WTF is AEW doing #137

After hearing about, and then seeing the visuals of Chris Jericho defeating Cesaro Claudio Castagnoli for the Ring of Honor World championship on AEW Dynamite on TNT TBS, that was the first thing that I said: wtf is AEW doing?

Then I came to the realization that I say this almost on a weekly basis, because the promotion is always doing some weird questionable things on a weekly basis except for the precise single AEW taping that I was physically present for, where absolutely nothing substantial occurred except an amusing squash match between Brody King and Darby Allin. 

Ordinarily, I’m typically in favor of most things that benefit Chris Jericho.  Notwithstanding his unfortunate political alignment that has increasingly come to light over the last few years, I can still (mostly) separate the wrestler from the guy, and it’s safe to say that I’ll be able to say that I was a fan of the performer, his impressive body of work and his timelessly impressive ability to be creative, inventive and stay relevant no matter the decade.

And with an official ROH title reign now in his pocket, Jericho joins an extremely exclusive club of guys that have held gold in WWE, WCW, ECW, NJPW and ROH, with the only other guy being to my knowledge, Bubba Ray Dudley.  Jericho may never have held TNA/Impact gold before, but Bubba has also never held an AEW title before, so it’s kind of a push for being the most decorated champions of all time.

But maybe it’s because it’s AEW and it never seems like there’s ever an endgame in sight for their seemingly random booking, but I’m more left with the feeling of wtf is AEW doing, over trying to analyze the rationale for having Chris Jericho defeating Claudio for the ROH World title.

Traditionally, logic would say that Claudio is getting a push by dropping the ROH World title, as ROH is unfortunately seen as a tier below AEW, so alleviating him of a second-tier championship frees him up to pursue AEW’s bigger and grander prizes.  But AEW doesn’t seem to know what to do with their World championship, since CM Punk can’t stop being a diva or trying to sabotage the company, so it just keeps ending up on Jon Moxley’s shoulder and is barely worth its weight right now, so it begs the question on whether or not it’s even worth pursuing.

Giving it to Jericho makes a little more sense, because it gives him one more notch on his mantle, of being the most decorated guy in the business, but at this current juncture of his career, where Jericho is seemingly content to be a star-maker, the hope is that the ROH brand will get a young technician to grow and rise to challenge Jericho for the ROH World title, to where Jericho can do good business with. 

However considering ROH still has no television and is completely reliant on AEW programming to advance their stories, it’s probably not going to be nearly as good as the potential of it is on paper.  My guess is that ultimately it’ll be Daniel Garcia vs. Chris Jericho, but it’ll come at the expense of imploding yet another Chris Jericho stable, and the likely alienation and scattering of a bunch of decent workers in the process.

Such a narrative is one that requires logic, something that AEW doesn’t seem to have.  With its World championship in the shitter because their long-term investment went berserk and got into a physical altercation with three executives who were also three of the boys, which was never a good idea in the first place, who also happened to immediately tank the six-man championship that the entire promotion was building up for since day one, the company’s entire main event picture was decimated in a single night.

And for a company with like 15 titles in active circulation, you’d think some of these guys would actually get some television time with them right?  Take PAC for example, the guy is hands down one of the top-3 workers in the entire promotion, is holding the brand new, All-Atlantic Championship, is also co-holding one of the brand-new Trios blets, you’d think he’d get some screen time right?  No way!  After winning the title in June, he doesn’t make his first televised appearance with it until August, and that’s on Dark, and literally this past Wednesday was his first-ever Dynamite defense of the title.  The belt has literally been seen more at non-AEW shows than it has been at AEW shows.

So I suppose with such a tumultuous roster, something’s gotta happen somewhere, so why not start with this, but damn if it just doesn’t seem like something interesting as much as it’s wtf is AEW doing, again?

Anyone else feel this way too?

I was inside a Target recently, mostly to admire #2’s prevalent presence in their baby section, and over the PA system, among the music that usually is tantamount to white noise, I was able to pick out the lyrics to Ricky Martin’s She Bangs.

The strangest thing to me, was the fact that it was actually Ricky Martin’s version of the song, and just how foreign and alien it sounded, hearing it for the first time in like, maybe 18 years.

