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MassRafTer
May 26, 2001

Fundamentals as sound as the WNBA


In the fall of 2018 rumors started circulating a new promotion was coming. The first rumblings were in late September or early October, basically that The Elite would leave ROH and were looking at starting their own promotion. The rumors picked up steam when Cody announced he would not be on G-1 Supercard at MSG and that Jericho and JR would be in leadership positions. These rumors were denied.

We also knew The Elite were going to sign as a unit and that Hangman Page had turned down a big offer to go to NXT.

Then the trademark filings for All Elite Wrestling were reported and we found out The Elite would be working with Tony Khan. We still didn't have anything concrete and there were reports that WWE was determined to offer them huge deals. In December they were apparently confident they would be signing them, but that obviously did not happen.


In late December the rumors got bigger and bigger. It was happening, The Elite would work split deals with the new promotion and New Japan, everything would be announced in January the second contracts were up.

Then on New Year's Eve the talk got really big, the announcement would happen on BTE on NYD, and I was told that TV was a done deal with Turner.


So I posted a thread with the following info:


quote:

The worst kept secret in wrestling is that The Elite is working on starting a promotion. For a few weeks all speculation has pointed today as the announcement of something.

The first rumors were that Jericho and Ross were heading it, but it seems like that isn't true although JR may be involved when his WWE deal ends.

It was then revealed that the Elite were working with Tony Khan to start a promotion and trademarks for All Elite Wrestling had been filed.

The Elite did not re-sign with ROH and their status with NJPW is unknown although most expect at least Kenny is sticking around and that the others would like to.

They have big money behind them, and enough legal muscle that they may not care about WWE coming after them for talking to currently contracted wrestlers.

The following is only rumored but literally everyone is talking about it and everyone knows a source that AEW is in talks with major cable outlets and people are buzzing tonight like it's a done deal. (They probably won't announce a TV deal tonight and everyone will be mad.)

I believe brother rovert stated that as of a couple months ago they were willing to pay people to sit out until spring to launch this thing.

If someone is a free agent or coming up on it AEW is probably talking to them.

And at midnight Pacific (a few hours from now) the new episode of Being the Elite drops and will probably announce the bare minimum. Maybe more!

So we'll know more in a couple hours and I'm sure this OP will be updated once there is more solid information.


https://forums.somethingawful.com/s...hreadid=3878523

In the end they did not work anything out with New Japan (although Kenny was able to work Japan as part of his deal) and they didn't end up challenging WWE in court, although they were obviously talking to Mox before his deal was up.

So why this thread? Because I'm curious to look back on these first two years. I have questions!

1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?

2. When did you first believe it was happening?

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?
--------------------------------
For me:


1. I first heard about it in late September or October. Maybe TECHNICALLY I could have put 2 and 2 together after All In and what was said about people in the TV industry taking note. I did not however! See 3 for why.


2. When Cody announced he wasn't going to be at MSG I was pretty sure something was really up.


3. My first reaction was "This is the stupidest idea, why would you want to tour 1,000 seat buildings when ROH already exists?" I thought maybe it would be an expansion of New Japan USA as a best case scenario, but if it weren't tied to New Japan it just seemed like a stupid idea, an indie that maybe could get on WGN America? I liked the Elite and it seemed like such a waste. Kind of like what would happen in Japan when companies split for no reason.

4. I thought they'd get a bad TV deal until December and only believed it'd be a good one a few days before New Year's Eve.


5. This is what I'm really curious about. I had no idea what to expect from the TV. All In was good but I didn't order the PPV, I watched it on NJPW World. The PPVs and BR Live Specials were good, but had some hints of production issues.

But as for Dynamite, what the gently caress would it be? Would there be BTE type segments? NJPW like? Nitro like? ROH like? I ended up kind of getting what I expected with the first month of TV where people would sometimes complain there weren't enough angles. But even then I don't think I had a good feel for what it would be like.

6. Much better. The TV has so much energy most weeks it feels like good Nitro with better wrestlers. A few weeks it has even felt like great Nitro. It hasn't quite hit how Nitro made me feel in late 97 but nothing probably ever will. I expected it to be good, but it has surpassed my expectations. Especially with how The Elite have managed to not hog the spotlight while still being mainstays of TV. If you told me Santana and Ortiz would headline a Dynamite in September of 2020 I wouldn't have been surprised. If you told me it would be against Best Friends I would have been surprised! If you told me it would be a "Parking Lot Fight" I would have probably thought this company is in a lot of trouble.

And yet it was great. There have been some negatives, but mostly I really love the show, and enjoy the promotion way more with TV than just the big monthly PPVss and specials before Dynamite launched. It's much better as a weekly thing than just the wrestlers going out and having good matches.

So it has definitely made me enjoy wrestling more and made me more of a weekly TV viewer even though I kind of was thanks to CMLL but that's way different.

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Lead Pipe Cinch
Mar 10, 2003

Heavy Metal Bakesale




I hadnít watched wrestling regularly since 2005ish, but had started to pay attention to WWE between the Rumble and Wrestlemania most years during the 5 years prior to AEW launching and had watched a little bit of NXT, to provide context for my answers:

1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW? Maybe November of 2018? I wasnít watching wrestling regularly at the time, but was aware of All In and was kind of interested. At this point, my primary engagement with wrestling was GIF Twitter accounts.

2. When did you first believe it was happening? I guess pretty much when I heard about it.

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like? I was pretty excited, I knew I still liked wrestling and was interested in watching it regularly, but WWE felt like an insulting use of my time when I had tried watching it over the last few years, and I wasnít interested enough to go the IWTV/FITE route to watch mega indies.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal? I always figured they never wouldíve launched if they didnít have TV lined up, I think I kind of expected them to end up in a different ecosystem than Turner just based on how WCW went down 20 years ago.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected? I think Iíve always really bought Codyís pitch of it being a buffet. All In was the first wrestling show Iíd watched top to bottom since maybe the last ECW One Night Stand, so that was kind of the vibe I was expecting from AEW. I feel like that expectationís been met, and I am happy they havenít done anything as overtly stupid as the penis druids.

6. Is it better or worse than you expected? Better. I am genuinely invested in their TV show and their performers and never wouldíve expected that wrestling would be one of my regular forms of entertainment.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling? Absolutely. I was not watching weekly wrestling prior to AEW, and I hadnít regularly used my SA forums account in probably a decade before I decided I needed somewhere to talk about the show I liked. I also went to a live wrestling show (Local indie the Sunday before the first Dynamite) since some ROH show back in 2004. I also have been lightly following Beyond/GCW.

Lead Pipe Cinch fucked around with this message at 16:14 on Sep 21, 2020

duckdealer
Feb 28, 2011



1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?

I followed the rumours since they began swirling I think.

2. When did you first believe it was happening?

Pretty much when it was officially announced. Was kind of skeptical that it would be a real thing for awhile.

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?

I was pretty happy. Really had no expectations other than being sure it would be much better than WWE.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?

Genuinely don't remember what I thought about that at first.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?

Wasn't really sure what it would look like in practise, just knew it would be good so I guess I was right!

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?

Dynamite-wise maybe a little bit better? I had high hopes especially after being in the crowd at the first Double or Nothing.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?

