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  1. DMJ

    Is the empire crumbling before our eyes?

    Anyone else excited to see WALTER dance? The fact that Vince feels like he needs to re-package an established performer like him tells me that he absolutely doesn't get or give a shit about anything that happened or was accomplished by him in the past. He's moldable clay to Vince...and speaking of Clay... I hope Walter doesn't mind hearing "Somebody Call My Mama (Funk is on a Roll)" because he's likely to be hearing it or something very much like it as he walks dances down the aisle about a year from now.
  2. DMJ

    Is the empire crumbling before our eyes?

    - WALTER changing his name is dumb. Even if they somehow had come up with a name that wasn't also the name of a Nazi. - Kevin Nash's point about Vince rather making a million dollars with his own idea over $10 million with someone else's is why Austin Theory is a thing. I know devout NXT viewers will point to Theory's run there or in EVOLVE as some sort of big deal, but if they're being honest with themselves, they'd have to admit that EVOLVE was a third-tier "Double A" indie, a full tier below NXT. And while Theory got some exposure as part of The Way, he wasn't an NXT main eventer. Vince clearly views Theory as having potential and is giving him prominent TV time (and most recently a win over Finn Balor in 6 minutes), but its not like he has this glowing resume of getting huge reactions or unbelievable matches or segments. He certainly didn't have an NXT run as well-received as Adam Cole, Keith Lee, Andrade, O'Reilly, or any number of guys that I'd argue would've accomplished much more given the same screen time as Theory (and I say this as someone who generally doesn't think Cole is nearly as great as some make him out to be).
  3. Not sure if this belongs here, but I've been digging that they've been playing old TNA PPVs on AXS TV. If you have a DVR and you set it to record Impact Wrestling, you will find yourself with not only the weekly episodes but random TNA PPVs from the 2010s and earlier. For example, I'm watching Destination X from 2010 right now. I'm not saying these shows are essential viewing or anything - like how essential could a Shannon Moore/Doug Williams ever be? - but its been fun for me to go back and watch these shows that I'd never seen before and the ease of access is a + if you're an old fogey like me and watch most of your wrestling on TV/On Demand. If I were WWE, I'd strongly consider pitching the idea of putting old PPVs on one of the bajillion lower tier channels that NBC or FOX own at graveyard shifts. I mean, its not going to draw a rating, but if you're WWE, this is stuff that you could license or sell to low tier cable channels (like AXS) and maybe make a small bit of coin on. Like, if AXS and Impact can somehow make money playing Hard Justice 2009 at 2 in the morning, the WWE should surely be able to make some money letting FS2 play random shit like Vengeance 2001 at the same time?
  4. DMJ

    Is the empire crumbling before our eyes?

    I'd put money on the idea that Vince wanted Ali to do something anti-America as I believe we're coming up on a few years since the last time someone did such a gimmick and its one of those tropes that the McMahons have routinely used. Nobody here needs a history lesson, but good for Ali for likely standing up against such a tired and, in many cases, career-crippling gimmick. I wasn't as huge into Ali as others were a couple years back, but this is another great example of WWE having a talented performer with a back story that was a slam dunk from a marketing perspective who, at one point, was getting solid reactions, and then just completely letting him die on the vine to the point that I think he'll need some rehab on the indies before a company like AEW should sign him. Then again, maybe Tony Khan being of Pakistani descent will be more open and eager to telling Ali's story and capitalizing on it with a segment of the audience that is underrepresented and underserved?
  5. DMJ

