All Elite Wrestling enters 2022 with continued momentum. Fresh off a TBS network debut which drew over a million viewers, the promotion has cemented itself as clear-cut competition to WWE.
Personally, I love AEW. But that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. As a long-time wrestling fan, there are still things I would love to see happen this year that I believe would improve the promotion all around. So with that, here are 10 pitches for AEW in 2022.
(Quick hot takes after the article)
Stop Talking About WWE
In a future article I will detail just how WWE has become their own meta character (playing a heel) in the overall wrestling industry. I get that AEW wrestlers have pasts, and sometimes it’s important to bring those up in storyline elements.
It makes sense, and for the most part, I don’t mind. But it’s 2022, and we should slowly start shifting the focus to how awesome AEW is without worrying much about the competition. Instead, keep the continued focus on so many wonderful AEW “homegrowns”.
AEW’s “Originals” have been holding major titles for some time now. Adam Page, Britt Baker, Jurassic Express, Sammy Guevara, Jade Cargill — and that’s fantastic. And even though WWE will mention AEW on occasion, AEW has been the worst culprit over the years.
If a story absolutely calls for it — great, but in general, I don’t think we need to do this anymore.
Hook Should Retire the FTW Championship
It’s not even listed as an official championship on the AEW website, yet it’s still randomly defended. Nothing against Ricky Starks, but the belt is a tad meaningless. Hook would eventually bring some prestige to this championship, but overall, it doesn’t feel like it really has a place in AEW at all.
I would hope Hook could take it off Starks at some point this year, and simply retire it to move on to bigger and better things as his popularity skyrockets.
AEW Trios Championships/Women’s Tag Team in 2023
In the spirit of puroresu, AEW is very stable-heavy (14?). This is fine. However, introducing trips Championships (in the spirit of Chikara) would be a welcome addition to the promotion. This gives a purpose to these stables to what would be generally exciting trios matches.
Also in addition, I’ve been pushing for women’s tag team titles for some time now., but not until 2023. To be honest, there isn’t a lot of tag team wrestlers in the division. Sure, The Bunny/Penelope and Tay/Anna are solid pairs — but beyond that? You’ve got a lot of singles wrestlers.
I would hate to pair Statlander, Soho, Thunder Rosa, Jamie Hayter, Abadon, Kiera Hogan, Hikaru Shida, Nyla Rose and Serena Deeb with anyone. They deserve to be in the hunt for singles titles in 2022.
You could randomly fantasy book women seen mostly on Dark: (Diamante/Hogan | Skye Blue/Julia Hart | Red Velvet/Brandi Rhodes) — but it’s a bit forced. I hope that instead, like Stardom, more factions grow out of the women’s division to lead to an eventual women’s tag team championship push.
Weekly All-Women’s Show
I’ve also been saying this for a while. You know who else has? Former WWE writer Freddie Prinze Jr.
Again, all this really takes is a new logo and the elimination of AEW Dark: Elevation. It was revealed that AEW almost went with the name “Revolution” over “Dynamite” for the name of their flagship show.
Why not throw AEW: Revolution on Tuesday nights live (or taped) on TBS? An all-women’s wrestling show that can give more time to the ladies that we should see more of, but don’t. You could easily film at Universal Studios, or do taped shows on the road with Dynamite.
Tuesday nights on TBS (from 7-9) are currently taken up by The Big Bang Theory. It doesn’t even break the top 150 for Tuesday night ratings. So why not have a guaranteed timeslot that would generate anywhere from 200k-400k viewership every week?
If not, I think I would take YouTube at the least, but we can aim higher…
Faction Logos on Lower Thirds
This is a small one, but with so many stables, it would be nice to put a logo with the name. There is around 14-16 stables in AEW, and that’s a bit to keep up with. When talent makes their way to the ring, an identifying “team logo” with their lower third name plate may help new fans just getting into AEW sort them out a bit easier in their heads.
Brian Pillman Jr. Should Win the Owen Hart Tournament
Simply put: What better way to honor the legacy of Owen Hart than by having the son of one of Owen’s good friends in the late Brian Pillman win the whole thing? This also elevates Brian Pillman Jr. to near main event-level status.
If he loses (to generate heat), then it should actually be to another second generation wrestler — Cody Rhodes. (But you know, he’s not a heel…)
Trim the Roster
This isn’t because I claim to know AEW’s financials and “hOw cOulD tHeY pOsSiBly aFfoRD aLL thAT tAlEnt?” — I trust that a billionaire can spend money well enough, especially when his father owns multiple sports franchises.
