MR. TITO: Is the All Elite Wrestling (AEW) Talent Roster Too Large?

Follow Mr. Tito on Twitter by going to the following link: @titowrestling


Instead of celebrating the fact that Daniel Bryan Bryan Danielson, Ruby Riott Soho, and Adam Cole have joined All Elite Wrestling (AEW) at the AEW All Out 2021 Pay Per View, cynical WWE fans are on the attach by saying “those wrestlers weren’t drawing in WWE anyway” or “AEW has too many wrestlers on its roster”. To quickly debunk the former argument of “drawing”, nobody is drawing in the WWE including the WWE brand itself. Roman Reigns is keeping Smackdown above 2.0 million but it’s only a matter of time when he runs out of opponents or if, God forbid, he gets injured.

The “AEW has too many wrestlers on its roster” argument is silly to me due to the following facts:

(1) According to Forbes magazine and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, AEW was profitable during pandemic 2020 and are only “in the red” for 2021 due to heavy investments in their Video Game project. Reportedly, if you back out the Video Game investments, 2021 would be profitable too. If the AEW game is returning to the THQ roots as it reportedly is, then they’ll make their money on that investment.

(2) AEW isn’t overpaying wrestlers. Shad Khan did not become a billionaire by overpaying employees or paying too much for stuff. They are not overpaying wrestlers and that hype about “providing health insurance” is only for the EVPs and just a few select full time wrestlers or employees. Furthermore, AEW is in a position of strength when it comes to any wrestlers that the WWE releases. Guys like Miro, Brodie Lee, FTR, Matt Hardy, Ruby Soho, and others who lost jobs at WWE have very limited choices where to work. Ring of Honor, Impact, and NWA aren’t paying anybody and New Japan Pro Wrestling is picky who they want to use. Therefore, Tony Khan doesn’t have to overpay former WWE wrestlers.

(3) AEW wrestlers are closer to being Independent Contractors. In case you haven’t noticed, their wrestlers perform elsewhere besides AEW and that includes even the EVP Kenny Omega performing elsewhere. Particularly for the midcarders, it is likely that their contracts pay them X amount per appearance rather than a base salary. Therefore, if a wrestler doesn’t appear one week for AEW because they have another wrestling gig, AEW doesn’t have to pay them.

Yes, it’s very likely that AEW is probably paying CM Punk and Bryan Danielson a good chunk of change. However, it’s also very likely that TNT is potentially paying part of their salaries OR AEW will recoup some of that salary by promotion appearances that both Punk and Danielson could make on TNT’s behalf. TNT executives were reportedly excited about CM Punk’s debut and it could before a good financial reason. For example, in order for TNA to obtain Hulk Hogan, SpikeTV reportedly paid his salary during the late 2000s. Brother.

As long as AEW is profitable, who should care how many wrestlers that they have signed anyway?

Let’s do a little Math exercise to see how many wrestlers are REALLY on each roster:

According to my count, AEW has 97 Male Wrestlers and 22 Female Wrestlers.

RAW roster has 42 Male Wrestlers and 13 Female Wrestlers

Smackdown roster has 24 Male Wrestlers and 14 Female Wrestlers

NXT has 41 Male Wrestlers and 23 Female Wrestlers

WWE Combined has 89 Male Wrestlers and 50 Female Wrestlers

OK, you got me… AEW has 97 male wrestlers on their roster… Wow… 22 Female wrestlers may seem higher, but many of them are acting as valets instead of performers.

Does it stack up per hour, however?

AEW has the following shows right now:
– Dark = 1 Hour
– Dynamite = 2 Hours
– Rampage = 1 Hour
TOTAL = 4 hours

With 119 total wrestlers divided by 5 hours of total televised wrestling = 29.8 Wrestlers Should appear per hour…

For the WWE, here are their shows:

– 3 hours of RAW
– 2 hours of NXT
– 2 hours of Smackdown
– 1 hour for Main Event

With 139 combined wrestling talents divided by 8 hours of total televised wrestling = 17.4.

