:47 AM, Goodear said:

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.
 

Her former ring name, Aerial Monroe, was just so much better.

 

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Dr. Britt Baker, She's a Dentist

Baker actually is a pretty good example of a wresting gimmick that works in that 1) most people don't care for Dentists and 2) she wrestles like you would imagine a dentist would. The work she's done to focus a lot of her offense on the jaw has been effective and her wrestling in general has improved as she's learned to be more aggressive. The slingblade still sucks and really, there aren't a lot of people who should be using that move at all. But the fisherman's neckbreaker has ton of torque to it and the lockjaw is an effective take on the mandible claw. I think the Seth Rollins stomp is an effective addition to her move set as well. 

She's got a good act going personally. I think Reba/Rebel is a bit of an odd addition really. Are we supposed to feel bad for her because she's being abused by Baker or are is she supposed to be getting heat as a flunky? It's a bit murky and could be a little more clear for the audience. Britt herself has her gimmick more locked in as a pompous blowhard and looks like she's got a lot more upward mobility than she did a year ago. She's made lots of positive choices.

I'm glad the Big Swole feud is over as I don't think Swole is any good. The whole match in a dentist's office wasn't a very good idea even if we are in Covids time and the period of cinematic matches. The Thunder Rosa feud should be better and Baker is going to have to step up again to keep up. I could see Baker stepping up in the championship picture in the coming year and stepping into the championship role. As it stands, she's one of the women who are actually watchable and draws heat. 

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AEW trying to pivot from Kylie Rae quitting by making Baker the top babyface/standardbearer of the division was a gross misstep, and their decision to reverse course showed how different this company is -- they're not afraid to stop something that's not working.  I think those kind of things really have built goodwill.  This is a company that genuinely wants to put out an entertaining product instead of worrying about egos and how this guy or that guy might feel about ideas being squashed. *

Baker also has to really be commended for solid work during the pandemic and for coming back from her injury much better as a worker.

 

*For the most part, anyway.  You can't convince me that every single thing Cody does isn't solely to feed his ego. 😄

Edited by Technico Support
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Cash Wheeler, AKA the one with hair

Cash (aka Dash Wilder) has stepped up his game since coming to AEW. Dax was the one who popped off the page for me in WWE/NXT but now they feel more equal in AEW. He's no longer working with WWE guys so he feels much bigger and more like an ass kicker than an opportunist spark plug. His powerslam is super good and is something he should work in with greater frequency. He should actually work in more stuff individually that is his alone so he isn't so set in needing Dax to be there.

I think FTR dips too much into the nostalgia spots on occasion and can get too deep in hitting Power Plexes and Decapitations rather than doing good tag team work. I fell in love with FTR because of their cut off spots and heat segments and the return to tag team fundamentals rather than spots from the 80's. I'm sure working with the AEW roster makes this even harder as the other teams have a very go-go-go style of getting their shit in as opposed to even Enzo and Cass who knew that Enzo getting his ass kicked to set up the hot tag was the only thing they could actually do. So they built matches around that rather than trying to wrangle Private Party into a non spot match. FTR is trying to fit in more when I feel they should be making other people work their style of match. This is to fit into my personal preference because I am self centered. 

Booking wise is a mixed bag of muddied waters. The angle with Kenny and Page was just an absolute mess of mixed motivations and sloppy storytelling. The whole Buck-FTR build was fucked and the pay off of the Bucks winning came too fast. There was money in the chase despite that being a cliché that gets over used. But as of now, the babyfaces beat the heels and the feud is kind of dead as The Bucks wrestle teams that have no booking chance of going over them and FTR are on the sidelines when they should be being reheated. I liked the addition to FTR being pick up truck driving beer drinkers but it clashes with the neo-Horseman bit they have with Tully. They should clarify which is what they are trying to present and stick to that.

