FANN’S TAKE: It’s okay to have a favorite promotion and not lash out at those who have different tastes, plus a Stardom spotlight match worth your time

By Rich Fann, PWTorch columnist

Cody and The Young Bucks at the AEW Rally (photo courtesy AEW)

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

“Grow up Sylvie! We’re all villains here.”
– He Who Remains, Loki (2021)

PWTorch VIP member Brian Alston brought up so many memories when he asked about the old rec.sport.pro-wrestling and other subscriptions we old heads had to use in the early days of wrestling fandom online. Arguing over an ECW angle or trying to find out what a Super 8 was held far more calls for patience as you waited for threads to be updated. The email of “X new messages in this subscription” was a beacon for me to hop over to the library and check out what I missed.

Now, we have tweets and podcasts and Twitch and so many ways to continue conversations, to share great experiences, to grow.

And instead we’re in the same turf wars that have always been there, but now we can use memes.

I love memes. They’re great shorthand to whatever our collective topic of the day/moment is. However, I don’t love the AEW-WWE divide that’s befalling wrestling fans and the subsequent lengths folks will go to lionize their show du jour. As always, the first counter should be: if you don’t want to watch a show, don’t watch it. But “if X did Y” non-sequiturs are a waste of time and typing. Even the most ardent WWE fan should realize that with the existence of AEW, ROH, Impact, MLW, GCW, Beyond, and Black Label Pro (among others) opens the possibility of new match ups for WWE wrestlers down the road, or at least a freshening of the roster.

And with AEW providing direct televised competition, wrestlers from both promotions gain more of a competitive edge with negotiations and pushes and thus can be business-first. The days of a one-horse town being gone helps all. And those who are AEW fans should realize Tony Khan can’t hire everyone – nor should he – and as a result WWE’s roster provides a weekly illustration on how AEW is (and in some ways isn’t!) an alternative to WWE. That sort of advertisement, especially in light of last week’s firings and edicts regarding NXT recruitment, you cannot buy.

But as the opening quote says, there are no “heroes” in choosing to become a one promotion superfan to the detriment and insult of others. This isn’t like the old days of a Pro Wrestling Illustrated (“Who would win, Hulk Hogan or Ric Flair” articles), these debates start with Roman Reigns vs. Kenny Omega, and then end with declaring your promotion of choice is part of you, ergo you must defend it at all costs. I never thought I’d hear the phrases “Vincels” or “AEWSexuals” or folks using “All/Elite” as pronouns – even in jest – but here we are.

I think I can say Tony Khan and Vince McMahon appreciate your time, effort, and energy, but I wouldn’t want their promotion to be your personality trait. No one wins when you get that deep. AEW having ads during Raw, Smackdown, or NXT are smart business plays just as much as Vince McMahon leveraging his PPVs against JCP shows with the distributors. Wrestling is rife with these stories and, to make a white knight in a field of gray, you only set yourself up to be disappointed when reality sets in down the road.

There’s been a popular rejoinder during this pandemic when folks have gotten “too online” of, “touch grass,” but I think it’s more log off/close the app. Watch a movie. Walk a dog, or a neighbors’ without getting arrested. Knit. Anything for the love of all that’s holy except go into the rabbit hole of “this promotion is me.”

Also, when you argue with folks that are that deep, it brings to mind the “never argue with a fool” axiom.

Stardom 5Star Minute

At some point during the Grand Prix, I’m going to have W.H. Park from Post Wrestling on to talk through the stories of the tournament and his thoughts so far. At some point towards the end, I’ll also host him for a VIP special for two reasons: (1) W.H.’s commentary is truly second to none for me and (2) Part of that commentary in its purest form is allowing him to riff and use some language he can’t on the non-VIP side of the house.

Until then, I want to give a free preview of one of the more recent match, Unami Sayaka vs. AZM from Blue Stars. As I mentioned with Wade Keller on this week’s VIP-exclusive podcast, “Everything with Rich & Wade” earlier this week, AZM is a seven-year vet who is only 18 years old. So despite her age, AZM (Azumi) is the veteran in the matchup with the third year Sayaka. The finish of this match alone is worth watching it for, as a good number of Stardom finishers are the stuff of Tekken chain combo nightmares in their complexity and – when hit – as deadly. Enjoy courtesy’s Stardom’s YouTube Page and send me your reactions.

Until next time.


(Rich Fann is a Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter columnist and a part of several PWTorch VIP podcasts including the PWTorch East Coast Cast VIP Edition and Everything with Rich & Wade. As always, if you like what you see, feel free to react on social media. Rich is on Twitter @Rich_Fann, or feel free to email everythingwithrich@gmail.com.)

 

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