In other words, RAW/NXT/Smackdown’s COMBINED rosters justifies having 17 wrestlers per hour appearing on their shows. Meanwhile, AEW’s roster would call for about 30 wrestlers per hour. Yikes.

And WWE has been trimming down their roster for the past 2 years for “financial reasons” but they might be looking at analytics the way I am right now. In addition, WWE overpaid many of its talents with the arrival of AEW out of fear that wrestlers would jump to that company. However, WWE pumped the brakes on that policy starting with the 4/15/2020 cuts and has been significantly reducing its roster ever since.

Look at those NXT numbers… Oh boy. NXT, for its 2 hours of programming, has more talent on its roster than Smackdown for its 2 hours of programming. Provided how Vince McMahon and Bruce Prichard are reportedly producing the NXT shows moving forward, more cuts are likely to be coming particularly after the WWE just signed a few new crops of students for the Performance Center (which I couldn’t account for in my counts above).

You got me, folks… AEW technically has a bloated roster. The numbers don’t lie…


AEW is a new promotion.

AEW is not paying former WWE talents nearly as much as WWE did.

Many wrestlers are acting as true Independent Contractors in AEW, getting paid per appearance.

AEW is reportedly profitable, aside from 2021’s video game investment.

AEW is just throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks. It’s likely that there could come a day when Tony Khan releases a bunch of wrestlers, too, as carrying over 100 talents for just 4 hours of content per week is probably a bit much. I guarantee that Shad Khan knows analytics, too, as he’s a master of keeping costs down for any business venture he owns (ask his fans about his NFL and Soccer teams). For example, while Jacksonville may have been purposely tanking to obtain the #1 Draft Pick this past year, the defensive side of the ball had some serious Pro Bowl players on it that were just traded away due to not wanting to pay them.

So yeah… AEW does, in fact, have a larger wrestling roster at the moment… You guys are right.

Context is everything, though… Many of the AEW wrestlers are double dipping on roles backstage, which the WWE disallows. Kenny Omega, Young Bucks, Cody Rhodes, and Brandie Rhodes were all part of my counts, for example, and they have Executive or Chief in their titles. Brandon Cutler, Christopher Daniels, Colt Cabana, Dustin Rhodes, Luther, Paul Wight, QT Marshall, Leva Bates, and Rebel also have backstage roles with AEW. And also for the fact that AEW is paying WAY LESS than what the WWE is and the Independent Contractor thing, I guarantee that AEW’s “Salaries, Wages, and Benefits” Expense line item is MUCH LESS than the WWE’s. I’m willing to bet on that.

And that is why WWE is releasing wrestlers… It’s the higher salaries that Nick Khan, using different analytics with real salary numbers, is reviewing.

Everything now depends on if the recent talent acquisitions and future acquisitions can actually help AEW shows begin to draw more than 1.1 million viewers. I believe that the collection of former top WWE stars, particularly CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, will eventually help AEW Dynamite get around 1.5 million to 2 million consistently within the next 6 months. It always depends on Creative. TNA, for example, had a few loaded rosters too but then you’d have to suffer Dixie Carter’s ego on display throughout their Impact shows.

You gotta have good Creative to put a great Roster in position to succeed. Look at those LOADED early 2000s rosters and yet RAW’s viewership was in massive decline. Seriously, look at that 2002 roster… LOADED and yet they were declining throughout the entire year. It had the Attitude Era + WCW Free Agents (Hall, Nash, & Hogan finally appeared) + Ohio Valley Wrestling call-ups beginning to appear. Yet, it declined. Why? Because Stephanie McMahon was AWFUL at her job as Creative Lead and already burned the WWE audience out with the prior year’s WCW/ECW Invasion angle.

Should be fun to watch and see if AEW’s talent investments pay off or if it causes them to begin releasing wrestlers, too.

So just chill… Until the next episode!

Comments and feedback are welcome. Follow and Tweet me @titowrestling or login in below to post comments.



