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2 hours ago, El Gran Gordi said:

A friend is someone we enjoy talking to and spending time with, generally independent of business, sexual, or familial connections. A friend is someone we trust, someone who has our back, supports us, helps us when we need it, and vice versa.

Hanging out is spending time with people we like, just for the pleasure of their company, without any other reason or benefit than the joy of spending time together.

Fun is enjoyment, amusement, and/or pleasure, often of a lighthearted sort.

One of the obvious pleasures of AEW, for me at least, is it is clearly a pro wrestling promotion where the employees get to have "fun" while "hanging out" with their "friends."

My beloved local indy, Osaka Pro, was very much like that, too. I was fortunate enough to be invited to "hang out" and have "fun" with them from time to time and I still have some good "friends" from those days. I have been dreaming for years of having an  internationally  broadcasted Englsh-languge pro wrestling program that gave a similar kind of feeling. It seemed like an impossible dream.

You'd hear and read about stuff like locker-room bullying and deeply mean-spirited pranking going on in the WWE, you'd see the apparently sadistic glee with which the company would tear apart friends and lovers and send them to work on different shows in their annual draft...

It wasn't the only reason or even the main reason that I stopped watching and caring about WWE, but it was a significant part of it. 

The joyful, friendly, warm atmosphere at AEW is not the main or most important reason why I am an unabashed fan, but it is pretty huge for me.

There is a common refrain among people who like to complain about AEW, which is "Why should I have to watch additional YouTube shows in order to understand the stories being told on Dynamite?" Fair enough, but, AEW is fundamentally about more than just the wrestling. Dynamite (and Dark) are only part of the picture. BTE and Wrestlers on the Road Ordering Room Service and I presume various other podcasts and video blogs and what have you all provide glimpses of the real, down to earth and human story behind the more melodramatic stuff that's presented on the main show. And, generally, it is lovely. You get to know the characters better, but also you get to know the people behind the characters a little better as well. It's hard to explain and probably near-impossible to understand if you haven't seen it, but watching these guys playing UNO (for example), makes all the difference in the world.

One way we make and strengthen friendships is by sharing "inside" jokes. So (again, for example), when Kazarian tells the story behind "DO YA?!" he is inviting us to be a part of it. That's a pretty big shift in pro wrestling which just 40 years ago was still based almost entirely around keeping "the marks" from getting even the tiniest glimpse of what was behind the curtain.

 

Anyway, long story long: If we are considering the wrestlers as wrestlers (ahem -per se) in isolation from all else, then... yeah, why would you waste a valuable roster spot on a guy like Luther or Cutler who are only gonna appeal to weirdo fringe fans like @The Green Meanie and myself? Why would you saddle a potential star like Miro with an anchor like Kip?

However: If you are going to consider the wrestlers as people - as human beings - (which, I would argue is a far better approach to looking at AEW - and AEW makes it so easy to do) then such apparently inexplicable decisions not only make sense, they are a huge part of what makes AEW so we'll worth watching.

 

Agree 100% about AEW treating their wrestlers better than WWE. However, I think that for many casual/lapsed rasslin fans, the idea of keeping up with podcast xyz just to keep up with what's going on in Dynamite must be a turnoff. 

Edited by Jimbo_Tsuruta
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Archer has potential as he's a big guy with athleticism, but couldn't be taken seriously when he gave offense to Marko Stunt in his debut match.  It should have been a Road Warriors type of squash and instead came off like a Terry Funk vs. Aldo Marino type of match. He then lost to Cody which was too soon.  Although with the pandemic and such, the roster slimmed down and they were probably trying to give Cody a good opponent.  Problem is that Archer has more star potential than say, Joey Janela, and I would have found other opponents to job to Cody.  It doesn't mean that Archer can't get over, but it was taking a couple of steps backwards.

 

Part of the issue I have with Archer is he doesn't work stiff enough.  Particularly when doing a brawl.  He's very safe, but shows too much daylight, particularly for a guy labeled as the Murderhawk Monster. Just symbolic of the issues that AEW has...bad booking, inability to gain and sustain momentum with wrestlers, giving up too much to inferior talent that nobody cares about and nobody getting thru to him to critique his work.

