AEW

The Creative Blunders of AEW

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Similar to any professional wrestling brand, AEW isn’t invincible to failing to live up to the high bar it generally sets across its product every week. Despite solid storytelling and in-ring product, All Elite Wrestling has shown its share of cracks in its foundations in recent times.

As the company expands, many have pinned AEW down on elements that hinder their product, but also annoyances that many fans have noticed. AEW isn’t dying as pundits have been screaming from the rafters. In fact, the points brought up here are ways to fix a product that’s just started.

The Exhausting Experience of an AEW PPV

This is a personal one for me. One of the best things wrestling has figured out is how to build a card around a smaller selection of matches. Rather than throw every possible kind of match onto a card that is struggling to maintain its weight. A good example would be WrestleMania cards before 2020, crammed to the brim with matches that sound good but are given little room to breathe.

Even shows such as SummerSlam, Royal Rumble, Money in the Bank, and Survivor Series felt like chores to watch as they tried way too much, rather than build up cards with less than 10 matches.

Too Much, Too Soon, Too Fast

You’ve heard this before, especially if you’re a WWE viewer. Too much content, in too small a window of time, doesn’t earn its standing. WWE’s blunder with NXT after 2019 was a prime example, and we’re witnessing the oversaturation of yet another wrestling brand repeating mistakes of the past.

Initial additions of AEW Dark and Dark: Elevation were fine and possessed a vibe no other wrestling show held. Then came Rampage, famous for the debut of CM Punk, followed by Collision which started with a lot of momentum but has recently fallen off on TV ratings. Four programs aren’t necessarily a lot for brands like WWE with decades of experience behind it, yet AEW feels like it jumped the gun considering how young it still is.

With ratings not where they used to be, and more than a few occurrences of scattered attendance in larger venues, there are indications that things moved a little bit too quickly. The standard of wrestling remains consistent, but the simplistic balance the brand possessed when operating one or two shows, however, doesn’t feel quite seamless.

Ring of Honor

Ring of Honor holds a special place in many of our hearts. It was the birthplace of today’s stars such as; CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe, Sami Zayn, Claudio Castagnoli, Adam Cole, and Seth Rollins all finding beginnings under the black and red banner. It’s home to matches considered the best of the century, along with a reputation for redefining how we perceive wrestling. It’s a collection of memories, moments, and stars, and ushering in a new era to today’s industry.

All of that, however, has sadly failed to carry over into Tony Khan’s rebirth of the brand. While there have been bright spots, including some fairly solid PPVs, something about the brand’s integration just isn’t clicking how it should. Being cast into the already over-bloated AEW roster that itself feels like it’s combusting and overshadowed by so many conflicting storylines has hurt its momentum. ROH feels like a consistent afterthought on an almost weekly basis. The product itself isn’t bad, just lacks presence for casual viewers who aren’t die-hard fans. Outside the odd match, it receives nowhere near the coverage of any main AEW production and seems to miss opportunities consistently.

Interim Championship Dilemma

This does feel like it’s not just an issue that we are unlikely to see again, but also an issue that arose from unfortunate circumstances. To those who happen to tune into MMA or UFC, interim championships rarely ever are exciting developments. They usually hinder more interesting angles and storylines that are infinitely more engaging and never seem to add to the situation meaningfully. On all AEW’s ventures into the interim championship realm, it consistently failed to do anything for anyone involved.

Sammy Guevara, Toni Storm, Jamie Hayter, and Jon Moxley have all been bestowed the honor of being an interim champion. Except for a few solid matches under each respectful title reign, did anything come out of those scenarios that felt like anything but a placeholder situation? Rather than divert storylines in creative ways, or utilize their roster, AEW replicated the same feeling MMA fans are used to, impatience and inconsequence.

AEW’s Women

An entire series of articles could be written about the AEW Women’s Division. Considering the team behind it, the women here could rival WWE’s division, even the likes of Stardom who could be considered the apex of women’s wrestling. What is saddest about this, is they can never seem to get their feet off the ground when it matters.

Combinations of questionable storylines, featuring women less on the current product than before, and underutilizing some of their most popular talent (Britt Baker) have resulted in an aspect of the brand that just chugs along. In the midst of this, there are some positives. Toni Storm is brilliant, Skye Blue has carved out a nice little role for herself, and the wrestling is rarely bad. But something about it feels like something is missing.

Few women in AEW can seem to formulate identities, a troublesome that ties into how much of AEW’s storytelling relates to where talent originates from. This doesn’t just shackle down a talent pool looking to break out, it makes them feel smaller than larger names who are toward the top. Out of all these issues, the women of AEW sting the worst. A genuine shame since under better booking, there is pure gold at the center of this talent pool.

What are your thoughts on AEW today? Let us know in the comments below.

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