Because in my head, when I think of She Bangs, the only version of the song I ever hear in my head is William Hung’s terrible rendition that he tried to audition on American Idol with.  In fact, while at Target, I was kind of awestruck at the simple fact that the lyrics actually continued past “looks like a flower but stings like a bee” because I practically expected there to be an interruption by Simon, Randy and Paula, except there wasn’t one, but instead a whole lot of unfamiliar lyrics.

It’s no secret that FOX and the internet gobbled all of William Hung up for making an ass out of himself on one of television’s most viewed programs, but in hindsight, Hung took it like a champion, and parlayed his abysmal appearance on Idol into all sorts of appearances and gigs afterward.  Given the crash and burn nature of so many Idol alum, I think it’s safe to say that in spite of everything, Hung still came out smelling a lot better than many who were probably a little bit more successful in the show than he was.

Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, She Bangs belongs to William Hung.  Anyone else feel this way too?

RIP the DeVanzo Shift, you bunch of one-dimensional pussies

Ain’t that a crock: MLB votes in favor of several rule changes that will be implemented starting in the 2023 baseball season, which includes effectively, the banning of the shift

In all fairness, some of the other rule changes are fine.  The pitch clock, limiting pick-off attempts and widening bases.  The gradually increasing ADD nature of humanity can’t sit through three hour games anymore and are demanding change, and adding three inches to bases won’t really be that noticeable except to players who might not get their ankles kicked in or stepped on as much.

But the banning of the shift?  Now that’s booty.  Such a cop out.  Result of a bunch of bitches being, bitches.  The supposed greatest baseball players on the planet all suck so much at baseball and are incapable of hitting the other way so they collectively complain so much that it forces MLB’s hand to outright ban the defensive strategy that has owned them for the last decade.  Total bullshit.

I dislike this immensely.  Instead of trying to raise and develop players to spray and hit to all parts of the field, MLB has basically doubled down its catering to power hitters and is instead modifying rules to benefit them instead of telling them to suck it up and evolve their skillset back to when they were kids and probably told to use all parts of the field.

This is why on a global level, Japan still ranks above the United States in pure baseball talent.  When it comes down to it, they might not have guys who will clobber 50 homers in a season, but pretty much everyone in NPB is capable of hitting the ball to opposite field, and their collective batting average is probably noticeably higher than MLB’s collective batting average.

I still remember back in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, there was a Japan vs. US game; Roy Oswalt started for the US, and he absolutely got slaughtered by Team Japan who hung like six runs on him, without a single home run.  The Japanese hitters were basically just consistently plopping singles the other way, and Team USA just had no answer for it, and ended up losing 9-4 in an embarrassing elimination.

This, is the power of being able to hit to all parts of the field, but this is also something that we’ll probably never see in MLB, because instead of challenging players to adapt to a staunch defensive strategy, they’re just prohibiting the strategy and making it easier for players to remain fat talentless sluggers.

But most of all, I’ll never be able to proclaim “the DeVanzo Shift” again whenever an oaf like Joey Gallo steps into the box and gleefully watch a third baseman position themselves on the right side of second base, before he stupidly clubs a grounder into the teeth of the shift and gets thrown out at first with minimal effort.  In fact, Joey Gallo is probably the odds-on favorite to win an MVP award next season with the shift being neutered, and guys like Brian McCann and Jay Bruce are probably back in the cages right now, getting ready to make a comeback, knowing they won’t have to face the shift starting next year.

When the day is over, I haven’t paid hardly any attention to the game since my children have been born, but I still keep my ear to scuttlebutt.  And it bugs me that rules are being changed in this manner, not just in defiance of change, but because of the sentiment that bad behavior is being rewarded instead of inspiring improvement and betterment of the players’ skillsets, and that’s just pathetic.

150+ years before the Game of Thrones… Westeros had Asians

Mythical wife and I went into House of the Dragon with the level of excitement of a DC Comics film and the expectations of, a DC Comics film (extremely low, if I have to explain).  As those kind of book snobs, we’re salty that George R.R. Martin has become the television writer I knew he was going to become, instead of writing any of the fucking books, that the television show blew past where they left off, in like season 4 of GoT.  But as inherent fans of the property we still are, we knew it was inevitable that we were going to watch it anyway.

