Something is wrong with All Elite Wrestling, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.
Let me try to explain and see if readers of TWM can help figure this out.
When the company launched last year there was a palpable excitement from legions of fans around the world, but less than a couple of months after the weekly television show Dynamite launched, the product seems to already have stagnated.
The AEW head honchos, mainly Cody (Rhodes) promised change upon change upon change – something new, fresh and exciting.
And while you can’t argue with the majority of the quality of the wrestling that the company is putting out there, it just feels, to me, that the product itself is not gelling.
While fans have been clamoring for an end to the stale and uninteresting scripted promos that WWE has forced upon us for years, AEW made it clear early on that no scripts would be given.
“HURRAH” came the cries from wrestling fans around the world.
Bur within weeks it became clear that only a few wrestlers on the roster, mainly the former WWE guys, were capable of pulling off such a skill.
Chris Jericho, Cody, and Jon Moxley could happily talk unscripted for hours on end, but the rest of the roster just seems awkward and in need of some real guidance.
Even super heel Maxwell Jacob Friedman seems unable to really grasp the audience with his words – his actions, however, are the total opposite, and sometimes actions speak louder than words.
AEW would be an end to the use of over-the-hill legends being dragged out for no real reason or purpose every week.
So why, then, are we now having to watch a 63-year-old DDP – who I respect and admire more than most in the business – go up against a 23-year-old MJF?
Isn’t that exactly what AEW promised wouldn’t happen? Surely the company has enough young talent at its vast disposal for us to not have to watch this take place?
Bring the odd legend in, by all means, but there’s no need to bring them in to challenge much younger talent who could easily defeat them in seconds. It really does serve no purpose other than to give the audience a cheap pop. WWE does that enough already, so there’s no need for AEW to be doing it, too.
Didn’t AEW also swear blind that it wasn’t just going to copy WCW? Then why does the weekly television show seem like a carbon copy of that, even down to the way in which it’s filmed?
And the less said about reusing old WCW PPV names such as Bash at the Beach, the better.
I get it, Cody. Your father Dusty was, is, and always will be without a doubt one of the biggest legends to ever have an impact on this business, but there’s a huge difference in paying tribute to him and rehashing his old ideas because you don’t know what else to do.
Fast-forwarding through Monday Night Raw every week has become a custom that most fans have been doing for years and years. So why am I already doing it with AEW after just a couple of months?
Apart from the odd segment, usually involving those who have eaten from WWE’s top table, the rest of the weekly show just seems to drag on and on, with no rhyme nor reason to the action taking place. And stop randomly debuting people without any kind of background knowledge to who they are!
You’ve killed the Butcher and the Blade (and the Bunny) already because the crowd reaction was beyond dead. This way of introducing talent, who are largely unknown to the mass majority of fans outside of the niche indie circles, will only harm talent – not help them.
The women’s division is another enigma for AEW.
It promised new and exciting women, who would set the world on fire. But so far, it’s just been the Britt Baker show… did you know she’s a dentist?
Use video packages and promos to give the audience a real sense of who the woman you’re introducing every week are. Don’t just debut them and expect everyone to instantly take to them. We need context and storytelling.
Make an effort guys, please.
I really do want to love AEW, but it just isn’t clicking for me, and I can’t quite figure out what the overall reason for this is. But the longer it goes on, the less the chances of the company truly making the change it promised will be.
Take a step back, take stock and re-evaluate what you’re putting out there every week, before more and more fans tune out and you end up stuck in the never-ending circle of nothingness that Impact Wrestling has only just got itself out of after many years of despair.
Or, have I just become so jaded by wrestling that I’ll forever look upon a company in a negative light regardless of what it’s doing?
Only time will tell, I guess.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @ACailler. Thanks for reading!