Amalgam Rhapsody - AEW: Progressive or Alternative Submitted by LoneLee on 02/18/2019 at 12:27 PM
It's only February, and what a year it has been already in the wrestling world. This passed week alone has had a headline worthy note every day, great googily moogily! One constant in these headlines has been the continuing tidbits of information seeping out drop by drop into the bucket of social media given from AEW. Whether it's their friendly involvement with Starrcast 2 or their acquisition of more talent, they are accomplishing what they set out to do in grabbing attention. Some good and some not so good. As most of us instinctively jump to conclusions and peer into the future through our crystal phone, realistically it's too soon to see how this whole thing plays out. Simple as that. However, what we can anticipate as fans is there are ways AEW can be a progressive product, and alternative, or an utter failure.
Many, many sharp fans have made the comparison of the rise and formation of AEW to mirror WCW. A billionaire tycoon owner, a Rhodes at the helm, a modern day NWO ruling the roost. Guilty, we do let our minds wander and sometimes get the best of us. I remember a great number of us trying like hell to find a Sting silhouette in Undertaker's WM27 return promo. But I digress, the only thing that concerns me about these comparisons is having way too many cooks in the kitchen with 4 Executive Vice Presidents. It's not an NWA committee gathering to decide one Worlds champion for the territories but a group of currently active talent running a single promotion. A criticism that Cody's father and numerous others garnered during the territorial days. Do I think one of The Elite is going to book themselves to break Bruno Sammartino's world title record? Probably not, but I can't help but think they'll do what they can to feature themselves in the most prominent spots as AEW continues to grow over the years. Will they know when their star has faded and it's time to step back or is history doomed to repeat itself?
Even with that, they can also become victims of micromanaging. I enjoyed hearing the type of fan AEW president Tony Khan has been all of his life on Chris Jericho's podcast. Tony is both relatable and passionate when describing his experiences as a follower of this crazy sport. Now imagine yourself at the command of your very own promotion. We've all taken part in those social media posts "hire one, fire one, push one." I'd like to believe he'll put the businessman in himself ahead of the fan do the smart thing. No one can be as dumb as Dixie Carter when it comes to running a wrestling business, right? It doesn't stop with Mr. Khan, we really won't know what kind of freedom of content they'll have until a network deal is announced. For example, and I'm just throwing a couple ideas out here, TBS may not like excessive amounts of blood. AXS TV may want longer matches. Perhaps WGN would prefer not to see penis suplexes. If the cuffs are off or loosened a bit, The Elite have already set forth the intention to let talent hone their craft and let their creativity shine. One of the determining factors for Omega to choose AEW over WWE and many could could follow suit in the future.
They definitely took a step forward in this direction with the signing of transgender wrestler, Nyla Rose. I'm not contributing to the debate here but i will say that AEW has taken a stance on the matter and they need to stay committed to it. In the early stages of their development, decisions like this are crucial to both their fan base and PR going forward. I do think it opens the doors for a lot of possibilities in the company as you never know who could be signed. As long as AEW utilizes their talents to highest potential and attempt to make everyone on the roster feel important, as Lucha Underground did, then we as fans can find value in them too.
Wins and losses will matter. That is such a simple concept, it is ridiculous as I read that back. I was enthusiastic to hear AEW president Tony Khan mention that wins and losses would be emphasized in title contention and character disposition over time. How many times have we condemned WWE for even-steven booking or continuously portraying mid-card champions as weak? Taking all of the above into consideration I have to believe AEW won't be solely centered around one Superman, as WWE has been since it's mainstream boom. In order for it to keep a vested interest in the weekly TV audience it can't be predictable. This is a very fine line to tread. WWE's style of programming has grown stale and formulaic due to overexposure of the product on a weekly basis and long-term planning by TV writers. Whereas TNA and WCW would "swerve" purely for the sake of a swerve, even if the result made little to no sense. How can AEW differ? No TV writers here. Just modern wrestlers that know and remain engaged with the general consensus. Cody and The Bucks stay in touch with what works and what doesn't. What happens if they give the fans too much of what they want? Do they grow complacent in a different way?
All in all, I have high hopes for AEW in that they have a nice blend of hot talent that enjoy what they do and aim to make wrestling fun again. A lot of us are creatures of habit, we watch WWE because it's what we know and we fool ourselves into thinking it'll be different one day. But we're constantly treated to repetitive meaningless matches with predictable outcomes and convoluted with tired authority figures. Without having one show under their belt with the banner, AEW presents the first legitimate threat as an alternative for wrestling fans on national scale since the height of TNA on Spike in 2008. Learn from the mistakes of TNA and WCW, don't sign everyone with a big name under the sun without a plan.
They already have a plan, financial backing, the name, and supposedly the network. What more can they ask for to make AEW the "Elite" place to be?