First, the week's good news. Double or Nothing, All Elite Wrestling's first official PPV (second if you count ALL IN) is a full sold out. The pre-sale sold out a week ago in minutes, with some fans stuck in the ticket queue without getting a chance at tickets. It then officially sold out in four minutes as the handful of tickets sold to the general public earlier today. The MGM Grand Garden Arena is set up for 11,600 seats.
But even as wrestling fans claim they want alternatives to WWE's product that are generally available, not stuck on third tier cable/satellite or broadcast stations...some of those same fans seem to find ways to dismiss what All Elite Wrestling has achieved:
* When they can't get tickets, they claim that most of the seats went to scalpers (only 2,000 did...a similar percentage or less than most, if not all, major WWE PPVs...just as ALL IN did).
*They claim that AEW "Is nothing but a t-shirt company". For all practical purposes, the very same group of wrestlers ran ALL IN already, so they know what went right and what went wrong the first time, in terms of matches running long...production issues..and so on.
*They attack it for "being run by wrestlers". There's an independent that has produced some of the best quality matches in North America over the last several years called Pro Wrestling Guerrilla that is exactly that...,owned and run by wrestlers.
That's just three of the slams I've seen on social media.
I know many fans are waiting on the long rumored TV deal. One of the rumored suitors is Turner, with a potential for a return to wrestling on WTBS. Once that is announced, it may help to make what All Elite Wrestling ia achieving more real and to force them to take it seriously. But it's maddening to see WWE fanboys bitch out of one side of their mouth about RAW, Smackdown and PPVs, but then dismiss any alternative product with any number of excuses.
Then, the not so good news...storyline division. WWE is continuing with its bumbling build to Wrestlemania and the presumed main event of Ronda Rousey-Becky Lynch, in Vince McMahon "suspending Lynch for 60 days" on lsst week's RAW and substituting Charlotte Flair into the match.
Then, an angle was shot at a weekend house show where Charlotte attacked Lynch's knee with a chair and "destroyed it". Lynch repaid Flair (and Ronda Rousey for good measure) the next night at Elimination Chamber pounding on both them with her crutch
Fan reaction is exactly what you expect, from both those who get its a storyline and those who don't. Ratings are well below what they were a year ago especially for RAW, even for weeks where there is no serious sports competition. People's general disgust for this as well as the general direction of storylines overall have to be playing a major part in this.
WWE seems to continue being tone deaf to fan complaints and continues in the same direction trying to make Becky Lynch some sort of combination of Stone Cold Steve Austin anti- hero and Daniel Bryan underdog taking on the The Authority/Mister McMahon all over again. There was apparently a line that started at 6:00 pm SATURDAY night for a meet and greet with Lynch before Elimination Chamber on Sunday. But rather than ride Lynch's rise in popularity organically, WWE insists on continuing on this direction which is doing it no favors in live attendance or TV ratings.
A closing note in the real not so good news department....thoughts and prayers go out to longtime wrestling Philadelphia wrestling fan Jonathan Owen and his extended family, who lost his mom, Ruth Owen, at age 79 last week. Jon was seen at nearly every wrestling show in the Philadelphia area in the 1980s and 1990s, along with his faithful service dog, Corey; and was well known by nearly name wrestler who made their way through the Philadelphia Spectrum, Philadelphia Civic Center and other venues.
Ruth Owen was one of the kindest, sweetest women I've ever met. She embodied what was once universally seen as Christian values... love, dedication, and acceptance for all, service to her God and to everyone, rather than much of the political baggage that people have sadly come to identify with the Christian tradition in recent years.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked any donations be sent to Urban Promise, 2401 Thatcher St., Wilmington, DE 19802. It's a Christian group that serves "urban youth children and young adults.... with the skills necessary for academic achievement, life management, personal growth and servant leadership."
Until next time
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