The Hardy Boys were great. They were a gigantic part of wrestling’s success for 20 years. I respect the hell out of both Matt and Jeff. That said, I’ve never been big fans of either of them. I just wasn’t into their style, or presentation. I didn’t hate them, but it just wasn’t for me. As they aged they became less and less relevant, as is the norm for nearly all wrestlers. Such is the wrestling business, but thank you Matt and Jeff for all you gave the business! But wait….Matt came up with a plan, an idea, and a gimmick that would allow him to be relevant again. Something that would allow a man in his forties to be over, and get main event matches, and money again. Enter “Broken” Matt Hardy. The eccentric, if not insane, man that just snapped, and lost his mind, after an injury while in Impact (then TNA) wrestling years ago, feuding with his brother Jeff, whom he dubbed “Brother Nero.” I’m not here to discuss the Broken angle story. It’s out there if you want to read about all of those details. I’m here to discuss my thoughts on AEW bringing “Broken Matt” into the company, and instantly placing him in a hot, main event angle between The Elite, and The Inner Circle.
As “The Wrestling Snob” I obviously hate the “Broken” gimmick. It’s corny, stupid, over the top, and 100% unrealistic. However; when I chose to cover All Elite Wrestling, I accepted that it’s the modern day, “evolved” product. It’s not, nor will it ever be, Jim Crockett Promotions,” no matter how many names Cody Rhodes drops on commentary, or how many of those wrestlers they bring in to be managers, or coaches. So how I do try to set aside my disgust, and disappointment, over Broken Matt joining AEW? I have to break down what he does as logically as possible. Matt now not only is “Broken,” but he’s added a new “persona” to what he does. He’s claiming that Matt Hardy is only the vessel, and that he is really a 900 year old man named Damascus. This clearly adds an element of the occult to the gimmick, making it even stranger than it was.
Being weird, odd, strange, crazy, etc. is one thing. We’ve seen that dozens of times in wrestling. What annoys me with Hardy doing it, is that it comes off stagy, like an act, or a performance. Matt Hardy is actually intelligent, and can be well spoken, so seeing him “broken” just doesn’t work for me. It makes me roll my eyes. That said though, it’s teleportation that I struggle most to get past. I can accept “Broken Matt Hardy” as a weirdo that can wrestle, but teleporting at will….ugh. So how do I look at that rationally? How can I keep watching with this nonsense? How do I “explain” this inside of today’s “evolved” wrestling, while still keeping some kind of dignity in the business I’ve loved for over 40 years?
Well, Matt Hardy gave me the answer in his promo with Chris Jericho. At one point, Matt looked at Chris and said “I am magic!” That’s your answer. Matt Hardy, no longer able to fly around, and bump like he did 25 years ago, decided that he would be a “magic” act! Being the intelligent person that I’ve admitted that he is, he surely knew that being wrestling’s David Blaine, wouldn’t be over. He knew that would be eye rollingly bad. Anyone with an ounce of sense would also know that professing to be any kind of “magician” inside a wrestling ring would bring mocking comments, and flop quickly. So what could Hardy do to make being a “magical” person acceptable in today’s professional wrestling? That is where the Broken idea came in. After being injured, Matt would return as a weirdo. He would be off the wall, like another person even. Returning to the popular idea of feuding with his brother Jeff (now dubbed Nero, by Matt) would be a safety net, as that has always been over with the fans, so Broken Matt was a hit. Hyping their Hardy compound fight” as “changing wrestling forever”, was simply a strategic move from the mind of Matt Hardy that also did wonders for the gimmick. So why did Vince McMahon, and the WWE kill Broken Matt? I’m sure mainly because it wasn’t a WWE, or Vince McMahon creation, but likely also because Vince didn’t see money in where it was going, if where it was going was this, what we have in AEW today.
Today, in AEW, we have an over the top exaggeration of the old Kevin Sullivan gimmick. No, Matt doesn’t claim to be a Satanist, but he is claiming to be possessed. He is claiming to be “magic.” I am convinced that Sullivan would have teleported, had the technology to do so existed, and had been readily available to him, back in his day. Matt has found a way to bring the kind of “tricks” you see on a show like “Penn and Teller, Fool Us,” into the wrestling world. I give Matt Hardy credit for figuring out how to do that in a way that he isn’t booed out of the building. I give Matt Hardy credit for creating an idea to do something pretty lame, and stupid, in such a way that today’s “evolved” fan accepts, and many even embrace. It’s still eye rollingly bad to me. It’s not “Wrestling Done Right”, but rather An Old Man’s Last Effort To Be Relevant, and sadly, he didn’t fool us!
