Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaars!! Pe-ggy! Pe-ggy! Pe-ggy! The latest astonishing collection by hip-hop’s premier avant garde electronica pushing Communist! You know what that means? That’s right: some of the most progressive and experimental music currently being made by any artist, in any genre, in the entire world. Oh, but most importantly, loads of wrestling references.
It also means that, unfortunately, there’s little space between the much appreciated wrestling call outs to actually talk about Peggy’s music. But do you need any more explanation on how he’s such a generational talent? A thousand articles by writers far more talented than me* have already written lengthy pieces and conduced many interviews that shed light on why you should be deeply ashamed if you’re not already on the Peggy Train. ‘LP!’ (always a fan of exclamation marks) retains a lot of the more melodic and slightly less abrasive styles that he presented on his recent (amazing) EPs, but uses it to only squeeze his music into more unique places. It’s a fucking banger.
(*slightly more talented. As talented. Actually, probably less talented, all told. No way near as talented. Honestly, maybe four or five music writers are as good as me. The others are just more well known)
So – thank you God and mother of Christ!! – I’m actually going to use what little space I’ve given myself in this post to talk about wrestling. You signed off on this, Peggy! You allowed this!! This is all your doing!!
While Peggy has long suffered the personal shame and pain of being a fan of professional wrestling – something that I can bitterly relate to and have often bumped into him at one of my twice weekly SAWFT (Sad Adult Wrestling Fan Tanonymous. Yeah, we had to change the spelling to make the reference work) meetings – and part of the thrill of a fellow sufferer is in locating and marking out to his many references.
In the last 18 months though, JPEG began to walk like he talked and began living a little part of his dream. He- somehow, don’t ask me how the world works – started hanging around Darby Allin, one of the ‘Four Pillars’ of All Elite Wrestling (AEW). This lead to him actually featuring regularly on AEW’s television show, recording a horrendously good promo to hype up a Darby Allin match and – in a bizarre ritual wich I assure you is a major part of every wrestling fan’s bucket list – getting slapped across the chest by Darby. This is a things, trust me, we all want this. Ideally, we’d all want to feel a Ric Flair chop, or even more ideally, a Kenta Kobasi one, but we’d all settle for being spanked hard in the chest by any professional wrestler. We really… want to know… how it feels… No further questions.
AEW. All Elite Wrestling. It says a lot about people’s preferred bubbles that it’s either the biggest thing that’s been on your mind for the past 18 months, or something you’ve never even heard of. That wrestling bullshit is WWE, right? Or, you likely still refer to it as ‘WWF’, because it’s carny nonsense and why the fuck would you bother even recognising the name change that happened way back in 2002? Firstly, all of your assumptions are 100% correct – it is made up fake fighting that is of no interest to any sane man. It’s a bit like Fentanyl, in that it feels so good on occasions, and is absolutely a tempting way to escape the painful drudgery of reality, but its negatives far outweigh the positives, it will likely ruin your life and almost definitely kill you. And just think how ashamed your mother will be at your funeral. She thought there was nothing wrong with you! You’re also right about assuming WWE/F is wrestling. for a short time in the late 90, WCW became legitimate competition, even becoming bigger than WWF by many metrics, before it shat the bed and was bought by WWF in 2001. Since then, WWF/E has had no real competition, and whatever shlock and bore it decided to cook up was your only choice as the average wrestling fan. Nobody really liked it, of course, but that was always beside the point. Nobody really likes their parents, but it’s not like you have any other choice.
Recently though, a cool guy with slicked back hair who smokes cigarettes and swears liberally has arrived on the scene and has been asking you to call him ‘Daddy’. Your new Daddy first held a wrestling event in late 2018 – All In – to highlight independent wrestlers somehow managing to scrape a living while not under the stifling control of the evil WWE corporation. It sold out in seconds became the most well attended wrestling event in North America not under the jurisdiction of either WWE/F or WCW (remember them? They were definitely a big thing) since 1993, suggesting that there might just be a market for wrestling fans tired of being spoon fed WWE’s focus-grouped to death bullshit, still being run by a seventy six year old multi-squillionaire whose grip on reality is about as tenuous as his grip on life. AEW was soon officially formed, launched a weekly TV show, launched another one, based a company around the world’s best talents of people like Kenny Omega, exposed homegrown talent such as the unbelievably young MJF and, yes, Darby Allin, convinced some of WWE’s greatest talents such as Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole (baby) to jump ship and, perhaps most impressively, convincing one of wrestling’s biggest names (inside wrestling, at least, you’re unlikely to know who the fuck he is), CM Punk, to return to the ring after seven years away. For the first time in twenty years, the monolithic WWE actually has competition.
You probably have two questions. Firstly, is AEW actually any good? Holy motherfuckng shit, yes. It might actually be some of the greatest wrestling, storytelling and booking that I’ve seen in my (ahem) young life, it’s a constant reminder of how amazing wrestling can be if done correctly, its in-ring quality is astonishing and it shows an ability to create stars and pull the viewer in with engaging storylines that shows WWE up week after week. Secondly, will it ever topple WWE? Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmalmost definitely not. WWE at this point is simply far too big, it’s Coca Cola and AEW is a fresh new beverage that everyone agrees tastes far better, and betrays a craftmanship that puts Coca Cola to shame, but it will take generations before people immediately think of ‘Corking Cola’ before they immediately go to Coke™. AEW can’t beat WWE’s television ratings even when the latter’s ratings are historically bad, but even if they do, it would in no way signify that AEW is now a bigger product – WWE is far more than its television ratings, it’s a multibillion empire with gross claws in problematic regimes around the world. It’s going to be the default wrestling company for a long time, probably longer than AEW is able to stay in existence. It’s also, eally, really bad at the moment, while AEW is really, really good, it’s probably unsustainable that AEW can keep the quality up, andif WWE manages to get good again (a big ask, admittedly) then hundreds of thousands of wrestling fans would be desperate to jump back onboard with the company they all remember from their childhood.
But, AEW never planned to topple WWE, they knew that would be impossible for at least a generation or two, they just wanted to provide an alternative where watching wrestling can actually be a pleasant experience and wrestling fans could actually get things they enjoy. It’s not a revolution, and it was never advertised as one, but it still means that we’re currently living through one of those extremely rare periods where it’s quite good being a wrestling fan.
OK, no more about wrestling, I promise.