ANOTHER REVIEW WITH A BRIEF LESSON IN HISTORY
Warning: Potential Spoilers!!
We are halfway through the month of November 2019 and things are still heating up in the world of Professional Wrestling. Battle lines are being drawn, and I’m not referring to the “Fake Battle Storyline” between WWE’s RAW, SMACKDOWN, and NXT going into this year’s SURVIVOR SERIES. No, we are talking about the brand new “boom” in Wrestling. Even the “Indie Leagues” are taking it up a notch, and around the world, you can find more shows and events popping up every day. Pro Wrestling is alive and well, and it’s not thanks to any one particular “group, organization, league, or faction within a company”, nope, it is thanks to you, the loyal fans of this glorious sport. Wrestling is as old as time, and with time, things change, and in many cases, evolve for the better.
Wrestling is a prime example of Charles Darwin’s Theory; “Organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce”. And that is why AEW is so important right now. Without competition, WWE has become so stale, thus producing the most boring shows ever.
Wednesday, 11/6/19, was the final AEW Dynamite show on TNT before their biggest PPV to date, FULL GEAR. This TV show pulled no punches. It was a fast paced, high stakes show to put over the upcoming event, sell tickets and PPV buy rates, as well as, cement their place in Pro Wrestling’s new War of Worlds. The opening match featured a 1 on 1 with Pac taking on Trent. It was a great match with main event quality, and the crowd was intense. This is one thing you will notice about AEW the second you tune in. The crowd is not only “into it”, but you can tell they are having a great time. Pac in AEW is proof of what WWE is doing wrong. You have the talent, but just like in the days of WCW, you don’t know what to do. It would almost seem as if WWE is becoming the next/new WCW because they are letting their best talent slip away and become huge stars in another company.
Cody Rhodes cut a promo in the middle of the ring that immediately became a “H.O.F.” classic shoot. It was deep, passionate, hard hitting, and technically broke the “4th wall”. The way Cody laid into Chris Jericho with even a few low blow shots had Twitter on fire, and almost broke the entire Internet. The whole world was talking about this promo. Even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had to chime in on this one, also stating how proud he was of Cody, not only for speaking his mind, but for having seen how well he’s grown within this business, and step out of his father and brother’s shadow. The show followed up with a Tag Team Match to determine the third members of the PPV’s Triple Threat Tag Team Championship. The match was an awesome reminder that Tag Team Wrestling was not dead. In the old days of Wrestling, Tag Teams used to actually look like a team. Imagine seeing the Yankees in a World Series game, but every star player wore something different, or if you went into a Target store and couldn’t find a single sale’s associate wearing a red shirt.
The bottom line is that IT JUST LOOKS WEIRD! WWE’s idea or version of a “Tag Team” today is simply forcing two guys that suck and have no star power to join up and see what happens. Now in some cases, this has worked really well in the past. The greatest example would be the original Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) and even the New Foundation (Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart/Koko B. Ware). I use this example to illustrate that even with odd stars joining forces, they still dressed in similar gear/ring attire. WWE today has gone on quote to say that “Tag Team Wrestling is dead”. But that is not the case in AEW, and was even proven by the Tag Team stars of TNA Wrestling (Motor City Machineguns, The Wolves, and even the revival of the Hardy boys and the Dudley boys or Team 3D).
AEW like all Wrestling Promotions, pride themselves on being able to create a bit of a “nostalgic effect”. Bringing in classic stars and reliving the best moments of the past is almost as huge as a current main event. It’s a way to lock in old fans, display some history, pay respect to those that “blazed the trail”, and create some legitimacy for the company by associating with the greats. We’ve seen Legends of Wrestling such as DDP, The Rock and Roll Express, and even Tully Blanchard not only on live AEW TV, but actually getting physically involved in matches/storylines. For me, it’s the ability to hear the voice of Jim Ross that hooks me in every time. To this day I have never been a fan of Tony Schiavone, even though he is a legit legend of broadcasting in this business (working for NWA, WWF, WCW, MLW, and now AEW). If you want to have a little fun and hear his greatest “speech stumble”, look up the ’96 WCW BASH AT THE BEACH main event. The famous revealing of the “3rd Man”, and the official formation of the original NWO. The “red and yellow” reference fumble is an old school fan and insider classic.