Kenny Omega is an odd guy, and that’s not an insult, he’s proud of that. Having started his career at 16 years old, he took the name “Kenny Omega”, and took on a Hawaiian Surfer gimmick.” It didn’t take long for the surfer gimmick to be replaced with a gimmick based on otaku (to keep it simple, this is a Japanese culture obsessed/devoted to anime and manga.) Omega began a very successful independent career, winning countless titles across the world. He would gain his biggest notoriety however in 2008 when he was part of Ring of Honor, but didn’t win many matches. During this time, Omega would act like a character from Street Fighter, even shouting the well-known “Hadoken!” when hitting certain strikes. For the most part, Omega spent most of his time in Japan, where we was gaining popularity. This lead to Omega becoming completely enamored with Kota Ibushi. Omega would record himself wrestling “DDT style” matches in hopes of getting Ibushi’s attention. This story is well known, Kenny would be brought into DDT, facing, and later teaming with Ibushi, calling themselves “The Golden Lovers.” While unfounded, it has often been rumored that Omega and Ibushi were “legitimate” boyfriends at this time as well. Omega would also wrestle for ROH, PWG, and many other independents for years, gaining a fair amount of notoriety from hardcore fans around the world.
Omega would never be as “over” as he became when he began working with New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2010. That said, this extreme popularity, and success, didn’t come immediately, as the highest level Omega reached in New Japan, between the years 2010 – 2014 was being one half of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight tag champs with Ibushi. Omega was pretty much dominated by Prince Devitt during these years, even losing to Taguchi on several occasions.
In late 2014 Omega actually signed with New Japan Pro Wrestling, and the company got strongly behind him at this time, inserting him into their very famous, and successful, Bullet Club faction, as “The Cleaner.” This was a move Omega first rejected, saying that he didn’t feel like, or consider himself a “gaijin” (non-Japanese wrestler, or foreigner). Typically, Omega doesn’t like to give up much control of his wrestling ideas, and persona. It seems evident to me though that Omega’s ideas for himself simply never were as successful as ideas others had for him. Another example of that statement, is Omega’s leaving the WWE training territory DSW back in 2005, criticizing the trainers on his way out the door. Omega, seemed to give up some of his “control issues” this time and went along with New Japan’s ideas for him, as he would now be clad in a leather jacket, and mirrored sunglasses, quickly defeating Taguchi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, and defeating him in a rematch as well. This Omega was “different,” this Omega was a cool, terminator inspired, ass kicking heel. He almost seemed to be taking the place of his heated foe, Prince Devitt, who had moved on to the WWE as Fin Balor. Omega continued to get a huge push from New Japan when AJ Style signed with WWE, Omega and the Bullet Club jumped him out of the company, and hailed Omega as their new leader! From here Omega went on to become the first non-Japanese (Gaijin) to ever win the infamous G1 Climax tournament. Omega went on to have two of the most praised modern day wrestling matches ever when he first lost to Kazuchika Okada, and then later faced Okada again in a 60 minute time limit draw. When Cody Rhodes joined Bullet Club, in 2017, almost instantly there was tension between he, and Omega. Shortly after this, Omega would become the very first IWGP United States Champion, defending the title against numerous defenders, including Chris Jericho, before losing the title to another gaijin, Jay White. Adam Page attempted to attack the new Champion, but Omega stopped him. This caused Cody Rhodes to confront Omega, and lead to months of tension inside the Bullet Club, until Cody and Omega finally faced off. After Cody hit his finisher on Omega, and Adam Page came to help Cody inflict further damage on Omega, Kota Ibushi stormed the ring to rescue his friend, and fellow “Golden Lover.” This was a strong sign to me that Omega was resisting any more of New Japans direction for him, desiring instead to be the kind and type of performer that he wished to be. Even before this time, Omega has turned “The Cleaner” gimmick into a silly janitorial style of presentation, as he and The Young Bucks would often bring brooms to the ring with them, mock sweeping along the way. Being cool, and bad ass, just isn’t Kenny’s thing. Even though the look, and feel, and attitude, that he displayed when first entering Bullet Club was more over than anything Omega had ever done with himself, it was clear that he wanted to go a new direction. That summer, Omega would finally defeat Okada for the IWGP heavyweight championship. To me, this felt like a desperate move on New Japan’s part to keep Omega happy. It has been reported, and teased by Omega himself, that the WE was strongly after him to sign with them. Later that year Omega would face Cody Rhodes for the title, and defeat him, and claim that he was still the leader of Bullet Club. That said though, during the post-match interview, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, and King Haku attacked Omega, The Young Bucks, and Cody, declaring that they were the real Bullet Club, dubbing themselves “The Firing Squad.” In my opinion, this was legitimate tension in the Bullet Club Faction. The Samoans clearly wanted no part of the sillier, more light hearted, and “fun” “Elite” faction of the Bullet Club, instead wanting to remain ass kicking heels that didn’t cater to cheers, or try and make fans laugh at their antics. This was clearly Omega’s vision. The two factions of Bullet Club feuded on social media for months, until finally Matt Jackson announced on Chris Jericho’s podcast that “The Elite” were no longer part of the Bullet Club.
