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MoS

AEW Dynamite - March 10, 2021

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4 hours ago, MoS said:

We also need to think about how amazing Kingston is. He managed to explain his actions by telling everyone he had a panic attack, which in the hypermasculine world of professional wrestling, will be thought of as cowardly by so many wrestlers and fans, and somehow not just make it a babyface move, but also normalise it as something everyone has, no matter how strong. My man is destigmatizing mental health issues, and I love him for it

It's really the best of what wrestling can be.

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Their viewership was well below what it should have been on the fallout Dynamite from their biggest show ever. There's no denying that the damp squib hurt them. It's about rebuilding now, and they made a good first step yesterday night.

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I feel bad for not really liking Dynamite much last night, but I didn't. I'm less excited by AEW than I was a few months ago.

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19 minutes ago, Loss said:

I feel bad for not really liking Dynamite much last night, but I didn't. I'm less excited by AEW than I was a few months ago.

Same. Although I did like the closing angle & feel like the new stable has potential. Inner Circle did good things & like you mentioned on Twitter a few days ago, it lead to a lot of intriguing things. If a stable helps get new talent over, like Inner Circle did with Sammy, I feel that's a success. In that regard, I hope we see Wardlow break away from this new stable ala Batista in Evolution. 

I feel like my biggest issue with AEW right now is I disagree with the people they choose to use, talent wise. Like, I've mentioned before - as has a couple others - that Penelope Ford is the money in the group with Kip Sabian, not him. How Miro should be higher up & being used to do more than waste time with, let's face it, a jobber. Now they're doing things with QT Marshall & trainer or not, it's a waste of television time. The entirety of the Casino Tag Team Battle Royal up until the very end on the PPV was like just twenty minutes of all the things I dislike about AEW. 

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I feel like we might be heading toward a "Lockdown" type of PPV with a whole mess of Wargames Blood & Guts matches. 

- MJFTR vs Jericho & Pals

- Mox, King, Christian & ? vs Kenny, Good Bros & ?

- Hardy Party Butcher & Blade vs Hangman/DO/Bear Country

add a women's B&G and one more and...

On the one hand I thought running a death match, ladder, match, and street fight on one PPV was overkill.

On the other hand, I'd kind of like so see an All Wargames All the Time PPV and see how everyone tries to top one another.

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I loved the angle at the end with MJF and his new buddies laying out the Inner Circle, and I liked the start of Kenny Omega vs. Christian Cage, which I assume will be the main event for Double or Nothing. But, holy christ on a cracker, they need to slow down with the angles and turns.

There's no reason why they couldn't have held off for a week or two in having Bunkhouse Butch and Blade decide to sign with Matt Hardy. Make a storyline out of it where they look at what Kingston did as showing weakness and have them turn on him.

 

The Pentagon/Cody thing makes no sense to me. There's no real plausible reason for Pentagon to suddenly be calling out Cody. It's not like Cody won the ladder match. It just comes off like a lazy attempt to give each of them something to do, since Pac and Fenix are headed for the tag titles match and the Shaq thing is done.

 

I actually do like a program with Sting and Archer, especially with Jake and Sting having their own sordid history. But, first off, Archer was being a babyface all of two weeks ago, and the execution was pretty mediocre. Sting cuts promo, Archer and Jake interrupt and Sting just leaves. No confrontation or anything. 

 

The Scorpio Sky heel turn could have been slow burnt for at least another week. Have him win a singles match, and keep showing off his heelish tendencies, and have Darby Allin doing color commentary and put over how great an athlete Sky is, and how much he's looking forward to wrestling him.

 

To paraphrase a friend of mine, say what you will about Dixie Carter, but she never fancied herself as a booker or TV writer.

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I have been trying to figure out my problem with AEW for the last few days, and I think I finally figured out the simplest way to explain it.

Who turned off the lights?

