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Rob: Looking At The AEW TV Follies

Rob takes a look at the near comedic nature of the AEW television deal and the internet’s treatment of it.

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All Elite Wrestling AEW

Rob takes a look at the near comedic nature of the AEW television deal and the internet’s treatment of it.

This past Thursday brought out a lot of chatter on Twitter about AEW and their very unclear prospects at landing a TV deal.  We’ve been hearing for some time now that they have multiple bidders offering good money and that it’s a matter of picking which one.  We’ve also heard that Warner Media appeared to have decided to go in with them and that an announcement of some kind should be coming soon.  But now a new rumor surfaced, that they might have to pay for the TV themselves.

Which brought on the jokes from a lot of different people and in turn brought out the ‘you guys are a bunch of WWE stans, why do you want AEW to fail?’ responses from some supporters of AEW.  So yes, Thursday night on Wrestling Twitter became the clusterf@# that most nights tend to be.  Now before I go any further, let me put out a little disclaimer here.

I am not anti-AEW.  I got no quarrel with any of the people there.  I’m not a fan of some of them as performers but it’s nothing personal.  At least from what I’ve seen Cody in particular has been nothing but gracious towards his former employers and co-workers, and has shot down many an attempt by fans to goad him into bashing WWE and/or Vince McMahon. I don’t know him personally but he seems like a good dude all around, and I respect the hell out of him for not just leaving WWE but leaving with a plan to accomplish what he did not there and not going on and on about his push or lack thereof.  I do however take issue with the constant bombardment on my Twitter feed from overzealous fans predicting that AEW is going to take down the WWE, the constant rumors about this WWE wrestler or that one being unhappy why they could/should go to AEW, and with Dave Meltzer’s state run media treatment towards them.  Dave has always loved those guys but since the run up to All In he’s become co-opted by The Elite and has spun everything they do as successful and a big deal.  He’s already declared that they are the number two company even though they haven’t run a show yet.

So yeah, when something pops up that runs contrary to all the bragging and boasting that the worst AEW fans have been doing….yeah, there are gonna be some jokes fired off.  That doesn’t mean we want it to fail, ok?  To be honest most of the people I’ve talked to are curious but not necessarily interested in it at all, and would be perfectly fine leaving it to exist and not saying a word one way or the other.  As for myself, I’m more interested in the operational side than whatever kind of content they’re ultimately going to be producing.  Quite frankly I’m not that pressed to see more wrestling than what I already watch, and that’s not where their success is going to come from anywhere.  The thing that rarely gets talked about re: WWE is that how they’ve run their office vs all of their former and current would be competitors has been the real difference maker and not the quality of their wrestling.  There are plenty of guys and gals who can get in a ring and put on a good match but there aren’t as many people who can competently run a wrestling company.  But anyhow…..

Does this thing have any credibility? We don’t know of course, but consider that virtually every other wrestling company outside of WWE is in a less than prime spot as far as television.  Even if the Turner folks don’t hate wrestling like they did 20 years ago there hasn’t been much demand shown for anything that’s not WWE, which has 35 years of branding and trust built up working to it’s advantage.  AEW or any other start up company is walking into a network environment that, while it may be friendlier than before, still isn’t looking to do any favors to a wrestling company that may not even out rate some of the reruns that they carry.  While them having to pay or maybe just not getting any rights fees may not be what happens, I’m willing to bet they don’t get some huge amount of money.  Why?  Take off your fan hat and look at things objectively.  What kind of audience they’ll bring in is purely speculation at this point – just how many people fit into the pool that might be interested but will actually tune in to watch?  That’s the real question, and we don’t know yet.  So far they’ve only announced special events, one offs that are easier to sell because they’re rare.  But when it’s the middle of July and you’re running the third week in a row of matches between the same people to further an angle, are there enough people willing to do that for a company they’re not already invested in?  That’s the key, in my opinion.  Can you get enough people in the tent who will stay with you through that?


