On Jan. 1, we got confirmation that All Elite Wrestling was a thing, and that the second show, Double or Nothing, was happening. On Jan. 8, AEW put on a rally, and announced it would be working with a handful of interesting wrestlers, including the hottest free agent and one of the biggest names in wrestling.
And before Jan. 9, wrestling twitter turned into a freaking fistfight about how Cody and company are changing the world, how WWE was not allowing AEW shirts in and how AEW was gonna gut the indies. So, as much as I hate to put this idea out there: if wrestling twitter can’t stop itself from a perpetual bum-rush to finding the strongest opinions possible, it could choke the fun out of all of this.
I get that AEW is exciting. As someone who wished they could see PAC wrestle — this was the first time the BASTARD touched American soil since he dropped the Cruiserweight title to Enzo — for a very long time, I got excited. I also discussed going to Las Vegas for Double or Nothing with my podcast co-hosts.
But we have no proof of what this thing is yet, other than a company that puts on PPVs. That didn’t stop Animal of the Road Warriors from saying “They got a great product and I think I’d help them enhance their product with my wrestling knowledge,” in a transparent effort to get a job from a company that hasn’t actually put out an actual product yet. You remember Animal, the same dipshit relic who said Becky Lynch should ditch The Man gimmick?
The AEW promotion already has stan accounts, such as one that tweeted “AEW is the best wrestling company in the world! I cant wait until they have their first show.” Another is already asking fans which promotion, WWE or AEW, they’d pick if they could only allow one into their house. There was even one wrestling journalist (who I won’t link to, out of trying to avoid dogpile mentality) who left this Tuesday’s event tweeting about how Cody & co. were changing the world.
And then there was the t-shirt fiasco, where WWE balked and seemingly gave orders to ban AEW shirts, until social media pressed the company to relent. And everyone was screaming about the moment like they were on Worldstar, all the while taking reports from ProWrestlingTees employees — which is practically a subsidiary of AEW and The Young Bucks at this point — as credible evidence.
Before I sound like I’m against AEW, let’s get one thing clear: it’s clear as day that competition is good in wrestling. And unless AEW succeeds, WWE has no real competition in America. IF AEW can land a deal on a major channel, and it looks like they will find a home on a Turner station, then we’re talking.
Wrestling fans have good reason to be excited, as the current crop of American companies aren’t touching WWE. Impact’s time slot is too deep in the woods and while Twitch makes the company accessible to more people, that’s a company that keeps botching its main events faster than you can say ‘Maffew.’ Lucha Underground was nice, but it already seems prime for a final season. MLW is a thing that exists and is good, but stuck in BeIn Sports where it can’t effect the grand scheme much.
Cody and Jericho want us to believe there’s a TV deal there, which makes sense, but we need to see. Once you can say that, and tell me the date and time to stay glued to my TV for, we’re talking.
Britt Baker wants us to believe in AEW’s commitment to women’s wrestling, but — again — don’t tell me, show me. I’m sure the company wants me to believe it’s going to not be as white as it currently is (73 percent, judging by the most-fair to AEW list of the roster, which includes talent from China’s OEW). But I’m going to need some proof.
Are these standards that people don’t hold WWE to? Yes, but when this promotion launches itself in all of the progressive hype, using phrases like ‘equal pay’ that force them to come back and equivocate? My skepticism skyrockets.
Right now, AEW is running on two things: 1) a lot of good will that the Bucks have earned by being nice to their fans, and how much fun people had at ALL IN, and 2) the sheer and utter ill will a lot of people feel about the way Vince McMahon does wrestling.
It’s good to be happy that there’s a new way for wrestlers to get paid, but I’m much more curious about the product now that we’ve seen the early roster. If they really want to put on a sport-like presentation, and say that “wins and losses matter” crap that we’ve heard before, then why did they hire Joey Janela? The dude is as close to Real Sports as the betting rooms in Vegas are to Wrigley Field.
So, please, my fellow fans, stop acting like you’re an actual member of AEW, and fighting WWE fans on their behalf. Sure, the company is being marketed as giving back to the community and such, but it’s far too early to tell, and we’ve got far too many question marks on the table.
Tl;dr? Don’t be a mark for a corporation — or stan a promotion that hasn’t even had a show yet — it’s gross.