My daughter--who hated all of the heels except for Jericho (she loves Darby Allin and Adam Page)--loves Britt Baker since she turned heel.
Imo, AEW was setting up a long-term feud between Baker and Shida (which is why I was quite certain Shida would take the belt). With Baker out, that feud translates easily to Ford. Plus, now someone like Kenny Omega can come in and protect Shida from Kip Sabian's interference on Ford's behalf.
Jericho also has a promising future as a heel announcer, too. He and Tony "Skee-uh-vone" have great chemistry together. And his band, Fozzy, is pretty good too. At first, I thought they were just gonna be horrible wannabes like most actors/entertainers who switch to music (e.g., Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton) but I actually dig several of their songs. Not my favorite music but a lot better than I was expecting.
Yeah and much more so in his younger days. I like the short-haired Y2J look better than the long hair he has now, but I think part of that has to do with my bias that no man over 40 should have long hair unless he's Jason Momoa (because they usually look ridiculous and unless the dude is Momoa it just looks like a desperate cling to youth).
Former US wrestler Jon Huber, better known to fans as Brodie Lee or Luke Harper, has died aged 41.
Huber's wife Amanda said in a post on Instagram: "He passed surrounded by loved ones after a hard fought battle with a non Covid related lung issue."
Well, that sucks. Godspeed, Jon.
Yeah, that was shocking news. Dude just had a freaking fantastic dog-collar match with Cody Rhodes only a couple of months ago. I thought he'd been out all this time due to an injury or something, maybe from that match, and they were just gonna sell it for his eventual return. He had so much potential in AEW. Likely a future champion.
Had no idea it was anything this serious, especially not something that required him being admitted to the Mayo Clinic. He's roughly my age and shit like this always makes me unnecessarily contemplate my own mortality. Ugh.
AEW is going insane. They're putting the Bullet Club back together, piece by piece. Now, Kenta is here. And the women's tournie they've lined up, half is in Japan. Are they bringing Maki Itoh to the States?!?!? Because that would be next level. Don't know who she is? Have a taste:
Yeah, one thing they've really needed to work on is improving their women's division. WWE definitely has them beat there. But, AEW does have some talent and some up-and-comers to keep an eye on. Britt Baker and Tay Conti are really good. Anna Jay is getting better though still not quite as good as Conti. Thunder Rosa is really good, but she's NWA, so do we count her as AEW too? I'm not a fan of Big Swole, though. I don't like her current gimmick and she's kinda sloppy in the ring. Granted, a lot of AEW's women (and men) are, but she's supposed to be closer to the top of the roster, so she should be a lot better than she is.
Penelope Ford and The Bunny, in addition to both being incredibly easy on the eyes, are both actually really good in the ring too. I truly don't understand why AEW has sidelined both of them for most of this past year to the point that they're basically just background characters. Penelope Ford could easily be women's champ and she would dominate. She's no slouch and used to go pretty hardcore when she was on the indy circuit. Now that GLOW has been canceled, they should try to re-sign Awesome Kong too. And where have Ivelisse and Diamante been? They've been missing for months.
They have some real talent but they're just not using them for whatever reason. Truly headscratching.
Check out some highlights from this hardcore match:
They also have 2 or 3 up-and-comers that have some real potential. I like Red Velvett, though she still lacks polish. I think she could potentially be really good with another year or two of experience. Jade Cargill (who's also in the mixed match with Red Velvett, Cody Rhodes, and Shaq...for some reason) looks like she could pretty much destroy anyone she wants, but I haven't seen her much in the ring yet, so I'm not sure if her skills live up to her looks. Guess we'll find out soon. I'm hoping she's the real deal, though.
Overall, though, the women's roster is just kind of sloppy and lackluster. A lot of them seem afraid to get hit and afraid to give hits. They definitely need to work stiffer with each other, learn to take the bumps and bruises like champs, and work more intensely in the ring. The Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa match from this week was actually really freaking good. That's the level of intensity that all the women's matches need to be at.
Another disappointing thing is that AEW started off with a potentially incredible women's division. I think COVID and all the lockdowns and closed borders hurt them with that, because some of their best women's talent lived overseas when it hit and have been unable to return to the US to wrestle, and other good ones they just weren't able to sign for whatever reason.
