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AEW Dynamite - April 15, 2020

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AEW's insistence on pushing Shawn Spears is weird. He is a ratings flop and his matches are usually mediocre at best.

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He's a Cody friend and he's part of the skeleton crew they could get to the tapings. It's not like he was all over television when there were crowds.

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Hager is awful. Just awful. 

They are REALLY lucky WWE tempered expectations with Edge-Orton, because while I liked the amateur exchanges, it was really slow and that stuff drags really bad without a hot crowd.

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I like Jake Hager but I can't help feeling that if Hager was swapped out for Rusev, it'd set them up for more and better storyline potential. Rusev as the muscle who can cut his own promos, and eventually turning babyface on the Inner Circle or Jericho.

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It seems like most people are down on it, but I really loved Moxley-Hager. Seems like a match that would be remembered as a classic with a crowd. The early grappling was awesome and the whole match was worked in a more serious way that felt like a fight than so much stuff I see now. I can understand the argument that doing matches that long in empty arenas isn't the best approach, but I loved the match.

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I think that match would have played differently if it had buzz in front of a crowd. Loved the hype videos, but then they locked up and I was like, eh, Mox is winning this, and it just didn't hold my attention.

Definitely a weaker episode this week, but I like the lineup for next week.

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This show remains an incredibly easy show to watch and get into. The opener was fine and achieved what it needed to but I hope they got plenty of these Jake interviews in the can. Hearing him monologue to a backdrop of his client kicking the shit out of people is great. Britt Baker's promo was fantastic and I also hope that they continue to encourage the wrestlers to send in their own videos during lockdown. Things like that and The Bubbly Bunch, even the Techniques with Taz are, if done with good production values and the right performance, are still engaging ways to fill out the shows and aid in character and story development. Sammy Guevara remains my favourite guy in the promotion, I think. He's pretty much knitting everything together really well and Jericho's psychosexual fixation with him only adds to his whole gimmick. Also, Jericho and Tony are a brilliant pairing. Like said, they're clearly having a blast together and the way they naturally gel has made them AEWs best commentary team so far. "The Sex God always ends up on top!" popped me big. 

I didn't really need to see Chuck Taylor in a long singles match but the ending bullshit was entertaining enough and I suppose it makes sense to put Havoc and Sabian together to fill the quarantine tag ranks out a bit. The main was a bit of a disappointment considering it's hype; the in-ring segments were good but I thought the actual empty arena brawling was a let-down and plodding. I appreciated them laying it in, though and the finish was a nice, uncomplicated killshot. Still, I wonder where Moxley goes for Double or Nothing. It seems too early for Brodie Lee so maybe they do Hager/Moxley II?

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19 hours ago, Loss said:

It's touching in a way how much Tony Schiavone clearly LOVES announcing with Jericho. He doesn't even try to hide it.

I would want every show ever announced by Schiavone & Jericho together. It's just so awesome. (although I would prefer AEW not doing shows right now)

