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AEW - AUGUST 2022


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38 minutes ago, Matt D said:

can understand if no one under 35 wants to wants to watch Dark/Elevation, because I think it's for people who grew up with Wrestling Challenge and Worldwide and mid-late 90s WCW Saturday Night and Velocity. That's the tricky thing with a lot of the discourse right now. A lot of what AEW produces is for me in a lot of ways. A big chunk of it is not, and it's kind of funny because it feels like some people want more of the things I don't want and less of the things I do want.

Hard agree on this (and FWIW, I'm gonna be 35 in a few months). Some of the discussion surrounding Dark/Elevation/Rampage, not so much here because this board has always skewed older/smarter, but places like Twitter and reddit, is absolutely insane. Like, near-literally the ramblings of someone who has been institutionalized against their will.

I cannot imagine the joy that would have been sucked out of my childhood if back then, we were all complaining that like, Randy Savage vs Bobby Eaton from Worldwide wasn't on Nitro, and it's not fair because they gave Chono airtime and he's not even signed, and why did Sonny Onoo open the stupid door to begin with, etc.

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This year has been a test of Khan's ability to adapt and also to focus, and I'm not sure he's doing great at either.  I'm sure he had a big plan for Punk, a guy with name recognition and back in wrestling after a long time being gone, to be the world champ and have a run through the TV renewal period.  But Punk and seemingly everyone else got injured, the MJF shit blew up, everyone got hurt on the way to Forbidden Door, and now the whole deal feels a little aimless.  Forbidden Door and ROH both took his eye off the ball somewhat, as well.  Oh, and interim titles suck.  So anyway, you have all these issues forcing a "Plan B" that Tony seemingly never had, and then NJPW and ROH taking TK's attention from the core product.  It's been a little rough to say the least.

Edited by Technico Support
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Guest Stefanie Without Stefanie
31 minutes ago, Zakk_Sabbath said:

I cannot imagine the joy that would have been sucked out of my childhood if back then, we were all complaining that like, Randy Savage vs Bobby Eaton from Worldwide wasn't on Nitro, and it's not fair because they gave Chono airtime and he's not even signed, and why did Sonny Onoo open the stupid door to begin with, etc.

You also had a lot more time when you were a child, too. I wish I had the time I used to.

I don't have any issue with cold matches with unusual combinations, or guest wrestlers from time to time. That said, there has to be meaning. Like I mentioned in the All Out thread, the Dustin/Claudio match would have been a lot more intriguing to me personally if Dustin had gotten some wins beforehand. Since he didn't, I knew it was a skippable match because it'd be mechanically a fine match but there were other things I wanted to watch instead.

Put the result in question, basically. Make me feel like anything can happen. You know. Like I was a kid again.

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20 minutes ago, Stefanie Without Stefanie said:

Put the result in question, basically. Make me feel like anything can happen. You know. Like I was a kid again.

I definitely sympathize with you on that. I'm self-reflective enough to realize that I probably fall into the category of "in a vacuum" folks you mentioned in your OP, so I had a feeling we were going to differ in opinion on this one anyway

Using your example - IMO, Dustin vs Claudio was always going to be a cold match, just by simple virtue of not being on a Wednesday. So with that viewpoint in mind, I felt that the fact that we even got a promo addressing the match at all was adequate (if not a bonus). But again, that's coming from the school of having watched and enjoyed at least 5-8 hours of cold matches every single weekend, so if that's not your thing to begin with, I can see how we would diverge on that.

To use a sports analogy:  it's probably a lot like watching your mathematically eliminated team play December football. You're sitting on one end of the couch going "Dude, who gives a shit?" while I'm on the other end drunk-rambling about how it's for THE LOVE OF THE GAME.

 

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16 minutes ago, Zakk_Sabbath said:

I definitely sympathize with you on that. I'm self-reflective enough to realize that I probably fall into the category of "in a vacuum" folks you mentioned in your OP, so I had a feeling we were going to differ in opinion on this one anyway

Using your example - IMO, Dustin vs Claudio was always going to be a cold match, just by simple virtue of not being on a Wednesday. So with that viewpoint in mind, I felt that the fact that we even got a promo addressing the match at all was adequate (if not a bonus). But again, that's coming from the school of having watched and enjoyed at least 5-8 hours of cold matches every single weekend, so if that's not your thing to begin with, I can see how we would diverge on that.

