Welcome, and thanks for joining me! A couple of years ago, the planets looked to be aligning for a fantastic shift in the realm of pro-wrestling. Talk of a smashing new promotion with a television deal and “serious, sport-based wrestling” was on everyone’s lips. Finally, the modern wrestling fan’s life of “eating shit and learning to love the taste” was over. Or was it? Meet me here every Thursday to pick apart the actions of the daft, the dangerous, and the desperate in pro-wrestling… well, in AEW anyway.
It’s one thing for someone like me to shout all this common sense at AEW via the internet and TV screen, but AEW’s very own Jim Ross is a valuable asset to anyone with a wrestling company, and not only is he being ignored, but he’s also being insulted and disrespected. Although it may appear that I got all the “leave Brittney/Jim Ross alone” out of my system in my Putting it Bluntly: AEW Double or Nothing review, I’m here to say that couldn’t be any further from the truth.
This incident wasn’t the first time that sound advice (or even just someone’s opinion) was met with anger, resentment, and a temper tantrum. AEW – well, Tony Khan – has a habit of thinking he knows best and steaming ahead with whatever dense depiction of pro-wrestling his attention span can handle at the time. Having Dave Meltzer confirm and repeat everything $Mr. Khan$ tells him is a great way to set the rules yourself or to justify ignoring them altogether.
There are other guilty parties in the company that can’t stand being told they’re wrong. Matt and Nick, The Hardy Soyz/The Young Bucks, didn’t get the reaction they expected when presenting “the greatest tag match ever” the other year, and they responded to their critics by calling them all toxic and deactivating their Twitter account. If my memory serves me correctly, they even had their dad stick his fist in the air and tell us to leave his kiddies alone for good measure.
Cody Rhodes recently claimed he bounced his creative ideas around a large sample of people and that even focus groups were involved. When pressed about this issue, he changed his story and disclosed that it was, in fact, a small group of people that he’d consulted; no prizes given if you guess these people wouldn’t dream of saying “no” to Cody.
That just leaves us with one more of the AEW Executive Vice Presidents…
The thinnest skinned and loudest crier of AEW’s bunch of bubble-wrapped babies seems to be our embarrassing old friend, Kenny Omega. Having more belts than good ideas and holding the (outlaw) wrestling world on a stick isn’t enough for the fragile ego of little Kenny Cartman. It really is baffling how he and others can’t (or won’t) see why people with half a brain would grab him by the ear and toss him outside after five minutes of his company.
Everyone needs to flock to him and remind him how great he is on a regular basis. You’d better not get into a conversation about how good something is and not mention Kenny. So, whether it’s excessive finger-pointing, jazz-handing, wishing he was Sephiroth from Final Fantasy 7, or dressing women wrestlers up in cosplay outfits he enjoys, he’s number one!
In all seriousness, it’ll come as no surprise to most that I’m not the only detractor of Kenny Omega or AEW. Despite all the love-blind AEW fans (those who will accept any alternative to WWE as the holy grail of wrestling), a few have stuck their necks out to give some constructive criticism on what could be a premier promotion.
Jim Cornette is one of the most well-known loud-mouth managers of all time. Feared for his sharp tongue and snappy wit, he regularly gives AEW advice, even if they wouldn’t admit to taking it on board… eventually. It’s unclear if there was a genuine offer for JC to hop on the AEW train, but he made it very clear (after watching about an hour’s worth of it) that he wanted nothing to do with them at all.
With that said, it hasn’t stopped him from reviewing the AEW product on his podcast while giving legitimate advice. however, for those who struggle with grey areas, Cornette wrapping his guidance in his usual heelish, shocking, piss-taking manner doesn’t always help. To anyone with a black and white, borderline mentality, if you’re not saying, “Yes, you’re fantastic,” all that’s heard is “No, you’re shit!”
In a refreshing manner for many, Cornette spends hours per week picking apart Kenny and friends on their bullshit, often tearing them several new ones for their wretched presentation and lazy booking – much like here, I suppose, but in a different way, and from a different perspective.
Being canceled/fired from the revival of the NWA was no skin off his nose either. Whether it was the executive liar or the blue-haired mole playing identity politics, it wasn’t going to get JC to bend the knee to them.
Cornette has his own mail-order business to keep his mind occupied, he doesn’t need the distraction, and he certainly doesn’t need the money. He enjoys the luxury of speaking his mind without having an employer to keep happy. This drives some people up the wall!
A few members of the AEW roster have had exchanges with Cornette on Twitter, often in attempts to get a bit of spotlight shining on them, to which Cornette normally reiterates his point, calls them an idiot, and signs off with his signature “Thank you, fuck you, bye!”
Not everyone that tries to improve what should be the remedy to WWE has the security that he has, and sometimes advice is withheld for fear of backlash. But it doesn’t stay repressed forever, and AEW even has someone at their own commentary table that sprays knowledge everywhere, albeit indirectly and passive-aggressively, and not without ramifications or punishment.
Good ole JR, Jim Ross, signed a three-year deal as a commentator and senior advisor for AEW in 2019. Despite not being asked to give any classes or lectures to the newbies and talent with giant holes in their game, Ross does what comes naturally to him and offers his wisdom where and when he can, or he at least tries to.
Tony Khan and AEW wanted to emulate The WWE’s Attitude Era, and hearing Jim Ross (and Tony Schiavone) call the matches would be a great way to do that. The main problem is that people forget that JR is no Spring chicken, that he’s spent a large chunk of time learning and living in the world of wrestling. He knows what he knows, and there’s very little anyone can do about that.
