AEW rewards professional wrestling fans with nostalgia and callbacks

All Elite Wrestling
All Elite Wrestling /

AEW Revolution was an enjoyable show from start to finish, delivering on what was a well-anticipated show. One of the biggest moments of the night was the Dog Collar match between CM Punk and MJF. The intensity was already high, but it exploded when CM Punk’s entrance included an unexpected callback. This was a brief moment leading into an excellent match that continues the trend of All Elite Wrestling using nostalgia and callbacks effectively.

The crowd erupted when the opening cords of Miseria Cantare by AFI began to play. Couple that music when Punk returned to his Ring of Honor gear (without the blonde streaks), and no one in the building was in their seats. Up to that point, the feud between MJF and Punk included several callbacks to Punk’s younger days as a slimy heel and walking away from professional wrestling. But this touch was the biggest and best of them all.

When Punk returned to professional wrestling and appeared in AEW, he made it a point to mention how important ROH was to him. Seeing this call back had to be a touching moment to Punk, but also to the fans that developed their love for wrestling at the same time, watching him perform in the ring. It is an example of how nostalgia works well in professional wrestling, invoking moments of emotion that remind fans why they care so much about this industry and the performers that touched them the most. AEW properly works that in and references past matches when wrestlers are prepared for tricks and moves that their opponents break out, rather than falling for the same setup over and over again.

This is entirely different than what is seen in other promotions. Dragging out a wrestler from more than a decade ago that performs once a year or so, and putting them over a full-time wrestler builds resentment, not interest. The eras of yesterday are gone and shouldn’t be relied upon to build the fanbases of today. That strategy doesn’t work well in any form of entertainment, even if it shows initial boosts in interest, the long tail results point to the other direction.

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Remembering what made you fall in love with a person or thing is a magical moment that can build a bond if used correctly. AEW goes out of its way to respect nostalgia and incorporate it effectively into professional wrestling and in doing so, rewarding the professional wrestling fan that continues to watch from their youth through their adulthood.