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AEW Navel-Gazing Thread Number Two


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With the latest Secret Santo coming to a close, I am going to take a couple of months off from posting on the DVDVR boards. I'll likely keep lurking, and I reserve the right to chime in if I feel like it, and I will most likely resume posting around my birthday in early October. Might make that my birthday present to myself.

I'd planned to make it to 1000 posts before taking a break. Didn't quite get there.

Thought about not making any kind of "see ya" post, because I don't want to make a deal out of it, but I know I sometimes wonder if a regular poster is OK if they don't post for a few days and I (perhaps naively) wouldn't want anyone to worry about me if I just disappeared.

I'm more than fine. Getting my second vaccination tomorrow. My wife is very busy (she's a nurse, and often works at vaccination centres on her days off) as are my daughters (who are in prep for another ballet performance while taking care of their pets and working through their massive pile of summer break homework) but we are all happy and healthy and handling the summer heat and humidity just fine so far. I'm really looking forward to enjoying my local izakaya and hanging out with my excellent drinking buddies again. 

Anyway: It's a great time to be a fan of AEW right now, and it's pretty likely to become an *amazing* time while I'm on hiatus. 

If the current hot rumours turn out to be true then AEW are heading into crazy dream match territory. Even if Bryan doesn't show up, there's so much to look forward to with a new show and all of the recent additions. I'm so happy that there is a major pro wrestling company, with an international TV deal, owned and operated by people who love wrestling and respect their fans. It's an amazing thing. A dream come true. We are all so lucky to be able to enjoy this right now.

 

It's been fun discussing AEW and other things here. Helped me, in a very real way, to get through some crazy times over the past year. Thanks for that. 

See ya!

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Agreed, gonna miss @Gordberg sharing some solid insight on the AEW product for a couple of months. Hope all goes and stays well friend, see ya soon and enjoy this incredible time to be a wrestling fan!

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15 hours ago, Gordberg said:

I will most likely resume posting around my birthday in early October. Might make that my birthday present to myself.

You're a bad gift-giver. Splurge on an extravagant meal or something. I know you can do better than this.

See you soon. 

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  • 1 month later...

Look how happy everyone is. I am, also, so happy to be able to support a company that generates this kind of energy.

I believe it is now fully apparent that there is legitimate value in running a pro wrestling company where the people working there are treated with warmth and compassion, are valued and respected as human beings, are allowed to express themselves creatively... That obviously played a major role in bringing Punk, Bryan, Cole, Soho, and others into the company.

I'm still planning to remain "on hiatus" until October, but this specific stuff is making me so extremely happy that I could not resist the urge to join in on the conversation, at least briefly. It's just wonderful to see these people so happy.

Edited by Gordberg
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3 hours ago, Gordberg said:

Look how happy everyone is. I am, also, so happy to be able to support a company that generates this kind of energy.

I believe it is now fully apparent that there is legitimate value in running a pro wrestling company where the people working there are treated with warmth and compassion, are valued and respected as human beings, are allowed to express themselves creatively... That obviously played a major role in bringing Punk, Bryan, Cole, Soho, and others into the company.

This is the same feel you would get watching PWG, where it was obvious that absolutely everyone involved were all in sync and having an absolute blast in every way. Obviously AEW is PWG on $teroids so its nice to see that they've managed to keep that essence alive.

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  • 1 month later...

I thought I'd be back to regular "full-time" posting by now, but it turns out that I'm still pretty darned busy (with good things).

I have A LOT of thoughts about what's been going on in AEW recently (and y'all can probably guess most of them, and a lot of people here have already shared very similar thoughts on the various AEW threads).

One thing that really caught my eye, that I don't think was discussed here,  was this interview on BR with Bryan Danielson, conducted by Chris Mueller. In particular, this lengthy quote:

"One of the things that I've really worked on is trying to desire less and less," he said. "I feel like, and this is more of like a minimalist philosophy, but the less things that you want, your overall well-being is better, right? So, if I don't want a nice car, I don't desire a nice car, it doesn't bother me that I don't have a nice car, right?

"I think that that comes from growing up poor and trying to focus on being thankful for what I have, which is something that my mom was always really great with us. And that's kind of expanded into my 20s when you get more into the Eastern philosophies and all that kind of stuff. So when it comes to it, it was hard, because with WWE, they want you to be very goal-driven.

"All those the media interviews, if you don't say you want to main-event WrestleMania, then they're like, 'Oh, he doesn't have any drive, or he doesn't have any ambition,' which I don't [laughs]. But sometimes you just have to lie to please demand. My overall goal is just having fun and being satisfied with awesome people.

