Have we been mislead into thinking we were getting an alternative, or is this an all out brand war? Karl discusses what the antics from Double or Nothing mean for AEW and the WWE moving forward.
You don’t know me yet, but you will. Maybe. While my city is surrounded by rising waters, I’ve been compelled to come out of hiding and write a long-awaited wrestling column. I won’t guarantee you’ll see many after this, but when you do, well, let’s just hope I still got it. I can hear the capacity crowd chanting now.
But I’m not here to toot my own horn. I’m here to talk about a company that can’t stop tooting theirs, and the company that seemingly ignited the fight.
Respect is a lost art in the wrestling world it seems. I like to think that in the circles of the wrestlers themselves, the guys and gals who put their heart into this silly circus we all love, that there is more than just a smidgen of respect passed around. AEW, otherwise known as All Elite Wrestling, finally had their first official show, Double or Nothing, presented to the masses on PPV. Everything I saw from the Twittersphere among the wrestlers themselves was a lot of good luck and well wishes from those who would be on the couch watching.
The wrestling fans themselves are a different animal entirely, and to save all this pro/anti rah-rah nonsense, I’ll leave my own personal opinions at the front door and pick them up on my way out of here. Let’s just talk about reality.
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Ever since AEW went from a mere glimmer in Cody’s eye to Double or Nothing, there has been much discussion revolving around what to really expect. We knew we were getting an alternative to what many people believe to be an inconsistent product being churned out from the WWE. And to their credit, the Being the Elite boys have made it happen. They went out and got someone with deep pockets to back their venture, get it on TV, sign some big names and get themselves extra dollars in their bank accounts. Smart. And deserving of respect. There’s that word.
But what about respect? Many of the founding fathers of AEW themselves have tried to make it clear that not only would they not be interested in signing a ton of WWE cast-offs, but that this also was not some war for supremacy. It was merely an alternative, and hopefully a highly successful one, for wrestling fans who wanted something else than what they had been given. Ladies and gentlemen, it seems lies have been told.
To be fair, however, let’s make a few things clear. Maybe more than anybody, Cody had a reason to feel how he felt. He felt underutilized and underappreciated and chose to go make it happen on his own. That’s worthy of my respect. There it is again. However, somewhere along the way, it seems to have become more of a personal vendetta. Triple H has been mentioned, mostly symbolically, in quite a few of the Being the Elite videos scattered about on YouTube, and to be fair, Triple H got his shot in at the Hall of Fame prior to WrestleMania when he referred to AEW as a “piss-ant” company.
So, what happened Saturday when he destroyed the chair which seemingly could only belong to one man, really reeks of something different. It sounds (and smells) like Cody is out to start a war. He’s out to be more than an alternative, which goes against everything we’ve been told. I can’t take someone seriously when they tell me one thing and present me with another. I wasn’t prepared for a business model swerve. It reeks of disrespect.
I think it’s 100% fair to hold the WWE’s collective feet to the fire for their inconsistency, and their almost unwavering need to go to the well of the legends of old to put butts in seats and glue eyes to screens, but if you’re AEW, and you claim to be an alternative, then how can you even pull what you pulled at Double or Nothing? In the main event of their first ever show, they chose to have an absolute legend and former WWE Grand Slam Champion, at the spry age of 48, take the cake and defeat the biggest damn name in professional wrestling not associated with WWE. Mind boggling. But to top it off, they then proceeded to churn out another former WWE Grand Slam Champion to be the final burning image of their show.
Where’s the accountability? We’ve heard the narrative for years that WWE can’t build new stars, yet here comes our new alternative using former WWE, for lack of a better word, STARS, to close their show. Call a spade a spade. They needed to do it this way. And they knew that not a single person who has been predisposed to love everything they do would bat an eye at the result.
So, what you’ve been presented with is a company that can get away with murder because fans are so desperate for an alternative, all while being spoon fed two major, and former WWE stars as top billing, and all the company executives (except the one who probably should have won his match) winning their matches. Almost ironic they’re going to be on TNT, isn’t it?
Wrestling fans haven’t the ability to drive in both lanes, so we fight and scream into the void. Respect. There’s that word again. It’s hard to come by. AEW has a long way to go for mine. But hey, this junk brought me out of retirement, so they must be doing something right.