Note: Hire Byron Leftwich as your next Head Coach, draft Evan Neal to help protect Lawrence, and grab a playmaker WR in the second round. C’mon Jags, you’re like my third favorite team…
But it’s becoming almost too big to follow. That and I have no idea who is actually signed and who isn’t. Wrestlers that appear on Dark on a regular basis appear to have contracts, but aren’t listed on the official roster. Then we have some listed on the official roster (Brian Cage, Leva Bates, Marko Stunt, TH2, The Wingmen, Yuka Sakazaki, Chavo Guerrero, etc.) that we barely see anywhere.
That, and at the time of writing this, Stu Grayson has seemingly cloned himself.
I don’t think fans would miss 15-20 names trimmed down to make some room. This is a far cry from releasing over 80 in one year as McMahon did.
But really, it’s time to trim some fat, and add some meat. Speaking of which…
Sign: Toni Storm | Nixon Newel (Tegan Nox) | Samoa Joe | Taya Valkyrie | Johnny Gargano | DANHAUSEN | Willow Nightingale | Athena (Ember Moon)
Don’t Sign: Windham Rotunda | Adam Scherr (Braun) | Jonah | Karrion Kross | EC3
To be honest, some of the “don’t sign” names simply don’t fit with the style of AEW. That and you don’t want to be too welcoming of any and all talent. Unfortunately, Karrion Kross will likely have to work his way back up after being buried in WWE — but he’s a great fit in New Japan.
Again, Windham simply doesn’t work for AEW. He would be fantastic in an off-screen creative role, but a lot of the supernatural stuff just doesn’t jive here.
Not everyone can be All Elite, but there are names out there that are no-brainers.
Why not take the best in the world and feature them on a special one-night-only show (New Japan/ROH/NWA/Impact) in a GIANT card. Just think about it:
Bryan Danielson vs. Kazuchika Okada, Adam Page vs. Jonathan Gresham, Britt Baker vs. Deonna Purazzo vs. Rok-C, Jade Cargill vs. Jordynne Grace, The Briscoes vs. Jurassic Express, Trey Miguel vs. Dante Martin, Su Yung vs. Abadon, Kris Statlander vs. Kairi Hojo (Kairi Sane), Syuri vs. Thunder Rosa, C.M. Punk vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kenny Omega vs. Kota Ibushi, Adam Cole vs. Hiromu Takahashi, Moose vs. Wardlow, Allisyn Kay/Marti Belle vs. The Bunny/Penelope Ford, vs. THE LIST GOES ON…
Fantasy book your own, but this is completely feasible and would be widely popular.
Hell, perhaps they could even get WWE on board with it to break down the “forbidden door” forever…
MJF, Thunder Rosa, Kris Statlander, Malakai Black, Brian Pillman Jr., Win Major Championships
This is the next logical step after “Hangman” Adam Page. We know Wardlow is turning soon, and that should keep MJF busy for a few months to let Page’s reign breathe a little. As for the rest, we know Thunder Rosa beating Britt Baker for the AEW Championship is the next logical move, and Statlander may be the only member of the current women’s division that can go toe-to-toe with Cargill to win the TBS Championship.
Malakai Black doesn’t NEED to win a title, but as his “House of Black” stable grows, so will his dominance. It could even be the tag team championships with Brody King when he eventually arrives.
I would also love to see Eddie Kingston beat Cody Rhodes for the TNT Championship, but that’s just a personal preference. Otherwise, Brian Pillman Jr. is ripe for a TNT title run (or a run with Griff in a Varsity Blondes tag team championship run)
So there you have it! An AEW fan, putting out 10 pitches to the wider universe for Tony Khan to hopefully pick up.
Did I miss any? What would you like to see happen in AEW in 2022?
Quick Hot Takes
-Did people really get offended that AEW tweeted out that therapy is good for your health, as well as AEW? What about the awful stigma of “crazy people” presented by Alexa Bliss during her therapy segment on Raw — for some reason, fans found a way to shit on AEW for this one. Is pro wrestling (whichever promotion you like) not a great positive escape and good for your mental health? (it is)
-Major League Wrestling’s anti-trust lawsuit against WWE will likely be settled out of court. Whether you love or hate the product, we all know McMahon takes competition very seriously; to the point where he created a monopoly in the industry for two decades. I hope to see more facts from the case before making any judgment.
-C.M. Punk on fans who wait for autographs at airports:
“Still in a pandemic. If you’re waiting at an airport to get stuff signed, you need to stop doing that shit.”
100%. — Hospitalization rates due to Covid broke records this week. We’re still not out of this yet. Protect yourself and others around you and get vaccinated/boosted. Be an adult.
-Britt/Riho main evented Battle of the Belts! Women headlining an AEW show! Now let’s make this happen on Dynamite.