Posts Tagged ‘Comparisons’

The Monday Night War was the greatest boom period in modern pro wrestling history. The war went back and forth from 1995-2001, when Vince McMahon finally purchased WCW. With the announcement of AEW airing on TNT, it has led many to think another battle is upon us.

One WWE Hall of Famer is looking forward to the ‘war’. Booker T, speaking on his “Hall of Fame” podcast with Brad Gilmore, feels that AEW can try and compete with WWE, but he doesn’t think that is a route the organization wants to go. 

“One thing about companies out there right now is they can bring it if they want to go that route,” Booker stated. “I don’t think they want to go that route. I think they want to carve their own niche and stay in their own lane and do their own thing. That would be the smart thing to do because WWE has the most talent in the world. We got everyone on the roster and it wouldn’t be that hard to flip the script and go a different route. The Ricochet’s, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Kingston, those guys can really go. You sit back and say do we really want to let them loose that is the question.”

Booker T worked for WCW during the war before signing with WWE. During that time, WCW beat WWE for 83 weeks in a row in the Monday night ratings. He also worked for Impact Wrestling and competed against WWE again, a fact not lost on the two-time Hall of Famer. 

“I was a part of it when that happened with WCW, during the 83-week run and it was good. But, I’m going to tell you those horses back in WWF(E) started running and I must give to Triple H and those guys man,” Booker explained. “We would be watching it on a monitor and those guys would be blood, sweat and tears man, they were going all out. Me personally, I would love to see the war come back if that’s what we gotta do then that’s what we gotta do man.”

Many have wondered how TNT would use the wrestling product. Many have pointed to the AOL/Time-Warner merger as a reason WCW failed.

“It’s not something they are unfamiliar with, they know what they are going to get out of professional wrestling,” Booker said. “They don’t know what they are going to get out of this product, but they are willing to move in and see if this AEW can bring something new and totally fresh to the table. So many people want to see exactly what’s going on.”

For many pro wrestling fans, competition is something that has made WWE product stale. However, with AEW’s debut event coming up this Saturday and a TV deal already inked, an alternative is on the way. 

“I’ve been listening to a lot of talks saying wrestling is back. If that’s the case man, it’s going to step up everyone’s game everywhere. Everyone is going to have to start thinking in a different direction,” Booker advised. “It’s always going to be sports entertainment. But for me, at the end of the day, the payoff was always going out there and giving it to these guys right in the middle of the squared circle. Giving these guys a moment that they are going to remember for the rest of their lives. I’m talking about a moment that is frozen in time, in their minds because it was something they have never seen before in their lives. That’s what wrestling was and hopefully, that’s what wrestling always will be. Hopefully, the bar will be raised in the weeks and months to come.”

AEW detractors have said they are a long way from being real competition. Regardless, Booker T feels like WWE is ready for the competition and the battle.

“It’s not a competition or anything like that,” Booker stated. “But from a wrestling perspective I know when I was in WCW and I was watching WWF/E, I wanted to be better than those guys. I wanted to know if I could compete with those guys, I wanted to know exactly how good I was. That is where we are right now, the guys are going to have to think totally different as far as How do I make the fans come out here and cheer my name, how do I make the fans think of me as an entity. The this is awesome chant is out the window. Wrestling is back. The war is on and I’m looking forward to seeing exactly what happens with it but from the outside.”

Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t do much winning over his five years with the New York Giants, playing in one postseason game during that span.

The star wideout has yet to play a game for the Cleveland Browns following an offseason trade, but he intends to make the team a perennial powerhouse.

“I plan on being there for the next five years and trying to bring as many championships there as possible, turning (the Browns) into the new Patriots,” Beckham said in an interview with GQ’s Cam Wolf.

Beckham regards his new quarterback, Baker Mayfield, as a future Hall of Famer, and Cleveland’s talent has reinvigorated him.

Most of all, he’s just happy to be out of New York after years of trade rumors. “It just became not the right fit,” he said. 

Now Beckham says he’s “probably the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.”

On the latest Busted Open, WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry continued to praise the work of Sami Zayn. Zayn returned last month after double rotator cuff surgery that kept him out of action for 10 months. Previously on Busted Open, Henry believed Zayn would be a “major player” for the company in the next six months. 

Heny has since doubled down on Zayn, saying he’s the best promo in wrestling today as Zayn continues to call out the fans for their lofty expectations and demands of wrestlers.

“I listen to Sami’s banter and the people are now sitting and listening like they’re in church,” Henry said. “They’re not a wrestling audience, they’re an audience. And they’re listening to him, and they’re learning from him, and he is the best promo in wrestling today. There’s no one close. Sami is giving an opinion that is so polarizing that you have to sit there and listen, even if you disagree.

