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  1. #1
    Beautiful Fandom Mystic's Avatar
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    Being the Elite: My First Thoughts on All Elite Wrestling

    Being the Elite:

    My First Thoughts on All Elite Wrestling

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about the soon-coming launch of All Elite Wrestling. (I have been living under a rock, and I heard about it.) From what it seems right now, Cody Rhodes, Brandi, The Young Bucks, and the SCU (Kaz, Daniels, S. Sky), are on board for All Elite Wrestling.

    Which brings us to the first head-scratching situation: what about Kenny Omega and Marty Scurll?

    Where the Rumors Place Them

    The rumors currently place Kenny Omega trending toward WWE, even with claims that he is looking at a 3.5 million-dollar downside if he goes. Personally, I find it astounding what WWE will do to get individuals, especially when they might benefit places other than WWE, when, if it really comes down to it, the individual does not matter in this company. They just don’t. The man could be Brock Lesnar or Becky Lynch. It could be John Cena or Roman Reigns. None of it matters because what makes one person “the man” and the next not is simply who WWE picks that week. One special thing about WWE, post-Rock, post-Austin, is that they have really booked and scripted everyone so tightly that almost everyone could stand in for anyone. It takes a village—say what they give you to say, play the role you’re given. Nothing wrong with this. It’s a formula that works. But, truth be told, it is not a path for anyone who is trying to be more than what someone tells them to be. It is not the pathway for any individual to be Elite. To be booked Elite as long as you are in favor? Sure. And I would never begrudge a man his money. Also, I don’t actually like Kenny Omega, so, on a personal level, I’d be happy to see him somewhere other than AEW. But, if I’m being honest, to the wider wrestling population, Omega to WWE would be a bigger blow to AEW than it would be a plus for WWE. Potentially well played as always, Great Satan in Stamford.

    As for Marty Scurll, I do believe it would be a great loss if AEW can’t sign him. As far as rumors and reports, however, he seems more likely to end up in AEW than Omega. It seems Marty Scurll, whose contract with RoH and NJPW was meant to be up in November, signed a short six-month extension, which will keep him with the companies through Madison Square Garden. I am actually happy with this development, as I like the Madison Square Garden show as a ‘fuck you’ to the aforementioned Great Satan in Stamford, and it made me a bit sad that a majority of the guys who likely influenced such a move to MSG will not actually be on the show. That said: there is also a rumor that WWE’s offer to Scurll is still on the table. I’m just going to choose to ignore this for now, and keep hope that Marty Scurll—one of the guys who stole the show at All In—will be home to AEW soon enough.

    What I hope for AEW

    What I hope for AEW, on a personal level, is a wonderful TV deal delayed until the back half of 2019. This is just me, but I’d love to see the announcement for the TV deal made early, with a groundswell push until October or so before starting on TV. I say this for a couple of reasons. The first is simply because the rumors have AEW wanting the Tuesday night slot after Smackdown goes to Friday in October of 2019. Now, this could be false, but let’s just say that’s the night they want. If they were to get that night, it would be far better to build to it, then to start on a different night and quickly play TNA’s herky-jerky move-all-over-the-place with TV, days, channels, or time. Along with this, starting in the fall could allow for a major spring show, which is when Double or Nothing is rumored to be, as well as a major summer show in All In 2. Now, it could be just as likely that AEW will move right into a TV deal, and who would begrudge them a good deal? I’m just saying a slow burn to TV could be a unique and interesting way to build the brand before you start the weekly showings.

    Who Would You Like to See in AEW?

    Perhaps you’d like to see Independent stars? Perhaps you’d like to see WWE stars? In a world where anything goes, who would you most want to see in AEW?

    Of the guys in WWE I’d like to see, most, if not all, are not likely. I list the majority below because they are favorites of mine and this is the only time I get to talk about them. Most of these guys are under contract, thriving with the Great Satan, but if we’re just playing a game of who would be fun, here are a few that come to mind.

    Paul Heyman

    A mastermind in storytelling, whether onscreen or off. Paul Heyman represents my desire to have people in AEW who can see the bigger picture and tell the greater story. He could also, of course, help put wrestlers on the map or, eventually, be paired with an old friend.

    Daniel Bryan/Kevin Owens

    As mentioned, these are guys who choose to be with WWE, but I list them, as with Heyman, more for what they symbolize and what I want/need in AEW. Both Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens, in different ways, embody people who never settle for average or even good. They want to be great. They know who they are and they want to perform who they are. No matter who AEW signs, from rookies to vets, I hope they will find people with this kind of ambition and vision.

    Bobby Roode

    My former favorite wrestler is one half of the tag champions. I discovered this today when researching for this article. I’ve not enjoyed Bobby Roode since the main roster, and his early run on the main roster is one of a million examples of how inexcusably bad the booking of WWE gets to be. Bobby Roode, at his age, would be smart to stay in WWE and transition into an agent. But if Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens symbolize ambition and vision, Bobby Roode symbolizes for me a consummate professional. He can play any role you ask of him, from jobber to enforcer to tag wrestler to world champion, and he can play any of those roles at a level as high as anyone around him. More qualities AEW needs in its talent.

