Another okay-at-best Raw on the heels of a stellar All Out PPV has lots of folks comparing the two biggest companies in pro wrestling right now.
WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley weighed in with a short Facebook video that basically says that if this was the early 90s, he’d likely be All Elite:
Hello, this is the hardcore legend Mick Foley. I’d like to title this video WWE, We’ve Got a Problem because I think you do and that problem is that WWE is no longer the place for talent to aspire to.
Part of it is because AEW is doing a great job of attracting great talent, proven talent, building other talent, creating storylines, but part of it is a problem of your own making.
I think younger talent sees the way that developmental characters are cut or left by the wayside or in the case of Karrion Kross, greatly watered down and even made a joke of when they debut on the main roster. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
If I was an aspiring talent now, big league talent with a major decision to make, I’m not sure that I would trust WWE creative to do the right thing with my career. You guys did wonders with me back in the day, that was a different time, different place.
If it was today, I’m not sure I would trust the powers to be with my career in their hands. And until that changes, WWE, you’ve got a problem.
There are lots of angles to this new phase of the AEW/WWE debate, and Foley hits on one of them: a lot of talent is going to be attracted to the product Tony Khan is putting out, and the environment he and his EVPs have fostered while they fine-tuned that product.
It’s not just the “aspiring” folks Mick is talking about, or those disaffected by time in WWE’s system. If anything, Bryan Danielson’s post-All Out comments might be the biggest red flag for Vince McMahon & team. Bryan loved WWE, and felt respected & valued there. He was well booked, and the company was working to bend their own rules to let him wrestle elsewhere so he could be creatively fulfilled. Hell, his family still works there. But he couldn’t turn down a chance to be a part of this cool, exciting thing that is All Elite Wrestling.
The flip side of this is, as we saw with WWE when they effectively held a monopoly on
pro wrestling sports entertainment for much of this century - there’s such a thing as having too much talent. TK’s entering the phase where he has to keep all these people happy. Will three hours of television time and a couple YouTube shows do it? Is being part of a supportive, forward-thinking organization enough to offset being rotated out of the main event scene? Will a big name prospect like Gable Steveson ever settle for something other than the initials that were synonymous with wrestling his entire life?
Who knows, but the next few years are going to be interesting as hell while we find out.