 

Luchasaurus is symbolic of the modern wrestler and why so much of the in-ring work falls flat in the end.  It's about spots for him and he attempts stuff that has a difficulty of 10 and executes all over the place, a perfect execution one one spot, followed by a 5 on the next spot and then a 1 on the next spot.  He's built for tag team wrestling because he can't provide a base and then transitions for his spots.  But he kills his hot tags when he tries spots that are just too difficult to convincingly execute.  To me, he should become a long time tag wrestler for the company and work on finding the spots he can consistently execute well.  Hopefully Jungle Boy will evolve into a legitimate rising singles star and then Luchasaurus establishes himself as a tag talent and then finds another partner.  

 

I don't really have a problem with the Luchasaurus gimmick and name even though AEW needs to get away from sports entertainment as much as possible.  To me it works to a degree. However, he needs to completely change his promos.  Yes, I know he has a Masters degree...but Mick Foley is very intelligent and I didn't care for him to talk on an intellectual level and would take his promos as Cactus Jack and Mankind any day.  

 

 

 

HoC

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28 minutes ago, Jimbo_Tsuruta said:

... many casual/lapsed rasslin fans...

For all intents and purposes, those really don't exist any more (and trying to appeal to them is the ultimate fool's errand).

w/r/t pop culture (and sports, and high culture) most people are generally either obsessed fanatic nerds about a thing, or they simply don't give a rat's ass about it. 

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19 minutes ago, El Gran Gordi said:

For all intents and purposes, those really don't exist any more (and trying to appeal to them is the ultimate fool's errand).

w/r/t pop culture (and sports, and high culture) most people are generally either obsessed fanatic nerds about a thing, or they simply don't give a rat's ass about it. 

Fair point.

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7 hours ago, El Gran Gordi said:

For all intents and purposes, those really don't exist any more (and trying to appeal to them is the ultimate fool's errand).

w/r/t pop culture (and sports, and high culture) most people are generally either obsessed fanatic nerds about a thing, or they simply don't give a rat's ass about it. 

I think this is an over simplification that has gotten some traction on  the board recently. Let me put it this way, from last week 900Kish people watch Dynamite, Dark gets 350K views and BTE gets 180K. The gap between Dynamite and BTE is the casual audience who is on board for 2 hours a week but don't want to get a whole lot more. If they were all super hardcore fans, you'd think they'd be all over every bit of AEW content but they are not. I think it would help if hey used the larger audience on TNT and pointed them towards Dark by highlighting some of what the audience clearly didn't see. Like how many people have no idea who the Acclaimed were when they showed up two weeks ago? Yet they are treated like someone the crowd is already familiar with and should get behind. AEW does a terrible job of bridging that gap when metrics clearly demonstrate a lack of crossover.

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1 hour ago, Goodear said:

I think this is an over simplification that has gotten some traction on  the board recently. Let me put it this way, from last week 900Kish people watch Dynamite, Dark gets 350K views and BTE gets 180K. The gap between Dynamite and BTE is the casual audience who is on board for 2 hours a week but don't want to get a whole lot more. If they were all super hardcore fans, you'd think they'd be all over every bit of AEW content but they are not. I think it would help if hey used the larger audience on TNT and pointed them towards Dark by highlighting some of what the audience clearly didn't see. Like how many people have no idea who the Acclaimed were when they showed up two weeks ago? Yet they are treated like someone the crowd is already familiar with and should get behind. AEW does a terrible job of bridging that gap when metrics clearly demonstrate a lack of crossover.

Actually, if that is how "casual fans" is being defined, then I very much agree. I think AEW would be well-served by trying to get more of the 900k-ish who regularly watch Dynamite to also watch Dark and BTE and so on. And probably also to put some effort into keeping "Dynamite-only" fans a bit more in the loop.

On the other hand, I love AEW but if things ever get "back to normal" I doubt I'll still have time to keep up with everything even though I'm very much enjoying being able to do so these days. And you don't follow BTE or other "bonus" content closely, yet you are still enough of an AEW fan to come up with and post interesting takes on the entire main roster. Are we casual AEW fans? (I suppose we are, if we compare ourselves to people who make consuming every bit of AEW content a priority regardless of what else might be going on in their lives. 