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We’ll see what happens.  Network upfronts are coming soon and then all will be revealed.  The TV deal, should they get one, is an important building block in any success they have.  TV rights don’t just get you exposure they often pay the bills.  The NFL has been dining out on TV rights fees so much that attendance at games is an afterthought now.  A good timeslot where they have a chance to draw a good number will be the difference between them doing well or going down the tubes in short order.  But this whole thing is also a referendum on Dave Meltzer, as he has been doing a full Baghdad Bob routine and insisting that they have multiple big money offers and it’s just a matter of choosing which one.  Dave sounds like a full on shill at this point and has been straight up cheerleading them the whole time.  And look it’s fine to be a fan/shill for someone, but you just got to admit it and not play objective reporter.  Dave is All In (pun intended) on AEW, to the point where he’s venturing into crazy talk land to boost them up.  We’ll find out soon enough just how this thing plays out, and then we can go back from pretending to be TV experts to pretending we know how to book wrestling shows.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Greg DeMarco: Box Office Brock Lesnar And The New WWE

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Brock Lesnar WWE Money In The Bank

After a hard-hitting WWE Money In The Bank, Greg DeMarco offers perspective on Brock Lesnar winning the Money In The Bank briefcase and the obvious shift in the WWE product & presentation.

I know you read that headline and wondered what in the hell I was smoking. Brock Lesnar leaves Hartford with the Money In The Bank briefcase, and I’m calling it a new WWE? I have to be insane, right? Well, that perspective is 100% wrong. (I mean…I may be insane–but not for that reason!) WWE Money In The Bank was shock and awe from start to finish, and you have every reason to be excited. The reactions I am seeing prove that the online community doesn’t want to enjoy WWE. Hopefully, for me, some mainstream fans will read this article too!

Box Office Brock Lesnar

I know what you’re thinking…same ol’ sh*t, right? I can’t say I agree. On the technicality side, Brock Lesnar has never held the Money In The Bank briefcase, so it’s wrong there. But I get it, you’re tired of seeing Brock on top. The truth of it is, he’s Box Office. And WWE needs box office.

What is “Box Office,” exactly? It’s the ability to get fans to spend money, which is how WWE makes money. Brock Lesnar sells the WWE product–to fans, to viewers, to advertisers, and to networks. Wrestling Twitter is a vocal minority, and appeasing them got WWE nowhere with WrestleMania 35, or as I was calling it for the months leading up to it, “HappyMania.” Brock is back, and I think it’s fantastic.

Disagree with me? Great, but the sold out crowd in Hartford blew the roof off the joint when his music hit, so they obviously agree. Brock will likely cash-in in advance, proclaiming his championship opportunity for WWE Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia on June 7. Then we get to give the briefcases a rest, as we continue to shuffle the rosters up and use fun words like Wild Card (bitches…yeehaw!).

One prevailing thought I have seen is that the other seven guys in the match busted their asses for no payoff. I can’t agree with that either–their payoff is a paycheck. They’re businessmen. Those who complain about how they are booked don’t get the business. And as All Elite Wrestling is proving, they don’t take too kindly to people complaining about booking, either.

A New WWE?

I know a lot of people don’t see it, because they’re too worried about booking. But the WWE product shifted tonight. And as dangerous as it is, I hope it sticks.

The product got way more physical at WWE Money In The Bank–way more physical. It started with the Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match, which in reality doesn’t need a gender specific distinction. Money In The Bank describes both ladder matches tonight, as both delivered in both brutality and story. Everyone put their bodies through hell during those matches, and they deserve to be praised.

But it didn’t end there:

  • Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe…brutality.
  • Shane McMahon vs. The Miz…brutality.
  • Tony Nese vs. Ariya Daivari…brutality.
  • The entire segment with the Women’s Championships…brutality.
  • Roman Reigns vs. Elias…brutality.
  • Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles…brutality.
  • Lars Sullivan and The Lucha House Party…brutality.
  • Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens…say it with me…brutality.

Sense a theme, here? WWE provided a more physical product, and did things that make sense. Yes, there were botches that everyone wants to blame on the refs. In each instance, it appeared to me that the talent messed up, and the commentators covered by blaming the officiating. And that makes sense to me. You didn’t think they were going to blame the wrestlers, did you?

