My First AEW Live Event

Two weeks ago, I was able to experience my first AEW (All Elite Wrestling) live event, and it did not disappoint. Back in middle school and throughout my early years of high school I was a huge fan of the WWE (formerly WWF) during the years of The Rock, Y2J, Stone Cold Steve Austin, DX and all of the Attitude Era.

Since falling off in high school, I took about a twenty year hiatus before rediscovering WWE two years ago. I ended up scoring some tickets to Friday Night Smackdown. So, I decided to catch up on some recent WWE events before attending my first live event in years.
Thank the maker for Peacock! I was able to catch up on the past couple of months.

By the time Smackdown came to town in March, I was already familiar with all of the Superstars and their current storylines. I was once again hooked on wrestling, and it hasn’t slowed down since. In fact, right before attending WWE Smackdown I also started paying attention to the other big wrestling brand, All Elite Wrestling (AEW).

I tuned in at the perfect time. MJF (Maxwell Jacob Friedman) was in the middle of a heated feud with his childhood hero, CM Punk (who is the new Bruno at AEW, because we don’t talk about that guy anymore). I didn’t watch their Pay Per View match, but the lead-up to it was one of the best moments I’ve seen in wrestling.

*This is that story from that very first episode I randomly chose to watch from AEW:

MJF vs CM Punk (All Elite Wrestling)

Over these past two years, I’ve learned that it’s possible to enjoy both WWE and AEW, as long as you have time to watch about 8-12 hours of wrestling each week.

Both companies are so different. It’s not like following multiple soccer teams in separate leagues, because no matter the league every soccer game is basically the same. These two companies (AEW & WWE) are run in different ways, both behind the scenes and in how they are presented each week.

I watch WWE for the Superstars, their big entrances, and the drawn out storylines. In AEW the storylines run a bit shorter, but their matches are insane. The professional wrestlers (and sports entertainers) at AEW execute wild moves that you won’t see in a WWE match. Both companies have their mix of the silly and more serious characters, which any wrestling company needs.

So how was my first AEW Live experience, and how did it compare to WWE Live?


[1] So Much Wrestling

While WWE tapes Smackdown and Raw live, in two different towns each week. AEW does it all at once, for the most part. I’ve heard there are times where they’ve broken it up into two tapings, or tried the Friday show live.

When I attended Smackdown Live, we got to see the entire live, two-hour show, plus a pre- and post-show match. That was a total of something like two and a half hours of wrestling. If I had attended a Live Monday Night RAW taping it would have been around three and a half hours, I’m guessing.

AEW gave us three hours of wrestling for television, plus two more hours of Ring of Honor matches. It all began at 7pm and ended at midnight, or close to midnight. From what I saw, the typical AEW Wednesday goes like this: First, you get about one hour of Ring of Honor (or AEW Dark, but I think that’s over). Next, they go straight into the Wednesday night live show, AEW Dynamite, which last two hours. Those Ring of Honor matches ended about five minutes before 8pm, when AEW Dynamite starts, and they still had to change the ring aprons out. I was panicking when I checked my watch, but the AEW crew has it down.

Once Dynamite is over they switch it up quickly for the Friday night show, AEW Rampage. This threw me off a bit, like attending my first WWE Live event back in the day. I remember being at a Monday Night RAW taping, but it was actually a Tuesday or some other day of the week. However, the Superstars continued to speak as if it were Monday. I know that wrestling matches are scripted to some degree, and they already know who’s supposed to win going into the match, but that fake day stuff was the first time I thought, Hey, this isn’t real. That feeling only lasted for a few minutes before I was sucked back into the action.

I had a moment like this when someone came out and mentioned something that happened two days ago, when in reality it had really only been about two hours. The cool part is you get to know what’s going to happen before the rest of the world.

When Rampage ended, we had already witnessed almost four hours of wrestling. That’s when AEW president and CEO, Tony Khan came out and said “You guys want more wrestling?” He actually came out like three times to acknowledge the crowd. I would have thought he’d left the arena after Dynamite and Rampage, but he stuck around to the very end, just like we did.

