Thursday, June 13, 2024
EditorialAEW 2021 New Year's Resolutions for Wrestlers and More

AEW 2021 New Year’s Resolutions for Wrestlers and More

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Just like the WWE New Year’s Resolutions broke down some of the things I’m hoping the superstars and management work on in 2021, it’s time to turn our attention to the All Elite Wrestling brand.

Typically, I try to pass off some of these as just humorous and not all that serious. However, this year, I only have legitimate ideas of what I’m hoping AEW will consider working on to fix in 2021.

Without further ado, here are my resolutions I’d suggest Tony Khan and co take into consideration this year.

Listen to Jim Ross Sometimes

I’m not the type of person who subscribes to the idea that you can only criticize if you’ve done something. “What the hell do you know about wrestling? How many matches have you had?” – Well, I’m not a professional chef, but I have every right to criticize a restaurant that gives me an overcooked steak, don’t I?

Jim Ross is not a 10x world champion, but he’s been around the business forever. He has some opinions I disagree with, but he does have some insights I think are being lost in the shuffle just because people don’t want to take his constructive criticism to heart as it pertains to them. Suddenly, he goes from “one of the best minds for the business” to “some old coot who doesn’t know what he’s talking about” when he’s telling you that you’re doing something wrong.

I fully agree with him the superkick parties and the spots of everyone standing around waiting to catch someone need to stop. They’re not fun anymore. I don’t even react to a suicide dive because I’ve already seen it 4 other times in the same night. So why bother doing it and risking your safety if it doesn’t get a pop worthy of it?

AEW can stay with the more work-rate-based wrestling style in comparison to WWE, but that doesn’t mean everything should get progressively more and more choreographed with no-selling and setting up for maneuvers taking priority over storytelling. Cody Rhodes has it down the best, in my opinion, where his matches feel like more than just a series of stunts. I’d like to see more effort put into finding reasons to do moves, rather than just “it will look cool to do X and then Y and then Z.”

No More Immediate Main Event Pushes

AEW has quickly developed a habit of bringing someone into the company, immediately pushing them toward the top, having them fight for the world title and then having no idea what to do with them when they lose.

Brian Cage is a perfect example. He came in, won a title shot, lost to Jon Moxley and has limped on with nothing substantial ever since. He just carries around the FTW Championship as if that means anything, but doesn’t have a true feud that can last more than a few weeks outside of Darby Allin.

Miro was an exception to this. However, he fell victim to a dumb gimmick, so it’s not as though he’s in a better spot.

With the next big names they sign, I’d like to see AEW take it slow. Start that person off in a noteworthy enough feud, but not with the world champion. Then, over the course of at least 4 months, you can build them up to that point if they’re ready and it makes sense.

Most importantly, don’t pull that trigger on the main event shot until you have an idea of what to do with them afterward. They need a means to bounce back and not just fade into obscurity.

Leave WCW in the past

Cody Rhodes obviously has a certain reverence for WCW based on his father’s history with the company. However, AEW is an entirely different company, rather than the entity picking up the scraps.

WWE owns most of WCW. The little bits that have fallen through the cracks aren’t things AEW should try to grab because this company should not be WCW 2.0 by any means. It has to be its own thing.

Trying to take Bash at the Beach, for instance, wasn’t necessary. There isn’t that much notoriety to the name for casual fans right now that would give it significant enough value. At the very least, a worthwhile comparison to make is whether you’d rather convince fans you’re picking up where WCW left off or if you’d rather create your own thing and own the trademark outright.

You’ll never own the footage to the WCW events from the past, so why bother?

I don’t like the Blood & Guts name, but it’s basically WarGames. That’s the way to go about it. Do similar ideas, but brand it something new and potentially give it its own twist. Don’t just get the WCW announcers, old WCW stars, use the WCW event names and so on and then expect people not to think this promotion is starting to remind them of the old one that failed.

Also, side note: cool it on the gambling motif. Not everything needs to be named Casino Battle Royal, Casino Ladder Match, Double or Nothing, Deadly Draw, etc. We don’t need “AEW All Bets Are Off” and “AEW Roll the Dice” and “AEW Jackpot” and so on.

Trim Down on AEW Dark / Sort Out AEW Elevation

I already spoke about this in a Quick Takes post, but I so desperately want AEW Dark to stop being 2.5 hours long with matches that have blatantly obvious outcomes.