Many are surprised that Ross, a senior, sometimes struggles with learning all the names of every indie wrestler that runs in for a week and leaves. Then there are all the modern (indie) names for old moves that he has to try and reprogram his brain to learn. Tony Khan’s curse of knowledge would notably strike and leave JR caught with his pants down on air when The Butcher and The Blade made their debut. Excalibur was the only one at the desk who knew the two men; JR and everyone else just looked on with their arms in the air.
This made Ugly Bob look like a useful member of the team in comparison, which, I suppose, is the main point. It smelled like some type of entrapment, in my opinion. How else are we supposed to take a talking head in a gimp mask seriously without making the competent commentators look worse than he does?
It seems JR can’t even agree with another wrestling legend in The Undertaker without getting hit by a toy being thrown from the pram. Here’s JR commenting on what Undertaker said about the modern crop of pro-wrestlers being too soft:
“Because they’re trained differently, they’re brought into the business differently, they’re not sitting in a car, they’re not making 25-40 bucks a night. It’s just a different ball game and Takers got a good point there.” -Grilling JR Podcast
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this statement. I assume people lashed out at JR because he’s less likely to laugh/scoff/bite than The Undertaker would. He’s not saying anyone is shit because of this change; it’s just an observation. Many will look at this and even agree with him, but instead of dealing with that, they respond with anger and fail to appreciate the opportunities they have. Can’t let that victim narrative slide for a moment!
I like to sing a little “passive aggression with Jim Ross” jingle every time JR spots something dumb and admits it on air while remaining relatively diplomatic, of course. If we’re not careful, “A wrestling match may break out” may be some of his greatest work. JR is fortunate enough to have his own podcast, for those other times he needed to get something off his chest.
“I told a kid the other day in AEW, I said ‘all you guys do the same f*cking spot, you go to the outside, you cluster up like quail you stand together friend and foe side-by-side so you can catch some leaping idiot going over the top who never wins with this move, they never gain an advantage with this move. You know the ‘holy sh*t’ chants is what got that going I think. They love to hear it, ‘holy sh*t, holy sh*t’ — ‘this is awesome.’ It’s a spot, folks, it’s a trapeze act.” -Grilling JR Podcast
Instead of stepping back, looking at the situation from a wider viewpoint, and admitting, “Yeah, you got us, that does look dumb,” talent on the roster took it as a personal attack and suggested JR found another way to criticize them… perhaps by just saying nothing at all.
At least not everyone in the AEW locker room has fluff between their ears.
Ross would more recently discuss who he felt was currently the best wrestler in the world. JR went with Randy Orton and instantly qualified his choice by acknowledging that many would say Kenny Omega instead since he’s the AEW champion. As with most emotional terrorists, this “yes” wasn’t as hard or as fast enough as expected from AEW’s echo chamber, and JR wasn’t allowed just to have his opinion. He would follow this up on his podcast.
“Apparently, people thought I was besmirching Kenny Omega…Nothing could be farther from the truth..How many times have I said to you (Conrad Thompson), ‘I can have many opinions to this question and have many answers.’…I don’t know how that could be such a big issue. I just don’t get it. I really don’t understand what the inflammation is regarding this topic that is so subjective. There’s no right or wrong answer. He’s the best in the world based on what? Arm drags? Drop toeholds? Money drawn? Major events headlined? Tenure? What is the criteria? TV ratings?
I don’t know what the criteria is for these things. Anybody that can debate me and tell me that Randy Orton is not one of the best in the world will have a hard time winning that argument. Anybody can debate me and say, ‘Well, I think Kenny Omega is.’ Well, you make a good point. I don’t have any problem with that. Kenny Omega is the AEW Champion. He’s a hell of a hand. There’s no doubt about it, but golly. People are so sensitive right now, but that’s the whole tone and tenor of social media.”
“I’m not so sure how great in some sense that social media is for pro wrestling today, because it’s one little blotch, one little missed word, one little missed move, and it becomes a major issue. It’s getting a little bit predictable first of all, but it’s getting a little bit tired, if you know what I’m saying.” – Grilling JR Podcast
As well as feeling compelled to say this, Jim Ross just about broke his neck during the Double of Nothing PPV, forcing some really over-the-top praise of Kenny Omega and the product in general. Not that there’s anything wrong with putting stuff over, but JR knows when and where to do it properly. There’s no need to make him look like this most of the night.
That’s the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. It’s one thing to flat-out ignore the advice given to you from someone that’s already been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt ten times. To give someone grief for their opinion that you’re not the greatest thing in the world is a shitty move, especially when you’re known for doing some of the most stupid things regarding bad wrestling.
All in all, there’s no excuse for people not to seek out the advice of their elders. Remembering that balance is key, Jim Ross obviously couldn’t deal with everyone and their dog lining up to ask his opinion while he’s trying to get stuff done.
Thankfully, there are other veterans backstage that would probably be glad to help, should people take the time to bend their ears. AEW also has Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Jake Roberts, Paul White, Mark Henry, Dustin Rhodes, Dean Malenko, Tazz, and Christian in its employ.
I would mention Matt Hardy and Chris Jericho, but they’re both far too interested in cosplaying as Randy Marsh: projecting being old and out of touch at others, being center stage, and showing the young ‘ens all the modern dance moves and fads they’ve learned. Their inconsistent stories, pot-bellies, and silver stubble aren’t fooling me.
Clinging to your youths a bit too hard there, chaps!
That does it for this week. Thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out Putting It Bluntly: AEW Double or Nothing on my YouTube channel. I’ll see you again Monday for #AnotherWeekOfWrestling and next Thursday for more #ThatsNotWrestling!
Background Artwork Designed by Rachael Hope.