As I watched Chris Jericho raise the AEW World Title, while Jim Ross praised his match and Justin Roberts announced our new Champ, the first thing I thought was, ‘Man, Impact Wrestling has really turned it around. Look at that crowd!’
Of course, I’m kidding. But you have to admit that was exactly the type of booking we used to get from TNA or Impact Wrestling. And somewhere I have to believe Vince McMahon was sitting in a tub full of $100.00 bills and laughing like a mad man. For all the shots taken at Bayley and Triple H, by Cody Rhodes, AEW still had to put WWE over. That’s how much Vince has monopolized this industry.
I will say right out that I love Chris Jericho. He is one of the few living legends that has not lost a step. His promos and in-ring skills are as crisp as ever. Having said that, shame on him for going along with this booking. I expected more from a guy who has made the last few years of his career, about putting over younger talent.
Putting the first AEW title on a 48-year-old who wrestles part-time was not a good look. Jericho, frankly, does not need to be the World Champ in order to be the face of AEW. This is a desperate move by the upstart, and likely an overreaction to WWE pitting NXT against them on Wednesday nights. But, have you noticed that Roman Reigns has not pinned Adam Cole for the NXT title? That’s because WWE has enough faith in that roster to not panic and put the face of their company up against AEW.
If this is a war AEW blinked.
It is plain to see this as safe and lazy booking. I am not watching another wrestling show to see the same lackluster booking that TNA and WWE has already presented us. If this is what AEW is bringing to TNT, I DON’T WANT IT.
I’m not saying Adam “Hangman” Page should have won, because, here’s the thing, there’s nothing special about him. If he was in the WWE he would be chasing R-Truth and Drake Maverick around. He’s a mid-carder. This guy has not gotten over. And if you watch the title match that is obvious by the crowd reaction. That’s not to say the match was not good, because it was a very good match. But Chris Jericho can wrestle an invisible broomstick and make it look competitive. That’s how good he is. And for the record Page not getting over could be a red flag for this company. Why?
Because the number one job a new wrestling promotion has is to create stars. And they have failed with Page. If they had done their job with him, then there would have been no other alternative but to give him the Championship, because the fans would have demanded it every time he spoke or wrestled. Even if they planned on Jericho they would have had to change plans. Page has gained nothing from his main event position in AEW. Maybe if Jericho had won the match by cheating, but that did not even happen. He hit him with the Judas Effect and that was it. Page simply was not better than this 50-year-old part-time rocker/part-time wrestler. So… what does that say about the rest of the AEW roster.? What it says is that you can expect WWE guys to trade that top title around.
And that’s exactly what you are getting at the next big AEW PPV Full Gear. You will see Cody Rhodes vs Chris Jericho for the AEW World Title. I already have seen this match on May 31st, 2013 on Smackdown. The thrill of watching a new promotion is discovering new talent, fresh angles, and exciting feuds. It’s exhilarating and thrilling to see the beginning of what could truly be a game-changing moment in pro wrestling. But we will never get there with AEW recycling moments from WWE. AEW must be very careful about how they use WWE talent. They can absolutely become the laughing stock that TNA became in its dying years.
I have a wild suggestion and I know some of you will call me crazy, but Maxwell Jacob Friedman should have fought Page and beat him for the title. He is like a younger version of Jericho.
Can’t you see this guy on Jimmy Kimmel or Fallon talking about this clip of him being bratty yet adorable on Rosie O’Donnell’s old talk show?
This was the guy to build your promotion around. Sure, at first many would wonder who is this guy. Is he a discount version of The Miz? But it wouldn’t take very long for them to realize why he is in this spot. And why he is much more than AEW’s answer to the A-Lister.
And even if you needed to go with Hangman as Champ, there was a better way to do it. Perhaps Jericho tries every dirty trick in his book to beat him, but he still fails. This just enrages Jericho even more. It gives him a license to truly take his heel character to dark places WWE would never have allowed. A true villain. Not a cool one, but a disturbing one. And Page could somehow and someway continue to win. Even to his own wonderment. He is pushed into being the first great babyface in this company’s history. This is how you build a true baby face and a monster heel. But instead AEW is moving Page out of the title picture and moving Cody in (Cody learned a lot from The Dream).
I hope I’m wrong, because god knows WWE needs competition, but if that is going to come from AEW, it has to take chances and be bold, if not they will never make a path for themselves in Vince’s kingdom.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @JamesHa34395813. Thanks for reading!