As the dust was settling on a historic night for ALL IN in Chicago this past Saturday, I saw this tweet:
All In has been the definition of knowing your audience and giving them what they want — not trying to force them into cheering for somebody.
— Ryan Satin (@ryansatin) September 2, 2018
Some fans took this as a shot at the WWE and its Universal Champion. It might have been, I don’t really care. As somebody who prides themselves on being a fair wrestling analyst, this tweet took me to a more philosophical place. After seeing the widespread applause of the “ALL IN” event on social media, and truly enjoying myself, I had to ask myself these difficult questions:
What did the audience actually want? And, Were we able to allow ourselves to enjoy it because we didn’t really want anything?
“All In” was an excellent wrestling show. It had all the elements that make this sport so great. It had a little something for every kind of fan as well. Of course fans are going to compare this show with everything WWE. It’s the natural thing to do since WWE is the biggest wrestling company in the world, and unfortunately everything always revolves back to them. In this instance, its absurd to compare the two. This was a stand alone wrestling show. Sure it had implications on future events(including a major title change), but its nowhere near the constant machine of television the WWE puts out every week. Which brings me back to Mr. Satin’s tweet….
Every week I see tweet after tweet from fans annoyed with how some WWE superstars are “booked.” We are bored with certain characters, and get angry about match results. I have had a theory for a long time that this is mostly due to fans constantly fantasy booking every….single….show. If it’s not what they wanted or predicted, it is automatically bad. It is impossible to truly enjoy something if you set unrealistic expectations in your head. We all wish we could write the storylines and book the shows for the WWE, because we all think we would do a better job than the guy doing it. This element was completely taken away from “ALL IN.”
There wasn’t an overload of narrative going into the event. You looked up and down the card and saw good matchups, not complicated storylines. Nor did you see many storylines that needed to move past this one show. It takes a lot of the fantasy booking aspect out of it. Fans didn’t have to worry about how these performers were being used. They didn’t have to worry about if somebody was being “buried.” There was no Raw to watch on Monday. They were able to sit back and relax on a Saturday night, and watch a good old fashioned wrestling show. We ate what we were served. There were no expectations, because there was no tomorrow.
Maybe Mr. Satin is right. Maybe this is really is what the audience wants. Maybe we just want to let it all go, and not have to worry about what happens next. As a 30 year WWE fan, maybe this is really is an indictment of how they present their product. 7 hours of weekly television can be just too much.
I wrote in a previous blog how ALL IN could be the genesis of wrestling’s next Great War. The first shot was fired by going back to basics, and it was definitely heard ’round the world.
NXT Minus 6: Too Early To Fantasy Book War Games?
Everyone loves fantasy booking. Right?
The answer is No. It’s not too early.
6. NXT teases us with a Matt Riddle-Arturo Ruas match that went 3 minutes? I know it’s not happening, but those guys deserve a Takeover spot. Kudos to NXT for playing up the mma aspect. Everything from Mauro’s commentary to the ref stoppage made this feel like it should have been in an octagon. If you haven’t already seen it, check out Ruas’ match from the Evolve 10th Anniversary show. Dude is a killer.
5. We got the final opening round match of the Dusty Rhodes Everyman Classic. Bronson Reed is good. He delivered what might be the biggest frog splash I’ve ever seen. There is always a place for athletic big men, but he’s not the story.
4. Dexter Lumas is creepy. The key to wrestling is to crank your personality up to 11. If this creepy thing is any part of Dexter Lumas, I don’t want to be in a room with him. I don’t trust him around my kids. I wonder how many crimes against humanity he’s already committed. Creepy in a way that Bray Wyatt can only hope to be.
3. Tyler Breeze enters the running for Savage Burn of the Year. He looked at Jaxson Ryker and asked “Weren’t you Buddy Murphy?” Brutal. That line alone is worth the return of Prince Pretty.
2. I finally got the moment I was waiting for: an interesting KUSHIDA match. I was ready to send him to 205 in exchange for Akira Tozawa. And if this is Apollo Crews, I will gladly take him back full time in NXT. Stellar matchup and worth watching. 4.4 stars.
1. Oh no, this cannot be happening. They’re turning Keith Lee into Kassius Ohno 2.0? He’s talking about getting passed over for the new guys? And he’s jobbing to Damian Priest next week? Been here a year and zero Takeover matches? The Ridiculous Keith Lee deserves better. THIS…CAN…NOT…BE…HAPPENING!!!
Bonus time: Old school versus new generation. Tyler Breeze heads up a cast of NXT OGs to take on Undisputed Era in (cue William Regal voice) War Games to determine NXT supremacy. Keep Apollo around. Throw in Cesaro and Harper, maybe even Samoa Joe, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a brawl. Either that or Undisputed Era versus the Club. I’m cool with both.
Tiffany’s Takes: WWE NXT (7-17-19)
Who will be the first to challenge Adam Cole for the NXT Championship?
Who will be the first to challenge Adam Cole for the NXT Championship?
Have I ever told anyone that I can’t stand Matt Riddle? I have? Okay. I don’t even know what it is, but he sets my teeth on edge. I will give him props for having a good match with Arturo Ruas, but I’m not sure what they’re doing with his character, except teasing a heel turn after that NASTY beatdown of Ruas. I am here for Killian Dain vs Riddle, that even sounds like fun!
Looks like we are going to Undisputed Era vs Street Profits at some point, but I’m waiting for UE to make a big deal about Street Profits being on the Main Roster for the last couple of weeks.
I love that Mia Yim is learning from everyone’s mistakes in dealing with Shayna Baszler and is going after Baszler’s friends, who are the real reason she’s stayed on top for so long. This feud is going to get nasty in a hurry and I can’t wait!
The next match of the NXT Breakout Tournament had a lot to live up to after two AMAZING matches and one not so amazing. I’m not sure what in the world Australian Strong Styles is, I’m guessing it’s like any ‘Strong Style’ in that it’s pretty hard hitting. I also didn’t know Australia had a Black Forest, it was never on ‘Crocodile Hunter’. I did like this match, however. I can’t say it was as amazing as some of the other matches, but it was really good. Bronson Reed won the match for Australia, so we’ll see what happens in Round 2.
Someone should tell Tyler Breeze that having a beard doesn’t make you a man. I’ve seen teenagers with better facial hair. I did love the little dig at Forgotten Sons, but I don’t think Breeze really wants to pick a fight with Jaxson Ryker, that’s not going to end well.
Well, it looks like we’ll likely get a confrontation between Io Shirai and Candice LeRae next week, unfortunately for Kacy Catanzaro, she’s going to be Shirai’s punching bag before that.
I wasn’t really into KUSHIDA vs Apollo Crews. I’m just not a huge fan of either guy. The match was really good, but I don’ t think anyone really thought Crews was going to beat KUSHIDA, who is getting built into a title contender, but it was a longer match than Crews has been having for most of his WWE run, so there’s that.
I’m still not into Keith Lee, I just don’t get it, but I’m super stoked about the prospect of Lee vs Damian Priest, that promises to be a wild match.
So, it’s officially official, we WILL be getting Adam Cole vs Johnny Gargano III and it sounds like it’s going to be the last one. I did like Gargano comparing his victory tour of trying to inspire young people in Cleveland with Cole’s obnoxious antics at the Gargano restaurant. Also, love the ‘Johnny Badass’ thing, very cool. NXT TakeOver: Toronto II is going to be a wild ride in that Three Stages of Hell match! Thank you, William Regal for booking that!
That’s it for Tiffany’s Belated NXT Takes! Tune in Monday for Monday Night RAW!