Wrestling Roundup: Jim Cornette/AEW, Jon Moxley, Beth Phoenix
We’ll start with Jim Cornette: who had made it clear that he didn’t want to watch the inaugural AEW pay-per-view, “Double or Nothing,” then proceeded to trash the show on his “Jim Cornette Experience” podcast this week.
Which, fine. There was plenty to be critical of with respect to the show. Cornette spent nearly an hour breaking down the pre-show, going roughly minute-for-minute with that portion of the show, and was right on several points, most significantly, that AEW dropped the ball with its opening match, a sloppily-produced battle royal that wouldn’t work on the indy card at your local high school gym on a Friday night.
He probably didn’t need to call out Sonny Kiss with language that was borderline homophobic, and his misogynistic comment on the assignment of Aubrey Edwards as the referee for a men’s match, suggesting that women should only work women’s matches, ignoring the use of females as officials in the NBA, NFL and even UFC.
These were Donald Trump-esque moments for our resident wrestling Trump-hater.
And, surprise, surprise, Corny still doesn’t like The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega, because what they do “exposes the business,” which, doesn’t what Cornette does now to make money, with his podcasting and endless talks and meet-and-greets at conventions, also expose the business?
I’m a regular listener of his two weekly podcasts, which offer great insight into wrestling history, and not just the 1980s and 1990s, the era that he played a big part in, as manager of arguably the best tag team in modern wrestling history, The Midnight Express, and as an announcer, booker and promoter, but dating back to the early days of professional wrestling, with his research as a sort of amateur wrestling historian.
A lot of what Corny has to say about the basics of how to get a wrestler over, the economics of the business, and how today’s products fall short, make a lot of sense.
This, mixed in with the Trump hate, and the humor. (His nearly 10-minute riff on manscaping from last week is worth a listen, all to itself.)
It’s tough, though, to get past the get off my lawn! aspects to Corny’s act, which make him come across like a guy who is just waiting by the phone for WWE or AEW to call him to offer him the chance to save wrestling from itself.
Next up is Jon Moxley: and I don’t have much original to add, to the volumes that have already been written about his sitdown with Chris Jericho on a recent podcast.
The one thing I noted was how calm Moxley, the former Dean Ambrose, seemed through the entire interview.
As much as it seemed clear that he wanted to fire shots at certain people, notably, WWE chairman Vince McMahon, and whoever it was on the creative team that tried to get him to say whatever they tried to get him to say about Roman Reigns and leukemia, it was just as clear that he wasn’t just firing off.
The interview isn’t something that will get Moxley and Jericho sued, as was the case with the famous Colt Cobana/CM Punk interview from a years back, when Punk clearly went over the line on several occasions.
Moxley seemed calm, collected, and clinical.
Speaking of Moxley, what about Beth Phoenix making her NXT: Takeover debut this weekend? Which I bring up because, I had to remind myself on more than one occasion, that it was Phoenix at the commentary table, and not Renee Young, her soundalike.
Seriously, if you hadn’t told me it was Beth Phoenix, and I hadn’t seen her sitting at ringside, I would have thought Renee Young had gotten the call to fill in for somebody at the last minute.
Which has me thinking, because Phoenix did a solid job in her first big-event gig: is she training to replace Young, who you have to expect at some point will become collateral damage to whatever McMahon does to lash out at Moxley’s recent comments?
Column by Chris Graham