It’s not new information that I enjoy professional wrestling. For all it’s silly, bombastic, over the top nonsense, there is something uniquely entertaining about it. I don’t think it is at all a coincidence that I started getting back into it shortly after I stopped reading super hero comic books on a regular basis when I left the shop. The two kind of scratch the same itch.
The story telling of professional wrestling skews a lot closer to ongoing comic books than anything else I can compare it to. It is completely fictional, it doesn’t end or take season breaks, it is over the top, there are heroes and villains who grapple in exciting action scenes are there is character development both in the action and in quieter scenes with dialogue and acting that ranges from Oscar worth and totally believable to so bad that it is hilarious and or completely cringe worthy.
I haven’t really enjoyed the core WWE product for quite a while, I still watch and enjoy NXT as it has always felt like its own separate thing, but I’ve had no interest in keeping up with the other two weekly shows and I’ve even been skipping some of the monthly PPV’s.
You may have read about me talking about this new company though, AEW. They’ve run a handful of pay-per-view events over the summer building up to the launch of their weekly TV show, Dynamite, which started last night.
AEW came about when someone asked the most prominent wrestling journalist on twitter if he thought that a non-WWE promotion would be able to sell out a ten thousand seat arena. His response was a pretty emphatic no.
A small group of guys who were working on the independent scene and for a smaller promotion saw this and it sparked something in them. One of them, Cody, is from a long lineage of wrestlers, he is the second son of the late great Dusty Rhodes and had worked for WWE for years before deciding to go and make a name for himself elsewhere because he felt under-utilised in that company. There he met The Young Bucks, Matt and Nick Jackson, a tag team that has worked all around the world and was widely regarded to be one of if not the top teams in pro wrestling.
Between the three of them they saw this ten thousand seat sell out as a challenge and over the course of months last year set to work doing it completely on their own, sinking their own money into it and running the show completely independently, while using the good faith they had built with smaller promotions in the US, Japan and Mexico in order to use some of the guys signed with those companies.
The event sold out in minutes. They had proved everyone wrong.
At that point it was clear they were going to go on to something big and so in January, after months of working behind the scenes they announced AEW, a new company with very strong financial backing and deals in place, that would essentially be direct competition with Vince McMahon’s WWE empire.
Fast forward to last night, and the first episode of their weekly show aired live to another sold out arena. I was of course going to check it out, and I thought I would enjoy it as I have done with all the events they’ve run up to this point, but I was so happy with how everything played out. It is still a wrestling show and if you’re coming at it having not watched anything before or for a long time you may not see it, but everything about it; from presentation, to pacing ,to camera work, to commentary felt so fresh and…. man I’m tired and can’t think of a more eloquent way of saying it, just better, than anything I’ve seen from WWE since I started watching again a few years ago.
I’m looking forward to checking out two hours of good entertainment in the form of pro wrestling each week for the foreseeable future.
If you’ve ever been intrigued or interested, it is a great time to jump on. I can use Ed as an example of someone who had never watched any wrestling before AEW and is so hooked now. Maybe go check it out.