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Maybe Free Will and Self-Expression Through Creativity are Good Things


Gordberg
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Free Will and Self-Expression by way of Creativity are both very good things, in my opinion. Also, I think it's great when people can Have Fun with their Friends at Work.

This is my Guide to Enjoying AEW a Bit More, for those who aren't enjoying it as much as they might like.

Opening Disclaimers: This is not intended as an attack on, say, @Goodearor @Andy in Kansas If he were still around, this might kind of be an attack on @Dogwhistler of Cornette-isms or whatever his name was.

I am not intending to stifle criticism. Differing voices and opinions  make for better discussion, and I am all for good discussion.

I understand that not everyone will enjoy everything the way that I do. We all have different tastes, and tastes are often inexplicable.

I don't think that AEW is perfect, or above criticism. 

I think it's possible to love something and still find flaws in it. To want the thing (or person) we love to be the best version of itself.

All that being said: 

Here and, more so, elsewhere I feel like there are a lot of people pissing away a good deal of potential joy by wishing/hoping/oftentimes demanding that AEW be something that is is obviously not. 

My first point here is that AEW is not exactly like the pro wrestling that we loved when we first became huge pro wrestling fans. My thinking on this point is not that AEW should not try to be exactly like the pro wrestling that we loved when we first became huge pro wrestling fans. My thinking is that it would be absolutely impossible for AEW to be exactly like the pro wrestling that we loved when we first became huge pro wrestling fans.

Even on this board, we all grew up on different types of pro wrestling and had different favourites. Even if you take two Big Bossman fans from the same general location and around the same age, watching the same show, maybe one of them likes that he's big and agile while the other likes how he handcuffs and beats up the jobber after the match.

There might be money to be made in a well-run nostalgia-based pro wrestling promotion -and I enjoyed the first few episodes of NWA Powerrr largely because of my massive nostalgia for studio pro wrestling - but I think AEW are wise not to chase that particular golden goose.

Also, AEW definitely set some fans up for disappointment when they announced before their debut that they were going to be "the sports-centric alternative in the pro wrestling world." I think some of us - myself included - immediately started imagining a kind of Americanized version of UWF-i or something. Obviously, that is not at all what AEW has turned out to be. The sports-centric things seems to have been reduced to keeping track of wins and losses, which don't have much effect on the stories being told anyway.

It's fair enough to ding them for saying that and not following through. It might, however, be time to consider retiring takes like "AEW is supposed to be the sports-centric wrestling alternative, and yet here they are with a guy wrestling in sunglasses with his hands in his pockets..." 

I'm not trying to stifle criticism, but I am against bad, lazy, and/or basically pointless criticism. 

So, AEW is not a nostalgia-based promotion, nor is it a sports-centric version of pro wrestling. So, what is AEW?

AEW is, very much so, the promotion where people can have fun at work with their friends. I think this is great. I am very much in favour of this. I have a lot more to say about this, and I have already said a lot about it here and elsewhere. I did a whole lengthy post on it in, I believe, The AEW Scouting Report thread.  I'll probably copy and paste that post over here at some point, if this thread manages to generate some discussion. 

I think that a lot of the things that drive some people nuts about AEW can be explained pretty easily as "They are having fun with their friends at work." Why is Brandon Cutler on TV? Why is Luther in the main event? Why did they bring Sting in? Why are they "wasting" Miro in a program with Kip Sabian? Because the EVPs, the owner, and the wrestlers would all like to have fun working with their friends. 

This is it. This is, in my opinion, the first big key to enjoying AEW a bit more, assuming that's a thing you'd like to do.

Skippable side ramble: (Maybe it isn't? Maybe for some folks being a hater is a thing that sparks joy? Not here so much - most of the criticism I see on these boards seems to come from a place of wanting AEW to be the best AEW that it can be. But haters exist, and maybe they enjoy being haters. Maybe it would be wrong for me to try and spoil their joy by helping them enjoy a thing)? 

Anyway, key #1 is this: Accept that the point, the function, the central tenet of AEW is to have fun at work with your friends. Not to be an ersatz sports program Not to tickle our nostalgia bones. Not to put on the best matches possible. Not to make the most money. Not to be the biggest promotion in the world. The main thing is to be a fun place to work. All of those other things can happen, and all of them are important, but the main thing is that this promotion is run by actual pro wrestlers (and their friend the extremely well-to-do pro wrestling fan) in the manner that they had always wished a pro wrestling promotion might be run. We are seeing what that looks like on TV and on YouTube, week in and week out. We've been able to watch that unfold and take place in real time for over a year now.

And: It's often been glorious. Lots of people seem to love it. The pro wrestling TV show about wrestlers being treated well and enjoying their jobs is a genuine success!

Obviously, this is one of the key ways in which AEW stands in stark contrast to WWE. On the one hand, you have an owner, surrounded by yes men, an absolute martinet who tears apart friendships and love relationships on a whim. On the other, you have an owner who is also a fan, surrounded by actual pro wrestlers with decision-making powers, making friendship and happiness a priority.

And I like that second option. A lot. Which is why stuff like Luther main-eventing an episode of Dynamite delights me rather than pisses me off. I'm seeing it through the lens of guys I consider likable having fun at work. (And I'm seeing Luther as a stand-in for all the guys who traveled the world busting their asses for years and years without ever main-eventing a TV show or sometimes even getting on TV at all).

Looking at it that way doesn't make Luther a better, younger version of himself, but it transmogrifies the decision to give him that slot from "baffling" into "delightful."

Anyway... I still have a ton to say. I haven't even touched on Free Will and Creative Self-Expression (which I think are the keys to getting beyond a lot of other complaints about AEW) but I have gone on long enough for now. 

I hope at least a few people read this whole thing. I hope it generates some discussion. I hope it can be taken in the spirit in which it is intended. 

Edited by El Gran Gordi
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I'm glad AEW exists and long may it continue. I haven't watched wrestling week-to-week since 2005, but cherry picking AEW, WWE and NJPW while mixing in old-school stuff suits me down to the ground. I'd prefer if AEW had refs that weren't just mannequins and if they just had a two-man booth (with guest spots from MJF/Kingston occasionally) but those are my only real gripes.

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Quote

 

Free Will and Self-Expression by way of Creativity are both very good things, in my opinion. Also, I think it's great when people can Have Fun with their Friends at Work.

This is my Guide to Enjoying AEW a Bit More, for those who aren't enjoying it as much as they might like.

Opening Disclaimers: This is not intended as an attack on, say, @Goodearor @Andy in Kansas If he were still around, this might kind of be an attack on @Dogwhistler of Cornette-isms or whatever his name was.

