Properly, AEW followers, you’ve waited, and also you’ve waited, and also you’ve waited some extra… and it lastly occurred.
After months and months of teases and questioning when it might occur, now we have formally seen the in-ring debut of Hook.
As social media tends to make occur, issues like hyperbole, trolling and the urge to have probably the most “sizzling takes” doable grow to be entrance and middle. Main as much as Hook’s debut on Rampage, you noticed a bunch of these takes. Some had been full sarcasm and easily on the lookout for responses, however others had been based mostly extra in that particular person’s honesty. They had been all over the place. Folks had been predicting an exceptional debut. Others had been predicting title victories for Hook in 2022.
After a four-minute victory over Fuego Del Sol… shock, shock… the hyperbole, trolling and the urge to have the most popular of takes are flying throughout social media.
I’m not right here for that.
What I’m right here for is to name it like I see it.
I watched the Hook debut match. Actually, in making ready for this column, I’ve watched the match 5 occasions now. Every time I watched it, I appeared for one thing totally different.
The child is nice. He’s received the potential to be actually good.
No hyperbole. It merely isn’t vital.
It wasn’t the best in-ring debut in wrestling historical past. He isn’t in line for an AEW World Title shot within the subsequent few months, or at the very least he shouldn’t be.
I perceive that the wrestling “warfare” means quite a lot of you take sides with these wild takes. This man is the BEST WRESTLER IN THE WORLD. That match was the GREATEST OF ALL TIME. That’s cool and all, however of us, you’re not serving to Hook by any means by hyping him up the way in which that quite a lot of you may have been. You’re going to have individuals checking his debut out, anticipating a mixture of Eddie Guerrero, Shawn Michaels, Ric Aptitude and Kurt Angle of their primes due to the way in which individuals discuss him. Then, they watch the match and see a 22-year-old making his in-ring debut, and what occurs? Disappointment. Not as a result of it was unhealthy, however as a result of it wasn’t a mixture of Eddie Guerrero, Shawn Michaels, Ric Aptitude and Kurt Angle of their primes.
There was loads to love about Hook’s debut. He was very fluid and clean in his actions. The second didn’t appear too huge for him. He received to indicate that he isn’t as small as he seems to be when he’s standing subsequent to individuals like Brian Cage and Powerhouse Hobbs. There was a pleasant combination of his father’s wrestling fashion and a Judo-based offense.
His trainers have finished an excellent job of serving to him put together for that debut. There is no such thing as a denying that by any means.
If I’m going to be fully trustworthy, although, I don’t wish to see Hook wrestle once more for some time.
Yeah, yeah, yeah… I do know. Momentum and all that.
I’m simply evaluating Hook’s debut to what we noticed with Dominik Mysterio’s debut at SummerSlam final 12 months. Dom’s debut had individuals buzzing, and he appeared actually spectacular towards Seth Rollins, albeit in a shedding effort. Instantly, individuals had been raving about how good Dom checked out such an early stage of his profession, they usually started speaking about how good he might be with extra “seasoning” and expertise.
In case you’ve been studying my columns for a bit, you would possibly bear in mind my ideas on Dominik when he made his debuted. I actually loved his match with Rollins. Dom appeared like a veteran within the ring, as he had clearly been coaching for years and studying from his father. On the identical time, I mentioned that Dominik ought to step away for a bit and proceed his coaching. He might come again down the street and be even higher, persevering with his profession and slowly transitioning into being a full-time WWE Famous person.
Clearly, that didn’t occur. As an alternative, Dom caught round. He would compete in a match towards Seth Rollins and/or Buddy Murphy eight occasions over the following six weeks, seemingly carrying out his welcome and inflicting lots of people to develop uninterested in him. Now, Dom has wrestled 40-some televised matches in 2021, together with a two-month reign (together with his dad) as a Smackdown Tag Workforce Champion, and there are a ton of people that merely need Dominik to go away.
I really feel the identical method about Hook after his debut. It was a match that I actually loved. He appeared like a veteran that had been coaching for years and studying from his father. Now that the debut match is out of the way in which, I believe he must be saved away for some time, at the very least so far as matches are involved. I actually dig the position he performs inside Workforce Taz. He can stick round and proceed doing what he had been doing. I’ve no downside with that. There’s simply an aura round him proper now, and I believe a few of that may go away every time AEW trots him on the market for a match towards random opponents proper now, particularly if it occurs frequently.
Go away the individuals wanting extra. His debut match occurred on the December tenth episode of Rampage, so maintain off for at the very least the remainder of 2021. Then you possibly can put him in a match towards somebody on the extent of, say, Griff Garrison and even one of many members of The Darkish Order. Have the match in January or February, and go from there. If he continues enhancing, and folks preserve reacting to his work, then you can begin to have him working extra matches. Put him on episodes of Darkish, Darkish: Elevation, Darkish: Facet Of The Moon, Darkish: Knight and Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid Of The: Darkish in order that he can work with unbiased wrestlers from all around the nation.
