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By Mike Johnson on 2022-10-06 10:00:00


Do you think AEW is running the same venues too often? 

Why is AEW running Full Gear in New Jersey when they have been here so often?

So, these are two questions from two different readers. 

First of all, with the exception of Chicago, I don't believe AEW has been to too many markets too often.  They are running The Prudential Center for Full Gear in November.  The last time they ran that venue was January 2022. If ten months is too quickly, I don't know what you'd expect, 3 years?  WWE runs the NYC market a few times a year and will do twice in two months - October and December, so it's just the nature of the beast.  You go to where you can draw and make money.

Yes, AEW ran Queens and will run Atlantic City as well but I don't believe the majority of fans from AC are going to drive to Newark and vice versa beyond the most die-hard fans.  The Prudential Center in November is also the first-ever PPV in the NYC Metropolitan area in the entirety of AEW's existence, so I think anyone who wants to attend the PPV will look upon it as a different animal from a TV taping. 

Now, running the same venue two or three times the same week (as they are doing this week in DC) could be something that bites AEW in the rear but it's also likely being done to be cost-efficient, so you have your plusses and minuses to each of those decisions. 

The true answer is this:  if they are drawing fans, it's not too often.  If we see a law of diminishing returns, it's time to track down and run some markets that the promotion hasn't been to yet to appeal to those first-time tickets buyers, as they are doing in Toronto and Seattle.  You follow the money.  If it's not there, you pivot and go somewhere else.

Why do you think fans have changed their attitude towards WWE?

It's quite simple - Vince McMahon.  Whether the product was good or not, there was always a sub-section of fans who resented Vince McMahon for how he ran the company or presented their favorites or how he didn't book for them.  I think when he retired/resigned, essentially, the thorn was removed from the lion's paw in that fans who were hardened towards WWE or ready to continue to reject it, began to give it a second look. 

Remember, for the last few years, Paul Levesque had all but rehabbed his image as the WWE wrestler trying to hold back others into the promoter of WWE NXT, sort of a modern day equivalent of Paul Heyman in ECW, giving the battle cry and waving the flag for a brand that die-hard fans really enjoyed as this underground alternative to the main WWE roster.  So, fans knowing what he gave them were willing to give him a chance on the main roster and were receptive to his early, logical tweaks to the product as well as seeing returning names they liked who either didn't get to the main roster or were miscast/misused during their time under Vince McMahon. 

While the honeymoon feeling we see right now, which has been empowered by an excellent week to week Smackdown series and an improved Raw, may end at some point, I think there are fans who are certainly more willing to see where things go and are more likely to buy a ticket or watch the big shows on Peacock than there were a year ago, because with Vince gone, a big obstacle (in their minds) as to why the product wasn't enjoyable is also gone.

Earlier this year, you reported Kimber Lee was done with Impact Wrestling.  She attacked you and said it wasn't true, but then she hasn't appeared for Impact Wrestling since.  Do you think she owes you an apology?

It doesn't matter whether I think she does or not.   What mattered to me is that my story was correct when I ran it.   She stated she was still under contract.  I reported she was done.  Whether she knew it or not at the time I reported it, she was done and had made her last appearance for the promotion.  I am sure she doesn't think she owes me an apology and the last thing I am concerned with is such a thing.  I just hope she one day finds herself back on national TV as she's talented.

Could another promotion do an Ultimate X match?

It's certainly possible, although I would think Impact Wrestling would own the trademark on the match name.  I believe the match has been done at least in Puerto Rico a few years ago, but I think if an AEW or a WWE tried to import the bout, Impact would probably have an issue with it.

What was the strangest thing you've ever seen on an independent show?

I've seen everything from miscues and missed spots to fights with fans to injuries to riots to bad booking decisions at events I've attended, but the two of the stranger things I've ever seen would probably come down to the following moments:

Once at an independent show promoted by the late Tommy Dee in Brooklyn, Dee threw a fit when he found out that The Brooklyn Blaster, who had been working for him regularly before having a falling out, had gotten into the building in Brooklyn after someone else covertly bought him a ticket.  Dee tried to have the local police eject him, but since he was just sitting there on a stage watching the show with other fans, there was nothing that could be done.  To make matters worse for poor Tommy Dee, when he was selling 50/50 tickets during the show, it turned out The Blaster had the winning ticket, so guess who got to go in the ring to accept the cash prize, which Dee had to hand him?  You guessed it and boy, Dee was NOT a happy man.

John Arezzi once ran an independent show at a Laguardia Airport Hotel Ballroom during his fourth and final Weekend of Champions convention weekend.  The main event was Kevin Sullivan vs. Terry Funk.  Sabu and the Original Sheik attacked Funk to cause a DQ and the place went nuts for this.  The Sheik was running all over, swinging his sword in the air and screaming and ran out the Ballroom, with hundreds of fans screaming and chasing after him.  They ran out and charged right towards the front desk of the hotel, where an older couple was checking in and to this day, I can remember the look of fear, confusion and disgust as they wondered what the hell was unfolding before them as an older man in tights and in a turban was brandishing a sword with an army of wrestling fans chasing after him.  I've often wondered what went through their minds and whether they actually checked into the hotel.

I am sure there are others, but those are the two that pop into my brain at the moment.

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