    Pentagon Dark and Rey Fenix

    These are the first two guys on this list that could potentially end up with AEW. They are purportedly on WWE’s radar, as well as locked down with Lucha Underground, whose future is still uncertain. Lucha Underground has suffered, especially in season 4, with cuts to the budget, fewer of the cutscenes that really made the company stand out, and those involved have talked openly about not being able to make it work with any less money and/or possibly looking for a deal elsewhere if necessary. If these brothers do end up free agents this year or next, they will likely go for a high price, as WWE’s spending spree, combined with the outright competition between RoH, NJPW, IMPACT, and AEW, makes it an amazing time to be a free agent in pro wrestling. Both brothers have been world champions in promotions, and Pentagon not only worked Kenny Omega at All In, but, in my opinion, he still owes potential AEW star, Chris Jericho, a receipt for taking his moment at that grand show.

    C.M. Punk

    This man will be the wildcard who can swing a company into the red or black until he actually comes back and does so. With an ambition only matched by an attitude that can so easily turn poisonous, CM Punk would likely be a blessing and a curse should he ever appear in AEW. The current conversation has CM Punk rebuffing a Cody Rhodes statement that he offered CM Punk an opportunity to work All In. Punk said he didn’t consider a casual text message to be an offer, but he also has said that he would “listen” should an offer be made. I do believe Punk’s failure in MMA could one day be a path back to pro wrestling, and while he would make noise in AEW, I wonder if he would be a gamechanger or if he would resemble one of TNA’s many desperate attempts to throw rocks at the thrown of the Great Satan in Stamford. The only way I’d like to see Punk in AEW is if it’s because he wants to be there, wants to close his wrestling career on a better note. If he is there as a statement against WWE (on his part or the company’s), he might be better off leveraging himself into what he wanted all along: an opportunity to main event WWE’s WrestleMania.

    Seth Rollins

    Only because he seems to have actual opinions, which can never be good in WWE. Go, Seth. No, like literally, go. Hardly likely he will leave the great Satan ever, but I could see him one day having a CM Punk flame out, even if it’s half a decade from now.

    Names I could see in AEW (whether I’d want them there or not is hit or miss depending on the person): Chris Jericho, The Hart Foundation, AJ Lee, Austin Aries, Nakamura, Willie Mack, Cage, James Storm, Joey Ryan, Zack Ryder, Tye Dillinger (god forbid).

    What’s Left to Say?

    I also quickly want to mention Tony Khan, who seems to be serving a major role as President of the company. The Khan family seems to be worth 6.5 billion, and I am hoping to see a man committed to pro wrestling at the expense of spending money to make money. Partly due to who won the wrestling wars, Ted Turner has never received the credit he deserves in pro wrestling. He kept WCW on Turner when it lost money. He fought for them when executives looked down on anything pro wrestling. It takes this level of commitment, and I hope to see that not only from Khan, but from any potential TV partner who, rumors claim, were so impressed with how All In was put together.

    But don’t tell me,

    show me.

    Along with this support, whether it be on an AEW website, YouTube, or on the potential TV show, I'd love to see videos like the NWA and Being the Elite, where we continually see the wrestlers on the road, living their lives, and telling their stories. Life is a 24/7 game, as is entertainment these days, I hope this vision is kept in tact in the bigger picture.

    The Elite will be on hand in Jacksonville on January 8th, where we will learn more about Double or Nothing and, perhaps, the company in general.

    While this article serves to speculate on what is going on right now (along with some rando info on people I like simply because I like them), this article doesn’t speak on women’s wrestling and the majority of Indy wrestling, simply because most of that is not on my limited radar. Who or what would you most want to see from AEW? When would you like to see them on TV? On what station? With so many wrestling promotions going right now, what is the void, if any, that you see for AEW to potentially fill?

    Also,

    RIP

    Gene Okerlund

  2. #2
    I like the nice, clean presentation. And I think Kevin Owens would be a great addition, and probably the most likely(though still not highly likely) star that AEW could poach from WWE. Sami would be great as well. Hey, if WWE isn't going to use them well, I'd rather see them somewhere that will give them creative room and a push to show what they can do.

  3. #3
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    A Mystic column is always a welcome sight. Great to see you posting again, homie.


