Planet Kayfabe: May 2021 News & Notes
By: Paul Matthews
Hello everyone and thanks again for reading Planet Kayfabe. Two weeks ago I was sick. I went to the doctor and found out there are illnesses that are not Covid-19. Turns out I just ate some bad meat and had to shit it out of my system for a couple of days. This weekend, however, I will be vaccinated for Covid-19 so… woo. I guess. I find it funny when people get vaccinated and feel it only matters if they share it with the world as if we all need to pat them on the back for doing some great service to society. Like, big deal. Want a prize for wiping your ass and washing your hands after, too? If you’re choosing not to get vaccinated or are waiting for whatever reason then, well, that’s your choice. I’m just rambling about what’s happening in my life to give myself the false sense that you actually give a flying rat’s ass.
You’re not here for my news, though. You’re here for my thoughts on wrestling-related news. Sure. Let’s do that.
VELVETEEN DREAM RELEASED:
I’m surprised and I’m not. Velveteen Dream has been the subject of controversy with allegations of underage “grooming” or any sort of inappropriate contact over the internet with fans who were still minors. WWE claimed to have investigated the situation with Velveteen Dream, (real name Patrick Clark, which I will refer to him as from this point) however, he has been off NXT television since last December and it was this week that they just announced his release.
So, what does this mean? It could mean there’s more to Clark’s story. Maybe WWE knows more than they lead on and don’t want him on their watch until he is completely clear. I’m not sure why it took so long, but in a way, I applaud WWE for taking their time and looking into the allegations instead of hearing the news on Twitter and then releasing them guy the moment he trended. Much has been said about WWE’s investigation, but we, the public, are not going to be privy to everything or even anything they find as there could be a criminal matter here.
If this is the end for Clark, it is sad, but he did it to himself. I was a fan of his on Tough Enough (to me he was the only clear contender to win) and I was outraged when he was eliminated. I think much of the reason all fans haven’t called for his head (although, yes, many have) is that he’s so young and showed so much promise in the wrestling business. Clark was on Tough Enough in 2015. He signed on to NXT in 2017. At the time of his release, he was 25 years old and will be 26 in August. While he was still a bit green in the ring, there’s no denying that he wasn’t camera shy and did his best to own his Prince-like character. Normally we wouldn’t be so worried about if a 26-year-old wrestler with his charisma and physique will land on his feet, but the looming allegations over his head will make it hard for him to get hired right now and these are all prime years off his career that should have been on WWE’s main roster by now. Instead, due to his own misconduct, he is out of the WWE with no clear direction of where he could land.
Of course, I’m a believer in second chances in life and that people can change and better themselves, but Clark needs to show he has changed and it is too soon to prove that. Maybe seek a therapist. Get off social media. Find faith in religion if that’s your thing. There’s no set timetable, but if he is a model citizen and nothing else comes from these allegations, he could wait 5 years and only be 30 years old and probably welcomed back in the WWE without much public outrage. Who knows. Maybe I’m delusional. I just hate to see a young talent throw it all away so young, but that’s life sometimes and right now Clark needs to work on putting his life back together.
AEW ATTITUDE ERA PARODIES:
A quick take of mine I just want to get out there. AEW, stop with these little parodies or tributes to old, famous WWF angles or moments. The two that come to mind are last year’s run-in with Mike Tyson, pretty much-copying note-for-note the Tyson/Austin in-ring angle in January of 1998. A couple of weeks ago they ripped off another classic WWF moment with Jericho and Sammy Guevara out there doing their spin on Steve Austin’s beer bath on The Corporation only this has been dubbed the “Bubbly Bath”.
This segment in particular was very weak. The Austin “Beer Bath” is one of the best, most memorable, and iconic moments in WWF history. Perhaps one of the best top 3 Raw moments ever. Everything from the hot crowd, to Austin’s energy. Rock’s reaction. Vince McMahon swimming in his alcohol-drenched suit. It was amazing. Then they do this Bubbly Bath and I’m not exaggerating when I say that Jericho could have whipped out his cock and gotten more water pressure pissing on The Pinnacle than this hose did barely reaching the ring. It just came off as bush league, low rent, and sad.
AEW, if you’re going to reference something from WWE or WCW’s past, at least make it charmingly obscure to where the old hardcore fans nod and chuckle at it. Don’t outright COPY some of the most famous segments in wrestling history that are now over 20 years old. How about you focus on making the memorable segments that others will copy someday instead of shoving more 90s nostalgia on my TV.
AEW “Rampage” Debuts in August/Dynamite to TBS in 2022:
Perhaps the biggest news this week was the announcement of a new AEW show called “Rampage” which is set to be an hour-long and Tony Khan insists it will be another “A” show, an equal to Dynamite. I mean, that’s cute and all, but that’s also easy to say now. Personally, I don’t know how you can have two “A” shows. “B” show doesn’t mean bad. It just means it is less important and not the flagship of the promotion. How many years has Smackdown labeled the “B” show but was still better than Raw and despite how much better it was Raw still lead the way both in ratings and prestige in the company’s and fan’s minds. Dynamite is going to be AEW’s “Raw”. I don’t give a shit what Tony says. You can’t have two, three, four whatever different “A” shows. You have one A-show or you just have two shows that you pretend. Rampage will debut Friday, August 13 at 10 PM eastern on TNA… So yeah, an hour-long A show… on a Friday night… at 10 PM? Come on. Who are you kidding?
Dynamite moving to TBS is good news for them. I know there’s concern about them moving stations and that causing a bit of a stumble for them in viewers since you’re already changing up the routine, but we have seen Raw change stations before, and change back. We have seen Smackdown move to multiple networks over the years and fans still managed to find the show, so a move to TBS should not be a huge deal for AEW.
TBS will begin airing Dynamite in January of 2022. If you’re an AEW fan, you shouldn’t be worried. This move will prevent AEW from being preempted by the NBA. The only thing I would worry about is already adding a second televised show. What’s the rush? Raw was around for six years before Smackdown was created and it largely worked because wrestling, in particular the WWF, was so hot at the time. However, it did also double to workload for creative and eventually cause the writing teams to split and expand into what we have today and Tony Khan and everyone else in charge at AEW has prided themselves on having a more old-school creative and booking style that pretty much just comes down to Khan. Apparently, it was either this or add a third hour to Dynamite. I’m glad they went with the Rampage option.
In other news, WWE has announced they too will return to shows with live fans on July 16 at the Toyota Center in Houston, TX, a Smackdown airing. Scheduling will still be a bit weird with every state doing their own thing I regard of opening back up, but I see this as a good thing. As Texas has opened up and returned to normal, the predictions of doom and gloom and falling back into the worst days of Covid all over again have not really come true. So, hey, if you don’t feel safe, then don’t go, but don’t tell everyone else they have to live in fear while we start opening things back up. I can’t wait for the day when sports, wrestling, concerts, and movie theaters are all open again and I can be the first in line to attend a public mask burning to celebrate the end of the Covid era with the rest of you. Until then, I got a shot to go get. If I grow a third hand as a side effect, maybe next week’s column will come faster.
Thanks again for reading, everyone. Leave a comment below. Email me. Whatever. Leave some feedback. I hope you all have a great weekend. For NoDQ, I’m Paul Matthews. Stay safe and God bless.