MY THOUGHTS ON AEW
I’ve tried becoming interested in AEW as living in the UK there’s a channel that screens it for free but apart from the odd bit I just can’t become invested in it as there’s too many things to pick holes in. I’ve never worked in the wrestling business, I’m just a geeky fan that has watched a lot of wrestling and even I can spot the bad stuff.
One thing that cannot be faulted with AEW is the production values. If Tony Khan is to have any hope of taking on WWE then he has to make it look like he’s put a money into it which it looks like he has or his Dad has. It doesn’t look cheap which is a good thing. It’s just that some of the things that go on the screen give it a cheap indy feel sometimes.
Let us start with the announcers. Why are there so many of them? I’ve watched shows with them that are 4 person announce teams and with these multiple number announce teams on these shows, it seems that none of them knows what their role is. Let’s start with Excalibur, apparently he’s a retired wrestler. Has anyone heard of him as an active wrestler? Another thing, why has he got the mask on? It goes back to the point about anyone having heard of him. If he was a big name masked wrestler that lots of people had heard of and he’d had a long, successful career then fine but no one has a clue apart from the fans of the obscure promotions he worked for. That being said, his announcing is decent enough as a play by play but likes to show off his knowledge of smaller promotions a bit too much to the extent where there’s a decent spoof comedy character based on him if anyone has any writing talent in that area.
It’s good to see Tony Schiavone back on TV. For pure nostalgia purposes, I have a soft spot for Tony as an announcer. When I first started watching WWF/WWE it was Royal Rumble 1990 with Tony and Jesse Ventura as the announce team and to be fair to Tony when he’s interested and motivated he’s a heck of an announcer. He doesn’t always get to show it in AEW due to the multiple announce team set up. As no one has a defined role, at times he’s doing bits of play by play, bits of colour, he’s throwing occasional verbal jabs at heel wrestlers that are doing commentary like Jericho for example and also acting as an interviewer too. Does he even know what he’s there for?
Jim Ross I think has had enough now and is just there picking up a pay check and ignoring any things he doesn’t like. If he is a consultant as well as being on the air which I think he is, then they are not taking enough notice of what he’s telling them. With learning the business under Bill Watts, I’m sure he doesn’t like some or even a lot of what they’re doing but I suppose he’s getting paid a lot of money and he’s still getting to do what he’s admitted he loves doing so he’s clearly keeping his mouth shut. His announcing recently when I’ve watched it has come across as a bit tired and disinterested. I know in the past he’s on record as saying he prefers a more athletic presentation which this must definitely isn’t, it’s most definitely sports entertainment.
I’d love to know what Mark Henry does and whether it is more than on the air. All I’ve seen him do on the air is introduce 2 wrestlers, teams or factions for a promo and then say “it’s time for the main event.” They could have hired me to do that on Zoom, I’d have been cheaper.
They claim to be an athletic style and on the on screen graphics for the wrestlers it mentions win-loss records but they don’t talk like it is and they don’t present things like that. If you’re aiming to present things in that style, then the announcers should be mentioning win-loss records while the matches are coming on or while the wrestlers are coming down to the ring. While the match in the ring is going on the announcers could say “if so and so wins this match then they will move up to such and such a spot in the rankings or may be even get a title shot in their next match.” They use comedy wrestlers and put titles on them, prominently feature wrestlers with comedy gimmicks and let them do comedy spots in their matches that make wrestling an embarrassment and cause people to laugh at us wrestling fans.
They feature way too much comedy stuff and it’s not even very funny. Comedy very rarely works in wrestling. There is a good reason for that. If the people involved in wrestling comedy were really any good at it they would be comedy writers or comedy performers and look at what they’re actually doing, they’re on a wrestling show. One of the biggest offenders is Orange Cassidy. What is the point of his existence in professional wrestling? He doesn’t come across as being particularly good at it. My biggest bug bear with him is the hands in his pockets. How is that even entertaining? What purpose does it serve? Those weak kicks when it’s supposed to be simulated athletic competition, I just don’t get it. It’s one of those situations where if you tell someone you’re a wrestling fan and they see him doing that then they are going to laugh at you. In fact it annoys me that much he does it that if I was an active talent and he did that to me I would punch him as hard as I could in the face.
Danhausen – why? It seems like a weird mime artist gimmick but he occasionally speaks which is bad as his voice is incredibly annoying. He seems to be putting on a voice but it’s the type of thing that makes me want to change the channel.
I’d better focus on the in ring thing. There’s a reason why wrestling cards have been structured the way they have for so many years and that’s because it has worked and got people’s reactions in a good way. There barely seems to be a structure to their shows. It seems like a random hodge podge of angles and matches. They ignore the basics of tag team wrestling. In the tag matches there are regularly 4 of them fighting in the ring and the referee has to ignore the 5 count rule because they’re in there that long that if he did in every tag match they would be calling for the bell for a DQ in every match. Tagging someone was touching their hand now you can just slap someone on the back and the referee allows it. I’m sure years ago when people did that the referee would disallow the tag and the babyface would get even more desperate for their partner to make the tag. The referee has to ignore all 4 members of both teams brawling or doing ridiculous looking high spots over the ring and around ringside making the referee look incompetent.
Speaking of doing moves around ringside, this happens in every match. It seems like every match ends up with several spots on the floor and once again the referee has to ignore the actual count because otherwise it would be a count out.
Every match seems to go way longer than it should do. A top talent will wrestle one lower down the card and they both get an equal part of the match and it feels like it goes on for 20 minutes. A champion will have a title defence against a random midcarder that doesn’t seem to have done anything to deserve the title shot. It’s obvious as a result what is going to happen. It’s common sense that you build someone up slowly and they earn a title shot that way. You don’t just give them a random title shot to act as filler on the show.
I could go on even more about their failings but I won’t. This may seem hard to believe considering the rest of this but I really want AEW to do well. Rather than try to compete with WWE on their own patch so to speak, I think they should be offering a distinctly different wrestling product, a more athletic based style with a presentation as a genuine athletic competition. Get rid of the comedy talent, you’ve got really good talent there like Samoa Joe, Jay Lethal & Jeff Jarrett. Instead of putting them in tag teams and have them in segments with your bad comedy wrestlers, give them something to do. I guarantee no wrestling fan will be disappointed and they will make a ton of money.