On today’s episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast, Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman sat down with the host of Busted Open Radio, Dave LaGreca, to discuss the top stories from the world of pro wrestling. One of the other hosts of Busted Open, WWE Hall of Fame Bully Ray, made headlines recently when he said AEW had glaring issues, and LaGreca gave his thoughts on Ray’s comments.
“It’s funny, we were talking about that on the show today, and you know this because Busted Open is three hours long,” LaGreca noted. “A lot of times, and I’m guilty of it too, you grab the headline, you grab one quote from the show but that’s one quote or one sentence in the span of three hours. Bully is a big fan of AEW, and he even said it. He loves nine out of ten things on the show, but when we do the show on Wednesday’s, obviously, you fall into the trap of comparing NXT and AEW because they’re both on Wednesday nights, and they’re both on at the same time.
“The one thing that he feels NXT has a hand up on is the in-ring work. Technically the in-ring work he likes better than the in-ring work with AEW. AEW feels like, in a lot of ways, and maybe even the officiating, they could tighten the screws a little bit more with some of the ring psychology. In certain cases [I agree with Bully]. I get labeled as an ‘AEW mark and WWE hater’, again, because people, especially right now, they love to grab ahold of certain things, and they love this division. You’re either on one side or the other.
“I come from a time when as a wrestling fan, especially when I was younger during the territory days, where I watched everything. I liked everything. I like everything now, maybe not so much on Monday nights, but for the most part, I like everything that’s going on right now. And if I’m not a big fan of Monday Night RAW, but I love NXT, and I love SmackDown, and I love 205 Live and I love the original documentaries on on the Network, how am I a WWE hater? It sounds preposterous. You know what? I’m an AEW fan. If I had to pick one show of the week that I prefer over others, it’s probably AEW Dynamite. That’s just my opinion, where Bully would probably go with NXT.”
LaGreca also praised WWE, specifically SmackDown. Hausman and LaGreca agreed that WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns is the best thing in WWE right now, and LaGreca used Apollo Crews as an example of how well SmackDown is doing creatively.
“Let me say this too, if I had to pick a second show, it would be NXT, and they just happen to be going head-to-head. I would give a close third to SmackDown,” LaGreca stated. “Can we agree that the best story going right now is the Roman Reigns story? We can agree on that?
“How about on Monday Night RAW, they could never do anything with Apollo Crews. They could never get you to buy in emotionally. All it took on SmackDown was for him to be sitting on a sofa next to Roman Reigns for 30 seconds, and instantly you’re invested in Apollo Crews. It’s amazing.”
LaGreca praised today’s wrestling for having so much variety. He pointed out that AEW has only been around for one year and have tapped into a younger audience.
“AEW has only been around a short time. Think about it, the show’s only been on for a little over a year,” LaGreca pointed out. “I think it’s been successful, and I think they’re still trying to find their way as far as what their audience is and who their audience is and what they prefer, but they have tapped into a very young audience, which is an audience that hasn’t been around pro wrestling, that 18 to 35 year old. And I think that’s the audience of AEW right now.”
LaGreca was optimistic about improvements that AEW can make. He noted that their women’s division already has top stars like Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa. He also highlighted AEW’s relationships with NWA and Impact Wrestling as ways AEW can bolster their women’s division.
“I think they are doing well with what they’re doing as far as the relationship with the NWA, and now that they’re having this relationship with Impact Wrestling. I think that is the biggest advantage they’re going to have [is] having those relationships in bolstering up that women’s division,” LaGreca said. “First of all, they do have stars. Britt Baker’s a star. That’s for sure, and then they really found gold with Thunder Rosa.
“I’m so looking forward to this matchup at ‘Beach Bash’ with Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa. Bring in Impact and they have talent, Tasha Steelz, and Kiera Hogan and Deonna Purrazzo. If they can bring that into the world of AEW Dynamite, I think that’s such a big win for their women’s division.”
Impact’s latest viewership numbers were the lowest since November. This had led many people wondering if the Kenny Omega – Bullet Club angle is truly working. LaGreca explained that that pro wrestling goes through many cycles, and right now, wrestling is working with the hardcore fans.
“And I think right now in the world of pro wrestling, and you notice it’s very circular. It goes through cycles,” LaGreca noted. “I think 2019 was such a big year for pro wrestling. It was one of my favorite years as a pro wrestling fan, 2019, when you look at how they were able to expand and get a lot of mainstream exposure.
“I think right now, maybe it’s because of the pandemic, it seems like we’re kind of dealing with just a hardcore pro wrestling fan right now. I don’t know how much they’re tapping into the mainstream audience. They’re trying. I just think that right now, and even with certain fans, it’s hard for them to watch without the crowds and things like that.”
You can find David LaGreca every week as the host of Busted Open Radio on SiriusXM. LaGreca’s full interview aired as part 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.