MJF had his clever one-liner when he was about to get beaten up by the Inner Circle, the lights went out and then they came back on and his new stable was in the ring. Fine, ok.

But who turned off the lights?

In WCCW, the heels turned off the lights so that no one could see them interfering, and then they'd come back on to Iceman King Parsons covering Kerry Von Erich to win the WCCW title. In ECW, the answer to that question was always implicitly that Booking Genius Paul Heyman turned off the lights. The biggest star in ECW was ECW itself. It's what fans chanted when they liked something, so fair enough. Whatever you think of that type of self involvement, the point was that there was a consistency to it. The genius booking turned off the lights. In WWE, it's the production team that makes things happen, whether they are starting entrance music for run-ins or cameras are everywhere they need to be at all times and their presence is never explained. It's not the choice I'd make, but it's the choice they've made. They stick to it, and whether fans love it or not, they've grown to accept it.

I'm not clear who in AEW turned off the lights. The answer to that question matters.

They explain the presence of the camera in one segment when Sammy Guevara wants a cameraman there for his confrontation with MJF, but then MJF records his words, presumably to use against him later, and Sammy is upset by that. Why? He brought a cameraman there. The next week, MJF asks the cameraman to leave so he can have a conversation with the Guevara-less Inner Circle. Ok. What came of that conversation? What did they talk about? Are we ever going to find out? If they tell Jericho everything, as we learned on Wednesday, why didn't they tell him sooner? They allowed MJF to team with Jericho at the PPV. Wouldn't that have created a real quagmire if they won the tag titles when the Inner Circle knew MJF was plotting against Jericho? Are we to assume Jericho knew before the PPV but just didn't care? It seems like his plan before everything happened was to just add a new member anyway.

So MJF talked to Santana and Ortiz earlier that day and convinced them to turn on Jericho that night. But ... I thought MJF had a stable of his own? Was his plan for Santana and Ortiz to join his new stable? Why did he tell them that if he was forming his own group anyway? Was he planning to run two stables at the same time?

So now it's time for the big angle. The lights go out. Who turned off the lights?

Was it the heels like in WCCW? I don't think so. They were all in the ring when the lights came back on. Was it booking genius Tony Khan? Possibly, although that would go against the identity of AEW to this point. Or is it like WWE where production keeps the show going, cameras are always where they are supposed to be, and entrance music and lighting is always perfectly cued up? If it's that and that's the understanding with the audience when you watch AEW, okay, fair enough, but then Sammy Guevara doesn't need to make sure he has a cameraman with him, and MJF can't twist his words to use against him later because it's all being filmed anyway.

Who turned off the lights?

That doesn't even get into why the lights were turned off. The beatdown didn't commence until they were all facing off with the lights back on anyway. Are they not able to make entrances in light? I don't understand. Why not just run to the ring and attack them from behind? Why not just attack them while the lights were off?

If AEW has production-assisted logic, which it certainly did when MJF and Jericho broke out into a musical number, that's fine. If AEW is supposed to be more of a classic pro wrestling product, which is what it was when Sammy Guevara insisted on a camera being present when he confronted MJF, that's fine also. But trying to be both is a real problem, because it's not clear what they are aiming for.

We established with this angle that wrestlers talk during the week, not just on camera during Dynamite. That's great! So why did Matt Hardy assume all was well after not talking to Hangman Page for days when Page pulled the contract switcheroo?

Who turned off the lights? If they don't want to answer the question, that's fine. Don't answer it. But don't set up scenarios where you train me as a viewer to expect these things to make sense either. If they do want to answer the question, that's fine. Answer it. Who? 

This is all stuff that reminds me of 1999 WCW, when the camera kept switching points of view during their backstage vignettes and there was no coherent viewer experience. I'd like for AEW to be something better than that, and in some ways, they are. The big thing -- the important thing -- is that they set up some intriguing feuds out of that angle for the month ahead. But it would be cool if after 20 years of a national wrestling scene that doesn't respect its audience or care about the details, they would take a different approach. If they're not going to, that's fine, but I'd like them to be consistent there too.

