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MoS

AEW Dynamite - March 10, 2021

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1 hour ago, El-P said:

Well, Dusty's booking effectively helped kill JCP. His stint as a booker in TNA, post-Russo/pre-D'Amore, in 2004 was just awful. I know Dusty's popularity has risen a lot the last 10 years with NXT and his death, but the pendulum has swung way too far on the positive side to the point people have forgotten haw terrible Dusty's booking has been at times too. 

Of course, Nash's booking of WCW has been well documented. ;) 

All of that is certainly true, but I'd still take Dusty at his worst with his most excessive bad habits over Nash at his very best (which was still dire). 

24 minutes ago, Strummer said:

This was quite awhile ago but IIRC Nash said Dusty went over his head (to Craig Leathers? I believe) to try and get on the booking team. Nash saw that as a political ploy to try to get his job so he told Dusty to quit it or there would be trouble.

This paints a more complete picture. Can't really fault Nash for that.

Is this what led to Dusty's departure from WCW and unlikely late-career ECW stint feuding with Steve Corino?

Corino is someone who never become the star post-ECW that I thought he would.

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No, Dusty left WCW when Russo came in because Russo wanted to do a storyline playing off of his real-life problems with Dustin at the time, which Dusty didn't want to explore on television.

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Dusty obviously had leftover enemies or detractors from his booking days.  There is no good reason to give Nash the book.  Picking him over a retired wrestler and former booker was so...short sighted.  I racked my brain like Lex Luger trying to find a more definitive term than short-sighted.  

Nash has no legs to stand on when it comes to talking about his “mind for the biz”.  Without Hogan’s turn the NWO doesn’t have the same influence on business and *the* business overall.  It would still be successful for WCW but wrestlers invading promotions is nothing to the larger population.  When someone defines a generation like Hogan the new fans will be far more involved when an “American Hero” turns his back on the fans it means sooo much more.  Double the importance if the fan still thinks pro wrestling is real.

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16 hours ago, Loss said:

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?

I think the answer is rather obvious, Loss.  It was "The competition!"

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On 3/11/2021 at 6:21 PM, 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

I had missed that post earlier on. Yeah, Eddie is just a gift to pro-wrestling. They really did the best job possible to "save" the disaster with that promo. Blaming it on IMPACT was funny as hell too. And also, what's more important : the tag-team of Mox & Kingston working on top... just picture the matches and promos we can get from this unit. I'm salivating.

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I agree with what you're saying Loss. It's the one area where AEW could have separated itself from the WWE who always take these details for granted but they're typically just as lazy. So what ends up happening is that they have a 'good' segment but it's just missing that element that takes it up another notch. Obviously them winking at the camera is a part of the 'new kayfabe' but I find it takes away from the segment. However I see AEW more as an extension of BTE where it has that Youtuber/Content Creator appeal we're they're not trying to be 'stars' but just typical fans who get to do the thing we all love for a living.

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On 3/11/2021 at 12:21 PM, 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

That still doesn't explain why the announcers were selling the explosions, but I suppose you can't have everything.

By the way, count me among those who think wrestling works better when it tries to provide something for everybody rather than everything for somebody. Creating an overall package compelling enough that fans are willing to fill in the gaps in their heads is far more important than being internally consistent. Just look at the comments in this thread bending over backwards to give ECW and Nitro-era WCW the benefit of the doubt. Paul Heyman was the one who hit the lights when Jerry Lawler invaded to try to destroy his company? And think of the millions of times the nWo beat someone down and no one from WCW lifted a finger to help even back in 1996.

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19 minutes ago, NintendoLogic said:

By the way, count me among those who think wrestling works better when it tries to provide something for everybody rather than everything for somebody. Creating an overall package compelling enough that fans are willing to fill in the gaps in their heads is far more important than being internally consistent. Just look at the comments in this thread bending over backwards to give ECW and Nitro-era WCW the benefit of the doubt. Paul Heyman was the one who hit the lights when Jerry Lawler invaded to try to destroy his company? And think of the millions of times the nWo beat someone down and no one from WCW lifted a finger to help even back in 1996.

Agree about everything. The Jerry Lawler & Jim Cornette in ECW are great instance of ECW *not making sense* in the conventional way, but what mattered was the moment and the heat it produced. The bolded sentence is a perfect summary of the approach I love, very well put.

In general, I find people are putting way too much weight into the "psychological" aspect of pro-wrestling, whereas I see it more and more as a "flux", and sometime, making sense in a "psychological" way is less important than hitting the right note, even if it has to be a dissonant one. That also goes for in-ring work BTW, where sometimes an abrupt transition or a spot that "doesn't make sense" but that will awe the audience is way more important than "playing your role right" in creating a great "flux" of pro-wrestling.

