What’s up guys? I am your host, Don Franc, back with another edition of The Main Event for the masses. Long introductions aren’t really my thing, so let’s get right to..
THE MAIN EVENT
One thing that I’ve noticed lately are certain similarities between AEW and WWE. There are the obvious ones like equally good production, great budget, etc. However, it’s the subtle similarities that are more noteworthy. I love that AEW are keeping up with WWE in terms of production because it makes them look like a big deal on television. But there are other aspects of AEW that fall into the same trap that WWE does. WWE have practically been around forever and AEW should learn from their mistakes, not mirror them. Don’t get me wrong, these are seemingly small problems and may not seem like a big deal. Then again ,a big deal never starts out as such.
AEW has undoubtedly proven to be an alternative to WWE and for that reason it’s my favourite wrestling show. And because of that I don’t want them to make moves WWE normally would, whether knowing or unknowingly. It could be something small like Jericho being mad over his jacket being destroyed and harping on about how much it cost. Where have I seen that before? Hopefully a plant won’t be introduced into the feud…
Even unexplained changes, which is WWE’s specialty. What happened to Nightmare Collective? Here one week, gone the next. I applaud AEW for cancelling that stable when they saw it wasn’t working, but they could have at least explained on television why they disbanded. That’s odd, especially considering that they were heavily featured for a few weeks. I actually think the concept of The Nightmare Collective was a great idea but the execution – and using the wrong wrestlers – really killed any potential it may have had. AEW got that one straight out of the WWE playbook. Not to mention Allie just fading away from Butcher and Blade and popping up with QT like she was never The Bunny. It’s those type of things that remind me of WWE while I’m watching Dynamite. And that’s the last thing I want!
It cannot be denied that AEW are doing many things right, way more than WWE at the moment to be fair. It’s the little things that make the show good. Putting focus on a widespread of talent and the shared universe. Everyone seems to have history with each other and that creates a great atmosphere. But continuous mistakes, no matter how small, can go a long way into causing people to start turning away. These are things that AEW should be trying to avoid.
AEW is the wrestling alternative and they should not be putting too much focus on outlandish entertainment antics. For example, I was hoping Mike Tyson wouldn’t get involved in any feud after he presented the title. But in typical sports entertainment fashion he did and it wasn’t any good. Sound familiar? Tyson was a big deal in the 90s when he appeared in WWF. Now? Not so much. Dynamite initially presented itself as focussing more on the sports rather than the entertainment. However, they’ve recently experienced a slight shift toward the entertainment side of things. And although there’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself, their presentation in the beginning doesn’t warrant such a tonal shift.
I hate even getting into the whole juice debacle but it proves my point of AEW pulling WWE moves. For a company intent on pointing out the 18-49 demographic, they sure catered to a younger group with that cartoonish angle. An audience WWE caters to, no less. You may point out that a character like Orange Cassidy paves way to cartoonish shenanigans such as that juice tomfoolery. He certainly has that playfulness about him; but if you look at it from another perspective you’d see he is a representation of this current generation. Quite clever, even if not intended to be so. That’s why I don’t blame the Cassidy character for that nonsense. In WWE I would’ve accepted such an act as I’ve become accustomed to it, but with the way AEW Dynamite presented itself to me this is not what I’ve come to expect from them.
At the end of the day any mainstream wrestling promotions will be scrutinized. This is part in parcel of being a major promotion. Just because AEW is my favourite wrestling brand doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to point out their mistakes. And the fact that these mistakes can easily be rectified by just doing the opposite of what WWE does is concerning. You would think Cody/Jericho knows better considering they worked for them for years. I just point all of this out because AEW have been firing on all cylinders lately and I want their ascension to continue. Little mishaps tend to have a ripple effect.
One striking similarity I’ve noticed was Jon Moxley after he won the AEW World Heavyweight Championship. Up until recently he wasn’t really presented as the biggest deal in AEW. It’s almost like his title reign fell victim to whom AEW considers bigger stars and/or more important. Isn’t this exactly what happened in WWE? Okay, so it wasn’t that bad but that’s how easy it is to fall into a WWE trope. Besides Moxley being off television for his COVID case, alot of times he was only shown on pre-recorded videos whilst the main guys, mostly The Elite, got to be featured. If this is the case, which I’m doubtful of and sincerely hope it’s not, things are going to end up the same in AEW as they did for Moxley in WWE, although we’re an extremely long way from that potentially happening.
Cody is especially guilty of this as his presentation is that of the main star in the promotion. WWE are well-known for putting who they deem their top star/biggest asset front and centre, even though they’re not World Champion. AEW should sway away from having that hierarchical approach to their roster and for the most part they have been doing just that. Yet everyone slips up and they have to ensure that when they do, it’s not to a damaging degree. They can do this by using their own experience in WWE to avoid any potential hypocrisies that goes against what they try to stand for.
Truth be told, the scale in which AEW have been making mistakes compared to WWE’s mistakes are minuscule. However, when you start adding mistakes onto that scale the weight goes up. And once that does, it will all come crashing down. AEW have been my favourite promotion for nearly a year now. The last thing I want is for AEW to be placed into the same category as WWE. Because once you’re placed in their realm of negativity the stigma attached to the promotion can’t be undone.
Are AEW Pulling TNA Moves Too?
TNA/Impact has become synonymous with hiring former WWE stars. It’s gotten to the point where it’s now meme-worthy. In fact, just recently they’ve signed Heath Slater and The Good Brothers. Sure, the latter made their name in NJPW, but they were on WWE TV for a number of years and don’t think we forgot Gallows was a disciple of CM Punk AND he was Festus. Nevertheless, former WWE stars go hand-in-hand with TNA. It’s the way it is and always has been.
On the other hand, when I think of AEW I think of the most popular independent wrestlers on the scene being given a mainstream platform to show their worth. That is what I identify AEW with and that perception is what they should attempt to uphold. The worst thing that could happen to AEW -even worse than being comparable to WWE in their similarities – is becoming the new TNA. That will not be a good look for them and will certainly be their downfall.
The only positives of employing former WWE stars are of course their perceived name value. But yet, if they were released by WWE they would not have appeared on television frequently or featured heavily. That lack of exposure then lessens their name value. What that would mean is that nobody would follow most former WWE stars to another promotion because WWE negates their talents by not giving them a real opportunity. So if WWE presents a star as a jobber or not important then surely the casual fan would feel the same.
There will of course be those who will argue that promotions of the past were built on stars made famous in another promotion. With that I agree. But you don’t always catch lightning in a bottle and the unfortunate truth is that you can’t book every wrestler to showcase their full potential. Back then they only hired the biggest stars from their competitors or at the very least stars that show promise. It’s because of that AEW shouldn’t hire just any wrestler because they were formerly on WWE TV. That’s what led to TNA’s downfall as they focussed alot on WWE rejects instead of their own, homegrown talent.
Matt Cordona and the former Cameron are not the signings they should be making. Cordona may not be there for long but he was never a big star and the former Funkadactyl will add no value to their Womens Division. They should have tried to sign Rusev instead of Zack freaking Ryder. Only sign wrestlers for their talents and not just because they wrestled in the biggest wrestling promotion on the planet.
AEW are still a young promotion so they steering toward their future. It would be disheartening for a promising promotion to fall victim to the same tropes that WWE has and become know as the new TNA or WWE Lite.
And that does it for this edition of The Main Event. Do you think AEW has similar tropes to WWE? Are AEW taking the TNA path? Feel free to leave a comment below. Alternatively, you can pop me an e-mail at [email protected]com or follow me on Twitter @donfranclop. But until next time folks…
This is Don Franc signing out.