What to talk about this week? A few things were on my mind so here goes
OK, I know, I know……more rating talk, just what you need. Well, this week saw some more hyperbole about Wednesday night ratings numbers so it’s time to set the record straight again. The big thing this week was that the gap between AEW and NXT shrunk to the smallest ever, 822,000 to 813,000. But it’s not really a big deal, honest. It’s easy to dismiss NXT’s performance because they brought over AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson from RAW and were coming off two big momentum boosting nights from both RAW and SmackDown. And at the same time you could say that this was the first ever go home show for an AEW pay per view so there should have been heightened interest in what they were going to do. Which one you choose to run with depends on which side of the fence you fall on and nothing else really.
If you want any real proof of that then consider this – the segment where NXT beat AEW this week was not the opening where the OC crashed the NXT party or the main event where they faced Tomoasso Ciampa, Keith Lee, and Matt Riddle or the women’s match between NXT champion Shayna Baszler and Dakota Kai. No, it was the other women’s match between Taynara Conti and the debuting Santana Garrett. An unannounced match with no build and no storyline between an also ran (Conti) and a relative newbie (Garrett). In other words the ‘victory’ was completely arbitrary and without any real explanation. So yeah, gloat if you want but it’s pretty silly in this case as it is almost every week. The biggest thing to take from it all is what I said last time about wrestling being a niche product – the combined audience of 1.6 million is a little more than AEW’s big debut number and less than the worst third hour number for Raw.
I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on Airplane-gate from last week. This was one of the most ridiculous debates we’ve ever had and that’s saying something. Either you believe that it was airplane mechanical issues or you believe that Vince got into it with the Saudi Prince over money, left on his plane, and the Prince got mad enough to ‘kidnap’ over 100 wrestlers and production crew members. Now I’m not a conspiracy theorist because I tend to believe that to do one successfully you don’t just need people who are willing to start it but who are also dedicated enough to finish it and smart enough not to get busted before they succeed. And in this case there are a whole lot of things you’re counting on to break one way at the same time. Here’s the list:
- The Prince stiffed Vince on payment
- Vince got pissed, delayed the live feed of the broadcast (don’t know exactly how he would do that), and then got in the Prince’s face to demand his money on the way out the door
- The Prince gave in, let Vince and several other people leave, but got mad after the fact and decided to retaliate by holding everyone else hostage
- The people being held hostage were allowed to keep their devices to communicate with their families during the whole time
- They were released after an entirely random amount of time to come home, without any involvement as far as we know from the State Department
This whole thing hinges on two things. First that the Prince, having ordered the hit on Kashoggi last year, is crazy enough to do it. And second, that Vince is both crazy enough to get in that guys face and callous enough to get on the plane and leave before he knew everyone else was able to go. Now all three of those things may be true individually but to take those and construct that entire Jenga tower of circumstances all happening at once is a huge stretch. And let’s be real a lot of the feasibility of this hinges on some really prejudiced views of the people of Saudi Arabia.
So no, I don’t buy the entire construct of the kidnapping story being feasible. If one day we find out that one of the pieces is true then I won’t be surprised. But not the whole thing. It’s more likely that a soft hostage taking went down to send some kind of message to the White House than as some kind of payback for Vince yelling at the Prince about money. And if that’s the case then we’ll find out when the tell all books about the Trump Administration are written. We damn aren’t going to get that story from the same people who play cancer truther and can’t even get a simple black and white story like Seth Rollins speaking in a meeting right.
Until next week everyone…