After all the madness of WWE releases, Rob takes a look at who is moving next, and where they go!
The recent two rounds of roster cuts in WWE, with rumors of more to come, aren’t just about the WWE because they are going to affect the entire business. The WWE business model is changing for sure, but so is everyone else’s as a result. Just what might that look like? We don’t know entirely just yet. The live tours are starting back up but for now outside of Raw, Smackdown, and pay per views there are only going to supershows and not the old split brand house show tours.
AEW is getting a new show, AEW Rampage, that’s going to start up later this year on Fridays at 10. More TV time means more time to get some of the kids currently working on AEW Dark and Dark Elevation in front of a larger audience, and more time for people who are only on Dynamite every few weeks to get on every week. So will they still need two YouTube shows, one of which (AEW Dark) runs several hours and has more matches than a three hour episode of RAW? Probably not, and I can easily see one of those shows getting folded up. On the other hand AEW Rampage is going to need to have some ‘name’ people to draw any kind of audience because just moving the lineup from Dark or Dark Elevation over to Rampage isn’t going to cut it so it could very easily end up being a Dynamite runover deal. And now there some new faces available who just so happen to have spent a few years on WWE television and are way more easily recognizable than the ones that have been working the YouTube shows, which would again mean that the current holdovers would likely stay put.
And just who from the WWE releases should they bring in? Ruby Riott could immediately climb in their less crowded women’s division and should be a no brainer. Aleister Black should be an easy yes also, even though there’s a logjam where he would land there. He and/or Buddy Murphy can be a guy who has good matches on TV and on pay per views with the top people. Samoa Joe could hold court on Fridays with little trouble at all. But that’s not the only question. With the first batch of contract expirations having already begun and two choices to not re-sign already been made (Awesome Kong and Shanna), and the costs of touring about to come back into play, there are going to be some decisions that have to be made and the roster may look a lot different in six months than it does now. The WWE releases mean several people will be available who quite frankly are more valuable than some of the people they have now, and some of those folks will be shown the door in some way or another as a result.
And a few days after I started writing this, Andrade debuted on Dynamite. He is undoubtedly a big player and an excellent pickup for them, but he’s also a guy that is going to occupy a big spot on the roster which means that guys like Hangman Page are going to have another competitor for time and title shots and everyone else who isn’t an EVP is going to have to make room for him. Does his signing make it less likely that an opening will be there for Black? Maybe. The million dollar question is just how much is the Khan family willing to spend? Will there be an endless spigot of money or will Shad Khan at some point tell Tony Khan that he has a salary cap to stick to? I imagine the right answer is yes. Tony will probably be able to get anyone he thinks will be a big help but throwing money around to keep the lower end of the roster chock full of new recruits and indie guys who are friends of the EVPs probably won’t be as much of a thing soon.
So to be blunt, there are new opportunities opening up internally but there is going to be new competition for those spots and the existing ones. And some of the people there now are going to be the losers. Just who that will be, we don’t know yet. While the Khans have enough money to pay anyone they want to they are not likely going to expand to the 300 person roster that WWE is currently trimming down. The audience numbers for Dynamite in it’s special Friday night timeslot suggest that Rampage is going to be a tough sell on Fridays at 10 without some of the established name guys involved. Which means that it’s not going to be the haven for the talented but underutilized, at least not to the degree that some are hoping. If we’re going to be honest AEW with almost 100 people on some kind of contract already has too many people for the TV time they have and that’s not going to be alleviated when Rampage starts up. I’d be willing to bet that it’s more an extension of what happens on Wednesday nights than a different show altogether.
Which bring me to the elephant in the room: the domino effect. Some of the WWE releases will land in AEW, some in Impact, some in ROH, and some in MLW. Others will get prime spots on the indies. But that means other people will moved down to the next tier of employment in the industry as those companies make room to accommodate them. And ultimately some people are going to be the guy or gal that gets stuck when the music stops playing in a game of musical chairs. The business is changing at the top and it’s going to be felt at every level. While the time from WrestleMania 35 up until early March of 2020 may have been the best time ever to be looking for employment in the wrestling industry this era starting now is going to be different. There remain as many places to work but the labor market is going to become increasingly flooded over the next year and it’s going to be sink or swim time. Randy Savage famously said cream rises to the top and we’re about to see that in spades now.
Mitchell’s AEW Dark Results & Report! (10/20/21)
Another Best Of!
Another three hours of fan favorites!
AEW continues reliving its best and most beloved matches from Dark and Dark: Elevation! Will one of yours make the cut?
- Matt Sydal VS PAC w/ Lucha Brothers; Pac wins.
- Darby Allin VS CIMA; Darby wins.
- Strong Hearts & Private Party VS The Young Bucks & The Rhodes Brothers w/ Brandi Rhodes & MJF; The Bucks & the Rhodes win.
- Brian Pillman Jr. VS Eddie Kingston; Kingston wins.