 

While I'm this is not an attack on me and I'm not going to take it as such, I question the emotional appeal of this argument despite it clearly not being in bad faith. I have no doubt that Gordi believes what they are saying and they are not trying to set up a trap where you either like AEW or "you just don't get it" but it may just be the result of his argumentation. I will elaborate through quoting responses and while this may create the wall of text, I feel it necessary in order to make it very clear I am not taking anything out of context to alter their arguments.

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I am not intending to stifle criticism. Differing voices and opinions  make for better discussion, and I am all for good discussion.

I understand that not everyone will enjoy everything the way that I do. We all have different tastes, and tastes are often inexplicable.

I don't think that AEW is perfect, or above criticism. 

I think it's possible to love something and still find flaws in it. To want the thing (or person) we love to be the best version of itself.

 

All of this is my ideal in terms of discussing all wrestling and not just AEW. I would personally find it very boring if we all agreed on everything even if we arrive to mostly the same conclusion. The debate to me is what has caused the majority of my growth as a fan. If we all just watched AEW and went "OMG great show!", there would be none of that discussion. I admit I do not watch wrestling like most people, even the ones here.  I'm not saying I'm more correct that other fans. I just don't watch wrestling like they do and my voice is just as important as theirs.

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All that being said: 

Here and, more so, elsewhere I feel like there are a lot of people pissing away a good deal of potential joy by wishing/hoping/oftentimes demanding that AEW be something that is is obviously not. 

 

This is where your logic sort of falls apart. Because you can make this same argument for every wrestling promotion in history and it would be just as valid. You're pissing away a lot of joy by wishing GLOW wasn't about girls wrestling basic matches with super fun larger than life gimmicks. The fun in WCW is in seeing who is going to be in the nWo this week. The fun in current day WWE is in seeing people from the past come back once a year to wreck the current crop of non stars. If you don't enjoy those things, are you demanding that they be something they are not?

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My first point here is that AEW is not exactly like the pro wrestling that we loved when we first became huge pro wrestling fans. My thinking on this point is not that AEW should not try to be exactly like the pro wrestling that we loved when we first became huge pro wrestling fans. My thinking is that it would be absolutely impossible for AEW to be exactly like the pro wrestling that we loved when we first became huge pro wrestling fans.

Even on this board, we all grew up on different types of pro wrestling and had different favourites. Even if you take two Big Bossman fans from the same general location and around the same age, watching the same show, maybe one of them likes that he's big and agile while the other likes how he handcuffs and beats up the jobber after the match.

There might be money to be made in a well-run nostalgia-based pro wrestling promotion -and I enjoyed the first few episodes of NWA Powerrr largely because of my massive nostalgia for studio pro wrestling - but I think AEW are wise not to chase that particular golden goose.

 

Of course AEW is not the exact same as WWF circa 1989 (chosen because it is the literal time I first became a wrestling fan, not because of your examples) and I don't know who is saying that should be the case. What I advocate for is for current day promotions to examine past eras of wrestling for examples of what worked and what didn't and I usually use past examples to illustrate those points. For example, why did Batista get so over when he finally turned on Triple H and how can we use that information to help Wardlow? That's a useful question.

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Also, AEW definitely set some fans up for disappointment when they announced before their debut that they were going to be "the sports-centric alternative in the pro wrestling world." I think some of us - myself included - immediately started imagining a kind of Americanized version of UWF-i or something. Obviously, that is not at all what AEW has turned out to be. The sports-centric things seems to have been reduced to keeping track of wins and losses, which don't have much effect on the stories being told anyway.

It's fair enough to ding them for saying that and not following through. It might, however, be time to consider retiring takes like "AEW is supposed to be the sports-centric wrestling alternative, and yet here they are with a guy wrestling in sunglasses with his hands in his pockets..." 

 

I'd agree that AEW both set itself up for failure with the sports based wrestling thing and that it is time to let that go. My feeling is that they're way closer to WWE style sports entertainment than most want to admit. My personal dream is neither of these options by the way. I have always expressed a desire for good narratives and pure sports build can provide that but I can see why it could also stifle someone who wants to go outside that paradigm. 

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I'm not trying to stifle criticism, but I am against bad, lazy, and/or basically pointless criticism. 

So, AEW is not a nostalgia-based promotion, nor is it a sports-centric version of pro wrestling. So, what is AEW?

AEW is, very much so, the promotion where people can have fun at work with their friends. I think this is great. I am very much in favour of this. I have a lot more to say about this, and I have already said a lot about it here and elsewhere. I did a whole lengthy post on it in, I believe, The AEW Scouting Report thread.  I'll probably copy and paste that post over here at some point, if this thread manages to generate some discussion. 

I think that a lot of the things that drive some people nuts about AEW can be explained pretty easily as "They are having fun with their friends at work." Why is Brandon Cutler on TV? Why is Luther in the main event? Why did they bring Sting in? Why are they "wasting" Miro in a program with Kip Sabian? Because the EVPs, the owner, and the wrestlers would all like to have fun working with their friends. 

 

This puts the emphasis completely on the process and none of it on the results and as this is an entertainment product, the results have to matter. I'm sure it must be very fun for Lither to main event Chris Jericho's 30 year anniversary thing. But none of us are watching AEW to entertain Luther. We are watching so we as consumers get something out of it. Now I understand that creatives want to work with their friends and that sometimes this can create a great result. But we've also seen nepotism sink companies because the friends or families aren't good enough to do their jobs. 

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This is it. This is, in my opinion, the first big key to enjoying AEW a bit more, assuming that's a thing you'd like to do.

Skippable side ramble: (Maybe it isn't? Maybe for some folks being a hater is a thing that sparks joy? Not here so much - most of the criticism I see on these boards seems to come from a place of wanting AEW to be the best AEW that it can be. But haters exist, and maybe they enjoy being haters. Maybe it would be wrong for me to try and spoil their joy by helping them enjoy a thing)? 

 

I'm sure there is a small segment of the general wrestling population who watch AEW so they can know what Cornette is going to be talking about. Just like I'm sure there are people here who watch WWE so they can get together with their friends and talk shit about it. I think you trying to get them to 'enjoy it' is a bit of a fool's errand and they are obviously enjoying it just in a different way. If they didn't like 'hating' it, they'd do something else. I enjoy watching AEW because I like deconstructing it and figuring out what they are trying to do, why its working or not, and how it could work. I enjoy the mental exercise of it. 