Throughout the night, we witnessed so many great matches. Even most of the Ring of Honor matches had at least one wrestler I knew from previous AEW events. WWE has their two rosters of Superstars for RAW and Smackdown, plus they have non-televised WWE Live events happening most off nights. Using this formula they are able to visit more places throughout the year, but I really like the way AEW does their thing once a week. I’m sure that is also helpful for the talent and booking people, everyone just has to be in one place at one time.

[2] Different Crowds

Just as I attended both WWE and AEW events when they were in South Florida, I’m sure a large percentage of the fans that night had also been to a WWE event when in town. Wrestling fans are wrestling fans, they scream out silly phrases and love to talk trash to the wrestlers they hate. The difference in the crowd at both events is how each company presents their audience.

WWE talks about the WWE Universe (aka the fans). Each show starts with a full view of the “sold out” arena/stadium from every angle. In WWE, they fill up the house with fans. They mention the “sold out” crowd of [insert number of people] multiple times each night.

When searching for AEW tickets, I noticed that there were blacked out lower level sections on one side of the arena. This is so that the cameras can have space to set up. It also may give the photographers more freedom to get some good shots. AEW events are filmed in a different way. Instead of being able to film 360 degrees of the action, they are limited to something like 270 degrees, give or take. The cameras can only film facing certain directions to keep it looking full.

What’s funny is how any time you’re watching someone talk to the camera, they are pretty much only talking to the camera operator and the people on the floor. The majority of the crowd is actually behind them.

The end product still looks great every week on TV. I’ve tried to notice these empty sections when watching AEW on TV and they do a great job at not showing it. Another reason for this is most likely that AEW is still the new brand in town. By closing off certain sections, and filming the action in this particular way, they can make sure they will sell enough seats to make the house look packed every night.

[3] Squash Matches = Local Talent

A Squash Match is when a scrub is brought in to lose a quick match and put someone else over (or make them look good). We see many of these matches in AEW, especially with the big strong dudes like Wardlow. It’s basically a match where someone moving up the ladder dominates some no-name wrestler. They also help get more of the talent on TV when you only have a total of three hours each week.

I usually fast forward through these matches, but what I learned that night at AEW was that these “Scrubs” are not always future talent or undercard wrestlers. They are many times local talent from the indie wrestling circuits. There was a recent Squash Match fake out, where Chris Jericho fought Action Andretti, who seemed to be one of these scrubs. Instead, he won the match and now he’s doing great in AEW.

I recently began following our local indie wrestling company, CCW (Coastal Championship Wrestling) — I haven’t been to an event yet, but hopefully soon. The thing about the “scrubs” in these Squash matches is that they don’t get an entrance, they are just standing in the ring when we return from a commercial break. I noticed a familiar face in the ring, but I didn’t know why. Then, the local wrestling fans were chanting the name “Cha Cha” for “Cha Cha Charlie” and I wondered why that sounded familiar?

@CCW (Coastal Championship Wrestling)

It’s because I’ve seen him in local wrestling ads online, along with some of the other “scrubs” from that night.

Going to any live wrestling show is great, and I can’t wait to attend my first local one later this year. The cool thing about AEW over WWE is that you get to see pretty much everyone on the roster. A few people were missing, but for the most part we saw everyone, since they recorded those two shows, plus some of the talent I wanted to see that didn’t perform on TV that week was still featured during the Ring of Honor matches (Willow Nightingale, Samoa Joe).

With the WWE roster being split across two shows, and only 2.5 to 3.5 hours of wrestling, plus other non-televised shows happening almost nightly, it’s hard to see too many Superstars at one event. The WWE entrances are much more impactful in person. The lights go out and it gets super quiet before the music, lights, and fireworks hit. In AEW, the entrances aren’t as big in person — except for a few (Jade Cargill, Chris Jericho, and The Acclaimed with Daddy Ass).

I had a blast at AEW and thank you to my buddy Richard for being down to do whatever. I first told him I was getting two tickets for $40 each, and he said, “Ok, sounds good.” Then I told him they only had $60 tickets left, and he said “No worries.” Finally, I got us $100 tickets, but that included all you can eat and drink plus free parking, and he said, “Awesome!” I was expecting free hot dogs, popcorn, and soda, but we had a full, fancy buffet in the lounge, a dessert table and beer and wine included.