"There's a part from the Tao Te Ching that really spoke to me. It's something about real happiness is living right next door to another country and having no desire to go there. Because you're so happy where you're at, you know what I mean? But I am an adventurer and kind of an explorer, so I like seeing different things. And one of the reasons why I came to AEW is the curiosity.

"There's no desire for any sort of external expectations. As far as what's going to happen [in AEW], I'm going with an open mind and an attitude of trying to be the best wrestler I can be. And that's always been a focus. I think one of the cool things about wrestling is that if you really focus on it, and don't worry about the politics and anything else, you focus on just becoming a better pro wrestler."

I recently read Yes!: My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania (by Daniel Bryan) and the parts written by Bryan consistently reflect this set of values (while the parts heinously over-written by Craig Tello don't seem to have any grasp of those concepts at all). I also had the distinct pleasure of sitting at the same table/being in the same room with Bryan several times in the mid-90s when he made frequent trips up to work for ECCW in Vancouver, and I had some close friends working there. Based on my observations and interactions, this is very much the real Bryan Danielson talking genuinely here. 

Of course, he's a husband and father now, with new and different responsibilities, so how has that changed him?

from the same interview:

"When I say the base, like the home base in the back of my mind like as I'm doing other things, say, as I'm gardening, it would always just kind of go back to pro wrestling. And that's been since I was a kid, it was my default thing to think about.

"And now that's not the case. It's weird how your brain can be rewired so quickly to be like, 'Oh, my default setting is not thinking about what I say, my default setting is thinking about my kids.' And I think any parent knows once you have kids, you realize how selfish you were before you had kids. I feel I'm a lot less selfish now."

There's a lot more interesting stuff in that interview, including his thoughts about WWE and AEW. It's more than worth reading in full.

You have probably already guessed why I pulled the above quote, though.

Aside from how what Bryan says relates to a lot of our AEW navel-gazing on these threads, I just think it's excellent life advice, in general: Focus on growth and self-improvement, and set aside your desires for material success... ironically, that can be a real recipe for genuine success.

And I love how it contradicts grumpy JR's oft-repeated assertion that people are only in pro wrestling for the money.  

I legit believe that Bryan would fight Minoru Suzuki for free, it it was either that or never have the match. 

One last thing. Bryan on his AEW debut:

"A lot of times before a big thing, I also try to focus on my gratitude on things. It was like an incredible sensory experience that, if I close my eyes right now, I can think about it and feel it again."

Here's a man who has found, and figured out ow to use, the keys to happiness and fulfillment. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling really happy for him.

 

 

 

 

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I was going to go somewhere a bit more symbolic or cerebral and even had a cool Bob Orton Jr. analogy, but let me go simple instead:

I would not have predicted even a few months ago that I'd be regularly watching ~2 hours of AEW footage every week. I also wouldn't have predicted going out of my way to watch a bunch of Daniel Garcia (or anyone else) indy matches as well. There are many paths to happiness and even more to contentment. Letting it all wash over you in an act of effortless and liberating surrender is a path. I have chosen opening myself up to the possibility of measured compromise. I'm pretty happy and certainly fairly content with my choice.

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1 hour ago, Matt D said:

I was going to go somewhere a bit more symbolic or cerebral and even had a cool Bob Orton Jr. analogy, but let me go simple instead:

I would not have predicted even a few months ago that I'd be regularly watching ~2 hours of AEW footage every week. I also wouldn't have predicted going out of my way to watch a bunch of Daniel Garcia (or anyone else) indy matches as well. There are many paths to happiness and even more to contentment. Letting it all wash over you in an act of effortless and liberating surrender is a path. I have chosen opening myself up to the possibility of measured compromise. I'm pretty happy and certainly fairly content with my choice.

I'm really glad you're watching considering all you have to check out.  I also really appreciate a ton how you and @Goodearbreak down matches and such as it tends to point things I missed on first viewing.  It really helps take a match that I enjoy and show the little things that make it that much better for me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The idea of bringing Randy Orton (and Charlotte Flair) into AEW was floated in the main October discussion thread, and there's an aspect of it that I'd like to discuss in more detail here.

(My basic take is that AEW is unlikely to "move the needle" by bringing Orton in. I kind of buy into the narrative that a lot of the "WWE Universe" is just watching out of habit and/or they actual like WWE's specific booking and production and so on. I think that the number of people who watch WWE because of Orton and/or Charlotte, and would follow them to a different promotion, is likely to be negligible).

