SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)…
Ongoing coverage, reviews, and analysis of this weekend’s Starrcast 3 shows and events from Chicago, IL.
ALL OUT OFFICIAL WEIGH IN AND PRESS CONFERENCE
AUGUST 29, 2019
PRO WRESTLING TEES THEATRE
LIVE FROM CHICAGO, IL
Host: Jenn Decker
We’ve been told that a defining difference between AEW and it’s competition in the marketplace is the sports-like presentation that will accompany the product on a regular basis. In taking a page out of the UFC playbook, utilizing official weigh-ins and press conferences to help hype matches is a smart technique to not only drive business, but make good on that prime differentiator.
In theory, anyway.
What we saw tonight at the Starrcast 3 official All Out weigh-in and press conference was a far cry from a sports-like presentation. At best it was a mediocre comedy hour with flashes of pro wrestling star power. At worst, it was a significant deviation from AEW’s mission statement and an example of AEW brass not shedding their independent roots.
Jenn Decker hosted the program and kicked things off with a sloppy and convoluted open that set a rocky foundation for her and the overall event itself. She appeared confused while ad-libbing which is not a typical recipe for hosting success. The first guest of the evening was Brandi Rhodes. Rhodes looked every bit the part of a chief executive and handled her business well with the charity she was on hand to promote. From there and after a short appearance from MJF, Decker welcomed SCU and continued her tough night by introducing the trio as So Cal Unlimited. The audience collectively picked up the error at the same time and their reaction to it doused SCU’s response and started the segment off on some terribly bad footing. SCU, Marko Stunt, Luchasauras, and Jungle Boy tried to bring the segment to life, but poor improvisation with insider comedy jokes and a severe lack of focus on Saturday’s match left a lot to be desired.
The Young Bucks hit the stage next and injected life into a cold crowd. They used their time as it should have been used by all involved and hyped their ladder match on Saturday night against the Lucha Brothers. Matt and Nick Jackson proclaimed that Saturday’s match would be the greatest ladder match in the history of wrestling. Obviously, a big claim, but one worthy of this event given its supposed purpose.
After the Bucks, it was Hangman Adam Page’s turn and he took advantage of the moment. The build for the Page vs. Chris Jericho, World AEW Championship main event at All Out has been disappointing given how Page has been presented. This worked to recalibrate that poor image. Page delivered his lines well and defined his goal of becoming the first ever AEW World Champion in a way that audiences could invest in. He appeared confident, smooth, intense, and finally showed off some of the personality, charm, and charisma that makes him a potential top star in the industry.
Together, The Young Bucks and Adam Page tried to turn the tide of the program as a whole, but couldn’t do it. The SCU mishap and poor performance by Decker lingered, but the true error is an error in judgement, not practice. Mistakes like Decker’s could happen to anyone, but the arbitrary nature of how this came together reeks of the DIY culture that AEW needs to shed in order to play in the big pool on TNT. Tonight, not only did the entire production feel minor league, but the program failed to effectively present the AEW brand as they claim they want to be presented.
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