    The launch of AEW has led to a compelling chain of events that's really turned the wrestling world on its ear. And while it would be fun watching the startup promotion compete head-to-head with SmackDown, I'd rather see them land a TV deal after the blue brand switches networks. Kick things off with a fresh start (for lack of a better term). When you tossed around the idea of potential signings, I knew Roode's name would pop up on that list! I can't argue with it either. Given how each guy's career has played out thus far, I'd be genuinely shocked if Omega and Scurll chose WWE over the company of their close friends. Landing those two would be significant but recruiting the likes of CM Punk is a potential game changer. And knowing the latter, he'd do so just to spite Vince. Indie marks and disgruntled WWE fans are rooting for AEW to succeed but how will Cody and the Young Bucks handle this massive undertaking? We shall see.


  4. #4
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Nice. I mostly came here to read for research into what AEW actually is, still not sure I really know but the fact you're speculating about TV deals probably means nobody really knows.

    I'm not convinced any of the WWE main roster guys you talk about ever go there, but I guess it's nice to speculate. Punk is a possibility, but I don't see that happening until they have a reasonably well viewed TV show and PPV schedule that allows him to come back and headline a WM-equivalent.

    I guess the main issue is that TNA and ROH have both proven that without being WWE getting a good long term TV deal for a wrestling show is impossible. They never had a multi-billionaire signing an open chequebook though. If this guy really does go Ted Turner with things, maybe it has potential - but that also means it has potential to go as horribly wrong as WCW did.

    I also don't believe there's really anybody not called John Cena that could genuinely turn heads to a new product. Back in the Monday Night Wars, there was loads of guys that could jump ship and make an impact, and it happened on several occasions. Now? TNA have proven that having a few big names doesn't make a show viable. If the likes of Sting, Hogan and Angle can't get the viewers in, nobody can.

    I also remember seeing interviews with Christian shortly after he returned to WWE from his run with TNA. At the time, TNA had been getting close to Smackdown in the ratings. But still, when he was being interviewed (by a number of media outlets with no WWE affiliation), they didn't have any idea that he'd actually been wrestling on TV elsewhere since he originally left WWE.

    I truly hope AEW succeeds where ROH & TNA have failed, competition is desperately needed for the industry as a whole, I just don't see a situation where it genuinely happens. At best, they become another TNA.

    FACT or FICTION: Ladies and Gentlemen, Elias.
    PM me to get involved.

  5. #5
    The Brain
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    As you know I'll defend TNA more than most, at least in certain areas, but one thing they cannot escape blame for is poisoning the well in the minds of fans that another company besides WWE can succeed, and they did it through sheer incompetence. One of my greatest hopes for AEW is they will provide the cure to that poison and remind everyone what a healthy televised wrestling promotion can look like.

    I also hope for them to have an identity all their own, and to be loyal to that identity. And to never, ever mention WWE in a "shooty" type way. Never, ever, ever. One of the most heartening things about All In is that at no time (that I can recall) did someone walk out with a microphone to "shoot" on their former employer.

    I also hope they aggressively pursue the best talent in the world and make healthy partnerships with other promotions, and allow whoever is signed to them to work as much or as little as they want around the world. There is such potential for capitalizing on the interconnected wrestling world right now, and this could (and I want to say should) be the place where it all climaxes.

    Great thoughts and great to see you swing by, my friend. Keep your head above water in real life, and we'll talk more soon!

  6. #6
    You know who I am, but you don't know why I'm here
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    I'm excited to see what may come of this.

    I was just thinking the other day how 2019 marks the six year mark since I attended the last WrestleMania in NYC, and I remember thinking it weird how there were so many Moxley (Ambrose) fans around me. Today, I wouldn't consider that weird in the slightest because pro wrestling beyond the WWE bubble has grown so much - and, in fairness, I think WWE itself has helped stimulate that growth with what they've done with NXT. New Japan is amazing. Lucha Underground is amazing. What I want to see from AEW, though, is a modernized NWA and for them to incorporate everyone else but WWE in what they're doing - kind of what Jeff Jarrett point blank told me in an LOPR interview that he wanted Global Force Wrestling to be, only this time realistic because there's a billionaire behind it

  7. #7
    Beautiful Fandom Mystic's Avatar
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    Burn - Thank you. I tried to keep the presentation clean (and out of the way). I agree with Kevin and Sami. I was trying to use wrestlers to think of what attributes are needed. What I most realized is I want guys who care too much (versus guys who don't care enough).

    SkitZ-0 - What's good? Great summary. Much is even out of the hands of the Bucks and Cody. They can't say who they will get, how things will go. But, soon enough, they will be marked for their successes or failures. We like to mark people, to sum them up, and I think that's unfortunate. Best thing we could do is give this project room to breathe and time to grow. Do we have that in us? I'm not sure.