09/03/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Triple H Loses NXT to Bruce Prichard & Vince McMahon, AEW All Out Predictions, Daffney, Nia Jax vs. Charlotte, and More
08/31/2021 – Has Paul Heyman Officially Become the GREATEST Pro Manager of ALL TIME?
08/28/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Brock Lesnar’s WWE Return, CM Punk Drawing in AEW, Matt Riddle, Adam Cole, and Much More
08/25/2021 – Tony Khan Deserves Credit for Building the All Elite Wrestling (AEW) Brand and Signing CM Punk
08/22/2021 – SummerSlam 2021 Was Another Indicator of the WWE Being in Decline…
08/21/2021 – Thank God CM Punk has Returned to Pro Wrestling and Joined All Elite Wrestling (AEW)
8/19/2021 – Political Correctness has No Place in Pro Wrestling
08/14/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Bobby Eaton, Max Caster & Tony Khan, Triple H & NXT Cuts, CM Punk, Ric Flair, and More
08/03/2021 – In Response to WWE Fans Cheering for John Cena or Chanting for CM Punk & Bray Wyatt/The Fiend
07/31/2021 – Bray Wyatt/The Fiend Just Released from WWE… Why and Where Could He Go?
07/28/2021 – Why Do Wrestling Fans Not Want CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Brock Lesnar, and Other to Return?
07/24/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, WWE Money in the Bank Winners, and Much More
07/22/2021 – The Rumors of CM Punk Returning to Pro Wrestling – Rejoin WWE or Join AEW?
07/20/2021 – WWE is Blessed to Have John Cena Back and Challenging Roman Reigns
07/17/2021 – Returning Live Crowds Won’t Matter for WWE or AEW – Their Creative Still Sucks
07/14/2021 – Has the WWE DEMOTED Mandy Rose to the NXT Roster?
07/10/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Malakai Black in AEW, Jimmy Uso, WWE Caring about Cruiserweights in NXT, NWO 25 Years Later, and More
07/06/2021 – 10 Years Ago, CM Punk’s Pipebomb Promo Threatened the Corporate WWE Structure
07-04/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Zelina Vega’s WWE Return, Nikki Bella’s Chyna Comments, Sasha Banks, Jim Ross/AEW, and Much More
06/29/2021 – WWE is just a Roman Reigns Injury Away from Failure
06/26/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – More WWE Talent Releases, John Cena Return?, Edge Vs. Roman Reigns, Rhea Ripley, and More
06/22/2021 – WWE Hell in a Cell, Extreme Rules, Money in the Bank, and TLC are AWFUL Pay Per View Events
06/19/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – USA Network Upset at WWE?, Samoa Joe NXT Return, Eva Marie, LA Knight, Hell in a Cell Predictions, & More
06/15/2021 – How Wrestlers, Such as Alexa Bliss, Are Exposing Pro Wrestling with their Personal Lifes and Social Media
06/12/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – WWE SummerSlam, Alexa Bliss, Bella Twins, AEW on Fridays, NXT Takeover Predictions, The Rock Returning?, and More
06/08/2021 – Reasons Why Braun Strowman Struggled in the WWE and Was Eventually Released
06/05/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Andrade and Mark Henry in AEW, Booker T’s Comments on Aleister Black, More on WWE Cuts, and More
06/03/2021 – Does the Recent WWE Releases (Braun Strowman, Aleister Black, Lana, etc.) + Prior Firings = WWE for Sale?
06/02/2021 – The Top 5 Greatest Nintendo 64 Pro Wrestling Video Games
05/31/2021 YouTube Video – Unwrestled Mysteries: The Infamous Macho Man Randy Savage and Stephanie McMahon RUMOR
05/29/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – WWE & New Japan, Ultimate Warrior Documentaries, John Cena/China, AEW Double or Nothing Predictions, More
05/25/2021 – WWE Creative Has Ruined Lives and Caused Unemployment for Many Wrestlers
05/22/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Zombies in WWE, Velveteen NXT Release, AEW Dynamite Television Changes, and More
05/18/2021 – Tony Khan’s Jacksonville Jaguars Signing Tim Tebow is Like AEW EVPs Signing Talent