Pick a path. Stick to it. If not, I want to know who turned off the lights.

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I LOVE long Loss's posts. AEW when it started had a buffet approach where they said they had something for every kind of fan. That's okay when a new promotion is trying to establish a foothold, but 1.5 years later, they have established themselves, they have a core fanbase, and now they need a coherent sense of identity. It's one reason why I feel its booking has been really inconsistent throughout the last few months, since Mox's title reign ended, honestly. As Loss put it, pick a lane and stick to it. 

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I actually thought it would have been a lot cooler if MJF said his line and then his crew happened to be around ringside and hopped the rail. You achieve the same result and MJF planting them at ringside has the end result of making him look smart anyway.

I also questioned why MJF was so intent on breaking up the Inner Circle and having them all attack Jericho if he was just going to assemble his own team anyway. It’s not that it’s established that he hates Jericho so much that he wants to see his friends turn against him. I get his professional jealousy of Sammy coupled with Sammy seeing through him as a reason to get rid of him but seems like a weird long con to run if your plan was to have your own Horsemen anyway.

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59 minutes ago, Stiva said:

I actually thought it would have been a lot cooler if MJF said his line and then his crew happened to be around ringside and hopped the rail. You achieve the same result and MJF planting them at ringside has the end result of making him look smart anyway.

I also questioned why MJF was so intent on breaking up the Inner Circle and having them all attack Jericho if he was just going to assemble his own team anyway. It’s not that it’s established that he hates Jericho so much that he wants to see his friends turn against him. I get his professional jealousy of Sammy coupled with Sammy seeing through him as a reason to get rid of him but seems like a weird long con to run if your plan was to have your own Horsemen anyway.

Almost feels like it was done just so Jericho could do a little 4th wall breaking (slight pun intended) with the swerve within the swerve line of “Do you think we don’t talk to each other every single day!?”

Which was a nice touch, but yeah it does seem like a little plot hole.  Like what would happen if he did get the Inner Circle to turn on Jericho and Sammy?  

A bloated mega stable?

Does seem like a two week angle jammed into one single segment.  Like MJF should have sic’ed FTR, Warlow and Spears on the IC this coming week, following getting turfed for insubordination.

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I mean, we saw weeks of MJF trying to get on everyone's good side like that one segment where MJF was seemingly bonding with Santana after both of them legit lost strong male role models in their lives. I can easily see it as them knowing he was full of shit and MJF realizing they know he's full of shit so he arranged his own stable as plan B. 

As far as "who turned off the lights", you could say either MJF just paid off a production worker with his implied wealth, or maybe Tully arranged it because he's a devious old school bastard who can get things done. I can see how it would be something you would want an answer to, but honestly it doesn't matter that much to me. Maybe it's a side effect of all the years of WWE tropes being beaten into my head as normal, but I just kind of accept that kind of thing in wrestling now and not think too much more about it. 

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I could accept that if they weren't dabbling in explaining the presence of cameras. When you open that door, you have to enter and start filling all the logical plotholes. If you don't want that level of scrutiny, keep the door closed.

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I kind of thought that in kayfabe,Tully's group wasn't part of his original plan when MJF joined the Inner Circle and that he made some kind of deal with Tully more recently. Like, I dont think he hates the Inner Circle enough to have had a master plan against them for no reason, and that this new group was a late change in plans for him. I do hope that at some point maybe next week MJF has a long interview segment where he explains what his plan was because otherwise it would seem confusing for viewers.  I kind of wonder if Tony Khan needs someone working with him on the booking who would be able to warn him when something doesn't make sense like this or the Hangman Page Revolution contract. My guess is in his head it makes sense but he doesnt realize how the dots arent all connecting for the viewers.