The key for me, however, in what @Jimbo_Tsurutasaid was the "lapsed" part of "casual/lapsed fans." I don't know if it's what Jimbo meant, but my understanding of "casual/lapsed" in the current context is the once-common point of view that RAW used to draw (let's say) 9 million (?) viewers every week during the Monday Night Wars (or whenever) so there are presumably x number of millions of people who used to be pro wrestling fans and the key to success would be to find some way of bringing them all back. Chasing that is what I think of as a fool's errand. Think: Certain periods of TNA's past, say, or Vince bringing old stars from those days back for big events and treating them like they are manifestly far more important than the current roster members they are put in the ring with. That kind of stuff. 

I assume, If we are using that definition, that you'd also very much agree... 

Personally, my hope is that AEW can build organically through word of mouth and so on by working to keep their current fans happy, and that being able to tour again eventually will really help a lot as "casual" fans like us invite our never-been-to-a-show/non-fan friends to live shows and everyone has a good time and some of them want to see more.

I think AEW are doing fine now, and there is no need to rush things.

 

Edited by El Gran Gordi
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Matt Hardy

Hardy has been a bit of a booking disaster since coming to AEW with the initial Jericho angle being largely forgotten but still pretty bad with teleportation and drones beings a focal point rather than part of the Broken package. He then transitioned to feuding with Sammy Guevara which is actually perfect in concept as you move Matt into position where he's working with a less experienced guy who could benefit from working with a veteran. But that feud sank due to them trying to do too much when the feud didn't warrant it and long pauses where Matt's brain was in recovery. That was an example of an undercard feud doing something expressly dangerous in a throwaway spot that management should have stopped but didn't. Then they went back to the feud when everyone seemed ready to move on to a diminishing return to the Hardy Compound where they played the hits from Impact 2016. We then move to this heel turn with Private Party which is already flat as its been drawn out for no reason. I get that AEW doesn't want to do shocking turns since all of their heel turns have been weeks to months in the making but the foreshadowing happens at a glacial pace and I really don't have an appetite for another one after Omega finally turned and The Bucks didn't.

Skill wise, Matt should be solidly in the surly veteran stage of his career where he focuses on punching people in the mush instead of trying to have great matches and falling off stuff. His knees haven't bent since 2010 so I don't know what he's trying to prove scattering his brain across concrete floors. He's an aging not quite legend so he has a place on the show, I just don't think featuring him or putting him over Adam Page even in tag matches where Page doesn't take the fall is a good idea.

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Miro

Miro coming in as the 'guy WWE misused' to being put into a team with Kip Sabian and a feud with Orange Cassidy is a sign that AEW isn't the land of milk and honey it is sometimes described as by the wrestling community. Firstly, the team with Kip associated Miro immediately with a lower midcarder who was one of the few people on the show who isn't over with the audience. Secondly, their association is that they play video games which as I described with Brandon Cutler's D&D gimmick, a neutral hobby that most everyone does now. So playing video games doesn't create an association with most people in a negative way. So they needed to make Miro a gamer with a terrible personality if that was going to be the gimmick. Like he gets crazy upset when he loses or something. But him just playing videogames is not enough of a hook. Miro's very appearance after his introduction are sporadic with several weeks of not being on Dynamite at all. They then get into a feud with Trent and Chuck (and then by association with Orange Cassidy) because their video game cabinet gets destroyed which is right up there with spilling coffee as a feud starter. Miro then flashes a break out in a battle royal after getting triple teamed by the Inner Circle and comes back the next week to help the people who eliminated him beat Orange Cassidy then Miro beats up security guys.

For a guy with charisma that WWE let slip through, its a wonder AEW just didn't make him a babyface to start with rather than this heel run. He's not being positioned as a threat to the upper card despite Orange Cassidy being nominally a big deal in AEW (he's still not presented that way... more on this later). His biggest moment was working against three heels and AEW is right in the same trap WWE was where the big brutish guy can't be a face for some reason.

I like the muy thai gear Miro has been wearing lately and I actually appreciate his out of ring wardrobe as being ridiculous and still fun. The stuff he wore to his introduction (despite apparently being expensive) looked low rent and would have been better served being worn later. His wacky shirt from the jobber massacre would have been better.  I like Miro's skill set if his finish selection is a little underwhelming with the camel clutch being such a heel move and the running clothesline being good but there's a lot of clothesline finishes already in the promotion.