Having weekly shows to look forward to and discuss with friends is awesome! There was a lot of great wrestling that I watched before AEW but didn't really have real life friends that watched any of it.

Pylons
Mar 16, 2009


1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?

Probably around Fight For The Fallen 2019 I think? I heard about it from some wrestling-adjacent stuff I follow. Pretty sure it was Giant Bomb East talking up the promotion that made me interested, and one day I noticed FFTF was later that day so I decided to check it out.

2. When did you first believe it was happening?

Not really applicable since I only heard about it after it was already a thing and fairly well established.

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?

I was definitely interested. I was looking to get back into watching wrestling (besides the occasional NJPW show), tried WWE, tried AAA, but wasn't interested enough to follow them weekly. The product I had the most interest in was Lucha Underground when it first came to netflix. I thought it would be a lot more overproduced than it was.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?

By the time I started watching I think they'd already announced Dynamite. It wasn't until later on though that I realized what a big deal it was, since I didn't really follow WCW as a kid and had no conception of the legacy of Turner/TNT as a wrestling network.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?

It seems silly now, but I wasn't expecting nearly as much of an emphasis on tag teams. If I had, I probably would've been sold on it much sooner considering how much that was my favorite part of WWE/F. I did expect a lot of the stable/faction stuff NJPW does and haven't been disappointed in that aspect.

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?

Better, even considering I had differing expectations on what it would be.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?

Massively. I went from watching the occasional NJPW show to never missing Dynamite, BTE, barely ever missing Dark, buying all the AEW PPVs, keeping up with New Japan (at least everything but the road-to's), watching ChocoPro every now and then, dipping my toe into NOAH and considering a Wrestle Universe subscription, even checking out some of the stuff I never watched in the past like WCW Nitro. DoN 2020 was gonna be my first wrestling show I went to and I hope next year happens, but who the gently caress knows at this point? I'll keep those tickets either way. People will meme and poo poo about the same people watching wrestling and the audience not growing but at least in my (and my brother's) case AEW absolutely made me actively start watching wrestling again.

Pylons fucked around with this message at 16:37 on Sep 21, 2020

CombineThresher
Apr 10, 2006

GIT R DONNE


1. I first heard about rough plans for AEW when everyone else did, but I'd suspected that the Bucks and Cody would try to start something because of All In's success, the Bucks' independent merchandising deals with major retailers, and Cody's reverence for his dad's legacy. That said, I had no idea it would be something at the scale of AEW.

2. I believed it would happen when they officially announced the TV deal with TNT.

3. I was pretty stoked about the news because I really can't stand WWE and dropped out of watching it weekly during the original HHH reign of terror, so having anything new on TV was welcome. I kinda figured it would be NJPW tweaked for an American audience, and hoped it wouldn't be another TNA/Impact situation.

4. I was pretty blown away when they got a TNT deal, and also realized it was a good one around New Year's, once I had a better understanding of what TNT's expectations were and how consistently AEW was overdelivering. I didn't think networks had any interest in non-WWE wrestling because of Impact and Lucha Underground making GBS threads the bed, plus the whole saga of Turner's history with wrestling and various executives being embarrassed of any association with it.

5. Again, I thought AEW would be a permutation of NJPW since they'd made such a big deal of a sports-like presentation. I'm kinda glad it isn't, and AEW has evolved into a fun product that exceeded my original expectations. Plus, I like the goofy poo poo. Goofy poo poo makes wrestling fun in a way that normal sports can't replicate.

6. AEW is creatively flexible and willing to retool things that aren't working, which is such a relief after years of stale, hamfisted WWE booking. There are multiple characters and angles going on at the moment that I actually care about, and the matches are usually good (if a little long sometimes). I also like that the show feels loose and underproduced sometimes, spontaneity has been missing from wrestling TV for way too long.

7. AEW has turned me into a weekly viewer again, and both Dynamite and Dark have become highlights of my week. I feel a sense of investment that I haven't felt since 2007, and which the indies could never fully replace. AEW isn't a perfect company by any means, but they've done a lot to earn and keep my attention.

jesus WEP
Oct 17, 2004

OM NOM NOM NOM NOM



Fun Shoe

1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?
I guess when Dave first reported that Tony Khan was involved and looking to start a promotion. I can't remember when that was, probably late 2018?

2. When did you first believe it was happening?
I kinda hoped/thought it would happen from that time onward. Maybe it was naive to believe right away but it ended up coming to pass!

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?
I definitely didn't expect it to be this big, this quick. I probably thought they'd try to be a super-indie, semi regular iPPVs with a lot more marketing behind them than other companies have managed. Assumed that there would be a big NJPW crossover.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?
Didn't really have any expectations of TV immediately, and when it came out they were in negotiations I assumed it would be a much smaller network than Turner. I think there were rumblings of TNT mid-2019? Once it got mentioned it seemed to make a lot of sense so again I was a believer pretty quick.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?
I thought it would be a lot like how All In was, almost like a variety show of wrestling. I think to an extent that's played out in the sense that there's something for everyone in a good episode of Dynamite or on a PPV, but there's more of an old school feel to it than I thought there would be.

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?
In general a lot better. There's definitely less lovely stuff than I thought there would be! I assumed that they'd swing and miss a whole lot in the first year of TV, and there really haven't been too many atrocious things. The camera work is still not great, and I'm almost dreading full crowds coming back because the director's obsession with fan reactions is one of the worst visual tics in wrestling.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?
For sure! NJPW has for a while been my #1 promotion to watch, and it's more like a month of wrestling obsession followed by a few weeks of burnout. So the weekly schedule has been a welcome difference to me.

Bushmeister
Nov 27, 2007
Son Of Northern Frostbitten Wintermoon

1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?
I watched All In, loved it, then I think read some things about how this might have been a testbed for something bigger. Like third- and fourth-hand rumors.

2. When did you first believe it was happening?
Uh I guess when they officially announced it or when it was all-but-certain right before then, sooo... sometime spring 2019?

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?
Maybe like a super-indy, a PWG with serious resources? Filling out 1000-10000 seat halls across the country. I am foreign, the gently caress do I know about the intricacies of the business.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?
I didn't really think about it, but when they announced that it was happening I didn't really care if the deal was gonna be good or bad, I cared about there being wrestling with dudes I like in it

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?
See above. Super PWG Bros. Workhorse matches with some cheeky comedy and irony peppered in. The structure has not been strictly that, with more angles and segments to balance out the weekly show, but closer than what I would expect from prime time wrestling.

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?
Better. They've managed to keep my interest and make it look like their own thing. They let the people I enjoy do the things they are good at and look unique and have fun, which has been the major vibe I have gotten from the product all this time, that everyone involved is having a loving blast for the most part and that really translates through the screen. The PPVs I wish they could trim a bit because some of them do get a bit long in the tooth timewise, but I understand wanting to pack the card four times a year.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?
I am watching a wrestling program weekly for the first time since 2005 so yeah kinda. Not just one but with BTE and Dark I am actually watching three wrestling or wrestling-adjacent programs a week on the reg, which is a situation unheard of.

rantmo
Jul 30, 2003

A smile better suits a hero




1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?
A week or two before the first Dynamite aired. I can't for the life think of how I found out about it but I'd been wanting to get back in to wrestling for a while but just couldn't bring myself to get involved with anything McMahon owned so it was just this perfect moment of serendipity.