It’s troublesome to gauge how a lot of a “draw” he’s proper now. Even with all of the web hype for Hook’s debut, final week’s episode of Rampage pulled in 503,000 viewers, which was solely up 4,000 from the earlier week. The important thing 18-49 demographic was the second-lowest in Rampage historical past. On the AEW YouTube account, his debut is at present sitting at 855,000 views after lower than 5 days, which could be very robust for an AEW video. These numbers would nearly make it a high ten video for the account over the previous month, and clearly, the views will solely proceed coming in as the times go by. You’ll be able to’t actually fault him for what’s occurring with the Rampage numbers, because the present’s viewership is tanking and tanking arduous, largely because of the horrible timeslot it has. 10pm on a Friday night time is simply asking for individuals to verify issues out on YouTube and social media as a substitute of tuning in to observe.
We will say that Hook is promoting merch, although. Each week since CM Punk returned to the enterprise, he has been the highest t-shirt vendor for ProWrestlingTees. Till now. Punk has the second and third best-selling shirts for the week, however the high spot now belongs to Hook. What does this imply?!? Who is aware of?!?
Look… I’m glad that Hook has been a well-liked subject of debate during the last a number of days. It’s superior that the wrestling enterprise has somebody new on the scene that might very nicely change into an enormous star in the future. As I’ve mentioned, I loved Hook’s debut and I do see huge issues in his future if all of the items fall into place. I’m simply asking a few of you to pump the brakes a bit. He didn’t change the sport, and it wasn’t the best debut of all-time. Cease laying it on so thick, even if you happen to’re doing so in jest, since you’re doing him no favors in any respect.
Oh, and two extra requests, whereas I’ve you right here.
One, if you happen to’re a grown man referring to your self as a “Hooker” due to your Hook fandom, throw your self down a flight of stairs. Simply… cease.
Two, if you happen to watched Hook’s debut and all you possibly can discuss is how a lot he wants a haircut, gentle your self on hearth. If you say issues like that, you’re sending out sure indicators to the world that I’m unsure you’re fairly desiring to ship out.
I’d love to listen to what all of you considered Hook. Discuss to me about his debut match, his look, his character to this point, what you suppose his future holds, and many others. As at all times, hit me up within the feedback part under, or on Twitter (@HustleTheSavage), and let me know what’s in your thoughts.
Weekly Energy Rankings
- Lucha Brothers vs FTR: This was the fifth time these two groups have squared off in a two-on-two tag contest, and it might be argued that this was one of the best of the bunch. I’ve mentioned it about this feud earlier than, however you’ll battle to search out two tag groups who’ve in-ring types which can be as far in the other way of one another as these two. There are occasions when reverse types can damage matches, however that isn’t the case with FTR and the Lucha Brothers. They proceed to entertain me.
- FTR Displaying Up At RoH Remaining Battle: Huge week for Money Wheeler and Dax Harwood. After The Briscoes defeated Matt Taven and Mike Bennett at Remaining Battle to win the RoH Tag Workforce Titles, the lights would exit, and FTR could be within the ring when the lights got here again on. It continued the social media feud between The Briscoes and FTR, and the groups would brawl to an enormous pop. We nonetheless don’t know when and the place we’ll see them have a match, but it surely’s beginning to grow to be a protected guess that it will likely be with AEW sooner or later. I’m all for it.
- Huge E vs Bobby Lashley: Based mostly on the pre-match stipulation, you knew that Lashley would win someway, placing him within the WWE Title match at Day 1, however the match itself was nonetheless quite a lot of enjoyable. There’s loads on the road when these two face off, they usually wrestle prefer it. I just like the addition of Lashley to the Day 1 match. Added star energy is at all times good, however WWE does Triple Risk and Deadly 4-Manner matches very well. E, Lashley, Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins are going to tear it up.
- Grayson Waller: He received big warmth final week by attacking Johnny Gargano throughout Gargano’s farewell speech to the NXT Universe. May he comply with it up with extra momentum per week later? Why, sure. Sure, he might. He was capable of lower a great promo and preserve getting a ton of warmth. The followers actually dislike him for what he did, and it’s time for NXT to get critical about pushing him. On high of the whole lot, it virtually looks as if the Waller stuff is resulting in some form of in-ring return for Wade Barrett (or Woi Bar-ruh, for longtime readers of my columns), with how a lot Waller is verbally attacking Barrett and Vic Joseph.
- CM Punk Heeling It Up: Keep in mind when it was revealed that Punk was returning to the enterprise and we had been ready to see him present up in AEW for the primary time? Lots of of us had been anticipating the previous switcheroo the place Punk’s music would hit, the Chicago crowd would go ballistic, after which MJF could be the particular person to stroll out to mega warmth. Clearly, that didn’t occur. Quick ahead 4 months, and we received a switcheroo of the switcheroo. This time, it was MJF’s music hitting in MJF’s hometown, but it surely was Punk who walked out to mega warmth. Punk would then proceed to heel on the gang by repeatedly ripping on their NHL workforce. It clearly wasn’t a heel flip, and was only a little bit of enjoyable for Punk in MJF’s hometown, but it surely was nonetheless gratifying. The individuals concerned confirmed a ton of smarts right here, too. They knew MJF’s music would get a pop and that Punk might work heel a bit. Think about if MJF’s music received the same old boos and the gang popped big for Punk like they do in each different metropolis. The entire section wouldn’t have labored. AEW continues to indicate that they at the very least know and perceive their viewers.
