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  1. What's her character exactly, though? Perennial loser? Like, what is she thanking him for? Having her get drafted to SmackDown? Because, if thats what she is thankful for, she is breaking kayfabe by saying that Vince controls who got drafted where. Which, if you go one more logical step, also means he controls who wins and loses matches. Which also means he booked her to lose to Becky Lynch decisevly last week. So, I don't get it. And I don't think she does either anymore. And I don't think many or really any fans are able to keep the thread of WWE's "gray" area storytelling where everyone is in character all the time except when they're not because they're all "playing characters" and nothing is real except what you see on TV except when that also isn't real because even the most nefarious heel, the biggest bullies on the roster, are still seen doing anti-bully PR work. It was way easier to enjoy Sasha Banks, as a performer, when she was a definable character with clear motives. Its not just her tweets - her whole character and presentation has been an absolute hot mess since they called her up and, for whatever reason, decided they could base her babyface character on being an "internet darling" and being the anti-Charlotte.
  2. DMJ

    The Wednesday Night War

    ^ All of this. As others have written elsewhere too, in two short weeks, AEW has made me interested in seeing guys like Sammy Guevara and Darby Allin develop into bigger stars. This is something that NXT used to do. Out of sheer convenience, I've been a WWE-centric fan for the past 20 years. The Network introduced me to older footage but I definitely wasn't watching NJPW or RoH during their respective peaks. I dipped in and (mostly) out of TNA/Impact too. So, like many US fans, seeing Finn Balor, Nakamura, and Andrade Almas in NXT was my first real exposure to them and, in NXT, they each blew me away. Then they got to the main roster and my enthusiasm faded as they each faded into midcard obscurity. So, its really hard to get excited about someone like Matt Riddle - who I like - or Keith Lee - who I like - or even Velveteen Dream. We've seen their ceiling. We've seen much hotter talents that were seemingly the "total package" come up from NXT and not treated like big deals. Meanwhile, on AEW, guys like Jake Hager and the aforementioned Allin and Guevara seem like, a year from now, they could be bigger stars. In NXT, we've seen stars "peak" before they're even on the main roster.
  3. DMJ

