WWE and AEW have had their share of wars. The two companies have gone head-to-head on television. Both promotions competed for ticket sales in the same New York City area venue. Tony Khan frequently brings up WWE in the media.
A recent story in the Toronto Star about AEW’s attempts to compete with WWE went viral because of a quote from WWE about their rival. The representative described AEW’s wrestling as filled with gory self-mutilation. It immediately brought to mind a similar statement in a letter from Vince McMahon to Ted Turner in the mid 1990’s about WCW.
The verbiage was nearly the same. WWE clearly has a playbook for dealing with their competition. On the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer talked about WWE’s history of trying to bury other organizations.
“I showed in the story that Vince McMahon in 95-96 did the exact same quote on WCW. I mean, it’s just. That is the playbook that they use, you know..
The same terms. That’s the playbook. That’s the thing that, you know, again, that’s the game. The game is about the advertisers. Because, the one thing is that they failed to kill AEW. The idea was to use NXT to kill them. That failed when they got the new contract. They failed to kill them because even with a new contract, the idea was to drive their ratings down. That didn’t happen, either. The idea was when they came to their big markets like New York for the first time, to jump on top of them and run shows and kill them that way. They come to New York and then they don’t draw because we’re going to run a giant show right before them. That’s the old playbook that wrestling has done since… I’m sure since the beginning of time..
They did every playbook thing that you do from old-time wrestling and every one of them failed. They did not stop them in New York. So now, the idea is, they’re probably not going to be able to drive their ratings low enough to where WarnerMedia just by ratings is going to be like, ‘These ratings just aren’t good enough.’
I think that they thought, ‘Ok, they’re beginner’s luck.’ That’s what they all thought. Beginner’s luck, you know, they’re the fresh thing. In year three, it’s not beginner’s luck. After six months it’s not beginner’s months.”
The one thing to negate the ratings and make the ratings almost worthless is if you can make them something advertisers run from… That is the one that I certainly can come up with. And it’s the one from their playbook that they are coming up with. Everyone knows why they said it, because it’s the same thing they said 27 years ago.”
WWE has a long history of “gory self-mutilation” on television, pay-per-view, and at live events. Even Vince McMahon bled on television just a few years ago. WWE is going to their tried-and-true playbook for eliminating the competition. AEW doesn’t appear to be calling any audibles, either.
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Transcription by Ringside News