This week’s RAW showed not just why WWE made a solid decision by bringing Punk back but why AEW screwed it up. The Crowd was engaged, they immediately teased not just Rollins vs Punk but Punk with other stars from Damian Priest to Kofi Kingston. It showed the levels of one promotion from the other and why it’s now clear.
AEW needs a hard reset from top to bottom if they want to succeed. Not just change the presentation on TV but what’s going on behind it and how it is run.
Right now, things are not looking good for AEW’s future, despite what the AEW stands are telling you. First thing is the major TNT officials who fell in love with AEW and signed that deal are gone. Kevin Reilly, the former president at Warner Media, left in late 2020 due to restructuring. Many credited Reilly with helping spearhead AEW to TNT and seeing the vision as well as increasing their TV deal.
Others who were part of that team are gone due to the merger which means the new administration has no ties to AEW.
The other issue at hand has been WBD wanting to build their media empire and increase their worth. Already WBD is anticipating a bidding war for the NBA TV Rights and are cutting costs in other ways. Just look at the DCU properties that are on Netflix and that is all you need to know.
What happens if RAW lands on WBD (which is a strong possibility according to Forbes, Variety and other TV publications) and becomes exclusive to the network. AEW already is operating at loss of close to 34 million and has yet to pay Shad Khan back the money.
It’s easy to see how AEW could go and end up in a 3rd tier cable network.
And it’s all because the company is not running well and it’s showing in the ratings and the product.
Adam Copeland versus Christian Cage feud is bordering on silly now with adding in Nick Wayne’s mom. You know the same thing WCW did with Judy Bagwell that everyone ragged on or when Claire Lynch drama went down in TNA. Both were stupid and ruined things and that is what is going on with a 17-year old’s mom who clearly is not ready for being in show biz.
Meanwhile the company has trotted out Bryan Danielson as the “scapegoat” for CM Punk getting fired. Not the owner, Tony Khan who made the ultimate call, but a fellow wrestler who is younger than CM Punk. Imagine if they did that in the NFL and said that Patrick Mahomes was responsible for Tyreek Hill getting traded due to bad behavior.
The Kansas City Chiefs would have been labeled a clown show and rightfully so. But AEW fans still don’t want to admit that and AEW personnel don’t want to rock the boat and lose their jobs.
Right now, there must be a real leader running the operations for AEW who ACTUALLY knows wrestling. It’s not Tony Khan who is worse than Dixie Carter. At least Carter waited eight years before going on TV and becoming intolerable. Khan has been doing that for a while and often just doesn’t seem to understand how polarizing he is.
But overall get someone who understands the wrestling industry and can be the bad guy. The guy who basically polices the locker room and has an organized long game plan for the company. It can’t be any of the wrestlers as they just don’t have the clout or the selflessness to do so.
There isn’t anyone and it’s been showing more and more the amateur hour that is AEW. From the drinking blood angle, The Devil angle being overdone, bad comedy skits that aren’t funny, everything looks like a comedy show. The whole presentation at times looks like a bunch of fans put it together without much thought.
Reset the whole thing and bring someone in who understands how to write a TV show. Bring in someone to run the day-to-day operations and is the vice principal to Tony Khan’s principal.
In a latest column TW5L said that it was false to compare TNA to AEW and that they were miles different. But the fact is that they are not that different in how the downfall has become. Too many older veterans are being pushed over younger talent and bad storylines are creeping up. And both companies suffered because there wasn’t good leadership to run the company successfully.
Tony Khan needs to find people who get it and do the job without micromanaging. I don’t care at this point if its Konnan, Jake Roberts… hell bring Mick Foley in to be the booker. Someone who guys in the locker room respect who has been on the big stage and understands what good storylines are.
The booking is all over the place and angles come and go within months. Remember when WWE was given flack for turning Big Show heel and face every few years? AEW does it with their acts sometimes every few months from the Young Bucks, Jericho, Blackpool Club to even Miro.
The only constant in AEW is chaos and the fact they have no long-term booking.
Meanwhile Tony Khan keeps announcing “Big News” to the point he is getting mocked for it on X. His “Big News” or “Special Announcement” has been from introducing ex-WWE signees to ticket sales for mid-level PPV’s to even having an extra sale at Waffle House. And yes, I know the last part is a joke but just in case certain AEW apologists don’t get it, I want to point it out.
The fact is that Tony needs to reset everything and do what his father did with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Hire real professionals and stay the hell out of the way or the product is going to tank.
Remember when they said Adam “Edge” Copeland and treated it like it was a game changer? That has already become stale due to hot shot booking and now the feud feels non-important.
Time for a reset and figure out how to make guys special again and take pages from what has worked in ECW/WWE/NWA and Mid-South. Develop storylines that make sense or have realism in them rather than things that make everyone silly.
And as far as TKW with his article and home grown vs. ex WWE argument, here is what he glasses over. The majority of AEW’s angles or main stories feature WWE guys over the age of 40 (and 50) going over and beating up younger talent. This isn’t a prime Kurt Angle beating Samoa Joe over in TNA but Adam Copeland just destroying Nick Wayne and Luchasaurus as if they are jobbers. Jericho and Kenny Omega being in major feuds while guys like Wardlow often are ignored.
The ex-WWE guys are basically running the show because the owner is too much of a fan. It can’t happen and it drives away fans who want to give the show a chance.
Before anyone says I am a AEW hater, I tried to watch the product and give it a chance. But watching AEW is like watching Teen Titans GO in that your intelligence is drained over the stupidity.
Reset the product and figure out what AEW truly is and focus on a roster that fits. No more signing every ex-WWE veteran out there and putting him in a main spot. But watch Tony do it again and bring in Dolph Ziggler and then keep losing interest after the shiny toy loses its luster.
But right now, the product is becoming more and more stale and the guy running it refuses to change.
Forget about AEW being TNA, if things are reset and change… AEW is going to end up like the UWF.
You can check out more interviews with athletes and sports reporters on www.lastcallpodcast.com or follow me on Twitter.com/LastCallwChrisC