The Elite had a very successful run in Ring of Honor Wrestling, but Kenny Omega was seldom part of anything with the faction during that time. Instead, Omega was finishing up with New Japan, dropping the IWGP Heavyweight title to Hiroshi Tanahashi. It wasn’t until “All Elite Wrestling” signed Omega, and made their debut, that Omega was seen with The Elite. At that time, Omega went on a serious losing streak for the new promotion, losing to Chris Jericho, John Moxley, and PAC. Often times when Omega loses regularly he’s plotting a new path to take. As we know Omega recently won, and defended the AEW tag team titles with Adam Page, and they are telling the story of Page’s tension with the Elite, including his tag partner, Omega. I’ll admit that a great story is being told here, with a slow build to something none of us are sure of, which is always great! I do have to admit that though that Omga makes me nervous. He’s wrestled a nine year old girl, he’s wrestled a blow up doll, he wrestled a comedy match with Toro Yano in the prestigious G1 Climax tournament, and in a personal debate with me on Twitter, Omega flat out told me that he will “never forsake any style of wrestling.” You see, Kenny Omega sees wrestling like “art,” he sees in like a video game, he sees it as a blank canvas that allows him to do anything he wants to express himself. When Kenny Omega works in the confines of others that he respects, and listens to, he can be a good, to even great professional wrestler. However, when Omega breaks free of all constraint, and does anything he feels he must to get his “art” over, it can be a bad, or even a scary thing. When this story with Adam Page is over, what Kenny Omega will we be left with? After all, he’s a weird guy, and he’s proud of that. Let’s hope Tony Kahn reigns him in, and we get a cool, bad ass Kenny Omega again. AEW is on a great track as of late, and we don’t need it side tracked by the silly side of Kenny Omega. Kenny is quoted as wanting to “change wrestling forever,” I just want to know what in the hell that means! I don’t trust that it’s “Wrestling Done Right.”
Wrestling Done Right, the former host of multiple wrestling pre, and post shows, often titled "Indy Wrestling Saturday," covering companies such as Lancaster Championship Wrestling, The Ultimate Wrestling Experience, MCW Pro Wrestling, Evolve, Xcite, House of Glory, and Legacy Wrestling, will now host an AEW Pre Show titled "Lighting the Fuse" every Wednesday night at 7:00pm EST, and an AEW post show, titled "Ground Zero," every Thursday Night at 8:00pm EST. Never has WDR covered a "major" wrestling organization. All Elite Wrestling is the first company with a major TV deal to be covered in such detail by WDR, and the Wrestling Snob, Adam Leavelle. We hope you join us for the show at Adam's Facebook page HERE
Jeff Cobb had a cup of coffee in AEW, coming in as Chris Jericho’s hired hit man, to take out (at that time) World title contender, John Moxley. While it was a solid match, as Cobb always is capable of, Moxley defeated him, and pretty much sent him on his way. While it was exciting to see Cobb in AEW, and in such a high level match, it sort of fell flat when he lost and then just went away. I believe AEW should bring Cobb back in a segment with The Inner Circle. Jericho begins to berate him for losing, and not stopping Moxley, and as such, he’s the reason that Moxley is now the AEW champion! Eventually Jericho slaps Cobb, but Cobb flips out, and takes out Jericho, and the entire Inner Circle on his own, standing center ring among the fallen faction. This gives AEW another solid face, and cements Cobb as one of the biggest, and best, on the roster, a position he deserves to be in. I would even consider putting him with Jake Roberts, and Lance Archer. Cobb isn’t an amazing interview, and could use Jake in that area, and can you imagine the team of Archer and Cobb? As a big fan of Cobb, I can only hope for something like to happen. AEW would be even better with a man like Cobb as one of their stars!