    Bill - You say lots of smart things. Are you saying that you don't think CM Punk could be a gamechanger? (I don't know if I think he could or not.) The rumors are that AEW turned heads with their production of All In and that Khan is willing to put in 100,000 million. If any of this is true, these are advantages that I'm not sure TNA had. And yet, TNA had its moments, despite itself. As for mainstream attention, TNA shot itself in the foot by being called...TNA. Plus, as I will mention in this next column, Jeff Jarrett is just small ball. I can see Cody and Company potentially being better at mingling with the right people.

    mizfan - You say what I'm about to say in this next piece: Just keep WWE the fuck out of your mouth. It's low small ball, so embarrassing. Can you imagine anyone going around despising their own identity and only caring about ruining someone else? Bischoff did this before TNA. Ted DiBiase claims he laughed in Bischoff's face when, amidst a clusterfuck of a locker room and production, Eric was backstage going on about how he was going to put Vince out of business. My biggest hope for AEW is that they set their own goals publicly and that none of these have to do with WWE. If they can do that, they will already be ahead of TNA and even WCW.

    Doc - I use your "modernized NWA" term below, as I agree wholeheartedly. I was such a fan of that brief moment between Cody and the NWA. I love your Jarrett comment. I just don't think Jarrett was ever going to be the guy who got that done. One thing about Cody is he is shifty. I think he works a room well and speaks highly of everyone. I hope he doesn't lose that. Make friends. Let your actions do any damage you do, but speak well of WWE, of wrestling, of all those things. If you could get someone who is legit smart about the business and respected (potentially Cody) with a someone who has money and is willing to spend it (potentially Khan) you could really build a brand that is respectable and that gives pro wrestling fans another space to be.


    Being the Elite:

    How I Met Your Mother Shouldn’t Be Two and a Half Men…And That’s OK

    You may well ask, ‘Mystic, where you’d come from and why you writing so much?’ I guess I could tell you it’s winter break, and I still have one more week until I’m back on my grind again. But, even more truthfully, you’d have to be a wrestling fan who has been starved for two decades to know what it’s like right now for me. There is a new promotion. It has money behind it. It has a potential TV deal. It has the son of Dusty Rhodes on creative.

    Now, don’t overlook the words where I tell you I’ve been starved for two decades. I know how quickly this desert water may show itself a mirage.

    But, by god, in the meantime.

    During this window where AEW could be anything I imagine it to be, where it could be a buffet for the starving, a meal plan for years to come, you can bet your sweet reading eyes I’m going to play it up for all its worth.

    Which is probably why I found myself somewhere today that I haven’t visited since I took a hiatus from LOPRadio: the WWE Network.

    I found myself binging today. Starving stuffing knowing I’d probably vomit it all up in time.

    I found myself watching Paul Heyman, Bully Ray, D-Von, Tommy Dreamer, and Tazz tell the story of ECW, which I will get to shortly, and I found myself needing to continue this conversation on AEW.

    Particularly:

    • Why there’s nothing quite as beautiful as spending your life striving after something you love
    • Pro wrestling’s assessment absurdity
    • How Cody Rhodes is already better than most who came before him/Who to avoid
    • What should we think of potential relationships with Chris Jericho and Jim Ross?
    • A few rugged, gritty thoughts for the road



    Nothing Is As Beautiful As

    We live in a culture that privileges the critic over the doer and, if that doesn’t change, it will be damning in time. (Not that it’s not already.) If we played a game of word association, and I gave the word Paul Heyman (and ECW), how many people would mention liar, or fraudulent, or didn’t pay the bills? OK. Factual, sure. The guys on the panel even mentioned some of that. But do you ever step back and think about what Paul Heyman actually did?

    Paul Heyman, against all the odds, without resources or means, pulled a goddamned immaculate conception where he impregnated a wrestling world contaminated in sin with the purity of purposeful, meaning-making brand, based out of vision where no decent vision existed.

    He took a wrestling company that declared itself regional by its very name—Eastern Championship Wrestling—and he imbued it with a single word that would change the company, change the face of wrestling, and, I’d argue, would ultimately save the WWE by delivering the Attitude Era as a potential so much more easily ready to exist.

    Were there lies? Did he spend 4 million dollars of his parents money? Did he rip off promoters, friends, and family?

    The answer is yes, but such is the same answer to:

    Did he change the landscape of pro wrestling? Did he come just short of a deal where Disney (fuckin’ Disney) would buy 49% of his company? Did he live his dream and provide the same people he “ripped off” their dreams as well?

    This is not even a defense of Paul Heyman.

    This is a “Oh my god, what must it be like to live your dream, chase your dream, live and die by your dream?”

    Concerning ECW, Paul Heyman would say, “We didn’t have wives. We didn’t have kids. We had ECW.”

    And, at the end of the special on ECW, when asked to describe ECW, Tommy Dreamer begins to cry as he says the following:

    “For me, ECW was the greatest time of my life. [Not the only person on the panel who said that.] I…*clears throat*… I owe everything to [Paul Heyman]. At times I wanted to kill him. Out of loyalty, I still would do anything for him. And yes, I wish we were closer, but that’s a whole other episode. But…this businesses history? Eddie Graham taught Dusty Rhodes. Dusty Rhodes taught him. He taught me. He taught him. He taught everybody. He gave so much. People shit on him. I’ve shat on him. My family lost money. His parents lost money. People say, ‘Oh, he bounced a check on me. He’s a scumbag. He’s a liar.’ At times, he was. But, you know what? He did it for all of us. And I don’t care…there’s a lot of people…they wouldn’t have had opportunities. They wouldn’t have even been able to work Indies if it wasn’t for him. And when you say, ‘This is a panel of Mount Rushmore’, yes, but it should be Paul and a bunch of us standing behind him.”