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PRO
-Britt Baker's Rules of Being a Role Model was magnificent and a wonderful piece of heel business. Cutting it from the comfort of, assumingly, her own practice? That makes it all that much better. She's turned me and I couldn't be happier to have been wrong.
-All the build for Mox/Hager is wonderful, treating it like a legitimate contest and amplifying how dangerous Hager is within the MMA cage... (see con #2)
-Baker/Golden was quick and painless and allows Baker to get some heat back after a few losses. It gave us a good spot where Baker posed on the apron next to Cass Golden, and that's what matters most in quickie squashes: having one memorable moment.
-Mike Goldberg stanning for Hager?! Man, I missed his voice.
-The Bubbly Bunch was incredible, which isn't a surprise since the Inner Circle has literally been carrying these shows since forming back in October. This was a great way for Ortiz to really show off his personality without being too goofy, and Sammy is just so great. "What do you call an idiot who's been missing for weeks and likes horses? Hangman Page." This needs to be a regular thing.
-Jericho promising that he and Sammy will go for the Tag belts (dubbed the Sex Gods) gives me hope. Schiavone and Jericho not knowing how to pronounce "Suge D" was funny. Sammy looks good, but I'd love for him to get a win against somebody who isn't a career VFW hall jobber. Post-match shenanigans involving Darby has been the most entertaining part of the show that wasn't a pre-tape so far.
-Jericho talking trash about Orange Cassidy makes me eager to see that match.
-Chuck Taylor and Kip Sabian are having the best match so far this week. It's great to see Chuck get to finally show off his personality, too, instead of Trent getting all the love. Finish was fine for what it was, but... (see con #3)
-Who the fuck woke Shawn Spears up and told him to start working like he's actually worthwhile?! He's been a highlight for the past couple weeks, in the ring and in segments.
-I am so ON BOARD with Mox/Hager when they're in the ring. I love working shoot elements into pro wrestling and have thought that more should have been worked in since Ki/Bryan RRC '02. This is mostly Mox, though, and the "crowd" brawling falls flat when there isn't an audience to take away from what it is: two guys walking around and fake punching each other. Back to the ring... (see con #5)
-At least Mox won. I was worried they'd put the belt on Hager just to shake things up.

CON
-Five Finger Archer is a waste of Jake Roberts and Colt Cabana hasn't had a worthwhile match since the feud with Homicide. That was 14 years ago and one of 'Cide's weaker programs. Colt is a good promo guy and acceptable in-ring, but I don't blame any promoter who cuts bait with him. Lousy way to open the show, with a match that screams "go to the concession stand" in the other two nationally televised companies. Spending the first 20 minutes on this bullshit is further proof that the Elite aren't particularly good at booking. You don't make a dominant monster look like a monster or very dominant by having him take 20 minutes to put somebody away.
-...too bad it's for Hager, who I've never once in the last 12-13 years seen a match from and said "hey, gimme more of this guy."
-...Kip Sabian is mediocrity personified. Another vanilla guy who wouldn't be booked if he didn't have a decent look. That match was all Chuckie T. Stop trying to make Sabian into a star because he doesn't have it.
-Justin Law. Another jobber squash. As much as I appreciated Spears in this match, I'm sick of jobber squashes on a prime time professional wrestling program. At least don't do 3-4 of them in one night. It is not 1995 anymore. Do better.
-...and it becomes just another match, revealing all of Hager's "trained by WWE" weaknesses. Forget any action that happened over the last 20 minutes and start working non-believable near falls because...drama, I guess? Whatever. I've checked out of the match, which is something that's happened any time Hager has been on my TV for more than 10 minutes without Dutch Mantel involved.
-Rope breaks don't belong in a No Holds Barred match. Turning to the hard cam when it's an Empty Arena match is stupid. This match did not need to go ~30 minutes and neither man can keep that length of time interesting throughout. There's a really good 15-minute brawl in here, and there's no excuse in a pre-taped match to not trim the fat.
-Mox: "AEW is the hottest promotion in the world." They've also put on the weakest product of the last 7 days that I've watched (because who the fuck watches WWE?). MLW accomplished more with a garbage brawl and a roidfreak, Impact put on a better show with a collection of has-beens and never-weres. If this is what AEW, as a company, thinks will put them over the top? They are so fucked long term it's ridiculous.

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10 hours ago, Laz said:


-Mox: "AEW is the hottest promotion in the world." They've also put on the weakest product of the last 7 days that I've watched (because who the fuck watches WWE?). MLW accomplished more with a garbage brawl and a roidfreak, Impact put on a better show with a collection of has-beens and never-weres. If this is what AEW, as a company, thinks will put them over the top? They are so fucked long term it's ridiculous.

Except those were both shows with full crews in front of fans, not exactly a fair comparison. What they thought would put them over the top was a hot show with 10 of the most over dudes in the world doing War Games. This was not the plan.

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True, but can you really argue that Hager/Mox needed to go half an hour when it petered out 10 minutes in? Or that Archer/Colt should've gone as long as it did?

