As an AEW fan, I generally find it hard to criticize the product all that much. However, I can gather that as of late, recent episodes of Dynamite have been rather “clustered”.
I can’t slam TK too much; this is essentially one man booking three hours of television on a weekly basis (not including Dark/Elevation). However, the quality of the overall product shouldn’t suffer because of the stubbornness of their owner.
To be clear, there are still very good stories being told in AEW right now. Serena Deeb‘s slow heel turn has been a delight to witness, and the layers of stories being told between MJF, Wardlow, and C.M. Punk will have an enormous payoff.
As for everything else? It’s a mixed (and very crowded) bag.
So why not make a calculated change while the momentum is still yours? As we’ve seen with the “forbidden door,” AEW has already changed the wrestling business for the foreseeable future — so why not change it in the way it’s booked?
And I don’t mean overly scripted and heavily produced promos that barely belong in a crappy B-movie (see: WWE) Storytellers can do much better than TV writers here, in my opinion.
I have ideas. Let’s dig in.
Creating a Diverse Booking Committee
It was revealed in late 2021 that Tony Khan is the sole man behind the booking curtain. In an interview, he told PW Torch’s Wade Keller that he no longer books AEW shows with EVPs, Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks. Additionally, it seems Cody Rhodes has next to no input on the creative direction of the product.
However, it’s clear that one man attempting to steer a ship on his own hasn’t been producing the greatest results, even if a few gems exist within the chaotic rubble. I can understand Khan‘s hesitancy to create an official committee, but he has a golden opportunity to create something unlike WWE’s overproduced content-hog of a booking/writing team (that is truly only writing for Vince McMahon above all).
And when I say diverse, I mean it…
Women Need to Have a Major Role in Booking
Your first step is to get some highly knowledgeable women on the committee.
Serena Deeb is a gold mine of when it comes to experience and I would hope can contribute as such. What is Allison Danger doing these days? Could the former Shimmer icon be brought in to help book the AEW’s Women’s Division separately?
How about former NXT trainer and women’s great Sarah Stock? Or hell, let’s add Thunder Rosa to a high profile role within this committee. Regardless, it would benefit AEW as a whole to have powerful women to help the creative direction of not just the women’s division, but the entire product.
Add a Legitimate Wrestling Fan to the Committee
Here’s a thought: Why not offer a spot to a legitimate wrestling fan with writing and storytelling experience?
When it comes to McMahon, the majority of his writing team aren’t even experienced wrestling fans. We saw this first hand by former WWE writer Kenice Mobley, who revealed that she didn’t have to know anything about professional wrestling upon her hire. Upon exposing this, she was promptly axed.
Why not do the opposite in this case?
Find truly passionate and creative fans that have been watching the product for decades and get their talented insight. This person should be qualified in the sense that they have a degree in writing and are able to tell stories. There are lots of aspiring writers out there that aren’t in Hollywood.
But whether or not they have 5+ years of screenwriting experience in TV production should be irrelevant. AEW is a product for the fans, and it could be “by” the fans as well.
Add Some Experience to the Committee
This is a no-brainer, but it’s still important. Tony Khan is 39-years-old; only about a month or so older than myself.
I know a lot about wrestling and its history — but I would venture to say that someone like Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Dustin Rhodes, or even Jim Cornette has forgotten more wrestling than I may ever know.
Here’s a name ripe for this committee: William Regal. The team needs a great veteran to lead the way at times, and he’s one of the best ever to do it. If he doesn’t take a role in Impact Wrestling, his knowledge would be priceless in AEW.
If not, I would even consider Gabe Sapolsky, or Dave Prazak.
Announce Your Booking Committee
Finally, let’s do something that is rarely ever done in pro wrestling: tell the fans who are working behind the scenes on the stories unfolding every week. I wouldn’t do this on Dynamite or Rampage; but this could quietly be done via a press release on the AEW website.
However, it creates a level of connection with smarter fans who may understand the product better than most. Kayfabe is pretty much dead, but we still love professional wrestling anyway. I believe this would be a welcome move by many, and would create a level of trust within the product itself knowing who is behind some of the future stories.
AEW is still a hot product right now. Creatively, it still hasn’t gone off the rails yet, but it’s not as steady as it once was. Tony Khan needs a little help — and that’s perfectly okay.
One man can’t do it on his own, and as big as AEW is getting, now is a great time for an official booking committee, but done the right way. Outside insight only pushes for fresh new ideas to avoid stagnation that will only make the overall product better.
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