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Grand Slam - 9/22/2021


The Natural
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Further Cody thoughts. He's dressing as Homelander, doing heel interference spots and had the Acclaimed plugging his reality show in a fake "scripted promo" knowing it would get booed. He clearly KNOWS what he's doing and I don't think he's especially chuffed by the reaction but I think that this is a promotion that for all it's post-modernism really does have pretty clearly defined characters. Cody is going way too meta with this. 

 

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Point of order on Cody: I think he's a fantastic babyface that can cut great promos and sell feuds. Like everyone else has said though, he's spent the last year or more feeling totally disconnected from AEW as a whole. Like if AEW is Marvel 616 proper, then everything with Cody feels like it's taking place under the Marvel Knights imprint where it has zero impact on AEW overall and there's zero reason to care. Being that disconnected is actively turning the fans on him and making him less of what made him great in the first place. What's worse is that he's programmed himself against a hot new commodity in AEW that no one wants to see lose, but these fans are smart enough to see that Cody is desperately trying to paint Black as the heel and Cody as the face. People see through that shit and it's just going to wind up kneecapping Black if Cody wins this feud.

The entire time Cody was gone, I never once thought, man, it sure would be great if Cody returned because I just don't care about him anymore. This whole time he could have gone back for revenge against MJF. The last time he teased that he...had a fucking feud with Shaq. Like, why? Since then, he's been so disconnected from anything in AEW that it would be weird if he all of a sudden went after MJF. Too much time has passed now. Had he been embroiled in the overall ongoings with AEW then I would have been all about seeing Cody go for his revenge and get pummeled by Pinnacle on the regular. But now Darby is in that spot and there's no fucking way I wouldn't want Darby in that spot. I mean, I want to see Trent return more than Cody. 

And re-reading all of this, I'm actually just repeating what Hagan said so just read his instead because it's less rambling. I guess the tl;dr is that Cody bugs the shit out of me now and AEW wouldn't lose anything if he were gone.

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I watched the last hour and thought it was great. I wasn't aware that the FTR nWo look wasn't their regular gear, so that was a nice touch. I marked out seeing Sting punch Tully, nice little acknowledgment of wrassling history. Darby Allin makes for a fine face-in-peril and I agree with others that the split-screen ruined that part of the match. That move (Coffin drop) onto the apron at the end freaked me out, definitely looked dangerous for both involved, and then Allin weirdly catapulted himself into the ringside barrier after. Sting leaving Allin in the Tree of Woe for so long was a dick move, and I wouldn't be surprised for that to work its way into a storyline long term.

I had seen Britt Baker work the mic and wrestle at the Pittsburgh event broadcast, was unfamiliar with Ruby Soho besides her look and the Rancid tie-in. There were times when she looked really crisp, and then some times when she stutter-stepped or was slightly off on timing. Are the ring sizes different between AEW and WWE? Still, a nice hot match with a couple of insane moves, and whatever that kick is that Ruby does looks pretty gnarly.

I don't watch any wrestling on the regular, but lately I've had a lot of down time in the evenings as my wife sleeps a lot dealing with chronic illness so I've been checking it out a little more. Will definitely need to find some time to watch that Omega-Danielson match.

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5 minutes ago, Jiji said:

That would be Danielson's first five star match from Meltzer, right? Another thing for Omega to boast about. He mentioned it in the build up I believe. 

Yes. Staggering Meltzer's never given Bryan Danielson a *****.

Edited by The Natural
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One of the Upcoming Events posters for a Dynamite in October (iirc) has a big picture of Hangman as the sole image. He'll be back soon.

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I'm surprised people are so miffed by Cody doing things that read as heelish to the audience while insisting he's a babyface. The second (?) show this promotion ever ran had babyface Cody lay into a debuting underdog face with his weight belt. The posing and stalling during the TNT era. The preposterous entourages. The preening self-importance that's always been right there. He's Mr "babyfaces and heels are tired old tropes." He's going to do his Cody thing, and he's happy for it to be read whatever way the circumstances dictate. The new guy with the cool entrance is getting over 1000% more because people have finally chosen wholesale resentment. And it's more authentic than what's being garnered by any other "heel" in the company. It rules.

And for those foolishly holding out hope that there's a substantial change coming, in the Road To the big stinger on Black's promo was that the Cody hasn't changed so neither will the outcome. So who knows, maybe Black will get to return the favour Cody's done for him these past few weeks. Wouldn't that be wonderful!

