[$Your_Favorite_Wrestlers] to AEW, confirmed!
August 20, 2021 10:12 PM   Subscribe

CM Punk to AEW confirmed!

Also, in case you hadn't heard, Paul Wight (f/k/a The Big Show) to AEW, confirmed. Mark Henry, the World's Strongest Man, to AEW confirmed (albeit mostly as a commentator). Andrade El Idolo, lucha libre superstar and very recent ejectee from WWE to AEW, confirmed.

Interested in the women's division? Have you heard about joshi puroresu stars Emi Sakura and Ryo Mizunami to AEW, confirmed? Or Thunder Rosa, the first Latina to hold the NWA Women's Championship, to AEW confirmed following her brutal, bloody match with Britt Baker?

What's next for the company? Rumors are buzzing that former 'Mania main-eventer and greatest technical wrestler alive Bryan Danielson has already signed a deal, and is just waiting for the moment to debut. After Andrade showed to fight AEW's Kenny Omega down in Mexico for the AAA Megacampeonato title bout accompanied by two-time Hall Of Famer (and his future father-in-law) Ric Flair some fantasy bookers are even predicting that The Nature Boy will jump ship.

Now let's all appreciate this Punk promo from just a bit over 10 years ago, where he lays into Vince McMahon for not knowing how to make a superstar, ending with "I'm gonna be the best somewhere else."
posted by The Pluto Gangsta (11 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

That line about leaving the professional wrestling business in 2005 and coming back in 2021 was a masterclass in throwing shade.

I stopped watching WWE just prior to the first Crown Jewel (because fuck that forever). At first I thought I’d probably buckle and come back within the year but Vince kept giving me reasons to stay away.

I’ve been following what AEW has been doing via Reddit posts and YouTube but it seems like the only above-board way to stream Dynamite is to pay for Hulu’s cable package and I haven’t really felt like shelling out $40 a month to watch the one cable show I couldn’t get elsewhere.

Tonight changed that.

Seriously, though, if you know of a better, legal way to stream AEW please let me know. I’d be happy to pay for it but I’d prefer to not also pay for a bunch of shit I don’t want to watch.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:31 PM on August 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

Seriously, though, if you know of a better, legal way to stream AEW please let me know. I’d be happy to pay for it but I’d prefer to not also pay for a bunch of shit I don’t want to watch.

Quasi-legal: VPN plus Fite TV's AEW Plus service will cost you the VPN plus five bucks a month.
posted by mightygodking at 11:23 PM on August 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

Real talk: AEW has been the best North American wrestling on TV since it debuted, and right now is definitely some of the best pro wrestling of the last, oh, thirty years or so. Easily.

It is not perfect by any means: they don't give the women enough time on their TV shows (early on this was the result of not having a very finely tuned women's roster, since WWE had most of the major English-speaking talent locked up, so they had to rely on frequently-unavailable joshi wrestlers and green NA talent to get by, but nowadays there really isn't an excuse any more), and Tony Khan's philosophy of "try to let the wrestlers do what they want" can occasionally lead to unfortunate issues (be they medically serious ones like letting Matt Hardy continue wrestling a match when he could have been potentially concussed last year because Matt, like most wrestlers, has the philosophy of "you finish the match for the fans if you can still sort of walk," or simple avoidable errors like letting Max Caster a few weeks ago do a rap which referenced both the Duke lacrosse team and Simone Biles' walking off the Olympic floor which was in deeply poor taste). And you can't entirely trust any company that's run by a literal billionaire, even if the billionaire seems like a nice one.