Sadie Gibbs and Bea Priestly, for example, could both be huge and were doing well but apparently got stuck in the UK, so AEW had to release them. Tessa Blanchard could also make an immediate impact, and from what I've read AEW is really interested in her (of course, given that Tully works for AEW) but haven't been able to sign her partly for COVID reasons and partly because she was accused of bullying and some racially-insensitive statements a year or two ago, so there's apparently a bit of a divide in AEW as to whether she should be signed. I think they should at least give her a shot.
Here's what AEW's started off looking like a year and a half ago, and it was looking pretty good. I'm hoping they can get things back on track soon:
I said as much about Ford earlier. When Baker was hurt I thought Ford would slide in to challenge Shida. Plus, Ford can go inter-gender with ease. When she actively helps Sabian, it's awesome. But then it's the Sabian angle that's dragging her down, I think. She should stop being his valet and focus on herself. Though it is possible that a) it's what she wants to do right now and/or b) she might have an undisclosed injury that's limiting her (frankly, she didn't do shit in the "wedding" segment and that was surprising).
The Bunny can go, too. There's another weak angle, her "romance" with QT (who is an awful actor, imo) and then the team-up with Brandi (honestly, I think Brandi is responsible for a lot of the stupid story lines at AEW).
Riho was definitely limited by Covid issues and I'm with you on Big Swole, who just doesn't have what it takes in any aspect of her game.
Jade Cargill looks awesome. That'll be enough in the short term, I am sure. Hopefully, she can perform or can learn to.
You know, there were rumors last year that Alexa Bliss was going to come to AEW. I think they were more pipe-dreamy than anything else, but that's what AEW needs: someone like her or Sasha Banks, who can not only perform but who is also good on the mic, because that's the kind of thing that can bring some heat to the division.
Itoh is a wild card, it is true, but she'll wind people up if they let her be herself, and that can only help.
Beyond that, I do think AEW is going through a bit of a weak period, partly because of unfortunate things (like Covid stuff and then Huber's death) and partly because they're lacking cohesive story lines; too many angles are not well thought out, with regard to where they're going. The Dark Order is a perfect example. They spent a lot of time building the angle, created a big stable, but never really had an endgame, never really had a real adversary for the angle.
Monday morning quarterbacking: I think the Inner Circle should have been the only heel stable in AEW, I think it was a mistake to not let the Inner Circle continue to dominate the promotion, because at the end of the day there's nothing better for a promotion than having heels everyone loves to hate. And I think it was a mistake having Omega go heel with that idiot Callis. He brings nothing to the table.
That said...AEW has a formidable tag team line up now. And Omega, Moxley, Page, and some of the other singles guys can put on NWA-esque extended matches, which is exactly what the WWE can't do. Adding Kenta to this mix ups the level even more and apparently AEW has an agreement with New Japan, meaning we might see Evil, Kota Ibushi, and others.
ETA: Dating myself a little bit, the NWA of the 70's/80's seems to be the blueprint AEW is kinda following. Back then, the NWA had no problem acknowledging the champions of other promotions, even letting them wrestle at NWA events, if possible. And it would allow its wrestlers to do the same. This made for a kind of spread out and regional promotion, which had some serious drawbacks (which is why the WWF became the bigger promotion, why the NWA retooled to become the WCCW, then the WCW). But for the hardcore knowledgeable fan, the NWA was awesome, because we ended up with Flair or Funk traveling the country and fighting all comers, we ended up with hour-long singles matches, we ended up with shit like this:
Lol, wrestling "purist" Jim Cornette apparently doesn't like Maki Itoh:
This is a guy who carried a tennis racket around when he was "managing" the Midnight Express...
I think Cornette is great, actually. But he's forgetting that what worked in 1980 is not going to work now. Social media matters, right or wrong, and it takes more than a simple gimmick for a wrestler to get some heat.
Cornette is an out-of-touch fool who hasn't been relevant for years (decades, really). He's been completely wrong on literally everything he's said about wrestling and AEW, in particular, over the past 3 years.
Honestly not sure why anyone pays attention to him. Most don't, though, as he's generally treated these days as the crazy old man in corner of the asylum, finger-painting on the wall with his own shit. Which isn't really too far off from the truth.