    That is not the critic speaking. That is a doer. That is someone who partook of the messy business of LIVING.

    I think you have to see it for yourself. Tommy Dreamer is crying, as is Paul Heyman.

    These Northeastern guys. These proponents of extreme.

    Crying.

    Reliving, and I fear the trouble for us will one day be how do you relive when you never truly lived?

    They were living off nothing, out of nothing, and creating so damn much.

    Most went on to do big business, and most said ECW was the best time of their lives.

    It makes me wish, in my teenage years, I had grabbed a broom at the local Indy and worked my way up. It makes we wish, in my own professional world, I hadn’t made a safe choice six years ago that is now producing nothing but “safe” and boring potentials.

    It makes me realize how few of us live on this level.

    In the pro wrestling world, so few do.

    And Cody and Company are about to join that small handful.

    The Pro Wrestling Assessment Absurdity

    or

    Why I’m Glad How I Met Your Mother Wasn’t Two and a Half Men


    It always blew my mind that HIMYM, a comedy in the form of Friends but perhaps with more storied character development, could never do the ratings of a formulaic, if-you’ve-seen-one you’ve-seen-them-all show like Two and a Half Men.

    Much like other things I don’t understand (*cough* WWE *cough*) the show that was most formulaic and seemed to try less was actually the ratings king in its genre.

    Now.

    How stupid and how detrimental if every comedy that aired during the time of Two and a Half Men was considered fraudulent or failing unless they were in the same time slot as Two and a Half Men and unless they eventually toppled them in the ratings.

    This train of thought is so stupid that you would never find it here, likely never find it anywhere, except, of course, in the world of pro wrestling post-MNW.

    One of the rumors going around right now (one that makes me happy, mind you) is that one of the companies that AEW is negotiating with is Time Warner Cable. Let me be honest: nothing in this world would make me happier than to see AEW land on TBS and/or TNT. It would be the closest thing to a time warp I could experience. In fact, if AEW had a weekend show on TBS, it would have to be god awful for me not to look forward to it each week, simply because it would make me feel like a child again.

    But, already, I have read comments that say, “Wouldn’t it be nice if they were on TNT on Monday nights?”

    No.

    It would not be.

    And you, commenter, are the reason we can’t have nice things in pro wrestling.

    (Same goes for all the articles and videos already speculating AEW vs. WWE.)

    In just a moment, I will discuss how Cody Rhodes is already ahead of many of the bookers who came before him, but here and now, let me offer the biggest piece of advice that I can offer Cody and Company: get in front of your own agenda, have one, define it, and let it always be an agenda that has nothing to do with WWE.

    Cody is already skilled at this. He talks highly of WWE, is very polite.

    Continue on this way.

    It is high time to find new ways to define success for non-WWE pro wrestling outlets.

    Booking All In: a success.

    Finding a billionaire who will devote 100,000 million to your company: a success.

    Potentially having multiple TV deals on the table: a success.

    Being on TV: a success.

    Building a following of any size while maintaining your show on air: a success.

    Building a brand that does something that other brands don’t: a success.

    We, as pro wrestling fans, become monsters when we rob the airwaves of wrestling companies because they cannot interest us if they are not on Monday night in a war with another company.

    Again: we are the reason we can’t have nice things, then we bitch and moan about what we do not have.

    I do believe Cody gets this.

    I believe he gets a lot of things that those who came before him did not.

    In fact…

    Cody Rhodes Is Already Better Than

    Vince Russo

    Anyone who knows me knows this goes without saying. We can dispute Russo’s influence on the Attitude Era, but I honestly believe that pro wrestling would have been just fine without his “best” contributions and, on the contrary, his worst contributions are so horrible that he should be brought up on war crimes against professional wrestling. The man is delusional, and I could honestly see his success in WWF beginning with Vince McMahon saying, “Your name is Vince and my name is Vince. Goddammit, pal, this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship!”

    Here is what I do know: at best Vince Russo was a one-hit wonder. After he left WWF, he managed to always stand between WWE and any kind of competition. He wrecked WCW, poisoned TNA, and was so detrimental that fathers broke up with sons and networks threatened wrestling companies if they even privately let this man have a job.

    Justice of justices: we finally saw a time where Russo couldn’t even work for free in pro wrestling.

    Cody Rhodes is already more versatile, more tied into the business, and way more respected than Vince Russo.