    AEW Dynamite Week 2 - 9th October 2019

    I don't know if the numbers exist (or, rather, how available they are), but I'd be curious to know what the age breakdown was during the Monday Night Wars. I think most people assume WCW was skewing older at first (94'-95') as WWE was doing their New Generation stuff and WCW featured Hogan, Flair, Savage, etc. at the top (plus, WCW still had that historical connection to NWA 'rasslin'). But I'm curious if things shifted around 96'-97' and WCW picked up more of the younger audience. Sure, you still had Hogan and Flair and Savage on top, but the midcard was really, really fresh. I bring this up just because, if I was the WWE, I'd be a bit worried. Not only because AEW is doing well with that key 18-34 demo, but because, I can easily foresee that 50+ crowd jumping ship as word spreads about Dynamite's quality. I mean, that Jericho promo was *exactly* the kind of promo that Jericho's biggest fans - who are all older views - want to see him do. As others have said, Tony Schiavone and Excalibur have done a great job on commentary and JR, well, not so much...but I'd still call this 3-man booth better than anything the WWE is offering currently. And, again, you've got two "names" that mean something to the 50+ crowd. I don't think the 50+ crowd particularly likes Corey Graves, but JR? He can kinda do no wrong to a segment of the audience. So, sure, we know that right now AEW is doing a nice job bringing in younger viewers. But that 50+ crowd might be joining soon. The shows they're putting on have featured elements that appeal to those longtime WWE fans and, here's the key thing, they're doing those elements better than the WWE is right now. Jericho's promo in particular felt like the best in-ring promo I've seen anyone do in YEARS and that's saying something when, for awhile there, RAW would open with one every single week, 52 weeks a year. I mean, keep in mind, WWE actually had Daniel Bryan cutting great promos for awhile there...they just air them on their YouTube channel for some fucking reason.
  4. It will also make certain picks seem ridiculous. Clearly, if this were not kayfabe, Seth Rollins would be the opposite of a good pick. He's a ratings killer and I doubt he even sells 3/4ths of the merch that The New Day do. Sure, he's the Universal Champion - but that title felt instantly less important than the WWE Championship the second Lesnar pinned Kofi. The top picks would like be Lesnar, Rousey (is she an option?), Becky Lynch, and Roman Reigns and then there'd probably be quite a big drop off. The Fiend is "hot" (or was?) so he'd be a reasonable pick. The Miz has longevity and his own spin-off. Daniel Bryan was really hot in 2014 so in that sense he should be a top 5-6 pick. Braun is a monster, he would/should get picked on size alone. But after that? If this were real, they'd probably just be bidding for the rights to John Cena's eventual comeback match. Everyone else is interchangeable or completely unknown. Like, you can put 50 FOX executives in a room and I doubt any of them would know who Andrade is. Hell, I'd be surprised if even one could name Ricochet. I doubt they could pick Kevin Owens out of a lineup.
  5. 4 million is impressive, for sure, but as others said, it is questionable whether that number will stay consistent. Personally, from the segments I did see, I would be pretty concerned if I was FOX. You're not going to have The Rock every week. AFAIK, Brock Lesnar is still not a weekly or even monthly guarantee. Hell, if the brand split means anything, you're not going to have Braun Strowman or Becky Lynch every week and, while I doubt its "for reals," the one McMahon you have just got retired on your premier episode. So, there's the New Day (whose leader you just decimated), Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan (who are kinda quietly being great slightly out of the spotlight), and...uh...Orton? Is the Miz on RAW or SD? Now that Kevin Owens is finally out of the feud with Shane (maybe?), does he matter or still not? Aleister Black is still a thing right? Just seems very unlikely that this roster, really any roster of full-time WWE guys, is going to consistently maintain 3+ million viewers. Then again the net is much wider on broadcast TV and there's not much competition on Friday nights. Still, if even one other network actually tried to come up with counter-programming, the WWE would be in trouble. I'm not sure what that sports-based counter-programming would even be that would air on Fridays all year round (some sort of mix of college football/basketball?), but that's also why the WWE got such a great deal.
  6. The whole "Suplex City" thing started when Lesnar literally tossed Cena around for 10 minutes like a ragdoll. I'm not upset about Kofi getting destroyed, I'm pissed about Seth Rollins not getting destroyed. There are only a handful of guys that deserve to be able to last longer than 5 minutes with Brock and I don't think Kofi or Rollins should've, so, yeah, I'm happy with this result.
  7. Wow. Way to spotlight a bunch of your major talent - Styles, Orton, Miz - by having them all appear as extras on your big debut show. Like, what was the point of that match? Aside from teasing a Fury/Strowman confrontation? Why include guys that, presumably, are main event level guys? You just made sure anyone catching SmackDown for the first time in forever will have the lowest possible view of those guys.
  8. No way Bray Wyatt leaves with the title. They could've done Braun a huge favor by having him take the title off him last month and, though I would've opposed it (along with most of the fan base), could've given an even bigger rub to Baron Corbin by having him screw Rollins out of the title in that tag match. The second victory over Brock sealed it, though. The company is "all in" on Seth Rollins, which makes total sense - he's the most Triple Hish wrestler on the roster. I could elaborate here, but I'm trying not to be so longwinded. Like Triple H, his reign of mediocrity will last a long, long time and diminishing ratings and house show attendance won't change a thing.
  9. Like Vince, I'd say HHH has gotten into the very nasty habit of letting guys die on the vine for whatever reason - whether its "longterm booking marred by unforseen injuries" or "making a young talent prove they can get over and stay over after a loss." One could argue that Gargano should've won the title back when he faced Andrade and, with that timeline, that Velveteen Dream should either be NXT Champion today or been NXT Champion by now. I guess because its now a weekly brand and not a developmental league (and, presumably, they've been making that shift for 9+ months), they no longer want to simply hotshot guys to the NXT Championship after a couple months - the way they did Owens and Nakamura - but it sure seems like things were fresher and more exciting when that was the case.
  10. - I don't get people that think Brock Lesnar being at the top of the card is bad in 2019. If there were even one other guy on the main roster that had his aura and cred, I'd be fine with him not being the top guy...but because they ruined Braun, Seth sucks, Cena's retired, and Reigns, Bryan and AJ have all already been fed to Lesnar, well, Brock Lesnar remains the company's biggest top-of-the-card act. His destruction of Rey and Dominic on tonight's show felt like a big angle and got great heat and Lesnar's 6 minutes of screen time felt more "must see" than anything Rollins has done since the last time he was in the ring with Lesnar. - I dug the Lashley/Balor sprint at Mania this year and I also liked the Lashley/Strowman LMS match they had some months back, so I'm not anti-Lashley as much as I'm anti-repetitive "Lana is a Cheater" angles. They've done this gimmick at least once before with Ziggler and it flopped then too. Lana and Rusev as a package deal worked as heels. I'm not sure the act would get as over when both were babyfaces, but hey, they didn't run with "Rusev Day" anyway so its not even clear Vince himself knows if he wants Rusev to be a menacing foreign heel or a somewhat comedic fan favorite. As someone else said, though, if Lashley's string of big matches in 2019 is any indication (save for the forgettable Reigns match), I actually agree with the poster who said Lashley/Rusev is going to steal a show (not that its too hard to do in this landscape of samey matches).
  11. DMJ