2. When did you first believe it was happening?
I mean, right then and there because the deal was did by then, like so many Falcons Arrow.


3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?
I had no expectations really because I don't think I had heard of a single person on the roster other than Jericho, who I'd never actually seen wrestle (though I knew Dustin from his Goldust days) so it was all new and exciting.


6. Is it better or worse than you expected?
So loving good.


7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?
Much to the chagrin of my wife, AEW has caused me to become a full-on wrestling fan, AEW, LU, and various indies both local and remote through IWTV.

enigmahfc
Oct 10, 2003

'splode!

1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?
I read about it on Uproxx's With Leather (when that existed and before Stroud was outed as being terrible). I was reading the retro recaps of Raw and Nitro- which I miss dearly - and starting to remember what I liked about wrestling, then just randomly saw that Jericho was going to jump to a new promotion, I looked that up and that was that.

2. When did you first believe it was happening?
when I read about Jericho, I guess. I wasn't following wrestling at that moment and didn't know the drama/behind the scenes stuff

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?
The first thing I saw by AE was All In and I loved it, despite having zero idea who 99% of the wrestlers were. I had no idea what it would be like, but when I was watching it, it jus felt...different? I was all, this could be good.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?
I wasn't thinking about it at all, but they did announce the TV deal on my birthday (July 24) so that was cool of them to do.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?
I was such a lapsed wrestling fan, that I had no clue what to expect. That may sound like a non-answer, but I just sort of went with the flow and got caught up in it. It has exceeded expectation, though, in the fact that it is a wrestling show I actually watch for the first time in 17 years.

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?
so much better,

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?
I hadn't watch wrestling seriously for nearly 20 years. I would dip into Raw every few years, get really bored after like 2 episodes, then duck out. I didn't follow wrestling news or rumors or careers. I just assumed wrestling was something I wouldn't get into again. So yeah,. AEW changed my viewing habits of wrestling. The fact that my wife ended up actually enjoying it makes it so much more fun(she watched Full Gear because I was excited and had no one to watch it with, sorta kept hanging out a little longer each time watching the episodes, until she came to the realization suddenly that, "gently caress, am I watching wrestling? gently caress, I'm watching wrestling", and now its the only show we watch live each week while usually killing off way too many adult beverages). It's a great way too handling the weekly slumps, esp. now with...all this going on.

Lamuella
Jun 26, 2003

It's like goldy or bronzy, but made of iron.




1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?

I had heard whisperings of something in December 2018. People were saying Kenny would lose at Wrestle Kingdom, and I was fairly sure that was only happening if he was leaving New Japan as he was on a monster run.

I had been pretty sure they were going to do arena shows to follow up on All In, but until December I thought we were looking at super-shows (more like the G1 Supercard that came later, as disappointing as that was)

2. When did you first believe it was happening?

When Kenny lost. The way it happened felt like a goodbye.

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?

Delighted. I hadn't been watching a regular weekly wrestling show in a while and I missed it but really didn't want to subscribe to the WWE network. I'd tried ROH's TV show and found it boring and cheap looking. Something mainstream but with a wrestling focus sounded great. As to what I expected, I wasn't sure. High in-ring quality if Kenny was leading. A tag team focus if the Bucks were heavily involved. Some NWA influence if Cody was the face. I was HOPING for crossover with New Japan but didn't know if that was possible.


4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?

I felt like they wouldn't have gone as big as they did with the press conference if they were just announcing All In 2, so they had to know something. Whether they would be doing TV or some sort of subscription service, I didn't know.

It wasn't until the TNT announcement that I knew this wasn't just a TV deal, this was a BIG TV deal.


5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?

I was sort of expecting an American Wrestling version of what the Bucks and Kenny and Cody were doing in New Japan. Changed up for American TV but very ring focused. After the G1 Supercard I was fearing that it would be an ugly hybrid that didn't work in either direction. What they gave me instead was American wrestling television, except really good.

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?

Better. I was trepidatious, especially after seeing how badly ROH shat the bed at Madison Square Garden. I stayed nervous throughout the preshow for Double Or Nothing, as the battle royal was indieriffic and I had no idea who Guevara or Sabian were. Then SCU came out and fought Strong Hearts, and everything after that wildly exceeded my expectations.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?

Yes. Before AEW I watched New Japan on a fairly regular basis, but I watched in a casual way, throwing shows on in the background while I played video games. AEW, with its weekly schedule and secondary show became appointment television. I live in the UK so watching live isn't really possible, but every Thursday morning I get up early and binge the show before work. It's made me care about wrestling more.

A Fancy Hat
Nov 18, 2016

Always remember that the President is dumber than the dumbest person you've ever met by a wide margin


1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?
Not until I heard Jericho signed with AEW. I had stopped watching wrestling completely at that point, didn't even know Jericho had left the WWE. This felt like a big deal to me.

2. When did you first believe it was happening?
I think that did it.

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?
Something like TNA/Impact but without the stink of decades of mismanagement. I figured it would be on youtube or something, maybe some random cable channel.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?
Yeah, but I figured it would be at like midnight on Saturdays for a few months and then disappear shortly afterwards. I don't think until they officially got the TNT Wednesday timeslot that it felt like a big deal.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?
I expected TNA - lots of good talent but stupid gimmicks, appeals to celebrity, incoherent storylines, and no reason to be invested. Actually, now that I type it out, just like 2017 WWE that turned me off wrestling completely. Obviously, AEW is not like this at all.

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?
So much better.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?
Wednesday night is now date night - my wife and I watch together, which is awesome. We've gotten every PPV since the show launched and make drinks and cook big fancy dinners to eat during them. It rules. If we weren't in a pandemic we'd have friends over, too.

I also enjoy 99.9% of AEW's output, which is still a mindfuck at times because by the end I think I was lucky to enjoy 1 match or segment a week in WWE.

TUS
Feb 19, 2003

I'm going to stab you. Offline. With a real knife.


1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?
Whenever the rumors started spreading here (SA)

2. When did you first believe it was happening?
At around the same time. Cody's seemed like a smart business person once he left WWE and the Bucks are well... the Bucks

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?
Figured ROH from 2006-2008 days with more of a production value to it.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?
Thought it was always in the cards with AT WORST a network streaming deal

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?
Like I mentioned above, figured it'd be like ROH in its hey day. And its been better than I expected

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?
Better, with it being a hard bar to get over.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?
Not really. The big thing is that a lot of wrestlers that Ive enjoyed for a while now have the visibility they deserve without the BS of lovely WWE deals.

