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Cup of coffee in the big time: Tempering my AEW optimism

Esther Lin for SBNation

We’ve been dealing with some family health issues over the past week, so I’ve been a bit more “outside the wrestling bubble” than normal.

It also means a lot of time in waiting rooms or waiting for updates ... so a lot of time to think, even if it’s about the same topic I keep touching on.

I’ve written a lot of optimistic things about All Elite Wrestling lately. That’s in large part because I believe what they’re doing is good for wrestling, wrestlers and fans. I also have friends who are at stages of their professional careers where the existence of another power player in the game can set them up in a much better position.

That blend of belief in the mission and the people behind it and pure hope for my enjoyment and the future of my friends has put me in a place where I’m “all in” on AEW.

But sitting in hospitals in a bad mood does manage to revive the pessimist.

While I believe the Khans have connections that make landing a TV deal likely, writing a successful weekly show is not easy. There’s talent on the roster already, but balancing that in the long term as opposed to one-off shows is a big difference.

That’s not to say the minds aren’t there to make it happen, there are certainly experienced and creative people in the center of things, but this certainly fits into the “wait and see” category for long-term success.

There’s also the “equal pay” phrasing used to explain pay for men and women on the roster during the rally earlier this week.

These tweets from David Bixenspan hit on some of the issues with the term, which is great in theory but maybe not entirely true in practice:

Brandi Rhodes cleared up what they actually meant, but the fact they needed to clear up something this big after a single rally is a reminder this is a new and bigger stage with a lot of interest everyone needs to be ready to operate on.

The promise remains for a game-changing promotion entering the game. There’s money up top and great minds in place for creative, but there’s no guarantee of long-term success or even a “good” product.

And even the idea of “success” may have to be redefined or reexamined for a new power player promotion in 2019 and beyond.

YouTube could remain a central place for pushing stories and ideas for AEW, clinging to the success and brand built by The Young Bucks. This may be more important to AEW than potential TV deals if it’s what’s drawing people to arenas and selling PPV events like Double or Nothing.

As stated, there’s plenty of reason for optimism, plenty of reason for pessimism, and a fair amount of reason to think we may have to redefine how we think and talk about success in a new age of wrestling.

So close to putting this week behind us.

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