 

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With the limited time AEW has to offer, who do you feature less to feature Miro more? He's a substitute at the moment, waiting for his time, which sucks if you ask me, yeah, but he's not alone on this bench. I mean, I really don't like what the Acclaimed have shown me so far, but they clearly are a project and if AEW would give these minutes to the ex-WWE star obviously some people would criticize that as well.

I get the point that you feel Kip kinda drags Miro down (I don't feel that way, but we can agree to disagree here), but AEW clearly tries to pair all of their more unknown wrestlers and potential stars with their mainstream-attractions. Hangman & Jericho, MJF & Cody, Jerichos short stints with Scorpio Sky and Jungle Boy, Darby & Cody, Orange & Pac, Orange & Jericho, MJF & Mox, Kingston from Cody to Mox, Private Party & Matt Hardy, Sammi & Jericho, Sammi & Hardy, Darby & Sting, Top Flight and The Acclaimed & Young Bucks and now Jurassic Express feuding with FTR. It may not work as intended with Kip and Miro but I get the idea and I appreciate the idea as a whole.

The women's division not having any mainstream attractions to pair their unknowns with is clearly one of the biggest proplems of that division.

All in all, I agree that the apperances of Miro are too sporadic and leave you waiting for more most of the time, but I still feel like you value a clear face-heel-dynamic to much. I don't see why I would need a clear negative association from the get go to get invested in Miro. Even more so since Miro is such a likeable beast that he probably would be the ideal person to play more of a easygoing face outside the ring while beeing a ruthless beast inside the ring.

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Bringing in a midcard WWE guy and immediately inserting him into the upper/main event levels of another promotion is exactly what people hated about TNA and now here we are, mad that AEW isn't doing the same thing with an ex-WWE midcarder. Like it or not, that's what he was in WWE. Yeah, sure, he had a feud with Cena and did a 'Mania program with him, but that was almost 6 years ago now.

And, for better or worse, AEW isn't a place that gives you a gimmick and tells you to make it work. You pick what you do, so the video game thing is entirely on Miro. We can sit here all day and talk about whether wrestlers picking their own stuff etc is a good thing or not, but regardless of what conclusion we come to, that's how it is, that's how it's going to be, and Miro isn't equipped to revamp his image and know what'll work since all he's ever known is the WWE system, whereas someone like Matt Hardy or Brodie Lee can adapt pretty well.

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I'm quickly realizing there is no way to satisfy everybody at once. I was just listening to an old Deadlock episode in which they said "DARBY JUST STAY HOME AND MAIL IN VIDEOS, IT'S BETTER THAN THIS SHIT WITH CODY." And then Darby did that when he was injured and they made fun of AEW for not featuring Darby. I get that, ideally, the answer would be to feature him regularly without cutting him off at the knees due to Cody bullshit, but there are lots of things like that when we say we want one thing and we're given it and then we bitch about that too. AEW has lots of small flaws but overall I think they're doing pretty damn well with the most important stuff. Page eventually dethroning Omega is the most important and best story they can tell and they've handled that very well. So much of the positivity surrounding the company came from a rabid fanbase and made people like Darby standout early on. I cannot fucking wait for bigger crowds and a traveling show again but I think even some fans right now is absurd with the cases continually climbing every day. 

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17 hours ago, El Gran Gordi said:

A friend is someone we enjoy talking to and spending time with, generally independent of business, sexual, or familial connections. A friend is someone we trust, someone who has our back, supports us, helps us when we need it, and vice versa.

Hanging out is spending time with people we like, just for the pleasure of their company, without any other reason or benefit than the joy of spending time together.

Fun is enjoyment, amusement, and/or pleasure, often of a lighthearted sort.

One of the obvious pleasures of AEW, for me at least, is it is clearly a pro wrestling promotion where the employees get to have "fun" while "hanging out" with their "friends."

My beloved local indy, Osaka Pro, was very much like that, too. I was fortunate enough to be invited to "hang out" and have "fun" with them from time to time and I still have some good "friends" from those days. I have been dreaming for years of having an  internationally  broadcasted Englsh-languge pro wrestling program that gave a similar kind of feeling. It seemed like an impossible dream.