I like the thought that maybe MJF didn't join Tully's group until very last minute in storyline. Like he actually planned to take over the Inner Circle but found out beforehand they were going to turn on him so made the deal with Tully to save him. They haven't said this on the show one way or the other, but I would find it really interesting if he still had a mole within the Inner Circle. For instance, if one of them did side with MJF and warned him they would all turn on him during Dynamite.  Meaning there is somebody still secretly in the Inner Circle scheming against Jericho and somewhere down the road there is more Inner Circle drama to come. It's just a theory, but I would enjoy that.

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2 minutes ago, sek69 said:

I can see how it would be something you would want an answer to, but honestly it doesn't matter that much to me. Maybe it's a side effect of all the years of WWE tropes being beaten into my head as normal, but I just kind of accept that kind of thing in wrestling now and not think too much more about it. 

The "turning off the light" as been pretty much an accepted pro-wrestling trope since about the time Sabu was popping up in the ECW Arena while the lights were turned off by... someone. It's been so overused that I'm actually surprised anyone even thinks about who could turn the lights off. Seems like anyone has walked freely into pro-wrestling TV production trucks for at least 20 years now. 

There's something to be said about AEW's booking that is pretty much never addressed : the guys booking and writing the shows are rookies. They have been doing it for less than 2 years. Think about it. Of course there are gonna be inconsistencies and misses and messy stuff sometimes. What do people expect ? Still, with that little experience they have, they have basically blowing away the 40 years + veterans on the other channel (who suck and have sucked for a long time, ok). But they are still learning on the job. It's like people have crazy-ass expectations. Yes, some stuff are misses. Yes, some stuff are inconsistent. Yes, I would gladly never see a "lights go out" moment until there's a HUGE surprise in like, 5 years or so. But overall and considering their experience level (less than two freaking years), they are doing quite ok on that front. I still think Scott D'Amore is doing the best job of anyone considering the talent ratio he's working with.

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3 minutes ago, Loss said:

I think I responded to that in my post. I even mentioned ECW specifically and why it's different.

You did, but at the same time why would "Booking Genius Paul Heyman"  be an acceptable answer in that case? If the fans chanted A-E-Dub  at the reveal does that mean it's okay to not explain who did it? Because you can argue that AEW itself is AEW's biggest star since so many fans were dying to have some competent competition to what they saw as a dull and creatively bankrupt monopoly. 

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10 minutes ago, Loss said:

I think I responded to that in my post. I even mentioned ECW specifically and why it's different.

Was it ever said that it was really Paul E. Dangerously doing it though ? I know he was the manager but... And how is it different from imagining it's anyone @sek69 mentioned, really ? 

Like I said, it's basically a trope now. Some people can get the light to go out. Some even have magic powers apparently. I'm not a fan of it, I think it's been overused in AEW. But I basically accept it because pro-wrestling. Like, I would LOVE for the NJPW referees to not be the stupidest human beings on planet Earth. But apparently they are, so I have to deal with this as a NJPW trope and let it fly.

One thing I loved in Lucha Underground which pretty much resolved all the issues is that it was presented as a TV show about pro-wrestling, in that the announcers did not see any vignettes and backstage stuff. That was a radical departure, but to me it worked wonders in making me accept the fact murders were taking place, people got shot or kidnapped and tortured and of course, traveling through time.

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For better or worse, ECW had a clear identity and it was always obvious what it was and what it wasn't. They didn't abandon that. AEW seems to be trying to be all things to all people -- giving nod to the idea that wrestling should be logical without ... making it logical. If they don't think it should be logical, just don't give the nod.

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1 minute ago, El-P said:

Was it ever said that it was really Paul E. Dangerously doing it though ? I know he was the manager but... And how is it different from imagining it's anyone @sek69 mentioned, really ? 