It was so bad that even Schiavone, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and Dusty Rhodes had to pause for 3-4 seconds before trying to recover and continue the broadcast of one of Professional Wrestling’s greatest moments ever to this very day.
The pre-FULL GEAR show main event was a great tag team match featuring some of AEW’s current biggest stars. Hangman Page and Kenny Omega vs Sammy Guevara and Chris Jericho. The tension was so thick, you could cut it with a knife. Everyone was on like 5 Redbulls and a few cups of Espresso. This was a main event with high stakes implemented, and every star in that ring delivered gold. Vicious chops to the chest and super high elevation on all the flips, dives, throws, and jumps of the top rope. The match brought back the Canadian rivalry of Omega and Jericho. We have the Inner Circle vs The Elite in another classic showdown. Chris Jericho proved that he still had it after 25 years being able to go at it with the younger guys. But the match also had massive outside interference prior to the end. Pac attacking Page, Moxley coming after Omega, Cody making his way out, and Ortiz/Santana trying to kill the Young Bucks.
All this became the final footage of the show before going off air. A rumble of chaos and violence, the referees completely losing control, as anarchy ruled the final segments of the show. All Hell broke loose and I enjoyed every second of it.
So now we come to the actual PPV; FULL GEAR. By now, either you’ve seen it live, caught some YouTube recaps, heard some podcasts, or read a few articles on other websites and individual/independent blogger pages. But if you didn’t, and we are your first insight to what happened over the weekend, let me be the first to tell you that with all the hype leading up the event, it was just ok. That’s right, I said it, just ok. And I think the reason is simply because most of the AEW performers were not 100%. So much work put into the first month of the TV show that these guys and girls were possibly burnt out. And you know what, that’s ok too. I’m not saying it was a bad show or a waste of time and money. It was a good show, I guess my problem is that I expected a “great show”. The hype and personal anticipation of seeing my first AEW PPV was put on such a high pedestal that I caused myself to be disappointed. But that is the life of a Wrestling fan, keeping hopes high, only to see them fail so hard.
The show did have plenty of “OMG” moments and I don’t want to give any spoilers so I wont go into any full detail. I watched and liked every match, and rated how good they were by how often I didn’t play with my cell phone during the match. I think the other reason why I say it was just an “OK” PPV is because by now I’ve seen a bit of the best AEW has to offer, so there is no longer any “shock value”. But this is not going to deter my interest or cause me to tune in any less. I’ve been a wrestling fan since 1988, and like I said in my first review, I’ve seen it all. Please don’t let my opinion be yours as well. Watch FULL GEAR and make your own judgment call. I watched this show with some of my most hardcore wrestling friends/fans, and we had mixed feelings and reviews by the end of the night.
November 13th was the post FULL GEAR show, and I was so happy to see that they did not slow down. I guess maybe AEW felt the same way that I did. With the big pressure of needing to successfully deliver this PPV gone, it would seem as if the entire roster was able to get a good night’s sleep. Like most PPV’s the idea is that after a big match, you have an end, and a new beginning or storyline. But this was not the case in some of the major stories currently on AEW. I’m sure everyone by now has seen the 8-stitch result of Cody’s big match with Jericho. He was reported to be out of action for a few weeks, but was still able to show up and attack Jericho and that loser MJF. Now this is not a bias shoot on MJF, he is a loser in my opinion. I am also from Long Island, New York and I am very familiar with his hometown of Plainview.
I used to love beating his school during my high school wrestling days. And yes, during the college days, there would always be a fight at the bars with those arrogant pricks. I will say this though; MJF plays his character well, mostly because it’s a natural gimmick for him. And I watched his career rise, from local shows right here on L.I. to getting lots of TV time on the promotion called Major League Wrestling which featured Tony Schiavone on commentary. MJF is doing something right, because he is rising to the top of the game, and he is not shy or afraid to let you know it.
The post PPV show opened with a Moxley squash match. He spent the majority of his TV time issuing an open challenge to all competitors backstage. This was followed by a not so great Tag Team Match featuring some of AEW’s lesser known talent. The 3-way match was a really good display of talent. Once again you have a former WWE star now being “allowed” shine in AEW. The former Perfect 10, now known as Shawn Spears is really turning heads. The match was won by a skinny little punk with a huge heart of a fighter, Darby Allin. This guy makes me love Wrestling! As always, being an “80’s guy”, when I see these small athletes, my instant thoughts are negative, but I love this guy, and I can see him going very far, thanks especially to the open-minded management on the part of the creative team for AEW. Former TNA/IMPACT Knockouts Star Allie made her way onto Dynamite TV looking as good as ever. She always makes me smile, and I don’t know why. But I guess she is what the former WWE’s gimmick for Bayley was supposed to be. The wholesome, loveable, make you smile, fun time, happy feeling, optimistic, bubbly persona works well with Allie.
