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AEW - DEC 2021


The Natural
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Ratings will be tepid while they burden themselves with so much lame stuff. Anything involving Jericho - awful (and by increasing measures storyline-to-storyline). Anything involving Rhodes - awful (with the added bonus of killing the runs of anyone & everyone involved with him). Hobbs is OK but Team Taz generally - awful (exemplified by that pitiful Starks/Cage feud which got crickets in every arena). Presentation of Hangman as champion - awful (he has a meek voice and sounded like a little bitch on commentary - he hasn't fought since winning the belt while Danielson is running through his faction - get him in the ring ASAP). Stranding Darby - a demonstrative draw - in a midcard feud with these weird Ass kids - awful.

Danielson has been superb while Punk has been relatively meek .. but this malaise certainly isn't on those guys. Overall the company presents itself as this "happy family - what a great workplace environment we have fostered compared to that other show" to almost absurd lengths, but when Hangman is having his legs cut from underneath him as a none-fighting face champion while Rhodes festers (literally) in a main event spot on Dynamite & Jericho leeches on to his latest popular-act-of-the-moment to get some rub clearly to the detriment of ratings & the company, one must wonder how much politicking really is going on behind the scenes over there.

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16 minutes ago, A_K said:

(exemplified by that pitiful Starks/Cage feud which got crickets in every arena)

This is absolutely wrong. When Starks beat Cage for the FTW title, the crowd in Houston treated Starks like Hollywood Rock Jr. They were rabidly behind Starks, miscast as the heel in the feud against the lumbering oaf Cage. The angles between the title change and the blowoff Rampage match (keep in mind most Rampage crowds are burned out from Dynamite) sucked though and helped kill the heat the feud had. 

Starks missed three months with the neck injury following the Hangmin match in April. He came back in July, beat Cage in his first match back, then didn't wrestle until September. He's had six matches over October and November so it may have been a case of him coming back a little early from the neck injury and then they had to slow down the build to the blowoff match. Cage isn't a guy that can handle doing talking angles particularly well and there are only so many ways in which you can avoid that in trying to stretch out a feud with him. 

Team Taz 4 life. 

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7 hours ago, christopher.annino said:

I wonder how people are going to react if/when Rami, Steen, and Gargano show up. They're all in obviously higher card ranking than Nese, they bring a lot more to the table, but it just always seems like any new signing has people bemoaning the state of the company. Frankly I think that's really weird and wouldn't think about them adding talent if I didn't see it discussed here. 

 

Rami and Steen are going to be viewed as stars related to big players in AEW- I don't think folks will have an issue with them.  Gargano they might see as a money sink.

 

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9 hours ago, A_K said:

Ratings will be tepid while they burden themselves with so much lame stuff. Anything involving Jericho - awful (and by increasing measures storyline-to-storyline). Anything involving Rhodes - awful (with the added bonus of killing the runs of anyone & everyone involved with him). Hobbs is OK but Team Taz generally - awful (exemplified by that pitiful Starks/Cage feud which got crickets in every arena). Presentation of Hangman as champion - awful (he has a meek voice and sounded like a little bitch on commentary - he hasn't fought since winning the belt while Danielson is running through his faction - get him in the ring ASAP). Stranding Darby - a demonstrative draw - in a midcard feud with these weird Ass kids - awful.

Danielson has been superb while Punk has been relatively meek .. but this malaise certainly isn't on those guys. Overall the company presents itself as this "happy family - what a great workplace environment we have fostered compared to that other show" to almost absurd lengths, but when Hangman is having his legs cut from underneath him as a none-fighting face champion while Rhodes festers (literally) in a main event spot on Dynamite & Jericho leeches on to his latest popular-act-of-the-moment to get some rub clearly to the detriment of ratings & the company, one must wonder how much politicking really is going on behind the scenes over there.

Yeah, I know! Right? It's so easy! It seems like Tony Khan doesn't even realize that all he needs to do is cater specifically to the very narrow tastes of every single person with a keyboard and internet access. If he did that, surely ratings would skyrocket.

Oh well, guess we'll have to suffer through more weeks of Punk and Bryan wrestling on free TV and other lame stuff like that. 

Edited by Gordberg
changed "dipshit" to "person" because I'm feeling better now. I was all pissy this morning.
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On 11/30/2021 at 10:52 PM, The Natural said:

AEW's terrific year comes to a close. With a month left, here's my awards which could change:

Wrestler of the Year: Bryan Danielson. Amazing giving it to someone with three soon to be four months in AEW than somebody who's had a whole year. The classic vs. Kenny Omega in Danielson's first AEW match I gave *****, ditto for vs. Minoru Suzuki and nearly did vs. Eddie Kingston as well. Danielson is my worldwide WOTY as well.

Match of the Year: Kenny Omega vs. Bryan Danielson, AEW Dynamite Grand Slam. It's my worldwide MOTY as well.

