On a recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily, Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman sat down with Emmy-winning host and host of Insight, Chris Van Vliet. Hausman and Van Vliet talked about the top stories in AEW, including American Top Team’s feud against the Inner Circle. Lambert is the face of ATT, and Van Vliet gave his thoughts on Lambert’s presence in AEW.
“Now is he getting real heat or is he getting ‘X-Pac heat? Maybe it’s a combination of both, but I was watching the other day, and Dan Lambert comes out to cut a promo and people just instinctively hate him and I feel like that is X-Pac heat,” Van Vliet said. “This is no disrespect to X-Pac who we both love and have a tremendous amount of respect for, but we understand what the terminology means here. I think it’s more that it did feel like it came out of nowhere. It felt like it came out of nowhere, and he was getting all of this mic time when I felt like there were all these other people on the roster that could have really benefited from this mic time. And you’re making him the manager for Ethan Page, tremendous on the mic himself, Scorpio Sky, tremendous on the mic himself. It’s not like they really needed a mouthpiece, and I just thought it was strange.
“Maybe it’s because Ethan and Scorpio were so good on the mic they needed to bring someone in, give them some sort of a heel rub, but that first promo where they were up in the press box, I was just like, no one seems to know what they’re talking about. Don’t get me wrong, this is no disrespect to Dan. I’ve never met him. He seems like a great human being. All I’m saying is that there’s certain cadences, I think, in a wrestling promo, and I just feel like there’s certain times when he’s getting booed like crazy, especially early on in those promos, where I feel like there’ll be a moment where maybe he pauses.
“And I just feel like he’s trying to get to the end of his promo. ‘Oh, this is my next line. I gotta say this and then this and then this.’ I am not an expert on this. I have cut very few promos in an independent wrestling ring. I am not the person to speak on this. I’m just saying, and this has nothing to do with Dan Lambert, but there’s a lot of times when someone from the Hollywood world will come into wrestling, and it just doesn’t translate. There’s something about getting really soft and calm and then getting loud when you have to and looking around. Every wrestling promo has one of those, and there’s a lot of times when A-listers come over, like when they were doing the RAW general managers, the special guests all the time, it’s like, oh yeah, you’ve never watched wrestling before.”
AEW EVP Cody Rhodes is set to take on Malakai Black to likely conclude their feud on Dynamite. Rhodes’ crowd reception has been a talking point amongst fans, and Van Vliet gave his theory has to why Rhodes has received backlash from fans.
“Why don’t they like Cody? I’m just guessing here, do you think that this is fans going, we know you make a lot of the decisions behind the scenes, and we don’t like that you keep booking yourself in these situations, so that’s why we’re boo you,” Van Vliet speculated. “It almost seems like what was happening with Triple H a handful of years ago. I like a lot of the booking that Cody’s done. I think it’s a nice pat on the back. Hey, you’re coming into this company, and a lot of times, I’m gonna put you over so then it’s gonna make you look good. I’ll try to look good in the end. I think that that’s interesting. I thought it was strange when Cody faked the retirement thing.
“That whole segment was very strange. I get where they were heading with it, but he’s in the ring and then a crutch comes into the ring for some random reason. The crutches were the size of a small child’s crutch, and then he’s very slowly taking off his boots. Are they doing what I think they’re doing? No, this can’t be. Cody’s younger than me! He can’t be retiring! What’s going on here?”
AEW has seen remarkable growth and part of that has to do with their recent big signings like CM Punk, Ruby Soho, Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole. Hausman asked Van Vliet if he thinks AEW risks burning out their audience with so many debuts around the same time.
“I just think they’ve set the bar extremely high, and it’s been amazing, right, because they’ve been living up to it all the time, but I think the bar is set so, so high,” Van Vliet noted. “And it’s not unlike when you first start dating someone. You’re dating that guy, you’re dating that girl, and you’re taking them to all these fancy restaurants and all of these exciting adventures. You’re going on vacations. How long can you keep that up for? That’s great for the first 3… 6… 9 months, maybe even a year, but can you keep that same pace going year after year, month after month? I don’t know.
“Obviously, CM Punk was a huge story across the world, not just in wrestling. People who hadn’t watched wrestling in years were like, oh yeah, I heard CM Punk’s back. That’s amazing. That’s crazy. Even if they’re not watching AEW, they’re aware that he’s back. Where do you go from here? Obviously, you can have these great storylines, great matches with Bryan Danielson, CM Punk and Adam Cole. Bray Wyatt comes in, I’m guessing. Perhaps Braun Strowman one day, but I don’t know if you can keep riding the momentum of ‘this person is a free agent, we’ll bring them in. This person’s a free agent, and then we’ll bring them in’ because AEW has been really really good at taking the talent that they have built themselves and cultivating that and making their stars go up like Darby Allin or MJF, the list goes on and on and on.”
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