Anyway, I’ll reserve heavy reviewing of the show until more of it has come out.  I’m still learning all the new faces and houses, and much like its predecessor, I’m sure I’d benefit from re-watching some shit at a later date to really absorb early occurrences.  Except that all the Targaryens are funny looking to me, because they’ve all got bright-ass hair, but unlike Daenerys and Viserys, they’re all kind of tanned-complexioned, which kind deviates from how most Targaryens are described.

Whatever though, the whole point of this post is really the marvelous realization that it only took an entire 8-season series and two episodes for an actual Asian man to get 3 seconds of screen time in a GoT property.  Yes, I know Jessica Henwick was one of the Sand Snakes, which is why I specified man, because when it comes to representation, Asian men obviously get the shaft when it comes time for everyone to become woke.

And not as an ambiguous and heavily make-upped Dothraki, Meereen slave, Flea Bottom beggar or any inconsequential character.  No, this guy is a fucking knight, with armor and presumably some degree of honor and bravery, if he’s representing House Velaryon.

I have no idea who he is, what his actual specific heritage is, but either way, he’s still a fucking hero.  And the fact that he made it into the GoT universe after just a decade is still like, three decades faster than Star Wars really decided to start giving Asian men some screen time.

Progress is progress, but all the same I have to say it: it’s about fucking time.

Welp, it’s been a while

Ordinary news: massive accident on I-285 shuts down the entire interstate for 10 hours.  Brog news: tractor trailer involved in the crash was carrying beer

As the subject line reads, it’s been a while since I came across a story about a truck crash on Georgia’s highways.  Obviously I live under a rock and don’t really keep my eyes peeled for these, and in all fairness, it was mythical wife who came across it, and it didn’t really pique my interest until the mention about the part where the tractor trailer that was involved in this whole fracas, was carrying beer.

Not that it really matters anymore, because I’m long past the days of where I had intrinsically remembered every type of consumable that had spilled onto Georgia highways, but still, it’s always a tickle to go back in time a little bit to find some inspiration to write on account of booze spilling all over the roads.

The thing is, where this crash occurred, at Ashford-Dunwoody on I-285, this is probably one of the most infamous exits in the state.  Not only is the specific spot a logistical disaster nightmare zone, because it’s close to where GA-400 intersects and that’s a state route that will never seemingly get its shit together or never not be tampered with at any given point in time, for whatever reason, shit just keeps happening here.  Most notably, a few years ago, it’s where an armored truck carrying like $385,000 or some large sum of cash, the doors just popped open and people were basically getting out of their cars in the middle of traffic to try and snatch as much cash as they could, regardless of how illegal it was to do so.

The details of this entire thing are what was the most compelling thing about it, regardless of the presence of beer.  The fire apparently raged so hot, that it created all sorts of structural concerns of the asphalt as well as the integrity of the bridge that it occurred under.  Obviously, it hasn’t been that long since Atlanta was the laughing stock of the country again, for the whole I-85 bridge collapse, and I’m sure GADOT was having flashback and PTSD about the risk of something like that happening again, so they clearly erred on the side of caution when they shut down the highway to assess the damage, lest the bridge over I-285 collapsed, taking out a pretty substantial surface street vein.

All things considered, it was no Japan fixing a lake-sized sinkhole in 7 days impressive, but the fact that GADOT was actually able to get I-285 up and running again in 7 hours is still substantial and for ‘Murican standards, pretty impressive.

Let’s talk about Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel

As is often the case, I’m late to the party on both of these shows.  Full disclosure, I have no knowledge of the Moon Knight character whatsoever, all I knew was that he existed, because Wizard magazine once made a joke about him being mistaken for Space Ghost, but otherwise, I went into the show with absolutely zero knowledge of the character, at all.  As for Ms. Marvel, this is a lot of gray area, because in the comics, Ms. Marvel is Carol Danvers, which movie goers have already been introduced to as Captain Marvel, so again, I went in blind to the adventures of Kamala Khan, the teenager.