You'd hear and read about stuff like locker-room bullying and deeply mean-spirited pranking going on in the WWE, you'd see the apparently sadistic glee with which the company would tear apart friends and lovers and send them to work on different shows in their annual draft...

It wasn't the only reason or even the main reason that I stopped watching and caring about WWE, but it was a significant part of it. 

The joyful, friendly, warm atmosphere at AEW is not the main or most important reason why I am an unabashed fan, but it is pretty huge for me.

There is a common refrain among people who like to complain about AEW, which is "Why should I have to watch additional YouTube shows in order to understand the stories being told on Dynamite?" Fair enough, but, AEW is fundamentally about more than just the wrestling. Dynamite (and Dark) are only part of the picture. BTE and Wrestlers on the Road Ordering Room Service and I presume various other podcasts and video blogs and what have you all provide glimpses of the real, down to earth and human story behind the more melodramatic stuff that's presented on the main show. And, generally, it is lovely. You get to know the characters better, but also you get to know the people behind the characters a little better as well. It's hard to explain and probably near-impossible to understand if you haven't seen it, but watching these guys playing UNO (for example), makes all the difference in the world.

One way we make and strengthen friendships is by sharing "inside" jokes. So (again, for example), when Kazarian tells the story behind "DO YA?!" he is inviting us to be a part of it. That's a pretty big shift in pro wrestling which just 40 years ago was still based almost entirely around keeping "the marks" from getting even the tiniest glimpse of what was behind the curtain.

 

Anyway, long story long: If we are considering the wrestlers as wrestlers (ahem -per se) in isolation from all else, then... yeah, why would you waste a valuable roster spot on a guy like Luther or Cutler who are only gonna appeal to weirdo fringe fans like @The Green Meanie and myself? Why would you saddle a potential star like Miro with an anchor like Kip?

However: If you are going to consider the wrestlers as people - as human beings - (which, I would argue is a far better approach to looking at AEW - and AEW makes it quite easy to do) then such apparently inexplicable decisions not only make sense, they are a huge part of what makes AEW so well worth watching.

 

I'm going to come off as the biggest grouch: This is a great post and an excellent articulation of the merits of content that I find unbearably tedious and dull. I can't imagine the type of person I would need to be to find my own inside jokes or games of Uno with friends to be so interesting that they merit sharing with strangers. I get that the current media landscape offers celebrities a lot of opportunities to connect with their fans and that engagement can have a lot of financial and professional benefit and the popularity this core group cultivated through BTE helped make all of this possible. But I can never get past that, with few exceptions, I find most of these people to be incredibly boring when left to their own devices and stuff like this makes me want to see them less. 

I'm happy this content is there for people like you who get something out of it. But its popularity and appeal will continue to make almost no sense to me. I ended up seeking out the Uno scene to see if it was what I understood it to be. I just don't get it. 

I will say that I think we're past the point where people feel they're missing anything by only watching Dynamite. Between what's actually on Dynamite and the stuff I pick up from stray comments made by the people here who watch BTE, it's pretty easy to follow. So I'm thankful for that. 

Edited by Andy in Kansas
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3 hours ago, Casey said:

Bringing in a midcard WWE guy and immediately inserting him into the upper/main event levels of another promotion is exactly what people hated about TNA and now here we are, mad that AEW isn't doing the same thing with an ex-WWE midcarder.

My big take away from this is that a lot of us had shit takes about some of TNA's practices. 

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With how they've been heating up Miro recently though, it's pretty clear that there is a simple and obvious path forward and now seems to be the time by clearing up the Kip/Penelope stuff and showing a super aggro and violent side instead of this dumb gamer shit that I'm guessing he had a say in. 

Edited by Jiji
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8 hours ago, Goodear said:

Miro

Miro coming in as the 'guy WWE misused' to being put into a team with Kip Sabian and a feud with Orange Cassidy is a sign that AEW isn't the land of milk and honey it is sometimes described as by the wrestling community. Firstly, the team with Kip associated Miro immediately with a lower midcarder who was one of the few people on the show who isn't over with the audience. Secondly, their association is that they play video games which as I described with Brandon Cutler's D&D gimmick, a neutral hobby that most everyone does now. So playing video games doesn't create an association with most people in a negative way. So they needed to make Miro a gamer with a terrible personality if that was going to be the gimmick. Like he gets crazy upset when he loses or something. But him just playing videogames is not enough of a hook. Miro's very appearance after his introduction are sporadic with several weeks of not being on Dynamite at all. They then get into a feud with Trent and Chuck (and then by association with Orange Cassidy) because their video game cabinet gets destroyed which is right up there with spilling coffee as a feud starter. Miro then flashes a break out in a battle royal after getting triple teamed by the Inner Circle and comes back the next week to help the people who eliminated him beat Orange Cassidy then Miro beats up security guys.