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Obviously, this is one of the key ways in which AEW stands in stark contrast to WWE. On the one hand, you have an owner, surrounded by yes men, an absolute martinet who tears apart friendships and love relationships on a whim. On the other, you have an owner who is also a fan, surrounded by actual pro wrestlers with decision-making powers, making friendship and happiness a priority.

Most comparing AEW to WWE are people who want to make the point that AEW is so much better than WWE so shut up. Your mud sandwich is not tasty because the other option is a rock sandwich. I also don't care if people get to be on the same television show as their spouses or significant others. 

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And I like that second option. A lot. Which is why stuff like Luther main-eventing an episode of Dynamite delights me rather than pisses me off. I'm seeing it through the lens of guys I consider likable having fun at work. (And I'm seeing Luther as a stand-in for all the guys who traveled the world busting their asses for years and years without ever main-eventing a TV show or sometimes even getting on TV at all).

Looking at it that way doesn't make Luther a better, younger version of himself, but it transmogrifies the decision to give him that slot from "baffling" into "delightful."

 

That's an interpretation. Another is that here is this guy who sucked and could only get a job doing death matches because he was willing to bleed and never did anything else in the business until his good friend could get him a job that he didn't deserve over anyone with any talent. That not being enough, we put him a main event match with one of our big stars that was celebrating an anniversary. He got blown up in that match even worse than Jericho normally does now and put on the worst main event in company history.

And it's fine. Because they're having fun. 

If you can use 'the wrestlers are having fun' as a reason to excuse that main event. It can excuse anything. 

And that's the problem with this argument as a whole. 

 

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Free will and self-expression? You make it sound like every other promotion is a gulag like WWE and that's just not true. Nobody is criticizing how they run their company backstage or that they like to have their friends around, we criticize when that fact gets in the way of an enjoyable product. If you are fine with Luther bumbling around the ring on Wednesday nights more power to you, I would much prefer to see almost any other wrestler and the fact he's getting this payday and TV time when other talented wrestlers aren't is annoying to me and it takes me out of the show. And not for nothing but I bet Hogan was having fun when he brought in Beefcake and the Nasty Boys to WCW, doesn't mean I have to like them on my TV. 

In regards to the sports centric talk, they said that not us. They abandoned the win-loss records when they found out how hard it is to book that way, which is fine but they talked my into the arena with a whole bunch of promises they didn't keep and now I'm told that's on me? No, sir. And it's not a nostalgia brand too? Sting vs Taz for months and they aren't trading on nostalgia? AEW is sports-centric AND nostalgic AND it's own thing too.

I appreciate this argument, but the undertone that if you criticize AEW then you are watching it wrong is insulting. I love watching this company already so I know that I'm doing something right.

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Maybe I just ignore the obviously bad takes, but I think the AEW discussion on here is usually fairly balanced. Personally, I really like AEW but I still watch with a critical eye, as I would anything else, and like to think about what could have been done better, I think a lot of AEW ‘criticism’ I see on here is in this vein and is generally good natured.

On the sports-centric talk, AEW is very much sports entertainment and that’s absolutely fine by me. I think they mostly fall on the right side of wrestling ridiculousness (OC, the wedding, attempting to take a man’s eye out, etc.) and the bad stuff they’ve generally course corrected on pretty quickly (pretty much anything Brandi related, and I’d also put the early Hardy stuff in this bracket as I think that gimmick was well past its sell by date). For years the talking point has been about a real alternative to WWE, and that’s maybe a bit of a red herring. I think the audience for anything overly sports-centric would be pretty niche, I’d suggest that most of the audience just wanted well done sports entertainment. And by improving on some of WWE’s weak points (meaningful matches, logical structure, not treating the audience with contempt) I think AEW has largely succeeded, but there’s still a lot of room to build, the bar should obviously be higher than “well at least it’s not WWE”.

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3 hours ago, Godfrey said:

 

They abandoned the win-loss records when they found out how hard it is to book that way,

But...they didn’t?

Edited by EVA
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I think the win-loss records has been played pretty much perfectly, it’s always there as a frame of reference without ever feeling too restrictive.

It gives some meaning to every match and I do think it can add credibility when they talk about win streaks, even if it has just been squashes on Dark. This is one of those areas where they’ve set themselves apart from WWE by doing something really basic.

The only time I felt it bordered on being counterproductive was when Kingston challenged Mox without really building up an impressive record. But that be easily justified as it was very much sold as a personal feud and Mox basically gave him the shot.

 

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What did AEW say specifically about their sports-style presentation?  They keep track of wins and losses.  What else is there that they could do?  I prefer the smaller American-style  groups where a “pure sports build” can work.    Even those instances are fewer than most of their fans would like.  Maybe Mew Japan and it’s style of presentation could reform what fans can accept on an American wrestling program.  They will benefit from the stereotype (wrongly) that “I hear that in Japan they treat wrestling like a sport” that so many of us have heard over the years.  

It matters that significant others work  together because WWE apparently intentionally splits them up.  IMSMR wrestlers have stated that Vince does that just to show who really controls their livelihood. There are really only a few good reasons to purposefully, and with a fair bit of spite, splits couples up.

Some of what I have read here (PWO threads as well) in AEW threads seem to be reaching for the easy comparison between wrestlers in similar positions in AEW and WWE.  Cody is HHH.  Brandi is Stephanie. Jericho is the new Hogan  Luther is Ed Leslie...actually that one fits pretty nicely.  It’s just that his exposure is really tempered with moderation.  rather than fitting the square Ed Leslie peg into any high profile but misshapen hole that Hogan could squish his buddy into, Jericho gave Luther one main event on a show that was supposed to revolve around satiating Jericho ‘a ego.  
 

If I knew who Vicki Guerrero’s friends were they would deserve some of the criticism that the VPs are usually blamed for.  She brings less to the company than almost certainly anyone else on the roster.  Keep in mind that includes people like Luther and Michael Nakazawa

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On 2/6/2021 at 8:45 PM, El Gran Gordi said:

All that being said: 

Here and, more so, elsewhere I feel like there are a lot of people pissing away a good deal of potential joy by wishing/hoping/oftentimes demanding that AEW be something that is is obviously not. 

I'm open to giving you a hearing on this. But I would caution that if you feel that I'm one of these people you're describing here (and my being personally tagged in your post, I make the assumption that I'm one of the people you'd like to reach in this dialogue), it's my intention to disabuse you of that notion. I am getting the maximum amount of joy out their television show based on the way I choose to consume content. 

