ALL ELITE WRESTLING
AND THE REVOLUTION OF PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING
A LOOK BACK AT THE THEN AND NOW THAT GOT US HERE
ANOTHER WRASSLIN’ REVIEW BY ADRIAN RICHARDSON
As we are in the third month of 2020, there are usually a few high expectations that Pro Wrestling Fans look forward to. In January, you have the legendary WWE ROYAL RUMBLE, known for setting up the year’s biggest and greatest event in the entire industry’s history, WRESTLEMANIA. After we find out who wins the annual big Royal Rumble 30 man over the top rope match, we get a look at one half of the Main Event picture, which means the “Road to WrestleMania” is officially off to the races. After WrestleMania ends, WWE Creative likes to have what they consider to be a full roster storyline reboot. Vince McMahon prides himself on using this time to “refresh” his business. We see some new faces debut, old faces return, and even a few WWE Superstars “re-packaged” as new characters/gimmicks in an effort to save their careers. With this change up brings in new stories for creative to work with or experiment with to know what to do next, as the number one goal is always to bring in new fans in the struggle to constantly increase ratings and entertainment value. But regardless of what you do in Wrestling, we still get bored, sometimes faster than usual. The best thing about the fans is that we can make small influences that create changes in our benefit.
Acknowledging this major factor, Big Vinnie Mac came up with the idea of the WWE DRAFT and “Brand Split”. This was one of his last ditch attempts to make sure we don’t see the same matches and stars each week on both shows. However, this new idea eventually failed miserably. Try as hard as you might, you just can’t break certain bad habits. What we see today is the same guys on their respective shows “fighting” each other every week (yes, we have to say “fighting” because Vince hates to use/hear the word “wrestling or wrasslin”). In the last few years, we have been trained to hate any good brand new matchup, because if it got great reviews, you were going to see this match for the next few months, sometimes even on a weekly basis. For example, how long have we been watching Rey Mysterio verses Andrade in either singles or now tag matches? For the record, I lost interest faster than I was able to lose count. But just know that this “rivalry” started towards the end of 2018 when they still called him Andrade “Cien” Almas, and they have competed against each other almost every week since!
ENTER ALL ELITE WRESTLING AND THE RISE OF AEW DYNAMITE ON TNT CABLE
As the fans of Wrestling around the world cried, begged, prayed, and pleaded for a change, the only thing we got were third rate acts and a whole lot of cheesy wrestling or horrible disappointments. TNA/IMPACT had its moments before dwindling down into a completely irrelevant mention out of pity from time to time. The incredible styles of Japanese and Mexican Wrestling (Strong Style and Lucha Libre) will always be around thanks to its cultural and historical ties. But the best anyone could do was go to the Indie Shows, and hope that some of the better ones like ROH (Ring Of Honor) would eventually get picked up by some big Cable Television company. Well to a certain extent, that did happen. We were eventually treated to a collaboration that was simply called “ALL-IN”, however this was thought to be a one-time PPV special event. ALL-IN featured a few major promotions and had different company’s championship titles on the line. An event like this reminds me of the legendary “Super Clash” of the mid 1980’s featuring the AWA, NWA, WCCW and other big groups all coming together to compete with WWF’s WRESTLEMANIA success.
As we all know by now, AEW has made a major splash on the landscape of the Wrestling business. With athletes having a second option, they realize that they don’t have to put up with what has become Vince McMahon’s Sports Entertainment.
So let’s get into it! Going forward are nothing but match results, so SPOILER ALERT, please watch the link before continuing to read. I am about to catch you up to the latest AEW Dynamite show as well as take a look at the REVOLUTION PPV from last month.
So starting with the big event, AEW REVOLUTION was a spectacular show and shining example of why they are not only here to stay, they are taking over the Wrestling scene. The fans in attendance were wild and rabid, as they cheered at the top of their lungs for their favorite performers and moments. The show opened with the Kickoff match featuring the Dark Order vs SCU. We then had the in ring debut of Jake Hager vs Dustin Rhodes in a well-documented and heated grudge match. Sammy Guevara vs Darby Allin was another well-documented and heated grudge match that followed immediately after. Both fights allowed each individual to get some retribution and payback out of their systems, however, even with all those shots thrown, the story did not end on that night. MATCH OF THE NIGHT: The Young Bucks challenge Kenny Omega and Hangman Page for the AEW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES.
Now all I want to say is this (because it is a match that’s so good, no one deserves to spoil it) please, please, please GO AND SEE THIS MATCH IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY. The four members of the Elite Faction put on the type of wrestling clinic that will 1) steal the show 2) guarantee the acknowledgement/title of “Match of the Year” 3) bring old fans, jaded fans, and your typical “casual fans” back to watching wrestling on a daily/weekly basis 4) win the highest ratings 5) recruit fans from WWE 6) shut the mouth of one Mr. David Meltzer, and last but not least lucky number 7) establish the fact that AEW is on the top of the Wrestling World and will be here to stay.