For a guy with charisma that WWE let slip through, its a wonder AEW just didn't make him a babyface to start with rather than this heel run. He's not being positioned as a threat to the upper card despite Orange Cassidy being nominally a big deal in AEW (he's still not presented that way... more on this later). His biggest moment was working against three heels and AEW is right in the same trap WWE was where the big brutish guy can't be a face for some reason.

I like the muy thai gear Miro has been wearing lately and I actually appreciate his out of ring wardrobe as being ridiculous and still fun. The stuff he wore to his introduction (despite apparently being expensive) looked low rent and would have been better served being worn later. His wacky shirt from the jobber massacre would have been better.  I like Miro's skill set if his finish selection is a little underwhelming with the camel clutch being such a heel move and the running clothesline being good but there's a lot of clothesline finishes already in the promotion.

 

This is pretty much spot on.

 

When I first saw Miro in the WWE I really liked what I saw.  He had more of a barrel chested look than your cut, bodybuilder/fitness model look that is so prevalent these days.  But the difference was Miro combined that with kicks and agility.

My issue with his work is that he started to rely way too much on his agility and kick strikes and he got away from being the monster he could be.  Instead of wrestling like a power wrestler with great agility who can do some nice kicks, he started to look more like Kyle O'Reilly and it took the monster away from him (that and McMahon's goofy booking).  Miro was definitely a guy that if he walked into a room you would take notice.  He may not be a superstar in the end, but it's something that catches your eye.  And now he's more relegated to a goofy gamer instead of the guy that strikes the fear into the hearts of fans of other wrestlers.

I don't think AEW is the land of milk and honey..it's a sports entertainment promotion and not an alternative to the WWE.  Guys go there because you're only working 1 day a week and they'll let them do their stupid, goofy shit instead of having to do Vince's stupid and goofy shit.  But in the end, it's still stupid and goofy shit that won't become mainstream.  It doesn't have the McMahon stank on it and the diehards that Vince drove of love it and will apologize for it.  I hold out no hope for Miro because he'll just continue to do the goofy shit that hardly anybody cares about and then the joke will get old and stale for the select few that do care about it.  

It's like my mom used to say...it's easy being the 'yes mom' and it's hard to be the 'no mom.'  But in the end the family will be better for it if the mom can tell her children 'no.'  AEW is the 'yes mom' promotion and it's good enough for a low level TV deal for now and working 1 day a week.  But I wonder how many like Miro will look back and see the big draws they missed out on because there was nobody there to tell them 'no' and guide them to a better way.

 

 

HoC

 

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Miro was a debuting Internet darling good guy who is the best man at a jobber heel's weeding. Then the next week, he's a heel. Why is he Janela's best man? Did they ever say? All they'd have to say is "gaming buddies."

I hope Brodie Lee is getting retconned as a destroyer heel and far away from the Dark Order, the funniest faction in years. 

Easy tip: Fire everyone on Dark and replace them with NWA champion Nick Aldis.

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I really like how Miro has looked in ring, outside of the ring I don't know about video game enthusiast with questionable fashion sense as a character. Sometimes I feel like AEW is in need of a good editor to tell guys no on the pointless dangerous bumps (Hardy, Darby) or some of the goofiness (like that first battle royale that was treated as a comedy match until Hangman Page showed up.)

 

As far as lapsed fans go, thats me. Right now I'm following AEW and NXT both of feel like a breath of fresh air. How ever as much as I've enjoyed Dynamite I'm just not going to follow what feels like a dozen youtube shows to keep up

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Luchasaurus is the anti-Keith Lee. Lee is a big dude who can do small dude shit extremely well, and yet is apparently being told, "No you should work like a monster." LS is a big dude who should be wrestling like a monster but is instead doing small dude shit he's not great at and apparently the bookers think that's just fine. 