When I express my hopes of the company doing things that I feel would constitute an improvement in their product and provide me with a greater amount of joy, that's not me diminishing (or pissing away) any amount of joy that I would otherwise feel if I appreciated their content from a perspective that I'm naturally disinclined to take. I'm not going to take that perspective which means there is no such joy to be had for me from such, and thus I've pissed away nothing.

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My first point here is that AEW is not exactly like the pro wrestling that we loved when we first became huge pro wrestling fans. My thinking on this point is not that AEW should not try to be exactly like the pro wrestling that we loved when we first became huge pro wrestling fans. My thinking is that it would be absolutely impossible for AEW to be exactly like the pro wrestling that we loved when we first became huge pro wrestling fans.

Even on this board, we all grew up on different types of pro wrestling and had different favourites. Even if you take two Big Bossman fans from the same general location and around the same age, watching the same show, maybe one of them likes that he's big and agile while the other likes how he handcuffs and beats up the jobber after the match.

There might be money to be made in a well-run nostalgia-based pro wrestling promotion -and I enjoyed the first few episodes of NWA Powerrr largely because of my massive nostalgia for studio pro wrestling - but I think AEW are wise not to chase that particular golden goose.

Also, AEW definitely set some fans up for disappointment when they announced before their debut that they were going to be "the sports-centric alternative in the pro wrestling world." I think some of us - myself included - immediately started imagining a kind of Americanized version of UWF-i or something. Obviously, that is not at all what AEW has turned out to be. The sports-centric things seems to have been reduced to keeping track of wins and losses, which don't have much effect on the stories being told anyway.

It's fair enough to ding them for saying that and not following through. It might, however, be time to consider retiring takes like "AEW is supposed to be the sports-centric wrestling alternative, and yet here they are with a guy wrestling in sunglasses with his hands in his pockets..." 

I'm not trying to stifle criticism, but I am against bad, lazy, and/or basically pointless criticism. 

I don't recall ever expressing a strong desire for the sports-centric thing or the nostalgia thing. And while I'm almost certainly guilty of making a crack here or there about all the ideas they should steal from Nitro-era WCW because that concept does tickle me, I don't think that ought to be a driving force of the promotion and it's certainly not something that colours my criticism of the company. I just want them to be the best possible modern wrestling promotion they can be in  2021 the year of our Lord. So knowing I don't subscribe to any of these feelings or desires, I'll file this one under *shrug* and cut this section brief. I'm still iffy on the pockets dude for my own reasons independent any of this. 

As to "bad, lazy, and/or basically pointless criticism," I don't know if you feel I'm a purveyor of such. But since you did tag me, I'll once again take it upon myself to get out in front of this one. If I have engaged in expressing things you find bad, lazy, or basically pointless, I apologize. You seem like a nice guy and it does kinda bum me out if you were displeased by having laid eyes on something bad, lazy, or basically pointless that I produced in your presence.

And because I'm disinclined to change the nature of the things I choose to say on here unless told to by management, I also apologize in advance for any further displeasure caused by bad, lazy, or basically pointless things posted on this account. 

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So, AEW is not a nostalgia-based promotion, nor is it a sports-centric version of pro wrestling. So, what is AEW?

AEW is, very much so, the promotion where people can have fun at work with their friends. I think this is great. I am very much in favour of this. I have a lot more to say about this, and I have already said a lot about it here and elsewhere. I did a whole lengthy post on it in, I believe, The AEW Scouting Report thread.  I'll probably copy and paste that post over here at some point, if this thread manages to generate some discussion. 

I think that a lot of the things that drive some people nuts about AEW can be explained pretty easily as "They are having fun with their friends at work." Why is Brandon Cutler on TV? Why is Luther in the main event? Why did they bring Sting in? Why are they "wasting" Miro in a program with Kip Sabian? Because the EVPs, the owner, and the wrestlers would all like to have fun working with their friends. 

This is it. This is, in my opinion, the first big key to enjoying AEW a bit more, assuming that's a thing you'd like to do.

I think liking the people you work with is a good thing and organizations promoting an environment and culture that allows for that is a positive, full stop. And at a human level, I'm happy that these people largely get to have that experience working at a major company at the top of their chosen profession. Let nothing that comes after this sentence convince you that I think that is anything but great.

As a consumer of entertainment, I largely don't concern myself with their feelings. I would be happy if everyone involved in producing the entertainment I consume is content in their professional lives and working with people they like. But it's not a strict requirement for my enjoyment of anything.

And before I get further into this, let me be VERY CLEAR: I'm not asking anyone to suffer for my art or entertainment. BUT a little bit of suffering doesn't always ruin my enjoyment of either.

Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider have a strong working relationship. They make each other laugh. They've collaborated on eighteen movies and counting. And it's nice for them that they get to have that. As a consumer, I don't generally don't care for what they do together. I'm not parking my ass in front of a screen and watching what they do with one another because I think it's great that people can make movies with people they like. 

Daniel Day-Lewis had a bad time making Phantom Thread. The townhouse where much of the film takes place was overcrowded with people and equipment to the extent that he expressed it was difficult for his process. He's joked that the crew hated him and it's difficult to make a movie like that. The material and process of making the movie left him with such a deep sadness that one of the greatest screen actors of his time retired prematurely.

I haven't seen too many of the Sandler/Schneider collaborations. But I've seen enough to know I like Phantom Thread way more, in spite of DDL having a shit time at work and a rough time with the crew.

You know who had problems with his co-workers? Bret Hart, during one of the most creatively interesting periods of his career. I still love his '96-'97 run. His misery does little to diminish my enjoyment. It sucks that he had that unpleasant experience. But the work is still great. 

People's liking one another is not paramount to my taste in entertainment.

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Skippable side ramble: (Maybe it isn't? Maybe for some folks being a hater is a thing that sparks joy? Not here so much - most of the criticism I see on these boards seems to come from a place of wanting AEW to be the best AEW that it can be. But haters exist, and maybe they enjoy being haters. Maybe it would be wrong for me to try and spoil their joy by helping them enjoy a thing)? 

I like to think I try not to watch things or comment purely for hate. Most people barely have time for the thinks they enjoy or aspire to enjoy. 

I like watching wrestling, so I watch wrestling hoping for the best and criticize because I want better. I dunk on Snyder's DC movies because I've watched DC superhero stuff my whole life and would prefer money were being put into projects that use this IP in a way I enjoy. Being a hater in my mind would be me storming into the Mr Robot thread every once in a while to let everyone know how much a show I gave up on after 1+ seasons sucks and that they're stupid for liking it. I don't do that. Maybe some people like to be that way, but I don't see the appeal. And it would probably lead to watching more Mr Robot to have accurate hate to spread, and I don't want to watch any more Mr Robot than I already have!

