Forbes writer Alfred Konuwa returned to The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast today to chat with Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman about, amongst other things, WWE’s Q3 earnings call and The Wednesday Night Wars. Towards the middle of their chat Konuwa gave his thoughts on AEW Full Gear.
“I thought it was amazing. I thought it was just an excellent PPV,” Konuwa said. “It was insane that this PPV started with Kenny Omega vs. Hangman Adam Page and then got better from there. That was an incredible match. You look at that starting on paper, it’s like, ‘oh my God, you’re going to start it with this show?!’ and they managed to keep the energy and build to a crescendo. Just like a PPV should be where by the end of the night, it’s the main event that people wanted to see.
“I don’t think the main event lived up to the level of the rest of the show, but it was still excellent. It was a great story told heading in between [Jon] Moxley and Eddie Kingston, and I have very few complaints about that PPV. Maybe the Deletion Match went a little long, but I was entertained throughout. I didn’t think it dragged. I just thought it was an excellent PPV.”
The Elite Deletion Match got mixed reviews from the live crowd and the viewing audience. Konuwa said that the Matt Hardy and AEW pairing has worked out well because Hardy now has more creative freedom in AEW.
“I do think it’s jiving with AEW. I think it’s perfect for that type of model, and it’s actually ahead of its time because now everybody’s doing cinematic matches,” Konuwa noted. “Matt Hardy, he’s like, ‘I started this!’ But these matches were really fun. I think with this one, because you’re right, it was very polarizing if you go on Twitter, but they kept the mic on for the fans.
“So you heard in the building how fans were reacting to this, and they were reacting very positively. You can hear people pop for Gangrel and people pop for Hurricane Helms for these various silly spots they’re doing. So I think it’s a match made in heaven, Matt Hardy and AEW because he’s gonna get the creative freedom to do this type of stuff. Maybe too much because, again, it went very long, but I do think that it is a match made in heaven. I think they’re doing a good job together.”
In the main event, Eddie Kingston failed in his challenge for the AEW World Championship. Hausman asked Konuwa where he sees Kingston going next, and he explained how Kingston could leverage his defeat against Jon Moxley into a babyface run.
“Huge babyface,” Konuwa stated. “He’s one of those guys that’s overachieving for them right now. I think when they signed him, as talented as he is, he was probably brought in as like, ‘okay, this could be kind of a player-coach type. We’ll get him in here. He cuts a great promo. He could be a great accessory to this, that and the other,’ but this is one of these guys who has just talked his way into main event consideration with Jon Moxley, at least temporarily now, and I think people are going to absolutely love him after this.
“He’s going to be very sympathetic as a babyface who tried everything. He wanted to win a championship for his mother, and he failed. He had to say ‘I quit.’ You know that’s something that’s gonna eat at him, and people are going to rally around that because he’s got such an everyman appeal. And he cuts such a great promo that if he just keeps going like that as a babyface, he might be in the main event picture and be undeniable in terms of them phasing him out.”
The topic of WWE NXT moving nights has been on the minds of many, but Triple H has been pessimistic on that idea. However, Konuwa noted on the podcast that NXT does stronger numbers when running unopposed to AEW Dynamite and suggested that NXT move nights to continue doing strong numbers in the ratings.
“I think they’re doing fine, and I mean, it is a little bit of a black eye for WWE,” Konuwa admitted. “Here’s a show that’s just getting beaten week after week. You saw that they’ve been completely phased out of the Survivor Series picture, which is a far cry from where we were last year with NXT, where Survivor Series was NXT’s coming out party.
“And now here we are, they’re nowhere near the card. I think Vince is distancing himself from NXT from that standpoint, but if you look at what they did when they ran unopposed on national television, they’re doing 800,000 when they ran unopposed with AEW. It was the first time in the history of the Wednesday Night War that they did 800,000 or more for four weeks in a row. This is a entity that clearly can get people interested on a weeknight.
“It can clearly be more to USA than what it is now, but it’s existing right now as part of WWE’s pety little war against its competition. I get why they did this, but NXT, just right now, isn’t able to compete with AEW. This is something that they can get the most out of it if they just move nights, if they go to Tuesday or something like that. NXT can be way more [valuable] to USA Network.
Hausman noted that NXT moving nights would defeat the purpose of WWE and USA Network’s strategy towards AEW, and Konuwa agreed. He also admitted that he also likes the dynamic of the Wednesday Night Wars.
“It defeats the purpose for what WWE and USA Network were trying to do because this is a collaboration between WWE and USA to say, ‘we got to kill AEW.’ That didn’t happen,” Konuwa pointed out. “So now you either backtrack and you go somewhere else and, like you said, AEW keeps going up, but it peaks and trucks.
“You never know who’s going to come along in NXT and get hot, but in this company and just the way they do their booking, it’s not happening anytime soon. So I just think it would be a better idea for WWE to move nights, but I just don’t see them doing it, and I kind of like the dynamic of the Wednesday Night Wars.”
You can follow Alfred on Twitter @ThisIsNasty. Alfred’s full interview aired as part of today’s episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.
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