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Luchasaurus is a midcarder who does midcard stuff. A few fancy spots, but nothing to overshadow the main eventers.

Edited by AxB
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22 hours ago, El Gran Gordi said:

A friend is someone we enjoy talking to and spending time with, generally independent of business, sexual, or familial connections. A friend is someone we trust, someone who has our back, supports us, helps us when we need it, and vice versa.

Hanging out is spending time with people we like, just for the pleasure of their company, without any other reason or benefit than the joy of spending time together.

Fun is enjoyment, amusement, and/or pleasure, often of a lighthearted sort.

One of the obvious pleasures of AEW, for me at least, is it is clearly a pro wrestling promotion where the employees get to have "fun" while "hanging out" with their "friends."

My beloved local indy, Osaka Pro, was very much like that, too. I was fortunate enough to be invited to "hang out" and have "fun" with them from time to time and I still have some good "friends" from those days. I have been dreaming for years of having an  internationally  broadcasted Englsh-languge pro wrestling program that gave a similar kind of feeling. It seemed like an impossible dream.

You'd hear and read about stuff like locker-room bullying and deeply mean-spirited pranking going on in the WWE, you'd see the apparently sadistic glee with which the company would tear apart friends and lovers and send them to work on different shows in their annual draft...

It wasn't the only reason or even the main reason that I stopped watching and caring about WWE, but it was a significant part of it. 

The joyful, friendly, warm atmosphere at AEW is not the main or most important reason why I am an unabashed fan, but it is pretty huge for me.

There is a common refrain among people who like to complain about AEW, which is "Why should I have to watch additional YouTube shows in order to understand the stories being told on Dynamite?" Fair enough, but, AEW is fundamentally about more than just the wrestling. Dynamite (and Dark) are only part of the picture. BTE and Wrestlers on the Road Ordering Room Service and I presume various other podcasts and video blogs and what have you all provide glimpses of the real, down to earth and human story behind the more melodramatic stuff that's presented on the main show. And, generally, it is lovely. You get to know the characters better, but also you get to know the people behind the characters a little better as well. It's hard to explain and probably near-impossible to understand if you haven't seen it, but watching these guys playing UNO (for example), makes all the difference in the world.

One way we make and strengthen friendships is by sharing "inside" jokes. So (again, for example), when Kazarian tells the story behind "DO YA?!" he is inviting us to be a part of it. That's a pretty big shift in pro wrestling which just 40 years ago was still based almost entirely around keeping "the marks" from getting even the tiniest glimpse of what was behind the curtain.

 

Anyway, long story long: If we are considering the wrestlers as wrestlers (ahem -per se) in isolation from all else, then... yeah, why would you waste a valuable roster spot on a guy like Luther or Cutler who are only gonna appeal to weirdo fringe fans like @The Green Meanie and myself? Why would you saddle a potential star like Miro with an anchor like Kip?

However: If you are going to consider the wrestlers as people - as human beings - (which, I would argue is a far better approach to looking at AEW - and AEW makes it quite easy to do) then such apparently inexplicable decisions not only make sense, they are a huge part of what makes AEW so well worth watching.

 

This.

 

I had a epiphany reading this. I think this is a big key as to why I enjoy AEW so much.

 

I've been a life-long WWF/WWE fan. I've been with them since I was a tyke. Stood by them through every battle, against NWA, WCW, etc. I've been skipping watching WWE programing in the past...year and a half now. Heck, the wife and I will skip hour one of Raw to watch BTE.

When I first started watching AEW, it was just Dynamite whilst NXT was on commercial. I liked what I saw. Gradually it became watching Dynamite instead. Then catching Dark (There's a second show? Why aren't we watching that?) then starting to watch BTE weekly.

Part of (if not mostly) the reason I'm such a fan of AEW IS the humanizing element. Yes, a casual fan doesn't have to watch all the side items to enjoy the show. But to super-fans like myself and @El Gran Gordi we WANT TO. Seeing the camaraderie with the wrestlers, being involved in more behind the scenes stuff, the company actually acknowledging that there is more to what's going on other then what's being presented on the screen...is refreshing.