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Anyway, key #1 is this: Accept that the point, the function, the central tenet of AEW is to have fun at work with your friends. Not to be an ersatz sports program Not to tickle our nostalgia bones. Not to put on the best matches possible. Not to make the most money. Not to be the biggest promotion in the world. The main thing is to be a fun place to work. All of those other things can happen, and all of them are important, but the main thing is that this promotion is run by actual pro wrestlers (and their friend the extremely well-to-do pro wrestling fan) in the manner that they had always wished a pro wrestling promotion might be run. We are seeing what that looks like on TV and on YouTube, week in and week out. We've been able to watch that unfold and take place in real time for over a year now.

This is the point and function of AEW? Above making money? The most important return on investment Shahid Kahn expects is knowing Brandon Cutler gets the pleasure of working with his friends?

These people having fun at work with their friends isn't a bad thing. But make no mistake, it's not the point or function of this as a business. I think you're slightly overstating your case, friend. 

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And: It's often been glorious. Lots of people seem to love it. The pro wrestling TV show about wrestlers being treated well and enjoying their jobs is a genuine success!

I'm skeptical about how much the culture of people liking their coworkers and being treated well has contributed to their commercial success. If you'd like to make your case in that regard, I'm legitimately curious. I'm not sure I see it. 

Once again: Great for everyone involved. But I don't know about the places you're going with it. 

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Obviously, this is one of the key ways in which AEW stands in stark contrast to WWE. On the one hand, you have an owner, surrounded by yes men, an absolute martinet who tears apart friendships and love relationships on a whim. On the other, you have an owner who is also a fan, surrounded by actual pro wrestlers with decision-making powers, making friendship and happiness a priority.

Well sure, but I don't know anyone involved in this discussion who looks at WWE and thinks that's the optimal culture to foster in a workplace. 

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And I like that second option. A lot. Which is why stuff like Luther main-eventing an episode of Dynamite delights me rather than pisses me off. I'm seeing it through the lens of guys I consider likable having fun at work. (And I'm seeing Luther as a stand-in for all the guys who traveled the world busting their asses for years and years without ever main-eventing a TV show or sometimes even getting on TV at all).

Looking at it that way doesn't make Luther a better, younger version of himself, but it transmogrifies the decision to give him that slot from "baffling" into "delightful."

And this is where I need to firmly draw the line.

The match was an embarrassment. The happiness experienced by Jericho and Luther from staging that does nothing for me as a consumer. If he's a stand-in for the guys who've never main evented on television or ever appeared on it, then he's a prime example of why they haven't. If these people are happy, that's fine. But I don't watch to see them make themselves happy. 

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Anyway... I still have a ton to say. I haven't even touched on Free Will and Creative Self-Expression (which I think are the keys to getting beyond a lot of other complaints about AEW) but I have gone on long enough for now. 

I hope at least a few people read this whole thing. I hope it generates some discussion. I hope it can be taken in the spirit in which it is intended. 

Before you touch on Free Will and Creative Self-Expression, I would caution against leaning too hard on WWE comparisons. I can't speak for everyone, but I know that I don't look at their heavy-handed approach to people reciting dumb material and adhering to a tired match format and think "yeah, more of that." I hope you're capable of extoling AEW's virtues in this department without leaning too hard on contrasting it with something many of us know is downright bad. 

All of this said, I do take this conversation in the intended spirit and welcome it. Constructive discussion of differing perspectives between well-intentioned parties operating in good faith is always welcome. I certainly prefer it to some of the more tired partisan attacks you see elsewhere. I'll take this over "IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT THEN DON'T WATCH" any day of the week. I find this enjoyable, even as I disagree with a lot of what you're saying. If you do manage to broaden my perspective in a way that lends itself to my enjoyment of AEW, I'll welcome it and thank you for doing so. 

tl;dr: Phantom Thread is a good movie. Go watch it. Here's the trailer.

Spoiler

 

 

Edited by Andy in Kansas
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6 hours ago, Dewar said:

Joey Janela has a title match coming up this Wednesday. His win percentage is 45%.

 

So you’re saying the win-loss records do, in fact, exist and haven’t been abandoned...

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37 minutes ago, EVA said:

So you’re saying the win-loss records do, in fact, exist and haven’t been abandoned...

Fine, greatly de-emphasized and not used as a metric for determining challengers unless they want it to. 

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Well, there's a reason for that match that has nothing to do with the win-loss records. Janela's challenging because champion Darby wants him to challenge because of their shared history. That's no abandonment of the win-loss records. That's just a convenient excuse to disregard them (and a great excuse for heels to cry about).

AEW would be foolish to scourge themselves by the records. And who really thought they would follow them no matter what? But they are a fine way to use for storyline purposes and in my opinion haven't devalued them until now.

If you really wana criticize the way the records work you should look no further than Austin Gunn standing at 18 wins to 1 loss and Colten Gunn at 9 and 0. That's a problem. Not Janela challenging by wish of the champion.

Edited by MrKothoga
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I think El Gran Gordi is getting at something absolutely correct, but should have led with the points about creativity and freedom instead of the part about having fun with your friends at work.  The latter makes the whole affair seem self indulgent and masturbatory.  In reality, outside of Cody Rhodes' ridiculous gimmick/non-gimmick, we haven't seen the EVPs abuse their power and do things that are geared toward their own fun first and the fans' enjoyment last like you would in a company built around friends having fun.  Which is actually kin of funny since Cody was the one most indecisive about joining the company and, according to the Bucks, heavily considered rejoining WWE instead.

I have more thoughts on all f this and it's a great topic, but I'm going to hang back and think about it more because I don't want to just make a list of why I like AEW and have every line item be "the opposite of what WWE is doing."

Edited by Technico Support
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I too will hang back, but that's more to see other takes and make judgments about people I don't know.

That's a joke. In all actuality, I don't have the motivation to type up what it is about AEW that I love so much, why it scratches more of an itch for me than any other promotion, why I do think it is both sports based AND entertainment based, why I think it is something for everyone except for Pancrase or UWFi fans, why I think there's something for everyone, why I appreciate their method of not overexposing wrestlers to make room for other stories, etc.

Honestly, if I had any complaints, it's that there's been too much Chaos Project on Dynamite lately, but I'm taking that more as Tony wanting to just get them some reps on Dynamite as jobbers. Luther is just absolutely embarrassing to watch. He reminds me of bad, janky WCW where dudes had shit gimmicks and were on TV instead of better wrestlers. It's like watching Nitro and seeing a badass lucha match followed by...Christ...uh....Van Hammer or something. Like, fuck that.