* Hangman Page & Mystery Partner vs. Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara-
I am so hoping Page's mystery partner is Lance Archer. I think they'd work very well together, and their partnering up could cause further tension in The Elite, and the start of a new faction, down the road, for Page.
* MJF, The Butcher and The Blade vs. Jurassic Express-
I would be so into this if not for Stunt. We're going to have to watch the three heels selling for that tiny little guy, and I am going to hate it. MJF is the best heel in America, and The Butcher and the Blade don't get enough credit for being a bad ass team, and who wouldn't want The Bunny with them? The Jurassic Express would be much better off without Stunt, but if he has to be with them, why not put a Jungle tribal mask on him and let him scurry around ringside as their crazy manager?
* PAC, Pentagon Jr and Rey Fenix vs. Joey Janela and Private Party-
Ugh....Janela isn't much better than Stunt in my opinion. If I had to choose between those two, it would be difficult. Honestly, Janela and Stunt should be the Mulkey's of AEW. THAT would work! This will be awesome though, just to see Death Triangle decimate these guys. Although I like Private Party, they seem stuck, and maybe teaming with Janela isn't a good way to kick them back into gear?
* Cody vs. Ortiz-
Cody is gold, and needs a win here, and I am almost certain he'll get it if it's not a screwy finish. Cody will make this have a good, old school vibe along the way! Cody is "the man" these days, and I appreciate just about everything he's involved in.
* The rules for “Blood and Guts”-
AEW's version of War Games. There is a rumor that there will be an added stipulation that was an idea of Dusty Rhode's, that he never got to implement. That alone makes this very interesting.
On AEW's podcast, Cody Rhodes revealed that he absolutely uses pop culture influence when booking/writing AEW stories, and angles. I could wax on and on about how worrisome that is, but if done right, it works. I think the best place this could work is in the arrival of Brodie Lee (known in WWE are Luke Harper). I would use The Walking Dead's "Negan" as a strong influence for Brodie Lee. No, don't give him a barbed wire bat, that's going way too far, but let him have that attitude, let him have that swagger, and maybe little (but different) tune to whistle, and let him be the "Exalted one" that we've been hearing about for weeks. The Dark Order aren't really over, but having a charismatic leader, like Brody, just might do the trick. Having him play the role (gimmick) of an intelligent man, leading a desperate group of people, crying for a leader, just might make them all what AEW has been trying to make them be from day one. I also believe that Brody should change up his look. AEW doesn't need a WWE cast off, they need fresh faces. Brody coming in with an old look, like the one on the attached picture, would be great. I have no idea is AEW will do anything like this, but I am convinced this is a great idea, and I am going to be giving advice, and opinions here, as I promised I would do, as I give AEW a chance to impress this "wrestling snob."
And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land. (Exodus 2:22)
As a Christian man, I have often felt what this headline states deeply. I don’t often fit in. I am a “stranger in a strange land.” This sums up Kris Statlander’s “gimmick” in All Elite Wrestling. In an attempt to say that she is better than everyone else, that she is different, that she is in a league of her own, she’s gone for a different, and somewhat wacky approach. I give her credit for not using the same exact ad hominin’s that every other wrestler on “Earth” uses (pun intended). Instead, Statlander is telling us all that she is an alien, actually from another planet. I’ll be honest, it’s a bit much for me, but I’m trying to buy into it, because if done right, it can work. As an arrogant heel, she can insist that she has to be from outer space. After all, how can she be from the same planet as that freak, Nyla Rose? As that shrimp, Riho? As that wannabe Japanese, British girl, Bea Priestley? I mean after all, having only been in the business for three years, Statlander has risen to the top of it, and is working main event matches for one of the hottest wrestling companies anywhere! This isn’t something the typical “earthling” does. She has to be special, many have even said that she is “out of this world.” Has she actually convinced herself that she’s an “alien?” Or maybe, just maybe, she’s simply intelligent enough to market herself in a different way, than just doing the same old “I’m the best in the world” stuff, that’s so, so, played out. Kris Standlander “crash landed” in the middle of the wrestling world, a stranger, in a strange land, and she’s staking her claim as being a wrestler that’s “A Universe apart” from all of her competition. At least that looks different on a t-shirt! I’ve got to give her credit for that. Oh, as for the nose “boop,” how is that any different of a taunt than “suck it,” or “look at it,” or any other countless taunts out there today, or from the past? I mean I’d rather see that than see your pet bird, or bulldog chasing after your opponents. Kris Statlander is going places in AEW, rather than like so many that are just “lost in space.”