By virtue of living under the rock of parenthood, I’ve been fortunate enough to have avoided the vast majority of chatter when it comes to both of these shows.  I’d only heard bits and pieces, like subjective opinions of Moon Knight, and I knew that Ms. Marvel has been somewhat completely re-imagined to feature a teenager, and a Muslim one at that, but neither really deterred me from going into them, because as a fan of the MCU, I still feel that it’s somewhat necessary to watch every piece of Marvel programming that is released, with the expectation that the knowledge will be useful when they converge storylines in the future.

Going in chronological order, I finished Moon Knight before going into Ms. Marvel, and I have to say that in more ways than one, one of these is very much not like the other.  One show I thought was good, entertaining and refreshing, while the other one was completely horrendous, and I would dare say be arguably one of the worst editions into the entire MCU, and all of its extended reaching properties.

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Why it’s hard to take AEW seriously sometimes

I was watching some highlights from the latest Dynamite, because I was interested to see who won the match between Bryan Danielson and Daniel Garcia.  But during the match I couldn’t help but notice that the turnbuckle pads had something other than an AEW logo on it, and at one point, I had to scrunch my brow when I realized that it was literally the crest for House Targaryen.

Why was the House Targaryen crest on turnbuckles of an AEW wrestling show?

Well, the answer wasn’t hard to determine, because outside of any shot that wasn’t zoomed in to where you could see the turnbuckles, pretty much everywhere else in the West Virginia arena was like an explosion of Game of Thrones branding.  Since TBS is a Turner Network and Turner bought HBO and HBO owns the rights to Game of Thrones, naturally it was decided that AEW Dynamite would be the perfect venue to cross-promote the impending premiere of HBO’s House of the Dragon prequel series.

So instead of continually pushing awareness for AEW, or their shop’s website, or perhaps promoting any upcoming pay-per-views, all through the entire night was Game of Thrones shit, all over the place.

If I didn’t know what AEW was, and I was flipping channels and landed on Dynamite, I probably would’ve thought that some mega nerds* had created a wrestling promotion based on Game of Thrones, and I was watching some LARP of some Dothraki slave pit fighting instead of professional wrestling.

*I realize this is kind of an oxymoronic descriptor to describe Tony Khan, Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks

But this is a good example of why it’s hard for me to take AEW seriously sometimes.  No matter how genuinely good their wrestling product is capable of being, they just do so much shit on the business side or over social media or their performers, that just pumps the brakes on the progress they are totally capable of making, if they just didn’t get in their own way so much.

AEW’s entire show was completely hijacked by Game of Thrones this week.  A few weeks ago when I went, the entire show was completely hijacked by Discovery/Animal Planet plugging the ever-living fuck out of Shark Week, to where they had a match where Jericho’s cronies were suspended in a diver’s cage.  And a little while back, just about every AEW show was paintbombed by Draft Kings logos all over the place.

I’m not sure if it’s Tony Khan’s choice, or if he’s being strong-armed by Turner Ben Afflecks, but AEW is basically this cheap vehicle to promote other things, completely sacrificing their own brand identity and integrity whenever they do.  They’re like a Tesla Model S, with a vinyl wrap for Juan’s Paint and Windows, and they’re required to drive it around in prominent communities and log a substantial amount of miles to justify the ad space. 

If it’s TK’s choice to allow his pet promotion to be pimped out to plug shit that isn’t his, then shame on him.  If it’s Turner being Turner and fifteen old white guys with VP titles are all jabbing their fingers into the AEW pie to try and make their mark, then that’s really nothing out of the ordinary for Turner’s modus operandi, and we can continuously count the days before AEW copies WCW in another manner; being managed to death by Turner.

But the bottom line is that it’s really hard for me to take AEW seriously when they participate in shit like this, and it’s got to be hard for even them to continuously try to declare themselves the alternative to the WWE, when they’re constantly being handcuffed by shit that makes it hard for people to take them seriously.  As much as the WWE is so often seen as this corporate soulless entity, they take their brand seriously, and they almost never cross-promote with anyone or anything, not without at least some substantial benefit to them. 

There’s absolutely zero benefit for AEW when they help plug Shark Week, House of the Dragon or Draft Kings, and until the company can grow a backbone and push back on bullshit orders to cross-promote, they’ll never be taken as serious as they should be capable of commanding respect.