Welcome everyone to the second edition of ‘An Elite Perspective’, I am your columnist, Daniel A.J Barker and certainly hope all is well in this stark-crazy world we’re living amidst. We have wrestling still, after all, let’s count our blessings.
This past week on AEW Dark and Dynamite was an eye-opener, in both a positive and negative light. Fyter Fest is generating interest, yet there are a couple of obvious bumps along the road that are hampered by the structure of their two weekly shows. On the contrary, perhaps one of these factors could be unavoidable, life does certainly like to present us with obstacles.
Before continuing and to acknowledge the elephant in the room, concerning the recent sexual allegations across the industry. It is a literal case of having to wait and see. The only comment I’d like to make on the matter is that a portion of people need reminding that people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. And not the other way around.
All the promotions who have alleged offenders on their roster, including All Elite Wrestling, need to tread with great care. If history has taught us anything in recent years, certain individuals jump on a tread without merit and an accusation against who turns out to be an innocent person could still have a devastating effect on their career.
It’s positive that people are encouraged to come forward about these claims. We do need to sit back and see what pans out. I don’t believe all are innocent or guilty, my only hope is justice is effectively served either way.
As an edit, as some of this was drafted over the weekend. Next week I may cover a little bit into the Sammy Guevera controversy. Unlike the above, there is evidence to the contrary and over the coming days, we'll see how this progresses.
Anyone who’s been a viewer of AEW Dark long enough can vouch that the core booking on this show is pitting established stars against jobbers. A lot of the time those jobbers get a moment which suspends disbelief, at least for just a moment. This does hold logic to help build up talent.
Do you know what doesn’t? Allowing them to rack up records of around ten consecutive losses. There’s no effort made to match up two losers to gain their first win. Individuals like Peter Avalon and Brandon Cutler, this has become almost their shtick. At least they’re featured weekly and telling a story.
For up and coming performers, many jobbed on Dynamite, there’s no hope on this current show format. Not until the losers can battle amongst themselves on occasions. Nearly all matches on Dark featured wrestlers that have never won in their tenure.
The reason behind this, I strongly suspect to be the ranking system. If a jobber starts gaining steam, it must be factored in. On a creative aspect, this can prove to be a problem, with a short-term booking frame of mind. It would, however, make the promotion better off. Because not only could you job a jobber, to the likes of Brian Cage, you’d give them an opponent that has some credibility.
What has greater impact, as an example; Brian Cage defeating a jobber with no wins and all losses, or some wins and some losses? Could even by all wins, no losses, only on Dark. I’m hoping your answer is one of the latter two. The first answer doesn’t help the star being pushed or the person used to facilitate that push.
The Dark Order has finally begun transitioning off the B show and back onto Dynamite. For those who do not watch Dark, they've decimated jobbers to garner a little credibility back. Last Wednesday we saw them not only exacerbate matters with Colt Cobana but extended an invitation, seemingly, to the latest female star to debut.
Anna Jay suffered a loss to Abadon, an upcoming wrestler who has been previously active on Dark and has a pretty grotesque gimmick. Unfortunately, Anna Jay's first impression on AEW resulted in the bitterness of defeat and summoned the prescience of the Dark Order to come to her aid.
I've not been high on this faction nor completely dismissive of it. Anna Jay could be a pretty interesting ingredient to add into that mix. She would be the sole woman involved and will likely serve a solid platform for her to ger over. If her interviews, which I am unfamiliar with, are on point; she may find herself playing off nicely paired alongside Brodie Lee.
They continue striving to make it work, I got to give them credit for that. I thought it reached it's peak back at Double or Nothing, however, there is some angle in mind we need to wait and see unfold. Not that there is a place to really slot them in. The tag team division is jam-packed, the world title picture is done already, so that leaves the women's and TNT championship as possible targets for the near future.
Next week the Dark Order is scheduled to take on the newly formed team of Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss. Which way that goes is an even-odd affair. I'd like to see Anna Jay help the heels capture the victory and officially join.
Just to retell a bit of history, back at Revolution, Chris Jericho dropped the world championship to none other than Jon Moxley. The events that led up to this match were a large focus on each episode of Dynamite. Never losing steam and kept going up with intensity.
Now, the decision to change champion was partially due to Chris Jericho believing his upcoming Fozzy tour would not put him in a position to commit with any AEW commitments. Right before the Revolution, that situation drastically changed, however, the original plan went ahead.
Tony Khan needed the next most over personality at the helm of his ship. No doubt news of Jericho sticking around, even before the whole lock-down occurred, the promotion must have been extremely happy to hear that. Since this title change, the biggest prize in the company has had its importance slowly fizzled out.
The TNT championship has taken center-stage. Similar to the recent number one contenderships to Jon Moxley, these have been arranged through bypassing the ranking system. I love the idea of the ranking system, yet it's not being executed efficiently, if not at all. At the moment, it only proves relevant to the women’s and tag team divisions.
