There has been much ado about The Bloodline’s recent success and what it might mean for the future of pro wrestling. And for a good reason—we see WWE leaning heavier and heavier on the skit and less and less on the in-ring promo. Matches need midmatch promos to have a “story” in the minds of their fans. Cody Rhodes and Brock Lesnar feel like massive exceptions to the growing rule over there. Some fear that AEW has begun going down this path with the Adam Cole and MJF “buddy cop” program, among others. I find it strange people are only just now noticing this bit of AEW’s identity.  These fears are misplaced for several reasons.

First, AEW has always had these cheesy vignettes and skits up and down the card. The Elite often used these skits to give meaning to their indy matches and provide an overarching narrative to their seemingly unrelated appearances across Ring of Honor, New Japan, and various super indies. Even in the early days of AEW, it was commonplace for hardcore fans of the promotion to watch Being the Elite, the Young Bucks YouTube show, to keep up with all the skits that complemented the show and filled in gaps in the story being told. The Hangman/Elite breakup angle even began on Being the Elite.

Dave Meltzer felt they were vital enough to understand the product that he provided his weekly super awkward recap of the show for those who didn’t want to watch it but did want to be apprised of potential angles brewing. We watched acts like John Silver catch fire based on nothing but these dumb skits.

Sammy Guevara’s podcast, with a big assist from the comedic stylings of Cody Rhodes, got Fuego del Sol a contract. Absolutely none of this is new, and when it has worked, it has really helped the product.

Even on television, from the beginning this show has had spooky hair-cutting witches, Evil Uno’s submissive puddy soldiers in gimp masks that he sat on, and a man who believes he is a dinosaur. Jon Moxley had to feud with comedy mid-card lawyers and a man running for president. Malakai Black, just Malakai Blacked all over the card. It was never exactly Pancrase or UWFi in terms of presentation.

The main difference with this MJF/Cole angle isn’t its tone—it’s that it’s working and that the people involved are already stars. Instead of floating goobers like Fuego or being given to someone with awful wrestling instincts like John Silver, it’s two of AEW’s biggest stars. We should embrace that. These things always have a shelf life, and this one has one, too, even if Tony Khan does call an audible and have it extend past the July 29 episode of AEW Collision. The fact is, skits and comedy are going to be part of this show’s DNA either way. I would rather the material work this well and with worthwhile workers like MJF and Adam Cole.

We have recently seen that effort put into Jeff Jarrett in overalls, which was harmless, or QTV, which has probably completely derailed a promising mid-carder in Powerhouse Hobbs. This is so much better, and seeing crowds this hot for anything feels great. There has been a slight increase in the number of skits lately, but I chalk that up mainly to this angle’s speed more than anything.

But the second reason this isn’t a big deal is that while this comedy/mystical bullshit has always had a place on the card, it has never overwhelmed the show. Even this past week that everyone is panicking over, the big MJF/Cole comedy routine going over like gangbusters shared a card with Blood and Guts, which cut the opposite direction. The crowd was into both. It was hotter for MJF and Adam Cole mostly because it is a fresh angle getting plot advancement every week.

Meanwhile, this Blackpool Combat Club vs. The Elite feud has been ongoing since January if you include the Jon Moxley/Hangman Page feud. It’s impressive the feud seven months in still has the legs it has, drawing the best house AEW has seen in six months. Doubly so when you consider this is the third potential blowoff match they have scheduled for it, after Stadium Stampede and the Forbidden Door tag match.

In AEW, these forces of comedy and action are always in dialogue and often work together. Look no further than the way Orange Cassidy has developed of late.  Does anyone expect the eventual Adam Cole vs. MJF rematch to be anything but an excellent wrestling match?  The aforementioned goofy Moxley/MJF feud resulted in a great match. The Dark Order was eventually corralled to be part of an iconic five-on-five elimination tag match on the July 28, 2021 Fight for the Fallen. But even if you’re completely against this feud or any feud that employs comedy, there is still plenty of great straight wrestling in this promotion, with more on its way.

And now that their feud is officially done, Jon Moxley, Kenny Omega, and Hangman Page all get to embark on fresh angles, and I have every expectation that at least one of those is going to catch fire. The Golden Lovers have potential matches with the likes of FTR, Lucha Bros, BULLET CLUB Gold, and others ahead of them. Four days before this Blood and Guts Dynamite, AEW gave us what Dave Meltzer called the greatest tag team match in American television history.

This is a promotion absolutely spoiling us with great wrestling on these shows. Breathe. Let yourself laugh along with MJF and Adam Cole, they are not hurting the promotion stylistically at all.

AEW is going to be fine.

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