THE CASUAL SHEEP – 09.20.2019: Listen to the Leader

By Goose Mahler, Columnist

Mark MahlerI feel like wrestling is a broken record lately.

I came home from work to read ‘so-and-so’ from AEW said this about the WWE or NXT. The WWE retaliated by mocking said wrestler. AEW has a commercial in the middle of NXT, oh there was another during Raw and one during Smackdown…

Great. Anyone watching TNT right now and seeing the WWE video game ads? How about the fact the WWE just got more time on Fox prime time with Braun Strowman being shown in the middle of the Cubs and Cards game at Wrigley Field? 

Wrestling fans all over are picking sides. Are you team AEW or team WWE? Picking a side is everyone’s prerogative. My problem with this is aside from a couple PPV’s what makes people think AEW is going to be better than the WWE? How about why they think it is going to be better than Impact vs the World? Is there a reason ROH should fear it? Should NJPW fear the almighty AEW? We don’t know until they get on TV and we see what kind of format they are going to provide wrestling fans. Same with Impact when they come back to AXS. Open mind people. 

cody-rhodes-3I’ve been critical of some things AEW has said and I’ve been super critical of the lack of creative that the WWE has shown (Read Ratings killers, hell read any Casual Sheep, I’m not nice to VKM). However, neither show right now lines up as the perfect wrestling show in my humble opinion. Yet people are pointing out every little thing about what will make AEW better or why the WWE will blow away AEW. 

Who really cares at this point? The two programs NXT and AEW haven’t even been head to head yet and this is banter between certain people in each promotion is getting boring as hell. Sure, this back and forth makes for a quick water cooler debate, but how the hell do we judge something when it hasn’t been on TV yet? Is there a magic 8 ball that will tell us which show is better? 

Let me point a couple things out here folks. 

I stated a case before about Cody trying too hard to make sure he is taking pot shots at the WWE instead of promoting the talent he has at his disposal and why a WWE fans should jump over to AEW. To me that is a dangerous game. And he should know this game can backfire terribly if he knows his history of wrestling. Just ask Eric Bischoff how giving the results to the fans of RAW before it aired? Not bright at all. 

Concentrate on your end of what can make AEW a better show than the WWE. Tell fans why they NEED to tune into TNT every Wednesday night. Fans have been thirsting for wrestling competition and there is plenty coming our way. Tell me, in your best politician voice why AEW is where I want to be and what I want to watch. Don’t try to sell me it isn’t the WWE. No shit Sherlock, the WWE is the promotion that Vince McMahon seemingly want to singlehandedly bury himself with his stupid changes and wild card rules. 

Instead the pot shots make Cody and others look like former disgruntled WWE and NXT performers, which, let’s face it, HE IS and some ARE! He wanted something different, he wanted bigger and better challenges, he got it. Now tell us why we should listen to a guy that in some fans eye might be looked at as someone that took their ball and went home off the biggest wrestling stage there is! Don’t sledgehammer me, and expect me to jump ship because of pyro and smoke. 

kenny-omegaWhen Cody gets over this stigma of bashing the WWE more fans will listen to what he has to say, but I’m fearing his own ego won’t allow this to happen and that might doom him before AEW gets any type of momentum. And trust me there are people in his ear already telling him to tone down his negative vibe and make this bigger and better by proving it and not spewing venom. Right now, I’m not convinced he is listening or even wants to listen. 

Kenny Omega is arguably the best professional wrestler in the world. I defy anyone to convince me otherwise. He comes out and makes a pretty bold statement: 

“Let’s pretend there were no promotions. Let’s just pretend there’s just one big promotion. If these guys were in the same show as me, they’d be in the dark match. They’d be in the opening match of my main event match.”

This is directed at NXT wrestlers after their debut on USA this Wednesday. 

All I can say is WHY? Kenny, you have a roster of people that outside of die-hard fans no one really knows. You need to build people up and get fans to love or hate them. Casual fans like me who literally has never seen some of the wrestlers until the last couple PPV’s. And let me tell you something, your mid card wrestlers, SUCK. There be pissed at me, that is my opinion. They suck because no one knows them, no one understand a lot of their mystique and seriously AEW hasn’t given me a reason to care yet. 

Chris Jericho then was in an interview and said, “We have a lot of guys we need to build. They know Chris Jericho, they know Jim Ross, Jon Moxley, Dustin Rhodes and they might remember Cody, probably Cody. Other than that, there is really a new collection of guys. Of course, the wrestling fans hardcore know the Bucks and Kenny Omega, Pentagon and Fenix, but we now need to introduce them to a Nationwide audience and get them over one by one. You can’t put 40 new guys on TV and go here guys get over. We need to take out time to build everybody properly one by one.” 

This is correct, 100% and undeniably correct.

Look how often the WWE brings out a new talent with no backstory and the fans just don’t get it and the building goes silent? That happens to the best and worst of performers because the build wasn’t done like it could have or should have been and the push came without merit. That is the doom of a wrestler. Look at Lars Sullivan and The Fiend for wrong and right within the year. 

Jericho Black & WhiteAEW could easily be the next big thing with the talent they possess both on the men and women’s side of things. But they need to separate themselves from the WWE BS and show die hard WWE fans why they are a solid alternative. If all they can do is talk a good game and bad mouth the WWE talent and management then this is a battle already lost. You can’t win fans over by pissing them off in the worst possible way. My advice to AEW management comes right out of a Chris Jericho promo. 

“Will you please…Shut the Hell Up.” If you want your wrestling to do the talking, do it. For those that have seen Pentagon, Fenix, Omega and the Bucks, we know they are stars, they just need national exposure and they will be household names in the blink of an eye. If you want to win over fans, bust your asses night in and night out. Watch some replays of the cruiserweights in WCW, be showstoppers like they were and make sure you get the new blood talent over properly. 

From Jericho to Malenko to Benoit to Guererro to Misterio, they showed that they were the real stars of WCW when it came to the wrestling part. If Bischoff would have paid more attention to their matches and getting them over and not what was happening on Raw, WCW might still be alive and kicking. We would be talking about Nitro and Raw and AEW all going head to head to head. 

Instead AEW’s brass is unfortunately looking like they are too primed to repeat the sins of the past and not show what brightness they can bring to the future of wrestling. And that’s the biggest tragedy of all.



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