If I Were In Charge – Episode 5 (My Wrestling Christmas Wishlist)

Happy Holidays, you adorable elves! Hopefully this time of year is a good one for you and not a struggle like it is for many. If it is a struggle for you, don’t ever forget just how strong you are. You got this, and will make it through whatever it is you’re going through. Right now in my life, it’s a little hectic. First off, since the summer, some of my Dads fingers have been slowly dying. 25 years in the military doing winter warfare in -60c weather has left him with brittle vessels in his old age. The blood just can’t make its way through anymore. He’s on his 7th surgery now, and sadly the last ones didn’t work on the current two fingers giving him issues. The surgeon he has is amazing, but it’s a very delicate situation. My Dad’s doing his best to stay positive, but it’s hard for him to deal with and very, very painful. Adding it up, it’s 25 years busting up his body serving his country, then another 20+ working for the government for fire prevention, training and putting on courses for new fire fighters, inspecting and investigating deadly fires and figuring out their cause. He’s always done things for others, especially my Mom and myself.

My parents just had to sell their acreage due to the fact he no longer can be outside or use his hands well. My mom has been stressed, but has also been a fantastic partner to him. My other half and I finally got them moved closer to us, 8 minutes close (yikes!!! jk), and into a townhouse with a small yard. It’s been hectic, folks…let me tell you. Things have been hard, especially with me having a bone disease that makes everything hurt. Not to mention the fact that if I lift over 20lbs, I risk breaking my femur and hip joint. But as they say, it could always be worse. Positivity rules!

My Christmas wish? All I want for Christmas is my Dad, who’s my best bud, to be out of pain. It hurts him so much to rely on everyone else to help him. For all he’s done for us, I wish he knew we’d do anything it takes to make his life more comfortable. A great side effect of that wish would be giving my Mom some down time! She needs a break from being his mind, muscle and nurse. Anyway, enough about myself, my family and my personal Christmas wishes, let’s move on to my wrestling Christmas wishes for my wrestling family! And because I’m on episode 5, I’ll name my top 5 wrestling wishes.

Wish #1 – Toxic tribalism disappears. I know, I know…extreme wishful thinking. But isn’t it possible to dislike something without completely ripping off someone’s head and shitting down their throat just because they do like it? It’s a huge theme in this world, divisiveness. It’s only getting worse, too. One of the things I like the most is meeting people who are different or have different views than I do. It’s so damn interesting to hear their point of views and reasonings for what they support or believe in. When I read the comments on NoDQ, the serious ones…not the “haha, I’m a funny troll character ones”, I read them for their insights into their likes/dislikes. There’s been many occasions where an opinion that’s different than mine has opened my eyes and changed my mind. There’s also been just as many occasions, if not more, where I disagree. But that’s ok, isn’t it? Just because I disagree, doesn’t mean I have to hate them, insult them, shit on them or attempt to make them feel like they’re wrong. Use our differences to expand your mind, instead of shutting your mind in.

Wish #2 – AEW gets some of that vibe they had when they first got their TV deal. It felt so damn good to have an alternative. It was quite obvious and had been for a long time that a more adult oriented wrestling product would be welcomed. I loved seeing Sammy Guevara mix it up with Cody Rhodes on the first episode. I was introduced to so many new names that I didn’t know from the indies. I was able to see some known talent who had left WWE one way or another. It felt thought out and fresh. In my opinion, I just haven’t been feeling that from the current product lately. There’s been some great matches here and there, but there’s a lot more that’s been on my screen lately that I don’t like. Perhaps it’s my love of organization, but it’s just felt a little scrambled lately. I’m hoping it can get back on track and really grab 2023 by the jingle balls. The younger talent being the focus lately has been a good sign of things to come. Jungle Boy, HOOK, MJF, Hangman Page, Ricky Starks….so much talent. Please stay healthy, guys!

Wish #3 – People give the talent brought back to WWE a chance. Sure, you could say some have been given a chance, but I’m talking like a real chance. Currently we’re close to the road to WrestleMania. We know from history that Vince McMahon would plan most of next years WrestleMania and work backwards and book towards it. All these talent brought back by Triple H are there because those with the current power in the company saw and see something in them. The reports are out there that Triple H has been disappointed in a few who’ve returned. Any confirmation on those reports yet? No. Anyone could have said that, but let’s be honest here…many of those returns have been lackluster. Myself, I’m giving them a longer chance. We’re used to being forced to have short attention spans when it comes to wrestling, so I’m playing this out. These guys were brought back into a mid-season (or later) booked schedule and are being planted in between storylines that are already there. A good draft and a fresh season after WrestleMania could really freshen things up. Hit Row make a good tag team (when Top Dolla keeps his feet planted on the ground) and will be nice and ready when those tag titles hopefully get split up. If that doesn’t happen, at least they’ll be ready in a tag team division that’s going to be given fresh life when The Bloodline storyline is finally played out. If you look at the current tag teams, it’s pretty fantastic. There is a lot of potential there, but patience is needed. It’s so hard to see the positive of it all when The Bloodline is the focus that’s blocking any other major things from happening. Karrion Kross? I love the guy. I think him and Rey Mysterio could have some amazing matches. The different styles will really be cool to see clash, especially with both their skill sets working with opposite types. I enjoyed Kross’ matches with Drew McIntyre. Those two legit had fun beating the living hell out of each other. Bray Wyatt? People realllllly lose focus when something lasts longer than 2-3 months when it isn’t given as much love as The Bloodline. I beg you, please let this WrestleMania season play out so we can truly see what the new regime can do. Once we see a full year of Team Triple H, which will be April 3, 2023 to April 8, 2024, then let’s judge him, the writing, the development of talent and those who have been brought back or given the ball. I’m looking at you and your deep cheeks, Austin Theory. Make the most of it.