On Dynamite, Jon Moxley was not featured. Instead, we have a segment with Taz and number one contender, Brian Cage. You can point out last week's assault by Cage as keeping kayfabe alive, but no time for the challenger to get a credible win? While the champion is away, that’s the perfect time for the bad guy to continue his ‘path’ of destruction.
If it isn’t Cody in the main event, Chris Jericho is. All the while Moxley is lucky to get five minutes to connect with the audience. This doesn’t just hurt the champion but the challenger as well. A world title PPV bout ‘should’ be the direction where the show's sails are blowing towards.
You can comfortably place other acts beneath the main event attraction heading into Fyter Fest. AEW simply is not following a traditional format and doesn't feel to be an intentional attempt at going against the grain.
It would not surprise me in the least if the next contender for the AEW World champion turns out to be the successor. Rightly or wrongly, Jon Moxley isn't the face of the product. I'm doubtful Cage is going to become champion and that Moxley will remain it for much longer after Fyter Fest.
As mentioned Anna Jay debuted and Abadon has moved up the ranks. New faces are sorely needed to help replenish the loss of talent and this is a sound move.
Big Swole is bringing her attitude in shutting up the resident dentist, Dr Britt Baker. She has needed someone to properly work with since joining AEW. Britt Baker's microphone skills and confidence continue to improve. Once 'The Role' model is cleared to compete, Big Swole is an ideal opponent so she can hit the ground running again.
On Dynamite effort was made to make Penelope Ford look good. Isn't enough to convince me she's a legitimate threat to the reign of Hikaru Shida though. Kip Sabian is going to no doubt meddle in their match at Fyter Fest and have that backfire in some shape or form.
I can see Penelope as a future champion. Down the line. My prediction is Kenny Omega is going to stick to Shida representing the division until the recent additions to the booking are fully up to speed. On top of that, Shida is the most popular female performer, who a lot of fans want to see keeping the gold and celebrate when the live audiences return.
The Young Bucks and FTR feud didn't really progress anywhere this past week. Nothing particularly noteworthy to report. But that's fine. I'm going to channel a lot of patience and relish the ride on this one. It will happen and when it does, we'll be certainly entertained.
Dynamite opened up to see the Natural Nightmares, QT Marshall & Dustin Rhodes, challenge the current AEW tag team champions, Kenny Omega & Adam Page. There was no second-guessing who'd come out on top here. The champions retained.
I may have commented on last week's debut column, about Allie being QT Marshall's girlfriend. It is a classic case of a female manager causing friction between good friends, and I'm really enjoying this. Since watching this promotion, QT Marshall has been nothing more than mundane. These past two weeks have warmed me up to what he is capable of.
For the 'Natural Nightmares', the writing is on the walls. A nasty split is bound to happen. They weren't and aren't going anywhere, anytime soon. This division is centralized around the champions, FTR, and the Young Bucks. While these three teams wage war, upcoming teams such as Private Party are going to wait in line for a shot.
What about Best Friends? They'll be in the mix too.
If Chuck Taylor and Trent were to win at Fyter Fest, then AEW has swerved the fans.
Right, I'm drinking the Maxell Jacon Friedman kool-aid. He is such a natural heel, amazingly confident, and makes every moment inside or outside the ring matter. A lot of people are optimistic as to where his career is going to lead. Hardly an original opinion, I know.
There are those who believe MJF is the one to get the better of Jon Moxley. An interesting theory. A decent length to develop a story would definitely be warranted to help solidify this young 24-year-old at the top of the card.
Another wrestler is making waves. Has done for a few months at intermittent points. That man is Scorpio Sky. After watching Dark, it is clear a singles-run is certainly on the cards for him. And maybe ascending to the main event scene in the near future as well.
When Jericho became champion, he made a point to mention Scorpio wouldn't ever get a shot at it. Scorpio went on to win a battle-royal, fought Jericho during the main event of Dynamite, and came awfully close to achieving his dreams.
Excalibur and Jim Ross during the match following a close kick-out by Jericho, that Scorpio didn't have the experience for competing at that level. He'd never had an opportunity to wrestler for a world championship and urged him to keep his head in the game.
On Dark, we saw Scorpio regaining a fire to rise through the roster and challenge once more. This is a prime example of the lesser appreciated booking choices made by AEW. You're following this man's dreams over an extended amount of time and can piece together a well-traveled journey to reach the peak of the mountain.
When I look at MJF, you have a future champion, who will dominate that scene for years to come. A similar approach is needed, slow, and impactful. Once he's "there" you'll be hard-pressed to get him out of the picture. Because he'll remain a consistent draw throughout the remainder of his active in-ring career.
What are your thoughts?
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Until we meet again next week, take care.