One thing that pushed this “Wrestling Snob” away from modern professional wrestling is the total lack of selling. I understand that “wrestling has evolved,” and all, but all the cool moves, flips, and dives, aren’t nearly as cool as they could be because they just don’t seem to do much damage at all. Now calm down, this isn’t another rant from yours truly. What I am going to do is try to EXPLAIN why wrestlers take such a beating and keep going.
Since the 1980’s and 90’s, the focus on what you need to “make it” in professional wrestling has changed. Out are the hard bodied, overly large, muscle heads, and in are the smaller, but far more fit, flexible, and agile, CrossFit style of athletes. Sure, you’ll see a few body builder types here and there, but with the exposure of steroids years ago, much of the fitness industry now focuses on lean muscle mass and conditioning. The modern athlete also focuses much more on his or her mind as well, learning to overcome pain, injury, and exhaustion, not only physically, but mentally, to accomplish goals thought to be impossible in the past.
Today’s pro wrestler do the same, but on a larger scale. For example, why do you think it’s such an honor, and privilege to wrestle and work in Japan? With their “strong style,” and “Kings Road” philosophies, comes a mental toughness like seldom seen in the United States. Pro wrestlers go to Japan to not only “apply their craft,” but to learn the secretes of mental conditioning, taught in Japanese Dojo’s. One look at a guy like Juice Robinson, and you can see what I’m writing about here. Japanese wrestling has exploded onto the American scene, and with it came all of the teachings that normally were only found in that Country. Today, just about any wrestler that applies him or herself can learn the secrete arts of Puroresu, and this has been a large contributing factor to wrestlers overcoming moves that ended matches in the past.
Many “old school” wrestlers have opened wrestling school. These wrestlers developed strategies, training methods, and psychological methods, that have taught, trained, and inspired the current generation. These older wrestlers spent their days developing ways to withstand the moves the pain, and defeat, that many of the old school moves, styles, and methods, used assure. Today’s wrestlers, after having trained the bodies, and minds, to withstand more than the average athlete, now take up training classes with veterans that add to their knowledge. These things combined lead to wrestlers that no longer are instantly defeated with DDT’s, Super Kicks, and brainbusters. No, it doesn’t make sense to fans like you and I, but those who have the strength and ability to withstand the training that the modern professional wrestlers endures can learn the secrets. Why do you think it is that many wrestlers today get so insulted by fans critiquing their performance? They have suffered through immense pain, and pressure, to be allowed to step into the ring! No Timmy, you couldn’t get up after a super kick, but you’re not a professional wrestler that has trained his body, and mind for years to withstand such physical punishment and abuse. You’ve not delved deep into the psyche in order to tell yourself to keep going after taking a DDT, or a piledriver! The business isn’t just for anyone, it’s for the physically, and mentally strong. Have you not seen the quotes from NFL football players, and MMA fighters about wrestling being the most difficult thing they’ve ever done in their life? There is a reason for that!
If there is one thing about today’s pro wrestling that is legitimately easier, it’s the schedule. Yes, WWE performers still have insane schedules, but most other companies have a much easier schedule. AEW wrestlers have a much nicer, and more comfortable schedule than “stars” had back in the old days. As such, they can rest their bodies, and minds more. If you combine that rest, along with the new conditioning, and training, it makes a little more sense as to how they can take more damage. Finally, today’s rings, while not “trampolines” are much more comfortably built, allowing wrestlers to work a harder/stronger style more comfortably than the rings of old. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt to bump around, but technology has improved in this way as well, adding to the “less selling” you see in today’s product.
