I was just getting caught up with the show this morning and listen to a bit of the pod on my way into work. I have to admit I had very similar thoughts to what John and Wai were saying.
As someone who has quite a few Jewish friends I have to say that this has been a very difficult time for them. Although most of them aren’t watching wrestling I’m not sure that seeing something like that was not necessary at this time. When the media is dominated by real stories, including listeners here, fearing for their lives and loved ones to add further to that, by almost endorsing antisemitism is somewhat of a bizarre creative choice… I can only hope that they quickly move on from this. I’m not one of those thats going to crucify this company because I think they generally had a good track record with stuff like this, but this was a clear mess.
People get so offended over every little thing in 2023, is how I feel about it.
Why is this any different than any other television series that deals with controversial topics? Its not real. As serious as people love to make wrestling out to be, it is fake storylines that are the equivalent of a story on Game of Thrones or Infinity War or Scream or Dallas.
There is story with Juice using the quarters to knock out his opponents. His fake character is a piece of shit heel, that is using something that the MJF character brought up on a scripted television show.
If Max Friedman the man is ok with this story, than so am I. If anyone outside of him is offended by it, its fake outrage is all it is. People looking for something to be upset about.
If this kind of stuff bothers you, then you should stray away from it and stick to the Sesame Streets and Toy Storys of the world.
I’m not sure a Jewish person who lost their loved ones the past week would tend to agree with you that it’s just entertainment. I’m not sure when babies are having their heads decapitated that this is as “snowflake” issue as you say. Of which I generally agree with on most things people are up ins rms about
I absolutely sympathoze with what any Jewish person is going through, but are you saying they should also be offended by things in other television series. Has there been no other shows in history that have dealt with controversial topics?
Why do those shows get a pass and wrestling doesnt? I will tell you why, because people take wrestling too serious and take it as more than it actually is, a soap opera.
That said, MJF is a proud Jewish man, and he’s never kept his religion a secret. He’s consistently spoken out against anti-Semitism, and I belie is a very intelligent individual.
I think he saw an opportunity to tell a story incorporating his real experiences, with a character who could be on the opposite side who was naturally tied to the roll of quarter gimmick already.
I believe Wai said on on the review last night that wrestling generally hasn’t been able to tell nuanced stories like this. However I’d like to think AEW can have the benefit of the doubt in its storytelling, as generally they manage the smaller details and nuance very well. Especially with Max’s own input.
For the last few weeks people have been very critical of Max’s work and promos. To me, this is a response to that. It created a segment with clear heel vs. Babyface dynamics. It gave Max something to sink his teeth into.
This doesn’t end with Max being defeated by the bullies. This ends with Juice winning the battle royal, and MJF facing him the following week and pointing his face in with the quarters.
To me, if we are asking AEW to try and tell different stories and speak to a different audience than other mainstream companies - then perhaps this is a risk they’re trying to take.
Timing was bad. But I think there is nuance to the conversation to be had.
I don’t believe that people are being overly sensitive. But I also don’t think that this story is inherently off limits to be told.
I get you, I really do. Based on its historical record, I’m not sure wrestling should get the benefit of the doubt, having such a checkered history with controversial topics and a past of trying to exploit real-world events for what in the end is intended to increase profits.
Again, I agree with you on a lot - people take wrestling way too seriously and are more easily offended today, there is a pre-existing story for both Juice and MJF involving quarters, and controversial topics shouldn’t be off the table.
However, what’s going on in the region and with a potential multi-front offensive brewing on Israel’s borders - and, again, the humanitarian crisis at the center of this - should be taken seriously.
I’m not upset by the angle, I’m disappointed by the tone-deaf nature of the timing. Pick another time rather than the week the Gaza Strip literally explodes into ethnically fueled violence.
I’m sorry, even if MJF controlled every moment of this angle, the timing is poor and is the bad look.
I dont view this as a an issue based on the times we are in, angles rooted in bigotry have never been looked at fondly by wrestling fans. I remember back in like 2004 when WWE did the Muhammad Hassan storyline, fans were just as pissed at the time as fans are about this now.
I think the difference between this and a TV show doing it, probably the timing. Wrestling has an ability to incorporate real time events into their storylines, and given what is happening this week, this is probably the last thing 99% of wrestling fans want to see at the moment.
When is the timing ever “right” though? Seriously, you either do this stuff or you dont do it at all.
I remember a show I used to watch Fringe. They had a scene where the World Trade Center was seen in an alternate universe. This was at least 8 or 9 years afer 9-11 and people were still offended by it.
There is no winning, when people want to be offended.
Here is my perspective, I know people very very well who live in Israel who had to hide in a bomb shelter with their small children two days ago. While this is happening in real time and and the people I care about are scared for their lives and the lives of their children, I dont think its unreasonable of me to not want to see this played out in a pro wrestling storyline in real time. You want to call me “snowflake” for feeling that way, go ahead.
I’m not calling for AEW/Dynamite/Tony Khan to be taken off the air or to loose sponsors or anything like that, but I think I have the right to not want to see this right now.
This follow-up is clearly part of why the segment was done. It feels like no matter what the media platform is, serial tv show, wrestling, whatever, some people can no longer watch something and say “Oh, okay, that was a different episode but I’m interested in seeing where this goes.” Now everything is cheered or jeered in the immediacy without giving time to follow up. It’s fine to not like the first chapter of a book, but you can’t say the book is terrible without reading at least little bit more.
While he is Jewish that doesn’t mean he was as personally affected by this as other people were. You don’t know his personal stake here. Just because on Jewish person doesn’t think it’s a big deal doesn’t mean others don’t.
Again - no issue with how they use that other than timing it this week (as rockets are in the air and women and children being kidnapped) maybe wasn’t the best use of your time. There are other ways to draw heat.
I don’t give AEW the same latitude others so because I haven’t seen them run any storyline that is serious like this without inserting some dumb comedy into it. If they can pull this off then next time I would be willing to be more open minded to them doing so
Also to be clear I don’t think ANY TV show would run a new episode right now like this. As John and Wai pointed out lots of other examples of shows having to change course due to the real world.
AEW can run what they want. If someone watching it turns it off because they are offended or a sponsor doesn’t like it then so be it. I doubt anyone actually lived the angle so much it attracted a lot of new fans but that’s possible. People can do what they want and no doubt some will be put off enough to tune out AEW for a while.
Not on the same level but their Halloween episode made me upset enough not to watch them for a year. They lose my viewership and money for PPVs until I came back.
This is much more likely to have that effect on some