Best dude in the company. 

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6 minutes ago, JLowe said:

I watched the last hour and thought it was great. I wasn't aware that the FTR nWo look wasn't their regular gear, so that was a nice touch.

Yeah, they wore Midnite Express rainbow trunks for a bit after Bobby Eaton passed away.  They are the best dudes.

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1 minute ago, AxB said:

One of the Upcoming Events posters for a Dynamite in October (iirc) has a big picture of Hangman as the sole image. He'll be back soon.

The Virginia episode after Full Gear. Maybe they extend his absence until the ppv when most of us thought he'd be back and winning the title there. I'm fascinated to see where this all goes. So many possibilities. And then you potentially add Sami and Steen in the mix? Maybe even Bray before that? I can't handle. Wrestling heaven overload. 

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I already had Bryan Danielson as the Greatest Wrestler of All Time when he had to retire in February 2016 but he's added to his claim to that title since getting cleared to wrestle again in March 2018. In that time:

  • Only Bryan could be a beloved babyface and hated heel as The New Daniel Bryan.
  • The New Daniel Bryan pushes his ROH World Championship run from September 2005-December 2006 as my favourite period of Danielson's career.
  • The matches vs. Brock Lesnar (Survivor Series 2018), a ***** match with AJ Styles (TLC 2018), the Elimination Chamber match at Elimination Chamber 2019, vs. Kofi Kingston at WrestleMania XXXV, vs. The Fiend at Royal Rumble 2020, his last WWE match against Roman Reigns on Smackdown Live (30th April 2021) and vs. Kenny Omega last night.
  • The promos particularly as The New Daniel Bryan.
Edited by The Natural
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Opener felt big time and delivered, while still feeling like they have a lot more in the tank. Liked Bryan pulling a couple moves out that weren’t really in his WWE moveset. Poison rana looked really good here, although Tony’s call about never seeing a counter like that was a bit stupid considering it’s one of the most overdone moves in AEW. Thought the booking was perfect, and AEW has enough goodwill that it didn’t feel like a copout as you can be confident they’ll deliver more. Calling time as they just slugged it out was a good call as well, rather than doing a cliched saved by the bell finish.

MJF/Pillman was fine and I like the overall booking of it, but Pillman does nothing for me as a face. He feels miscast - bad look, doesn’t seem naturally likeable, and his instincts just feel off as a face, e.g. he lingered too long on the ‘I outsmarted him’ head point, so rather than being a cute heel comeuppance thing, it just made him seem like a dick.

Cody/Black was most notable for the crowd reactions. I say you turn Cody without completely turning him, basically a bit more of an explicit version of what happened with Cena over the years. Don’t have him snap and turn on the fans, have him acknowledge the boos but do a ‘I might not be the hero you want, but I’m the one you need’ thing. Don’t have him start cheating or anything, have him be an overly traditional face in terms of actions, but make him a sanctimonious prick about it. Maybe some hints at abusing his power, have Brandi forcing herself into moments like she did here. Basically more of the same, but properly acknowledge it’s happening.

I’m in the FTR should be winning camp, but Sting continues to look good. You can see he’s a bit slow on some of the rope running or counter spots, but he looks great when he’s just throwing hands.

Main was fine, if a little disappointing. I preferred the Statlander defence. I like Ruby’s presentation, but she’s done nothing in her two singles matches to make me think she’s more than a good hand. Her offence feels a bit lacking in a big showcase like this - her kicks are generally weak, the top rope senton was ok, but otherwise there wasn’t much there to pop the crowd. By contrast, I think Britt has a tendency to do too many big spots for a heel. Here she had the slingblade, two variations on the fisherman neckbreaker, the curb stomp, and the avalanche air raid crash. It kinda feels like some of those big spots should be getting pops for the face and almost makes her look too strong, which maybe contributes to her being more over than all the faces.

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50 minutes ago, Krone Meltzer said:

This brings me back to the time I got really high during the Cole/Gargano 2 out of 3 falls match at Takeover: New York. Man, the final five minutes of that felt like I had entered into another dimension.

One time I was high and listening to "Flashlght" by Parliament, the 11 minute version, and I swore I'd been listening to it for hours.

Everybody's got a little light under the sun.