**Thanks to AEW (All Elite Wrestling) for providing these photos from Wednesday, April 26th at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, FL.

Back at WWE Smackdown

Last week, (March 4th) after a 20+ year absence, I finally made my return to Professional Wrestling, as a fan (with my buddy, Shaun). Friday Night Smackdown! The last time I went to a Smackdown it was still on Thursday nights, and it was still called WWF Smackdown.

In preparation for attending my first Smackdown in over 20 years, I went back to October or November of 2021 and started watching every Raw, Smackdown and WWE Premium Event to prepare. By the time we went to Smackdown I was fully caught up on the past few months of WWE wrestling, and now I’m back to being a wrestling fan.

A lot has changed in 20 years…

Back when I started watching the WWF they had Monday Night Raw or Raw is War each week. It wasn’t until later on that Smackdown became a thing, on Thursday nights. The top Superstars were The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Mankind, The Undertaker and Kane. We had groups like DX, The Brood, The Rock and Sock Connection, T&A and the Acolytes.

I remember my first time at Monday Night Raw, when I realized that these shows were pre-taped. All of the wrestlers were talking as if it were Monday, even though the show was being recorded on a Tuesday or Wednesday. I knew that wrestling wasn’t “real combat” but for some reason this sort of took me out of it even more. I thought I was being lied to. It didn’t stop me from watching though.

Today, Smackdown is recorded Live for television on Fridays. The show started at 8 PM (after a pre-show match), and ended at 10 PM (with an after-show match). I’m pretty sure Monday Night Raw is also recorded live today.

Seat Fillers & Live Taping

We arrived at our seats a few minutes into the first match, and since our seats were directly across from the cameras filming the action we had seat fillers holding our spot (making the crowd look full). Two of the seat fillers kindly scattered off to find another empty seat to fill.

It’s fun to get to see how the whole show is made behind the scenes. We also got to see what happens during commercial breaks. Shows will cut to commercial mid-match, usually when someone is down. The match doesn’t stop though, it keeps on going.

There are also many times where the first Superstar is introduced for a match, but they cut to commercial before their opponent comes out. It’s funny to see them come out and do their thing, then the music and lights sort of go out and the Superstar chills in the ring for a bit, until the music starts back up again and we return from the commercial break to introduce their opponent.

We also got to see some commercial break crowd games. Games like “Best sign,” “Best People’s Eyebrow” and “Best DX Suck it!” Too bad they didn’t have one for best homemade shirt, or I would have won.

My homemade King Woods shirt (made with Cricut)

There are also many pre-recorded promos. You can tell when you’re there which Superstars aren’t really in the building. Those who are in promos, but never come out to the ring. There was a whole Poker bit with Happy Corbin and MadCap Moss backstage messing with Drew McIntyre, but since Happy and MadCap never made it out, it was most likely pre-recorded. Maybe even in another arena.

I also noticed that the Superstar intros are jazzed up a bit for television. Everyone knows that Xia Li’s electricity on television is CG, but I think there is even more being added into the background.

When Drew McIntyre came out we got to see some fire and explosions. It just felt like there was more thunder than lightning. Meaning I heard more than I saw, so they most likely just add some extra sparks and explosions on the TV.

Overall, being at a WWE event live was an awesome time. The one problem was that FTX Arena didn’t allow me to bring in my DSLR camera, so you’ll have to check out pictures from my iPhone. Now, let’s go over some of the matches and Superstars we got to see here in Miami.

Matches & Superstars


The night began with an Intercontinental Title Match. Sami Zayn who snaked his way into being the Intercontinental Champion lost to Ricochet. There was some outside interference by Jackass’s Johnny Knoxville.

Zayn vs Ricochet Highlights


Next Austin Theory came out, which was strange since he’s a Raw Superstar. Now that Smackdown and Raw are split with their own unique rosters. Theory came out to challenge Smackdown commentator, Pat McAfee, to a match at Wrestlemania after Vince McMahon had been on Pat’s podcast earlier in the week. He also slapped Pat in the face.

