FanPost promoted to the front page.
When I heard about the Sammy Guevara and Andrade heat, I laughed.
It's typical pro wrestling pettiness (and stupidity).
The former is a juvenile young talent that is a shoot heat magnet; the latter is an unhappy veteran that's wanting to go back to work for WWE now that the regime has changed.
I would think a promotion would want to keep volunteers and let the hostages go.
It doesn't seem to be dampening enthusiasm for the product—TV ratings are slightly down, but still are fairly healthy given the cable television market. Dynamite will, once again, finish in the top 10 for prime time television.
However, those that are diehard pro wrestling fans, have an emotional investment in both the promotion and the performance art, and have a connection with some of the brilliant performers are going to pay attention and discuss bad headlines.
Hell, I even wrote about the last bad headline that came out of AEW. (Looking back, I think it was silly of me to write that whole thing, to be honest).
For the most part, AEW has largely avoided bad headlines. I mean, before this year, the worst headline to emerge that had to deal with something specifically done by the company, was bad pyro.
Today, AEW is a company that is seemingly in disarray, with locker room disputes becoming public, a competitor openly tampering with talent, and the "we are family vibe" that AEW talent seemed to project for three years all but shattered.
But is the company really in disarray?
Have the shows still been enjoyable? For the most part. Granted, I no longer consider AEW appointment viewing. Shows like Rampage and the Battle of the Belts series fall under the category "watch when I don't have any primary thing going on".
I think AEW broadcasts lack discipline. The company needs professional TV writers. I think Tony Khan is... not smart for being unwilling to hire writers. But hey, that's my personal view and that's his promotion.
But does this really mean the company is in disarray?
Four of its most high profile performers got into scuffle; one of them was going to be off TV for a long time because of an injury anyway. Pending the outcome of an investigation, three of those performers—who happen to be among the brain trust of the company—are still not partaking in any company activities.
Doesn't sound like a company in disarray. Sounds like stupidity.
Did the entire locker room stage a mutiny against the promoter? Does this really matter to the fan that's in an attendance or watching on TV? Is interpersonal conflict between co-workers really any of our business on the outside?
Growing pains? Sure. Embarrassing? Sure. Disarray? No.
AEW still manages to draw 60 to 80% capacity for its shows and still manages to draw strong television ratings despite the weaker cable TV market on Wednesdays. Warner Bros. Discovery, a media company that doesn't seem to know what the hell it wants ever, at least knows it wants AEW. The company just literally the biggest women's star of the past 10 years that is not a member of the Four Horsewomen, Ronda Rousey, or AJ Lee.
That's not a company in disarray.
Two pro wrestlers do not get along. The more juvenile of the two decides to mouth off on social media. The veteran hostage does veteran hostage things to get a neophyte to fire him.
That's not a company in disarray. That's just two performers being idiots.
WWE engages in tampering? Unsurprising given the amount of resources the company has. But when three people want to leave, is that really a company in disarray?
Just about every credible "insider" says that AEW talent is mostly happy to be there. But hey, three disgruntled acts are setting the narrative, right?
This isn't disarray.
I think Tony Khan is a little bit immature, has bit off more than he could chew, should be more assertive as a boss, and needs to exhibit stronger leadership skills.
(He's also a terrible TV writer that shouldn't be writing television episodes. But that's neither here nor there when it comes to the "AEW in disarray" narrative. Pardon my parenthetical asides, but I will never not take an opportunity to trash Khan's TV writing because he deserves the criticism.)
There's not a single locker room in pro wrestling that doesn't have beef. Not every performer gets along. Sometimes the beef is public; sometimes the beef isn't. Can't make every talent happy. Perception is shaping judgment because it is unusual that a lot of this has been so public.
Ultimately, journalistic outlets determine what is and what is not a story. They determined that AEW's locker roof beef was a story worth telling. So it became a story. Then the story got out of hand, perhaps even more so than the actual incident itself.
But to call AEW a company in disarray is an overreaction and just Internet wrestling fodder. This is the type of sh*t that has gone in pro wrestling since promoters figured out they could make more money putting on a work than a shoot.
The company has had quite a few injuries; lots of things haven't gone as planned. Hell, Tony Khan probably thought he would have a TV deal by now for Ring of Honor. Instead of it being Dual Promotions Part Deux. Can't necessarily blame WBD for not being bullish on Ring of Honor television; after all, it was a colossal failure on Destination America, a WBD property.
At least I hope it doesn't involve an invasion angle; then, I would definitely say the company is in disarray.
But that's not where things are right now.
Relax. AEW is fine. (No, seriously, it is.)