My one other complaint isn't so much of a complaint, but a concern. I sometimes worry that with the length of world title runs in this company that we won't get that short, cool run with Kingston as champ, we may get to Kenny vs Page too late, and although I appreciate and love the long term booking, it does let you have a clearer look into the crystal ball and see that Kenny or Moxley might be the only world champions this whole year. I don't want to see titles quickly changing hands, but I also want over acts to get involved in bigger storylines and challenge for the title. It's a delicate balancing act and so far it's been good.

Other than that, I look forward to Dynamite every week and I haven't been able to say that about Raw or SmackDown in forever and it's been a couple years since I could say that about NXT. The NXT thing I almost feel guilty about. I wanted them to go to 2 hours. Then they did and it's just too much.

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I think it's fair to say that in Boxing and MMA wins and losses definitely matter but they're not the be all and end all either.

Although obviously there have not been many live fans, AEW is fundamentally an act of co-creation - yes, that mean the wrestlers - but it also means the fans and the viewers at home. Wrestlers in AEW aren't really 'going to work' so much as 'performing their art'. It's a different paradigm - the roots of it are in feds like PWG, Progress, Fight Club Pro, Chikara, Beyond Wrestling....ECW in a limited way but not really.....because the paradigm is essentially post-carny.

It's something I became aware of when I saw Chikara in London (amazing how many ppl from that show are on TV now), and also from Trent Seven there talking semi-privately about how he didn't like raffles at wrestling shows. Tbf though Eddie Kingston did try quite hard to sell me a t-shirt, hustling is still all in the game.

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3 hours ago, MrKothoga said:

Well, there's a reason for that match that has nothing to do with the win-loss records. Janela's challenging because champion Darby wants him to challenge because of their shared history. That's no abandonment of the win-loss records. That's just a convenient excuse to disregard them (and a great excuse for heels to cry about).

AEW would be foolish to scourge themselves by the records. And who really thought they would follow them no matter what? But they are a fine way to use for storyline purposes and in my opinion haven't devalued them until now.

If you really wana criticize the way the records work you should look no further than Austin Gunn standing at 18 wins to 1 loss and Colten Gunn at 9 and 0. That's a problem. Not Janela challenging by wish of the champion.

I'm sorry but that is absolutely an abandonment of wins and losses mattering. Janela in no uncertain terms has no business getting a shot at a title in AEW based on the internal consistency of the show. How can anyone possibly make that argument? His mammoth 8 man tag victory with Bear County? You're left with a flimsy as tissue rationale of history that means nothing to anyone who watches this show. Because Darby elevated out of that garbage era facing Jimmy Havoc and Janela every week and Joey somehow became even less important. Darby's feuding with Team Taz and I don't think Hobbs has had a match on Dynamite in 2021, how about him. Fuck, Hook makes more sense getting a title shot and he's worked zero matches.

The elevated records of the Gunns is AEW not paying attention to what they're doing and letting them work on Dark with no idea what to do with them for more than a year. The logical progression would be move them up the card against like TH2 or the Acclaimed and move them towards something. But AEW is just giving them reps until the end of time but in storyline, they've clearly gotten to the point that they need to move up the card from beating enhancement talent.

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3 hours ago, Technico Support said:

I think El Gran Gordi is getting at something absolutely correct, but should have led with the points about creativity and freedom instead of the part about having fun with your friends at work.  The latter makes the whole affair seem self indulgent and masturbatory.  In reality, outside of Cody Rhodes' ridiculous gimmick/non-gimmick, we haven't seen the EVPs abuse their power and do things that are geared toward their own fun first and the fans' enjoyment last like you would in a company built around friends having fun.  Which is actually kin of funny since Cody was the one most indecisive about joining the company and, according to the Bucks, heavily considered rejoining WWE instead.

I have more thoughts on all f this and it's a great topic, but I'm going to hang back and think about it more because I don't want to just make a list of why I like AEW and have every line item be "the opposite of what WWE is doing."

I think it's a little funny to be like "Oh the EVPs don't put themselves over" when 3 of the four are the champions and Cody is the current, undisputed Being John Cena Champion and a two time TNT Champion. "But Goodear," you may be saying to yourself fictional human reading this, "they waited a year first!" To which I laugh to myself like they set a timer before they could strap themselves.

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9 minutes ago, Goodear said:

I think it's a little funny to be like "Oh the EVPs don't put themselves over" when 3 of the four are the champions and Cody is the current, undisputed Being John Cena Champion and a two time TNT Champion. "But Goodear," you may be saying to yourself fictional human reading this, "they waited a year first!" To which I laugh to myself like they set a timer before they could strap themselves.

While I take your point, this isn't exactly what Technico was expressing. He said that the EVPs hadn't abused their powers and done things geared towards their own fun first and the fans' enjoyment last. It would be reasonable to say that in their conception of the promotion, seeing a bunch of the EVPs in prominent spots would be serving the fans first and foremost. Some of us would disagree, but I could see that case. 

Which of course is the same line that could be spun by any self-serving person who ever booked themselves on top.

And yes, the appearance of "Well, we "put over" Private Party and waited a year, so to the moon!" is hilarious. 

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39 minutes ago, Goodear said:

I'm sorry but that is absolutely an abandonment of wins and losses mattering. Janela in no uncertain terms has no business getting a shot at a title in AEW based on the internal consistency of the show. How can anyone possibly make that argument? His mammoth 8 man tag victory with Bear County? You're left with a flimsy as tissue rationale of history that means nothing to anyone who watches this show. Because Darby elevated out of that garbage era facing Jimmy Havoc and Janela every week and Joey somehow became even less important. Darby's feuding with Team Taz and I don't think Hobbs has had a match on Dynamite in 2021, how about him. Fuck, Hook makes more sense getting a title shot and he's worked zero matches.

Well, the point of the story is that Joey has no business of getting that shot, but Darby wanted it anyway because, like you said, he elevated that garbage era and is flabbergasted why Janela hasn’t. That’s a simple story. The champion knows his “buddy” is better than his record shows. He’s the first one to challenge despite a bad record (obviously leaving Cody’s open challenge aside).

And all this feeds into Taz lamenting about nepotism several times (while Hobbs and his 10-10 record doesn’t exactly scream legitimate challenger anyways). Ricky Starks should be the one challenging for the title, yes, and Taz will probably cry about a lack of respect once again after the champion simply handpicked a “buddy” of his for the next title defense.

Twitter and YouTube make that part of the story from Darby’s and Janela’s side clear – and herein lies a problem with AEW, because they probably won’t do a good job of telling you on Dynamite why Janela isn’t a random nonsensical choice of a challenger.