    Brock Lesnar Deep Dive

    Man, I'm not sure if I just had rose-colored glasses when I saw it or it was because I wasn't super familiar with the context, but I really liked the Brock/Test from King of the Ring 2002. Here's what I wrote about it in my blog way back in 2015... The tournament continues with our next match - Brock Lesnar vs. Test. This might be one of the best "hidden classics" I've seen in months, an absolute stiff-as-a-board battle that proves Lesnar not only had plenty of "It," but had enough "It" to elevate Test into the best match of his entire career (or at least the only one I've seen that I'd strongly, strongly recommend to others)....Lesnar (even pre-UFC world beater Lesnar) was enough of a monster to make his clean wins the opposite of embarrassing for the loser. In fact, Test overselling Heyman's interference takes away from the fact that he went toe-to-toe with the Beast and got some solid licks in. Fans of flawless execution and picture-perfect sequences will no doubt spot specific moments where these two seem to lose the plot, but because of how snugly this one is worked, these brief moments of confusion come across as literally two guys just trying to shake the cobwebs out of their believably zonked craniums. Absolutely great match that, with a more definitive finish, I'd have no problem giving 4 stars to. (3.5/5)
  6. I really liked this week's episode. - Danielson/Page delivered again. Man, Danielson has become beyond hyperbole for me in terms of how much praise can be put onto one guy. It obviously takes two to tango and Adam Page is definitely holding his own, but I think Daniel Bryan could carry me to a 3-star match even though I'm not athletic, have never wrestled before, and would probably get gassed after 6 minutes. - I thought the MJF/Punk segment was great. I like that this feud feels different than the Punk/Kingston one and the Punk/Darby one. I feel like that's been lost a bit as we nitpick whether MJF should be focusing so much on bringing up Punk's WWE past. To me, it works in this context because MJF has portrayed himself as something of an avatar for the "WWE Style" that turns its nose to to the "hardcore fans" and the "indie darlings." I thought the lines about Mania were great. They popped the live crowd too. Its fine to say you don't like something and there are plenty of things that pop a crowd that I think are absolutely awful (i.e "The Worm" that Otis was doing), but its important to keep in mind that AEW is inherently going to be hit-and-miss because there is more freedom given to the wrestlers. I appreciate that more than what the WWE does, which is often dreadfully boring because they don't take risks. - Which brings me to the Jericho/2.0 segment. Again, I kinda thought it was fine. Was it great? No...but 2.0 got some mic time and Jericho got to appear on the TBS debut (which was why he was there) and hopefully this is leading somewhere interesting. As I wrote above, when you let wrestlers go out and do their thing, it may not always be a homerun, but at least it can be an interesting trainwreck. I would not be surprised at all if Kingston/Jericho is in the pipeline as Jericho has a tendency to latch himself onto more interesting, more relevant characters. He also has a tendency to somehow make these things work (no matter how much I'd hate to admit it). Kingston needs a W and beating Jericho still means something so I'm game for it. - No issue with Jade Cargill getting the TBS Championship. I agree with the general sentiment that Ruby seemed like a creative dead-end for that title while Cargill, who may not be the smoothest worker, is a nice fit for a "TV Title"/lower midcard level championship (which a second Women's Championship is, as misogynistic as that may sound). - Great tag match to close out the show. Lots of solid teams to challenge JE though I don't think their run is going to be very long as I'm guessing Fish & O'Reilly may end up with the titles sooner than later. I'm not super hot on that idea, but will admit that at least they have fresh opponents in AEW while, in NXT, their rivalries dried up the longer the UE run went. - Finally, in terms of who can challenge Page? Jeez. This feels like another non-problem to me. Miro, Black, Adam Cole, maybe someone really out-of-the-box like Andrade or PAC. They have plenty of time till March. It may not be super popular but maybe some sort of multi-man?
  7. DMJ

    Is the empire crumbling before our eyes?

    I haven't seen it reported, but does the WWE do signing bonuses? That, to me, would be a smart move for any big name - like Owens or even Sami - to have their agent/lawyer ask for. Considering how lopsided the merchandise deal is, that would be a demand that'd be totally warranted. I mean, I'm not sure how much of a cut ProWrestling Tees gets from CM Punk or Sting or whatever, but I can't imagine its the 80%-90% that the WWE takes. So, if you're Kevin Owens and you're basically guaranteed to sell thousands upon thousands of tee-shirts and going to get the lion's share of those profits, that has to play into your negotiations at this point. I mean, Hook just overtook CM Punk as the top merch mover of the week. One has to believe a new Kevin Steen or El Generico shirt would've earned them a pretty penny.
  8. They absolutely are. I think it was the last couple pay-per-views where it was really noticeable to me that despite how loud the "crowd" was, if you actually looked at the audience, there wasn't anyone clapping, cheering, shouting, etc, just a bunch of long faces and closed mouths. Its become hard for me to unsee at this point whenever I do catch part of SD or RAW and the segment is clearly very flat but the crowd is somehow super excited by the Viking Raiders or whoever.
  9. DMJ