Rarity
Oct 21, 2010

Excuse me, I'd like to
speak to the moderator




1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?
As soon as the rumour first came out following All In

2. When did you first believe it was happening?
When it came out that TK and the Elite had filed for trademarks on the All Elite Wrestling branding, at that point it was clear something was in the works

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?
I was very excited, All In had been really fun and WWE was getting worse by the day, both in the product and in their ethics. I was looking forward to seeing what kind of competition someone else could bring. I figured I'd enjoy it and be a regular viewer.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?
Yes. If Impact could stay on TV for almost 20 years with the likes of Bully Ray and Eric Young on top then the hottest non-WWE act in wrestling this century was always going to get something somewhere. Not being American I didn't really get how big a deal TNT was until ratings started coming out

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?
I figured it would mesh the varied genre mash of All In with the booking attitudes of New Japan which is kind of what we ended up with. There's been more sports entertainment in its storytelling than I thought there'd be but they do it well so it's cool

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?
I thought it would be good but it's even better than that. Right from the start they've done a great job of finding hidden talents from the indies and mixed them with just about the right amount of misused WWE talent to create something really special. They're fantastic at reacting to characters that aren't working and the storytelling has in some places got some real depth to it.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?
Before AEW I was still watching the three main WWE shows regularly in a background noise while I do other things kinda way. Somewhere between Double or Nothing and All Out 2019 I gave up on all of that and dropped my WWE Network sub so I could get the weekly Dynamites on Fite.

I Before E
Jul 2, 2012

"Why yes, this is a tie with dollar signs on it.

Jealous?"



1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?

Around All In there were rumors going around about Tony Khan being interested in the product Kenny and co were putting on, but I don't think the specifically AEW related rumors started until November or so when it was clear Kenny's relationship with New Japan was not going to continue.

2. When did you first believe it was happening?
When they did the press conference, I believed at the very least that they were going to do at least one show, but I don't think I first believed that it was going to be a long running thing until the Dynamite deal got announced.

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?

"Oh, cool!" I thought it was interesting.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?

I would have never thought TNT. That didn't become a possibility to me until it became real.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?

I thought it would be kind of like All In, where everyone is doing their own type of thing, and it's been kind of like that, but with more of a WCW tribute vibe.

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?

Much better!

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?

It's the first time I've watched weekly wrestling tv since like 2014, and I regularly live chat with friends during it. It's great!

forkboy84
Jun 13, 2012

I thought the redtext someone dumped on you was in bad taste and a bit much so here's a corgi instead.

This is an interesting thread

1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?
Probably October 2018 (excluding All In obviously) if I remember right.

2. When did you first believe it was happening?
It always seemed there was too much chatter for it not to be happening in some form or other.

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?
I was excited. I enjoyed All In, I was very high on Hangman Page after his 2018 G1, Kenny is Kenny & despite not being my absolute favourite he always delivered in big matches, The Bucks were a good team. Aside from anything else, I figured wrestlers having somewhere else to go was just a net positive because the WWE's monopoly has been poison.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?
I thought they'd get some TV or there'd not be money behind them, I don't think I really expected them on TNT or any other TV station I'd have actually heard of as a Brit.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?
I expected (& in hindsight I don't know why I expected this from Kenny, The Bucks & Cody considering who they are) something between what NWA Power was or classic territorial wrestling & what NJPW Strong is, a mix of an old presentation & a more sports-like presentation. Which probably isn't even a thing that would make sense but I definitely expected something that felt more like New Japan but American. And obviously it's much more like US TV wrestling, I guess in the spirit of the best parts of WCW Nitro.

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?
Worse. Well, worse is probably harsh but it's absolutely not a style of show I have any interest in watching which was a bummer. I imagine I'd be much more into it if it came around 5 years earlier but by the time the TV actually started I was in a direction where I just didn't want a US style TV wrestling show. But it's definitely not for me & I thought it would be. Plus they've taken a whole lot of wrestlers from companies I do watch and who I now don't get to see & miss which blows so there's definite resentment there.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?
Well, I don't watch Being The Elite anymore. Other than that AEW has had nothing to do with changes in my wrestling habits. I guess not having that to watch for 2 hours a week meant that when I dove into non-NJPW puro I had the time to do that but that's about it.

Jordan7hm
Feb 17, 2011

MENS REA? LOL MORE LIKE CHRIS REA AM I RITE





Lipstick Apathy

1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?
Early 2019 I listened to some comics podcast that mentioned wrestling (WWE I believe) and how over the top and nuts it could be, so I swung by Fight Island to see where I could start watching. I believe there was a thread up about the t-shirt company, which I looked at, but saw it was still a ways away. I looked into WWE but getting the network in Canada was a hassle so I just didn't bother. I went away and came back in June.

2. When did you first believe it was happening?
It had already been announced by the time I was interested in wrestling.

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?
I bought Double or Nothing 2019 a couple weeks after it happened and holy poo poo it was so good. For me the storytelling was kind of what I expected, but the athleticism absolutely blew me away. I did not expect wrestling to be this good.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?
I assumed that a new company would get TV, and I don't see any reasons why you would start a company like this without already basically having a deal in place. Then it was announced basically right after.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?
I thought it would be like the PPVs they did over the summer of 2019 - still story, but heavier on the wrestling. It ended up still having tons of wrestling, but more pure story segments than I expected. It captures the essence of the wrestling I watched as a kid (Sting and the NWO basically), without being the actual shows which I have no interest in re-watching.

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?
It's must watch TV, the first regularly scheduled television show I've watched live in 20 years (sports doesn't count). I was not expecting that at all. The wrestling is top notch, but the story segments keep me paying attention too.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?
I actually watch it. I get my brothers to watch it with me (or did before Covid) and talk to them about it when they can't watch. I watch it with my son, who generally is cool on it but adores some of the characters like OC and the Jurassic Express. I also occasionally watch things that aren't AEW, if they involve people I know from AEW or who I'm interested in, in the context of one day seeing them in AEW. If I was more committed to watching stuff like the G1, I would pay for it again, but I don't watch enough to subscribe to NJPW's service.

Takuan
May 6, 2007


1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?
Genuinely don't remember. I remember there rumors in late 2018, but I didn't really take them seriously so I don't remember exactly when I heard them.

2. When did you first believe it was happening?
When the trademark filings came out(December? November?)

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?
I was initially very hopeful about AEW. I have very strong(and very negative) opinions on WWE, and there being another company for people to not just be able to make a living at, but to build a career in, was something American pro wrestling has desperately needed over the past 2 decades.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?
The way Meltzer talked about AEW getting a TV deal, to me it read very obviously like he knew it was a done deal but couldn't act like he knew it was a done deal. I didn't think it'd be 2 hours, weekday primetime, though. I figured it'd be like 10pm on Saturday or something.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?
Like a lot of people at the time, I thought it would similar to NJPW, or ROH(when it was good) with a big budget. I recall my initial reaction to the first Dynamite, which I posted to a discord server: "Nitro is back, baby!"

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?
Storylinewise, better. In-ring, worse. Not that it's bad, I just had very high hopes. I did not forsee the Forbidden Portal. Plus I've been kinda spoiled by commercial-free wrestling, and the commercial breaks really drag down TV matches for me.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?
AEW has genuinely made my life better. Having something consistently good to look forward to on a Wednesday really helps the week go by.

Cavauro
Jan 9, 2008



i don't remember any of that at all. Enjoying my time reading other peoples' answers. thanks for posting them, all, and thanks for this thread.

JOHN CENA
Oct 20, 2006


1. i heard bits and pieces around All In, mostly from rovert, centered around the chris jericho/jim ross rumors and that the funding was coming from a sports mogul. the vague thing i heard was big big money was behind it, my initial belief being the maloof family that owned the Sacramento Kings since apparently their one son was big into wrestling and for me the California connection just kind of clicked there.