It’s really funny that this comes after AEW reveals that they’ll present a more realistic, athletic oriented product after the onset of their TV deal. It’s probably the single bad move they’ve made (okay, maybe second to the whole PAC/Page ordeal), announcing their plans to the world and giving WWE a heads up on what’s coming so they can beat AEW to it.

Seriously, it’s like they went “Here’s our formula!” without even realizing WWE had a high profile PPV to air 6-days before Double Or Nothing. C’mon guys… #UseYourHead.

At the end, it looks WWE is going back to what works for them: giving the fans what they need, and not what they want. Imagine going to the doctor and misdiagnosing yourself. Would you rather the doctor provides you with what you want and now what you need? You’d sue that doctor for malpractice! It’s getting to be that same way with WWE. Prescribe to us what we need, Vince. Even if we don’t like the taste when it goes down, it’s for the best in the end.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 5/19/2019

Best of Super Juniors 26 and Money in the Bank are the big things this week. Let’s see what matches made the cut, and if there were any surprises!

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Best of Super Juniors 26 and Money in the Bank are the big things this week. Let’s see what matches made the cut, and if there were any surprises!

Last week was an interesting week since it wasn’t a normal Top 5 and we had two Sami Callihan matches. When it came down to it though, IMPACT: oVe Rules 8 Man: oVe vs Tommy Dreamer vs Fallah Bahh vs Rich Swann vs Willie Mack, won the vote for the week. I’m always a happy when less popular matches or companies get a fair shake in the rundown.

Either way, let’s see exactly how much New Japan shows up and if anything from Money in the Bank was worth a watch!

 

5. NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 2: Ryusuke Taguchi vs YOH

Taguchi has been having a crisis of character so to speak. He’s become more of a comedy wrestler who’s history doesn’t really inject respect or fear into his opponents. YOH is up and coming, and was trained by Taguchi in the New Japan Dojo. So YOH is trying to establish himself beyond the tag realm and Taguchi is trying to refind himself.

We saw an interesting match. Taguchi showed a little of both worlds from comedy to more of his extensive moveset. YOH was a walking reference to older wrestlers; he even mastered the Paradise Lock apparently. Taguchi picks up the win with the variation of the Dodon that he used to remove Prince Devitt from New Japan. Very good match.

Winner: Taguchi via Dodon’s Throne

Rating: ****

 

4. NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 4: Will Ospreay vs Rocky Romero

This was a little similar to the earlier Taguchi match. Rocky had something to prove. CHAOS members, and Rocky is perceived as being past his prime, but he wanted to prove he can still hang. It’s been 3 years since his last BOSJ, how does the most decorated Junior Tag wrestler fair against the Aerial Assassin?

We got a great match. Rocky had numerous hope spots, hit the Forever Lariats, his half of Strong Zero and reversed the Stormbreaker first attempt into a legit Huricanrana. Ospreay turned out too be just a little too big, a little too athletic and a Shooting Star Press followed by a Stormbreaker ends this great match. Very good.

Winner: Ospreay via Stormbringer

Rating: **** 1/4

 

3. IMPACT: Michael Elgin vs Rich Swann

From My Analysis:
So damn this main event went 2 commercial breaks, but it was really solid. Swann wouldn’t stay down and even had great hope spots. A Super Frankensteiner countering the Avalanche Powerbomb, Lethal Injection, 450, but Elgin kicked out. Swann tried a top rope Phoenix Splash, and missed. Elgin hits Splash Mountain, and Rich kicks out. Elgin rolls to the outside, catches Rich and repeatedly Powerbombs him into the post. Kid Ref tries to get the match back in the ring, Elgin pushes Kid Ref and Powerbombs Swann again for posterity. Kid Ref calls for the DQ and then runs for his life. This was a great match, the “non-finish” is rather annoying coming out of a roughly 25 minute match. But love him or hate him, Elgin can wrestle.