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50 minutes ago, Technico Support said:

AEW trying to pivot from Kylie Rae quitting by making Baker the top babyface/standardbearer of the division was a gross misstep, and their decision to reverse course showed how different this company is -- they're not afraid to stop something that's not working.  I think those kind of things really have built goodwill.  This is a company that genuinely wants to put out an entertaining product instead of worrying about egos and how this guy or that guy might feel about ideas being squashed. *

*For the most part, anyway.  You can't convince me that every single thing Cody does isn't solely to feed his ego. 😄

I can agree that they are good about ditching stuff that isn't working but the redirections can come off as amateur or nonexistent. It's a sign of poor writing when storylines just disappear rather than have a definitive end. You invest a lot of television time in angles that just get dropped and you can create a sense that what happens doesn't matter because it honestly might not in two weeks. You can end angles in a satisfactory ways quickly and change direction. AEW hasn't proven they can do that yet. They also haven't shown that they have the fortitude to stand up to their audience and tell the audience, "no, we are doing this because you'll like it by the end." This puts the crowd in charge of the show and as we know...

I was going to post the fickle gif but it wouldn't embed.

 

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Chris Jericho

Jericho can look like a physical wreck and still pull off his aging rocker gimmick. I’m okay with that. But he looks like a physical wreck and it's starting to affect his work. I assume he added the Judas Effect so he wouldn’t have to do the back bump that comes with the Codebreaker since they serve a similar out of nowhere finisher function. He’s really uncorking elbows lately though. I prefer this version of Jericho to the weird spiky thing he had going on in Japan. 

Jericho personally feels to me like he should be bringing up people around him and it seems like he’s sinking lower instead since putting Moxley over (which he did, no question). The Hardy feud went nowhere. Orange Cassidy isn’t any better off really after Mimosa Mayhem. MJF is still in the same place after weeks of being tied to Chris. The MJF one is the most mind boggling since they are two of the top heels arguing about who should be in their heel faction. Like what are we in the crowd supposed to be cheering for? Regardless, I don't think he's been successful making other people bigger deals just making himself less important. 

The “Classic” Inner Circle is a bit of an odd set up to start with considering you have Chris and Sammy Guevara which fit together quite nicely and then you add the polo shirt mixed martial artist and the two street toughs. It’s honestly a testament to Jericho’s ability to build chemistry for everyone to immediately accept this grouping with no push back. One of the issues with the Circle is that no one seems to have any chemistry with anyone else but Jericho (pretend the tag team is one person for that example). We then add MJF and Wardlow to the group and they may have been better off with them at the start and subtracting Hagar and LAX. MJF and Sammy being the kid brothers fighting for Daddy Chris’ blessing and Wardlow being the Batista may have worked better. As of now though, The Circle is unwieldy NWO large and seems on the verge of a break up already when we should be in a honeymoon phase where they build power and heat before it implodes. They are lacking in a face making them miserable and falling apart. Instead, they are winning and still on the verge of breaking apart.

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I wasn't so sure about Baker especially during her face run.  But I think it was that one promo where she mentioned Whataburger that I immediately turned the corner.  Her wrestling has gotten much better but her heel work is some really incredible stuff.  I know she frequently mentions bouncing ideas off of Jericho and say what you will about him but a lot of what she does works quite well.  I'm at this time not a big fan of her talk show-type segment on Dark but I'm hoping it won't be long before I come around to it.  But overall I like her.

EDIT:  Didn't see your Jericho post until now.  The Inner Circle potential breakup with MJF and Wardlow being the Yoko Ono in this situation is way too soon.  I could have seen maybe another solid year without those two in the group if done right.  And as much as I want to say "But wait..." I can't help but agree with Jericho slipping more than others being on his level.  Part of me think he knows his time's done soon and he's just having various people work with him for the sake of experience.

Edited by NikoBaltimore
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I like Britt.  You can see the improvement of her gimmick and her ring skills as time has gone by.  She has gone from charisma vacuum to one of the best heat machines in AEW and she's slowly putting the spots and psychology together.

The Lockjaw finisher is a good finisher for her because it keeps thing simple.  There's really no set-up for a mandible claw, so she doesn't have to devote a lot of moves to the psychology of softening up an opponent for the kill.  She can just beat someone up to the point of exasperation and then use the Lockjaw as a mercy kill finish.

Conversely, Britt is not the biggest or strongest woman in the division, so she can't always depend on brawling and striking spots to wear down an opponent so that she can employ the Lockjaw.  Eventually she's going to have to take on a stronger worker like Abadon or Diamante or a superior striker like Hikaru Shida or Thunder Rosa so there needs to be some evil mat psychology in her arsenal to allow her to counter her opponent's power or striking advantage.