It carries no interest for me to see Jack Evans against Guy Who Will Clearly Lose wrestle for 15 minutes. Just skip to the jobber taking the loss. Don’t do that for 16 matches per show, either. It’s only really interesting when there’s a chance it could go either way.

The only way to pull that off is to make AEW Elevation the show where the younger talent who are all on the same level compete, where either man/woman/team can be victorious, and then have AEW Dark as the type of show where it features the leftover matches they didn’t have room for on Dynamite. That way, the bigger names can be on that program for just a few matches (ideally 2-3) and the other stars can get their reps in on Elevation.

Penta El Cero Originalidad

Okay, this one isn’t as serious as the others, but it needs to be said. Penta needs to get a new catchphrase or at the very least, stop saying the same damn one a million times.

By the time the entrance theme plays, I’ve heard “cero miedo” about 15 times. Then, he does it multiple times per match. And it’s his ring name. I GET IT, ALREADY. It’s time for some new material to freshen things up a bit.

That can be your primary catchphrase. The Undertaker said “rest in peace” nearly every promo. But he didn’t say it a dozen times each time you saw him.

For that matter, everyone in WWE and AEW and elsewhere needs to stop with this idea that they do their entrance taunt when they first come out on the stage, then they walk to the ring and do the same exact taunt inside the ring. You can’t think of a second thing to do?

Likewise (and this is not just an AEW thing) people need to stop calling their finishers just their own names or the like. Remember when Andrade was nicknamed El Idolo and his entrance theme started with that, and then, if he hit his finisher, the commentary team would say he hit El Idolo for the win? Stupid and unoriginal to not even have variations of the ideas (and no, “El Idolo Slam” or “El Idolo Bomb” doesn’t count)

Keep Signing Talent

The roster is getting stacked, but since AEW is dealing with a lot of unknown entities, it doesn’t hurt to have a reserve of talent to work with.

Lots of these men and women are young and still learning. Some of them may never get any better than what they are right now. If that’s the case, I think a good quarter of the roster, if not half, just doesn’t have what it takes to move the needle in any significant fashion.

That means AEW has to continue to experiment. People should be brought in from the indies as well as from WWE when their contracts expire. There has to be young talent who can grow and provide a fresh outlook on things as well as veterans they can learn from who can hold down the fort.

For the most part, AEW has done a great job doing this. This isn’t so much a resolution of what to fix, but more so what to continue to do and try to improve even more on.

At some point, the bubble will burst and there won’t be enough money to go around for all these contracts. Then, it’s time to cut the ones who didn’t prove their value. That sounds harsh, but it’s a business, after all, and not everyone can be on the top.

In particular, the women’s division can use many more stars who are better off than the ones currently relied upon. There’s some serious talent on the AEW roster, but I think the bulk of the women’s division is rather lackluster and I’d like to see some more seasoned performers come in to fill in the blanks, rather than relying on 80% of the people being those who are still learning some of the more basics.

Stop Relying on Pure Match Interest

Both AEW and WWE are guilty of sometimes not bothering to concoct a feud or a story and simply making a whole feud revolve around “the fans want to see the match” and nothing more.

That’s perfectly fine for a match if it’s not an elongated wait. For instance, fans wanted to see FTR against The Young Bucks so much that if that had been announced a few weeks after FTR joined the company, it wouldn’t have needed any proper story.

However, don’t drag that out. Don’t just turn this into waiting a month or two of saying “This match will be great, won’t it? Tune in!” Put some effort into it. (Also, logical effort. Not whatever happened with Matt and Nick Jackson turning heel like that.)

As much as I don’t want to see Miro feuding with Moxley over a broken video game, I also don’t want to be pitched that the only interesting thing worth holding onto is hoping they do something different when the match actually happens and that I’ll have to wait weeks/months to get to that point while just being reminded of how it’s coming in the future.

Again, WWE does this, too. That’s basically all that happened with AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and that ended up being a mess that they turned into a terrible feud after they had that “dream match” at WrestleMania.

Dream matches can sell, but the more they’re hinging entirely on the value of seeing two people in the ring opposite each other and nothing else, the more it seems watching the television episodes leading up to that point is a waste of time.

Those are my suggestions, but what ideas do you have in mind, particularly for the wrestlers who didn’t make my list? Do you have any resolutions for yourself this year? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!

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