- Smackdown’s Opening Phase With Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman & Sami Zayn: Layers. Like an onion. Extra enjoyable stuff with Brock and Sami, as Lesnar continues to shine as a face. Then, you add Paul Heyman to the combo, the place he was mainly capable of flip Brock again right into a killer together with his previous introduction of the man… all whereas Roman Reigns was away… and issues are getting fascinating.
- The Entrants For PWG’s Battle Of Los Angeles Match So Far: Jonah Rock, Alex Shelley, Black Taurus, Lio Rush, Daniel Garcia, Kevin Blackwood, and now, Jack Cartwheel. We aren’t even near seeing your entire listing of entrants for the upcoming BOLA match, but it surely’s fairly the loaded roster already. I like it.
- Jonathan Gresham vs Jay Deadly: I do know lots of people had been disillusioned that Deadly was the wrestler despatched by AEW to take Bandido’s place within the Remaining Battle fundamental occasion after Bandido examined constructive for COVID and needed to be faraway from the match. That’s wonderful. Of us had been enthusiastic about somebody like Bryan Danielson being despatched over, particularly with Danielson’s RoH historical past. Gresham and Deadly made sense as what might very nicely be the final match Ring Of Honor ever places on, although. Their work collectively, as foes and as tag companions, has dominated the RoH scene for practically 4 years. In that span, they’ve had a number of the greatest matches the corporate has put out. As a last-minute alternative, Deadly labored out very well, and the 2 had yet one more actually good match.
- RK-Bro vs The Usos vs The New Day: You knew the match could be good if it was given time, and it was. No shock there.
- Hook: We’ll see the way it goes from right here.
- Shane Taylor vs Kenny King: A wild, chaotic Battle With out Honor at Remaining Battle. It actually stood out on that card, and each males put in additional work.
- Cameron Grimes vs Duke Hudson: As at all times when Cameron Grimes is concerned, I’m legally and contractually obligated to say the truth that he practically broke my leg at an unbiased wrestling present a couple of years again. The feud between Grimes and Hudson simply isn’t working for me, and I would love to see Grimes moved on to one thing larger and higher, however at the very least this was a great match. With the No Holds Barred stipulation, and with the official bald reveal for Hudson, it positive looks as if the tip of the feud, however we’ll see.
- Bron Breakker vs Roderick Sturdy: I wasn’t anticipating Breakker to win this match cleanly. With The Diamond Mine concerned, and with Tommaso Ciampa round, I figured we might get some form of shenaniganery, however Bron went over, and appeared good doing so. It’s changing into increasingly clear that Bron Breakker is the following NXT Champion, and it in all probability gained’t occur any later than at any time when NXT has their subsequent Takeover-style present.
- Riho vs Jamie Hayter: I fear for Riho’s future well being. A few of the bumps and beatings she takes are insane for any girl, not to mention somebody who’s listed as not even weighing 100 kilos.
- Trent & Sue Are Again: Positive, it’s good to see Trent make his return to AEW after lacking a number of months as a consequence of spinal surgical procedure, however let’s be trustworthy… seeing Sue make her return was what actually made this one particular. Because the baddest member of New Japan’s CHAOS secure, I eagerly anticipate Sue going after titles quickly. Watch your backs, Shingo Takagi and “Hangman” Adam Web page.
This Week’s Playlist: “Plentiful (Originals)” by Alicia Keys & Pusha T… “Billions (Originals)” by Alicia Keys… “Come For Me (Unlocked)” by Alicia Keys, Khalid & Fortunate Daye… “Rapper Estates” by Rick Ross & Benny The Butcher… “Made It Out Alive” by Rick Ross & Blxst… “Outlawz” by Rick Ross, Jazmine Sullivan & 21 Savage… “Richer Than I Ever Been” by Rick Ross… “Mares De Miel” by Alejandro Sanz… “Mary, Did You Know?” by Sons Of Serendip… “Plug Addicts” by RZA & Flatbush Zombies… “SIDEWAYS” by Jack Kays & Travis Barker… “Killing Me Softly” by The Fugees… “Ex-Issue” by Lauryn Hill… “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” by Lauryn Hill… “Ascension (Don’t Ever Marvel)” by Maxwell… “Lucky” by Maxwell… “Charlene” by Anthony Hamilton… “You’re The Solely One” by Eric Benet… “Breakin’ My Coronary heart (Fairly Brown Eyes)” by Mint Situation… “You Don’t Have To Harm No Extra” by Mint Situation… “What Variety Of Man Would I Be” by Mint Situation… “If You Love Me” by Mint Situation… “Fabulous” by Jaheim… “Discovering My Manner Again” by Jaheim… “My Valentine” by Carl Thomas