05/15/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Zelina Vega Returns to WWE, Velveteen Dream, Miro Wins TNT Title, RIP New Jack, and More
05/11/2021 – Should AEW Dynamite Move to Monday Nights to Challenge WWE RAW?
05/08/2021 – YouTube Video: The Great Debate between Mr. Tito and Virtue – The Future of WWE with Roman Reigns, early AEW vs. Current AEW, and WWE Women’s Rankings
05/08/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Daniel Bryan, Mick Foley on WWE’s Women’s Wrestling, Eva Maria, and More
05/04/2021 – The Future of Roman Reigns in the WWE: Remain Heel or Return to Babyface?
04/27/2021: Without Tony Khan, Things Could Actually Be Worse in AEW
04/24/2021: Ask Mr. Tito – Mickie James and WWE Garbage Bags, CM Punk, Ronda Rousey’s Pregnancy, More
04/20/2021: How to Repair Seth Rollins’s WWE Character
04/17/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – WWE Releases, Charlotte’s Return, Pat McAfee on Smackdown, NXT/AEW Viewership, & More
04/13/2021 – Celebrity Newcomers Should NOT Dominate Pro Wrestling Veterans in the Ring
04/11/2021Mr. Tito’s PHAT WWE Wrestlemania 37 Night #2 Review with Match Ratings and Show Grade
04/10/2021 – Mr. Tito’s PHAT WWE Wrestlemania 37 Night #1 Review with Match Ratings and Show Grade
04/10/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – WWE’s Post Wrestlemania 37 Plans, Becky Lynch’s WWE Return, All-Time Wrestlemania Questions, More
04/07/2021 – Should Hulk Hogan Be a WWE Co-Host for Wrestlemania 37?
04/06/2021 – WWE Wrestlemania 37 Predictions – Who Should Win and Who Will Win?
04/03/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Chris Jericho on Steve Austin’s WWE Network Show, Hurt Business, and More
03/30/2021 – What if Rob Van Dam Wasn’t Suspended During 2006 in WWE?
03/27/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Peacock Censoring WWE, Daniel Bryan, More
03/24/2021 – Supernatural Stuff Has No Place in Pro Wrestling
03/22/2021 – Edge = Wrong WWE Veteran for Roman Reigns
03/20/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Cornette/Miro, WWE Fastlane, Bischoff, More
03/16/2021 – Triple H is the Ultimate WWE Yes Man
03/13/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – John Laurinaitis for WWE Talent Relations, More
03/09/2021 – Forget Christian in AEW, Where is CM Punk?
03/06/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – AEW Big Surprise, Shaq, Crockett, & More
03/03/2021 – Statistical Findings on AEW Dynamite’s Viewership
02/27/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Gina Carano in WWE?, Paul Wight/AEW, More
02/23/2021 – The Problem with the Miz as WWE Champion
02/20/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Lacey Evans & Ric Flair, Jim Ross, and More
02/16/2021 – How to Push Big E in the WWE
02/13/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Nia Jax, Sammy Guevara, Edge, and More
02/09/2021 – Are WWE Wrestlers Softer Now than Before?
02/06/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Follow-up on HHH, Bianca Belair, Lars, and More
02/02/2021 – Triple H’s Incompetence Helped Edge Win Rumble
01/31/2021 – Mr. Tito’s PHAT WWE Royal Rumble 2021 Review
01/30/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Ronda Rousey, WWE Rumble Surprises, More
01/26/2021 – WWE Network, NBCU’s Peakcock, and YOU
01/25/2021 – What Makes the WWE Royal Rumble Great
01/23/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Bryan/Nakamura, USA Network & WWE, More
01/20/2021 – What is Wrong with Being a WWE Cruiserweight?
01/16/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Chris Jericho, Roman vs. Owens, More
01/13/2021 – How the WWE Can Use Nostalgia to Grow Again
01/09/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Donald Trump & WWE Hall of Fame, More
01/06/2021 – The TRUTH About New Japan Pro Wrestling
01/02/2021 – Ask Mr. Tito – Brodie Lee/AEW, Luke Harper/WWE, More
12/31/2020 – Mr. Tito’s PHAT 2021 Wrestling Predictions
