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WWE barely tried to disguise SmackDown’s reference to AEW’s All Out mess

Maxwell Jacob Friedman returned to AEW television this week on Dynamite, and it didn’t take him long before he was namedropping Cody Rhodes, Triple H, and WWE co-CEO Nick Khan. That’s a pretty standard tactic for that side of the modern wrestling “war”.

From WWE’s side, we can probably count on one hand the number of mentions of All Elite Wrestling (there was Sami Zayn’s on Corey Graves’ short-lived “Electric Chair” segment back in 2019, and Seth Rollins bringing up Jon Moxley earlier this year while talking about their shared history in The Shield, and... that’s all I got). They’ll come up in outside interviews and on social media fairly regularly, but not on Raw or SmackDown.

With their upstart rivals going through an embarrassing ordeal which has the potential to significantly damage the company, WWE stuck to that policy. But they couldn’t avoid a little dig. It came before the Sept. 9 SmackDown’s #1 contender’s match, when lead announcer Michael Cole updated the audience regarding Ronda Rousey’s ongoing issues with on-screen authority figure Adam Pearce:

“I have been told, ladies and gentlemen, that Ronda Rousey has been disciplined internally and the results will not be made public. Sources have told me this, WWE official Adam Pearce has gotten carried away, he’s aired the dirty laundry publicly, hence the reason this investigation was taken behind the scenes with Ronda.”

It’s got it all, scripted fight fans. A company official abusing their power in an attempt to harm a top star, internal investigations & punishments, unnamed sources, and an aggrieved party taking something that should be handled quietly to the court of public opinion. They’re remixed it a bit, but if you swap in “The Elite” for “Ronda Rousey” and “CM Punk” for “WWE Official Adam Pearce”, Cole’s statement is a pretty good summary of the non-fight portions of the post-All Out drama.

Is this our latest example new Chief Content Officer Triple H is “petty Betty”? Or just a bit of fun in pro wrestling’s tradition of inter-promotional rivalry?

We’ll let you debate that. What’s not debatable? That the on-screen joke wasn’t as good as this one tweeted by Natalya’s assistant Bob...

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