39 minutes ago, Goodear said:

The elevated records of the Gunns is AEW not paying attention to what they're doing and letting them work on Dark with no idea what to do with them for more than a year. The logical progression would be move them up the card against like TH2 or the Acclaimed and move them towards something. But AEW is just giving them reps until the end of time but in storyline, they've clearly gotten to the point that they need to move up the card from beating enhancement talent.

Yes. Austin and Colten Gunn are a prime example of the problems of having a win-loss record but no clear idea of what you really wanna be doing with all your wrestlers.

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There is a lot of good discussion being generated here and I appreciate all of it. Thanks, guys!

The idea for this thread was sparked when HusterofCulture was posting in his particularly hateful way about various AEW wrestlers. (In case you missed it, the dude was blatantly negative and clearly xenophobic, gynophobic, misogynistic, and homophobic in his thinking and posting. 

Now, there is the one guy I ever truly wanted to "shut up" on these boards. I was not alone in that. And he pretty quickly got the mercy killing he deserved.

But, a lot of the ideas that come up in this thread are directed at a guy who is (thankfully and understandably) no longer here.

But, a lot of the thoughts that he had sparked in my head kept bouncing around in there and I felt it would be best to just let those thoughts out, and also I figured it might spark some discussion - which it has and, again, it is all much appreciated. I started posting this thread a couple of days ago because it looked like this would be a kind of slow week for me, work- and family-wise. Of course, Murphy's Law basically rules the Universe and as soon as I posted it a bunch of stuff came up. None of it bad, but all of it pretty time-consuming.

I'd very much like to reply to every point that's been raised above, but that would literally take a couple of hours if I wanted to do it justice. I just don't have that time today. I very much hope to be able to reply to at least one point made by every person in this thread before the end of the week. 

I'd also very much like to continue my grand unified theory of how to have a bit more fun watching AEW but I feel like joining the discussion should take priority.

My basic concept, which I knew going in was going to make some people a little angry, is this: 

Joy and delight are more fun than anger and outrage.

I understand that I may be wrong about that and it goes without saying that everyone is free to disagree. 

In terms of continuing the discussion, I'd like to respond directly to something that @RunningFromAmericaposted four hours ago, which I very much agree with:

Although obviously there have not been many live fans, AEW is fundamentally an act of co-creation - yes, that mean the wrestlers - but it also means the fans and the viewers at home. Wrestlers in AEW aren't really 'going to work' so much as 'performing their art'. It's a different paradigm - the roots of it are in feds like PWG, Progress, Fight Club Pro, Chikara, Beyond Wrestling....ECW in a limited way but not really.....because the paradigm is essentially post-carny.

Yeah. Absolutely. I agree that the thinking behind AEW is clearly more art-first than business-first. Artist vs Businessman is a topic that I think about all the time. My thinking on it has changed somewhat since 2005, but in 2005 (in a week that, coincidentally, was also very busy for me) I wrote at length about that idea as it relates to pro wrestling for Inside Pulse. I'm going to copy and paste the meat of that article in its entirety here. If I had time, I'd edit it to reflect how my thoughts have changed in the past 15 years, to eliminate all references to Chris Benoit, to update the style of my writing, to correct my misspelling of "Gluzman" and so on. But, I don't have time and I guess it's more honest to post it unedited. 

Feel free to use my thoughts from 2005 as a way to discredit me, as in "Hey! Aren't you the guy who once said that Bryan Danielson might never get a big-money contract?" or "Yeah, but you are the guy who thinks "Spanky" Kendrick is an artist, so what do you know?" 

Anyway, from 2005:

THE BEAUTIFUL THING ASKS: FOR LOVE OR MONEY?

Personal Stuff and Opinions about Music, Feel Free To Skip:

There’s busy, there’s assiduous, there’s swamped, and then there’s yours truly the last couple of weeks. I’ve been the kind of busy that just makes you go numb. I think I’ve taken more 40-minute ferry rides in the last 20 days than I did in the first thirty years of my life. I did, however, manage to squeeze in an independent wrestling show, a symphony, and the Gang of Four reunion concert. I wrote a little about the wrestling show -and the chance to hang out with one of the world’s best wrestlers – two weeks ago. The symphony was mind-blowing. Vladim Guzman was the guest soloist, and he played the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with both a Heifetz-esque level of technical precision and a Perlman-like freedom and sense of showmanship.

The Gang of Four show was a knockout, as well. The band, formed in 1977, pretty much invented art punk. A lot of crappy younger band now namedrop the Gang of Four as an influence. As a result, some forward-thinking concert promoters convinced the four original members that now might be a lucrative time to re-unite and go on tour. I decided to go because it was a chance to hang out with one of my four remaining Vancouver-based friends, and because I could then check off “See Gang of Four live” on my list of Things That I’ve Done. Frankly, I expected it to be kind of a chore to sit through. I imagined that the musicians and most of their fans would be humourless hipsters, and I figured that the band were likely to either play a bunch of new songs that no-one wanted to hear or play tired and soulless versions of the songs that I used to love so much.

Instead, the audience were pretty much a fifty-fifty mixture of aging punks like myself and various younger people. Every conceivable body type, hairstyle, mode of dress, attitude, and sub-culture seemed to be represented by someone in attendance. The band themselves looked like dads or professors, but they played like young lions. They were obviously enjoying themselves, and it felt like they were playing from the heart, and so the crowd got caught up in it and in the end it was as good a rock concert as I’ve seen since catching Jane’s Addiction in 1988.

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH WRESTLING?

I guess maybe this: Some people are artists and some are businessmen. Artists do what they do because they are driven by an insatiable inner drive to create. Businessmen are driven by the need for money and recognition. Many people don’t posses either drive. Some people have both. Sometimes, the two drives coincide, but that is a rare occurrence. Often, it’s necessary to choose which calling one will follow.

It was a business decision to put Gang of Four back together and take the act on tour. They are not shy about admitting that in interviews. The show succeeded, however, because the guys in the band are artists. It was pretty easy to see that playing together again was satisfying a very real need for the four musicians. Perhaps it was a need that they were not even aware existed until the businessmen brought them together.

I am sure we can all think of examples of bands that got together for a reunion tour who seemed to be merely going through the paces to pick up a quick buck. I’d take that as a pretty clear sign that the musicians in question are businessmen first and artists second, if at all.

