Jump to content
DVDVR Message Board

AEW Navel-Gazing Thread Number Two


Gordlow
 Share

Recommended Posts

6 minutes ago, Matt D said:

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.

Sounds like an interesting challenge. And now I'm worried about how much lower my bar is for Randy Orton spontaneity that I would be charmed by. The "John gazes at Randy Orton's naval by unpopular demand" thread is going to be hellish...

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My favourite Orton stuff is against Cena and my favourite description of him (from a review of the I Quit match) is "rubberized Android freak". If Orton came to AEW I'd want him cutting promos about being assembled in a lab by his robot-dad Bionic Bob, before going and no-selling his heart out. Nerve hold/claw finisher. 

Edited by Jimbo_Tsuruta
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I've said this before here, but Randy Orton is the wrestler I've enjoyed the most without ever seeking any of his stuff out.

Like, I've never sat down and said, "I'm going to watch this Randy Orton match."  However, when I've had a show on, and he's had a match, I'm surprised at the number of times I've enjoyed it.

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you to everyone who chimed in on the "Randy Orton in AEW" navel gaze!

My takeaway is that there really aren't a lot of specific match-ups for the ole Viper vs anyone in AEW that would have us as fans champing at the bit, but there is some interest in seeing what he might do outside of the WWE system. I think that's a good take!

 

Boy oh boy did I ever love Full Gear. I'm absolutely convinced it belongs in the conversation for Best Pro Wrestling PPV (or Big-Time Show) of All Time. It might be recency bias and it's possible I enjoyed it more because I'm healthy and in a good mood and watched it while chatting online with a small group of wrestling friends who were all marking out for everything all show long... but for me, at the very least, it ranks right up there with WrestleMania 17, Super J Cup '94, Dominion in Osaka Jo 2018, WK 11, Canadian Stampede, Bash '89, Supercard of Honor '06, Osaka Pro Hurricane 2010, Michinoko Pro These Days... on my list of personal favourites. 

But I come here not to praise AEW but to gaze in my navel about them. For all that they do right, there are still several things that AEW just doesn't seem to get

For example: Why do you have Malakai Black wrestling pro wrestling matches in a pro wrestling ring? The way to make money with that guy is to have him sitting and brooding in a dark room! 

And, it's like AEW doesn't even understand that professional wrestlers and other company employees need to be buried and humiliated in their home towns! What is with having, say, Ruby Soho or Phil from Chicago or Dante Martin come out and address their hometown crowds and look good in front of their hometown fans? What's the purpose here? To pop the crowds and make your audience happy and generate joy and delight? What about pro wrestling tradition, consarn it? 

Speaking of which: It's 2021! Modern pro wrestling fans are mostly body marks who care way more about size and power than about charisma, athleticism, and talent. AEW just refuses to accept that simple fact of life. Here's a hint, Tony Khan: If someone's arms are less than 18" in circumference, keep them the hell away from the title scene and make sure they are constantly doing jobs to the big boys.

Also: Why does AEW refuse to accept that Japanese (or other foreign) pro wrestlers are a mystery to the lion's share of their fan-base? They brought in that one guy, what's his name, Mitusharu Suzuki? with only a little bit of introduction and explanation. I mean, sure, the live crowd responded to him ecstatically, but they were probably just being polite or trying to look smart. Do they really expect people who are pro wrestling fans to have read dirt sheets or wrestling web sites and/or posted on and discussed pro wrestling on websites like, uh, this one, and thereby heard about a guy who is widely considered one of the best in the world and a living legend? It's fine to bring in a wrestler without explanation if they are an English-speaking white person who recently worked in WWE, though.

That's just part of the larger issue: AEW really doesn't seem to get that we as pro wrestling fans need to have our intelligence insulted regularly. That's what the largest, richest, and most powerful pro wrestling organization in the world does to its "Universe" regularly.  For someone who seems to know so much about the history of pro wrestling, Tony Khan sure seems reluctant to learn from it.

Honestly, AEW, if you keep treating your fans with respect, allowing them to figure some things out for themselves, and giving them what they want... you are just going to end up with a bunch of savvy, happy, loyal fans. I mean, if that's what you want, might as well just keep doing what you are doing. 

Edited by Gordberg
dial it back about 20 percent
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

In recent weeks, AEW has continued to incorporate sensitive subjects into broadcasts. Eddie Kingston, a foul-mouthed brawler from just outside New York City, noted he takes Zoloft for depression. And in early November, the day after it was announced Moxley had entered an inpatient alcohol treatment program, the famously straight-edge Punk called on the Independence, Mo., crowd to chant Moxley’s name, commending the former champion for seeking help.