Austin Theory Slaps Pat


The second match of the evening was Naomi vs Carmella, to prepare us for the Women’s Tag Team Championship match at Wrestlemania: Naomi & Sasha Banks vs Carmella & Queen Zelina. Now that Naomi isn’t worried about being harassed by Sonya Deville, she can get some good matches in.

Both Superstars had their tag team partners at their side. Sasha was able to stop Queen Zelina from interring by smashing her face into the steps. This helped Naomi secure the win with a moonsault on Carmella. Tonight, we’ll see Sasha face Queen Zelina, one on one.

Naomi vs Carmella Highlights

*I guess I only got a few pictures of Naomi’s “Feel the Glow” entrance, because I don’t really care for Carmella.


Before Drew’s match, we saw that whole Happy and MadCap pre-recorded promo I had talked about. That was to set up Drew vs Happy at Wrestlemania, a match I’ve been waiting to see.

After the promo, we took a bathroom break and missed this whole match, and Drew McIntyre’s perfectly-timed “Claymore.” We almost had another chance to see a Claymore in the bonus match, but it got reversed.

Drew McIntyre vs Jinder Mahal

*I also only caught a few pics of Drew McIntyre’s Intro with Angela (his giant sword).


I didn’t think Rick Boogs (MY NEW FAVORITE SUPERSTAR) would be here for SMACKDOWN with Shinsuke Nakamura. Last I heard, they were both injured. So, this was a sweet surprise to get to see my favorite intro live, even if it was cut short by the Usos.

I recorded the intro myself on my iPhone, but the video I found online is way better. Plus, you’ll get to see me in the background as Roman Reigns calls out Brock Lesnar, giving him the thumbs down. I’m also hoping this assault on Boogs and Nakamura will lead to a Tag Team Title Match for them vs the Usos.

Rick Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura + Me harassing Roman Reigns


When I first saw the Viking Raiders I thought they seemed sort of silly, but after seeing them in action, I’m all about the Raiders. Ivar is a 300 lb high flyer, and I love when him and Erik team up and throw each other at their opponents.

The Usos are just Roman Reigns baby heel cousins. Their his little goons, but for some reason so many people in Miami love the Usos and Roman. I will admit they are fun to watch, but I’m always rooting for them to lose.

The Usos won this match to retain their title with some slight cheating. Of course, they had the Viking Raiders fly out to Saudi Arabia just to ambush them before their match and have it postponed until SMACKDOWN a few weeks later.

The Usos vs Viking Raiders Highlights


Even though I wasn’t able to see King Woods (aka Xavier Woods aka Austin Creed), I was happy to see both of his New Day compatriots, Kofi Kingston and Big E! They rode out on Big E’s fresh new ATV.

There was no match between Big E and Shaemus though. There was only about a minute of actual match time before Rich and Shaemus went dirty and stole Big E’s birthday present, the ATV, to take it outside and smash it with sledgehammers.

This rivalry is definitely not over, I’m sure we’ll see more of Big E vs Shaemus, and even The New Day vs Shaemus and Rich Holland. Bring back King Woods and have him take on Shaemus or Rich.

Big E vs Shaemus: The Ambush


Next we got to see Johnny Knoxville challenge Sami Zayn to a Wrestlemania match from backstage. After that we saw more of Happy Corbin and MadCap’s silly antics, before Drew McIntyre showed up and ruined their fun. Perhaps they were in the building?

This was all to get us ready for the main event of the night.


It was very cool to see Rowdy Ronda Rousey in her first ever SMACKDOWN match, especially to see her fight Sonya Deville. When Charlotte Flair came out to watch the match from ringside, I thought she would try to do something to help Sonya win. She didn’t.

It was after the match that Ronda invited Charlotte into the ring. Charlotte went after her, but Ronda quickly put her into an ankle lock.

Ronda vs Sonya (vs Charlotte?)


This was the best match of the night. Once the show is officially over, the crowd gets a goofy, over the top match to enjoy. It’s the end of the night and many of these Superstars have participated in a match by now, so the wrestling is a bit more sloppy. The character work is way over the top though.

The match began with one of the Usos vs one of the Vikings. The crowd kept cheering for Roman to fight, since we hadn’t seen him fight earlier in the night, and he’s the self-proclaimed “Head of the Table” and our “Tribal Chief.”