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30 minutes ago, Big Pete said:

However I see AEW more as an extension of BTE where it has that Youtuber/Content Creator appeal we're they're not trying to be 'stars' but just typical fans who get to do the thing we all love for a living.

And that's pretty much who they are. I was referring to Tony Khan (and Mox) as "one of us" in term of getting the same experiences as many of us (posting on DVDVR, buying tapes from the IWA deathmatch tournament after seeing Terry Funk in ECW). And to me, that's what I love about it and this generation. The former generations were carnies. This is truly the first generation of workers and promoters who come from a "smart mark" (aka "curious fans") background. Maybe that's why some of "us" don't like it. They are too much like us, but they get to do what we only did in fantasy leagues and our fantasies period. Only they do it their way, which obviously is not everyone's way. So, some are gonna be happy about it (me, others), some aren't.

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Of course he did. I don't think a soul alive thought Jerry Lawler was invading ECW. They thought it was being booked for their entertainment. There was an implicit understanding with everything ECW that someone was manipulating everything. It's why the response was not to boo Lawler, it was to chant for ECW. It's probably also true that no one thinks MJF and Sammy Guevara really hate each other, which again raises why they would switch between trying to explain a camera and not trying to explain it. In that environment, I don't know if I'm supposed to wonder as a viewer who turned off the lights or if it's important. 

And again, if they don't want to answer those questions, they don't have to answer them. I mean that! It would have never bugged me in the least if they hadn't also done that one segment with Sammy wanting a cameraman present a few weeks ago. That's old-style wrestling. If that's not what you're doing, fine. Don't explain the cameras.

No pun intended, but pick a vision and go all in or all out.

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Everything in pro-wrestling is seen as "being booked for your entertainment". You're grasping at straws here by wanting to make this whole" Who turned off the light" way more important than it is.

I don't think you'd ask any ECW fans this question during Lawler's and Cornette's appearance at the Arena and the answer would have been "Oh, it's Paul E." in a kayfabe way. You make it seem everything in ECW was meta, but it was not. People popped because it was an awesome angle, yes. But they did not pop thinking "Oh, Paul E shut off the light so it makes sense because ECW is controlled chaos". They popped for the angle. They popped for the booker/promotion because it delivered something cool. But no one is mixing the fact the angle was cool with the fact it made any sense kayfabe wise. Shutting off the light was a production trick and it was accepted as a production trick.

Yes, AEW did a mistake (hilarious actually) with the Sammy segment the other day. It doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, like "Who turned off the light" doesn't really matter. Honestly, there's more important things to nitpick like why is SCU all of a sudden the n°1 ranked when they haven't been seen forever on Dynamite ? That to me is a bigger issue in term of dealing with details. If you don't watch Dark, you have no idea they are even winning matches. And if you watch Dark, you know they are winning matches against JTTS, so how that qualifies them as being the n°1 ranked when they really haven't beat any top tag team like FTR ? And if they are the n°1 ranked, why is that they don't get the tag title shots before Pac & Fénix, who have won a battle royal but haven't a big W number to their names ? There you have a detail management issue, one that bothers me a whole lot more that "who turned off the lights". 

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I don't know how many more times I can repeat myself when my point is misconstrued or misunderstood, so I'm going to stop. 

For the last time, I focused on who turned off the lights as a singular example of internal inconsistency, not because it in itself was the single most important thing in the world. Not once has anyone who disagrees even tried to engage me on the point that they have swung hard back and forth between trying to make sense of things and not caring instead of committing entirely to one approach or the other, and maybe when they do, I'll come back to the thread. Until then, I don't know what else I can say.

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10 minutes ago, Loss said:

Not once has anyone who disagrees even tried to engage me on the point that they have swung hard back and forth between trying to make sense of things and not caring instead of committing entirely to one approach or the other, and maybe when they do, I'll come back to the thread. Until then, I don't know what else I can say.

I actually agree with you in term of "there are inconsistencies", and my answer was "they are learning on the job, they are all inexperienced guys in that field with less than two years booking and writing a TV show".

I for one would not mind at all if the whole show was totally meta. But I don't mind the mix of meta/not meta either. Also, being meta doesn't equal with insincere. @Big Pete mentioned how winking at the cam was the new kayfabe, and there's something to that, yes. I understand why some don't like it. I don't mind at all, because like I said, they are "like us", they are the product of the same culture of binge watching pro-wrestling and digesting it in speedrun mode. And I mean, Godard used to do the "wink at the camera" thing almost 60 years ago in movies. ;) 

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I do mind it. Glad we drilled down to the big difference. I should have just posted "I don't like the meta/non-meta mix of AEW." You could have responded "I don't mind it" and we both could have saved a lot of time. :)

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I don't know, I thought the conversation here was interesting with people bringing up different points that made me think, so it's all good. :)

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BTW, no one talked about how Darby Allin vs Scorpio Sky was basically Bret vs Backlund on Superstars in 94. A face vs face technical match with an out of nowhere (and out of frustration) attack after the technical finish, complete with Scorpio trying to hurt Darby while in the hold, then looking at his hands in disbelief, then liking what he saw... I can't believe no one has mentioned it thus far ! 