2. I think I believed *something* was going to happen after All In proved that it could work. It felt too obvious to not try something with ROH refusing to really grow and put themselves out there. NJPW drawing 5k to the pyramid that year and MSG having been announced seeming like a guaranteed sell out and in fact selling out in 10 minutes showed me that wherever the Young Bucks went would have the best shot of making it.

3. Extreme optimism. I thought the stars were aligned the right way. I had a little loss in faith when an ROH card at the Orleans arena was booked with the Bucks/Okada/etc and didn't even draw 2,000, but then again ROH never does a good job of promoting their live events out here.

4. I thought TV would be tough. I wanted to believe they could get on a TNT or an AMC or something, but honestly expected them to land on like, DAZN or another OTT service. I think it would have been fine monetarily but the ease of access to the product would have been difficult. Once they were announced for TNT though I knew they were probably going to be set by the amount of buzz the promotion had. I initially called when they got the TNT slot that WWE was going to move NXT to FS1 to counteract them because that's what WWE does.

5. This is going to be lame as hell, but I did think it was going to be kind of similar to mid 1990s Nitro, but with slightly less talking segments. I thought we wouldn't really see that many backstage bits and interviews would be done in front of the crowd, which was done for a little bit. It's definitely exceeded my expectations with how they handle the story beats and keep up live shows. When I saw the initial touring schedule I was confused. South Carolina? West Virginia??? But those shows wound up drawing great and having hot cards! I did think they'd work out something with NJPW though and we'd be seeing Tanahashi and Okada and such on some larger special shows and maybe see Bullet Club focus more on AEW than NJPW, but that wound up not working out

6. Way better. The storytelling works and threads through other stories, and they've shown a willingness and ability to pivot or twist things when they don't work instead of dropping them cold. The TV product has played a great job of making "Wait and See" actually work and we're seeing storylines started nearly a year ago start to reach a resolution point. At first I thought them not having a real major destination PPV tent pole was a mistake, but looking at it now it does work in that it allows stories to have their own natural progression point. Nothing has really gotten stale yet, and I think they were ahead of the curve in every aspect during the Covid pandemic to make their product feel at least a little interesting.

7. I was starting to fall out of wrestling outside of NJPW before AEW. I had given up watching WWE a long time ago, ROH just felt like they never wanted to grow and I wasn't a fan of the direction they were taking, where it seemed apparent they were only going to strongly push guys they believed WWE wouldn't take. TNA was still more bad than good but had some promising stars. WrestleCircus and PWG were the only US based products I was keeping up with and they only did shows every 6-8 weeks anyway. AEW made me enjoy watching wrestling on a weekly basis again and in a way that didn't make me feel embarassed and having to explain things when other people would walk in the room. I've actually been able to get my cousins back into wrestling with NJPW and AEW.

MassRafTer
May 26, 2001

Fundamentals as sound as the WNBA


Jordan7hm posted:



4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?
I assumed that a new company would get TV, and I don't see any reasons why you would start a company like this without already basically having a deal in place.

Half a Dozen Promoters from TYOOL 2000-2005: I don't understand this, what is this person talking about????

Jordan7hm
Feb 17, 2011

MENS REA? LOL MORE LIKE CHRIS REA AM I RITE





Lipstick Apathy

MassRafTer posted:

Half a Dozen Promoters from TYOOL 2000-2005: I don't understand this, what is this person talking about????

I get why other promotions might do it. Like the NWA reboot made sense as a lower budget product hoping to make money on streaming and merch and some PPV shows. I don't get why you'd put serious money behind it (at least enough to convince guys to turn down WWE on big deals) without already having something in place though. This company felt big budget.

Nostradingus
Jul 13, 2009



I had always been kind of in and out of wrestling. I watched it because people in my life did but I never sought out wrestling for my own enjoyment. Started watching WWE around 2008 and stopped a few years later. Started again when I met my wife in 2017 but we burned out on WWE again very quickly. I lurked Wrestlehut the whole time though, because y'all are great.

1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?
A few days before the first episode aired.


3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?
Not excited. I was pretty beaten down as a fan. As a very casual observer, I hadn't heard of most of the roster at the beginning, so I figured it would be mostly WWE outcasts. Honestly Moxley was the reason I gave AEW a shot. He was one of my favorites from my last attempt at WWE, even though I couldn't remember his name and just called him Jeans Man.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?
I expected more WWE: depressed muscle people in a soap opera with occasional fake fighting. I was very surprised with a lot of what AEW did in the beginning. Jericho's natural talent for comedy hooked me immediately. Same with how intense Mox can be when he's unfettered by stupid writing. Mostly I was surprised that everybody looked like they were having fun. It's easier to enjoy when the wrestlers aren't miserable, as it turns out...

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?
I guess I answered this above. Much better!

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?
Whoever said Wednesday is now date night - same. My wife and I get takeout and watch. Even though she's a much bigger fan than I am, she always gets worked by selling. I hear "I think he's really hurt..." almost every week. .

karmicknight
Aug 21, 2011



Cavauro posted:

i don't remember any of that at all. Enjoying my time reading other peoples' answers. thanks for posting them, all, and thanks for this thread.

co-signing this Cavauro post (or maybe this but unironically-ing this Cavauro post)

Psycho Mantits
Oct 6, 2009


1. Late 2018, in those initial Meltzer reports.

2. When the Elite got swept at Wrestle Kingdom is when I started to believe there was more to the rumors than just talk.

3. I was hyped but not totally onboard. Cautiously optimistic considering I was a TNA fan for so long and had gotten burned time and again.

4. I figured the promotion wouldn't be launching without some sort of TV deal, though I was expecting something more like ROH rather than a major cable network. TNT seemed like a huge, huge get.

5. Was expecting a lot of comedy and inside jokes - think Being the Elite with matches in-between the skits. AEW thus far has embraced comedy but hasn't been dominated by it; it strikes a really good balance.

6. Much, much better than I could've ever hoped for.

7. WrestleMania 34 killed my interest in North American professional wrestling. All In rekindled it. AEW turned me back into a superfan.

Psycho Mantits fucked around with this message at 01:37 on Sep 22, 2020

yea ok
Jul 27, 2006



1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?
don't know

2. When did you first believe it was happening?
don't know

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?
don't know

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?
don't know. don't know

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?
don't know

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?
better

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?
yes!

MassRafTer
May 26, 2001

Fundamentals as sound as the WNBA


Nostradingus posted:

I had always been kind of in and out of wrestling. I watched it because people in my life did but I never sought out wrestling for my own enjoyment. Started watching WWE around 2008 and stopped a few years later. Started again when I met my wife in 2017 but we burned out on WWE again very quickly. I lurked Wrestlehut the whole time though, because y'all are great.

1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?
A few days before the first episode aired.


3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?
Not excited. I was pretty beaten down as a fan. As a very casual observer, I hadn't heard of most of the roster at the beginning, so I figured it would be mostly WWE outcasts. Honestly Moxley was the reason I gave AEW a shot. He was one of my favorites from my last attempt at WWE, even though I couldn't remember his name and just called him Jeans Man.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?
I expected more WWE: depressed muscle people in a soap opera with occasional fake fighting. I was very surprised with a lot of what AEW did in the beginning. Jericho's natural talent for comedy hooked me immediately. Same with how intense Mox can be when he's unfettered by stupid writing. Mostly I was surprised that everybody looked like they were having fun. It's easier to enjoy when the wrestlers aren't miserable, as it turns out...