Like I said, it's basically a trope now. Some people can get the light to go out. Some even have magic powers apparently. I'm not a fan of it, I think it's been overused in AEW. But I basically accept it because pro-wrestling. Like, I would LOVE for the NJPW referees to not be the stupidest human being on earth. But apparently they are, so I have to deal with this as a NJPW trope and let it fly.

One thing I loved in Lucha Underground which pretty much resolved all the issues is that it was presented as a TV show about pro-wrestling, in that the announcers did not see any vignettes and backstage stuff. That was a radical departure, but to me it worked wonders in making me accept the fact murders were taking place, people got shit or kidnapped and tortured and of course, traveling through time.

It was internally consistent. AEW is not internally consistent. It doesn't make sense to me to have musical numbers on the same show that people are demanding a camera be present so their conversation is captured for the audience watching at home.

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To elaborate, in ECW, it was pretty strongly implied all the time that Paul Heyman was the invisible hand manipulating and controlling everything. I think most people who watched ECW understood that, even if they never came out and said it bluntly. On the contrary, AEW is viewed more as a collaborative effort than it is the brainchild of a single person. So that's why ECW having lights go out is a little different. ECW was controlled chaos and Heyman, even when he did appear on camera after 1995 or so, was treated that way.

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Also, the point I was trying to make is not just about the trope of lights going out. It's that I'm hoping AEW will become more deliberate and intentional about all of these things, because they have a clear idea of who they are and what they're trying to be. It's been so long since we've had a real evaluation of why everything in wrestling is done the way it is and assessing if it still makes sense to do it that way. Some things are just with us now because that's how it's always been, but it's not necessarily because that's what's best. Something for everyone is great and I love that, but hopefully, there's still room in that approach for it all to still be tied together and make sense, for various programs not to step on each other, for internal consistency, etc.

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Ok, ECW was 25 years ago. Since then, we've had at least a good 20 years of lights going out for no reason whatsoever apart from : because. It's a trope. Not a particularly good one, but that's what it is. Like people doing run-ins with their music and videos popping up at the same time. There's nothing more to it.

The backstage stuff can be more stupid (like the hilarious "Are you recording me !" from Sammy the other day... while he's on TV), and some actually have worked around it in interesting ways (like TNA at one point when every backstage scene that wasn't an interview was shot from what seemed like a "hidden place", by a cameraman the wrestlers would not see, that was a neat little idea). Most of the time it's a shortcut because people are so used to it.

I would love AEW to be more consistent too on those matters, but it's not really an important point compared to a real crappy angle or bad worker getting pushed to me.

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The good news is they don't tend to push people who don't deserve it or set up feuds no one wants to see, so we don't have to talk about that. 

That we're talking about this is a sign of something itself, because opening this door with WWE would be pointless. They are incapable of change. I don't believe AEW is incapable of change. I think they're still trying to find themselves, and deserved the honeymoon period to figure things out. I think that time is about up, at least for me. 

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7 minutes ago, Loss said:

The good news is they don't tend to push people who don't deserve it or set up feuds no one wants to see, so we don't have to talk about that.

Wait wait wait. The Big Swole vs Britt Baker angle was awful. Swole is just bad and she still gets pushed. I don't see jackshit in Max Caster, who did not look good at all in that PPV ladder match. Why are Billy Gunn and his annoying offsprings taking time on Dark ? Sure, these are little things, but still. Why is Penelope not pushed seriously yet, it's obvious now (even to me who have showed a lot of patience) that Sabian isn't going anywhere interesting.

7 minutes ago, Loss said:

That we're talking about this is a sign of something itself, because opening this door with WWE would be pointless. They are incapable of change. I don't believe AEW is incapable of change. I think they're still trying to find themselves, and deserved the honeymoon period to figure things out. I think that time is about up, at least for me. 

Well, if you're read my PPV thoughts, I don't think I'm into honeymoon mode anymore either. Like I said, they are rookies with less than 2 years experience doing this. The best is yet to come I'm sure in term of finding themselves.

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