Tag Team of the Year: #FTR. My Tag Team of the Year for any promotion.

Card of the Year: All Out. My Card of the Year from any company.

Women's Wrestler of the Year: Dr Britt Baker narrowly over Serena Deeb.

Best Promos: CM Punk or Eddie Kingston. I'll have to pick one, not sure which yet.

Sting deserved a special award, he proved a lot of people wrong myself included when he wrestled. Sting had numerous tag team matches this year with Darby Allin, the best was vs. #FTR at AEW Dynamite Grand Slam. Honourable mention to Allin/Sting vs. Scorpio Sky/Ethan Page at Double or Nothing.

No, I am not officially sponsored by BTE, though I am a huge fan of both the show and the wrestlers (as these following responses indicate):

Wrestler of the Year: Kenny Omega, though Danielson was in fact real close. In a weird way, Danielson's "match quality" suffering a bit during his impromptu heel run may actually hurt him here, just cause he needed a bit more quality to overcome Omega's quantity of strong big match performances. While the exploding barbed wire finish was a cluster finish I hated (and honestly don't care too much about failed shenanigans afterward), the rest of Omega's title matches ranged from very good (Christian at All Out, Jungle Boy on Dynamite, Impact Title against Christian to kick off Rampage) to MOTYC (Rey Fenix on early 2021 Dynamite, triple threat at Double or Nothing that was awesome despite finish likely not being in doubt, Hangman loss at Full Gear). Add that to his awesome performances in multi-man matches (the ten man elimination against Dark Order in July and the Halloween night Dark Order match when Hangman cements that the tide has turned against Elite), and he edges Danielson despite BD's ridiculous run since All Out.

Tag Team of the Year: The Young Bucks, who were the most consistent among the biggest teams in AEW (Lucha Brothers, FTR, Jurassic Express, Santana and Ortiz) along with having high end matches throughout the year (favorites being the title defense against Pac and Fenix and the title loss to the Lucha Brothers that I will highlight later). While the ultimate heel turn should have happened on the New Year's edition for maximum match (instead of teasing it for another three months before finally following through), the Bucks quickly made up for last time with their amazing asshole behavior and doing a good job of mixing skill and chicanery (for me, the best heels are the ones that do not need cheat to win because they are plenty skilled without it, but still cheat anyway because it's the easy way out). After losing the titles, they have a ton of fun multi-man matches after Adam Cole joined, and I personally loved the falls count anywhere match at Full Gear. Not a coincide that so many of the highest end AEW matches have involved the Young Bucks, and they now have my 2020 and 2021 matches of the year in AEW (Revolution 2020 against Hangman Page and Kenny Omega, All Out 2021 against Lucha Brothers).

Match of the Year: Young Bucks vs. Lucha Brothers, Tag Team Title Cage Match, All Out 2021): A great story, in that it pitted the Bucks against Lucha Brothers with the correct face/heel alignment after their earlier AEW rivalry, plus the cage was a smart addition since the Bucks had become overly reliant on outside interference in their summer tag title defenses. The match featured all of the crazy high spots that I love with modern wrestling, an extreme level of violence that worked with the Bucks's spiked shoe, and many near falls with an outcome that truly felt in doubt most of the way. Old school fans may disagree some, but I think this will truly be the most remembered AEW match from 2021 and will be one of their canonical matches throughout AEW's existence.

Card of the Year: Full Gear 2021, as it slightly edged out All Out thanks to its insane match quality. All Out was arguably more memorable, probably wins in you interpret this category as most entertaining card of the year (though Full Gear wasn't far behind that either). I am going with Full Gear because of the match quality, as there was insane matches at the start of the card, middle of the card, end of the card, and a couple other damn good ones sprinkled in between. Double or Nothing was also a shitload of fun with fans back and the smart end to Stadium Stampede, and I expect that Revolution 2022 will continue the strong string of pay per views that AEW has going (and I'm almost disappointed that I likely will end my live attendance streak at 2).

Women's Wrestler of the Year: DMD, by a healthy margin, though Serena Deeb was awesome throughout the year when healthy Thunder Rosa should be next women's champion, and Hikaru Shida was awesome in the Deeb matches and TBS Tournament Quarterfinal match against Nyla Rose. Dr. Britt Baker is one of the top stars in the company period, and anxiously await her matches with Thunder Rosa and a likely turncoat Jamie Hayter in 2022.

Best Promos: I am actually giving this one to Bryan Danielson, as he has effortlessly transitioned into his asshole heel character so shortly after his debut (and likely having to do so earlier then expected with Moxley's situation). While Hangman is naturally very likeable and no one sensible wants to see him lose early on, it has still been genius work by Danielson to be such a great first foil, and anxiously await the title match at Winter is Coming.

Moment of the Year: Tie between Punk's debut in Chicago and Hangman winning the title at Full Gear.