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?
I guess I answered this above. Much better!

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?
Whoever said Wednesday is now date night - same. My wife and I get takeout and watch. Even though she's a much bigger fan than I am, she always gets worked by selling. I hear "I think he's really hurt..." almost every week. .

Did you see posts about it in here or the TNT ad blitz?

Jordan7hm posted:

I get why other promotions might do it. Like the NWA reboot made sense as a lower budget product hoping to make money on streaming and merch and some PPV shows. I don't get why you'd put serious money behind it (at least enough to convince guys to turn down WWE on big deals) without already having something in place though. This company felt big budget.

I'm just saying that the people who hired Hulk Hogan to be the figurehead of a company and lost millions filming a run of TV shows with no network don't understand this concept!

Or the company that hired Macho Man to be their head of creative and then had a falling out with him before he ever booked a show.

None of them had AEW money behind them, (although TNA did and it almost killed Jerry Jarrett, literally) but they spent a lot of it assuming that they didn't need TV or that TV would come knocking at their door. So it's funny you posted that because it's completely logical but there was a long line of people who decided they'd lose millions because they didn't like logic.

Eat My Fuc
May 29, 2007

Qu'ils mangent de la baise!


1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?

Sometime after All In but shortly before the press conference deal they did to announce it.

2. When did you first believe it was happening?

When they announced the TV deal I really started to pay attention because that was the one thing no other company had in years consistent teleivison.

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?

I was excited because of who was involved. I loved Page, Kenny, Lucha Bros, and the Strong Hearts stuff sounded exciting too. I expected it to be a sports style presentation like New Japan, with perhaps some of the innovations of the cinematic Lucha Underground style.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?

I did not, but I was quickly proven wrong. I knew when they signed with TNT it'd be interesting and probably a good thing.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?

I mentioned above what I expected and it really hasn't been that. It's basically been a much better, more consistent WWE style of show but with better wrestling on average. I love the unscripted nature of the promos most of the time, but I wish they'd do more to set themselves apart besides just being better than RAW/NXT

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?

It's better in a lot of ways, slightly disappointing in others. They've got a long way ahead of them but I'm confident they'll be around to give it a shot for a long time.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?

It's given me more good stuff to watch and look forward to, but it hasn't effected how I watch other promotions or enjoy them.

Nostradingus
Jul 13, 2009



MassRafTer posted:

Did you see posts about it in here or the TNT ad blitz?

It was a TV ad. I didn't have cable at the time, just happened to be watching TV in a hotel a few days before the first episode.

hunnert car pileup
Oct 28, 2007

the first world was a mistake



1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?
When Meltzer first brought up the trademark filings in the WON, which I believe was around November '18.

2. When did you first believe it was happening?
Probably when the TV deal was announced in May '19. Basically had a "believe it when I see it" approach and barely even thought about it before then.

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?
Didn't think a whole lot about it as noted until DoN. Bought the show and very much enjoyed it, but really freaked out when Moxley appeared. I listened to the WOR recap the next morning while sitting in the stands waiting for the Indy 500 to start, and Dave/Bryan's enthusiasm really made me think they just might onto be something special.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?
Yes, but probably a rather crappy one. I definitely remember the rumor that they had a time buy deal that was shut down quickly.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?
I was expecting a bit more Americanized and stat heavy NJPW, considering their emphasis on advanced stats and the like.

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?
Way, way better. Hasn't been perfect and there have been a few bad misses (like that Riho/Statlander match, and I found pre-Brodie Dark Order to be just embarrassingly bad), but they've done a magnificent job of creating an energetic show with a great balance of wrestling and entertainment-based stuff. They've done a super job of getting me to care about wrestlers I barely knew at all (Darby, Will Hobbs), getting me to enjoy people I've watched for years and never given a poo poo about (Cody), making some IMO rather bland wrestlers genuinely entertaining/intriguing (Britt Baker, Hangman), and rehabbing poo poo I genuinely hated (Dark Order).

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?
I was fortunate enough to go to the first All Out and to the Dynamite in Indy and had a total blast at both of them. It's the only show I make a point to watch live as much as possible. Haven't watched WWE since 2016 or NXT since after WM in 2018, and as much as I love NJPW and other promotions I seldom watch live unless they're big events.

Ringo Roadagain
Mar 27, 2010


1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?
cant remember. probably when it started being discussed here.

2. When did you first believe it was happening?
same as above

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?
indifference. I hadn't bothered to watch any of the cody/bucks/omega produced shows. I enjoy matches they are in but was never huge fans of any of them.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?
yeah. worse companies with less backing had tv deals. probably didn't think it would be good until it was announced that it would be tnt.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?
Good matches but a BTE-esque narrative (which would be a negative for me). The matches are good like I expected but the stories and characters are much better than I was expecting. Not like Im a BTE expert. I dont care for it, except the Dark Order stuff because I love the Dark Order. So maybe the story telling on dynamite is like BTE and Im just an idiot. But I find buck stuff on BTE sort of lame but I find little if anything on Dynamite lame.

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?
Way better. I had no plans of watching it weekly before it began airing. Figured I'd watch the first few episodes to see what it was like then even if it was good that I'd probably end up losing interest. I really dont watch much television. Most wrestling I watch is through the internet. Before AEW, it was just UFC events I'd watch. Now it's UFC events and Dynamite every week. Its nice having something to watch for two hours once a week.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?
I hadn't watched any weekly wrestling regularly since like 2015 so yeah. I'd try and watch WWE to get back into it but it was always an unpleasant experience. Just like I said above, it's nice to have a wrestling show I can look forward to watching every week, as like part of a schedule. Also I dont fear people walking in on me watching it like I would with WWE which is also a positive.

JOHN CENA
Oct 20, 2006


JOHN CENA posted:

fantasy booking here, but i'd imagine the card to look similar to the first all in event, since it's kind of a sequel.


young bucks vs lucha bros if they can get out of their contract as main event
jericho vs omega 2 since it was built to at All In (granted they were building for the cruise but this can still be used to further that story)
pac vs hangman
janela vs mjf
an owe showcase multi guy match

this feels like a great skeleton for a show designed to get eyes.

the only downside is i dont know where you really program cody and he's gonna be a feature guy that the majority of fans wanna see in a major match.

for the record i had no scoops or anything and these were wild guesses and the vegas presser hadn't happened yet

JOHN CENA posted:

i also have to imagine that rick knox and excalibur are gettin jobs out of this.

JOHN CENA posted:

i think it'd start in october once smackdown is off that time slot but who knows. i would also expect as a retaliatory measure wwe to start putting NXT on fs1 in the same slot.


all elite oracle.


also i really really wanted to see leonard fournette get in the ring for some reason.

JOHN CENA posted:

not angelo though.

sad i was right about this he deserves a shot, or at least bobby cruise.

