Recently I’ve been thinking more about the process of elevating talent up the card. Really giving them a chance to showcase all dimensions of their toolkit and giving a momentum push that can take them to the next level and get them over.
The ‘best of 7’ series concept came to mind as probably one of the most reliable means to accomplish this objective.
Chris Benoit and Booker T set the original mould with the classic debut of the concept in WCW. Looking back on the matches some 20 years later, they still hold up (Match 3 being my personal fav). Even more than the matches themselves there is no denying it was a concept and series of matches that cemented Benoit as an upper card star and Booker T as a breakout solo act that was going up the card.
The concept has been replicated a few times, taking on different forms. Most recently with Sheamus and Cesaro, and even with tag teams. Many forget the original Hardy Boyz vs Edge/Christian feud that culminated in their breakout ladder match at No Mercy was a best of Series. ‘Best of’ Series’ have even taken the concept further with gimmick matches attached to each outing (ROH with Bryan Danielson vs Homicide, as well as MCMG vs Beer Money for Impact). While adding in the gimmick matches seems a bit overkill, it can be an effective mechanism to end a feud.
In today’s climate of challenged attention spans and quick dopamine hits, a best of 7 investment may be a tough sell, but I think it would still work with the right participants and the right stakes of course. Fans have to be invested and the post series booking needs to pay off.
AEW is the logical place to revive this concept as it could easily play out over Dynamite, Rampage, Dark with a month timeframe. It could either commence or conclude on a Branded Dynamite although my vote goes for starting vs concluding. NXT could of course do the same but with only 1x a week show that’s a long investment that I just can’t see WWE committing too.
With its roster chalk full of bright young talent, AEW is the right place to see the ‘Best of’ rebirth. It’s not hard to see the concept framed as a Breakout ‘best of’ Series, in either a best of 5 or 7 format.
Who would be most deserving of their breakout Hardy Boyz/E&C moment or get a chance to take thriving characters to the next level like Booker T, Sheamus, or Cesaro?
Sound off in the comments!
Wouldn’t be a stretch to see a series of classics featuring Lee Moriarty, Daniel Garcia, Private Party, Top Flight, The Acclaimed, Ricky Starks, Miro or Ethan Page.