    WWE TV 09/23 - 09/29 Necropolitics are in vogue

    On my blog, I had the HIAC match as a 4-out-of-5, which I don't think is too exaggerated a score (I don't do quarter stars - only halves - and the scale only goes to 5). A 4 is basically a "must watch"/"should watch," a match that will likely end up on my Top 10 list of WWE Matches of a given year. I'd also add that its really not too hyperbolic to praise Sasha in 2015 as one of the best in the world, male or female. The match against Bayley at Takeover: Brooklyn legitimately had people tearing up (myself included). You can say, "Well, it was because of the build" or "It was because of the atmosphere" or whatever, but how many friggin' matches have actually brought tears to people's eyes? Flair/Vader for some? Shawn/Flair? Maybe Daniel Bryan at WM30*? Its a rarefied air that Sasha and Bayley wrestled in that night. And if it was so easy to elicit this genuine emotion from the audience, so reproducable, so manufacturable, the WWE would deliver that sort of match every week, every month, or at least every year. They would have people getting misty-eyed for Seth Rollins overcoming Brock Lesnar. There wouldn't have been a dry eye in the house for Roman Reigns comeback match. Daniel Bryan whupping The Miz's ass a couple SummerSlams ago would've been a huge cathartic moment. But none of those things happened because the elements have to be damn near perfect to elicit that response. That includes the build, the production, the atmosphere - but it also takes two strong performers that the fans are fully invested in. Kofi Kingston's ascent this year is comparable (and I'd put his Elimination Chamber and Mania match against Bryan in that upper echelon of Best Of The Year matches/moments), but before him, it had definitely been awhile since the audience was truly emotionally invested in a character. That's not to say that making the audience cry is the ultimate goal of a pro-wrestling match. There are obviously lots of matches that didn't make me cry that I'd still call all-timers. But, yeah, when a match hits that note, it can't be denied and its participants absolutely deserve to be considered the best in the world at that moment. (And, yes, that means Bayley was probably a top 5 babyface in that year too.) * I mention Bryan at WM30 because I know some people really love his WM30 matches. Personally, I liked the opener against Triple H but found the main event overwrought and had no emotional response to it, that having Bryan carried out on a stretcher was cloying and unoriginal and made his victory even more inevitable/predictable than it already was. Again, all the elements have to be right to make me actually tear up and feel fully invested in a match's outcome and those misteps diminished it for me.
  12. DMJ

    WWE TV 09/23 - 09/29 Necropolitics are in vogue

    I guess he appeared on a couple Being the Elite episodes semi-recently? That definitely couldn't have hurt him in contract negotiations. Always thought it was a matter of time before he was back in the WWE. I haven't kept up with his work at all but vaguely remember some praise for a PPV main event he was involved maybe a year or two ago? Always seemed like a guy that could've been a bigger star in the WWE to me with his look and ability. Like Kofi Kingston, he "came up" at a weird time in the late 00s/early 10s when Cena, DX, Taker, Orton, Kane, and others were main eventing every PPV and no one was breaking through. Nowadays, those guys are just main eventing 4-5 PPVs every year, so, y'know, progress. All kidding aside, along with Kofi and Ziggler, JoMo (so excited for that to come back as a thing /s) was in that weird position of being a "WWE Guy" that hit a ceiling but ultimatley got surpassed by Punk and Daniel Bryan and The Shield dudes. Kofi stuck around, but had to wait years and years to get a legit main event opportunity. Ziggler's career has been ups-and-downs. Of that entire class of guys, The Miz was the most successful with guys like Carlito, Kennedy, and Elijah Burke, if one were to include them, probably being at the bottom.
  13. DMJ

