Our man Manolo’s review of the June 4 Dynamite touched on it, and some similar Twitter criticism of Andrade El Ídolo’s arrival last night prompted a discussion about how AEW debuts people in the Cageside “offices”.
The knock in this specific case is that Andrade didn’t even get entrance music, and his first words & actions in the company did nothing to set-up whatever his first program will be. This follows a pattern that we’ve seen with others like Miro and Christian Cage, where the new guy simply comes out to say “I’m here!” Everything else is saved for later.
Personally, I’d agree it’s something AEW could do better. But it’s at the bottom of the list of things I hope they prioritize addressing.
The important thing is that Tony Khan & team seem to have a clear plan for everyone they bring on board.
Depending on the role they see for you, the rollout varies. If you’re an established name who’s over 40, you’re going to be paired with one or more of the younger talent they have high hopes for (see: Goldust, Matt Hardy, Sting, Christian).
If you’re someone they see as top star, and younger - those acts will go it alone, or get a sidekick. Jon Moxley is obviously in a class by himself, because he was a main eventer in WWE. For wrestlers like Miro and Andrade, they opt to roll them out slower - likely to get the stink of their WWE booking off them. This avoids the perception fans have had of Impact in the past when they’ve taken Vince McMahon’s cast-offs and instantly booking them as champions.
As fans, most of are used to the WWE model of a big debut moment - a Royal Rumble entrance, an upset win, a surprise attack. Unfortunately, because there’s either no follow-up plan or place, or no discipline to stick with it - that moment is the best part of a wrestler’s rollout.
The way AEW’s handled things in their brief history, there may be bumps along the way. A first appearance that doesn’t blow everyone in the audience away may be one of those bumps. But since they know where they want a performer to be in the long run, they can adjust and recalibrate to account for those things. The destination is more important than the arrival.
It’s why I’m pumped to see what El Ídolo does in his new home. And why his first appearance was the highlight of the Double or Nothing fallout show, even if it wasn’t splashy.
YouTube videos are being doled out slowly, as is AEW’s model these days. But we’ve compiled what they’ve released as of this morning in this playlist, and tried to catch you up with the rest of the episode via Twitter clips below that.
- Did the Death Triangle Get Their Revenge vs The Young Bucks?
- Mark Henry Makes His Dynamite Debut. What’s He Doing in AEW?
- Andrade El Idolo is All Elite. Hear What He Had to Say!
- Friday Night AEW Dynamite Post-Show