A Few Observations on Wrestling

So just as I had mentioned in a past post, I still consider myself a lapsed fan. Now that’s not to say that I don’t keep my toe in the water, so to speak, by listening to podcasts and picking up on the big news stories on the wrestling world. But I’m not tuning in to watch any of it these days. However, there are a few notable news stories I’d like to comment on here.

First off, congrats to CM Punk on becoming the AEW World Heavyweight Champion! I suppose it was really just a matter of time before they put the title on him, but kudos to Punk for being “the guy” once again. I also read a story on his current run in AEW, stating how some people would call him a hypocrite for coming in and getting the title, much like The Rock and others have done in the past, that he was critical of, but it also went on to explain that Punk has truly been “on the road” with the company since first signing. He’s on every show, either wrestling or cutting promos on a weekly basis, so to those who are calling him a hypocrite truly don’t understand his role & dedication to the company. Unfortunately, he did get injured, but I’m really happy for him from a personal standpoint. The dude works his ass off and is showing he’s still got it.

Some more congrats are due to Jeff Jarrett! Anyone who knows me, knows I’ve been a fan of ol’ Double J for decades now. I love the guy’s work and for those who haven’t listened to his podcast with Conrad Thompson (which can be found here), it’s a really great listen! The dude has really done it all as it pertains to the business…from wrestling as an on-screen character to the behind the scenes jobs of booking and promoting, he’s had his hands in every aspect of the business from a young age and has a great mind for how to make money in professional wrestling.

I’ve said this a number of times over the course of his career, and I mean it in the most sincere way: Jeff Jarrett is the cockroach of professional wrestling. Just when you think he’s gone, he continues to pop up somewhere to remind you that he’s still around! Case-in-point: he made his mainstream television debut with the WWF back in 1993 and won the Intercontinental Title a few times, jumped to WCW where he became a member of the 4 Horsemen, jumped back to the WWF and won the Intercontinental Title another couple of times before leaving again for WCW. But this time, he made sure he got all his backpay that was due him before leaving. He showed up in WCW, reformed the nWo and won the WCW World Heavyweight Title a few times before the company wass ultimately bought by he WWF. Vince McMahon publicly fired him on live television, so you’d figure he’s done in the business. Nope, because while on a fishing trip with his father & Bob Ryder, Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling (now known as Impact Wrestling) is conceived and Jeff is a part owner. When TNA needs financial help to stay afloat, he brokers the deal with the Carters & Panda Energy to keep the company going. Eventually, he is shown the door in TNA, so he leaves to create ANOTHER wrestling company called Global Force Wrestling, which doesn’t see the success TNA did, but is then brought back by TNA to try to help right the ship, so to speak. For a short while, he rebrands the place as Global Force Wrestling before leaving TNA, which is rebranded again as Impact Wrestling and is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, where he is welcomed back into the WWE family and is hired on as a Producer. After quietly being let go by the company during the COVID-19 pandemic, he starts his podcast with Conrad Thompson. A year later, he’s hired back by WWE to be their Senior Vice President of Live Events! And that’s not counting his appearance in Game Changer Wrestling or his multiple appearances in Triple A in Mexico, where he’s held their AAA World Title! The wrestling world keeps trying to rid itself of Jarrett, but he continually finds his way back into the business! The dude just refuses to go away! And kudos to him for never giving up on his passion! I couldn’t be happier for him!

Moving on, we have a few awful name changes on WWE’s main roster…I’m sure you’ve all known about WALTER’s name change to Gunther, however WWE did misstep along the way with that name change, originally choosing to go with “Gunther Stark” in their trademark filings, and no…no relation to Tony or Howard Stark…no, Gunther Stark was a Germain Nazi U-Boat Commander back in World War II. Yikes! So they understandably dropped the last name.

Then, another former NXT UK talent and member of Imperium, Marcel Barthel’s name got changed to Ludwig Kaiser! For those wondering, Marcel Barthel is his actual birth name, so I suppose I could somewhat understand the name change, but if you ask me, the fact that the guy’s first and last name rhyme, makes his name roll right off the tongue quite easily if you’re a commentator. While I could understand it from a licensing standpoint…but Ludwig Kaiser?? First off, if he’s German, wouldn’t his name be spelled “Ludvig”? I just have to wonder if he’s any relation to Von Kaiser…of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out fame? Also, as you can see to the left here…in his character picture on WWE.com, his warmup jacket still has “BARTHEL” clear as day on it. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d get an updated picture for the site before putting through a name change. But then again, that would take foresight, which clearly WWE has none of.

And finally, the greatest name change WWE could have possibly come up with for a former NXT UK personality…and they really nailed the personality and look with this one, folks! Naturally, the rename I’m talking about here is the incredible job they did with “The Bruiserweight” Pete Dunne, who is now known simply as “Butch”. Yup…Butch. Because when I look at that guy, certainly “Butch” is what first comes to mind! I mean did Sheamus really need a Mini-Me? So how many Butch t-shirts do you think Vince sees flying off the shelves at live events? But honestly, that can be said for a number of performers for that company. I mean how many people do you know with names like Riddle, Doudrop, Theory or Ciampa?

And finally, I’m going to bounce back over to All Elite Wrestling. They seem to believe that because they have an overabundance of midcard talent, that they need to have an overabundance of midcard belts as well for said talent to wrestle for. Evidence of this is the impending debut of the AEW All Atlantic Championship (pictured). Problem is…they have 3 hours of television and already have the following championships that are defended on AEW television: AEW Championship, TNT Title, AEW Womens Championship, TBS Title, AEW Tag Team Championship, FTW Championship, Ring of Honor Championship, Ring of Honor Pure Championship, ROH Womens Championship, ROH Tag Titles & the ROH 6-Man Tag Titles. These are all championships that are owned by AEW and some of the ROH titles are even held by AEW wrestlers. Then, there’s the Owen Hart Memorial Cup winners who were also given belts, Adam Cole and Britt Baker…like that was oh so random! Not that they’ll defend them though, as I’ve been told “they’re only trophy belts” – whatever that means. Also, if you look at the design of the All Atlantic belt, it’s pretty & very old school looking, but look at the flags…why is there a Japanese flag on that title belt? Last time I checked an atlas, Japan isn’t located anywhere near the Atlantic Ocean! But folks, we’re talking about a wrestling company that only has 3 hours of television — I refuse to count their YouTube series as “television time,” because I have a YouTube channel too and don’t consider myself a “television star”. What they don’t need are more title belts…what they need to do is start letting wrestlers go who they’re not using! What a concept! Though they won’t be praised for it, WWE for the most part, understands that concept. If you’re not being used or featured on television in meaningful storylines and matches, why are you there? If your answer is simply to collect a paycheck, then you’re in the wrong line of business.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today. Thanks for reading!

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