To use a sports analogy:  it's probably a lot like watching your mathematically eliminated team play December football. You're sitting on one end of the couch going "Dude, who gives a shit?" while I'm on the other end drunk-rambling about how it's for THE LOVE OF THE GAME.

 

I wouldn't go so far as to say "who gives a shit". Obviously people give a shit. I'm just saying I personally don't have a reason to give a shit lol. That's something I wish would be taken into consideration whenever folks are like "why don't people love these aspects of AEW?" or "why are people losing interest?, well here, I'm telling you why it's happening for me.

10 minutes ago, DEAN said:

Well, the best match in AEW history, Bryan Danielson vs Kenny Omega was just Danielson showing up to wrestling Kenny Omega.

I think that's a different situation, because 1) Danielson was new to the company and carried a significant amount of intrigue to him, and 2) hadn't been presented as a loser on national TV for months if not years on end. He was a WrestleMania main eventer just months prior, after all. If he had lost all his matches on TV for a long time leading up to it, sure the match still would have been great, but would it have had the same intrigue aside from people watching with an analytical eye?

(And I preferred Hangman/Omega vs the Bucks! And I don't even like the Bucks! TAKE THAT DEAN.)

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7 minutes ago, Stefanie Without Stefanie said:

I wouldn't go so far as to say "who gives a shit". Obviously people give a shit. I'm just saying I personally don't have a reason to give a shit lol. That's something I wish would be taken into consideration whenever folks are like "why don't people love these aspects of AEW?" or "why are people losing interest?, well here, I'm telling you why it's happening for me.

I think that's a different situation, because 1) Danielson was new to the company and carried a significant amount of intrigue to him, and 2) hadn't been presented as a loser on national TV for months if not years on end. He was a WrestleMania main eventer just months prior, after all. If he had lost all his matches on TV for a long time leading up to it, sure the match still would have been great, but would it have had the same intrigue aside from people watching with an analytical eye?

(And I preferred Hangman/Omega vs the Bucks! And I don't even like the Bucks! TAKE THAT DEAN.)

The other most exciting stuff in AEW recently was Konosuke Takeshita losing giant matches on TV with no build up.  The main event from last Wednesday had no build up and was really great and got over with the rubes.  I think folks are overthinking it or comparing it to WWE, which is pretty meticulous.  AEW is insane.  I dig that about it.

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Finding meaning for every match is kind of like an infinite regress. If you want to build Dustin up to fight Claudio, you can easily ask the question, "Why is Dustin fighting JTTS #3 on Dynamite? Why should I care?" Eventually, at some point, something (or a bunch of somethings) are necessarily going to have to be "cold," in that sense. If anything, Dustin throwing in the "I've never won a world title" bit was adding some story to what otherwise WOULD have been a completely "cold" match. 

Edited by Dog
Homophones, though Dean has immortalized my dumbassery. :(
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Just now, Dog said:

Finding meaning for every match is kind of like an infinite regress. If you want to build Dustin up to fight Claudio, you can easily ask the question, "Why is Dustin fighting JTTS #3 on Dynamite? Why should I care?" Eventually, at some point, something (or a bunch of somethings) are necessarily going to have to be "cold," in that sense. If anything, Dustin throwing in the "I've never one a world title" bit was adding some story to what otherwise WOULD have been a completely "cold" match. 

It was for the ROH world title.  That's all the heat you need.

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Garcia beats Danielson. Swerve/Lee takes titles from Bucks. Moxley squashes Punk. Etc.
Creating “unpredictable” shock tv results is not and never has been the problem.

Edited by A_K
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Guest Stefanie Without Stefanie
3 minutes ago, DEAN said:

The other most exciting stuff in AEW recently was Konosuke Takeshita losing giant matches on TV with no build up.  The main event from last Wednesday had no build up and was really great and got over with the rubes.  I think folks are overthinking it or comparing it to WWE, which is pretty meticulous.  AEW is insane.  I dig that about it.