I LIKE the fact that I know about the inside references the wrestlers have on the various programs (quite a few of their bits and catchphrases have entered the normal vernacular in my household) I LIKE the fact that it seems like they want to include us (the viewing audience/fans) into things of theirs. I LIKE the fact that they've drawn back the curtain a bit and shown that they're people, just like us. And yes, I LOVE the fact that they've got super-niche characters like Luther in there along side more mainstream stereotypical wrestler-types like a Kenny Omega or Christopher Daniels out there, on the same footing.

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3 hours ago, zendragon said:

How ever as much as I've enjoyed Dynamite I'm just not going to follow what feels like a dozen youtube shows to keep up

BTE is a breezy 15 or 20 minutes that features the adventures of the Geek Squad (the Dark Order) and Johnny Hungee's food-based challenges for the BTE title.

I gotta try watching to make sure I'm not missing anything, but 13 matches and two hours of guys getting mercy checks is a bit much for me.

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13 hours ago, The Green Meanie said:

This.

 

I had a epiphany reading this. I think this is a big key as to why I enjoy AEW so much.

 

I've been a life-long WWF/WWE fan. I've been with them since I was a tyke. Stood by them through every battle, against NWA, WCW, etc. I've been skipping watching WWE programing in the past...year and a half now. Heck, the wife and I will skip hour one of Raw to watch BTE.

When I first started watching AEW, it was just Dynamite whilst NXT was on commercial. I liked what I saw. Gradually it became watching Dynamite instead. Then catching Dark (There's a second show? Why aren't we watching that?) then starting to watch BTE weekly.

Part of (if not mostly) the reason I'm such a fan of AEW IS the humanizing element. Yes, a casual fan doesn't have to watch all the side items to enjoy the show. But to super-fans like myself and @El Gran Gordi we WANT TO. Seeing the camaraderie with the wrestlers, being involved in more behind the scenes stuff, the company actually acknowledging that there is more to what's going on other then what's being presented on the screen...is refreshing.

I LIKE the fact that I know about the inside references the wrestlers have on the various programs (quite a few of their bits and catchphrases have entered the normal vernacular in my household) I LIKE the fact that it seems like they want to include us (the viewing audience/fans) into things of theirs. I LIKE the fact that they've drawn back the curtain a bit and shown that they're people, just like us. And yes, I LOVE the fact that they've got super-niche characters like Luther in there along side more mainstream stereotypical wrestler-types like a Kenny Omega or Christopher Daniels out there, on the same footing.

 

I think it's an interesting element, but personally I think it's more about when the promotion like the WWE makes working for them a chore and 'un-fun' it shows up in the wrestlers' performances. 

For me, I think AEW has swung the pendulum too far in the other direction.

I really enjoyed ECW from '94-'97 and there were neat things that they had going on like fan bus trips where a couple of the wrestlers would ride along on the bus and for the most part, the wrestlers had fun working for the promotion during that time and had a comradarie between each other and the fans.  It reminded me of stories I used to hear about the old Milwaukee Braves baseball team where the players were stars, but also part of the community.

But the difference was that ECW didn't just bring in their friends to the promotion. They brought in guys that they thought would best help the promotion.  Taz and Sabu did not like each other in real life.  There were guys that didn't like Shane Douglas.  Perry Saturn wasn't particularly well liked.  And it boiled down to you may not like a certain wrestler on a personal level, but you respect them as a wrestler and what they bring to the table.  And that brought forth the mindset of wrestlers trying to outdo each other to make the show the best they possibly can.

Unfortunately, they often went overboard and couldn't top each other.  That's where leadership failed them.

With AEW they are more into bringing in their friends who won't challenge the execs.  It can be good for locker room harmony, but I don't think it makes for the best product.  The Young Bucks seem to bring in tag teams that basically wrestle just like the Young Bucks do.  And when JR talks criticizes some of the work that the wrestlers do the wrestlers seem to take offense to it rather than understanding that JR wants what is best for the company and has been apart of some extremely successful periods of business in wrestling and is probably the greatest talent evaluator in pro wrestling history.

The point in all of this is that you can have guys that don't get along and don't see eye-to-eye and still be a fun place to work and still have excellent harmony and comradarie on the roster.

 

 

HoC

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I think HoC makes a good point that too much of a heavy hand stifles creativity but too much freedom can lead to a bunch of people who won't challenge each other creatively to make the best product.

 

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