Survivor Series/Takeover

Bryan Alvarez went off on a great rant on Observer radio this morning about why the buildup for next weekend's WWE shows sucks so bad this year, and I wanted to echo his sentiments.
Myself and many other hardcore, longtime fans are basically the only ones left watching this product, and it's SO FUCKING COMPLICATED to follow who is facing who and why.  You've got Takeover with 2 different Wargames matches and a series of matches and angles building that up and determining who's on which team there.  Plus, running concurrently, you've got many of the same people in that match participating in a series of interbrand tag team matches for the next night, with another series of angles and matches determining who's on which team THERE.  Some people are on both, some are on neither, some are in unrelated three-way interbrand matches with the secondary champions.  But there's also a couple of non-interbrand World title matches on the show with their OWN separate buildup.  NXT is invading both shows, but RAW and Smackdown aren't invading each other and the whole thing has a vibe of NXT v. Main Roster, but we're still supposed to buy into the "brand supremacy" of RAW v. Smackdown as well as the NXT brand fighting for whatever.  It's a mess.  When you need a literal scorecard to figure out who is fighting who in what watches and why, your booking SUCKS.

AEW up 16% after PPV

Nearly back up to a million viewers again for AEW after Full Gear.  Glad to see that some of their strategies in laying out the show worked this time around, and it was a hell of a show to boot.  
NXT drops on the Network tonight so I'll probably check it out this weekend because I hear it was good, too.   

And the bottom drops out…

Hard to say that a taped show had much effect when Smackdown was up.


When AEW first came out, I was excited.  I despise contract signings, wedding angles, and McMahon family drama.  I have zero interest in seeing an on-screen authority figure who is any more involved than, say, Jack Tunney.  Yet when I turn
on AEW, instead of seeing what I want, I just see a different version of what I don’t want.  Aside from Hagar (who hasn’t had a match to my knowledge), is there anybody on the entire roster over 230?  The show seems like a bunch of guys who couldn’t make it
on 205 Live.  Jericho is great, but he’s 50.  Moxley is great, but if the best you can put him up against is Neville – the man charisma forgot – then why would I bother watching?  I’m not interested in spot-monkeys whose offense doesn’t look like it hurts.
It made me realize that what the WWE USED to be great at was spectacle.  Their performers are larger than life – and being physically larger than life is a big part of that presentation.  The whole premise used to be seeing these awe-inspiring personalities
telling great stories that climax in an in-ring fight.  WWE is still doing that – they’re just doing a cover-your-eyes awful job of it.  Not everything needs to be a hoss-fight, but a twisting-corkscrew-whatever doesn’t do it for me if the whatever part looks
softer than a Miz chop.  If AEW has done one thing for me, it’s help me understand what it is that I want out of this crazy thing of ours in the first place.  The work doesn’t have to BE stiff, it just has to look the part.  I need to be able to suspend disbelief.
WWEs problems are still the same – homogenized personalities, overly-scripted promos, uninspiring stories, 50/50 booking – none of that is defensible.  I tried watching some of the Japanese stuff and without knowing why they’re fighting, it’s hard to get invested
in the fight no matter how talented the performer.  So what’s a guy to do?  Is there a watchable promotion out there that delivers what I’m looking for?  Or just turn it off and wait a decade and hope the next challenger delivers?


I feel like NXT would be the best TV show to meet your needs. Or maybe MLW.

Fwd: AEW: No New Fans, No


I read the AEW recap on the blog. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but it sounds like they basically jumped right into Episode 5 or 6 of the series without doing any of the groundwork to establish these characters for a new audience. In a two hour show, it doesn't read as if one single performer picked up a microphone and said "this is who I am and this is what I want." They ran a bunch of random matches with no context (unless you already follow BTE). How is this supposed to appeal to a new viewer watching their show for the first time?

I'm getting the sense that these guys are way too deep into the wrestling bubble and don't really know how to draw in people from outside of it. Wrestling fans like good matches for the sake of good matches. Casual viewers want characters and stories. And if their whole business strategy is only catering to their existing hardcore smark audience who watches BTE, why are they bothering with TV at all? I guess I just don't understand the idea of not even trying to be inclusive for a mainstream, non-fan audience, who primarily just want to know who these people are and why they should care, especially for a debut episode. A big missed opportunity, in my estimation. I don't see the growth in this strategy.

I dunno, I don't follow BTE and I was able to sit and watch the entire two hour show and be entertained by it.  And I don't usually do that unless I'm recapping it.  

Fwd: AEW: Best. Show. Ever.

Walking out of the arena in DC and that show was amazing. No idea yet how it came across on TNT, but that was WWF 2000 level enjoyable. 

However, I'm writing because it was very interesting how the crowd played along. With the exception of a "Thank You Jericho" chant, the crowd was on board the whole time. Very different from the last WWE show I attended. 

It seems silly but WWE has had basically an adversarial relationship with fans for the past 4-5 years. Do you think maybe not fighting the fans could help AEW? And have "smarts" smartened up to not be douches? 

It came across very well.  It was a fun, super hot show that flew by.  
And yes, I feel like not actively pissing off the fan base will be beneficial for sure.  


Hi Scott,

Long time reader (15 plus years), first time questioner. 

Given your Canadianness, I'm surprised there hasn't been more commentary on the blog regarding Justin Trudeau's black face controversy. 

The controversy brings up some very important questions when it comes to your blog:

1) What is the history of blackface in professional wrestling?

2) What is your personal history with blackface? Have you done it, and if so, how many times? 

3) Is it true that blackface is as Canadian as hockey? 

Look, I hate Trudeau as much as any sane Western Canadian, but I really think going after him for stupid shit he did in high school instead of stupid shit he’s done in office is pretty messed up.  Plus he’ll still win Ontario anyway and thus the election.  

Alternate Bret

Someone pulled something really great out of an upcoming book on NBA Jam – Bret in a weird alternate outfit

I believe the reason for that is that Bret's top would change colour for first or second player in the game, so they'd key out the green and insert pink or whatever the actual colour would be.

The AMAZING thing to think is that means everyone else in the game presumably ALSO had alternate-coloured outfits.  Green Yoko! Green Taker! 

I was confused for a minute there because I was wondering what Bret had to do with NBA Jam, but I guess it’s In Your House they were shooting.  And there is indeed pictures of Red Undertaker further in that thread.  


I know why we’re being force-fed Baron Corbin.  Shane gave him the mysterious lock box and he’s now the one using it to blackmail Vince.

So why doesn't Vince just buy the Olive Garden where Corbin works and have him fired, I wonder?  HE'LL NEVER BUS TABLES IN THIS TOWN AGAIN, PAL!