Wish #4 – Tony Khan, my guy…I love your passion for the business. I love the fact you brought us another promotion where performers can make a living. I love how you give many young guys a chance to grow their craft, and a place some legends can finish off their dreams. But I have a wish that involves you, and I hope you don’t mind…I wish you’d hire a proper creative writing team. Currently AEW feels very close to some of your interviews. Very flustered and somewhat all over the place. I do know you have a great vision. I think that’s been proven just by the fact that you don’t and won’t give up when hardballs are thrown your way. But for the love of Santa Claus, use those amazing brains that you have hired to help you out. I get it, you have trust issues. That’s been made clear when you took away writing and creative from the VPs and admitted you write the show yourself. I’m pretty sure all you do is take input from them and a few others, and just do whatever it is your brain is telling you to do at the time. Get that Boomer Sooner, Jim Ross on your right side. Next thing to do, a batch of different minds to help you out. Arn Anderson, Taz, Serena Deeb, Pat Buck, Mark Henry, Chris Jericho, Sonjay Dutt, Don Callis, Madison Rayne and yes, even Jeff Jarrett should be writing WITH you. I know you’ll never give up full control, nor should you. But sit around with all these folks weekly and write your shows. Make a yearly or quarterly deadline and have these wonderful minds get some say in what happens. Sure, there will be things that just don’t work for the audience, but with a group this well rounded who all have their own specialities, you’re bound to have more successes than what you have now with the product that’s strictly coming from your mind. The current product seems run too thin, which must mean, Tony Khan, you’re also currently being run thin due to your responsibilities with a football, soccer AND wrestling promotion under your belt. You got this, man! Trust in these amazing people you’ve hired.

Wish #5 – Speaking of wrestling promoters, in this case, former promoters (maybe?), for the love of Kris Kringle, please…Vince McMahon, I truly wish you stay retired. You have made an incredible dream of yours a reality. You turned something territorial into a global brand name. It takes a genius to do that, and I’m so thankful you did. You obviously had some fantastic help, but in the end it was them helping you with your vision. You took their advice when it was time to switch gears, like when Monday got a little more “Raw”!! You worked so hard to make sure your company didn’t flounder when it was very close to being bankrupt or knocked down to bare bones. But let’s be real with each other, Vince…you started to slip. Not just recently, either. It’s been happening for a good decade. You quit listening and got more and more erratic. You grew angry and frustrated with ideas you planted the seed of that weren’t growing quick enough for you. You’d rip up scripts minutes before the show then get pissed off when your performers couldn’t get invested in ever changing visions you had. The one great idea you always concentrated on that WWE should always keep at the top of the list is making your shows a generational product. A product for kids to adults. Yes, there will always be those folks who think WWE is childish because they think wrestling should have more blood, nudity or language, but that’s not how you reach the masses, especially the young ones who’ll eventually (hopefully) be watching with their own children in the future. That’s the goal, isn’t it? But Vince, you’re not needed anymore. You gave us all you could give, and now it’s time for fresh minds to work their magic. The hardest part for us fans will be to reprogram our brains and delete the Vince McMahon-isms we’re so used to. Larger than life characters, main eventers, whatever you want to call them CAN come in all shapes, sizes and races. After watching 35 years of Vince in charge, I could see an attempt to recreate the same gimmicks over and over again with different wrestlers. In his mind, the gimmick was plug and play. The rare times we did get a break out star? Those were the ones who broke out of the mold and jumped over those barriers. Under Triple H, I believe we will see way more real personalities than a plug and play gimmick given to them. Will it result in more successes or failures? Time will tell. And before you say Triple H hasn’t made any stars in NXT for the main roster, that’s because they always had to go through the “Vince McMahon main roster make-over”…and how successful was that? I’ll let you answer that one.

Have yourselves a great holiday and I hope you all get some time to relax and recharge. I hope you get to spend time with loved ones, whether they’re human or furry critters. I myself am pretty lucky this year. So far it’s looking like I’ll be able to spend it with my rescue cats, who I love dearly, as well as with my parents and partner. In what just might be the last Christmas I get with my Dad, I can honestly only wish for one thing – the old guy gets to stick around for another Christmas, with the next hopefully being in way less pain.

Take care, everyone. Be there for the people who love you!

James Bones