“People are sitting and they’re not clapping, they’re not booing and hissing unless he prompts them to. They’re sitting there like, ‘Wow, he’s right.’ He’s like, ‘You point your fingers at me and wrestling, and you expect us to kowtow to every little thing that you do. And when somebody says no, you pout.’ Sami is bringing these points that nobody is talking about. Like when he says those things, that’s not everybody, you can’t generalize a stadium full of 20,000 people, but it hits home to a bunch of them. The things that he’s saying is hitting home and people are sitting there—you can tell who he is affecting. 

“Because the people who are wrestling fans feel uncomfortable, and I love it. That’s the entertaining side of what he’s doing and I hope he continues to do that, but more than anything, you cannot put Sami Zayn in the ring with a babyface because I feel he is a babyface. You have got to put a polarizing heel in a situation with Sami Zayn.” 

Henry even drew a comparison to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s promos as he sees Zayn is out for himself (not the fans), much like Austin was. 

“Sami is doing Steve Austin type promos,” Henry continued. “Steve Austin was not going to the ring trying to make the fans feel good. Steve Austin was about Steve Austin, Sami Zayn is about Sami Zayn. He’s going to get his point across and you’re going to listen. I think it’s the most interesting thing on television right now. We have guys with titles, we have Shake-Ups, the women’s movement, and the thing that moves me the most is Sami Zayn’s promos because they’re real. 

“Not only are they real, the crowd is starting to understand that Sami is not just your atypical wrestler, he is something more than that. And now it’s time to put the machine behind him and let him ride because it is interesting as hell.”

Gail Kim had her battles with WWE in the past as she twice departed the company on not the best terms. Thus, she can somewhat relate to an unhappy Sasha Banks who reportedly wants to sit out until her WWE contract expires.

“I’m always on the talent side,” Kim said on the WINCLY podcast. “I’ve been in a similar position but not that amount of time left on the contract. I quit with seven weeks left on my contract and they didn’t even want to let me out of that seven weeks.”

Kim then questioned WWE’s logic on not seeing her as a big-time talent, but also not wanting her to leave for another promotion.

“If I wasn’t a valuable talent to them, it doesn’t even matter if I jump to another wrestling company. Because who was I to you? Nothing, right? I just thought it was a major control issue within them. I think the employees that are unhappy should be let out of their contracts,” stated Kim.

Kim then brought up Brock Lesnar winning his non-compete case against WWE after his first departure when he tried out for the NFL. Even though wrestlers are independent contractors, Kim is happy to see wrestlers come out on the winning end in contract battles.

“I will always stand by the talent’s side on that,” said Kim.

We’re less than one month away from AEW’s first official event, Double or Nothing. The startup promotion is still going through its growth phase and that means adding new talent to the roster.

Cody joined Jim Ross on The Ross Report to talk about the new guys and girls who will fill out the AEW roster.

“I know from a talent number we are nearing 40 talents under a certain type of contract with us. So, there is more talent than a lot of people know, because you know, slow and steady on our road to Double or Nothing on May 25th ,” said Cody. “We don’t want to just put a splash page down on everybody. We want you to slowly learn about them. That is the biggest thing for me; the road to Double or Nothing series that I put on the Nightmare Family YouTube channel, where we also announced your [Jim Ross] arrival. And even those that know you [Jim Ross] so well for so many years I still wanted to treat it like it is everyone’s first day, and tell me who this is, which is especially helpful to the guys with these younger guys. 

While Cody is no Vince McMahon in terms of being fascinated with wrestlers’ physiques, he did reveal that those in charge at AEW went on a “hoss hunt.” They are looking for wrestlers 6’2″ and above who can turn heads with their looks and also perform in the ring.

“We went on this big hoss hunt and we want to find some big boys,” stated Cody. “You can’t replace that if that makes any sense? If you see one of those guys or girls that walk by an airport that makes you turn your head, that is still a part of wrestling – that going to the circus scene and you look at them and say, ‘damn, what do you do?’ I believe that is going to help us. We have a young and light-heavyweight roster, but to add that buffet to big, bigger, I want it all.”

Even though many of Cody’s friends such as The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega hold executive positions, that doesn’t mean all of his friends are going to just be given jobs. He talked about having to say no to many of his friends who came knocking on his door.

