Since its inception, AEW has been moving past the boundaries of what to expect in pro wrestling, and in so many ways. They are certainly pushing the envelope, as the title states. But what’s next for this roster that has already proven that they’re hungry for attention and glory? Are they the new innovators of violence? What more can we expect from the mysterious “Forbidden Door?”
All that and more in this article.
A brief history that dawned The PG Era
For wrestling fans that were here before the dawn of The Attitude Era, we can all agree that the product—especially in WWE—was a little more childish. And hey…there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s what a lot of us grew up watching and we loved it wholeheartedly.
For me, though, the inception of the NWO in 1996 changed all that. For the first time, I saw an attitude that I liked…one that spoke of a group of men fed up with an industry that promoted cartoonish characters and a positive message; because out there in the real world…I wasn’t seeing very much in the vein of heroes, and an overall positive message. So I liked what I saw.
Of course, WWE would respond in kind and the rest, as they say, is history. WWE would end up winning the Monday Night Wars, but not only that…they would also win the war on which company was pushing the envelope further. (ECW too was doing quite a bit of that as well.)
But that envelope would end up being pushed only so far, as too much of a good thing can often lead to disaster, as it did for WWE.
An end to an edgier product
The events that occurred in 2007 with Chris Benoit and his family (an event that is still shrouded in mystery to this day) surely had an impact on how WWE would proceed moving forward. Caught up in allegations of steroids and other drugs such as pain killers being used in the company, McMahon and company decided it was best to move on from a period of time where pushing the envelope was what they were all about.
The company pretty much changed overnight and although it brought many more children to the company, it left a lot of fans looking (and wanting) for the product we’d come to love.
Where was the violence? Where were the barbed wire matches? What the heck happened to the envelope? Did they seal it, lock it up and throw away the key?
Of course over the years, plenty of independent companies and/or promotions and territories were doing quite a bit of making up for what was missing in WWE programming, but none of that was at all mainstream.
In walks Tony Khan
Now I’d like to be clear. AEW isn’t the be-all, end-all of a return to a more violent product. Far from it. I find that some matches are still a little stiff in terms of athletics and showmanship, but that can be said of NXT as well. Not all of the geese will be golden, especially in this business.
But with the announcement of an Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch scheduled to occur at AEW Revolution, we’ll say they’re headed in the right direction.
They have definitely pushed the envelope in recent weeks—specifically Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega (the participants in the aforementioned deathmatch). Last week on Dynamite, with the tag team action going as far as the kitchen in the back, the whole thing was very reminiscent of ECW from the past.
So we’d say they are at least giving certain wrestling fans what they want, as there is a demographic out there that misses this type of wrestling. Just look at the excitement that the announcements and Twitter posts have been getting!
What to expect from “The Forbidden Door”
We already saw the effects that the mysterious “Forbidden Door” had on the company in that first main event since Kenta’s appearance on Dynamite: a match worthy of a pay-per-view from somewhere in the annals of time circa The Attitude Era, or perhaps even ECW.
But I would like to say that the forbidden door isn’t really all that new an idea, however. In essence, the funding of another company by a larger owner has been seen before with WCW funding and exchanging talent with New Japan Pro….and later WWE/WWF at the time as well.
But perhaps the most mysterious was when the audience found out that WWE/ Vince McMahon was funding ECW in the nineties…something that came out only later. Although it was quite obvious, especially when we started seeing so many ECW originals infiltrating Raw.
So, the forbidden door is obviously very reminiscent of all of this, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s very exciting.
It was great and exciting to see then, as it is now.
What more can AEW do with the “Forbidden Door?”
The Good Brothers are already going back and forth from Impact to AEW, doing both shows, as are a few others.
Now many from New Japan are coming over! Which leaves me to ask: How many territories will be open to showing up? We don’t know, but the internet is ablaze with rumors. Will Khan look further than even New Japan?
Time will tell, but it’s definitely an exciting time to be a wrestling fan, as it has been in recent years.
So yeah, to answer the question I posed, AEW is pushing the envelope, and I like the direction the product is taking, or rather has been taking. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out at Revolution. But if they deliver, as they have been, especially with these high profile matches, then perhaps the tides will turn for the wrestling business overall.
I think if this is done well, the sky could be the limit, and maybe them stepping things up may force Vince and company to find that old envelope they lost a few years back and do a little pushing back of their own.