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AEW's problems run deeper than changed plans due to the pandemic. Catering to the very specific AEW fanbase isn't a strategy that would lead to a boom. Now I know pro wrestling isn't going to have a boom anytime soon regardless, but AEW doesn't seem to possess the motivation to grow their audience from that existing base they were always going to have.

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16 hours ago, Slasher said:

AEW's problems run deeper than changed plans due to the pandemic. Catering to the very specific AEW fanbase isn't a strategy that would lead to a boom. Now I know pro wrestling isn't going to have a boom anytime soon regardless, but AEW doesn't seem to possess the motivation to grow their audience from that existing base they were always going to have.

There was literally no promotion with a fanbase close to this big 2 years ago. They've done four shows with 100,000 buys basically out of thin air. 

 

17 hours ago, Laz said:

True, but can you really argue that Hager/Mox needed to go half an hour when it petered out 10 minutes in? Or that Archer/Colt should've gone as long as it did?

Archer-Cabana was good. You may dislike Cabana, but AEW has given him a solid mid-card push (appropriate for his role), so yes, he should get in a bit of offense and then be put down by Archer. If they'd had a full roster, they probably shave a minute or two from it and it probably benefits from that.

I'd personally have cut Mox-Hager down, but apparently Khan wanted to respect the art. Impact has 20 minute matches literally every episode that don't need to be their length and with less build than Mox-Hager.

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Also, the Cabana vs Archer match was like 8 minutes so how anyone is getting that it took Archer 20 minutes to put him away. Unless for some mysterious reason we're counting the two video packages beforehand as being part of the match.

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27 minutes ago, Migs said:

There was literally no promotion with a fanbase close to this big 2 years ago. They've done four shows with 100,000 buys basically out of thin air. 

 

Archer-Cabana was good. You may dislike Cabana, but AEW has given him a solid mid-card push (appropriate for his role), so yes, he should get in a bit of offense and then be put down by Archer. If they'd had a full roster, they probably shave a minute or two from it and it probably benefits from that.

I'd personally have cut Mox-Hager down, but apparently Khan wanted to respect the art. Impact has 20 minute matches literally every episode that don't need to be their length and with less build than Mox-Hager.

Eh that's a false narrative. They absolutely had a built-in audience from Day 1. The fact they are doing about the same in buyrates  all four PPVs would seem to indicate that is their audience and it's not growing. Like I said, they seem content with that. Yes they are doing much better than anticipated but they are not really taking advantage of that success. That's just my opinion based on what I've seen.

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On 4/16/2020 at 4:30 PM, Loss said:

It seems like most people are down on it, but I really loved Moxley-Hager. Seems like a match that would be remembered as a classic with a crowd. The early grappling was awesome and the whole match was worked in a more serious way that felt like a fight than so much stuff I see now. I can understand the argument that doing matches that long in empty arenas isn't the best approach, but I loved the match.

Late to the party on this but I think that was a 4 star match if there was a crowd and probably the best Hager/Swagger match I've seen.

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22 hours ago, FMKK said:

What do you want them to be doing differently?

I'm not the booker. I don't want to offer fake solutions or fantasy booking. I don't know what they can do to get better because it feels like they are following their vision of what pro wrestling is. So we have old dudes coming in getting better reactions than the guys they are meant to support. Is that good? I don't think so. They were given just about the greatest starting position a promotion could ever ask for. Primetime TV slot, a built in fanbase from all their exploits in NJ and RoH and then they have an advantage of having the trust of their fanbase. As good as some people are, I don't think they should be the featured players. I'm talking about people like Nyla Rose, an extremely green performer, being their world champion of the women. They dragged on the Dark Order storyline, which okay I understand they changed their direction, then you bring in Brodie Lee to do what? A Vince parody? How is that gonna make him or anyone else involved in this stars? Adam Page is still as goofy as all hell, and just because he added alcoholism (to comedic effect) to his character isn't going to lead him anywhere except possibly being seen as an Austin knockoff (I know he isn't but bear with me here). I can go on and on and on but I suspect y'all won't really care for it so I'll shut up now.

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