Since its inception in 2019, AEW has strived to provide a proper alternative product to WWE. For the most part, they have succeeded but there are still many areas of improvement.
AEW took the world by storm back in 2019 as it was the first pro wrestling company in a very long time that made waves in the pro wrestling world as a form of competition for WWE. It was certainly a risky endeavor as well because there was always the chance it was going to end up being a huge failure.
However, it cannot be denied that AEW certainly has a lot of buzz thanks to the likely arrival of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. That hype only adds to garnering some of the best ratings in the past month.
While speaking on Busted Open Radio, AEW President Tony Khan talked about AEW giving real competition to WWE, stating that it will greatly benefit the pro wrestling industry as a whole.
“It’s the dream. It’s also a lot of what I pitched to TNT. This is all a dream come true. Three years ago, I was in TNT’s office. I hadn’t signed a single wrestler. And I was telling them ‘we can do this. We can recreate the competition in wrestling that will rise wrestling as a whole.’ And really, wrestling fans, things changed a lot when the internet came around. People learned a lot about the happenings of wrestling and how a lot of things are done. And everybody then became kind an internet expect, but in a good way. Like we should embrace it.
So knowing that, I went to TNT and TBS, WarnerMedia, and said ‘hey, I really believe there’s an opportunity here to recreate the competition in wrestling that existed twenty years ago.’ And really hasn’t fueled wrestling. People know about a lot of the happenings of wrestling, but the one thing that everyone knows is true and real is that these wrestling companies hate each other. Especially the big ones. This competition is real, free agency is real, people going back and forth, people showing up on a new show is hot and exciting and a lot of what fueled the industry in the 90’s.
“That competition not existing I think led to some staleness up until a few years ago. And really we’ve seen a really exciting time around the wrestling business, and the pandemic came at a time when the momentum had really picked up. And now the fans are back, the momentum is not only back but really I think we’re on a stronger course than we’ve ever been, a real trajectory… That hasn’t happened, where another wrestling company outside of WWE, has had the number one show on cable three weeks in a row since the peak of Nitro. And I don’t think anybody necessarily three, four years ago would’ve predicted there was going to be this kind of competition in wrestling again. But it is absolutely the best story in wrestling, in my opinion, that the industry, this sport, is coming back. And it’s coming back in different ways. It’s coming back in digital, it’s coming back on TV, it’s coming back on PPV. But the numbers are up and no one can deny that wrestling is hotter than it’s been in a long time. And I’m very, very proud of that as someone who loves wrestling.”
Vince McMahon wouldn’t admit AEW is on the same level that WCW was, but their fans might tend to disagree.
While AEW certainly has a lot of room for improvement, they are definitely on the right path and the next couple of months will be a crucial period of time for the company.
h/t to Wrestling Inc for the quotes.