It is my feeling, and belief, that wrestling journalists, and commentators need to start focusing far more on the modern athletic professional wrestler, and his or her training methods. If you listen to podcasts, like Arn Anderson’s, you will hear this much respected “old school” great talk about this. You will hear him say how athletic, how fit, how drilled in mentally, etc. today’s wrestlers are. You will hear him say how a team like “The Revival” are “worlds better” than he and Tully Blanchard, and folks, this guy isn’t getting paid by WWE anymore, and he hasn’t lost confidence in how amazing he and Tully were. Guys like Arn, Tully, and Jake Roberts realize everything that I’ve written here is true, and they’ve signed on to be teachers, trainers, and coaches, to take the AEW wrestlers even further in these directions. Once again you rely on “The Wrestling Snob” to help you enjoy today’s AEW, even when no one else is doing so. The uneducated fan may not need these things explained, or talked about, but I am here to try and help my fellow intelligent, wrestling snobs, understand the story of today’s in ring product. Next time we’ll discuss Kristen Stadtlander’s insistence that she’s “from another planet” and why that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and why I am the ONLY “journalist” out there capable of presenting such a case that isn’t insulting to your intelligence. Now if only Cody Rhodes were reading my material!
My name is Adam Leavelle, and I spent several years in the wrestling world hyping, promoting, pushing, and “putting over” wrestling that I found to be “done right.” I was in love with Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Evolve, and the companies I worked for as a commentator, companies like Lancaster Championship Wrestling, The Ultimate Wresting Experience, and Legacy Wrestling. I put over wrestlers like AJ Styles, Tetsuya Naito, AR Fox, Eddie Smooth, Nigel McGuiness, Bryan Danielson, and CM Punk. As the years rolled by though, things started to change. Professional Wrestling began to get sillier, and more outlandish. From a wrestler who was flipping other wrestlers with his penis, to another wrestler shooting invisible bullets from his “finger gun,” and his opponents selling them, I just began to get frustrated. The wrestlers that I still enjoyed like Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, etc. still “worked” matches pretty well, but the no selling of monstrous moves was getting to be too much to take. Combine that with the fact that the very much hated (to me) WWE was swallowing guys like them up, as well as Johnny Gargano, and Shane Strickland, just made me walk away from nearly all of professional wrestling. At this same time, Kenny Omega had taken over New Japan, and morphed into some strange social justice style of performer, out to spread a message, more than kick ass. I was very dejected, latching on to two companies for my “Wrestling Done Right.” Those companies being Pro Wrestling NOAH, and World Wonder Ring Stardom. These are two promotions from Japan, that I still hold above all others.
I’ve missed wrestling though, pretty badly. As much as I love NOAH, and Stardom, I really, really, want an American company to prosper, succeed, and give us wrestling fans an alternative to the horrible WWE. Yes, WWE’s NXT brand isn’t bad, but damn it, it’s still a WWE product, and I just don’t want to support a company that has proven time and again that they just don’t care what their fans want. A company that swallows wrestlers worldwide, and re-names them “sports entertainers” and often, even renames them in whole, (isn’t that right, Isiah, Swerve, Scott?) While I wish every wrestler well, and wish none of them to be out of a job (well, except maybe penis, and invisible bullet guy) I can’t support Vince McMahon, and his arrogant approach to “sports entertainment.” No thank you. I can’t watch the best Joshi wrestlers in the world, get beaten by wrestlers….errrr, I mean “sports entertainers,” that really don’t even deserve to carry their bags.
So what’s a rabid, intelligent, passionate, wrestling fan/journalist to do? Well, this one is going to do something that will shock everyone who knows him. I will be turning to All Elite Wrestling. Yes, AEW, the company that I have criticized since its inception. The company I’ve laughed at, and mocked, almost as much as Jim Cornette has. Why have I made this decision? Well, here is where you need to read the title of this article again, and bear with me. AEW does some really stupid stuff. Really stupid. They also do some really great stuff. Really great. I’ve discovered a way to look at most of the stupid stuff that I truly believe will help. I believe that I’m a smart enough guy, with enough wrestling knowledge, and ability, to cover AEW in such a way that it will help others enjoy it more, and if at all possible, make those at AEW sit up and take notice to what I am doing, and possibly incorporate it into their programing. I'm going to do this just for fun. Yes, I’d certainly love a job in the business, but that’s not my “goal” here. My goal is for me to be able to enjoy an American wrestling product, while covering it as a journalist, and to share that method through articles, and Facebook Live videos. I am nearly certain that many of you reading this wonder what in the world I am talking about. You’re likely wondering how in God’s name can I make sense of the stupid things AEW puts out? How can I take things that I have campaigned against, maligned, and spat at, and now make them not only bearable, but enjoyable? Well, if you can continuing reading this long article, I am going to give you my first idea now. My first idea is how to take a wrestler like “Orange Cassidy” and accept what he does, in the scope of the professional wrestling world. The problem with a gimmick/character/wrestler like Cassidy is that what he does makes no sense. He has no “story,” he’s just a goof that acts goofy, inside a professional wrestling ring. So let me tell you Orange Cassidy’s story, as I see it (in my attempt to accept him in the wrestling world).
