“Something to Smile About: AEW Unrestricted”
It’s often so easy to become lost in the 24/7 nature of the professional wrestling news cycle and the corresponding storm of crazy that inevitably encompasses it on social media. I think it’s important to remember the reason we all started watching this wild and wonderful thing of ours in the first place as well. Because whether in large ways or small, it simply makes us happy. Each week, I’ll shine a light on something or someone in the wide world of professional wrestling that is creating smiles out of thin air. Care to join me?
It's a great time to be a fan of professional wrestling, isn’t it? Some may say it might even be the best time. Two large companies flourishing on national television for the first time in decades, an independent scene as healthy and as flooded with talent as ever, and a literal never-ending barrage of content available to fans the likes of which we have never known. There is something for everyone! It’s madness in the best possible way.
Found inside the barrage of content of which I speak, you will find AEW’s own podcast, “Unrestricted.” Dropping weekly on Thursdays, it has long been slotted into the top tier of the wrestling and wrestling adjacent media I can safely (who are we kidding at this point?!) consume every week while still finding time to – you know – breathe and stuff. I adore the laid-back nature of the format, which makes it easy to listen to in any number of life situations.
Between Aubrey’s genuine passion for what she does seeping through the soundwaves and Tony’s so relatable sense of humor, the chemistry between the two hosts couldn’t be better. No matter the guest, no matter the subject matter, and no matter the worked tension with the occasional guest (Bay Bay) – the joy is palpable. Sometimes, a little joy goes a long way.
Many times, Unrestricted has been another smile on my face in a wonderful day full of them. Others, it’s a well needed break from a tougher one. Rarely though, and there has been a fair bit of these over the last couple of years, Aubrey and Tony allow me an hour to escape. They grab me by the collar with their laughter and foul mouths and tell me its alright to take a breath – that life will be ok. That seems extreme, but it’s true! We all have those moments when things get too heavy, or we feel like we’re drowning. I think its wonderful that something silly we love so much like professional wrestling can be what grounds us and gives us a boost in dire times.
What endears me most to this incredible podcast is that nothing seems forced. It’s obvious that Tony and Aubrey have an immense amount of respect and admiration for each other. Not only that – they have FUN and never apologize for it. In the ring and behind the desk, Aubrey and Tony are professional and are two of the best at what they do. On their show though, it’s clear that what they are above all is not so much different than what the rest of us are.
It just hits different, doesn’t it? Sure, they get to work with these amazing athletes and performers week in and week out but having them on the show is another thing all together. I very rarely watch the YouTube uploads (though you can and should!), but I imagine they play out much like they do in my head as I listen while working, cleaning, cooking, or driving – with smiles too big to contain from start to finish. And isn’t that the secret to anything wonderful?
They’ve taken something perhaps meant at one time as just another hour of content for AEW fans (totally acceptable by the way) and made it into something so much more than that. It’s far from just another hour. It’s an hour every week that I look forward to with a flutter in my heart because I know that no matter who is on, I’m going to smile while everything else just melts away. Put a price on that, I dare ya.
Whether it’s Tony laughing uncontrollably at a dirty joke or walk down memory lane or Aubrey getting so excited with an answer that she has to talk herself down, every moment on Unrestricted is a joy-filled adventure. At the end of the day, they’re just a couple of wrestling dorks like us, talking to a bunch of wrestling dorks like us. What’s not to love?
Sure, we get inside scoops. We learn about the stories of some truly inspirational men and women at the top of the business they have always loved. We get uncensored versions of our often-censored favorites. We get all of that and so much more! But what we get more than anything else, and what is always a weekly guarantee – we get to be happy. We get a laugh. And we are gifted too many smiles from Aubrey and Tony to count. I don’t know about y’all, but I’ll always take a generous handful of those!
I like to end these weekly columns as graciously and as simply as possible.
So, Mr. Schiavone & Ms. Edwards. Thank you for the smiles this week. Here’s to many more.