Daniel Barker is back with The Verbal Brainbuster to discuss some of the latest happenings in All Elite Wrestling.
Welcome to the 2nd edition of The Verbal Brainbuster here on ZWrestleTalk.com. This is Daniel A J Barker here and I hope you’re fairing well, if not better, during these testing times. I think we’re all feeling the increasing pressure on our psyche. Fortunately, in this day in age, there are bountiful distractions that help alleviate that pressure. Pro-wrestling being one of them.
Last week, I went deep into a single topic. This surrounded championships in on a mainstream level. If you’ve not read the returning edition, you can find it on this very site. As a short summary, their importance has been diminished over the past decade. For reasons which revolve around short-sightedness creativity wise. You can argue a belt is merely a prop, but treating it as one, well, people then have a reason to retract their interest in the product.
After all, glory is why a wrestler competes. By constantly putting the titles in a secondary position emphasis wise and sucking out the emotion for competing to achieve them, the promotion is essentially reducing their own sales appeal.
Anywho, there’s a whole article based on this. Moving onto the current topics.
Brian Cage in AEW
At Double or Nothing, we witnessed the debut of Brian Cage during an eight-man ladder match. He came in as the surprise entrant and accompanied by the one and only, Taz. AEW is placing a lot of stock into this performer, as he won the match and earned a shot at Jon Moxley’s championship at the second annual Fyter Fest PPV.
Typically, we saw a squash match take place on Dynamite the following Wednesday. I view Brian Cage as a real talent. I’m somewhat skeptical by the way he’s being presented here.
The first problem is him standing out. We’ve just seen Lancer Archer and Brodie Lee coming into the company and being built as unstoppable machines. It seems that AEW has a habit of executing similar creative choices in a short space of time. I mean who hasn’t noticed the common theme with factions.
Going by memory, there are only two or three talents unaffiliated with a group or manager. Quite the shocking statistic.
We then come to the next problem, building him way too fast. So fast, there are fans resenting the decision. At Double or Nothing, there was an expectation to build an established member of the roster. As a relatively new promotion, you’d presume that would be the direction. We’ve already seen Brodie Lee bypass the ranking system to challenge Jon Moxley, and we’re seeing a similar approach again with another newcomer.
There was a brilliant spot during the ladder match where the other participants buried Brian Cage under railings, chairs, and anything else they can find. To me, that provided the ultimate protection that justified him losing the match without impacting his image. Imagine, just as another participant won the chip for the title shot, he then shot up out of that rubble. Would that not have looked more impressive?
You saw Brian Cage come in looking dominant, it forced everyone else to gang up on him and when the match finished, he’d climbed back up to fighting position and was ready to go all the way. Personally, that would have done Brian Cage more favours in the long run rather than shooting up straight up to the top of the pile. Such an approach hasn’t boded well for Brodie Lee, who was noticeably absent on Dynamite. The Exalted One appears to have served his purpose, as we saw no follow-up.
I don’t feel this introduction has been handled correctly and has an adverse effect on Jon Moxley as the main event champion as well. It will now be two straight events in a row where the title is defended against an opponent with a short tenure in the company. Such a move overlooks the existing potential in the locker-room.
Overall, I just hope there’s a larger picture. Using Taz as a mouthpiece does help, but even that doesn’t justify the spot Brian Cage is being rushed into. Too much exposure at such an early stage can prove more harmful than beneficial. I’m praying they turn things around.
Jericho – The Real Main Eventer
I am a huge fan of Chris Jericho. ‘Le Champion’ has given the AEW promotion credibility ever since he arrived. There has been a pattern emerge since he lost the world title to Jon Moxley at Revolution, he’s not lost his spot. In fact, it feels nothing has actually changed at all.
The star who receives that main event slot, as well as the most exposure, is Chris Jericho. Prior to lock down and the Revolution PPV, there were stirs that his upcoming tour with Fozzy would have resulted in his absence for a few months. Putting the title on Moxley was intended to anoint a new emphasis for the promotion moving forward.
Though it is true that COVID19 has scuppered numerous plans, I have doubts whether this issue is really a victim of it. Plans do change and that’s not necessarily always a bad thing.
As seen in the main event of Dynamite last week, Chris Jericho is getting tangled up in a feud with Mike Tyson. An interesting and smart move, one that’s guaranteed to garner greater sales revenue and media attention. The former AEW world champion switched his tempo from acting goofy around the Inner Circle to deadpan serious in a heartbeat. At that moment, there’s little doubt Dynamite remains his show and nobody elses.
On the Jon Moxley front, they’re feeding him rushed contenders. The main event champion is used effectively against the main event challenger, that’s a straight forward principle. Once in a while, going off that beaten track works, however, this is occurring a second month in a row. They’re not utilizing him with real meaning and his placement on the shows does really reflect that.
What was said as a heel-ish gesture really is the absolute truth? Chris Jericho doesn’t need the gold to be ‘Le Champion’. There will come a time where AEW is going to realize that they’ve lessened the importance of the promotions top prize and one of their other top talents. It is frustrating to witness Moxley’s reign come across so half-assed and half-hearted in terms of booking.
The Young Bucks vs FTR – Styles Collide
What happens when you mix two smoothly executing spot brothers against a classic old school heel team? A tonne of speculation for one.
Both tag teams function differently, in terms of working in the ring. I am curious to see what balance they’re able to cultivate out of a match. You can expect the Young Bucks to strive for a high octane assault, while FTR focuses on grounding them. All the makings of great good guys vs bad guys dynamic here.
We learned from the Revolution PPV, that Matt and Nick Jackson can contribute greatly, as they were integral in one of the highest-rated tag team matches ever. I don’t think any critic of theirs can take that away from them. Taking into consideration that the tag titles haven’t been held by them at this stage, I think they’ve acted in the best interest of the tag division and help get newer teams over more often than not.
With Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson still piping hot after leaving WWE. Getting FTR acquainted with the AEW audience shouldn’t prove a difficult task, so long as their strengths are allowed to shine through. By going against the Young Bucks immediately on arrival, this is a pivotal moment for this new team.
I’d make a claim that both tag teams need an evenly balanced rivalry. FTR doesn’t need to take the lead on wins to get over. How Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson performs is the key here. If they rope the Young Bucks into a match that’s not spot-heavy and uses better technical wrestling, that will go a long way in establishing themselves in this new environment.
To finish here I have a few questions, for you the reader.
What do you think?
Why don’t you tell me what you think?
Or do you have a question in mind?!
You can contact me at email@example.com, find my new Twitter profile @danielajbarker1, or track my Facebook page @danielajbarker.
Until we meet again next week, take care.
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Writing about the wrestling world since 2013.