Which is totally fine! It's a matter of preference. If it's connecting with you, that's great. It's not connecting with me, that's fine too, I have other things I can watch.

I don't think everything needs to be meticulous or overthought or whatever. But like... give me a reason to feel like the match is important. Dustin vs Claudio wasn't important to me personally because AEW hasn't given me a reason to believe Dustin had a chance. And if the argument is "well, it was always going to be a cold match on Rampage", then why put it on TV when you have so many other things you can use that time for? That's where AEW could really benefit from breaking from their formula on Dynamite and having eight or nine matches instead of six, because then they could build up contenders for these matches that are otherwise cold instead of just saying "well, here's Dustin Rhodes, he has no chance, but he's going to fight Claudio anyway".

Do you see what I mean? It's no fault of the wrestlers, and I think that's the disconnect in the conversation. Folks are watching for great matches. That's great. You're getting what you're coming for and I 100% support that if it makes you happy. I have so many great matches I can choose from because we're spoiled for choice these days, but my time is also limited, so if something isn't connecting with me in terms of characters, I don't know why I should give that my attention over something else.

That's the point I'm trying to make, because folks have been asking why people are checking out of AEW, and I can only answer for myself.

(Also, my VPN at work is down, hence why I'm more active today...)

Should AEW change to suit me? Ehhh. I mean I'd prefer it. But that'd also mean they'd be booking a lot more women's matches... so yes. YES THEY SHOULD. BOOK IT TONY. I DEMAND SATISFACTION.

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6 minutes ago, Stefanie Without Stefanie said:

I don't think everything needs to be meticulous or overthought or whatever. But like... give me a reason to feel like the match is important. Dustin vs Claudio wasn't important to me personally because AEW hasn't given me a reason to believe Dustin had a chance. And if the argument is "well, it was always going to be a cold match on Rampage", then why put it on TV when you have so many other things you can use that time for? That's where AEW could really benefit from breaking from their formula on Dynamite and having eight or nine matches instead of six, because then they could build up contenders for these matches that are otherwise cold instead of just saying "well, here's Dustin Rhodes, he has no chance, but he's going to fight Claudio anyway".

But by your argument, you wouldn't have watched Dustin's "build-up" matches because they didn't give you a reason to feel like they were important. Unless they do something like, "Dustin hates Evil Uno because a mask is easier than paint." At some point on the regress, there has to be a match with little to no backstory, or you're just reaching for relevance and whatever you come up with sounds ridiculous. 

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2 minutes ago, Stefanie Without Stefanie said:

Which is totally fine! It's a matter of preference. If it's connecting with you, that's great. It's not connecting with me, that's fine too, I have other things I can watch.

I don't think everything needs to be meticulous or overthought or whatever. But like... give me a reason to feel like the match is important. Dustin vs Claudio wasn't important to me personally because AEW hasn't given me a reason to believe Dustin had a chance. And if the argument is "well, it was always going to be a cold match on Rampage", then why put it on TV when you have so many other things you can use that time for? That's where AEW could really benefit from breaking from their formula on Dynamite and having eight or nine matches instead of six, because then they could build up contenders for these matches that are otherwise cold instead of just saying "well, here's Dustin Rhodes, he has no chance, but he's going to fight Claudio anyway".

Do you see what I mean? It's no fault of the wrestlers, and I think that's the disconnect in the conversation. Folks are watching for great matches. That's great. You're getting what you're coming for and I 100% support that if it makes you happy. I have so many great matches I can choose from because we're spoiled for choice these days, but my time is also limited, so if something isn't connecting with me in terms of characters, I don't know why I should give that my attention over something else.

That's the point I'm trying to make, because folks have been asking why people are checking out of AEW, and I can only answer for myself.

(Also, my VPN at work is down, hence why I'm more active today...)

Should AEW change to suit me? Ehhh. I mean I'd prefer it. But that'd also mean they'd be booking a lot more women's matches... so yes. YES THEY SHOULD. BOOK IT TONY. I DEMAND SATISFACTION.

