Hello everyone and welcome to Planet Kayfabe here on NoDQ. It's officially August. We are inching closer to SummerSlam, the show that appears to be almost as long as summer itself. AEW's first TV taping sold out in 2 hours. Roman Reigns is getting crushed by shit. Goldberg is facing Dolph Ziggler.
First, I want to send my prayers and condolences to the family of Harley Race. One of the true legends of wrestling. I strongly suggest you watch the video Jeff Meacham did with Aaron Rift over on the YouTube channel and it can also be found here in the "Opinions and Commentaries" section. Rest in peace.
This week in WWE television wasn't bad. With the way 2019 has gone, I'll chalk up "not bad" as a win. However, on Smackdown some of the hokiest shit I have ever seen happened when at the end of the show, they showed a far angle of Roman Reigns walking to whatever standard-issue interview chick that is in WWE and 45 camera angles later a bunch of production equipment is shown falling on Roman Reigns.
The way this was produced made it come off very unnatural and fake. Like something you'd see in a B horror film in the '50s. But hey, its an angle. Well, they ruined the angle 2 minutes later when Roman said he's fine to medical staff, refused treatment and walked away on his own power essentially no-selling the whole thing. That's a pretty weak ending. Many have said it, and I agree, that the show should have gone off the air when the cameraman dropped his camera to check on Roman. The production of this was lame, but at least you have a good cliffhanger. Not only does Roman no-sell the accident but this week on WWE social media they pretty much killed it by saying they investigated the accident and they said it was a "forklift error". So did they check the cameras to see if anyone f***ed with the forklift or what? This is so dumb.
SummerSlam this year is rumored to be 14 matches long. Dude... Come on. Give us a break. No wonder the casual fans have been driven off. Hey, Cody Rhodes said he doesn't think casual fans are important to AEW's future so maybe they should do PPV's with 20 matches and keep the super tippy-top 1% of most hardcore wrestling fans happy (you bet your ass I got more to say about that). Of those matches is apparently Golberg vs Dolph Ziggler. Look, I like Goldberg. He's a badass. He's a cool dude. He's a nice guy. He's the type of wrestler that owns being a superhero. He's what I wish I saw more of in 2019's wrestling landscape instead of a bunch of geeks who rage-quit video games more than they've ever had to actually stand up for themselves or someone else in real life before. The problem is Goldberg is over 50 and I'm so done with seeing 50-year-olds wrestle. I hope the match is great, but I hope it's his last one. Whatever. Maybe I'm in the minority here and y'all want to see these guys from the 90's wrestle until their ass turns to dust in the ring.
I hope you all enjoy the upcoming events, though.
I listened to Hulk Hogan on Austin's podcast. I didn't take notes, but I recommend it. Its obvious the wrestling business is still important to Hogan. That part I liked hearing him talk about. When it comes to telling stories much of what he says is bullshit. This bit about how he was supposed to lose to Andre The Giant at Wrestlemania III and Andre changed the finish in the ring -- dude, get f*** out of here. He also said that after Warrior became champion, he wanted to be called "Triple H: Hollywood Hulk Hogan" That is also about as true as the time he said he tried out to play bass for Metallica and if you're dumb enough to believe that, James Hetfield himself was asked about it a few years ago and his words were, a chuckle, because he wasn't sure it was a serious question, and then he said "that definitely didn't happen". Otherwise, it was good stuff. He and Steve Austin had pretty much their first sit-down conversation ever and it was recorded for us to listen to and they went 2 hours, so it is very much worth listening to.
This week Cody Rhodes did an interview on Busted Open (seriously, how many f***ing wrestling shows need to be named after inside terms or moves) saying he is not concerned about bringing in casual fans to AEW and wants to focus on the base they have built.
*groans and rubs temples*
He would continue to say that the term "casual fan" is something that got tossed around during the Monday Night Wars and describes those fans and that he wants to "throw up" when he says it.
I'm beginning to think a bunch of 30-year-olds with no business experience maybe shouldn't be self-appointed executives in a major wrestling promotion...
This is some garbage if I ever heard it. The term "casual fan" is not exclusive to wrestling or an era of wrestling. Every major genre of entertainment has casual fans. Because I love music analogies, let me put it this way, the biggest bands playing in the biggest venues have the most mass appeal and play to an audience largely comprised of casual fans who know a few songs they heard on the radio and want to go have a good time and hear those hits. The smallest bands play in small clubs to a crowd of their most die-hard fans and if they never catch a break or have a hit single they will be playing to those same fans forever in the same small clubs and new fans will never come in to keep the machine rolling.
If AEW wants to be that small club band, they could go be Impact or ROH and appeal to the most hardcore of hardcore fans and still put on great shows and play great songs, but they are on a major cable network in prime time. They are major league and better start acting like it because I'm sure TNT won't be pleased if a few years down the road there is no growth at all and the viewing demographic just keeps getting older and older like in WWE because they pander to the same people.
It is important to have casual fans because everyone starts off as a casual fan. No one starts watching wrestling as a 30-year-old hardcore fan with stacks of tapes in their closet and a bunch of $500 replica belts hanging from their wall. I know that 30-year-old superfan I just described won't like hearing this, but AEW has to try and appeal to kids and families because even WWE is failing at that and that is the future of your company and what its growth depends upon. You can hold these conventions and charge top dollar for the hardcore fans who are willing to pay anything, but you need to get families back in arenas at mainstream wrestling shows. Look at all these crowds. They all want to say wrestling is "for everyone" yet all I see is a bunch of older hardcore fans. Back in the day, you saw kids, parents, grandparents, casual fans looking for a good time and still had the hardcore fans that never missed a show.
I'm pulling for AEW, but every time Cody, his wife or even Tony Khan talk I get more and more worried about how this company will be run. They have all this momentum, all this buzz, a prime-time slot on TNT and you got Cody talking like he doesn't understand even the most basic business fundamentals, but he will use is fancy SAT words to kayfabe people into thinking he's some sort of intellectual. You have his wife arguing with random dudes on Twitter. Like, dude, you're the CBO. You're supposed to be above selling for trolls and whining and replying to every mark and average Joe "50 Followers" on Twitter. You don't see Stephanie McMahon doing that shit. As for Tony Khan, I've said it before, but I hope he is tougher behind the scenes than he comes off in interviews because every time he talks he sounds like a giddy superfan with money to burn. His appearance on Austin's podcast was cringe at times. He comes off like he's trying to be one of the boys instead of their boss and you saw how well that worked for Eric Bischoff.
If I want to give Cody the benefit of the doubt, I'd say maybe he only said that on Busted Open because he knew he was talking to an audience of hardcore fans and he didn't want those fans to think their favorite little wrestling company that they carry in their back pocket is going to suddenly be too big to fit in their back pocket come October. So, see? I'm a fair guy who is willing to look at all angles... But I still stand by everything I said above because it is not the first time I've heard Cody say something that made me go "uh oh..." and raise my concerns a bit.
My apologies for the late post. I'll have my SummerSlam preview up next week. Leave a comment below telling me how excited you are, because I'm oddly not that excited for what is supposed to be the 2nd biggest show on the WWE calendar. That could all change, but, we are one week away.
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Thank you and God bless you all and happy birthday to James Hetfield and Tom Brady.