Edited by Technico Support
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11 minutes ago, Kev said:

Cody/Black was most notable for the crowd reactions. I say you turn Cody without completely turning him, basically a bit more of an explicit version of what happened with Cena over the years. Don’t have him snap and turn on the fans, have him acknowledge the boos but do a ‘I might not be the hero you want, but I’m the one you need’ thing. Don’t have him start cheating or anything, have him be an overly traditional face in terms of actions, but make him a sanctimonious prick about it. Maybe some hints at abusing his power, have Brandi forcing herself into moments like she did here. Basically more of the same, but properly acknowledge it’s happening.

They could do this and it would be very good because everything Cody does is very good, but I'd vote against it. If he's sanctimonious in that way or it becomes clear that he's abusing his position, the thing loses its power and he's just another heel and people are more comfortable in their feelings just being part of the show. They're in the sweet spot right now. And I know this fan base doesn't want its intelligence insulted. I wouldn't want to see Cody spoon feed them.

Edited by John from Cincinnati
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I get what Cody is doing and I get that it may be working effectively for what he intends but I think being a babyface who gets booed is way more of a problem than being a heel who gets cheered. Like, Cody may be a fake babyface actively courting boos but this promotion whole thing is "listening to the audience" so this is the one guy doing the WWE-Cena schtick and it comes off odd and tonally off to what everyone else is doing. 

I think we now kind of retroactively understand that the Cena thing worked because Cena had unique charisma and eventually he leaned into it in a way that made his matches really special, especially against either a really fucking cool heel or a cool babyface. But we saw with Reigns it totally did not work and Reigns just annoyed everyone and came off like a loser until he just went heel. 

I know Cody doesn't think that heels and faces are a thing but look at what this company is doing up and down the card. The Elite are the biggest douche heels who ever douched. MJF and his crew the biggest pieces of shit on Earth. Team Taz is gang attacking people left and right.   Bryan and Punk and Darby and Sting and Jungle Boy and Christian and the Lucha Boys and Kingston and Mox are basically 80s NWA babyfaces right now supporting each other and fighting against the evil-doers while Cody is embracing Russo-ism coming out of the middle of the tunnel. For the guy that for the first few years in the company was Mr. Old School rehashing his dad's old NWA promos and angles he's now way the fuck off from the tone of the promotion.  

 

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4 minutes ago, Hagan said:

I get what Cody is doing and I get that it may be working effectively for what he intends but I think being a babyface who gets booed is way more of a problem than being a heel who gets cheered. Like, Cody may be a fake babyface actively courting boos but this promotion whole thing is "listening to the audience" so this is the one guy doing the WWE-Cena schtick and it comes off odd and tonally off to what everyone else is doing. 

I think we now kind of retroactively understand that the Cena thing worked because Cena had unique charisma and eventually he leaned into it in a way that made his matches really special, especially against either a really fucking cool heel or a cool babyface. But we saw with Reigns it totally did not work and Reigns just annoyed everyone and came off like a loser until he just went heel. 

I know Cody doesn't think that heels and faces are a thing but look at what this company is doing up and down the card. The Elite are the biggest douche heels who ever douched. MJF and his crew the biggest pieces of shit on Earth. Team Taz is gang attacking people left and right.   Bryan and Punk and Darby and Sting and Jungle Boy and Christian and the Lucha Boys and Kingston and Mox are basically 80s NWA babyfaces right now supporting each other and fighting against the evil-doers while Cody is embracing Russo-ism coming out of the middle of the tunnel. For the guy that for the first few years in the company was Mr. Old School rehashing his dad's old NWA promos and angles he's now way the fuck off from the tone of the promotion.  

 

Why does it matter what everyone else is doing? Is there even a "tonally off" in this company? Nothing's ever been consistent. People talk in interviews about the variety of flavours this company offers up. Jericho and MJF's song and dance and a worked MMA fight existed within one feud. I don't buy there not being space for what Cody's doing when people get to make their art whatever way they want everywhere else on these shows.

As to all the heels and babyfaces on the show, sure. But if Cody's doing what he's doing, why would he acknowledge your reality? The premise that these are faces and heels should be false to him. They're athletes, just like him. 

Pigeonholing Cody as either Cena or Reigns is faulty. He's playing in that space, but he's neither. And a babyface who's booed has a chance to make for more interesting match dynamics than a heel who's cheered. Because so many smart fans just can't let it make sense to them. It's an affront to them. It's the ultimate type of heel in this day and age. 

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