 

I've said it before: I sincerely believe that growth, when it comes, will come organically and the main benefit of bringing more wrestlers into AEW is giving us, the fans, more great matches (which is something that I am very much in favour of)!

So, assuming I am correct about that (and of course feel free to let me know how I am wrong, if that's what you think):

Who in AEW would you really be excited to see against Randy Orton in the ring?

In particular, is there anyone you'd rather see vs Orton than vs Bryan or vs Punk or vs Malakai or vs Christian? Or vs Darby or Sammy or Moxley or Kingston or Miro? Lance Archer or Fenix or Starks or Hobbs?

How about: vs Griff or Silver or Bear Bronson or JD Drake or Wardlow or Garcia or Ethan Page?

Or Toa the Samoan Lion, who was on Dark Elevation today and looks like a lot of fun?

I personally would rather watch basically any of AEW's young top-card guys or on-the-rise middle card guys against a random opponent than Randy Orton. 

BUT

I know I'm a really really low voter on Orton (and a very high voter on JD Drake, Bear Country, and many others). 

But there are already so many great potential match-ups on that AEW roster. My feeling is that Orton would do more to take time away from watching those matches than he would add to the list. That he'd take more off of AEW's table than he'd bring to it. 

But maybe that's just me. 

And I'm curious what other people think and I'd be happy to be convinced otherwise. 

Maybe Randy vs Cody would be interesting as a battle of second-generation stars who both feel disrespected by that fans? Maybe you could use a team-up with Randy to turn Christian or someone, if you want to make a new heel but the fans seem to really like the guy?

Maybe Randy Orton vs Adam Page would be fun in the same way that Nick Gage vs Matt Cardona was??

Maybe Orton vs Kenny would obviously be miles better and way more entertaining than Kenny vs, say, John Silver and I'm just too dumb to see it? 

I'm not saying Orton couldn't have watchable matches with any of these guys, just that I don't think he would allow for better or more fun matches than what AEW already has (and, since I like most of the guys AEW already has, I'd much rather see them in the ring). 

Please let me know who you'd really like to see Orton have a match with in AEW (and why). Or, is it just his big name star power (which I honestly feel has close to zero value for the promotion at this point - but, again, I might be wrong) that would make him a good addition to the roster? 

 

Edited by Gordberg
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1 hour ago, Gordberg said:

The idea of bringing Randy Orton (and Charlotte Flair) into AEW was floated in the main October discussion thread, and there's an aspect of it that I'd like to discuss in more detail here.

(My basic take is that AEW is unlikely to "move the needle" by bringing Orton in. I kind of buy into the narrative that a lot of the "WWE Universe" is just watching out of habit and/or they actual like WWE's specific booking and production and so on. I think that the number of people who watch WWE because of Orton and/or Charlotte, and would follow them to a different promotion, is likely to be negligible).

 

I've said it before: I sincerely believe that growth, when it comes, will come organically and the main benefit of bringing more wrestlers into AEW is giving us, the fans, more great matches (which is something that I am very much in favour of)!

So, assuming I am correct about that (and of course feel free to let me know how I am wrong, if that's what you think):

Who in AEW would you really be excited to see against Randy Orton in the ring?

In particular, is there anyone you'd rather see vs Orton than vs Bryan or vs Punk or vs Malakai or vs Christian? Or vs Darby or Sammy or Moxley or Kingston or Miro? Lance Archer or Fenix or Starks or Hobbs?

How about: vs Griff or Silver or Bear Bronson or JD Drake or Wardlow or Garcia or Ethan Page?

Or Toa the Samoan Lion, who was on Dark Elevation today and looks like a lot of fun?

I personally would rather watch basically any of AEW's young top-card guys or on-the-rise middle card guys against a random opponent than Randy Orton. 

BUT

I know I'm a really really low voter on Orton (and a very high voter on JD Drake, Bear Country, and many others). 

But there are already so many great potential match-ups on that AEW roster. My feeling is that Orton would do more to take time away from watching those matches than he would add to the list. That he'd take more off of AEW's table than he'd bring to it. 

But maybe that's just me. 

And I'm curious what other people think and I'd be happy to be convinced otherwise. 

Maybe Randy vs Cody would be interesting as a battle of second-generation stars who both feel disrespected by that fans? Maybe you could use a team-up with Randy to turn Christian or someone, if you want to make a new heel but the fans seem to really like the guy?

Maybe Randy Orton vs Adam Page would be fun in the same way that Nick Gage vs Matt Cardona was??

