AEW and WWE’s Worst Crime: Talent Hoarding

As summer rolls around within the next few weeks, you are going to hear from marks how it’s terrible that WWE is going to release talented wrestlers. It’s WWE’s biggest fault that they couldn’t make wrestler X be a star. But the reality is that for all of WWE and AEW’s signings, the fact it has hurt the product of pro wrestling in general. The talent stockpiling has been the worst thing for pro wrestling since the destruction of the territories.

Don’t believe me, just check out the numbers and watch both shows to see for yourself. WWE has 122 wrestlers on the main roster for 5 hours’ worth of TV programming. AEW has 162 wrestlers on their roster for 3 hours of TV programming plus ROH streaming.

That is insane and nobody can fit all of them on their programming.

And we are not even talking about commercials which cut into the programming. Factor that in and you are dealing with anywhere between roughly 3:30 hours for WWE to a shade over 2 hours for AEW. And outside of maybe 20-30 wrestlers combined on both companies, nobody else is getting over or even at times getting seen.

It’s worse than bad creative and borderlines on criminal.

It all started when Triple H and Vince McMahon decided to crush the independent promotions. They started stockpiling talent for NXT while fans salivated at the chance of seeing their favorite Indy talent get signed by the WWE. And yet too many wrestlers were getting lost in the shuffle and stuck in dreaded catering.
And then AEW was formed and despite then Vice President Cody Rhodes insisting that they wouldn’t sign every talent that was released by WWE, Tony Khan couldn’t help himself and to this day keeps signing everyone who is a free agent.

It’s not helping anyone as talented wrestlers such as William Morrissey, Miro, Dolph Ziggler and countless other wrestlers are sitting in catering and doing nothing. When you factor in that they HAVE to pay for their travel, their wardrobe, their hotel stays and other expenses, the money at times is not worth it.

“What would it take for me to return to WWE? The two Cs must be right. The cash and creative.” Matt Cardona to Barstool Rasslin podcast.

He is not wrong as a lot of guys on the independent scene or in Impact Wrestling, MLW, NJPW and others are making money. Is it a bit harder, of course but they all see the benefit in being on Television and getting a consistent push rather than showing up once and a while.

For the industry in general, it also helps not to have too many wrestlers in the company for the sake of better product. Instead of feeling rushed to have 3-to-4-minute six man tag matches to get people in, you can add it to other segments. Instead of 1-minute promos to introduce a debut that won’t have any longevity in the company, you can add it to an already hot match.

The hostage crisis known as stockpiling talent must end or else it could ruin the industry in the long road… if it hasn’t already.