Page thinks the values of the company have created an openness that helps performers too. “Ten, 20 years ago, you would never walk away from a top spot, for any reason,” he says about Moxley going into rehab. “You would let your life crumble around you before you walked away from that top spot. Knowing AEW is a different kind of place, a different environment, I think has helped people be more honest with what they need in their lives.”

- a direct quote from here:

https://www.menshealth.com/trending-news/a38225563/adam-page-hangman-aew/

We've been arguing (often obliquely) for quite some time whether the move (in AEW) away from broad caricatures of machismo and masculinity and towards more nuanced, vulnerable, damaged, and otherwise relatable characters is a genuine change for the better. 

The second paragraph above, in particular, sums up a lot of why I quite passionately believe that it is.

I think it also touches quite directly on the value of nurturing and maintaining a positive/supportive/friendly atmosphere in a company.

I certainly don't remember anybody here suggesting that Mox was wrong to go into rehab while building toward a main event program, so maybe those ideas are no longer as controversial as they seemed to be when the company was starting out?

Please feel free to discuss, if you are so inclined.

(Or to lay out any other theories or considerations about AEW). 

Edited by Gordberg
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Along similar lines, I guess, I was watching Dynamite with my girlfriend last night and during the Billy Gunn match, the subject of steroids came up while we were marvelling at a nearly 60 year old man being in such great shape. She's wholeheartedly got into wrestling since meeting me last year, mainly AEW with a bit of NJPW, and has read Jim Smallman's history book, but doesn't have the insane reserves of pointless nerd knowledge I've built up in 30 years of being a fan.

So, I was explaining the Ass: Origins story as far as him being fired from his agent/trainer job in WWE for preparing too enthusiastically for a bodybuilding competition, and had to acknowledge that, as far as I knew, AEW didn't drug test (correct me if I'm wrong, but if they do it'd be the first I'd heard of it). Which is not ideal, and it'd be great if they did, but it got me thinking that what might be more beneficial than testing for steroids etc. is creating an environment where wrestlers aren't pressurised into doing them. They've demonstrated so far that, if you can project as a star, wrestle good matches and get over with the crowd, you can look like Darby Allin or a Young Buck (this is where someone who can spot these things tells me they're juiced to infinity) and still get a major push. And if you have to take time off, for whatever reason, you can rest assured you'll get a huge, featured comeback to a major pop, instead of going in the boss's black book of unreliable talent. That sort of culture seems like a better deal than rigorous wellness testing that still seems to mysteriously miss anyone above a certain level in the hierarchy, although some form of drug testing may obviously still be worthwhile, even at the cost of a slightly less vast Ass Gentleman.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's smart of them to hold back Dynamite matches for a Friday night reveal. That's one of the biggest strengths of the promotion right now. It's like Christmas every week when they announce new matches. The roster is so big. The potential match-ups are so plentiful and interesting. Some things are within an existing storyline. Some things open up new storylines. It's that "opening a pack of cards as a kid" feeling when they announce the weekly line-ups, that same feeling I got every day on my commute home 6 years ago when the new NWAonDemand match would drop or a couple of years later on Wednesday afternoon when news of the WWE Hidden Gems release would leak. The closest thing on a weekly basis for new material was when I was following CMLL closely, but that didn't hit nearly as hard because the weekly line-ups had so little effort put into them. With AEW, there's so much effort and care.

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@SturmCRFI totally agree with this. I don't hold Vince personally responsible for Eddie's death BUT I do hold him responsible for creating a toxic environment where you get juiced to get noticed by the boss, get on pain killers to deal with injuries, self medicate to deal with the grind of the road. Hopefully AEW continues to move away from that. 

 

And Brian Cage can do all the Steroids he personally wants if  AEW is willing to put Darby over him

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I am not nearly as moved as my friend Gordi by the overall happiness of the performers. While I agree that some of the most enjoyable and earnest entertainment can come from people just trying to make themselves and their friends happy, it's quite obvious that what makes some of these people happy is not the same thing that makes me happy. Granted, the roster has rounded out considerably over the last couple of years and now I'd say it does as much as it does not.

That said, I've been listening to old episodes of AEW Unrestricted. They're a quick listen generally, and you get differing perspectives between Tony and Audrey who have very different backgrounds. Primarily it's been to learn about a number of wrestlers I don't know a lot about (Starks, Rosa, Hobbs, Bowens, Cargill, Ethan Page, etc.) and to hear about how certain ones that I did (Gunn, Sting, Taz, Deeb) got to AEW and how they feel about it. It's interview after interview of people who are obviously happy to be there, who feel supported, who talk up Khan in really genuine and very consistent ways, who seem almost bewildered about how their passion for wrestling has been rekindled. It's downright strange to hear someone like Taz seem so damn happy. And I enjoy when Khan gets into his hyper-mode running down cards. "And we've got this, and we've got this, and we've got this." There's a kid in a candy store element to it, but he's also making the candy and selling the candy. And most of us would be exactly the same way. If we set up a thread right now about everyone's potential Revolution 2022 card, we'd get essays.