Oh, I'm retired so I got nothing but time to watch all the wrestling on earth.  If you have limited access to wrestling, I can understand wanting more of a set-up for what you are watching.  We are averaging 26 good straight up in the ring good wrestling matches on free TV a week currently.  The best match last week was Kevin Owens showing up and having a Steiner vs Sasaki remake on RAW.  I could see someone not liking it because there was no build up.  I don't care about that because I am trying to get in as much in ring wrestling as I can process.  If there was a big build up to it, I would have fast forwarded over it to get to the match.  Yeah, I don;t really give a shit about setting up most wrestling but I'm trying to watch 20 hours of wrestling a week and I don't have time for 20 minutes of Edge talking me into the building to see him take out Finn Balor.  I just want to see the match.  AEW and WWE and IMPACT- and to a lesser extent NWA and MLW-  have so many people who can flat out go in the ring, that you can throw two people or two tagteams in the ring it will be a four star match.  THAT'S WHAT I'm HERE FOR!  WORKRATE, DADDY!

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Guest Stefanie Without Stefanie
1 minute ago, Dog said:

But by your argument, you wouldn't have watched Dustin's "build-up" matches because they didn't give you a reason to feel like they were important. Unless they do something like, "Dustin hates Evil Uno because a mask is easier than paint." At some point on the regress, there has to be a match with little to no backstory, or you're just reaching for relevance and whatever you come up with sounds ridiculous. 

Every story has to have a starting point, right? So let's say Dustin says "I want to challenge for a World title again, I need to work into contention". 15 second promo. Done. Then each match he has is a logical growing point as he works his way up the ladder. His opponent could even have the same reason... they may respect Dustin, but they want a World title too. There you go. It's not rocket science.

AEW having Dustin go "I want to win a World title, I will accept your open challenge" is like opening a book in the last two chapters and expecting to care about the characters in the story, for me anyway.

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Let me play devil's advocate on something that is NOT a direct response to the arguments on this page but maybe adjacent or parallel or informed by them?

One of my absolute favorite things about AEW in the last year (which is the entirety of the time I've been watching) are the Emi Sakura tags on Elevation. I loved watching how she interacted with her partners. I loved how they responded to her signature fun spots whether it's the tea bit or the We Will Rock you bit in the corner. They could get hard-hitting and heated. They never wore off their welcome. She was up against a variety of opponents with a variety of partners. Sometimes she had Mei or someone else seconding her. Emi will be very different teaming with Nyla or teaming with Maki or teaming with Diamante or teaming with Shafir, etc. She'll be different wrestling Ryo or Shida or Skye Blue or Anna Jay or Ruby Soho. Big energy, fun spots, funny at times, the crowd never really bored, in part because they're itching for wrestling and it's one of the first thing they see.

If they put that match on Dynamite or Rampage next week, it'd crater the ratings for the segment. If they built it up for a month, maybe they'd have something but it'd come at an immediate cost when they're so focused on week to week and are nearing a contract renegotiation.

Whereas, if they run them before the show, they can give some wrestlers some reps, let them learn a bit by wrestling Emi or with Emi, give the crowd something entertaining to end Elevation and get them ready for the main show, can get some eyes on the web shows in case they ever want to do anything with Emi (or Skye who benefited from this). Every little bit helps. It serves a purpose and is way less of a risk than messing with the formula.

But as things are now, they can't just run it on a Dynamite without a cost. It's in investment when I think they're hesitant to invest. Sometimes, things do work. They ran the Trustbusters on Dark for a few weeks and then pushed them to Rampage (people complained). They ran 3 awesome, awesome weeks of Deeb and Martinez teaming before doing the Rampage match and the angle that followed to set up the PPV match (people complained that it was the first time they saw them and it came out of nowhere).

If you list my top ten AEW things in the last twelve months, one would be Emi tags and one would be the Martinez/Deeb "Anything You Can Do" tags and feud.

It's ok not to have time. I'm sure some people here would be more than happy to point out things that we think anyone should check out at the end of the year. That's part of what these communities have always been about, annotating and curating, list-making, comp-making.

That said, and I've said it dozens of times now, AEW could solve some of these issues with just a few small changes. Make things matter. You're paying the people anyway. You're putting the matches on anyway. Draw connections overtly instead of covertly. Give people tools to understand what's going on and why things matter. There's already a lot there to be lifted up without any change to booking strategy. Low hanging-fruit which is more than some tweets and a sprawl at the bottom of the screen. And changing the booking strategy even 10% would probably help a ton anyway.