Roman and the Usos messing with the crowd in Miami

Roman kept egging us on to chant and roar, and when he finally was tagged in he would tag one of the Usos back in. It was silly, but fun. It even made me like him a little more. We also got to see Paul Heyman go after some guy in the crowd. Well, he tried to, but the Usos were holding him back.

Roman ended up taking part in the match and spearing a viking for the win. Seeing wrestling live is great, but this end of the night match made me think of our Wednesday night rehearsals at the improv theater. Doing shows for live audiences is great, but on Wednesday it was just the cast, trying stuff out for each other. That’s when we were our silliest.

If you ever find yourself at a live taping of Raw or Smackdown or anything else in the WWE Universe, make sure to stay for the extra match. Also, get there early so you don’t miss the opening “pre-taping” match.

Top Ten Moments from Smackdown Miami 3/4/2022

Overall this was an amazing night. I would attend WWE live shows each and every week if I could. Instead, I will continue to watch them on TV until they come back to Miami some time later this year or next year.

Ferdi’s Learnings E&E (Events & Entertainment) is something new I’m trying out this year. This is the first of hopefully many more to come this year. It’s just my way of including more of the stuff I love on this site.

*Side note: My goal for this post was to also post my WWE 2K22 (the Video Game) review/thoughts at the same time on my other site ( as a Crossover post. I’m still working on that one, but it will be up later today or over the weekend.

My New Favorite Superstar


Back in the late 1900s and early 2000s, I was a big WWF fan (now known as WWE). I watched Monday Night Raw every week, and I even remember Smackdown coming on TV at some point during my fandom. I would record episodes on my VHS tape if I had to miss them, so I could watch them later (no streaming, TIVO or replays back then).

The Rock was, is and forever shall be my number one favorite Superstar. In fact, here’s a cool story. I’ve never met The Rock, but I do have his autograph (pictured below).


Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Autograph

Side Quest
When I was in the 7th or 8th grade there was a WWF event happening in Miami, FL and The Rock was going to be at Bayside (back when it wasn’t super gross) signing autographs. The day it was all going down I happened to be in the middle of Midterms or Finals at school, so I couldn’t skip school for that 

Side Side Quest
Also, my mom worked at my school so it was kind of impossible for me to skip without her knowing. I once stayed up so late on a school night that my alarm clock (yes, not my cell phone, but a clock that was created to tell you the time and wake you up), didn’t wake me up. At around noon, my teacher had asked my mom if I was sick or something, and she said no. She came home and found me asleep and took me to school.

Side Quest cont.
Because I couldn’t go to Bayside, my coach (Tony) went to Bayside to meet The Rock and get his autograph for me. I will never forget that. (I also have a basketball signed by Bill Cosby because of Tony, which is another story for another day).


In middle school, I attended three or more Live WWF events (Raw, Smackdown and one of those late night ones no one watches like WWF Livewire). Since we were just kids at the time, my dad had to take me and two of my stupid friends. My dad was not a fan of wrestling, but he did it because he loves me.

Wrestling was a big part of our lives. We would all give each other DDTs and Stone Cold Stunners. We’d Rock Bottom each other into the pool. We’d shotgun soda cans like we were Stone Cold Steve Austin. We played WCW and WWF video games from the N64 on.

But then something happened. Sometime in High School, I just sort of dropped off of the WWF train. It was like the whole Santa Claus thing (which I believed in for way too long). Sure, I knew wrestling wasn’t real, but at some point it wasn’t cool to like it anymore. I moved on to other “cooler” stuff.


My parents really wanted to watch the show Yellowstone, because all of their friends were talking about it. I did the research and found out it was streaming on Peacock, so I signed up for a  FREE one month subscription to Peacock just so they could watch three seasons of Yellowstone in about ten days.

One of those days I was at home working, and I checked Peacock just to see what was on there. I found some good stuff, The Office, Parks and Recreation, the new MacGruber show, a bunch of movies and sports stuff.

Then I noticed something. Off to the side on the menu bar I saw it — one tab that read “WWE.” When I went over to it, I unlocked a never-ending world of WWE (WCW, WWF and more). I could go back in time and watch any match from the beginning all the way up until today.