Lid
Feb 18, 2005

Cabana's legal advice?
I'm bourgeoisie.
I... hit the shitty
firemans carry knee.






quote:

WWE is proof that even the best roster on the planet cannot make a goof show if the people up top gently caress it up, conversely New Japan shows you can have deadweight on your roster and still be the best promotion in the world, stop getting like omg no PAC this is the worst thing ever, and Shawn Spears whaaaaat.

Companies need booking, and hell they need jobbers and mid carders and lower carders, you do not want a roster of just main events because then no one can be elevated. It would be like going back to WCW and saying "cut Disco Inferno, cut La Parka, cut Rick Martel"

I was going to make this worse by noting people who were midcarders there to elevate - such as Regal and Finlay but people would retroactively be those guys are legends. Yeah they're legends and top workers but they weren't slotted in the main event and for good reasons.

So yeah PAC's not coming, whatever, lets see how the actual show comes together because if I can grit my teeth through Bad Luck Fale and BUSHI and Toa Henare and YOSHI-HASHI then you can get by that one guy can't make it.

Good work 18 month ago me

Rarity
Oct 21, 2010

Excuse me, I'd like to
speak to the moderator




Lid posted:

Good work 18 month ago me

Look at this guy talking poo poo about Henare and YOSHI-HASHI

StarkRavingMad
Sep 27, 2001





Yams Fan

1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?

Some reddit thread, I don't remember exactly when, but at that stage it was just the rumor from some dirt sheet that Bigtime Rich Man Shad Khan was in talk with the Bucks, Jericho, and JR about starting a promotion. Of course, that post was laughed off of reddit and people were even calling for that source to be banned because CLEARLY the whole thing was bullshit, there was no way Jericho would ever dare to go against Vince and no one was going to start a big new promotion.

2. When did you first believe it was happening?

As soon as I saw that rumor. I was at All In and saw that big passionate speech they gave afterward about "Do you want more PRO WRESTLING" and that the whole group was going to stick together, and so I was immediately thinking "oh, this is what they were envisioning."

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?

I was hyped for it. I thought if the rumor were true, this was essentially a once in a lifetime chance for something to be a real weekly televised alternative to WWE. You think of everything that had to come together for it to work: a billionaire willing to put money in at the same time as a a whole group of wrestlers came free of contract who had fairly good mainstream buzz, at the same time as an established WWE name (Jericho) was disgruntled and looking to jump, at the same time as WWE was in a creative/ratings downswing. Basically I thought if this didn't at least survive, nothing ever would, and we were doomed to have WWE be the dominant force forever. I was glad something else major at least came along to make an attempt in my lifetime.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?

I thought they would get a deal, but I was expecting something like SciFi or Spike or whatever. I sure wasn't expecting TNT. As soon as I heard the rumors about TNT, then I thought it was going to be a good deal. Like, even if the first year was a no-money deal, it still would have a chance at real widespread exposure.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?

I expected the in-ring to be very good. The things I was worried about were the product's ability to get additional good talent outside of the Elite and their close friends (since WWE had snapped up everyone in previous years), and the creative. I knew people would be ready to talk poo poo about it just being a vanity project for the Elite if they started out on top, but on the other hand, I didn't know if they had the ability to get or make other new stars. I also expected there to be a lot of NJPW crossovers.

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?

Much better! I expected it to be good, but in my opinion it has been outstanding. In particular, they've shown a real willingness to listen to the fans and pivot when something isn't working, which is something Cody talked about early on but also something I don't really ever expect a wrestling company to follow through on. While I was expecting the in-ring action to be good, they've had a bunch of actual PPV quality matches on regular tv. And even though not every single little thing they do is a hit, at least the show is exciting and interesting almost all of the time and not filled with a bunch of fluff or guys sitting around in restholds for heat for half the match.

I've also been pleasantly surprised by the positive reactions it has gotten from other people and the ratings it has gotten. I was very ready for the WWE shills/stans to constantly poo poo on everything it did all over social media and message boards, which can cause a kind of feedback loop of even people who don't have the WWE brainworms not being willing to give it a fair chance. And while there has been some of that, there's enough positive support and good reviews counterbalancing that it feels like it has a chance to keep growing.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?

Not really. It's given me a regular Wednesday night thing to watch again, but it wasn't some major change in how I was approaching wrestling. I had already stopped watching WWE for a few years, I was watching NJPW and also Lucha Underground on Wednesdays back when it was around. So, I was already into alternatives to WWE.

Vince MechMahon
Jan 1, 2008



1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?

I had been a Bullet Club guy for years, and following the Elite, so ever since the first rumours.

2. When did you first believe it was happening?

Day one. All In had already happened, and I just felt it in my bones this was gonna happen somehow. I never once believed that Kenny or the Bucks would go to WWE either.

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?

I was excited, but cautious. I wanted it to be great, but it was still unproven people going against a giant.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?

I figured they would get SOMETHING, but never in a million years did I think it would be prime time on TNT. I thought something closer to TNA than that, and was blown away by how good it was when announced.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?

I thought it would be work rate stuff mostly, maybe a slightly more American version of NJPW. It's definitely still a promotion built on great matches, but I'm still amazed how good their storylines are, and how many different styles they do every single show.

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?

Much better.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?

I was pretty much lapsed. I did big NJPW shows, I went to ROH when they came to town, and would check in on WWE around Rumble and mania time. And before Daniel Bryan's rise, I hadn't even done that in years.

I now watch at least two wrestling shows every week and buy ppvs. They got me back. And all it took was like... Being good.

Adaptabullshit
Oct 24, 2012



1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?
Around the time the first reports of Jericho and JR

2. When did you first believe it was happening?
I already had a gist that something was up during All In, but as the rumours started rolling in and reports of Bucks starting something new, I started to believe

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?
I was excited. A new product, all new wrestlers

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?
TNT was a surprise, expected a smaller channel to take them. I was on board day 1 they announced it.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?
I didn't expect much, I just wanted to see good wrestling

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?
Both. It's not the workrate fest I wanted, but Im getting a solid entertainment based product with good upcoming talent.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?
It has. No longer weekly disappointments, more of a "cool let's see how this goes forward" feel after each episode.

flashy_mcflash
Feb 7, 2011



Ultra Carp

1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?

I suppose around the end of 2018. I'm not a scoopsman so whenever Big Dave started reporting on it.

2. When did you first believe it was happening?

The release of the logo. I know anyone can photoshop up a logo but for some reason that's the point where I thought it'd be a real thing.

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?

I was skeptical, to say the least. I figured they'd do a few PPV's and either run out of money or WWE would squash them by signing away all their key guys or some other fuckery.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?

Not remotely. Watching other orgs try and fail to get deals, I thought maaaybe something on WGN as a ceiling. To be honest, I didn't think really allow myself to think it was a good deal until that renewal outta nowhere.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?

I based my expectations on All In, a kind of indie invitational variety show with stars from various companies, and that's pretty much what we have. I feel like I was expecting more of a stats/metrics element than we have with just the rankings, but I'm not mad about it because math is for nerds and I just want to see someone go through a light tube or four and not sit there watching wrestling with a calculator.

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?

