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KELLER’S “ROAD TO AEW DYNAMITE” TV REPORT
OCTOBER 1, 2019
AIRED ON TNT
-They opened with images of Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega, Cody & Brandi, and then high-flying moves by a variety of wrestlers as Jim Ross said, “Can you imagine TNT and AEW live every single Wednesday night, folks. It’s going to be one hell of a ride, fellows. Then the song “Rise Above It” by I Prevail aired. It closed with Jon Moxley saying, “It’s going to be a paradigm shift.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Lots of great filters and editing and camera angles here. I mean, the first minute of the video was more cool than probably anything WWE has presented in years. It captured the mood, vibe, and array of reasons people love pro wrestling, but maybe aren’t always crazy about the presentation of WWE.)
-Tony Schiavone in a studio setting saying tonight they’d catch everyone up on AEW’s rise the past nine months and two they arrived at this moment. He said: “What is All Elite Wrestling? I’s a new league born by you, the fans, some of the most exciting athletes in the sport today. Together, we are ready to change the world.” He listed AEW’s key wrestlers including Cody (“a former World Champion in both tag team and singles competition, a second generation star”), Nick & Matt Jackson (“the most dynamic and popular tag team in the world today”), Kenny Omega (“a champion in both the U.S. and Japan, and named Sports Illustrated’s Wrestler of the Year in 2017”), Hangman Page (“known the world over as one of the most prolific young superstars in the sport”), Jon Moxley (“known for his unmpreditbale style and demeanor, over the past five years, one of the most famous and notorious wrestlers in the world”), MJF (“one of the young rising stars in all of professional wrestling, he says he’s better than you and you know it”), and Chris Jericho (“over the past 20 years, one of the biggest names in all of pro wrestling, recording wins over Kenny Omega and Hangman page on his way to becoming the first-ever AEW World Champion”).
-They went next to the AEW press release with Cody and The Bucks talking about All In, and how they disrupted how professional wrestling functions and broke all of the rules. Matt Jackson said Tony Khan asked them if they really want to change the world. We said yep and they said we can help. A clip aired of a sit-down interview by Chris Van Vliet aired with Tony Khan who touted that there hasn’t been a roster this good with these resources ever. He said they are doing something very different and don’t want to compare themselves to other companies. Then Cody back at the podium saying, “Guys, it kind of feels like, smells like, feels like a revolution.” Then they showed fans chanting “AEW” at the press conference.
-They went to a sit-down segment with Cody talking about his desire to be a wrestler when he was a kid. It included images of him with Dusty Rhodes. He said he grew up on TV in front of everybody, learning from some of the best, and having some amazing life-changing moments. Then Dustin Rhodes talked about being frustrated sitting behind the WWE stage when creative says they have nothing for you. He said when you’re as hungry and free as Cody, it’s even more frustrating. “At some point in somebody’s career, you’ve got to say money isn’t everything – what do you believe in, what are you passionate about?” said Dustin. Cody said his greatest fear was that he wouldn’t win the World Title while his dad was still alive, and that fear came true. He said now he has nothing more to fear, but he felt a weight lifted off his shoulders when he left WWE.
-The Bucks then talked about first meeting Cody in the middle of a hot summer day in Reseda, Calif. at the Battle of Los Angeles. They wondered why he was wearing a suit. Cody talked about how he had only seen one Bucks match. Dave Meltezr, listed as a “sports journalist,” said for the Bucks it was a 15 year journey of being broke and paying dues. They said the Bullet Club was their chance to be around other renegade guys just like them who want to “pop each other and make each other laugh.” Raven talked about how they were selling out t-shirts at Hot Topic, yet they weren’t on national TV. “Right then I said there is something happening in the business,” he said. Nick Jackson talked about bringing their fans together. Matt said they were able to control something with the “Being the Elite” series. “This one thing we had was our platform and our way of speaking what we wanted to say. We knew this is all we’ve got. We realized we were onto something.” Cody said he told the Bucks they can do this on a big level. Then clips aired of Meltzer and Cody talking about the Twitter bet about selling 10,000 tickets for All In last year. [c]
-They showed Matt and Nick at the All In ticket launch. Then the Sears Centre website freezing due to high demand when tickets went on sale. Cody and Page talked about how nervous and scared they were. Then they congratulated each there for selling out in under 30 minutes. Matt talked about Gary Juster telling them they sold out. Nick said he saw Cody go over into a corner and cry. He said it was the most emotional he’s seen Cody. Meltzer talked about how he thought a network would see that show, that it sold out but wasn’t WWE, and take a chance on it. He said he didn’t think it’d be TNT, though.
Matt then said they had the Elite guys, but they needed “the one big superstar coming from the other place to legitimize the thing.” They went to a clip of Chris Jericho announcing he was all-in with All Elite Wrestling. Matt said then people realized this was “a true disruption.” Then they showed the a “Double or Nothing” announcement and the image of AEW’s logo and top stars on the side of the MGM Grand towers. They showed a Tweet from The Rock congratulating Jericho on the sellout. [c]
-Back to Schiavone in the studio. He recapped the road to crowning the AEW Championship. They showed Adam Page winning the battle royal, then shifted to the Jericho vs. Omega build. Jericho said AEW needed him to win and should have wanted him to win, and would thank him after he won. Then they showed extended highlights of the match. Then they showed Jericho winning the AEW Title over Hangman Page at All Out. Then they showed Jericho’s post-win promo where he complained about the lack of round of applause for him when he got backstage.