    Daniel Bryan

    The match against Adam Page might have just sealed it for me. If he's not the GOAT, he's the best of the past 20 years that I've seen (as an admittedly US-centric watcher). The match against Omega was great and an instant classic, but this was, from beginning to end, just an absolutely flawless performance out of him. Every facial expression. Every strike. Every sell. The pacing. The variety of submissions and throws. The fact that there wasn't a single "rest hold" in any of the 60 minutes because he works every hold. As someone else said in the thread about Dynamite, I think its also no small feat that by the end of the match, Adam Page came out looking better than he did going in. I've been trying fairly hard to turn my older brother - not a regular wrestling viewer for any time over the past 25 years - to try AEW and this is the type of match that I think he would've loved and much of that goes to Bryan. If I was explaining it to my brother, who grew up watching Clash of the Champions shows in the late 80s and early 90s, it might be reductionist and incorrect even but I'd say that his match this week was him updating and improving on what Ric Flair once did. Page might be the champion, but Bryan is "the measuring stick," and represents something that even Kenny Omega doesn't - a guy that won "the big one" on the biggest wrestling show in America for the biggest company in America. Which is part of why Adam Page came out of this better; he didn't necessarily need to win, he did enough just by hanging in there. (Plus, isn't that kinda Adam Page's "thing"? That he's not a Superman? That every new big challenge he faces comes with a "learning curve" he has to triump over?) Anyway, like the 30-minute Omega match months ago, Daniel Bryan did something I don't think many or any US wrestler could really do and kept me interested and engaged for 60 minutes (obviously the commercial breaks were annoying, but then again, it did give me a chance to pause the match and use the bathroom). It was just a total masterclass by him and, while it certainly wasn't a carry job, I''m going to go ahead and say that this wouldn't have worked with any other wrestler in Bryan's role, or at least no other wrestler that I've seen.
  10. DMJ

    Is the empire crumbling before our eyes?

    I really doubt the offer would be/was all that strong and "strong" is relative too. I'm sure the WWE thought they were giving Adam Cole a strong offer...but it involved him getting a haircut and being a manager in a company that has maybe had what? Maybe 3-4 legit non-wrestling managers on its roster in the past decade? I'm not the biggest Cole fan, but he was a smart guy to realize that the only contract he'd really be signing was a short-term extension because there's no way they would have kept him hanging around for very long as a manager and once he was in that role on TV there was no way he'd ever get pushed as a wrestler again anyway. I'm guessing Gargano got a similar offer and maybe even the chance to launch his stable on a main brand...but that stable would've likely including 1-2 big dudes that Vince actually wanted to push and Gargano would've been the chickenshit mouthpiece "leader" who is really more like a manager. Maybe that could've last 8 months but after that? He'd be back on the market only now he'd be a colder free agent.
  11. DMJ

    AEW Rampage - December 10, 2021

    Hey, that didn't stop Mike Rotunda from having a 20 year career.
  12. accidental double post
  13. I so want this not to be a relapse, but there's also the issue that its unclear how clean Jeff really has been all along. My brother is a recovering "hard drug" (opiates mostly, but he also did plenty of coke) user and has been clean for the past 8 years, but prior to that, he'd go 6 months here, 3 months there, etc. At some point he realized that he couldn't have a couple beers watching a football game or even a single beer with dinner, couldn't take a hit of marijuana, etc. because these things would lead him back to harder drugs. Jeff Hardy was arrested twice in 2019 for alcohol (public intox and DUI) and speaking as someone who had a DUI himself, its not 100% clear that he didn't have other drugs in his system at those times either (when I got my shameful DUI, I was very lucky that I didn't have any weed in the car, but I'd definitely smoked pot that night too). An arrest for a DUI does not mean an automatic blood or piss test (I took a road test that I failed miserably and then a breathalyzer that I also failed miserably).
  14. Imagine having WALTER on your roster and agreeing to move to the US and you put him in your developmental league that nobody watches or gives the least amount of shit about. If WALTER comes over and they don't immediately put him on RAW or SD, this company really has developed an allergy to money and fan interest.
  15. If Drew/Reigns is where this is heading, I just feel bad for both guys. I was a Drew hater 2 years ago but then I warmed up to him once his title reign started and it seemed like they were going to book him as a dominant babyface champion...until he lost the title to Orton for no apparent reason, then lost to Reigns, and then lost to Lashley at least two times (?). By that point, the notion that he was the babyface mirror to Reigns' dominant heel act was completely gone. Him being the guy to end Reigns'..err..reign will feel as empty as his Rumble win did to me. At the same time, him losing to Reigns will be the same kind of deflating loss that he suffered at last year's Mania and which he never really recovered from. Is it a known thing that Vince was courting/hoping for The Rock to work Mania and still thinks its possible or has that just been fan conjecture? I'm curious to know if at one point Vince thought it was a sure thing but is now coming to the realization that The Rock has literally nothing left to gain from doing any sort of business with the WWE? Like, the Survivor Series was basically thrown like a birthday for him that he couldn't be bothered to even tweet about, let alone do a pre-tape or appear live at. If Vince still hoping to pull that rabbit out of the hat? If so, what a bad position to be in after having now exhausted Brock/Reigns (this will be what? their 6th PPV match now?) and Cena/Reigns at SummerSlam.