AEW: The Need For New Ideas

Holy crap! Hell has frozen over.

Did this writer, the one that is an “AEW Mark” and has “nothing” bad to say about about AEW just say they need new ideas? Yes, yes I did. (for more proof, go check out my latest show of BOOM! Goes The Dynamite on YouTube.) It is a common misconception that fans of different promotions have a hard time criticizing something they love. (Something to do with “tribalism” I guess) But for those that are able to look a both sides of the coin, they have no problems seeing the good and bad in their favorite sports team/movie/promotion etc. This article will look at the rinse and repeat booking that seems to be hindering the progression of AEW presently.

Is MJF getting stale?

In my opinion he is leaning slightly towards the stale side of things. He is your typical cocky, rich kid, entitled, chicken s#*t heel. This has a certain shelf life before things start to get a bit tired. As good as he is on the mic, he doesn’t really deviate from what has worked for him in the past to get heat.

A powerful man can speak softly and still command the attention of everyone in the room.

These are the wise words of Jake The Snake Roberts, and he has a point. If you are truly worth listening to you shouldn’t have to shout and scream down the lens of a camera to get attention. MJF will run down what ever city he is in for the cheap boo’s, then yell in the microphone that “he calls the shots.” If he was really “The Devil” he would speak with a more sinister yet calm manner. I’m aware that this isn’t his style, and he is no Jake Roberts. He is the preppy, rich boy that chucks his toys out of the pram if he doesn’t get his own way. But at what point do you change things up to compliment the story you are trying to tell?

A babyface or anti hero?

When Max came back the crowds loved him! They wanted to cheer for him, and the strong majority did. MJF was so engaging on the mic at the time that the guy could say no wrong, even when he insulted the crowd they still cheered. When he ran down to “save” Moxley from a beat down from The Firm the arena erupted in cheers. AEW potentially had their next babyface star in the making, or at the very least, an anti hero. Then the rugged got pulled away from all of us and MJF went back to the cheap heat he was known for. This all felt a bit disappointing and anti-climactic. we had seen this all before and wanted more character development. It can be argued that the injury and suspension of CM Punk and the abrupt departure of William Regal may have played a hand in the pivot back to basics. However, I feel they could have continued with the MJF anti hero saga a while longer. Instead it was cut off at the knees before it ever had a chance to run.

Wrestling? No thanks.

This practically is the mantra of MJF, he considers himself a special attraction. Max will only lace up the boots when he sees fit, which is rarely. A couple things bother me about this. Firstly, we all know Tony Kahn is the owner, and while we don’t need authority figures on screen, it is illogical he would have one of his best wrestlers NOT wrestle. MJF is under contract to Tony, not the other way around, so it begs the question, why is MJF allowed to call the shots? Secondly, the lack of him wrestling has been going on for over 3 years in AEW. Most people watch AEW because of the wrestling side of things and not the soap opera. Yes storylines are important but so is the actual wrestling.  Max is in his mid 20s and is below 6 feet tall. It is not like he is a physical specimen like Brock Lesner or Andre The Giant. I’m not paying my hard earned money to watch regular old Joe Blow from down the street every once in a while. He doesn’t need to be a Bryan Danielson and wrestle every week. Every 3 weeks? Sure.

Jumping through hoops.

This one isn’t specific to MJF, even though he has overused this strategy numerous times. “You want to wrestle me? Well your going to have wrestle X, Y, Z wrestler. Take a dozen lashings, and do a beer bong with straight vodka through your anus first before you get to me” The hand has been over played by multiple wrestlers. MJF, Chris Jericho and the JAS, Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle. Even Britt Baker has used Jamie Hayter to soften up her next opponent. To make matters worse, this hoop jumping business is being used in two different storylines at the same time. MJF is making Danielson go through a different opponent each week and must win to be able to face him. At the same time the JAS is making Ricky Starks run a gauntlet on tonight’s dynamite just to face a man he has already beaten! AAAARRRRRGGGGGG. With all the veterans in the locker room surly they could come up with different storylines. Make it make sense damn it!

Outsiders are better than you.

Just because a wrestler came from WWE does not make them better than “Home grown talent.” It ran it’s course in WCW in 1996 with the NWO. It failed miserably in TNA and it even flopped when done in reverse with the doomed  Invasion angle in 2001. The notion that if you came from WWE or even are still a current WWE wrestler that makes you better than everyone else is just ridiculous. There are a tonne of wrestlers I would rather watch outside of WWE over Jinder Mahal or Baron Corbin. That’s not the point though. The point is, the story of being better just because you came from the biggest wrestling company in the world is old hat, and quite frankly damaging to the product. It didn’t work 20 years ago and it won’t work now. So why are AEW trying to re-hash such a dated idea? Again, it all comes down to lack of creativity.

Make em’ bleed!

Blood belongs in wrestling…… moderation. It just adds to the drama and suspense of a back and forth struggle between hated enemies. Also there is nothing wrong with women bleeding either. Women and Men are made up of the same blood, skin and bone the last time I checked so it makes sense. There are 3 types of ways to get “colour” in wrestling. Hard way, blading and Jon Moxley. Seriously, that dude bleeds a lot, too much in fact. It was even brought up in a promo in one of his feuds. Mox is one of my favorite wrestlers, I admire what he done to turn his life around and kick his addiction. He has found his joy for pro wrestling again after having his flame extinguished by WWE. The use of blood is perfect in real personal feuds such as the one currently with Adam Page, but in a nothing match with Dante Martin? Not so much. When blood is used too often it loses all it’s appeal and shock value. AEW need to realize that in this situation, less really is more.

BTA: Being The Alternative.

While the above paragraph about blood does set AEW apart from WWE, it is still done too often. The real issue of being an alternative is that almost everything has been done before in the industry. Things are bound to be repeated, it’s just the nature of the beast. The wrestling side of AEW is definitely an alternative to WWE, and that’s one of the reasons I fell in love with company. However the storylines and character evolution in some cases are truly lacking at best, and re used too many times at worst. The creative is tired, dare I say even lazy. This could come down to TK wanting to do it all himself, I’m not sure, but he needs help. I’m not saying he needs a team of Hollywood writers that no jack about wrestling. (That would be awful.) But I do feel he needs a team of people that live in the wrestling business, young and old, to help AEW become the true alternative wrestling product we were all promised.

For more wrestling related thoughts and opinions, feel free to follow me on twitter. @ricothen22