Britt is obviously putting in a lot of hard work, so I am sure she will have it figured out.  She doesn't need the women's title to be over, but I hope they eventually put the title around her waist.

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My best friend has sons that he’s made into real wrestling fans, they are 8 & 6. They mostly love NXT & AEW. He put on an old school Jericho in WCW match and they could not believe it was the same dude.
My wife, who’s been with me since 2002, came in when I was watching AEW & could not believe that was Jericho as she hadn’t seen him since his short hair VH1 talking head phase. 

He just looks all kinds of horrible now. It’s obvious he still works out but also obvious from how he talks about it on his podcast, the sound of his voice and his face, how much he fucking drinks. I get he wanted to finally be a heavyweight but instead he’s just rocking the Jeri-Gut. It’s really sad as I’ve been a fan since his WCW debut. I’m not saying at 50 he should be in cruiserweight shape but maybe clean up the diet and put the vodka down once and awhile? Do some cardio? Because his work is definitely starting to suffer now. 

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Jake Roberts is right there if you really want a mouthpiece for Abadon.  I don't know if she's tall enough to help him put his jacket on though.

Big Swole's problem is all the posturing.  I think it throws both her and her opponent's timing off.  You don't have to pose and dance after every strike.

Baker's so much better post-injury cause she seems to be keeping the match in a box so she looks more effective than when she would slowly run the ropes with no urgency.

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I was catching up on AEW Dark on YouTube last night when my daughter (whose nine) walked into the room, got one look at Abadon, and promptly walked out. Kayfabe lives.

We always talk about imagining how an AEW wrestler would look if the large crowds were in the building. Abadon would probably be at the top of the list these days -- she's the new Papa Shango -- a legitimately scary-looking individual inside the ring. One thing I remember most about Papa Shango's squash matches is that the cameras would always get closeups of children with horrified looks on their faces -- imagine the same scenario with Abadon as she crawls down the aisle, spitting blood and screaming, etc.

And over time, I'm seeing the announcers getting more comfortable speaking about Abadon behind the mic -- focusing on her unpredictability in the ring, while also noting intangibles that set her apart from the rest of the women (watch her Dani Jordyn squash -- spends the whole match attacking Jordyn's braced knee, and wins by submission by simply punching the knee non-stop. Sadistic, yet also original and cerebral). Like Matt Borne-era Doink, every squash match she has is different. She can be sloppy inside the ring but, to be honest, she SHOULD be. Just let her be sadistic and cruel -- nothing fancy (the widow's peak is a good finisher, but there's a huracanrana/face-buster style move she's done as a finisher more than once that needs to go). And she gets doing the little things right -- stopping Jordyn from doing a collar and elbow by simply screaming at the top of her lungs was a nice touch.

Feuding with Shida will be a good test for her, but I can also see why it took so much time to find a feud for her. You can go a lot of directions with her (she's a loner, so you could have her feud with both faces and heels) but, at the same time, it can be tough to immediately match Abadon with someone given her unusual gimmick. 

As far as having a mouthpiece, this is when you wish Gary Hart was still around. Could you imagine Hart delivering Abby or Muta-style promos in support of Abadon?

 

(One other note -- one match I watched was Abadon-Anna Jay from Dynamite, where Jim Ross noted that Jay was struggling in part due to Abadon's "girth." Then, after a very awkward pause, Ross said he meant "athletic girth." Abadon is having this breakout moment, and JR opts to make a potshot about her weight. Has anyone sat down with JR to discuss his weird, distracting remarks about the women? When Serena Deeb debuted, one of the first things out of his mouth was how she should go on a date with Diamond Dallas Page since they're both yoga instructors. What's that got to do with anything? If you can't find something to say, keep your mouth shut.)

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Christopher Daniels

I think Daniels is passed it at this point and unlike someone like Chris Jericho, Daniels always been a workrate guy first and foremost so its more noticeable. Daniels doesn't feel as fluid anymore even when he is not trying to fuck moves up. He's always had more an issue developing a personality (although the team with Kaz certainly helped before they added Scorpio Sky to become SCU). The Ring General bit and the microphone which he doesn't always use for his entrance are kind of lame to me at this point. At his age, it seems silly almost. Like he's trying to keep up when the kids instead of being a grown ass man. 