12/26/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – WWE Creative, Slammys, Rousey, More
12/25/2020 – My 2020 Awards & Wishlist for 2021
12/21/2020 – For 2021, the WWE Should REDUCE Ticket Prices
12/19/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – WWE/USA Network, TLC Predictions, More
12/18/2020 – WWE Should Bring Back Jim Ross
12/15/2020 – Is Kenny Omega a Draw to Wrestling Fans?
12/11/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – AEW/Impact, Sting, 2021 WWE Rumble, More
12/08/2020 – Why Do Fans Hate Chris Jericho Now?
12/03/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – Sting, Patterson, AEW/Impact, and More
12/01/2020 – In Defense of WWE’s Vince McMahon…
11/28/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – Lana & Nia Jax, Undertaker, and More
11/26/2020 (Thanksgiving) – Top WWE Survivor Series Moments
11/24/2020 – WWE and Wrestlers Need Better Marketing
11/22/2020 – Mr. Tito’s PHAT WWE Survivor Series 2020 Review
11/21/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – Kenny Omega Hall of Fame?, Zelina Vega, and More
11/19/2020 – Can Zelina Vega Survive as a Twitch Streamer?
11/14/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – Zelina Vega’s WWE Release, Bellas, More
11/11/2020 – How to FIX Brandi Rhodes in AEW
11/6/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – Sting in AEW?, Full Gear Predictions, and More
11/2/2020 – The POSITIVES in Pro Wrestling Right Now
10/30/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – Jericho, Hager, WWE 3Q Financials, and More
10/28/2020 – 1998 = Peak of Wrestling and American Politics
10/25/2020 – Mr. Tito’s PHAT WWE Hell in a Cell 2020 Review
10/24/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – Jericho/MJF, WWE Hell in a Cell Predictions, More
10/21/2020 – Wrestling Fans and COVID-19
10/17/2020 – YouTube Video: The Great Debate between Mr. Tito and Virtue – Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt/Fiend, and Vince Russo vs. Paul Heyman
10/17/2020 – WWE Draft, Roman’s Submission Hold, and More
10/14/2020 – Good, Bad, & Ugly of the WWE Draft
10/9/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – WWE Draft, Retribution, Cody/TNT, More
10/7/2020 – AEW and NBA Gambling on 18-49 Demo
10/3/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – The Rock’s Politics, Roman Reigns, and More
9/29/2020 – WWE Needs to Appreciate Paul Heyman
9/26/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – Road Warrior Animal, Retribution, and More
9/23/2020 – The Rock and John Cena Returning to the WWE?
9/19/2020 – WWE 2K Battlegrounds Video Game Review
9/16/2020 – My Job Application to Join WWE Creative
9/12/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – Miro in AEW, Tessa Blanchard, More
9/8/2020 – Time for AEW To GROW UP
9/5/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – Sasha/Bayley, Jey Uso, and More
9/1/2020 – The Value of Brock Lesnar to the WWE
8/30/2020 – WWE Payback Review & Roman Reigns
8/29/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – Roman Reigns & Paul Heyman, More
8/26/2020 – Who Wants to be the Next WWE Main Eventer?
8/23/2020 – Mr. Tito’s PHAT WWE SummerSlam 2020 Review
8/22/2020 – Mr. Tito’s PHAT NXT Takeover XXX Review
8/22/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – Rene Young, WWE Thunderdome, and More
8/18/2020 – Maybe WWE Has a Triple H Problem?
8/15/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – Randy Orton/Ric Flair, Dixie Carter, Kamala, Pat McAfee, and More
8/13/2020 – YouTube Video: What’s Wrong with Wrestling – Foreign Objects
8/11/2020 – Does AEW have an EVP Problem?
8/9/2020 – YouTube Video: The Positives in Pro Wrestling for 2020
8/8/2020 – Ask Mr. Tito – Adam Cole vs. Pat McAfee, Rock vs. Daniel Bryan?, Blood in AEW, and Much More
8/4/2020 – WWE is an Unorganized Hot Mess
8/1/2020 – WWE and AEW Blew It with COVID-19

© Mr. Tito and – 2020-2021