|Joined: ||Mon Oct 22nd, 2007|
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I think what hurt the AWA as much as anything was its adherence to outdated booking and TV production formats. The TV show was almost entirely squash matches with a great emphasis on interviews. Angles were few and far between. That made it to a sitting duck once fans had a chance to see other promotions. The AWA was the home team, but I enjoyed the more modern seeming WWF in the mid 1980s and getting to see World Class with its big main events.I didn't get to see much of the AWA and by the time I did, it was after 86 and they were clearly on their way out. It is interesting that you note the amount of squash matches. The WWWF and even the WWF had that same formula as well but I guess spiced things up. The NWA territories always seemed to have decent matches for TV and furthered story lines on TV. Basically, Vince just spent them all to death and was probably somewhat fortunate to survive himself. The NWA and the territories never really represented a united front against Vince and I suspected he knew they never would despite the one effort.
The stars slowly drifted away during 1984 and 1985. The final exodus of in their prime stars happened during the first months of 1986. After that the promotion had guys that were too young, were too old, and/or were obvious second division players or lower. Yet even in the face of that, the AWA didn't go to a more modern, angle driven booking style. I don't know if it would have worked, but maintaining the status quo didn't work. Later attempts at innovation came off as amateurish.
JCP had a lot of squashes and could drive fans nuts with the "We gotta go!" deal after the main event caliber match they spent all episode hyping up started 60 seconds before the show ended. However, it had the key interviews and angles while the squash matches were broken up by some quality competitive bouts. They used TV to get somewhere. The WWF had mostly squashes but was so good at getting over the pushed wrestler's look, personality, finishing move or hold, and whatever feud he was in. The number of angles was low, but it was like Memphis compared to the AWA and at least they led to big business. The AWA's shows were mostly a bunch of matches with nothing binding together any storylines beyond some very basic issues.