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AEW - SEP 2021


The Natural
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11 minutes ago, Bryan said:

My point is people feeling aggrieved hasn’t been the AEW locker room by all accounts.

And that you risk upsetting that by bringing in too many people, too soon. Which I think would be unfortunate.

It's a risk, but there is potential for reward, a rising tide to lift other boats, etc. As ever, the execution will tell. 

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7 minutes ago, NoFistsJustFlips said:

I'll grant you TNA failed. But in what world did WCW becoming super successful and over taking the number one spot for about two years (and going from losing money to mega profitable) a failure to you? Yes WCW went out of business. But your narrative isn't the reason why. The purse strings got closed. The handcuffs went onto the creative team. WCW was still kicking ass in 1998, even if WWE had pulled ahead. The corporate mergers / standards & practices handcuffs stopped them from continuing to sign big names and book more reality based gritty realism. They had to tone it down and go more PG on screen and it was not good. Then all the really bad management and booking changes accelerated things. They didn't fail because they signed too many big names. They went out of business because Turner stopped letting Bischoff do his thing without restrictions. And a neutered WCW vs the full on attitude era was a massacre.

 

Another historically inaccurate take. The ultra successful WWE 80s expansion did this exact thing to great success. They rotated all of the big stars so none of them got over exposed. Hogan had less than 10 TV matches per year from 1984-1993. Is that a cause for alarm? No. Because 15 of those remaining TV weeks had a Savage match. 10 of the remaining TV weeks had a Bobby Heenan guy match building up a Hogan challenger. 10 of the remaining TV weeks was anchored by the tag title story. The last 7 weeks would feature some of the biggest stars they took from other territories.

You're showing your recency bias by saying these doom and gloom things about a strategy that's worked incredibly well historically. Just because Hangman didn't work this PPV, doesn't mean the viewing audience has totally forgotten who he was. He still retains all of his value. Same with Cody / et all. Now I'm not saying AEW has things balanced perfectly by any means. There is room to improve for sure. But to assert that people like Ricky Starks that didn't make the PPV is now so far down the pecking order fans can't / won't care about them is so off the mark it's not even funny. Did fans of the 80s expansion forget about Savage or Steamboat (comparable to Stark's current position) if they didn't have a PPV match? Of course not.

The truth is they are booking in a way you are not familiar with. You can certainly have an opinion on if you like it or not. But to state arguments framed about how they are doing it "wrong" or making "mistakes" or that they are going to "fail like TNA & WCW did" is just being historically ignorant. They may still fail. But it's not going to be because some of their good talent miss PPVs sometimes. Or because they signed too many great attractions.

But why did the purse strings get closed? It wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that former WWF guys were signed to exorbitant deals would it?

The bad creative didn’t have anything to do with giving a former WWF guy creative control or another ship jumper booking power?

You’re trying to separate the signings and the ratings rise from the consequences of what some of these signings did or ultimately caused.

Just hiring a bunch of big names has not  actually been a sustainable long term business model, as far as I’m aware.

My understanding of the 80’s was that the WWF’s business model relied more on running lots of house shows (hence the we were on the road 350 days a year), so cycling in guys seems like it would make more sense.

And while Vince was able to crush most of his competition, the reason WCW could sign so many people was because the WWF couldn’t compete financially despite having accumulated so much talent.

I don’t have a problem with how AEW is booking I just suggested they not bring in more WWE guys for about a year to focus on having the younger guys work with all the newcomers.

They haven’t actually done anything yet, and for all we know Kevin Owens was just pulling a Randy Orton to finesse a bigger deal from WWE.

On paper, cycling guys in and out like you say makes some sense. But I’m not sure you appreciate the potential psychological effects on people being left out that don’t want to be and the acrimony that could result from that.

 

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I’m all for the roster rotation and think it’s largely being managed well. As it gets bigger though, I think it will necessitate some tough decisions and that maybe is a bit of an unknown for AEW. The general talk is that Tony is a good guy and locker room morale is high, so I wonder whether he has the ruthlessness to realise when talent have served their purpose/reached their ceiling and then cut them at the right time. I think the highest profile current example, as others mentioned, would be Brian Cage. I don’t see any upside in investing TV time in a face push for him and there are definitely examples (e.g the women’s division generally) where that time would be better served.

Lower down the card it’s maybe less of an issue as they’re mostly there to take Ls, but QT gets too much TV time. Luther only really appears on YouTube but even that’s too much, I think he has 0 value (at least on-screen). If whatever Sabian’s new gimmick is doesn’t work then he feels very expendable. And there’s guys like Solo who I see very little upside in (I was gonna say Angels here as well, but looked him up and he’s surprisingly young so probably worth more development time).

