AEW TV keeps falling short of its potential

It's hard when things don't go according to plan.

Contract drama.




AEW has been going through it this year, haven't they?

I like AEW. I want AEW to succeed. Pro wrestling fans have a better experience when they have the power of choice. The power to choose between three relatively accessible promotions in AEW, WWE, and Impact Wrestling. It's good that the performers themselves have the opportunity to make a decent living in a business that is eschewing the idea of separated wall gardens.

But, I have cooled off on AEW.

Not because of the backstage shenanigans, though. From the All Out brawl to the latest will-he-or-won't-he-go speculation surrounding William Regal, it doesn't matter much to me. My declining interest in AEW has to do with everything in front of the camera.

And this sucks. Why? Because AEW is my last attempt to be a pro wrestling fan.

I said in another post comparing a wrestling show to a song: the booking is the musical arrangements; the writing is the lyrics. Some musicians are good at both; most are better at one or the other. Same thing in pro wrestling—some promoters are good at one, but not the other.

In short: Khan can book, but Khan (and QT Marshall) can't write.

I never liked how AEW would write their angles. Just leaves so much to be desired. Some stories are over before you can even really get into them. Others last so long, it's almost like beating a dead, well... you know.

Too fast or too slow.

Too short or too long.

Almost never anything in between.

Sometimes there were extenuating circumstances. I'm not going to discount that. The glut of talent that has come into AEW over the past 18 months have compounded matters.

But I will say that a responsible promoter would recognize clear-as-day weaknesses and try to ameliorate said weaknesses by hiring more effective personnel to address said weaknesses. Khan has an obvious weakness—he is not good at writing TV shows.

Bryan Danielson and Dax Harwood had a great match. On the surface, it seems like a great booking decision: have an opening match between two excellent wrestlers—one of whom in the conversation of being the greatest of all time—and give them about 15 minutes to do what they do best in the ring. The crowd loved it.

On the other hand, it was ultimately a terrible TV decision. It did nothing to advance FTR's on-going feud with The Gunn Club and it did not factor into the MJF-Regal angle that occurred later in the show. It was a great match that ultimately was a waste of the viewer's time.

Wait? I'm calling an excellent Danielson-Harwood match a waste of time? Yes. It was a cold match that did nothing to contribute to anything that has been going on with either of them.

(Personally, I feel that the YouTube shows would be good for cold matches instead of a bunch of time-wasting squash matches, but that's just me.)

To be clear, I'm not completely opposed to a well-worked, cold wrestling match. A good match is a good match. But when AEW only has 3 hours of programming with the vast majority of the company's audience only watching the 2 hours that are broadcast on Wednesdays, cold matches are really a waste of time.

And that is what AEW's central issue boils down to:

Time wasiting.

So. Much. Time. Wasted.

I'm a Jade Cargill mark. Bow Wow has had a decent acting career as an adult and nowhere near the rap star that he was nearly 20 years ago. While it's cool for Jade to get a little mainstream attention for this Bow Wow thing, is this really something that is going to add to the weekly TV show?

Waste of time.

But I could DVR Dynamite and Rampage, right? I mean just fast forward through the parts I don't care for?

That's a waste of time, too.

What's the point of doing that. I mean, seriously? That's not a redeemable aspect of its programming. I mean hell, even though I absolutely love the Bloodline angle in WWE, I'm not going to go out of my way to set up DVR recording or just try to find the right moment on Raw or Smackdown to tune in.

Hours of programming. Minutes of genius. Still just wasted time.

Why take the effort to set up 2 hours of programming to be recorded when I will probably only care about 30 minutes of it? At that juncture, it just makes more sense to watch YouTube videos. The majority of the match is cut out, but the most important second and third acts of the matches are typically included. AEW also releases complete talking segments on YouTube as well over a span of a week.

Why do I gripe about this? Because it used to not be this way. Promotions don't have to write their shows like this or book their shows like this. Promotions simply choose to.

But what about the injuries?

The AEW roster is stacked with too much TV-ready talent for that to be a fair excuse anymore.

But the matches are still good!

I never said the in-ring work suffered. The in-ring work is still great. But the in-ring work is the least important part of a wrestling show's success, and diehard wrestling fans as well as Khan himself, seemingly accept that whatsoever.

Even AEW's own audience values a well-told story over the in-ring product.

Hangman Adam Page's title reign didn't reach its full potential because the TV was simply mediocre. That's nothing on Page's in-ring work—he has proven that he is a damn good ace. Not a Kenny Omega-level ace, but still a damn good ace. Unfortunately, the TV that followed up a two-year triumph that was central to AEW's fictional universe was just bad.

Maxwell Jacob Friedman's commencement as a villainous world champion isn't off to a bad start because of his in-ring work. Friedman is a very, very good worker. It has everything to do with the TV being extremely uneven, with Khan and Marshall being unable to write good enough television to capture Friedman's ability to portray a surprisingly deep character. This should be a groundbreaking moment in AEW's young history: at this juncture, the viewer can only hope that the TV matches some of its potential.

I don't want to give up on AEW. I really, really, really don't.

As mentioned previously, AEW is my last attempt to enjoy pro wrestling. I really, really, really, don't want to throw in the towel.

But the TV has got to get better.

I want to continue to buy the PPVs. I want to take the time to go to Winter Is Coming here in Texas.

But the TV has got to get better. Shows have to get tighter. Shows have to stop wasting so much precious time.

That means Tony Khan needs to take a big gulp, admit his weaknesses of being a subpar TV writer—it shouldn't even be his job, quite frankly—and hire a professional TV writer.

(And no, the promos do not have to be scripted. Bullet points and improvisation, people!)

Call Eric Van Wagenen? Call Freddie Prinze, Jr.? I mean hell, throw money at Prinze to give up his dream of running a promotion to have him come write for AEW & Ring of Honor. Hell, even Brian Gewirtz, who's reputation has been unfairly tarnished because of the early years of the Ruthless Aggression Era on Raw and meeting demands of Vince McMahon, would be a good option.

Anything is better than having one man write and book the shows.

And guess what? Khan can still book! He can still write the music! Let someone else write the lyrics. It worked out well for Led Zeppelin, right?

You know who had writers and still maintained booking power? McMahon!

But the bottom line is this—the writing has to get better. The TV has to get better. It has to be less chaotic. It has to make sense. It has to get better than what it has been.

What I thought was unthinkable—giving up on AEW and pro wrestling in general—just 12 months ago, is now a distinct possibility.

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.