Yes, it's time for ramblings. I haven't given you some proper thoughts in a while, so hopefully this'll provide that somewhat. As you've said before, King and Curator, EN GARDE~!
DAT OBLIVION FEEDBACK
First off, of course, I'll say my piece on the format. I like how you're sort of fleshing out The Informer a little, given that you used him as a expository tool in the past and now he can accomplish the same thing, just with more atmosphere to it. He provides that fan's viewpoint which means you can recap the show but we still get the drama from it. I also like how similar The Informer's report was to real life dirtsheets (the pre-show focus on the arena fans, the commentators, the prepared EMTS etc.), it gives it an authentic feel and that keeps in line with how realistic the world you've created is. My slight issue is that at times I did feel a little detached; obviously this is always going to happen with recapped shows somewhat, but especially in losing the usual JBL-Styles banter (the discussion about the byes included) I felt like the show lost something there. I saw this with the Jericho promo, too - which I'll gush about in a bit - because the language was excellent but it had even greater potential had it been in full. Overall though, you got the information across, and whatever's easiest for you is preferable. Seeing as I'm recapping my own weekly matches now, I certainly know how helpful it can be.
So that I don't forget, let's talk Jericho. Obviously his bit in the hospital was chilling as all living fuck, but better minds than I have already pointed this out, so you know that. Heading to this week's goodness - the Earth vs. Moon metaphor was beautifully lyrical, exactly what I've come to expect from you, and I love the implication that Jericho is the man of real substance while Christian is empty, selfish. It's classic poetic, cruel Jericho. What really struck me though, and I've really had this impression for the last few weeks (I just don't tell you, sorry
<3), is this idea that without Jericho, there is no Christian, and though Jericho would never say so, it works the other way around. These two, despite your insistence on using Michaels prominently, have been the spine of AOW, the blood feud, and they are the Batman/Joker - they need one another, because without the other their life has no meaning. Had Jericho not become the Worthy Man and seized A-O-Dubya by the throat, Christian could never have risen to 'power' if you will, he never would have been able to save the company and become the man he is. It's exactly the kind of thing that made me write my article in the Summer Newsletter; sometimes we're not just here to book matches, sometimes we're here to tell stories. All that said, this is exactly why I wish we'd had the 'I am the Earth' moment in full, because it epitomises one of my favourite feuds in all BTB and solidifies the re-rise of challenger Jericho. Still, excellent little piece to keep this feud haute couture. Bon.
Obviously the main content of the show is the Dynasty Tournament, which I was pumped for during the Offseason as you know, but I haven't had a chance to discuss it so far. I see you're using TARVER/Banks as another branch to your realism tree rather than having them stick around in the tourney, but having the GOAT on Oblivion in the future is always promising. Similarly, the other main stories so far have been pretty entertaining, even if in other places it feels like just going through the motions; the Sons eliminating one another but Burchill being smarter and handing Albright his chance to go on is a nice little dichotomy, for instance. I'd agree with the above poster who said that Kidman's odds of getting Sydal made that segment a little too far-fetched, but to answer your question from before about general opinion regarding it - I love
the Sydal/Kidman angle. I asked for a character-driven Sydal angle, and you delivered. Fear not there. Not sure where you take him next, especially now with the debut of DAT MUSCLE (who you've now made an interesting tag team with a unique gimmick, which is what I dared you to do a long ass time ago but hey
), but I imagine Matt's first win is on the horizon.
Making sure I give feedback on all fronts here; elsewhere in the tourney, I agree with Wolfy (I think it was he) who said that Regal over Noble was a surprise, given Noble's heroic effort against Christian in the Offseason. Admittedly, that performance was as much to suggest Christian hasn't earned the title yet as to put Noble over I imagine, but regardless, to see Noble go out in the first round was a shock. Likewise, to see Heyman (of all people) give Noble a title shot of his choosing is odd, because Paul E. generally doesn't seem like the guy to do that for people he's not working in cohesion with. I imagine that's your way of setting him up to maybe have another crack at Danielson, and that brings me to what was undoubtedly the shock of the tournament so far... I'm not so sure about it all. I was willing to give Danielson being eliminated a chance, but I was under the impression that you were launching Aero Star into the upper tiers of the tourney to apply him as the 'wild card', 'surprise package' of sorts... then Low Ki murdered him in their match this week. No doubt the action was spectacular (though I'd say Ki got a heavy amount of offence in the ending sequence without much reply), and that kick off the Tope Torpedo is a monster of a spot, but I was surprised to see a couple of these result decisions. While I'm here, losing Kofi so early caught me off-guard too. My only thought is that you're preparing for a sneaky Danielson/Noble rematch MOTN attempt on the undercard of Rise of a Dynasty, but then I still think if Aero was going to beat AmDrag, perhaps he shouldn't have been knocked out right after. I get you're going for 'It's AOW, anything can happen' and all, and I know not everyone can be on the Supershow, I just think it was a peculiar decision in the grand scheme of things. You know me though, always making mountains out of molehills.
