AEW commentators Taz, Jim Ross, and Excalibur got together on YouTube for last night’s (July 22) Dynamite post-show. At one point Jim Ross spoke up about how much he loved the young talent in AEW, which led to him saying the AEW product is superior to NXT. The conversation took an AEW vs. WWE turn from there:
Ross: “This is gonna sound real ass-kissing, but why is there even a choice on Wednesday night? DVR NXT. Watch it later. Our shit’s better. I’m proud to be able to say that. It’s not in defiance, it’s just in reality.”
Taz: “I don’t remember the last time I even watched their show. That’s no bullshit, I really don’t give a rat’s ass about it. I respect the men and women there that are bumping and working...I’m so locked into what we do, I really don’t give a rat’s ass.”
Excalibur: “That’s a lose-lose statement on the official AEW channel.”
Ross: “Here’s the deal, man. You think any of those TV shows, those online shows, those streaming shows that WWE does, they would ever mention us? Shit no. They’re arrogant. They’re omnipotent. They’re the king of the mountain. Here’s us going on our YouTube channel trying to build this entity. Here’s us going on Wednesday night on TNT trying to build that brand, and I mention guys all the time that had WWE backgrounds. So fucking what?”
Taz: “You’ll get some people that’ll make comments...’Oh there it is again, AEW complaining about WWE.’ No, dumb shits. What we’re doing is we’re not insulting your intelligence, and we’re acknowledging WWE. They are the ones insulting your intelligence. We bring them up because they’re there...we’re trying to be transparent for you people.”
Excalibur: “There’s a reason why we said Jon Moxley couldn’t wrestle because of second-hand exposure to COVID. There’s a reason why we say all these things. It’s because we treat the audience like we as individuals like to be treated...Imagine watching a football game and the quarterback’s not starting, and they make up ‘Oh he got run over by a garbage truck or something’. That’s an insult to your intelligence. Part of the ethos, part of what AEW is built on, is being forthright with the fans, and treating them as we would like to be treated.”
There’s a lot to unpack here.
First, Jim Ross is kidding himself if he really can’t think of a reason why some folks might watch NXT live on Wednesday nights and instead DVR AEW, or not watch AEW at all. NXT puts out a high quality product, and it will naturally appeal to certain fans more than AEW’s product will.
That goes both ways. Some fans don’t have time to watch both AEW and NXT, and there’s nothing wrong with choosing one very good wrestling show over another very good wrestling show. For the fans that do have the time to track both shows, they might find current NXT stories, characters, or matches to be a little more compelling than their AEW counterparts. That can make all the difference in the world when trying to figure out which show to watch live, and which one to DVR.
These statements are pretty obvious. Excalibur at least seems to understand that going down the road of saying there’s no choice on Wednesday night is a bad look for AEW.
Now let’s move on to the more interesting matter here, which is Taz going off on WWE insulting your intelligence by pretending that AEW doesn’t exist. This isn’t something new for WWE; they largely pretend that they are the only
wrestling sports entertainment company in the world, and it does come off as needless arrogance, as Ross puts it. WWE does occasionally namedrop specific championships from Japan, but that’s pretty much the extent of it. How many times have we seen WWE pretend that stars like Sting, Kurt Angle, and AJ Styles were doing nothing during all that time they spent in Impact Wrestling?
Taz is generally right about what he says, though calling fans “dumb shits” undermines the idea that only WWE is insulting fans’ intelligence.
Excalibur is once again the person with the most even-handed explanation here, when he describes AEW’s transparency regarding Jon Moxley’s absence due to potential COVID-19 exposure. At least as far as COVID-19 is concerned, WWE’s lack of transparency is quite evident. Multiple WrestleMania 36 matches were changed on a dime with zero explanation, as one example. More recently, Dave Meltzer has said that Apollo Crews’ absence from Raw is related to COVID-19, but WWE is sticking with a kayfabe injury explanation. In general, it sounds like WWE is actively against talent revealing anything to the public about COVID-19 exposure or diagnosis.
Do you agree with these AEW commentators that WWE is insulting your intelligence by pretending that they are the only game in town? Do you think AEW has them beat when it comes to being transparent with fans and treating fans with respect, or is AEW no better than WWE in that regard?