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Opinion

AEW vs. WWE and The War Between The Fans

Many fans AEW & NXT TV deals as shots being fired between both promotions–but the real fireworks are happening between fans of both AEW and WWE. 

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AEW’s upcoming debut on the TNT Network is the talk of the pro wrestling world and with good reason. Tony Khan’s company is set to make a major impact with weekly programming, featuring a heavy emphasis on wins and losses, as well as the promise of old school wrestling. 

Not to be outdone on any level, WWE is moving NXT to the AEW Wednesday night time slot two full weeks before Khan and company go live for the first time. Many fans see this as shots being fired between both promotions and there’s likely much more to come. But the real fireworks are happening between fans of both AEW and WWE. Simply put, it’s getting a bit ridiculous. 

The AEW faithful believes that Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks are the best thing happening in the industry today. The trio, along with Kenny Omega, has established a loyal fanbase that is willing to follow them anywhere. The big events have sold out and thus far, the same is true for their live TV. 

These fans wanted something more than what Vince McMahon and WWE was giving them and now they have it. AEW is poised to become real competition to WWE, which is something that hasn’t happened since WCW shut down in 2001. For nearly 20 years, WWE was on top and no one was able to touch them. But that’s all changed now.

Who can fault AEW’s fans for wanting something new? A lack of competition bred complacency in WWE and everyone knew it. In fact, it was painfully obvious. Weak storylines, hollow characters and nonsensical angles were the norm in WWE and while the hardcore fans rolled with the punches, many more decided it was all too much.

The casual fans left in droves after the end of The Attitude Era. Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and Mankind all retired. Triple H’s corporate role became fully realized over the past several years and The Undertaker has been a shadow of his former self. The excitement and intensity  that once existed in WWE was washed away because of many factors, which include the company’s PG rating, as well as a lack of top stars.

Fans accused WWE of talking down to them and more often than not, insulting their intelligence. It seemed that The McMahon Family cared so much about money, that the foundation of fans who made them wealthy to begin with, were rendered irrelevant. No one within WWE seemed to care about anyone’s opinion unless that opinion came from a McMahon.

How could fans not embrace something different? Anything different is good, especially when it comes to a business like pro wrestling, which can often get incredibly repetitive. WWE dumbed down its own product and did it so often that it actually set the table for a company like AEW to come in and have a seat. Why wouldn’t fans be excited about this?

But the WWE faithful has been here before. They watched WCW come in white-hot and take the industry by the throat. The nWo, Hollywood Hogan, Goldberg and Sting, all became household names and established WCW as the No.1 company in the industry. No one was bigger and WWE couldn’t keep up.

However, that run did not last long. WWE outlived its greatest competition of all time and Vince McMahon’s company prospered as a result. WWE fans backed a winner and over the years that followed, it was obvious that their decision to stay, or come onboard, was a good one. WWE is a veteran at this cat-and-mouse game that WCW perfected and that AEW seems to be playing now. The fact is that no company besides WWE can play that game any better.

AEW is still an unproven entity and WWE fans know that. It’s extremely hard for them to back AEW or to support it in any way, because that company seems so focused on WWE. Why doesn’t Rhodes and his crew worry more about what their company is doing, rather than what The McMahon family is doing? Why does this even have to be a war?

But the fans that are currently making this personal will ultimately be the first casualties in this war. The cockiness of many AEW fans is out of control and the arrogance of many WWE fans is just too much to bear. One side believes that unless it came from The McMahon Family, then it’s not legit, while the other side believes it’s not legit because it came from The McMahon Family.

AEW fans can find no fault with their favorite company, though that company hasn’t really done much to earn such unwavering loyalty as of yet. WWE fans can find little to no fault with their beloved company despite years of mediocrity and silly booking proving otherwise. WWE fans don’t want to hear any criticism and the same is true of AEW fans.

The knee-jerk reaction of attacking AEW fans is matched only by the knee-jerk reaction of attacking WWE fans. AEW fans are accused of just wanting to hate everything and WWE fans are accused of obsessing over their favorite company. Unless it’s WWE, it’s lousy. Unless it’s AEW, it’s not relevant. Has either side ever stopped to think that they’re more alike than they realize?

The idea of AEW began as an alternative pro wrestling company, a new creation that would approach the business in a different, yet familiar, way. AEW was supposed to be a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale environment. But somewhere along the way, the AEW movement became more about hating The McMahons than it did about breaking new ground in the industry.

WWE is supposed to be the industry leader, with fans who respect their history and are anxious to make more. But for some reason, WWE fans can’t understand the desire that AEW has to change the game. Instead, AEW fans are viewed as brainwashed loyalists, who ironically enough, see WWE fans in the exact same light.

It’s a complicated situation that’s only growing more confusing as time goes on. What happened to pro wrestling fans wanting to see more companies for the pro wrestlers to ply their craft? More places to work means more money is flowing, which means more overall success for the industry as a whole. Why can’t that be the focus, instead of the nonsense that’s currently playing out between AEW and WWE fans? Will it ever end, or is it just getting started? Only time will tell but for now, the war continues.


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Opinion

AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21

AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?

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As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.

Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!

#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time

There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…

THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!

I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.


#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic

Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.

People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.

I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.

#3- Overuse of Certain Moves

This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…

Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.

If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.

How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.


That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!


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Opinion

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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