Winner: Swann via DQ

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 3: Dragon Lee vs SHO
Winner: Dragon Lee via Desnucadora
Rating: ****
WWE MiTB: Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Drew McIntyre vs Baron Corbin vs Finn Balor vs Ricochet vs Andrade vs Randy Orton vs Ali vs Brock Lesnar
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 1: Dragon Lee vs Taiji Ishimori
Winner: Ishimori via Bloody Cross
Rating: *** 3/4
WWE MitB: WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs Kevin Owens
Winner: Kofi via Trouble in Paradise
Rating: *** 1/2
NXT UK: Ligero vs Jordan Devlin
Winner: Devlin via Snap Saito Suplex
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 2: Robbie Eagles vs Rocky Romero
Winner: Eagles via Ron Miller Special
Rating: ***
SmackDown Live: Randy Orton vs Finn Balor vs Andrade vs Ali
Winner: Andrade via Hammerlock DDT
Rating: ***
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 2: El Phantasmo vs Bandido
Winner: Phantsmo via Greetings from Chasewood Park
Rating: ***
205 Live: Tony Nese vs Ligero
Winner: Nese via Running Kneese
Rating: ***
WWE Raw: Fall Count Anywhere: Braun Strowman vs Sami Zayn
Winner: Zayn via Claymore
Rating: ***
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 4: Ren Narita vs Robbie Eagles
Winner: Eagles via Turbo Backpack
Rating: ***
WWE MitB: The Usos vs Rowan & Daniel Bryan
Winner: Usos via Double Uce
Rating: ***

 

2. WWE MitB: Universal Championship: AJ Styles vs Seth Rollins (c)

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Now it’s Rollins who has to come up with something else to put Styles away. Fans rally up as Rollins stands. Rollins still has the tried and true, “Burn It Down!” He mule kicks then runs, but Styles dodges to roll Rollins to a Calf Crusher! Rollins endures but Styles cranks back hard! Rollins rolls it back and kicks Styles away! His leg is free but it is hurting! Styles crawls away but Rollins pursues. Styles hops up, moonsault DDT! Cover, TWO!! Rollins escapes with one good leg! Styles gets back up and waits for Rollins. Rollins stands and SUPERKICKS Styles down! Both men are down again, but fans rally and duel again. Styles and Rollins crawl for each other to start throwing hands! Rollins hits, Styles hits, repeat. Rollins CHOPS but Styles punches again.

Fans duel, Styles goes for the Phenomenal Blitz, but Rollins dodges to enziguri! And dodges the Pele! Mule kick! Curb Stomp countered! STYLES CLASH!! Cover, TWO!?! Rollins survives THE Styles Clash?! No one can believe it, but the fans are loving it! Styles grits his teeth as Rollins starts sitting up. Styles goes to the apron, takes aim and springboards. Phenomenal misses! Revolution Knee hits! And then, SUPERKICK! Styles is on his face, but Rollins gets back up! CURB STOMP!! Rollins put so much into that, he has to crawl to a cover! Rollins wins!!

Winner: Rollins via The Stomp

Rating: **** 1/4

 

1. NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 1: SHO vs Shingo Takagi

This match has had a great build all year. SHO is the power of Roppongi 3k, and throughout the LIJ and Roppongi feud for the Junior Tag Titles, we always saw SHO try to go at Shingo. Shingo called him out a little and this is a great rivalry. SHO has something to prove, but Shingo doesn’t want to be upstaged by someone who was a Young Boy only a few years ago.

We saw the story unfold beautifully. Shingo dominated early, until SHO fired up and showed he wasn’t just going to roll over. As the match progressed SHO started to anticipate Shingo’s moves and stay a step ahead. Both men hit all of their signature moves, and neither wanted to really budge. This was just so well done, and more of a heavyweight style because they are both bigger Juniors. Shingo edged out SHO by hitting Last of the Dragons after numerous Pumping Bombers. But damn this was great.

Winner: Shingo via Last of the Dragons

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Thoughts:

Shingo and SHO, there is no other answer. This has been a feud that started at the end of last year and persisted through the entire year so far. Long term booking is always fun, and when both men put on a great story telling match, it’s even better. Plus there’s no guarantee it’s over since SHO still has to surpass Shingo to feel completed.

Don’t sleep on Ospreay and Romero though, that was a great match, just didn’t quite match up to SHO and Shingo.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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