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The AEW drama is delicious

All Elite Wrestling

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but my pro wrestling fandom has gone through quite a few changes through the years. In the beginning times, the long, long ago, everything was taken at face value and the big strong good guys who kinda reminded me of my dad fighting off the big ugly bad guys was enough to keep me happy. A bit later, the allure of the actual in-ring action faded and the story behind it took precedent. Eventually, that, too, wasn’t enough and by the time I was an adult my interest had almost completely faded to black.

There was one light that kept shining through that darkness, though. The drama on-screen would still grab me from time to time, sure, but it was learning about the very real drama backstage that ultimately intrigued me the most.

To that end, AEW, at least right now, is the best of all worlds.

Take, for instance, this story of CM Punk, the current AEW world champion, allegedly getting pissed off about something Hangman Adam Page said in a promo to him months ago and taking that anger straight to television and, according to various reports, going into business for himself, as they say in the industry. He challenged Page to a match right then and there, something that allegedly wasn’t in the plans and caught everyone by surprise. Page didn’t respond, of course, because he couldn’t respond, at least not then. Punk moved on but mentioned wanting an apology, one as public as the perceived disrespect.

So dramatic! So delicious!

Right on cue, Dave Meltzer reported in his Wrestling Observer Newsletter that “right now there is a ton of backstage drama involving many of the top guys that has gotten much worse in recent weeks.” He explains much of it apparently has to do with Colt Cabana and his treatment within the company since Punk’s arrival, or the perception of it at least, and there are conflicting stories from conflicting sources about all of it. Having said that, Meltzer also said “it feels like a number of people are close to their breaking point if things don’t get settled.”

So dramatic! So delicious!

This being the pro wrestling industry, folks who follow all this immediately took to wondering if this is all an elaborate work. After all, the MJF situation, similar in that it led to on-screen shouting and reports of backstage turmoil, was reportedly a work that everyone still can’t decide on. He was on television screaming about Tony Khan, the President of the company, being a “fucking mark” and disappearing right after. He still hasn’t returned, though Meltzer also said he’s “currently scheduled to be returning somewhat soon.”

You’ll find plenty of folks who will argue none of this is good for business, considering the business is about building to matches fans will want to pay money to see. There may be some legitimacy to those arguments, but I don’t care! This kind of petty squabbling and infighting makes for great drama, even better than they can give us in usual wrestling storylines, and I’m eating it up. We’re in a new age of wrestling anyway, right? Suppose it is all a big work and this is just to get fans to believe these guys actually hate each other when they really don’t. Isn’t that good for us anyway? Does that not make every interaction between them on television that much more interesting? If it’s real, the result is the same. We win either way!

To be clear, I, as a fan, am assuming the reporters with sources in the industry aren’t being worked here and this is as legitimate as they say. To that end, this is par for the course. AEW had its honeymoon period of being the place that is decidedly not WWE and more friendly to the workers and therefore not as plagued with the same problems. But that was never going to last. You can’t have a deep roster of big personalities who all want the top spot without them eventually coming for each other’s throats.

So dramatic! So delicious!

No matter what’s true, in many ways it doesn’t matter. It’s sure as hell fun to follow along with either way.

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