EDIT: Also theoretically, I can retire with my full pension in ~17 years so be prepared to put me on block to avoid my massive sprawls of text within two decades?

Edited by Matt D
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Guest Stefanie Without Stefanie
4 minutes ago, DEAN said:

Oh, I'm retired so I got nothing but time to watch all the wrestling on earth.  If you have limited access to wrestling, I can understand wanting more of a set-up for what you are watching.  We are averaging 26 good straight up in the ring good wrestling matches on free TV a week currently.  The best match last week was Kevin Owens showing up and having a Steiner vs Sasaki remake on RAW.  I could see someone not liking it because there was no build up.  I don't care about that because I am trying to get in as much in ring wrestling as I can process.  If there was a big build up to it, I would have fast forwarded over it to get to the match.  Yeah, I don;t really give a shit about setting up most wrestling but I'm trying to watch 20 hours of wrestling a week and I don't have time for 20 minutes of Edge talking me into the building to see him take out Finn Balor.  I just want to see the match.  AEW and WWE and IMPACT- and to a lesser extent NWA and MLW-  have so many people who can flat out go in the ring, that you can throw two people or two tagteams in the ring it will be a four star match.  THAT'S WHAT I'm HERE FOR!  WORKRATE, DADDY!

/me checks her retirement package

/me sighs

God damn it, Dean. lol

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1 minute ago, Stefanie Without Stefanie said:

/me checks her retirement package

/me sighs

God damn it, Dean. lol

Have your heart explode!  It speeds things up!

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Guest Stefanie Without Stefanie
1 minute ago, DEAN said:

Have your heart explode!  It speeds things up!

That seems like a Pyrrhic victory, really.

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Guest Stefanie Without Stefanie
5 minutes ago, Matt D said:

That said, and I've said it dozens of times now, AEW could solve some of these issues with just a few small changes. Make things matter. You're paying the people anyway. You're putting the matches on anyway. Draw connections overtly instead of covertly. Give people tools to understand what's going on and why things matter. There's already a lot there to be lifted up without any change to booking strategy. Low hanging-fruit which is more than some tweets and a sprawl at the bottom of the screen. And changing the booking strategy even 10% would probably help a ton anyway.

I would enjoy Dark and Elevation way more if the thought that these were matches where folks were working their way into contention were more than just a headcanon, instead of being a purgatory where the wrestlers AEW has no plans for go to hang out and get some reps until someone remembers they're under contract. And to your point, that's a small change that would make a huge difference.

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6 minutes ago, Stefanie Without Stefanie said:

I would enjoy Dark and Elevation way more if the thought that these were matches where folks were working their way into contention were more than just a headcanon, instead of being a purgatory where the wrestlers AEW has no plans for go to hang out and get some reps until someone remembers they're under contract. And to your point, that's a small change that would make a huge difference.

There are times when they really do try to get away with it too, by having someone suddenly enter the top 5 or even get a title shot based on just a streak of matches on Dark/Elevation and then everyone ends up in arms over it. That's really on AEW for not making those wins (even over enhancement talent) seem important in the grand scheme of things. There are plenty of ways to frame it. Daniel Garcia beating Westin Blake on Dark should matter. Blake is a guy who's done stuff. You can make that matter. Parker Bordeaux beating someone in less than a minute should matter. Serene Deeb pulling someone up from the mat 3 times before beating them could be made to matter. "A string of definitive wins where she was in no danger," is the sort of qualitative thing that a company that cared could make matter. Mercedes Martinez had a string on dark where she put the title up against Viva Van, Hyan, Mazzerati, and Trish Adora. You can make that string matter. "She's taking on top local talent and giving them a shot." You could talk about how a team is trying out new moves or working so well in sync in these matches, how they're getting their act together, or how someone's shaking off losses on the bigger shows by getting back in the ring. Maybe people will buy it, maybe they won't. But the company has to at least try! Just putting on the matches isn't enough. It's wrestling. Sell it!