Better, in most ways. Representation in media has always been really important to me and I had high expectations that AEW would be a platform for women and POC wrestlers to showcase themselves without turning into some septugenarian's stereotype, and after some hiccups I think they're finally close to that point. They need to ditch or completely reform that AEW Heels branding though. Woof.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?

When AEW started I was pretty much just watching NXT on a weekly basis and PPV's. I didn't even look forward to most of them, it was just habit. But I actually like and engage more with Dynamite and even the ancillary programming like BTE and A Shot of Brandi, which isn't a way I've consumed any wrestling product in well over a decade.

I am fuckin aching for them to come to Toronto, though. Being able to see wrestling live is integral to my enjoyment of a product and that's the only piece missing for me. That and throwing the AEW Heels branding into a bottomless pit.

Huntman
Apr 22, 2010

ANXIOUS MILLENNIAL COWBOY



1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?

Pretty sure I was on the ground floor when all the rumors started up on Reddit, so I guess around October. I remember seeing Jericho and JR involved in something, but didn't think much of it at the time.

2. When did you first believe it was happening?

Probably when Tony Khan's name started appearing in the rumors and it went from being "Yeah right, sure he is" to "Okay, he actually is involved". Once I found out he was a huge wrestling nerd, I figured that something was going to happen.

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?

I was stoked. If it wasn't for Daniel Bryan's return, I wouldn't have been watching WWE, but I was and it was a grind that was wearing me down, so hearing that there could be a new promotion that was even monthly featuring guys I loved in The Elite, I was sold. I figured that it was going to be a semi-indie like ROH is.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?

I think I always figured they were going to get on TV, but I just wasn't sure what kind of deal. Or some kind of internet exclusive streaming thing like IWTV or Fite.tv. But when the rumors about TNT started, I completely bought into them. I didn't see why they couldn't get a good TV deal with Tony Khan backing them, even if they had to pay for a slot.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?

I can't remember exactly what I thought it was going to be, but I figured most likely some mixture of ROH and NJPW, maybe a dash of intense workrate like PWG. And I think it has fit that criteria in more ways than I thought. Especially in regards to having a lot of tag matches like a Road-To show and having them matter even if the two teams aren't going for the belts. I think the only thing I hadn't thought about was Cody bringing wrasslin' influence to the table. We got dog collar and cage grudge matches, loaded wrestling accessories, Cody blading all the time like his dad. The only thing we're missing, unless I'm forgetting about it, is someone using a cast like Bob Orton.

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?

A lot better. I had a feeling it was going to be good, but I just kind of assumed only the wrestling would be really good. They've told some incredible stories and some incredible promos have been cut. Dustin vs. Cody was a match that just left me in awe. I'm sure a wrestling match has made me emotional before, but that just sticks out so vividly in my head. "I need my older brother" is going to be seared into my brain forever. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?

Absolutely. Like I said above, WWE was grinding down on me. PROGRESS was dead to me by then and PWG wasn't as exciting for me anymore. NJPW kept my love for wrestling going, but when it wasn't tournament season, it was a bit more quiet and obviously once late November/December hit with the World Tag League, I was completely checked out until WK. I had watched a bunch of indie shows that Mania week in 2018, but once AEW really got going and I saw Joey Janela at the press conference, I really dove into GCW and got back into indies.

And obviously, having a weekly show that I look forward to watching vs. a weekly show that feels like a job to watch is a blessing. Even a bad episode of Dynamite is better than anything about RAW or SmackDown and it's better than the watered down version of NXT that gets pumped out now. It's a sentiment shared by many, but having a show I don't feel embarrassed watching with non-fans rules. My best friend is a lapsed fan, but I've gotten him into AEW a bit with Luchasaurus and Darby Allin. Whenever I visit my folks, I'd occasionally throw on a show if I missed it during the week and my dad likes Darby Allin, PAC, and Orange Cassidy.

I wasn't really into BTE, but now I look forward to it every Monday. I don't watch it all the time, but I love popping on AEW Dark in the background like when I was a kid getting excited to watch Velocity or Heat on the weekends even if it was just jobber matches, it's a chance to see someone new. I didn't get to experience the peaks of WCW or WWF and WWE has never really had a moment where it felt like must-watch TV for me. The reinvention of NXT and the start of TakeOvers probably comes close, but even that was on a smaller stage. AEW just makes me excited for everything.

Saul Goode
Feb 20, 2011

Great, now I'm gonna have that stuck in my head all day

I don't remember when or how I first heard about AEW but my first exposure was the first Casino Battle Royal on the DoN pre-show... and it was the worst possible way to introduce the product. There were Glacier, Billy Gunn and Tommy Dreamer doing the aging legends thing, some really indy-looking geeks with bad physiques, WWE castoff Shawn Spears, a couple of guys who looked like they might have potential in MJF and Luchasaurus, but the whole thing was clearly built around Adam Page and at that point without knowing anything about him he just got dragged down by those around him. They were hyping up the main event between Omega and Jericho for one half of the first ever title match, which sounded awesome, but then you had these 21 jobbers fighting it out for the second spot. I still can't wrap my head around who or what Sunny Daze was supposed to be, and they basically presented him as a possible title contender in their first ever match.

Still... I kept following online and kept hearing all the hype, so gave them another chance and bought my first PPV in about 10 years with All Out. That was a killer PPV and got me hooked.

I didn't know what to expect from Dynamite but I was just hoping for a show that had compelling storylines, rewarded viewers for watching, featured a range of different styles of wrestling, didn't focus on glory hogs or people with creative control, and could be a properly adult-orientated wrestling show for the current generation. It's delivered on all of those in spades. I never thought I'd enjoy watching a jobber squash show again but Dark has been fantastic as well.

The other thing I love about AEW is how there has been a logical narrative for each of the titleholders, everyone's reign has meant something and told a unique story. I hated SCU winning the tag titles ahead of the Lucha Brothers at the time, but those results have meant something in the greater scheme of things, they get referenced in promos and hype packages and form the basis for ongoing storylines... it just makes sense.

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Cerebral Bore
Apr 21, 2010



Fun Shoe

1. When did you first hear about what would become AEW?

I first heard about it right here, actually, as this is basically the only place I go to for wrestling discussion and hot scoops. The talk started sometime in fall 2018 as I recall.

2. When did you first believe it was happening?

I believed that something was happening straight away, mostly because WWE was already so loving dire and all alternatives were tiny and insignificant that there had to be some kind of opening.

3. What was your reaction and what did you think it would be like?

Cautious optimism, but I was expecting something more like a smaller touring promotion basically working as an American NJPW.

4. Did you believe they would get a TV deal at first? When did you start to believe it would be a good deal?

When I heard that there was a guy with real money behind it I started thinking that they would get on TV, as a vanity thing of nothing else. When the TNT rumors started popping up and IIRC Jericho started hyping up what a great deal they got I started thinking it would be big.

5. What was your first guess of what the product would be like? Has it been anything close to what you expected?

As I said, US New Japan lite. And no, instead it was Sports Entertainment but done right.

6. Is it better or worse than you expected?

A lot better. I got into wrestling via New Japan, gave WWE a quick try before quitting in disgust and again was expecting a weaker variant of NJPW but instead got something different but great.

7. Has AEW changed how you watch/enjoy wrestling?

Well, it's given me a couple of weekly things to look forward to, so definitely.

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