“I don’t know if I had a hard time to say no as much as I have been able to say that the door is unlocked, but it’s kind of up to them to kick the door down,” admitted Cody. “The best example of all that is when I left WWE, I did that full year before I fully signed on for one year with Ring of Honor. I did a full year of every indie under the sun. The best one, the worst one, the most niche one, the most mom and pop, I did all of that. That is the type of thing that kind of thing that helped me gravitate towards Matt and Nick Jackson and getting into New Japan and the first Tokyo Dome show I did and things of that nature.”

Cody didn’t just rest on his laurels or his family connections to get where he is today, he worked his tail off. He wants the same from AEW talent and, in a way, he echoes Vince McMahon in that he wants prospective AEW talent to grab the brass ring.

“People know what opportunities exist and it all lies on putting in the work,” said Cody. “You have to put in the work, and I swear by that. My wife is the same way. In this era of entertainment in general; content is king. It’s no longer, ‘oh this great show is coming on and has a great marketing appeal, and it’s all marketing.’ Now the sizzle and the substance have to match otherwise you get a big drop-off and we want our sizzle and substance to match. To answer your question, it hasn’t been hard to say no because most people know to not ask unless they are out there doing the work. It hasn’t been hard for me yet.”

Along the lines of his gimmick, AEW strives for only elite talent. Thus, Cody says that many current WWE performers wouldn’t even be accepted into AEW.

“Honestly, I’ve kind of jokingly said that it is five percent and I’m talking Jim Ross, Cody Rhodes and Chris Jericho, maybe a few others,” Cody replied on the percentage of WWE talent that would be accepted in AEW. “It’s not the same. Having that equity with WWE is wonderful, but like I have been talking, you have to be able to cut it and meet the standard that people have into their bell-to-bell contest. That number may increase, being that this opportunity that exists for the boys and girls to make more money, whether here [AEW] or there [WWE], for the boys and girls to have options. That number may increase. 

“If they can play, they are going to play, but right now the recruitment was more about…I use the term ‘Tier 1.’ It was more about freshness, if that makes sense. I want to build a new class of guys. I have been there before where nobody has my back, nobody is my ally, and I don’t want to get into sour grapes over it but I know that it is one of the things that I look forward to the most once we really get into the schedule is the fact that these fresh faces…take Darby Allin for example who was just announced. I don’t want them to feel like they were set up and that was it. I want them to feel that they were set up to win and set up to succeed and then they went out there and hit it out of the park, so yeah.

“WWE at the moment I would say five percent at the current makeup, and that may increase. But right now there are a lot of faces you have never seen, and a lot of people you would be surprised once you do see them.”

Eli Manning might not have to worry about his job security for the foreseeable future after all.

After the completion of the 2019 draft’s first round, New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman called the sixth overall pick, Daniel Jones, a “franchise quarterback” but suggested the former Duke standout might not see an NFL field for a long time.

“We may be the Green Bay model where (Aaron) Rodgers sat for three years,” Gettleman said, according to Kimberly Jones of NFL Network.

While the Packers successfully developed Rodgers behind Brett Favre, it’s become increasingly rare for first-round quarterbacks to ride the bench. Patrick Mahomes is the most recent exception, sitting one year behind Alex Smith before bursting onto the scene last season.

With quarterbacks on rookie deals widely considered the most valuable resource in the league, it’s difficult for teams to justify wasting a young passer’s cheap years.

Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said he spoke to Manning about the Jones pick, and told him “it’s your job to keep this guy off the field.”

Although the two-time Super Bowl winner has only one year remaining on his current deal, Gettleman has been a staunch defender of his veteran quarterback and believes Manning has years left in the tank despite a poor 2018 season.

Gettleman hasn’t been shy about making unpopular moves since arriving in New York and had a message for Giants fans who were upset by the Jones pick.

“In time you’ll be pleased,” Gettleman said, according to the NY Post’s Paul Schwartz.

All Elite Wrestling was destined to be dogged by unwanted WCW comparisons from the moment the promotion was first announced, but company President Tony Khan is having none of it.

The 36-year-old has shot this talk down in a new interview with Chris Van Vliet, claiming that he “doesn’t want to compare us to any other wrestling company. We’re AEW and we’re doing something very different,” he added, noting that their goal is to “bring people back to 20 years ago,” and to provide “a major alternative,” and “a second company with great production values and great exposure.”

The interview also saw him touch on AEW’s rumoured TV deal, noting that negotiations are still very much underway, though they aren’t ready to make an announcement yet.

Per Khan, his five-year AEW business plan will see the promotion “build up a brand, build up a roster, and establish ourselves as a top brand in wrestling for people who want fast-paced, excited action and more of a sport-based product.” He also stated that he won’t have any kind of on-air role with the promotion, and that AEW will run a wrestler-friendly schedule rather than forcing performers to spend 5-6 days a week on the road.