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39 minutes ago, El-P said:

I actually agree with you in term of "there are inconsistencies", and my answer was "they are learning on the job, they are all inexperienced guys in that field with less than two years booking and writing a TV show"

I think this is a big problem though. As much as I've been a hardcore viewer in the past I'm probably on the level of most casuals at this point in terms of attachment to product etc. The inconsistency of Dynamite is really off-putting, whether its internal logic, commentary, increasingly hotshot booking, the show is all over the place.

In isolation some of the cards have been really good, I like some characters - Kingston is a revelation to me- but some weeks are a complete mess. 

I know it backfired on WWE massively, but the initial logic of them hiring experienced TV writers to run the product was never a bad one in my eyes- if you're producing a lot of content then you need an experienced showrunner to steer the product. It didn't work because Vince but the idea was sound. 

That's what AEW needs, imo, an impartial voice to steer the reins a bit. There are some really invested people in the promotion, the money man is clearly dedicated and invested (maybe too much), but is there anyone there with a history of producing TV really. It's all over the shop sometimes. 

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What I will say is that, coming out of a PPV that tied up a lot of stories, or, reached pivotal moments in those stories, I thought they did a good job of beginning new threads that could go interesting places. I don’t have too much of an issue with the random Penta/Cody set-up since I feel like it could be a good little TV program and the Scorpio Sky heel turn freshens him up. Despite the issues I’m having with some inconsistent booking and presentation, they’re at least planting seeds for things I personally will be interested in down the line. I thought this was a really good post-PPV show in that sense.

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As for Khan needing a sounding board, JR used to sit in on WWF booking meetings when they had logical booking in the 90s, I wonder how much he’s consulted on angles, workers etc. I suppose there’s a wider point in there about how few known options they are for booking wrestling TV that have made themselves known in the last twenty years

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I think Loss has said this about a hundred times, but those of us saying AEW is schizophrenic with no sense of identity are not pointing to the lights out thing like an indisputable piece of evidence, and I don't think the point was to compare and contrast every blackout in wrestling history. The point was that this was a tiny example emblematic of a booking philosophy that hasn't quite figured out what it wants to be. A complete sports-oriented build with cameras in locker rooms explained minutely? A proper melodramatic rassling product where everything is in service of popping the fans and starting new angles? A cinematic product which is firmly a 21st century thing? The tension showcased itself in the cinematic match at Revolution too, where they couldn't choose whether they wanted background music or live commentary, so they just decided to go with both

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41 minutes ago, MoS said:

The tension showcased itself in the cinematic match at Revolution too, where they couldn't choose whether they wanted background music or live commentary, so they just decided to go with both

That for instance is something I did not get. I'm all for non-commentary cinematic matches like AJ vs Taker. I'm all for commentary on stuff like the Stadium Stampede. But the commentary + music on the street fight felt like a miscalculation. Considering how it was shot and produced, this pretty much asked for non-commentary. But if you are doing commentary (which still strikes me as a bit odd considering how cinematic it was), the music just doesn't belong then.

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I think the main thing with all this is that most people do actually want them to succeed - I know i do - but the failings/problems are so obvious, it's just frustrating that the company doesn't realise it. They need a helping hand from somewhere. 

Then again, it's not a charity is it. 

I do like the idea of Moxley and Kingston though. Good pairing. 

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Honestly, the balance of "awesome" and "problematic" weighs so much toward the former to me that I can totally bear with the later. No pro-wrestling promotion is gonna be perfect. I loved Lucha Underground, but I still thought some of it sucked. Ditto ECW. Ditto current IMPACT (to a lesser extent, apart from the AEW deal, they are clearly not as fun as they were in 2019/early 00)

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11 minutes ago, El-P said:

Honestly, the balance of "awesome" and "problematic" weighs so much toward the former to me that I can totally bear with the later. No pro-wrestling promotion is gonna be perfect. I loved Lucha Underground, but I still thought some of it sucked. Ditto ECW. Ditto current IMPACT.

I’m at this point too. Taking the company as a whole, AEW has done more things right than wrong so far and they’ve done more things I’ve liked than hated so I’m willing to put up with the 10-15 minutes per show I don’t enjoy. I’m just slightly concerned that the ratio may slide the wrong way in the future 

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