    Eric Bischoff


    Nobody discredits Eric Bischoff quite like Eric Bischoff. Whenever I listen to his shows, I get the impression that he doesn’t remember history, in large part, because he wasn’t paying attention when it happened. This is a guy who, aside from the nWo, never really offered much to the pro wrestling world. Like Russo, he has his one claim to fame and he holds on to it tightly.

    Beyond that? Eric Bischoff admits it was Ted Turner who wanted to move to Monday night. Bischoff is a main reason the locker room turned toxic. (He had clear favorites and wanted desperately to be one of the boys to only three of the boys.) Eric Bischoff also had the kind of money to spend that would have ensured almost anyone could have looked good in this job for a short time in space.

    I desperately try to like this guy. He was there for one of my two favorite eras of all time. But, again, the more I listen to him the more he seems like a guy along for the ride. Bobby Heenan says that he doesn’t believe Bischoff ever watched the announcers. The Brain says he had no idea if he was doing good or bad, as he never heard anything.

    Cody Rhodes, in All In alone, seems more in touch with the fans, the wrestlers, and the direction of the company than Bischoff ever seemed to be. Already this is an advantage over Eric.

    Jeff Jarrett

    I will always appreciate Jeff Jarrett for trying. But…let’s be honest: Jeff Jarrett is the regionalist regional region-y of all regional people. You could put Jeff Jarrett on the WrestleMania stage and folks would be like, “Oh, I didn’t know Memphis was still running shows.” Never, ever was Jeff Jarrett going to be the guy who brought a revolution. On top of that, he ruined his working relationship with his own father in favor of Vince Russo.

    Bad look.

    Cody Rhodes, in simply being the son of Dusty Rhodes, already has a bigger footprint than Jeff Jarrett. If he also never hires Russo, a man Cody seems to detest, he will always be ahead of the man who spent the last two decades trying to give us the alternative to WWE.


    Dixie Carter

    Dixie makes you want to say, “Bless her heart.” I don’t dislike her personally, as some do. I think her [blessed] heart was in the right place. I just don’t think she knew what the hell she was doing. I think anyone in her ear could excite her, and I think she tried whatever anyone suggested.

    Cody was born into the business. He probably had a better sense of the business at ten years old than Dixie ever had. If he can make his own plans and not be a follower, he will always be ahead of Dixie Carter.

    Help Me Here: What Do We Think of Chris Jericho and Jim Ross Possibly Associated with AEW Creative?

    While I will share a few thouthts, I’m legit asking you. I’ve mostly ignored WWE for the last twenty years, so I don’t know the good, the bad, and the ugly of these two, creatively, as much as most of you.

    So, dammit, let’s speculate!


    Chris Jericho

    I might not know the hits and misses of Chris Jericho in WWE well, but I do know what he did in WCW. You remember that guy we talked about before, Eric Bischoff, who doesn’t seem to remember what happened in his own company? It’s partly because he didn’t pay attention. And one of the people he didn’t pay attention to? Chris Jericho. Jericho was smart and realized this, and he took advantage of it. Now, if you’ve watched HIMYM, there is a time where Robin Scherbatsky is working on a news channel so inconspicuous that she realizes that nobody, even the people she works for, watches her on the news. She begins making money from the great Barney Stinson, by doing things on the air that amuses him, from slapping her own ass and saying “I’m a dirty, dirty girl” to reciting the following: “Elbert Ickey Woods, the Bengals were fools to cut you in 1991. Your 1525 rushing yards and your 27 touchdowns will not be forgotten. So coach Dave Shula, screw you and your crappy steakhouse!”

    Robin did this because she was working at a station that had no money and no viewers. Eric Bischoff was spending Ted Turner’s money and his show had many millions of viewers, he just happened to not be bothered to be one of them.

    And, in the meantime, Chris Jericho made history. From trips to Lowe’s for product, to signs, to Ralphus, Jericho really was a finger-on-the-pulse guy many times. I think we’ve seen this with the list, with the suit, and with getting enough heel heat to be attacked by fans.

    From what I know, creatively, Chris Jericho could be a plus. Perhaps he could mentor the Bucks.

    Jim Ross

    Jim Ross used to be one of my favorite people, then he was one of my least favorites. He could become a favorite again.

    I loved him growing up.

    He made the NWA better. He made WCW better. He made WWF better.

    I started hating him only when I listened to him off TV. He always seemed so bitter and he was such a company guy.

    When the company is WWE, and when I hate WWE, I hate a company guy.

    But if he were to sign with AEW and be a company guy?

    Well, as they say in the Wizard of Oz, that’s a horse of a different color.

    The rumor is that Jim Ross, whose contract is up in March, could possibly be working in creative and on-air.

    I say yes (a million times so) to having him as the voice of AEW.

    That alone could raise the standard.

    (Not to mention if they did end up on TBS and Jim Ross was announcing….)

    How he would be creatively? I yield the floor on that one. I know he was responsible for talent in WWE. How’d he do there? How’d he do creatively? How might he do in AEW?