As far as Pro Wrestlers go, I’d say that Brian “Spanky: Kendrick is an artist. A lot of people were shocked when he voluntarily opted out of his (presumably) big-money WWE contract to go back to earning his living on the indy circuit in North America and Japan. The only reasonable explanation is that Spanky is driven by a very real need to practice the art of Professional Wrestling. The WWE style is notoriously restrictive, and Spanky realised that he likely only had a window of a few years where his body would allow him to do the amazing things that he is capable of doing in the ring. He gave up a steady paycheque in preference for the freedom to create and perform at the best of his ability. Hats off to Spanky!

I’d say that American Dragon Bryan Danielson is an artist. At this point in his career, he’s had to face the possibility that he will never be on the receiving end of the big money contract and the international recognition that his talents so richly deserve. Still, he travels the world, putting on very good to great matches with everyone he faces, night after night. Hats off to American Dragon!

So, are all indy wrestlers artists? No. A lot of them are unrealistic businessmen, who think that if they keep plugging away they will get rich and famous some day.

Are all WWE “Superstars” merely businessmen? No. I’d say that Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero, to pick the obvious examples, are artists. Here’s what I don’t know: Are they among the fortunate few who have managed to simultaneously answer both callings?

When Eddie Guerrero’s drug problems forced him out of the WWF, he cleaned himself up and went on the indy circuit. Night after night, he put on wrestling clinics that ended with him putting his opponent over cleanly. Check out Ring of Honor’s debut show for a beautiful example of what I mean. Were those the actions of an artist who genuinely loves Pro Wrestling, or of a businessman who was trying to earn his way back into his employer’s good graces? I’d guess the former.

Among other reasons, Chris Benoit’s victory in the main event of WrestleMania was moving because it marked the point at which North American Corporate Wrestling’s greatest artist finally received the recognition that he deserved. Now, it might be fair to say that Benoit is being forced to compromise his art in order to keep earning a very good living. I am sure that I’m not the only one who has noticed that Benoit’s matches have started to fall increasingly into a kind of repetitive pattern, and that he no longer seems to be innovating or extending his range the way he used to. Is Benoit losing it, or has he been asked to tone it down in order that others might shine? I’d be inclined to guess that it’s the latter.

If Benoit and Guerrero’s creativity is being stifled in the current environment, and if they really are artists, why don’t they just quit?

Unlike Spanky, both Benoit and Guerrero have already had several peak years where they were able to create masterpieces with the best workers of their day. Benoit put on classics or near-classics with Guerrero, Liger, Ohtani, Kanemoto, Malenko, El Samurai, Hart, Sasuke, Regal, Angle, RVD, and many others when they were at their absolute peaks. Spanky and AmDrag have one another to work with, as well as Low Ki, Christopher Daniels, AJ Styles, Homicide, Samoa Joe, many as-yet lesser known indy guys, and in a perfect world perhaps Murahama, KENTA, Marufuji, CIMA, and others. Will they be able to create classic matches that stand the test of time like the ’94 J-Cup finals and the Owen Tribute match?

In my opinion, at least, American Dragon already has, and it genuinely bothers me that so few people seem to be aware of it.

On March 30, 2002 Bryan Danielson met Low Ki as part of Ring of Honor’s Round Robin Challenge, in a match that I consider almost perfect. They started out with 15 solid minutes of great mat wrestling alternated with stiff strikes, and built it into a series of huge moves that ended at just over the half hour mark when one man’s impact finisher was reversed into a suplex which in turn set up the other wrestler’s submission hold. The match has great intensity, solid psychology, tons of well-placed and properly built high spots, and it tells a good story. It may very well have been the first match ever contested in what is now known as North American Strong Style, so I’d count it as innovative as well.

If you really love wrestling, you owe it to yourself to try and see this match. It’s a work of art.

 

Edited by El Gran Gordi
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This is kind of what @MrKothogasaid but I think the issue isn’t the win-loss records themselves but the exposition (or lack of) around them. You can explain away most of the issues fairly reasonably. I’m fine with the Gunns building up a largely meaningless win steak as they’ve beaten nobody of importance, I’m fine with Janela getting a shot as he’s basically handpicked based on personal history.  But this stuff isn’t always explained. It’s been a common gripe for ages but they really should be explaining key plot points/character development on Dynamite, they too often assume that the audience has seen Dark/BTE/social media.

Along the same lines, I made a comment in this weeks thread about how Excalibur intro’d Kenta and I think that’s part of the same issue. It was a bit too insider-y, mentioning the briefcase/Mox’s title like they were established plot points. As a general rule, I think if something hasn’t happened on Dynamite they should explain it as though the audience doesn’t know about it. The good thing is these are really easy fixes, e.g. Instead of a slightly insider reference on their history, Excalibur says “Darby requested this match due to his old rivalry/friendship with Janela, check out this weeks BTE for more on their history.”

And the Gunn example maybe shows that the records should make them more conscious when they’re not doing anything with people. As has been said after all those wins they should be moving onto higher ranked opponents and probably picking up some Ls, if you spread out some losses then it makes sense that they’re not quite ready to move up yet.  Even from the perspective of them getting extra ring time, would it not make sense to put them in there with the more seasoned guys and start working different match formats (e.g. working more from underneath), to help with their development.

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My 2 cents on Luther: I was fine with him in the main event of the Jericho 30 year anniversary show, I certainly don't want to see him every week. And I think they did a good job of explaining his and Jericho's history (like others have said AEW doesn't always do a good job of this). One of the big critisms of RAW the past 15 years or so is that it becomes The HHH show or The Vince MacMahon show or "The John Cena overcomes the odds every week" show. AEW has done a good job of avoiding that by giving us something different every week 

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13 hours ago, Goodear said:

I think it's a little funny to be like "Oh the EVPs don't put themselves over" when 3 of the four are the champions and Cody is the current, undisputed Being John Cena Champion and a two time TNT Champion. "But Goodear," you may be saying to yourself fictional human reading this, "they waited a year first!" To which I laugh to myself like they set a timer before they could strap themselves.

It's already been said, but nowhere did I say "the EVPs don't put themselves over."  I said the EVPs don't book the promotion strictly for their own enjoyment (except for Cody and his Star Trek cosplay, let's take shots at HHH, I dress fancy and have a big truck bullshit).  And preemptively dismissing an an argument out of hand with no real counterpoint doesn't make you right.  There is absolutely something to be said for Omega and the Bucks not putting the belts on themselves for the first year.  They recognized that Jericho and Moxley would be better initial champions while estabishing Omega, for example, and that the Omega/Page partnership for the tag belts would help build a new star in Page.  You could speak to that if you like instead of saying "oh they wait a whole year haha that's nothing!"  It was definitely something.

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