Opinions on WWE Wrestlemania 40, Okada joining AEW, and more

The last few months have been a busy time in pro wrestling and its caused a glutton of stories. Some of them are pretty good, some are horrible and some of them are just beyond belief. With that being said, I am going to take a different approach and just touch on thoughts about the biggest stories and just give my takes shotgun style and go from there.

Lets begin with the festivities:

Why is Sky vs. Bayley not headlining WrestleMania Day 1?

The biggest reason Iyo Sky vs. Bayley is not a main event for WrestleMania is simply because its the IWC vs. Mainstream.

And Mainstream is on the right side.

A good chunk of hardcore wrestling fans doesn’t realize that pro wrestling is a business. That every wrestler is viewed as an asset that can either generate money, become a star or become a crossover star. Five Star matches are for marks and people who are into fantasy booking.

Look at who the WWE has pushed in the last few female Main Events of WrestleMania. All five of the women had mainstream appeal, could do interviews and promos with the best of them, attractive and had huge crossover potential. That is what WrestleMania is all about; it’s not a wrestling show but a Mainstream cross over event that sells the WWE to everyone.

Right off the bat you can argue that not only should Iyo be in the main event, but she should not even be the champion. Her limitations in this feud are already on display as she has yet to do any promos in English. Hell, nobody has ever heard her do any promos in English in front of a live crowd.

And for those who think it’s not a big deal, how do you expect her to promote the tour then? When Charlotte Flair, Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch were in the main event of WrestleMania 36, they were presented on every mainstream talk show possible.

Its marketing and promotion 101; the more your talent can resonate with the audience, the more likely people are to pay attention to them. Its why in the USA, every pitchman or pitchwoman for major companies need to speak English. So that the average American can understand them and relate to them.

When you interview someone who doesn’t have a firm command of the language you speak, it hinders you. Even if you have a translator jokes and conversations get lost due to the barrier. I know first-hand as I have interviewed fighters from Russia, Cuba, Turkey, France and other countries.

Do you think Jimmy Kimmel, Good Morning America or Live with Kelly and Marc want to interview Iyo? Want to ask questions to someone in front of live audience who doesn’t speak or feel comfortable speaking English?

That’s a recipe for disaster and every marketing executive knows that which leads me to my second story.

What do you make of the Okada to AEW signing?

Off the top of my head, when I look at the entire contract of Kazuchika Okada my first reaction is Tony Khan grossly overpaid. Here is a guy who has never been a huge draw in the states, doesn’t speak English well enough to do promos and is over the age of 35 with lots of wear and tear on his body. He is now one of the highest paid wrestlers in the industry and also doesn’t have to relocate, learn English, or learn a safer style of wrestling.

Good for Okada but once again it shows why AEW has been a dumpster fire for the last year plus. In their last TV show, which had the debut of Okada and main event with Will Ospreay vs. Kyle Fletcher drew less than 800K viewers.

That is horrible for a show that is on cable TV during a time when new shows still are just coming back.

While WWE wanted Okada, they weren’t going to spend big money for a guy who is not a difference maker. In fairness there are not difference makers left in pro wrestling to begin with. But the kind of money Okada makes is for the guys who are box office draws or who bring in mainstream appeal.

Guys like Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, and others who are on ESPN for interviews. You can have Okada walk down the streets of Boston or New York and 95% of the people would have no idea who he is.

Not only did you pay him big money, but they also turned him heel, aligned him with his real-life friends, the Young Bucks, and agreed to his wants and needs.

All it does is continue the narrative that Tony Khan is treating AEW like a play toy and has no idea how to run a business.

The sad part is that it will do nothing but just hurt other promotions as AEW keeps stock piling on wrestlers. This is a company that did not need any more talent when they already had too much. And for every wrestler like Okada who is brought in, it just means that another two or three wrestlers are going to get de pushed to make room for his push.

Which leads me to the next topic…

What is wrong with Tony Khan trying to educate O’Shea Jackson on wrestling fandom?

Ever since O’Shea Jackson stated what most average wrestling fans complained about with AEW, we have gotten the ultimate tribal wars in wrestling fandom.