I was not a fan of the “Dark Allie” gimmick given to her by IMPACT Wrestling in her final days with that promotion. I’ve watched both Allie and Awesome Kong in TNA for years, and I am so happy for them to find new life in AEW. I thought Awesome Kong’s career as a pro was over, especially after seeing her semi crossover into professional acting. I didn’t even recognize her as “The Welfare Queen” character in the hit Netflix series GLOW (which was a real all women’s Wrestling promotion in the late 80s and early 90s. Please see their incredible real life documentary also available on Netflix).
So here’s a fun fact. Lets talk about the use of the “Black Out” effect during a live TV broadcast. The idea behind this classic gimmick is to A- cause confusion and B- introduce/debut someone new to the company. Last night, AEW not only misused the “Black Out” gimmick, but, never in the history of Pro Wrestling TV has there been a back-to-back “Black Out” for two unrelated segments/storylines, just to bring out characters that are already regulars on the show. And the only reason why this is important to mention is because later in the show they did introduce a new Wrestler/Character to the show, coming out from the crowd or “outta nowhere”, and they did not use the “Black Out” gimmick then at a time that would have been better suited to really get this person a powerful and more shocking introduction. As a former Pro Wrestling show Producer/Director, it is important to give each and every segment or character the best presentation, delivery, shock value, impact, or memorable moment possible, even if its just that person’s entrance and or music.
If done properly, you can get anyone over with the fans and booking agents in this business. There are so many examples I can give but that would take way too long. Gimmicks are still huge, but its not just the gimmick, its how the gimmick is delivered and introduced the first time around. Characters, storylines, and even company/promotions can be an instant flop if it is rushed or not presented correctly, and I know we’ve all seen this so many times before. Later this year I’ll do a special editorial on what makes or breaks a character and or a promotion in the industry of Professional Wrestling.
So we end last nights show with two great matches, another round of Hangman Page vs Pac, and a Tag Team Title Defense featuring the champs SCU vs Sammy Guevara and the AEW Champion Chris Jericho. Both matches were extraordinary. Pac is absolutely on the top of his game. He has never looked better physically and visually. His “Bastard” persona is so perfect for him right now. And you just can’t beat his devastating finishing combo of the high-risk high-flying Black Arrow slam into the Brutalizer submission. Although I enjoy watching a “Wrestling Faction” dominate and celebrate by winning every title like the days of the Original Four Horseman in NWA/WCW, I was happy to see that SCU was able to hang on to the belts. When a title changes hands too often, it causes that belt to loose its value, which in turn causes fans to loose their interest in that particular division. Take a look at the original WWF Intercontinental Championship.
The person who held that belt was always looked at as the “Man” and the “next in line” to become the World Champion. But in the mid ‘90s, the IC title not only had a makeover, it changed hands to often to keep track, and was given to the worst characters in a poor attempt to enhance that performer. This TRAVESTY is the reason why The Miz on WWE TV claims to have “restored the glory” of the IC title (spoiler alert- it was Cody Rhodes in WWE who brought back the original classic 80s through early 90s look of the IC title from the days when it was at it’s most popular).
So I end this week’s editorial with the most current stats for the Wednesday Night War between WWE’s NXT and AEW’s Tuesday Night Dynamite. Hope you guys enjoyed this mix of current AEW action and historical references that make for one hell of an entertaining wrestling write up. Take care, and as always, please Don’t Forget to Like, Share, and Comment on all of the content you find on this incredible webpage; IndieComix.net, we are here to entertain as well as educate anyone that clicks on our links, and we absolutely appreciate all of our fans’ support.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT WARS WEEK 7 RESULTS
AEW 957k (822k last week) up 135k
NXT 750k (813k last week) down 63k
Total 1.70k (1.635m last week) up 72k
Thank you all for the support, lets keep wrestling alive and tune in again soon
– Adrian Richardson