So, I started with what I knew. I went back to about a couple of years after I had stopped watching. I saw some of my most memorable Superstars. Some I remembered, some I had forgotten and others that seeing them instantly triggered so many great memories. 

I watched some Royal Rumbles, which are the most exciting matches in my opinion. You get to see thirty wrestlers enter the ring one at a time for a giant match. The only way to get eliminated is to be thrown over the top rope and have both feet touch the ground — something Kofi Kingston has gotten very good at avoiding (click on his name to see the highlights). It’s also a good time to see which Superstars, Hall of Famers and even celebrities join the Rumble.


This past weekend I saw online that the Royal Rumble was happening. Also, I learned that I would be able to watch live on Peacock (no more fifty or sixty dollar PPV events). That’s amazing! I ended up watching the latest Royal Rumble on Monday, both womens and mens. 

I also watched most of the other matches from that night, and of course, with every big match there’s a story of what led up to that match. This is where my WWE wrestling rabbit hole began. After the Royal Rumble traveled back a couple of weeks to see where some of this beef had developed.

I went back to a few Smackdowns from last month and last year. Next, to SummerSlam to see where the Edge vs Seth Rollins story had started. I continued to go back and forth to learn who these new superstars are. I watched some Xavier Woods aka Austin Creed matches (since I know of him from his Video Game podcast, Up Up Down Down). 

And then it happened. I found my new favorite (second favorite, because The Rock will always be number one in my heart) wrestler, Rick Boogs! (you need to click on his name to see why he’s the greatest).

Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Rick Boogs

It’s Rick Boogs y’all! 

I first saw Rick Boogs in the Royal Rumble in his wrestling singlet. I just thought he was some nerdy wrestler dude. It wasn’t until later on that I saw him introduce the King, Shinsuke Nakamura with his electric guitar that I thought, This is the best dude ever! King Nakamura also brings a lot of thunder to the entrance the way the music travels through his body.

I forgot how fun wrestling is to watch. The matches are exciting and crazy. The stories are stupid and fun. And the entrances are electrifying.

I mostly just wanted to share Rick Boogs with the rest of the world, and now I have done that. So, goodnight!

Ok here’s one more for you. RICK BOOGS!

Remember Arm Wrestling…

Remember when arm wrestling was a thing in movies? There was a time where most movies had a scene (usually at a bar) where one character had to arm wrestle another person (usually a giant strong dude) for information, some form of goods or just to prove themselves. This was in the 80s and 90s.

Some companies were dedicated to making specialty arm wrestling tables where you’d strap in your elbow and grab a small handle with your non-wrestling hand to have a stable arm wrestling match.

These tables are completely useless for any other activity. You can’t put snacks
on a table with all of these arm wrestling pillows… it’s just stupid!

Arm wrestling was even a thing you would see on real TV sometimes (like how you see cornhole tournaments, grocery bagging championships and cup stacking competitions today on ESPN). There was an arm wrestling league where people would arm wrestle each other in tournaments to see who had the strongest dominant arm.

Side Note: I actually looked it up and WAL, aka the World Armwrestling League is still a thing and there’s a Buffalo Wild Wings Open, so I guess it’s time we all boycott Buffalo Wild Wings?

I bet becoming the arm wrestling world champ is much easier as a lefty — less competition.

I’m not saying we should bring back the practice of arm wrestling, in fact, I think the exact opposite is true. I hope I never have to see another arm wrestling match in a movie ever again. If I see two people trying to arm wrestle in a bar I’m leaving that bar and I will never return.

Arm wrestling is a stupid thing of the past and it should be made illegal and forever banned in the entire world. I’m sorry if you’re reading this and you happen to be a professional arm wrestler, because that means you’ve wasted your life and you’re just realizing that right now as you read this.

So, in conclusion, Arm wrestling sucks. Why not be a full-body wrestler instead? Well, not a “real” Olympic wrestler because that’s boring to watch, be in the WWE and have a fun backstory. Have a cool finishing move that doesn’t make sense, but people are still afraid of it. Get your hands on that championship belt.

Or, if instead you don’t want to be any type of wrestler that’s ok too. Just keep doing whatever it is you were doing before you read this.

Thanks for your time, bye bye.