    The Gritty Truth: Keep It Gritty, Truth

    Like Doc mentioned, I also would like to see AEW be a “modernized NWA.”

    What this means for me, first and foremost, is this company needs to build a realistic credibility and keep it.

    Now, I’m no prude. I was in the building at All In when Joey Ryan did his thing. I didn’t get mad. I understand you have to reach a large audience. Joey Ryan was my “Let’s go see what merchandise is selling” moment, but, when I came back, some fans were having their best moment of the night.

    I don’t mind the Joey Ryan moments, as long as its not what makes the company tick.

    I want to see a company built around feuds like Cody-Aldis. I want to see competition frontloaded. I want to see reputations on the line. I want to see people lose and win and I want to believe it matters quite a bit.

    I want heels so dirty that we get a “Horsemen works over Dusty in the cage” moment or an nWo attacks moment.

    I want my wrestling gritty, with narratives so big you could camp out inside them.

    I want to get to know the wrestlers, in a way only 2019 technology can afford.

    I want to believe something, risk something, because the characters I watch believe something, risk something.

    In the announcement for January 8th, Chief Brand Officer (I like that term) Brandi Rhodes says the following: Keeping in true The Elite fashion, attendees can expect the unexpected as the rally will showcase the true spirit of wrestling entrepreneurialism and feature special guests, inside info and limited edition merchandise.”

    I like that this company already believes they have a “true…fashion”. I like that they emphasize “the true spirit of wrestling entrepreneurialism”.

    I believe, perhaps, the greatest strength AEW may have is transparency.

    These guys keep it real and they keep it real in open forums such as social media and YouTube and, hopefully, TV.

    Why did we fall in love with non-WWE characters?

    Because they were barely characters.

    Why did we believe Ric Flair when he said he stayed up all night and stayed a little longer? Because he—wait for it, but this isn’t rocket science—stayed up all night and stayed a little longer.

    Why did we believe a man who looked like Dusty Rhodes to be a super hero?

    Because the man who looked like Dusty Rhodes knew he looked like Dusty Rhodes and told us, “I admit I don’t look like the athlete of today is supposed to look. My belly just a little big…”

    And then we could say OK.

    Digest that

    and be ready when he said,

    “But, brother, I am bad and they know I’m bad.”

    If the AEW needs to be one thing,

    if we are starved for one thing,

    it’s something…real.

    Something that feels real.

    Real + storied.

    Real + narrativized.

    Give it to us real

    and we,

    in turn,

    will give back

    the best kind of wrestling fandom.

    One that is real

    and enduring.

    It's the Method Man agreement, and, in this way, as always, I'm trying to get back to the best decade of my life.

    For, as Method Man says, I say to AEW:

    "If you keep it real with me I'll keep it real with you."

  8. #8
    The Brain
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Damn, the bonus column was better than the first one!

    I like that you're pushing back against Heyman detractors here. I've been guilty of it myself, the man is positively worshiped by some and I admit at times that's prompted me to push back against him a little bit for the faults that he has, and he does have them. But you're spot on, when you weigh that against all the man has actually DONE, all the completely against the odds thing he's accomplished in the face of doubters, you can't help but say that he's incredible. I'm too contrarian by nature to say I'll never push against his near universal praise again, but when all is said and done I know I'll always have a lot of respect for one of the all time greats. Hell, that'd be true even if he'd retired after leading the Dangerous Alliance!

    I love that part of the quote, "the greatest time of my life", and that Dreamer wasn't the only one that said it. I truly believe in 15-20 years there will be a lot of the guys who made their bones abroad or independently who will say the same thing. I'm not saying they'll regret the day they joined WWE, but I really do think a lot of people will look back and say "those were my best days". Trading freedom for security is something almost all of us do eventually, but that doesn't mean it isn't sad.

    How stupid and how detrimental if every comedy that aired during the time of Two and a Half Men was considered fraudulent or failing unless they were in the same time slot as Two and a Half Men and unless they eventually toppled them in the ratings.
    Ah, the fucking truth of this jumps off the screen at me. What a line. How has the fandom become so programmed to think there can be only one game in town? That's never the way it was done, for damn near a century. I hope in time we'll look back at this little 15 year bubble and say wow, I can't believe it was ever like that.

    We, as pro wrestling fans, become monsters when we rob the airwaves of wrestling companies because they cannot interest us if they are not on Monday night in a war with another company.
    God in heaven, another hell of a line right here. The obsession with recreating that exciting but destructive time is ridiculous. As thrilling as going head to head was, that was a declaration that wrestling wasn't big enough for all of us, but it is. It's so deep and wide, and there are 7 god damned days of the week. I'd like a different company to be running a show on each of them, and twice on Sunday.

    That line about Heenan never hearing a word about whether he was doing well or not made me so sad. He was such a team player, but Bischoff ran a house where there was no team, just politicians and chickens running around with their heads cut off.