And the happiness shows up on screen. And while I am not as moved as I could be by it to the point of ignoring the things I do not like, I am still very glad for it.

AEW is Pro Wrestling Camelot.

And most of us never thought we would live to see its kind again.

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I am 56 years old. There are things that kinda suck about that. I have to watch what I eat now, for example.

But, in some ways, I think I was very lucky indeed to be born in 1965.

I can remember a time when, if I wanted to go out with my friends on Friday night we had to start phoning each other on Monday, and if three friends said that Friday at 7 was fine but the fourth one had to work, it would start a long game of "telephone tag" trying to reorganize everything. I can remember when, if the restaurant or bar we were going to was full but one friend hadn't arrived yet, it was a serious dilemma. Do we move on and ditch our friend? How long should we wait before figuring that something happened and they just aren't coming? Is there a working payphone around here? Anyone got a quarter?

So, to me, something as simple and basic as owning a cell phone is a real cause for joy. I have lived long enough that I really appreciate how much more convenient it makes life (though it also messes with our privacy and makes it harder to lie about missing a call... every silver lining has its cloud).

I live in a world where, if I want something but there isn't a store near me that sells the thing I want, I can pretty much always have it brought to my door tomorrow (or at the worst in a couple of weeks if it's a knockoff t-shirt that needs to be shipped from China). 

I can remember when we got, like, half an hour of cartoons after school on weekdays and a full slate on Saturday morning and afternoon (which I missed, because I went to the YMCA for judo and swimming and weightlifting and stuff instead), and like Peanuts specials and Winnie the Pooh on holidays or whatever. I can remember when, if I couldn't see a movie in the one or two weeks it was in one of two local cinemas, I wouldn't see it until a year or so later on TV, with all the swears and blood and sex cut out.

So my cheap Amazon tablet is basically magic to me. My girls can watch pertmuch any cartoon they could ever want to see whenever they want to, as long as papa has Wi-Fi access. And while they enjoy that, they don't really appreciate it. Why would they? Their world has always been like that! 

What I'm saying is, I feel lucky to be old enough to understand how much easier all of this affordable technology makes my life. To be young enough to be able to use it, but old enough to remember what life was like before it existed.

So, what does that have to do with pro wrestling? 

Have you already guessed? If you are my generation of fan, you probably have.

I started watching wrestling (Vancouver All Star, featuring Gene Kiniski and Don Leo Jonathan) when I was four years old. I saw my first Japanese pro wrestling match in the "green room" at a taping of Vancouver All Star Wrestling (which no longer featured Gene or Don Leo) in, I think, 1986. It was the beginning of a life-long obsession. 

I can remember, as can many of us, when there was one, local, pro wrestling show on TV every week. And if you missed it, you never got to see it. Then, when I was old enough to drive, and work, I got a job at a video rental place and saved up and bought a used VCR and then I could actually watch the shows that I missed, which was amazing. The I got a second used VCR and could start making, and trading, compilation tapes with my friends from the New York based wrestling magazine that I wrote for.

And, eventually, 15 or 20 years down the road, there was a whole network of tape traders and then DVD makers, and message boards where you could meet other obsessive nerds, people who actually watched and wanted to talk about Japanese wrestling and Mexican wrestling and stuff from the territories... and it was amazing

And now we can pretty much watch anything we want, even shows from across the world live as they are happening. It's magic. It's legitimately a dream come true. In fact, it's incredibly far beyond anything I could have possibly dreamed of in 1986. I've got hours and hours of wrestling in perfect video quality on a tiny chip in my cheap Amazon tablet. I can watch wrestling on the train to work. I can watch Danielson vs Page today, even though I live in Japan, and discuss it immediately with other obsessive nerds from all over the world.

I feel really lucky that I'm old enough to appreciate how amazing that is. I am happy that I don't take it for granted, and hope that I never will. 

Edited by Gordlow
  • Like 6
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You nailed everything I feel about my dad having probably the first laptop ever (which was orange and black onscreen), one of the first car cellphones, and me being literally one of the last of the (music) tape-traders before the Internet really hit. We're dinosaurs but we can take comfort in immediacy having known the struggles of the past. And I was born in 1983. 

Edited by Curt McGirt
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...