Maybe Orton vs Kenny would obviously be miles better and way more entertaining than Kenny vs, say, John Silver and I'm just too dumb to see it? 

I'm not saying Orton couldn't have watchable matches with any of these guys, just that I don't think he would allow for better or more fun matches than what AEW already has (and, since I like most of the guys AEW already has, I'd much rather see them in the ring). 

Please let me know who you'd really like to see Orton have a match with in AEW (and why). Or, is it just his big name star power (which I honestly feel has close to zero value for the promotion at this point - but, again, I might be wrong) that would make him a good addition to the roster? 

 

If you really want something resembling an Orton type big match wrestler, just bring Okada over full-time to lend gravitas to the main event scene (not that it needs it in all honestly). While I'll admit to Okada to being a bit stale in New Japan now (kind of emblematic of the New Japan product as whole), he'd still be way over for the AEW audience and cool to have him over here for a couple of years.

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I'd be interested in seeing Orton (along with Big E, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bailey, Cena) outside of the WWE ecosystem just because he's been in it for his total wrestling career. Not that I'd necessarily want him in AEW but it would be cool to see him pull a Cody and travel the world I'm not a huge fan but when Orton is on he's on plenty of people around the globe he could have excellent matches with (if properly motivated). I wasn't interested in Adam Cole but I've enjoyed how he's been used so you never know.

I liked the idea of Charlotte coming in to manage Andrade as sort of the only person who can be the boss of the boss is his wife. Plus you can always use a good hand in the women's division. 

I previously said that I didn't think there was a Hogan to WCW type move to be made but I feel that Byran and Punk was their Hogan/Savage/Luger jumping

Edited by zendragon
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Let's unpack.

I think from a business standpoint, it makes sense to bring Randy Orton in if he became available. He's got 6 million followers on Twitter to even Punk's 2 million. He does twitch streams? He's someone who can interest lapsed fans. He's always over with live crowds. I think he'd be the most effective person imaginable for those college football gameday spots, for instance. I can't think of anyone on the AEW or WWE roster that would be more effective in one of those than he would. He's a bigger wrestling meme than anyone on either roster, right? And yes, somewhere along the way, he's experienced some level of personal growth.

That wasn't the question though. It was, however, what I was primarily indicating in the other thread, especially re: Charlotte who I don't see having much upside at all except for the ability to generate (likely toxic and misogynist) heat with the AEW crowd.

Now then, from a personal enjoyment/interest standpoint, would I want to see Orton in AEW? Probably not. I too would rather see Comoroto vs any random member of the AEW locker room than Randy Orton. But there are things that might be interesting were he there.

Like zendragon just mentioned above, the most interesting thing might be the fact that this is a guy who's spent his entire career in the WWE system and now would be outside of it with different opportunities and expectations. What does that look like? How does he adapt? What does he do with his newfound freedom. How is he pushed by the younger talent?

The times over the last twenty years when I've most enjoyed Orton was when he was obviously having fun. RNN. The Christian feud. The Danielson feud. The jumping jacks. Or when things don't quite go right and he has an honest, human reaction, like when they were snowed in and he took the house mic during a commercial break and lamented that he just wanted to go home to his family, or after the table spot with the Bollywood Boyz. There would be a lot more opportunities for that Randy Orton in AEW and I think he'd be honestly surprised at just how fun wrestling can be.

While I think the old timers' who go on about how Randy Orton is the best wrestler of the last decade, or whatever, are way off base, you always do have to listen when wrestlers who you like and respect and who are his contemporaries say it as well. Orton was a guest on the Edge and Christian podcast at one point and it's a really interesting listen. For one thing, you get a great sense of Christian's wrestling brain. Edge always came off as far more worldly there but Christian was such a savant when it came to wrestling and it was obvious that Orton really enjoyed talking to him about it. I'd like to see them match up again with the heel/face dynamic reversed or without limitations to see what they would do. Likewise with Danielson.

I could see Orton coming in and targeting everyone who does a cutter (Cody, QT, Private Party, Ethan Page had a million variations on the indies) and that could be metatextual and enjoyable. I could see a pretty solid Lance Archer vs Orton feud with some reptilian promos between Jake and Orton. I mean who wouldn't want to see Dante Martin leap into an RKO?

And that's about all I've got.

Edited by Matt D
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We don’t have to like or understand every wrestler’s appeal to acknowledge that they have a large devoted fan base that would follow them to another promotion. Also the podcast era we’re in now has revealed what wrestlers prioritize when they think of great work, and it’s not totally congruous with what we think because they’re considering fundamentals we probably take for granted.  And I don’t care about Orton, but he’s undeniably great at the fundamentals and has been since he was a rookie. 

