a final bow—tom smith—2020
Dear readers welcome to my last column of 2020 in Frankly Green Bay.
As we all know 2020 has been a difficult year for this country and many of us in the Green Bay area. Since this is the holiday edition of Frankly Green Bay this column will focus on a favorite subject of mine that I use to keep the pressures of the real world at bay in my mind (well as least temporarily). That subject is Professional Wrestling and 2020 has been quite the interesting year for greatest sport mankind has ever invented.
I would first like to thank three people who have been and will always continue to be an influence in my life. The first is former WGBW dj Rick Counihan who just celebrated his 60th birthday. Rick was the person whose Punk Rock show on WGBW in the early eighties helped nudge me into participating in the Green Bay Punk Rock scene and he was also the reason I became a dj at WGBW. Heck now that I think about this, Rick is the reason I even went to UWGB. Rick's influence on me is probably one of the reasons I never left Green Bay. The members of the Anti-Tom Smith Society of the Greater Green Bay area have Rick to blame for me still even living in Titletown.
I would also want to thank my late great editor at the Scene and Frankly Green Bay Andrew Corey Kruse-Ross because his faith that I could amount to anything as a writer is why I'm writing this article as my deadline passed an hour ago. I thought he was crazy when he asked me to write for the Scene, well turns out he wasn't that crazy because I love writing and have come a LONG way as a writer since I first started writing for him about eight years ago.
The third and final person I'm thanking is along with Hunter S. Thompson my favorite writer of all time and that person is Green Bay's the Rev. Norb. These two as idols set a bar very high, that I still enjoy jumping at. The Rev. Norb in the 80's produced that greatest fanzine of all time and that fanzine was called Sick Teen. The Rev. Norb is a beloved worldwide Punk rock figure and the road to that status began with Sick Teen and his band Suburban Mutilation. One of the things Norb had in Sick Teen was a Top Ten ranking of Professional Wrestling Tag Teams and that is how I'm going to start out my look at Professional Wrestling in 2020 with my ranking of the Top Ten Tag Teams in Professional Wrestling. 1. FTR- Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood who are the current AEW World Tag Team Champions. 2. Best Friends- Chuck Taylor and Trent. 3. Lucha Brothers-Rey Fenix and Penta EL Zero Miedo. 4. The Butcher and The Blade (now with The Bunny again). 5. Pride and Powerful-Santana and Ortiz. 6. The Jurassic Express- Jungleboy and Luchasaurus. 7. The New Day- Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods. 8. The Young Bucks- Matt and Nick Jackson. 9. Ivelisse & Diamante. 10. Evil Uno and Stu Grayson of The Dark Order. Nine of the Tag Teams listed perform in All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and there is a reason for that I'll soon disclose.
Covid-19 has affected almost everything in our society and professional wrestling was not immune to the effects of this pandemic. In April when much of the country was shutting down in an attempt to curb community spread, professional wrestling was hit hard. Many promotions such as the National Wrestling Alliance have seen production of new programing cease. AEW and WWE both produce their TV programing in Florida and lucky for them they do since very early on in the Pandemic the State of Florida deemed Professional Wrestling as essential workers. The WWE programing that first was produced at the beginning of the Pandemic was very hard for me to watch because of no fans at all in the audience.
The silence was eerie and was such a turn off that I stopped watched the WWE for a while. Eventually the WWE put up plexiglass and had a smattering of energetic fans that was much better than no fans and silence. The WWE also made another move caused by the Pandemic which had far reaching consequences that changed the course of how I watch and enjoy Professional Wrestling. That move by the WWE was a cost cutting purge of their talent. Among the talent released was the Tag Team known in the WWE as the Revival. The Revival signed with AEW in June and was rebranded as FTR. This signing was when I started watching AEW on a religious basis. I soon discovered that AEW kicks the WWE's ass and kicks it big time. Not only do I watch AEW Dynamite on TNT every Wednesday night, but also every Tuesday I watch AEW Dark on Youtube.
Why do I feel AEW is the superior Wrestling promotion when compared to the WWE? Let me list the Top Ten reasons. 1. I believe the quality and skill of the Wrestling matches in the AEW are hands down way better than the WWE. 2. AEW does a way better job of properly utilizing the talent they have than the WWE did with the same talent. The WWE seemed clueless what do with the Revival and the AEW has allowed FTR to shine as the greatest Tag Team in the World. 3. I like the production of the AEW TV programing far better than the WWE. Probably partly because I'm sick of the way the WWE does their production from years and years of watching their programming. 4. The storylines of the AEW are much more entertaining and not rushed, some feel like they organically happen. 5. I like to root for the underdog and the AEW is a David fighting the Goliath of the WWE. 6. The AEW has some of their in-ring talent in the front row of their TV tapings and socially distanced and masked fans in the audience. This combines to make enough noise for me to enjoy the Wrestling matches.
The WWE currently is using a gimmick called Thunderdome which is having a bunch of TV monitors set up that WWE fans can have their images (recorded live in their living rooms) shown on. This Thunderdome gimmick I feel is super lame and does not impress me. If this is the future of Professional Wrestling then I'll stick to watching footage of Buddy Rogers vs Pat O'Connor at Comiskey Park in 1961. 7. The AEW just had the greatest segment in the history of Professional Wrestling and that was called Le Dinner Debonair which was Jericho the “Demo God” and MJF having a dinner together that broke out into a campy musical number between them that would have fit perfectly in a musical on the Turner Classic Movies channel. 8. AEW has a plethora of WWE talent besides FTR that are being better utilized than they were in the WWE. Examples are Cody “The American Nightmare”, Jon Moxely, Shawn Spears, Miro, and Brody Lee. 9. AEW takes Tag Team wrestling serious unlike the WWE. That is why you saw that my Top Ten of Tag Teams was dominated by AEW. AEW also puts their tag team wrestlers in singles matches frequently which helps put these wrestlers over and further develop their characters. 10. AEW has way less pay per views which allows better development of story lines and feuds. It's a case of less is more. In interest of fairness to the WWE I must confess I have a bone to pick with them currently and that is because the WWE's shocking and controversial move of taking Big E out of the Greatest faction of the last 20 years The New Day.
My heart is broken and this is a grave mistake on the part of the WWE. The only way at this point they can appease me is if this decision leads to Big E as World Champion, if not I'll be hot about this the rest of my life. AEW is not just all talent that used to be in the WWE. The brain trust of the AEW has brought in great talent that has never been in the WWE from around the Globe. This is my Top Ten favorite AEW single wrestlers that haven't been in the WWE. 1. Eddie Kingston. This bad ass is currently my favorite singles wrestler and without a doubt there is NO ONE better on the mic in Wrestling currently than him. 2. “Absolute” Ricky Starks. Keep an eye on this guy. Rickey like Eddie Kingston came over to AEW from the NWA. Ricky has the “it” factor and I see nothing but greatest from him. Ricky also has the best ring entrance music in the game. 3.Orange Cassidy. 4. “The Concrete Rose” Sonny Kiss. 5. Anna Jay. 6. Peter Avalon. 7.Hangman Adam Page. 8. Kenny Omega. 9. Hikaru Shida. 10. Will Hobbs. Please have a Happy Holidays and remember people are fake and Wrestling is real.
Live, Long, and let's hope AEW brings back Megabyte Ronnie and Festivus for the Rest of us.