Hello everyone! Today, we are previewing the first episode of (All Elite Wrestling) AEW Dynamite on TNT. This is an historical week, as the wrestling industry has not enjoyed such healthy competition and hype since the last century. I didn’t come into this preview with any kind of plan, which is in contrast to what AEW has done with their first episode. They’ve had well over a year to think about what their debut episode would look and sound like, along with which wrestlers they believe will make the biggest impact with first-time viewers.
Sink Or Swim?
And that’s what tonight’s AEW Dynamite is all about. Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, Tony Khan and the rest of the team have not been shy in sharing how much they want to offer a true alternative. Instead of reluctantly dabbling their toes in the shallow end of the pool, AEW has puffed up its chest for an almighty cannon ball splash in to the deep end. AEW has done a good job of getting the brands name out there, but this first episode is a real test of how much it will sell. And what’s important is not that they get diehard, loyal wrestling fans watching, but that they’re able to grab the casual audience’s attention. This is a chance for the sport of professional wrestling to prove it can sell in 2019.
With that said, I think that anyone watching should give them the benefit of the doubt. There is no physical way AEW can jump in to this show and not experience some difficulty with production. WWE didn’t show up on day one and produce high-quality shows off the bat; it took literally decades of doing so week in, week out. WCW occasionally experienced issues with Nitro, despite being in the game as long as their direct rival. So I believe there will be some negatives to take away from the first episode, although there should be enough positives to make them negligible. Issues can be ironed out over time, so I wouldn’t feel right being too nitpicky this early on.
Look for the positives, try not to think too much, and try to enjoy the show for what it is. No TV program is ever perfect, there will always (even more so on the internet) be some who are hyper critical when it’s not really warranted. I would like to share some of the things I believe they should try or avoid entirely; although it’s difficult to know what to expect:
Do’s and Don’ts
– All wrestlers and staff need to be excited and happy to be there. Nail whatever they are supposed to do individually, and more importantly, be professional and try not to get AEW Dynamite on an episode of Botchamania.
– Do not mention WWE in any capacity, even subliminally. We’ve heard enough of their shots at WWE on previous shows and in the news, so there’s no reason to continue this trend. Focus on what they need to do, not what WWE or its NXT brand is doing. It doesn’t come across as “cool”, it comes across as a pathetic, short-term way to generate cheap news. Do not paint themselves as second best.
– Have at least two “This Is Awesome” wrestling matches, just to prove it can be done. This is professional wrestling, and anyone watching should know they will always get better wrestling matches than any other show.
– This may be personal preference, but I think they shouldn’t write the episode as a continuation of their “Being The Elite” YouTube show. There will be so many new viewers who don’t know what that is, so to bring in storylines or inside jokes (like Marty Scurll) from BTE will probably go over most people’s heads.
– I know Eric Bischoff likes to say “Controversy Creates Cash”, but this is AEW’s first impression. You do want to create some good controversy, but to have it for the sake of it? No thanks. Don’t become WCW 2.0 in its later years. There’s a time and a place to create serious controversy, and this isn’t it. You want a show with as fewer negatives as possible to encourage fans to tune in next week.
– While some will say AEW needs to create new stars now(!), there’s plenty of time for that. This point might cause some to shake their heads, but I believe they need to show who they have on the books. Don’t dominate the show with former WWE/WCW guys, but at least feature who they have (without taking up bundles of airtime) for those fans who don’t keep up with the latest news. Chris Jericho. Jim Ross. Tony Schiavone. Arn Anderson. Tully Blanchard. Dustin Rhodes. Showcase some of the familiar faces to bridge the gap for those who have no idea who the new faces are. The old names should draw people in, while the new names will encourage them to keep watching.
– Chris Jericho needs to stamp his authority as the AEW World Heavyweight Champion, along with starting a program with a serious challenger (not Adam Page). Get the ball rolling immediately, because Jericho is hot with the “little bit of the bubbly” meme.
– Outline what they are planning for the future. New tag team championships. New PPVs. Make us intrigued to keep tuning in. We need to know what to expect.
– Two of the most important things is the opening and closing segments. The opener has to be amazing, and the close needs to be even better. Leave us on a cliffhanger of sorts, get us emotionally invested. I’m sure they’ve already got something lined up. WWE drops the ball on this aspect so often. Leave the viewer wanting more, and create talking points so fans can discuss between themselves for the next few days. It’s like any television show ever .. a boring, forgettable ending encourages people to forget to set their reminders to watch the next episode. Don’t let them forget AEW will be on every Wednesday night.
You know, I could probably go on and list more Do’s and Don’ts for AEW Dynamite, but I’d like to know what you think about the first episode of AEW Dynamite. As wrestling fans, what do you think they should or shouldn’t do? Or have they already discouraged you from tuning in? Are you going to watch NXT instead? And if so, why is that? What do you think AEW needs to do to differentiate itself to excel as a true alternative?
As Stone Cold Steve Austin and others have stated, the main draw in wrestling is characters. You can have an average match with two huge stars like The Rock and Hulk Hogan, and people will remember it for years. Stick two unknown talents in a 7-star match and hardly anyone will. There definitely needs to be some character development for those who can emotionally connect with the audience. I think that’s what’s important, is getting people to care about the talent. You can’t really do that if the show is 99% wrestling and 1% talking segments. In my opinion, I think it needs to be more like 75% wrestling, 25% promos (but don’t let them drag).
I’m not sure if previewing AEW Dynamite will become a regular thing for me, but if you would like to see it continue? Please let me know. It’s likely I’ll be watching AEW live each week, and see NXT the following day. We’re finally at week one of the Wednesday Night Wars and I couldn’t be happier to be experiencing it. Please let us know what you think. Will AEW sink or swim? Can they become a worldwide sensation? Or has all the hype been for nothing? Thank you very much for reading, and I wish you a good day.