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Just now, Jiji said:

I'm confused. Didn't Orton just use Khan for leverage then signed, presumably, a long extension with WWE? Why we talking about him signing with AEW?

It's like you've never gazed at a navel before or something.

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Orton is boring as fuck, but from a business perspective, eh, I could see there being a case for signing him there. However, I doubt he makes much of an impact if any with AEW's audience and long term growth. Maybe they spike something in the short term though.

Charlotte is still a hard pass. As is Tessa. I don't give a fuck how good of a wrestler either of them are. I've actually begun to enjoy the moneyball approach to the women's division. There are also maybe three other women in WWE that I want to see in AEW, and that's Io, Bayley, and Sasha and even then I think I might whittle that list down to just Io or maybe Io and Bayley to avoid whatever baggage Sasha has.

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28 minutes ago, Jiji said:

I'm confused. Didn't Orton just use Khan for leverage then signed, presumably, a long extension with WWE? Why we talking about him signing with AEW?

I brought it up yesterday when people were saying AEW shouldn't sign Charlotte.  I said, like AEW wouldn't sign Randy Orton if they could.

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You sign Orton if he's available. Of course.

I saw some concern expressed in the other thread about whether or not someone would want to work in the same environment as him. Chris Jericho, Christian, Cody Rhodes, Jim Ross, Bryan Danielson, FTR, and many other people who would be working with him would certainly offer an affirmative vote on the matter if consulted. Tony Khan certainly has a personal relationship with a few legends in the business who are known for singing Orton's praises. I'm sure if I go ask Jack Perry ten+ years ago when he was in the audience at a WWE PPV if he'd like to wrestle Randy Orton in a main event some day, he'd give you a big yes. I know Randy's had many shitty moments in the past, but the talk like he's a bomb thrower who'll be locker room cancer in 2021 is without merit. He would find a lot of support and enthusiasm for him in AEW.

As to his work, Matt D started walking in this direction with regards to Orton's "honest, human reactions," and I'm gonna go way further: He'd be great in AEW. I find Randy has those sort of reactions more often than he gets credit for, and his instincts tend to be phenomenal. Put him in an environment where he doesn't have the same guardrails and rigid restrictions, and he'll flourish. It'll be the most interesting work you've seen on American television wrestling in a long time. Zero concerns about his work. 

I also saw concern raised in the other thread about whether Orton is a "good investment" from a "dollars spent vs dollars earned" perspective. That's bollocks. AEW's still new to this game. Luring away someone as prominent and respected and recognizable as Orton continues to legitimize AEW. There's no time for resting on laurels. Whether it "moves the needle" or not in terms of long term viewership, it absolutely continues to make them look legitimate and attractive to those they'd do business with. And really, Orton only gets this scrutiny about "needle moving" because he doesn't have the same relationship with "smart" fans as Punk or Bryan. Him getting a harsher look than them is bad thinking. 

And with regard to return on investment, I so often see people concern trolling when there's talk of roster management or cuts. If the pooh-poohing of such discussions is seen as legitimate, then the flip side of that coin is that I don't want to hear a word from anyone about the price tag for a guy like Randy. If people aren't ready for one discussion, then they shouldn't be having the other and shouldn't worry about how Richie Rich spends his money. 

There was also talk in the other thread about "hardcore" fans turning away from AEW. That easily? From a company with this much goodwill? When the mere act of choosing AEW over WWE will immediately as a default soften Randy up in the eyes of many of the AEW faithful? When I've seen how long it really takes to run someone off of a wrestling product and how much endless whining and complaining normally precedes that? Either you're bluffing or you think your preferences ought to be catered to 105% of the time. Either way, I don't think that contingent is sizeable enough to matter if it even exists at all.

And finally, talk of "organic" vs "inorganic" growth continues to carry no water with me. This is just some fans inventing things to be upset about.

Of course you sign Randy Orton. What are we even talking about?

But as @Jiji already alluded to, Randy used AEW as leverage years ago so this is all moot. All that said, I was a solid YES for Orton in AEW in 2019 and I remain firm in that position. 

Edited by John from Cincinnati
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2 hours ago, John from Cincinnati said:

I find Randy has those sort of reactions more often than he gets credit for,

Well, John, i don't know where you should do this, but I think we're all more than willing to listen to you if you show your work here. Take a month. Find some examples. Come back and show the class and maybe you'll move the needle around here.

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