    I appreciate you sharing a kind and I think justified word about Dixie Carter, and I agree completely. I think she meant well and it's telling that when people speak on her personally rather than professionally they're almost always kind. I'll never forget that table bump she took, something she absolutely didn't need to do but did because she thought it would help the company. Absolutely clueless in many respects, no doubt, but at least she tried and she cared, which is a lot more than you can say for some.

    I don’t mind the Joey Ryan moments, as long as its not what makes the company tick.
    Another really good line here. A company that doesn't have to exclusively take itself seriously is important. I'm not a Joey Ryan guy either but there's a place for things like that. I yearn for a promotion that can blend the outlandish with the grit. And yes, of course that means what I really want is 20 more season of Lucha Underground, but I'll take anything I can get.

    What I take away most from all this is that Cody WANTS it in a way the others you talked about simply didn't. He not only has desire, he has capability, and it's clear he can't be easily dragged down by doubters and detractors. I always liked Cody, but he has a chance to become one of the most important figures in wrestling history right now, and all I want him to do is do everything he can to reach out and grab it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    289
    I don't know much about AEW. Hell, does anybody know much about AEW? That's not me trying to be funny as it's actually a serious question. This column was mostly speculation (which wasn't a bad thing!). What I do know is that this show has a tremendous amount hype surrounding it and the guys doing the show has a tall task on their hands to prove this prospect a success. However, the same could be said about All In and that show was a major success so I'm not counting Cody and Company out at all.

    And Cody is the best guy to lead the charge as unlike Russo, Dixie, Bishoff, etc., he actually has true love for the business and because of the respect he has gained since leaving WWE he can get guys to work for him. He has made many connections during his time working the Indies and he has definitely helped create a fantastic buzz on the Indy scene and that buzz that he has created will help AEW immensely.

    I also think it will be great to have Jericho and Ross as part of the show as the creative experience amongst the two are wholly formidable. I agree that they shouldn't focus on anything WWE related and they should just focus on creating their brand and their following first.

    Look, at the end of the day I'm truly rooting for AEW but creating one successful event (All In) is not the same as creating a full on show. Nevertheless, with the talent at Cody's disposal, the connections he made, the respect he garnered, All In proving to the biggest Indy stars that Cody can create something special, Cody's business ethic and the backing of a billionaire I'm sure he can make this world and take another promotion other than WWE to heights beyond what ROH and TNA could accomplish.

    I guess we all just have to see how it goes down.

  10. #10
    Beautiful Fandom Mystic's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    350
    Mizfan - Hell of a response, friend. So much good matter. I like your points on Heyman. You are pushing back against a narrative placed on and around Heyman. Everyone needs that at times. That is different than pushing past narratives and simply declaring someone a monster, a thief, etc. I get tired of labels that last forever on people we don't actually know. None of us would think it fair if it were done to us, which should tell us something about doing it to others..... I really enjoyed the Two and a Half Men/himym comparison, simply because sometimes things become so stupid that, when we mention it, people don't really hear it. We need to go outside that space, find a metaphor, and demonstrate how absurd things have become. ...I didn't rep TNA as long as you, but the years I did are enough for me to never assault Dixie like some do. Again, like Heyman, they aren't knocking a narrative, they are condemning a human being wholesale. . . .I believe the Cody commentary more today than when I wrote this. Been listening to Bischoff's 83 Weeks. He was, by his own admissions, almost all business man and almost 0 creative. The territories he came out of didn't allow people in creative unless they were *in*, so Bischoff borderline feared creative. Cody, on the other hand, is the son of Dusty, has had a hand in his creative and others. AEW might succeed and it might fail, but there really is a completeness that hasn't always been there. ... Thanks for the bountiful read and feed!

    Franc - I agree about "What do we really know?" A big reason I wrote these was to speculate before things got so locked down. How often do we know that some kind of promotion is coming but nothing else? I am excited to find out what AEW will be, but i have enjoyed sitting in this moment of not-sure-ness. . .They just signed SCU. I think the biggest mistake AEW could make is creating a promotion that is just the Elite and their buddies. There's a rumor they are fighting TNA over the Lucha Bros. They need them. They also need to work out a deal with NJPW and possibly others, if possible. Make yourself as BIG as possible. Don't shrink down to a gimmick or a group full of friends. ... I absolutely agree that one night does not a promotion make. On the other hand, there was also A LOT of pressure to deliver on All In, so it's no small thing that they succeeded. I could see when the ref ran down in the main event, becausee they were getting close to going off the air while the main event was still running. So, from producing a show, to booking one, to delivering one that satisfied when people had high expectations, those are at least HINTS that they might be able to do something bigger. That is what has attracted Khan and TV. Can they still fail? Easily and absolutely. Do they also have a rare chance at really succeeding? Absolutely.

    It's a great time to be a fan.

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