But, as a general rule, the company doesn't tend to repeat its mistakes, and it cares deeply both about its wrestlers and about pro wrestling in general - I lost track long ago of the number of wrestlers they've featured who don't work for the company because Tony Khan wanted to give them some airtime because he thought they were great and he believes a rising tide lifts all boats - and it listens to its fans and tries to give them what they want, and it tries to be tolerant and embracing of all lifestyles. CM Punk joining the company is the result of him paying attention to the company and its practices for a year and a half before signing on the dotted line, because every two-bit wannabe promoter has been coming at Punk with bags of cash for years now, and he's shrugged them all off because he was tired of working with carny assholes. Punk's signing is an endorsement of AEW's business practices, nothing less, and it is deserved.
posted by mightygodking at 11:37 PM on August 20, 2021 [6 favorites]

I forgot to also mention that when the pandemic almost wrecked pro wrestling, Tony Khan turned AEW's initial Youtube show, Dark, from being a showcase of the "dark matches" held before and after televised events into a two-hour magnum opus of wrestling, giving independent wrestlers from all over the USA bookings when they were broke and out of work, even paying them just to be at ringside and act as "the crowd" when they weren't wrestling (and increasing their profile on the independent circuit in the process). When WWE was firing people left and right in the name of "budget cuts" when they were at their most profitable point ever, Tony Khan went on a hiring spree during the pandemic, hiring both ex-WWE castoffs like Miro and Tay Conti and indie stalwarts like Eddie Kingston and Jon "Serpentico" Cruz. And of course there's how AEW treated the death of Brodie Lee so respectfully when he passed away due to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

They've earned an awful lot of goodwill.
posted by mightygodking at 11:48 PM on August 20, 2021 [7 favorites]

Source of post title, just because Wrestletalk deserves a shout-out too and Oli Davis was openly weeping during last night’s Rampage reaction video.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 5:59 AM on August 21, 2021

The reason Tony Khan seems to get what modern fans want is that he is a fan - he started out as a poster on wrestling message boards back in the day, most notably the Death Valley Driver Video Review, and was also into tape-trading when it was the main way for fans to see things that they couldn't get directly on their TVs. He respects wrestling history but at the same time is not bound by it.

Sort of related but there was always a rumor - never confirmed, I think - that CM Punk used to also be on the DVDVR boards.
posted by LostInUbe at 6:08 AM on August 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'll admit I was hoping for the Punk reveal to happen at All Out, but I'll happily settle for the PPV featuring his first match back instead. (Plus that opens the door to maybe Daniel Bryan popping up at the PPV? Or DARE I HOPE IT Hiroshi Tanahashi??)

Honestly the entire Rampage broadcast could have just been Punk hugging fans at the UC and I would have been a happy viewer. I barely remember anything else that happened all night. (Shout out to Jade Cargill tho. I wish they'd fuckin figure their women's matches out, because their roster is just incredible. Just wanna watch Ryo Mizunami absolutely truck wrestlers 24/7.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:27 AM on August 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

Even as someone who only watches wrestling once in a blue moon, CM Punk's entrance, promo, and even the press conference from yesterday were well worth watching.

Also, for anyone who doesn't know who he is, this video seems like a good overview of his career and retirement prior to this (I already knew most of the broad outline)
posted by Wandering Idiot at 9:31 AM on August 21, 2021

Pro wrestling is a blast when you separate it from the name "McMahon." I buddy of mine does photography for a small promotion here in Denver.

AEW seems like they're trying to bring that fun vibe to TV and I, for one, welcome it. I was never a huge CM Punk fan but the man can work no mistake. And he's in a place that at least looks like will respect his health which was the McMahon problem.
posted by East14thTaco at 12:16 PM on August 23, 2021

If anyone's still paying attention to this thread, AEW All Out was yesterday. Not only did CM Punk return to wrestling after seven years away to face Darby Allin, and Paul Wight had his first match since leaving WWE, but the show also featured:

- Ruby Soho, f/k/a as Ruby Riott in WWE and before that, as Heidi Lovelace in the indies, won the women's battle royale and will now challenge for the women's title,

- Adam Cole (bay bay) settled the question of "Where will Adam Cole sign up?" by appearing at the end of the Kenny Omega/Christian Cage match and has apparently rejoined his friends Kenny and Young Bucks in the Elite, which could only have been topped by...

- Bryan Danielson, the former Daniel Bryan, making the save for Jungle Express & Christian against the Elite, ending the show standing tall in the ring and looking pleased as punch to be there.

Loved the show and I'm thinking of putting AEW Dynamite in Fanfare.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 10:18 AM on September 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

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