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As a casual at best watcher for the last 2 decades, I'm at least aware of who Kevin Steen and Keith Lee are (helps that I have friends who are big indie fans and Lee wrestled in Texas often) and they would stand out some because they're athletic husky guys. 

It seems like AEW is trying to show up WWE by bringing in discarded NTX talent and turning them into big timers. But at some point, they might run the risk of being looked at as "a place for WWE rejects" rather than a "real wrestling alternative".

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1 hour ago, JLowe said:

As a casual at best watcher for the last 2 decades, I'm at least aware of who Kevin Steen and Keith Lee are (helps that I have friends who are big indie fans and Lee wrestled in Texas often) and they would stand out some because they're athletic husky guys. 

It seems like AEW is trying to show up WWE by bringing in discarded NTX talent and turning them into big timers. But at some point, they might run the risk of being looked at as "a place for WWE rejects" rather than a "real wrestling alternative".

I get the concern but it comes down to how these guys are used.

Cole was brought in, is one of the most over guys in the company, and is used in the lead heel faction as sort of a Tully to Omega's Flair.

Bobby Fish was brought in and he helped put over the TNT title and then moved into being a minion of sorts of Cole.

Nese did the same as Fish and we'll see where he ends up. I like him as a Danielson goon or maybe a third guy with Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page.

There could be a problem of oxygen with 3 hours of prime TV a week, even with Dynamite's Crash-TV-With-Longer-Matches format, and it could be that some of the more homegrown talent get lost in the shuffle accordingly, but the benefit is that guys are kept far more fresh than in the WWE machine too. So it comes down to careful booking in the end.

They could use some more lower-mid card babyfaces to feed to people but that's kind of the purpose of the majority of the Dark Order/Best Friends right now. There are just way more lower-mid card heels in the company. 

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1 hour ago, JLowe said:

But at some point, they might run the risk of being looked at as "a place for WWE rejects" rather than a "real wrestling alternative".

I feel you, but I can't get behind this. Like, I completely understand your position, it's not at all a crazy thing to say, but the "rejects" are way too talented now. There hasn't been a single signing so far that I could compare to Brutus Beefcake main eventing Starrcade, or TNA hotshotting Rhyno to the world title.

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18 hours ago, A_K said:

Ratings will be tepid while they burden themselves with so much lame stuff. Anything involving Jericho - awful (and by increasing measures storyline-to-storyline). Anything involving Rhodes - awful (with the added bonus of killing the runs of anyone & everyone involved with him). Hobbs is OK but Team Taz generally - awful (exemplified by that pitiful Starks/Cage feud which got crickets in every arena). Presentation of Hangman as champion - awful (he has a meek voice and sounded like a little bitch on commentary - he hasn't fought since winning the belt while Danielson is running through his faction - get him in the ring ASAP). Stranding Darby - a demonstrative draw - in a midcard feud with these weird Ass kids - awful.

Danielson has been superb while Punk has been relatively meek .. but this malaise certainly isn't on those guys. Overall the company presents itself as this "happy family - what a great workplace environment we have fostered compared to that other show" to almost absurd lengths, but when Hangman is having his legs cut from underneath him as a none-fighting face champion while Rhodes festers (literally) in a main event spot on Dynamite & Jericho leeches on to his latest popular-act-of-the-moment to get some rub clearly to the detriment of ratings & the company, one must wonder how much politicking really is going on behind the scenes over there.

Jesus there’s a lot of just mind bendingly awful takes in here, but that’s to be expected from the dude who leaves the “laugh” emoji every time someone posts the ratings and it’s less than a million. I’d respect your opinion more if you just came out and said “I dislike this show.”

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3 hours ago, JLowe said:

But at some point, they might run the risk of being looked at as "a place for WWE rejects" rather than a "real wrestling alternative".

I'm sure there are pockets of the internet that already proclaim "LOL AEW is TNA" that any time AEW signs a former WWE guy, but considering WWE had half the population of the world signed at some point over the last five years, it's not like it's an avoidable circumstance. Do you let viable talent die on the vine because some dorks might send some shitty tweets about you, or do you try to make your show better by signing folks that you think fit?

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5 minutes ago, Stefanie the Human said:

I'm sure there are pockets of the internet that already proclaim "LOL AEW is TNA" that any time AEW signs a former WWE guy, but considering WWE had half the population of the world signed at some point over the last five years, it's not like it's an avoidable circumstance. Do you let viable talent die on the vine because some dorks might send some shitty tweets about you, or do you try to make your show better by signing folks that you think fit?

Excellent points. Another thing I want to add: TK and everyone else in charge are probably acutely aware of that perception. To that end, they've done a great job of course-correcting. The way they've handled 2.0, Tony Nese, and Bobby Fish is night and day better compared to, for example, Matt Cardona's brief six match deal last year. I think that's the closest they've ever come to "we know who that is!" territory. The argument could be made for Christian, I guess, but 1) he can still go, and go well and 2) he had just returned at the Rumble so there were extenuating circumstances

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