I'm surprised it took me so long to get around to it, but the second-hottest thing on your show (behind Batman and the Joker) is undoubtedly Haas/Benjamin, and I think you did a clever little job - don't think we missed it - by having The Informer be unsure of Benjamn's alignment prior to his match, then deliberately make it very clear for all of us reading. The Punk/Benjamin match read very well, especially in Benjamin's character of constantly going mad with aggression and then asking Justin King what his time was, that's cool as fuck. He reminds me a little, in different way I suppose, of my Cody Rhodes - capable of great aggression at any cost to win, though mine's lost his mind and yours can't fathom a world where he's not the best athlete on the planet. It also makes him a huge scalp for Punk, but that's a point for another time, tonight wasn't really about him. I think tonight was a big turning point for the feud, even without the big post-match attack, because it solidifies that this isn't just Benjamin and Haas playing at competition anymore - it stopped being light-hearted and it got serious, like an argument that starts as a joke and ends with someone being shanked with the end of a broken bottle... wait, maybe that's just us English
I think the feud has a whole lot of potential, even though Haas/Benjamin feuds are done to death, and that's why it'll be all the more impressive if you pull it off well. The question is now how Charlie "Kills in Cold Blood" Haas responds, especially in the aftermath of the attack, and that's where the feud could possibly come into its own, so I await that. The other question, with Haas putting away a big threat in Albright, is how you handle him heading into RoaD, and whether the 'dislocation' will prevent him from competing. More on that in a second. I like how you somewhat focused on these two in this episode, briefly referencing the Michaels and the Jericho/Christian issues but mainly putting the cameras on your other feuds under the banner of the tournament. And you say I pay attention to my
So looking at Rise of a Dynasty, we obviously have one more show before then; this is where I wonder about the Haas issue, seeing as he could technically fight heroically back to make it for the quarter-finals by then, only to be picked apart by Regal or Finlay because he's not yet ready, or be assaulted again by Benjamin, or whatever. I think you'll try to sneak Jericho into the frame somewhere - in fact I'm almost certain of it - so I think there could be a window there, but you've made a point of establishing thus far that when someone gets knocked out, there's no loopholes, so I wonder how you'll bring Jericho into the picture, or if you'll just have him collapse the entire tourney structure by ruining the Final. Lots of possibilities. The only thing you didn't do on this show, which I assume you'll do next week, is highlight the people who have made it to the big one, but with Haas' uncertainty I can understand why you didn't put your cards on the table right away. So far I'm seeing Joe, Punk, Mysterio, HBK, Regal, Finlay, Low Ki and Haas (with a BIG asterisk by his name), but Regal and Finlay are your only heels, which is a surprise. I maybe expected Danielson there, and Black and Kingston in there to tease yet another rematch, because you're you, but that might be the card you're playing by having Joe and Finlay in there under the radar together. The 6-to-2 face-to-heel is what makes me think Jericho's jumping into the fray somewhere, but as I say, you have lots of possibilities and that's what makes it exciting. Oh, and evidently you have the Fan Bracket Showcase thing too, so that's a bit more unpredictability. Actually that's probably why you won't do Noble/Danielson, you've only got so much time. And I may have been wrong about that anyway. I'm useless.
Overall, things are starting to heat up. I think perhaps the new season didn't kick off with as much of a bang as I expected, but things are up and running now and it looks good. I had a couple of gripes here and there, but don't we all, and tbh I know you've got something big planned for RoaD. Haas/Benjamin and that 'I am the Earth' promo stood out, and I eagerly await what happens on next week's show if only because there are a few things I'm unsure about: Low Ki, for instance, is a total boss but I'm amazed he's in the final 8. It might be after the Supershow that the tag team divison regains its spotlight, too, because American Made's interaction in the exclusives was excellent (Wilde shows promise as a character) and DAT MUSCLE obviously either have issues with Kidman/Sydal or they'll be on the tails of the Sons before too long. That's a lot of rambling, but to summarise, AOW has a lot of interesting stuff going forward, and I'm glad we'll get the Supershow before the year is out. Bon stuff good fella, stamp of approval and all that jazz. On to the next one