Unless I’m forgetting, I don’t think AEW have cut anyone yet, unless it was forced upon them through outside stuff (COVID, speaking out, etc.).

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1 hour ago, Bryan said:

But why did the purse strings get closed? It wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that former WWF guys were signed to exorbitant deals would it?

The bad creative didn’t have anything to do with giving a former WWF guy creative control or another ship jumper booking power?

You’re trying to separate the signings and the ratings rise from the consequences of what some of these signings did or ultimately caused.

Just hiring a bunch of big names has not  actually been a sustainable long term business model, as far as I’m aware.

My understanding of the 80’s was that the WWF’s business model relied more on running lots of house shows (hence the we were on the road 350 days a year), so cycling in guys seems like it would make more sense.

And while Vince was able to crush most of his competition, the reason WCW could sign so many people was because the WWF couldn’t compete financially despite having accumulated so much talent.

I don’t have a problem with how AEW is booking I just suggested they not bring in more WWE guys for about a year to focus on having the younger guys work with all the newcomers.

They haven’t actually done anything yet, and for all we know Kevin Owens was just pulling a Randy Orton to finesse a bigger deal from WWE.

On paper, cycling guys in and out like you say makes some sense. But I’m not sure you appreciate the potential psychological effects on people being left out that don’t want to be and the acrimony that could result from that.

 

This is a much more rational post. I don't think our opinions are as far off from each other as I first thought. I do concede that there could be a Jericho effect. (In that the top of WCW had a rock solid glass ceiling he knew he had to leave to be a star). But I think it's a stretch because WCW didn't do rotational booking. They ran their top guys on every show and younger guys couldn't get any shine. AEW in that respect is already much different. Punk didn't come in and work Jericho or Moxley, as Hogan did when he worked Flair right away. He came in and worked a young AEW original. So while it could happen, I see less potential for that Jericho effect. AEW's most flattering booking quality is everyone gets some shine and they truly try to present all of their acts as important, not just filler.

And Owens really could be pulling an Orton. I wouldn't blame him for it either. I think he would have more fun in AEW. But at a certain point WWE is going to decide they need to open the bank to pay big for some of their top guys to stay. He seems like a guy they would pay big to keep.

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39 minutes ago, Jiji said:

Just Jimmy Havoc afaik. They let Amazing Kong and Mel's deals expire quietly. Doubt he cuts people but they may not get renewed contracts. 

Bea Priestly and Sadie Gibbs due to travel restrictions at the time, which in Sadie’s case was especially bad since she was due to move to the states literally the day after all of the lockdowns and stuff were announced (or something to that effect). Ivelisse too, but I don’t think she had a deal. They let Shanna’s contract expire earlier this year.

I think Jimmy Havoc is the only real “bye, you’re fired” deal, except maybe Ivelisse and them banning Joe Alonzo from working with them.

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We are way too early in the game for anyone to be thinking that this should or could have a long term NEGATIVE effect on AEW. I would argue that as far as importance, and if we have to draw parallels here - All Out was AEW's version of Bash at the Beach 1996. An event where the ending had something so insane happen that people are still abuzz about it three days after the event. I'll put it to you like this, my dad called me today and I told him how the AEW event I was attending was in three weeks and his first words were "I heard the WWE is in trouble and that AEW is the big wrestling company in town now". Granted, my dad is a sportscaster so he's already kind of sort of in that realm, but he doesn't give nor has given two shits about wrestling since 1999. I'm not saying this means he will watch it, but if the word about AEW being a big dog in town is reaching my dads ears, I have to say the general public probably knows as well.

I mean what do we think the end game is here for AEW? It's not like by March of 2022 AEW and WWE will be drawing 3.0's on TV because I just doubt something like that will happen with the current ecosystem for technology (3rd party/illegal streams, DVR, FITE.TV stream, ect.) but there is absolutely no denying that what AEW has managed to pull off with Adam Cole, Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and even to a lesser extent Malakai Black and Andrade is getting the ship to tilt in their favor to the general public.

Let's wait a year and have this discussion after All Out next year to really see if AEW will fall off the rails, but the train literally just started. Let's at least wait til it gets to full speed to see if it will go off the rails - which I doubt because Khan seems to learn from history - something other promoters haven't/don't do.

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26 minutes ago, NoFistsJustFlips said:

Punk didn't come in and work Jericho or Moxley, as Hogan did when he worked Flair right away. He came in and worked a young AEW original. 

Just to jump onto this, because I really thought they nailed the whole presentation around Punk-Darby. And, at the risk of drawing the ire of @John from Cincinnati with the comparison, it was such a breath of fresh air to WWE’s style.

On the face of it, they did what we often would criticise WWE for, legend returns and beats a current star straight away. Except it didn’t feel like a negative for Darby at all.