- Yuka Sakazaki & Riho VS Britt Baker & Penelope Ford w/ Kip Sabian; Baker & Ford win.
- The Factory VS Matt Sydal & Dante Martin; Sydal & Martin win.
- Six Man Tag: Chaos Project & Max Caster VS Jurassic Express; Jurassic Express wins.
- Mixed Tag Match: Kip Sabian & Penelope Ford VS Kenny Omega & Riho; Omega & Riho win.
- Six Man Tag: Chaos Project & Ricky Shane Page VS Jon Moxley, Eddie Kingston & Darby Allin w/ Sting; Moxley, Kingston & Allin win.
- 8 Man Tag: The Lucha Brothers, The Butcher & The Blade VS Private Party & SoCal Uncensored; The Lucha Brothers, Butcher & Blade win.
- Falls Count Anywhere: Kip Sabian w/ Penelope Ford VS Joey Janela; Janela wins.
- Brandon Cutler & Peter Avalon w/ Leva Bates VS The Young Bucks; The Young Bucks win.
- Six Man Tag: Danny Limelight & The Sydal Brothers VS Kenny Omega, Konosuke Takeshita & Michael Nakazawa; Omega, Takeshita & Nakazawa win.
Honestly, a lot of the first special got a lot of good ones, I’m not sure what’s left.
It’s always kind of a trip to look back even just a couple years in pro-wrestling. I forgot there was a time when Cody interacted with the rest of The Elite. Honestly, that 8 Man was a lot of fun, I wonder if we’ll ever get interactions between the Elite and Nightmare Family again. And I forgot one of Penelope’s earliest matches in AEW was such a great one with her, Britt, Riho & Yuka. I should’ve also remembered about the Cruise of Jericho having Dark matches. Also I forgot Caster had such a bad mustache when he first showed up. And I forgot how rough that Falls Count Anywhere got, like the table spot where Kip and Penelope don’t break the table but just bounce off it.
Mitchell’s AEW Dark Results & Report! (10/19/21)
Miami gets Dark!
Half a dozen for Dark in South Beach!
AEW still has more in Miami! Will Gunn Club continue their undefeated tag streak? Will Nyla Rose, Diamante & Emi Sakura be a winning combination again?
- Jamie Hayter w/ Britt Baker & Rebel VS Tiffany Nieves; Hayter wins.
- Six Man Tag: The Gunn Club VS Dean Alexander, Diamond Sheik & Alex Chamberlain; Gunn Club wins.
- Six Woman Tag: Kris Statlander, Red Velvet & Thunder Rosa VS Nyla Rose, Diamante and Emi Sakura w/ Vickie Guerrero & Lulu Pencil; Statlander, Velvet & Rosa win.
- Lance Archer VS OT Fernandez; Archer wins.
- Frankie Kazarian VS Aaron Solo w/ The Factory; Kaz wins.
- 8 Man Tag: Daniel Garcia, 2point0 & Serpentico VS The Dark Order; The Dark Order wins.
Nyla Rose, Diamante & Emi Sakura just won on Elevation, they might lose here since Statlander and Rosa are now on Velvet’s team. Gunn Club will surely win and really should be on the tag title chase after Full Gear to give credence to their story. And that 8 Man Tag looks like a lot of fun, as it’ll be Stu Grayson, Colt Cabana, Alan Angels and Preston Vance for The Dark Order.
An even 40 minutes is a nice size for this episode. Hayter makes QUICK work of Nieves, and I was right about Gunn Club of course. We got another great Six Woman Tag, and I like that there was a tiny bit of dysfunction in Nyla-Diamante-Sakura over getting after Thunder Rosa. Velvet essentially gets redemption from Elevation by winning it for her team here. And as I said with Elevation, AEW could really get their women’s tag division plans back on track at any moment. With Dynamite, Rampage, Elevation and Dark Classic, there is plenty of airtime for them to feature the women’s tag titles (or medals if they want to do that again) and can give fans reason to tune into everything.
Jade Cargill and Mark Sterling have a good promo segment to hype up the TBS Championship Tournament bracket. Jade really can come out of the tournament the champ, or even lose in the finals to then go right after Britt Baker. Hell, Jade wins the title then goes after Britt anyway to try and be AEW’s first double champion. Well, double AEW champion since we’ve seen plenty of cross-promotion champions. Archer dragging out his opponent then brutalizing him is great stuff, as was Eddie Kingston on commentary to watch that match. The Factory really needs to add more people, they’re already kinda stale at just QT, Solo and Comoroto.
And of course, that big 8 Man is the main event, no Luther is a surprise but there was still plenty of dysfunctional interaction between Serpentico, Garcia and 2point0. Angels sticking with no mask is also a surprise, but he gets a great showing for himself. I hope we get more Dark Order VS Hardy Family Office, that seemed like a promising feud. At the same time, we need to see 2point0 and the various Dark Order duos get into the tag title chase after Full Gear and on the way to Revolution.
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