    WWE TV 09/23 - 09/29 Necropolitics are in vogue

    I also haven't kept up with the weekly shows, but was thinking along a similar train of thought. There's was/is a way to book it that doesn't need to have Bryan getting beatdown by his supposed "ex-friends," but if they already put on Rowan vs. Bryan on TV and they had a legit match, to me, that's stupid and a heel turn doesn't make sense. Even if the idea is that he "took a beating" to trick Roman, it instantly buries Rowan (and Harper if he was involved) in my eyes. We're supposed to think that these two monsters, if they get their hands on you, can end your career, would maim the average joe, that "taking a beating" from one would be disastrous and that even the toughest good guy gladiators like Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins are putting their bodies at extreme risk by stepping in the ring with these 7-foot, 300 pound wrecking machines. I didn't see the match so I'm not sure if they played it ambiguous or if it was a back-and-forth "realistic" match or whatever, but two guys "staging a fight" in a business built on trying to get literal staged fights to seem real is just so, so dumb to me. Plus, as I said earlier, there were a dozen cool ways to bring Bryan back in an ambiguous way that could've still led to a Bludgeon Brothers vs. Bryan & Roman match where it was still unclear whose side Bryan was on.
  14. DMJ

    WWE TV 09/16 - 09/22 Stop pushing Seth down our throats!

    Disagree. ECW on SyFy, 12 years ago, when RAW and SD were routinely getting higher ratings than they are today (and, I'd argue, the business was "hotter"), never really maxed out too far beyond 1.5-1.6 million viewers - and that was with an objectively strong brand (ECW) and "name" talent like RVD, Sabu, Kurt Angle, as well as emerging young talent like CM Punk on the show plus the odd "guest star" like Batista. By the end of ECW's run, in 09', it was getting the same the 1.1 rating that NXT got last night. I haven't checked the numbers, but I believe this means that NXT actually brought in a higher percentage of viewers from RAW and SD than ECW was doing in 09' and with no "name" talent and a much weaker brand than "ECW." As Burgundy LaRue said, the real question is, in 6 months, if this 1.1 is going to be the high watermark or if they can build on it (or at least sustain it). There was never a chance that the debut of NXT was going to get more viewers than RAW or SD, so the fact that they actually scored a rating that's close to half (and not a third or a quarter, which is what many were expecting), is a definite success. Plus, from what I read, NXT was a loss leader on the Network and is now a $30 million enterprise. I do think that oddly bodes well for AEW too. Its now proof-of-concept that there are at least million wrestling fans who will watch wrestling on Wednesday, even after a Sunday PPV, Monday RAW, and Tuesday SmackDown. AEW can certainly fight for 500k of those fans and, if they keep their costs and overhead low, and rake it in at live shows with some big gates (which I don't think TNA/Impact ever did - even for their biggest events), I think the business could be sustainable - though, I'm no economist and know close to nothing about what AEW's costs are vs. their profits.
  15. DMJ


    Watched the Sasha banks doc on the Network. Nothing really insightful here. It was like the anti-Moxley interview on TIJ. Sasha gave no reason for being burnt out or being depressed or unhappy. It was 40 minutes of her just saying how much she loved wrestling and missed it when she took 6 months off to "find herself." I actually like Sasha less having watched the doc. Not because she didn't come off as honest, but because I didn't find her story to be all that interesting or even sympathetic. I mean, based on this doc, she really just wanted a vacation after 7 years - which is somewhat sympathetic, sure, but also, kinda like, duh. Not exactly the makings of a great documentary. Also, I'm not exactly sure why more wrestlers, especially ones that have established themselves to the level Banks has, still feel like they're "replaceable" or doing their careers damage by demanding a break from the road when their contracts are up or, in Banks' case, just walking out. Sasha Banks went home for 6 months and is now back in a position that someone like Naomi or Dana Brooke have been fighting to be put in for even longer (if I'm not mistaken). Abandoning the company is actually maybe the best thing you can do for your career. I think Sasha is very talented and one of my favorite performers, but the documentary is a definite "skip" if you were at all curious about her reasons for leaving. Its almost Stepford Wives-ish in how "happy" she comes off despite the fact that, y'know, 6 months ago she walked out of the company for, according to this doc, no tangible reason.