-Schiavone plugged Omega & The Bucks face Jericho and two mystery partner. Schiavone then talked about Cody challenging Jericho at Full Gear in Baltimore, but he has a challenge on Dynamite first. [c]
-Schiavone plugged Cody vs. Sammy Guavara. Then they aired Schiavone’s sit-down with Cody at Cody’s house. Cody said he feels pressure, but it’s the kind of pressure you want. He talked about everything coming together to make this happen. “Ultimately, if today I was asked what is going to separate us from everything else out there would be the fact that we are listening. I know in wrestling that the wrestlers and as a company, we want to lead the audience, but sometimes they can lead us and take us in directions we weren’t prepared to go but will be prepared to go.” Cody said he’s not the type to overlook anybody, but the last thing he wants is to be embarrassed on the very first episode. “I feel that pressure more than anything.”
Then they showed Sammy talking about his journey as a 26 year old to this moment. They showed him working out, running over cars, jump roping on a roof, and other cool images. He said people kept saying he’ll be big in a couple years, but that always meant he wasn’t there yet. He said everyone talking about his potential forever drove him insane. He talked about Cody being distracted as being an Executive V.P. They showed images of Cody talking with Dean Malenko backstage and doing some production work at ringside. He said he’s got to deal with Jericho, too, so he can’t 100 percent focus on him. He said Oct. 2 is a big night for AEW, but it’s also the biggest match of his life. He is 100 percent focused on Cody.
Back to Cody, he said if takes a loss to Sammy, that changes the title match. He said they want to honor the wins and losses. Schiavone asked if his position as EVP has accorded him the title match. Cody said it’s easy when you’re under-appreciated and that’s the chorus that goes on about you, and for a long time that was the story on him. He said the moment you put on the Yankees hat and change directions and start winning, that chorus goes away. “I can’t tune into that,” he said. He said it’s a shot at the World Title, and just because he’s part of the infrastructure of the company, he can’t turn down that opportunity. He said it means a lot, and he thinks he earned it. He said ten years ago Jericho wouldn’t look at him, and now he struggles with the fact that he “sort of works for me.” He said now he knows he can beat Jericho. He said he’s very much looking forward to it. [c]
-They showed Moxley walking out and interrupting Jericho’s post-win gloating after his match over Omega, and then the subsequent Omega-Moxley brawl. Then they got into Kenny’s response to Moxley’s medical issue that led to their match at All Out being cancelled where Kenny accused Moxley of being careless and blaming him. “I would love to wish you a speed recovery. That’s what I’m supposed to say. But at this point, I could really give a [bleep] if you ever come back.”
-Schiavone then shifted to Riho vs. Nyla Rose to crown the first-ever AEW Women’s Champion. He mentioned other women in the division including Dr. Britt Baker, Allie, Awesome Kong, and Brandi Rhodes. Brandi then talked about the diversity and inclusiveness of their division. They showed Riho saying, in Japanese, that she did gynamistics and then became a pro wrestler. Rose then talked about how she’s been fighting since 9 years old. “I’ve been fighting poverty, fighting society to be myself. I’m black, I’m Native American, I’m trans.” Back to Riho, she said people think she’s weak because she’s smaller, but her training was also more severe to discourage her, and she survived that, so she’s not really worried. She said fans have low expectations of her, but they eventually see they should expect more. Rose then talked about how Riho is only 75, 80 pounds and she’s going to pick her up and throw her around like she did in the battle royal. Riho talked about having worked with Kenny before and she welcomed the invite to be part of AEW. Rose then said she plans to be the first AEW Women’s Champion. [c]
-Schiavone shifted to the AEW tag team division. They showed highlights of the Young Bucks vs. The Lucha Brothers and the debut of Ortiz & Santana (formerly known as L.A.X.). Then they showed Ortiz and Santana approaching Jericho backstage and congratulating him. Jericho said, “I was pretty amazing, wasn’t I?” They thanked him and then walked away. Jericho smiled.
-Schiavone said he can now confirm that Jericho has his tag team partners set for tomorrow night. He said it will be Santana & Ortiz. He plugged the other matches: Hangman Page vs. Pac, MJF vs. Brandon Cutler, Cody vs. Guevara, and Riho vs. Nyla Rose for the Women’s Title.
-Schiavone closed by saying they are excited because they are fan-based, serving fans who wanted more and wanted it to matter. He said pro wrestling returns to TNT tomorrow night. They closed with Cody saying it is their moment, then Matt telling people not to quit on anything and stick around long enough to achieve success, Kenny saying he wants AEW to succeed and reach wrestling enthusiasts and people who had never watched pro wrestling before, and Cody closing with a thank you.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Really nicely done start to finish. Good overview of what’s happened so far and a solid, focused preview of tomorrow night’s line-up with slightly anti-climactic announcement that Santana & Ortiz will be Jericho’s partners. It’s better to announce it now than leave fans wondering if it’ll be a “bigger surprise” out of nowhere (a “Lex Luger Nitro” moment of some kind). And Santana & Ortiz in the match indicates I should be a hell of a match. They spread the focus around, although Jericho and Cody certainly got the most attention. I would have liked to have heard a little more from Moxley, as AEW seems to be (strategically?) underplaying his signing relative to signing Jericho.
Join me tomorrow night with a live report on AEW Dynamite here at PWTorch.com. Also, Patrick Gill will feature his first “Alt-Perspective” live coverage of the show here at PWTorch.com.