Firstly, while Darby is one of their top stars, he’s not quite reached the top yet, he’s fell short when he’s faced top guys like Moxley. Contrast to WWE bringing in Goldberg and immediately going over the world champ, which screams ‘today’s stars aren’t as good as yesterday’s’. The loss for Darby here still feels like a step on his journey to the top.

And, it’s obvious Punk is still a big deal, but they’ve clearly positioned him as a veteran and sown some doubt into it. You’ve got the question of whether Darby can beat Punk, but just as big is whether Punk can still hang with the likes of Darby.

I think Punk winning was probably the right call, but they could just have easily had Darby win and had an interesting direction to go with Punk.

Yeah, just really well and smartly booked, giving themselves a win-win scenario. 

 

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40 minutes ago, Casey said:

Bea Priestly and Sadie Gibbs due to travel restrictions at the time, which in Sadie’s case was especially bad since she was due to move to the states literally the day after all of the lockdowns and stuff were announced (or something to that effect). Ivelisse too, but I don’t think she had a deal. They let Shanna’s contract expire earlier this year.

I think Jimmy Havoc is the only real “bye, you’re fired” deal, except maybe Ivelisse and them banning Joe Alonzo from working with them.

Havoc is probably the highest profile release they’ve had as he was being featured pretty regularly. But, my understanding is that was on the back of speaking out stuff, so their hand was somewhat forced rather than them actively realising he didn’t have much to offer (he didn’t, he sucked).

With Kong, it seems like there was a mutual realisation that she was too broken down to still go.

Shanna and Mel are probably the closest examples to what I was thinking, but they were both so low profile that it didn’t really register.

I suppose what I was trying to get at is there becomes a point where you realise that people you are featuring regularly maybe aren’t worth it. And will Tony be strong enough to make them calls. If it’s a case of quietly letting people’s contracts run out like Mel/Shanna then that seems like a pretty reasonable way to do things (assuming you’re not having people sit out contracts for years).

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5 hours ago, LoneWolf&Subs said:

You know what? It’s time for Team Taz to move on from Bryan Cage. They are great foils to great performers. Cage just isn’t good enough. Time for Punk to get a run against them.

Welp, it happened, and that segment was splendid.

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14 hours ago, Jiji said:

Just Jimmy Havoc afaik. They let Amazing Kong and Mel's deals expire quietly. Doubt he cuts people but they may not get renewed contracts. 

I'm not even sure that Mel is even wrestling anymore.  Last I heard, she's got a day job and has been doing okay.  I thought that Mel would be backstage entourage or something since she was a direct hire from Brandi Rhodes, but I guess I was wrong.

I think Shanna is working the indies.   I know she's also got a Twitch channel and mostly plays League of Legends and JRPGs.

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Seems like with all the extra eyeballs they've been trying to feature all the Attitude ear guys on the show, JR, Christian, Big Show, Hardy

 

Anyway I hope after this God's Favorite Champion runs it course They bring CJ in and Her and Miro cut promos in a hot tub as The Lovers

 

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While watching Elevation, I had another thought about the roster size. Emi Sakura is just there with Lulu, with a clear gimmick, with her music, a dominant force. She's there to train people and to work the up and coming females, but she's also THERE. You can't really see her in with main program on the immediate horizon but you can see them cycle her in a few months from now to wrestle Ruby or Britt or Tay/Anna or whoever and it'd probably be great. And in the meantime, she can just keep wrestling the kids on Elevation/Dark and get their reps in. And the roster is just full of people like that who they can heat up and give some shine to over the span of a few weeks and immediately showcase for a month and then cycle back down until they need them again. Or to keep them cycled up for a few feuds as they cycle someone back down for a while.

I guess on some level this isn't all that different from what they do in WWE but with the brand splits and the sheer amount of TV time they have, everyone ends up spinning their wheels instead of cycling up or down to being featured.

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I am interested to see the set-up.  I'm a fan of territory studio wrestling.  And the way ECW would transform small venues.  I was never a fan of 90s WCW Universal tapings.  Those were some awful shows.  Seems like ppl Championing this nostalgia are fans who are only seeing the few and far between higher end moments featuring the likes of Regal and Eaton.  The WCW Universal crowd set-up, applause signs,  the barely interested fans, and hokey looking staging of those events was truly awful.  That said, I expect AEW will do much better.  

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I think OG NXT from Full Sail did the absolute best job of filming wrestling in a studio. Well, except for the one episode where you can tell the fans have been there for four hours and were ready to sleep. 

I'm hoping these tapings are like the Full Sail ones.

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It takes a special kind of stupid to pull that card when the biggest complaint about the company right now is that they're overloaded with talent. Lucky for them Tony seems like guy who lets a lot of stuff slide.

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