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Well, I promised I’d write this and I’m not happy about it, but here we go. I was wrong about The Acclaimed.
There! Happy now?! I was wrong and I’m man enough to admit it. For the last few months, Max Caster and Anthony Bowens have been the focus of Heydorn rants and criticism. Let’s take a hot second and revisit why that was shall we?
Really, it started and ended with a lack of commitment to being heels or babyfaces. The act seemed like it wanted it all. They wanted to rap heelishly on the way to the ring and burn some babyfaces, but also rev up the crowd like a babyface would with the “Chiiiiiicaaaaagooooo, The Acclaimed have arrived!” schtick.
Then, The Acclaimed sided with the heel Gunn Club tag team as heels, but would then undercut their heat at most turns. Remember when The Gunn Club would try to pump up the audience like Bowens did, but said the wrong city name? A cheap way to get some heat, but effective. Not for long, though. Why? Bowens would shun the meager Gunn Club attempt and pop the audience himself by saying the right city name. Clever, but extremely harmful to the act itself. Call me crazy, but pouring an ice-cold bucket of water on your act seconds before jumping into the ring was a confusing, if not obnoxious choice.
Not too unreasonable in my mind and ultimately, I had the best intentions in mind. The Acclaimed is a charismatic team with a tremendously high ceiling, but one that would be unreachable without clear definition. So, like, all I really was trying to do was help.
Yeah, I can hear you laughing at me. Fine! No hedging. I was wrong, I was wrong, blah blah blah, and here’s why:
Story. I missed the story of it all. Honestly, The Acclaimed needed The Gunn Club to get over as babyfaces, which in the end was the goal for them the entire time the undefined business was going on.
From a storyline perspective, we saw how it played out. Gunn Club turned on The Acclaimed in traditional heel fashion and the newly minted Acclaimed as babyfaces had their heel team to work with and cleanly establish themselves with in The Gunn Club.
In the meta world, the babyface tendencies of The Acclaimed while heels alongside Gunn Club served successfully in an attempt to whet the appetite of AEW fans for Caster and Bowens as babyfaces later on. That booking decision, though counterproductive from a week-to-week perspective, gave The Acclaimed babyface momentum before they officially turned. Thus, when the turn came, the audience was ready, willing, and excited to cheer them on.
And look at them now, right? Regular accounts from AEW live events tell the story of The Acclaimed getting major pops that are in the conversation of “loudest of the night.” The rap gimmick from Caster during their entrance has smoothly transitioned to spear heels with verbal barbs and Bowens easily jacks up the energy in the crowd with his introduction. And! They are challenging Swerve In Our Glory for the AEW World Tag Team Championships at the All Out PPV event on September 4 as well. Not a bad run.
Tony Khan has quite a lot on his plate concerning the booking of All Out, but this tag title match with The Acclaimed is a big bite. Swerve In Our Glory are new champions that have slowed momentum due to being tucked away on Rampage for the most part and simply not having a proper opponent to work against.
Though heated up, correctly defined, and entertaining, The Acclaimed doesn’t fit that slot. They need a win as badly as Swerve In Our Glory does and given their surge of popularity at the moment, probably should snag it and the tag titles. It begs the question, “why put those teams together in a match,” but that’s for another time and another column.
The Acclaimed made it. Heydorn was wrong. This piece was written. Now I’m done.
Well, except for this. ENOUGH OF THE “SCISSOR ME” STUFF ALREADY!
There, NOW, I’m done.