Edited by Matt D
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Guest Stefanie Without Stefanie
29 minutes ago, Matt D said:

There are times when they really do try to get away with it too, by having someone suddenly enter the top 5 or even get a title shot based on just a streak of matches on Dark/Elevation and then everyone ends up in arms over it. That's really on AEW for not making those wins (even over enhancement talent) seem important in the grand scheme of things. There are plenty of ways to frame it. Daniel Garcia beating Westin Blake on Dark should matter. Blake is a guy who's done stuff. You can make that matter. Parker Bordeaux beating someone in less than a minute should matter. Serene Deeb pulling someone up from the mat 3 times before beating them could be made to matter. "A string of definitive wins where she was in no danger," is the sort of qualitative thing that a company that cared could make matter. Mercedes Martinez had a string on dark where she put the title up against Viva Van, Hyan, Mazzerati, and Trish Adora. You can make that string matter. "She's taking on top local talent and giving them a shot." You could talk about how a team is trying out new moves or working so well in sync in these matches, how they're getting their act together, or how someone's shaking off losses on the bigger shows by getting back in the ring. Maybe people will buy it, maybe they won't. But the company has to at least try! Just putting on the matches isn't enough. It's wrestling. Sell it!

This is all stuff that can help with people's investment and I would 100% be behind. And like... make the rankings a top 10? Or hell, make it a top 20. They employ Mookieghana! He could come up with a methodology to make it make sense! Appeal to my love for data! LOVE ME!

Edit to add in regards to rankings expansion: Never underestimate the value of saying "this is a match between #14 and #17" compared to two unranked wrestlers. Seriously. My brain immediately clicks and goes "ooh, #14 needs to win or they're going to drop". INVESTMENT!

Edited by Stefanie Without Stefanie
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32 minutes ago, Matt D said:

There are times when they really do try to get away with it too, by having someone suddenly enter the top 5 or even get a title shot based on just a streak of matches on Dark/Elevation and then everyone ends up in arms over it. That's really on AEW for not making those wins (even over enhancement talent) seem important in the grand scheme of things. There are plenty of ways to frame it. Daniel Garcia beating Westin Blake on Dark should matter. Blake is a guy who's done stuff. You can make that matter. Parker Bordeaux beating someone in less than a minute should matter. Serene Deeb pulling someone up from the mat 3 times before beating them could be made to matter. "A string of definitive wins where she was in no danger," is the sort of qualitative thing that a company that cared could make matter. Mercedes Martinez had a string on dark where she put the title up against Viva Van, Hyan, Mazzerati, and Trish Adora. You can make that string matter. "She's taking on top local talent and giving them a shot." You could talk about how a team is trying out new moves or working so well in sync in these matches, how they're getting their act together, or how someone's shaking off losses on the bigger shows by getting back in the ring. Maybe people will buy it, maybe they won't. But the company has to at least try! Just putting on the matches isn't enough. It's wrestling. Sell it!

And while having the rotating crews and the loosey-goosey announcing teams can be fun, a lot of what you're talking about does get lost when the announcers are more focused on making jokes or singing. Having Tony Schiavone doing some in-ring interviews on Dark/DE has helped.

Side note: I was so bummed that Emi wasn't at the Austin show in March.

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I'm in a bizarro universe where I don't have cable or dish, so I don't see Dynamite/Rampage and I only see Dark/Elevation.

So the first Dynamite I ever saw was the one I attended in Cleveland. 

So I used to see Thunder Rosa, Britt Baker, Gunn Club and The Acclaimed, but they disappeared for me when they "graduated" to the TV shows.

I'll be retiring in 24 years.

Edited by Gorman
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20 hours ago, DEAN said:

The other most exciting stuff in AEW recently was Konosuke Takeshita losing giant matches on TV with no build up.  The main event from last Wednesday had no build up and was really great and got over with the rubes.  I think folks are overthinking it or comparing it to WWE, which is pretty meticulous.  AEW is insane.  I dig that about it.

Takeshita facing Claudio for the ROH title in the main event was also their lowest rated and least-watched Battle of the Belts show ever. It was also a show AEW barely promoted and marketed at all. That's definitely insane, how they don't build up or market their quarterly TNT specials.

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