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Dax Harwood On Inner Circle Beating Up Pinnacle After Debut, Why Roman Reigns Didn’t Get Over As a Babyface

March 6, 2023 | Posted by Jonathan Hunter
AEW Dax Harwood Image Credit: AEW

On a recent episode of the FTR podcast, Dax Harwood talked about the Inner Circle beating up the Pinnacle just weeks after the formation of the Pinnacle; a locker room beatdown that included Chris Jericho flushing MJF’s head in a toilet. Dax went through the psychology of getting heel heat, and why not allowing heels to get heat in turn makes it difficult for babyfaces to get over. Read on for some excerpts:

On the Inner Circle destroying the Pinnacle in the locker room: “What was that, two weeks after the Pinnacle had formed? There’s no more threat. We’ve got the shit kicked out of us, and the redemption story is over. So all the babyfaces beat up the heels. So a fan sitting at home, I would say, 99.9% of the audience has never had a wrestling match, right? And so after the good guys get their redemption and beat us up — why is there a match? Why do we have a match? The match is where they beat us up, that’s where they get their redemption. Eventually. Down the road.”

On wondering where the feud could go from there: “I thought that we prematurely got iced, y’know? We were so hot with that debut. That debut couldn’t’ve gone any better, I don’t think. And then, a couple weeks later, they got their redemption. My thought is, why? Why is there a match after this? Because we’ve already been beat up. You put Wardlow through a table. I was busted wide open; Cash got dumped into that ice bath — which was a shoot ice bath. I got stabbed in the head with a piece of chair. And then, Max got beat up so bad, he had his head flushed down the toilet, went through a fuckin’ drink gimmick. So… what would we do from here?”

On the WWE style of booking: “I think that we, for so long, have seen the WWE style of booking, where the babyface always prevails. More often than not, it has worked. It’s worked for Vince for years. More often than not, the babyface always prevails. He might have a slight hiccup for a week, but he always comes back.”

On how it’s hard to cheer for a babyface who never loses: “Look at how Roman was booked in 2018-2019. Always on top. No one ever felt worried for him, except for with Brock. But everybody feels worried when you’re working with Brock (laughs). But that’s kind of why the fans turned on him at the time. Nothing to his fault, they just had nothing to cheer. It’s kind of like the Superman effect. Superman does have kryptonite, but other than that, man, he’s bulletproof. He can beat the shit out of everybody. So that’s why the Batman movies make so much more money than the Superman movies, because there’s more for Batman to fight against.”

On why heel heat matters: “Going back to the WWE style of booking, the babyface is always prevailing. Every single week. As heels, we’ve got to have heat behind us. And we did, for one week. We had that big huge debut, where finally myself and Spears, who had barely made TV, we finally got some heat behind us. Max had been on TV, with Wardlow in his corner, every week. So he had heat behind him. But we needed to be positioned as a threat to the company. I don’t mean the company as Tony Khan, I mean the company as to all the babyfaces. We needed to booked as a threat so when we ARE beaten up, when we are defeated, it makes everybody.”

On criticism that Blood N Gutz happened too soon: “I get that, and I understand that. We had to book the Blood N Gutz, if I’m not mistaken, at that time, because the network wanted it. Even for Vince, sometimes you have to book things for the network because they’re paying you a shit ton of money, so you have to kind of play within their guidelines.”

On why Stadium Stampede means more to AEW: “Even so, I don’t know if I would have done Blood N Gutz after Stadium Stampede. I understand that for most of wrestling’s existence, the cage match has been the blowoff, but Stadium Stampede is only associated with AEW. It’s AEW’s staple. It is their blowoff. Blood N Gutz, I know the name is AEW’s, but facing facts, it’s a War Games match. War Games is associated with WCW, and WWE actually has the name, that they can use, and they do use. So I completely understand why the Stadium Stampede was booked last, plus the babyfaces going over in Stadium Stampede is the right decision there.”

If using any of the above quotations, please credit FTR h/t 411mania for the transcription.