James Cipperly always wanted to be a professional wrestler. Working hard on the independent scene, taking the name “Orange Cassidy,” he debuted in 2004, sixteen years ago. Working hard for years Casidy wouldn’t find a lot of success, even when working alongside WWE Superstar, Drew Gulak, and AEW wrestler, Chuck Taylor in Gabe Sapolsky’s “Evolve” wrestling as “The Gentleman’s Club.” Taylor would go on to work in high profile matches with Ring of Honor, and New Japan Pro Wrestling, and Gulak would become the Combat Zone Wrestling world champion, and later even the WWE Cruiserweight Champion, but Cassidy languished behind. In 2006 Cassidy would find his most success as “Fire Ant,” a silly looking masked wrestler, part of the “Colony” in CHIKARA wrestling organization. Sadly though, Fire Ant didn’t obtain much success outside of the New Jersey based wrestling company. No matter how much Cassidy trained, worked out, and applied his craft, he continued to see his friends prosper, sign big money deals, and travel the globe, while Cassidy still worked as a masked ant, on the Eastern coast of America. Cassidy, in his sixteen year career, only claimed four championship titles, none of them known to many outside of those small companies. Unbeknownst to many, Cassidy sought out more training across the globe. While still continuing to be ignored by most, Cassidy honed his craft, until he became a finally tuned wrestler, so good, that most didn’t want to face him. Now Cassidy wasn’t getting booked because promoters feared him, they didn’t want him embarrassing their top stars. Fire Ant wasn’t going to dominate the indies, that’s for damn sure!
Along came Cody Rhodes, and AEW. Many in the wrestling world bemoaned the signing of a wrestler that now wrestled with his hands in his pockets. A wrestler that play kicked at his opponents like a small child. A wrestler that just doesn’t seem to care. Why would Cody want this clown in a “sports based promotion that he promised AEW was going to be? What I’ve discovered is that Cody Rhodes, and a few others in AEW, know what Casidy is doing. Now that I know, you too shall know. Orange Cassidy adopted this silly “sloth style” so that no one would ever take him serious, so that he would be taken lightly, and booked in low card matches. Orange Cassidy developed a plan over these sixteen years, a plan that could one day see him on top of the wrestling world. Many fans identify with Cassidy’s laissez faire approach simply because they too feel their hard work doesn’t pay off, that the lesser talented get more attention, and greater opportunities, they too would love to take a half ass approach to life and get by with it. To these people, Cassidy is their hero, someone they identify with so much, that his antics aren’t disrespectful to wrestling to them, but rather they are screwing “the man” that never appreciates when he worked hard for him! What many fans haven’t known, until now, is that it’s all a set up. While Cassidy appreciates the support he’s gotten from the AEW faithful, one day he will snap out of the “sloth style” and show everyone the kind of wrestler, the kind of “worker” that he is. What will it take to get him to that point? We saw just a little bit of it in his match against PAC, but Cassidy refused to come completely out of his disgusted man shell. I believe Cody Rhodes knows what buttons to push with Cassidy, and that he has shared that with his fellow AEW management team, and you will see the full story unfold on AEW Dynamite, week, after week. If you are how I once was, sick of the stupidity, know that there’s a story being told here. If you just want to see wrestling done right, know that also involves solidly told stories, and that Cassidy’s will be worth the pay off, even if right now, it’s only a “thumbs half way up.”
Future articles looking at AEW will help explain
-Why don’t big moves seem to do much damage?
-Why does one of their female wrestlers claim to be an alien?
-What is with the Young Bucks?
-Who is Kenny Omega, and what’s his mission?