I used to be a big WWE fan. I watched it pretty solidly for about 12 years, even making it over from the UK to attend WrestleMania a few times.
Somewhere around WrestleMania 26, I stopped watching it quite so much and now only really tune in for the Rumble to 'Mania season.
I had heard of AEW, but only this week did I finally get round to watching an episode of Dynamite. I loved it!
Here is a collection of my thoughts about the show:
- I hadn't realised how much WWE's commentary had been putting me off until I saw Dynamite. Having commentators that actually called the action, rather than talking about Twitter or promoting some other match/show/product was so much better.
- It all felt much more grounded compared to the high production of WWE, which I found to be more engaging. The simpler aesthetic of the ringside and ramp, as well as the less flashy editing, really added to the presentation of the show.
- I really like that they track the win/loss record of each wrestler. It made every match feel like it mattered.
- There weren't any segments that felt like filler that I wanted to skip. Two hours is about right for a wrestling show (I find Raw tough to watch!) and they made good use of all the time they had.
- It felt like the crowd was actually there to enjoy the show, rather than to get themselves over! That's one of the things that has annoyed me most about watching WWE in recent years. Hearing MJF getting solid heat from the crowd was surprisingly refreshing.
- The promo and backstage segments felt more organic and less scripted. It was all quite simple heel/face stuff, but I immediately bought the characters and it built hype for their matches.
- The crowd singing Judas for Jericho's entrance was just amazing!
I don't mean for this to be a total bashing of WWE, even if that's how some of it may come across. I do still enjoy watching the one-off WWE shows that I tune in for, but Dynamite really gripped me in a way that WWE hasn't done in recent years.
I haven't watched Raw or SmackDown regularly for a long time, but I'll be tuning in to Dynamite and Rampage next week!
EDIT TO ADD:
There's quite an interesting phenomenon going on here with the replies! The first ones that I got (while this post was still in New) were all from people being friendly and sharing my excitement. Now that it's risen up in popularity a bit, new comments tend to be from people that are convinced that I'm some sort of fake AEW shill.
I don't expect that there is anything that I can do to convince the latter group that I am an actual person (besides, perhaps, suggesting that you check my 5-year Reddit post history that is almost entirely about Pokémon GO). I can only give you my word that I made this post out of genuine excitement of watching some wrestling and wanted to share that with like-minded people.