One of the more intriguing - and for fans who’ve watched pro wrestling feds from TNA to Evolve try, then abandon ranking systems - elements of Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks & Tony Khan’s pitch for All Elite Wrestling has been the promise of making wins and losses matter.
Khan has expanded on the idea, broadening it to include a more analytical approach to wrestlers and matches. There’s been talk of tracking an array of statistics and attempting to give pro wrestling the same discussion-ready data points that have become so prevalent for fans and front offices of sports without pre-determined outcomes.
In the wake of the big news of AEW’s partnership with WarnerMedia for a weekly television show and streaming content, Rhodes spoke to Variety about the new company’s vision for wins, losses and statistics:
“One thing we really strongly want to present is wins and losses mattering again in pro wrestling. That takes more than the W and the L column. We’re talking about percentage of times someone loses to this particular maneuver, percentages against somebody of this height, a whole by-the-numbers approach that really intrigues me. It’s not a cornerstone of AEW necessarily but it’s a great peripheral element we’re working on and that’s going to be exclusive to us.
[As] much as I say it [working for Vince McMahon and WWE] was a wonderful job, it wasn’t wrestling. That’s something I’ve learned a lot about, the grittiness and the sports-centric element of the industry that doesn’t exist really anywhere else currently. We have the opportunity to seize that.”
As much as AEW says they don’t want to compete with WWE (Jim Ross speaks specifically to that in the same Variety piece Cody’s quotes are taken from), they are clearly trying to position themselves as the other choice place for wrestling fans frustrated with Vince’s product. With “sports-centric” being a buzz term WWE and Fox are also using for SmackDown, it’ll be interesting to see how the two companies try to get scripted exhibitions to appeal to fans of “real” sports.
Neither is offering much in the way of specifics. Rhodes & Khan have offered more concrete examples of data they’ll collect, but they still haven’t explained how or even if that will be used to set up matches or drive storylines.
Those specifics will be another way viewers can analyze their wrestling alternatives later this year.