An extremely hard performance to follow, but the AEW WOMEN’S WORLD TITLE match certainly tried its best. Nyla Rose vs Kris Statlander was a quality female contest. Although you may think of Statlander as a bit of a comedy act with a ridiculous gimmick, she did prove that in the ring she is no joke. But Nyla is on another level, and I do not see her losing the Championship anytime soon. Speaking of grudge matches, Cody Rhodes taking on MJF was supposed to be the fight of the century, with Cody finally getting his well deserved justice for all that he and his family were put through in the last few months. MJF isn’t among the fastest rising heels in Wrestling today for nothing. In my opinion, being from Long Island especially, I absolutely hate this guy and the town he’s from. And as the WWE HOF Legend “Macho Man” Randy Savage once said, “If you can’t get a reaction from the crowd, you ain’t doing your job right.” MJF was able to squeak out the victory (although a tainted win), the history books will read that MJF defeated Cody Rhodes on February 29, 2020. Pac vs Orange Cassidy was not the total “squash match” that I had expected once I saw this match announced. Give a hand to the “Freshly Squeezed” Superstar for putting on the performance no one saw coming.
This guy may have also been written off as a comedy act, but he really proved his worth at the PPV. Coming up short to a crazy monster like the “Bastard” Pac is nothing to be sad about. You gave your all and didn’t get your ass handed to you. Live to fight another day brother. We finally make it to the Main Event of the night. The WORLD’S HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE MATCH, featuring the challenger Jon Moxley vs the current Champion (future Hall of Famer) “Le Champion” Chris Jericho. The final match of the night and another story that took months building to this highly anticipated contest. Eye for an eye, and title for a title as these two warriors battled all over the arena. The action was too big to be contained in the ring. The outside influence and interference ran wild as it would seem like the Inner Circle’s number’s gain would have a very familiar outcome. But this faction has many enemies, and they all made their presence known and heavily felt. With the tremendous odds stacked greatly against him, Moxly’s never die attitude helped him to overcome and prevail to become the second ever Champion in AEW History.
There have been two AEW Dynamite shows air on TNT Cable since the PPV. I think because of all the effort placed into REVOLUTION, most of the stars were understandably burnt out. Even though I will go on record to say that the two shows had a lackluster quality at best, they were still better than anything WWE’s RAW, NXT, and SMACKDOWN could put out combined. The AEW two-hour show had more action and memorable moments than all 7 hours of the WWE product. Oh yeah, and before I forget, the ELIMINATION CHAMBER PPV from this past weekend Absolutely Freakin’ Sucked. On March 4th, the one and only Wrestling Legend, with 45+ years in the business, Jake “The Snake” Roberts made a shocking TV appearance during a Cody Rhodes shoot interview. This was so unexpected, and you could tell by the reaction of the crowd. Jake Roberts (who hasn’t been on TV in almost a decade) talked about being a guy with a “new client” that he was bringing to take down everything Cody built. He called Cody “Caesar” and mad a few references to his family and their rich historic past. AEW Dynamite likes to throw in a lot of Tag Team matches during its TV and PPV shows.
But the creative team behind each show has found a way to make what Vince McMahon has called “dead”, a must see TV event. Even I was no longer a fan of tag matches, because they featured two guys that couldn’t save their careers as singles competitors. But in AEW, even without any kind of “star power”, you see 5 star quality tag matches that actually do two things; wrestle and use incredible high flying, high risk, fast paced tag team coordinated action packed maneuvers. These types of matches have become a reliable main event format that is becoming more popular every week. Now you can’t mention teams without also talking about new factions. Pac and the Lucha Brothers have forged a new group called the Death Triangle, and I am loving this trio. Unlike the WWE, in AEW you are seeing every talent get used in some form or fashion. There are guys on RAW and SMACKDOWN that are literally being paid to sit in locker rooms when they could add something fresh to such a stale show. As always if you don’t learn from history, then you are doomed to repeat it. I cannot wait to see how this new WEDNESDAY NIGHT WAR plays out. Between AEW’s Dynamite and WWE’s NXT, the winner will be the one to force the other into another time slot on primetime Cablevision. Hope you enjoy my take on Wrestling’s past and in-depth look into the current status of this business. Take care for now!
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Coming soon this year, “1996, The Year That Changed The Game of Sports Entertainment Forever”, a very compelling short story featuring an in-depth historical analysis of everything and everyone that made Pro Wrestling the huge international mega multibillion dollar phenomena that it is known to be today.