I really don't have a ton to say about Daniels. His one dimension is fading and he's not able to compensate with other skills. I would let Sky and Kaz split off and do their own things as Daniels isn't really doing anything to help them at this point. I'm not sure what sort of backstage stuff Daniels could do, but I think his time in front of the camera is coming to a close.

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6 hours ago, Goodear said:

Christopher Daniels

I'm not sure what sort of backstage stuff Daniels could do, but I think his time in front of the camera is coming to a close.

Daniels is head of Talent Relations for AEW, so I think he knows his days in front of a camera are coming to a close.  I think that eventually Daniels will take more of a managerial role of SCU while Kaz and Sky handle the ring work.

Edited by J.T.
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On 12/4/2020 at 7:06 PM, BEN! said:

Jake Roberts is right there if you really want a mouthpiece for Abadon.

Doesn't need one.

Edit -
Something else I wanted to ask about....does anyone else find it weird that Cody & Brandi basically have miniature versions of themselves under their tutelage? (Darby & Red Velvet)

Edited by The Green Meanie
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On 12/4/2020 at 3:31 PM, NikoBaltimore said:

I wasn't so sure about Baker especially during her face run.  But I think it was that one promo where she mentioned Whataburger that I immediately turned the corner.  Her wrestling has gotten much better but her heel work is some really incredible stuff.  I know she frequently mentions bouncing ideas off of Jericho and say what you will about him but a lot of what she does works quite well.  I'm at this time not a big fan of her talk show-type segment on Dark but I'm hoping it won't be long before I come around to it.  But overall I like her.

EDIT:  Didn't see your Jericho post until now.  The Inner Circle potential breakup with MJF and Wardlow being the Yoko Ono in this situation is way too soon.  I could have seen maybe another solid year without those two in the group if done right.  And as much as I want to say "But wait..." I can't help but agree with Jericho slipping more than others being on his level.  Part of me think he knows his time's done soon and he's just having various people work with him for the sake of experience.

Britt's gimmick is largely an expy of WCW Jericho, but replace the rock band part of the persona with a Karen.

The Inner Circle thing was rushed and pointless to me, it's one of AEW's big missteps.   Jericho is declining rapidly and I think he's got 2-3 years left in him max. 

I really hope the striking the knee/arm for a submission spot that Abadon and Gresham have done recently stays around- it's cool.

 

Edited by alstein
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CD tops the list and is the first up in this thread of guys I'd take off television immediately. The sunglasses and microphone bit are the lamest in the company. He seems good at talent relations, let him do that. 

Catching up on a few people:

Brian Cage - I was also going to suggest putting him under a hood. He's got crazy athleticism for a body guy and some decent snap on his power stuff, but its just his face and the sideburns that just don't work and take me out of the presentation. A full time tag team with Hobbs is another option, as that division could use a power team. 

Brodie Lee - I was middling on Lee until his character broke out on BTE. Great in-ring guy obviously, with elite feel and timing. Like Archer, he's in his 40's now so I don't think a top level run is in the cards, but man he makes me wish AEW ran house shows because doing a loop with Wardlow or Hobbs could help those guys so much. Lee adds value in many ways and I'm a fan.

Brandi - Not much to add that hasn't already been said. Real life stuff is all great, wonderful ambassador, great personality that you want to listen to, love the cooking show. On-show stuff has been the worst in AEW's existence outside of the Cody strap segment. Keep doing what you're doing for the company, but dial back the on screen role.

Britt Baker - Is it weird that the Britt/Tony dynamic might be my favorite wrestling relationship of 2020? It's legitimately layered, good and hilarious. Britt reminds me of Alexa Bliss where the character stuff is way ahead of the in-ring. Alexa never got to an elite level in ring (and didn't have to), and I think Britt has more upside there, even she's a bit less of a natural on the mic (but still good).

Edited by For Great Justice
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On 12/4/2020 at 2:48 PM, Goodear said:

The MJF one is the most mind boggling since they are two of the top heels arguing about who should be in their heel faction. Like what are we in the crowd supposed to be cheering for?

This strikes me as a case of excessive insistence on traditional face/heel lines. You're not supposed to be cheering for anybody; you're supposed to be curious to see how things will play out between this mix of personalities. The fact that everybody involved is an asshole doesn't preclude its being compelling television.

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