During an interview with podcast host Chris Van Vliet, O’Shea expressed his frustration as a casual fan about a lack of inclusivity for those who may not be as familiar. He also gave examples of how the UFC provides background on fighters before matches and pre fight interviews. The actor also highlighted the need for wrestling shows to engage viewers with compelling narratives rather than just two wrestlers wrestling without any build up whatsoever.

Instead of listening to a guy who understands entertainment better than him, Tony Khan instead gave a reply that rang more like a scolding rather than listening to him.

The AEW Owner went on X and told O’Shea: You might enjoy checking out new experiences + entire worlds of international graps out there, I think learning about them is fun. All wrestling is awesome; I hope you enjoy whatever you like, + maybe someday you’ll be interested in wider circles!

Once again it shows the tone deafness of Tony and his AEW fanatics who then attacked O’Shea on Twitter. In fact J.P Tokussen basically wrote a column about O’Shea being a “Helpless Mark” and to “Google it”.

First I would like to tell J.P that if you ever said that while working in the NFL/NBA/MLB/UFC/NHL or any other professional sports industry… you would be fired and blackballed for being an idiot.

The second part shows that Tony and AEW fans just simply don’t understand business or even marketing. Its why most wrestling promotions fail and why nobody cares. Fans are the lifeblood and if they don’t care about a product or are not invested… they will move on.

Right now where live in a world where AEW is competing not just against other networks but also On-Demand, Streaming Services, Live Sports, and DVR Recordings. People want to be invested in something if they are going to watch any show.

Look at the NFL for example at how they produce and pitch their league. It is not just the best players in the world playing but pregame shows, state trackers, half time interviews and player packages. They want fans to be invested and to care about their team and the product they are invested in.

Even the WWE figured that out long ago as they have incorporated vignettes, storylines, long arcs and turned pro wrestling into a live action movie involving wrestling.

What Tony and the AEW stans don’t understand is that people want to feel like they care about what they are watching. They want to not just look at something and get bored after 10 minutes. Its the biggest problem with AEW as the whole product feels like its just YouTube highlights and wrestling you can watch anywhere else.

But also here is a high profile celebrity who was talking about AEW, giving it constructive criticism while acknowledging the product. And instead of privately sitting down, hearing him out and potentially working with him to help with buzz, Tony talked down to him.

Just another reason why Tony Khan has become the worst pro wrestling owner since Herb Abrams.

By the way while we are on the subject of criticism, I need to address this beauty.

WWE stars coming in defense of Maxxine after being booed.

I hate to say this but the Undertaker was right when he stated that his generation was tougher than the current group. I get that the previous generation had its flaws (many flaws to be exact) but they grew up in a time when not only was wrestling real but you were expected to perform night in and night out at a high level.

After watching Maxxine Dupri’s latest matches, fans have a right to boo her. They paid good money for quality entertainment and in ring action and frankly Maxxine is not good enough. You can tell just tell that when she is in the right it does not look fluid or natural.

I don’t blame her because she has been put in a hard spot. She was never trained as a wrestler in the first place as she was brought in to be a valet. Now she is being trained on the job on RAW with limited matches and being put in with high profile performers.

If anyone is at fault its the WWE Creative for not sending her back to NXT and letting her grow and develop as a wrestler. Instead she is learning on the job and at times is out of her depth.

But what the current generation of wrestlers fail to take into consideration is that the fans have a right to boo. This is a paid event that the fans are going to and the expect high quality product for the amount they paid.

Its no different if you want to go to a concert and one of the opening acts could not sing or was off tune. You would boo them and get pissed that you were paying for this low-quality product.

While I can respect Rhea Ripley and Zelina Vega for defending her, the truth is that both women were veteran wrestlers before they landed in the WWE. They can execute a wrestling match in their sleep, and they know it.

Maxxine needs more work and right now the WWE has to do the right thing and take her off RAW and send her to development before she gets injured or injures someone else due to her inexperience.

You can check out more interviews with athletes and sports reporters on www.lastcallpodcast.com or follow me on Twitter.com/LastCallwChrisC