AEW Will Need Variety To Work


AEW Will Need Variety To Work

By Chris Cole

January 21, 2019


All Elite Wrestling (AEW) is now a thing.  Yes, that is quite the sentence to say without any context to it, but let’s say it again: AEW is now a thing.  Cody and Brandi Rhodes, Nick and Matt Jackson (aka The Young Bucks), and billionaire investor Shahid Khan and his son, AEW President Tony Khan, have entered the landscape as the newest and most talked about wrestling promotion on American soil without even a bell rung (All In doesn’t count).  With their first show under the AEW banner, Double or Nothing, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas happening in late May of this year there is still a lot of speculation around how the show will turn out.

 

For one thing, there is still plenty of time between now and May to increase their roster.  Cody and the Young Bucks have spent the time scouting the landscape to see who they want to represent their promotion.  It has to be mentioned that AEW has definitely been seen as a threat to a handful of other successful promotions in both North America and Japan.  World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Ring of Honor (ROH), and Impact Wrestling have spent the recent months signing potential talent that would have otherwise been signed by AEW.  Also, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), which had been like a second home to Cody, the Young Bucks, and several others on the right-now-known AEW roster, will not be partnering with the promotion so no AEW member can be wrestling in NJPW and vice versa.  This has not deterred AEW at all as they have recently signed wrestlers that are currently wrestling in other Asian promotions such as Oriental Wrestling Entertainment, of which there are four wrestlers from that brand that will wrestler in AEW.

 

With that said, AEW at the moment is congested storyline wise with factions.  That’s great if you are a fan of NJPW as every member is, for the most part, linked with one of five factions, but not if some wrestlers belong to a team and the rest do not.  Of the fifteen male wrestlers currently known, four belong to The Elite (Cody, the Young Bucks, and Hangman Page), three belong to SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky), and the four OWE guys could or could not be a faction.  If the latter is the case then that means 11 out of 15 wrestlers belong to some type of group while the other four are unattached. That’s a bit of a “too many cooks” scenario if factions aren’t set in place for everyone. This leads to main thing I believe AEW will need to be successful: variety.

 

How Could AEW be Different From Other American Promotions?

Cody Rhodes has stated recently that wins and losses will have a bigger impact on the storylines of AEW.  Wins and losses play a big role in the storylines of NJPW where pinning a champion during a multi-man tag match means you get a title shot.  New Japan also has several tournaments a year for the different belts (heavyweight, openweight, junior heavyweight, tag team) in which the winners get to challenge for their respective belt.  This is different to WWE where anyone can seemingly walk to the ring and challenge the title-holder without being a real number-one contender or that the designated number-one contender can lose over and over and over without consequence.  The emphasis on a wrestler’s record is something not seen in American wrestling promotions and while latching onto the sporting aspect of pro wrestling would make it stand out against everyone else, it’s a borrowed idea.

 

With that said, the whole idea of wins and losses could have played into New Japan saying no to working with AEW.  New Japan has been slowly building their brand beyond Japan including having specials in recent past in California and future events such as the G1 Supercard in Madison Square Garden with Ring of Honor and the first night of the G1 Climax in Texas.  AEW is taking what works for New Japan and putting a western spin on it, something that New Japan has been in the process of promoting for the past two years. Remember, in the aftermath of Wrestle Kingdom 12 a good chunk of the titles ended up in the hands of gaijin wrestlers.  Working with AEW would have circumvented their NJPW US plans already in place.  It’s perfectly fine that AEW would want to utilize what the Japanese promotions are great at, but right now we do not know how they will take that concept and make it great for All Elite.

 

The Rumor Mill Keeps Turning

As mentioned earlier in the article, the roster right now is congested and needs some more wrestlers to help balance out the different groups that make up over two-thirds of the male lineup. Also, there are only three women that have been announced as a part of AEW.  Besides Brandi Rhodes, there is also Britt Baker and Penelope Ford. This week there have been a handful of rumors that a handful of WWE superstars want out of their contracts and all of them have been linked to going to AEW. Those wrestlers are Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson (known as The Revival), Maria and Mike Bennett, and (shocker) Goldust who is Cody Rhodes’ half-brother.

 

The possibility of a Young Bucks-Revival match has had fans salivating for years and for right now one of the last “bucket list” tag teams the Young Bucks haven’t had a match against.  If The Revival comes to AEW the depth of good tag teams becomes that much deeper. Mike Bennett and Goldust would give plenty of mid-card firepower and Maria Bennett would be a great addition to the women’s roster.  

 

What Else Could AEW Do to be Different?

I just have one slightly outlandish idea: a Legacy Title.  Chris Jericho is 48 years old, Billy Gunn if he does wrestle at all in AEW is 55, and the rumored Goldust is 49.  If they added a couple more 45+ year old wrestlers they could have a title for older wrestlers that would have merit.  Despite their ages these guys have all proven that they can still go, but they are always used to prop another wrestler up (to be put “over” in using wrestling lingo).  Give them angles, but don’t make it seem like this is a title for those past their prime. Other sports like golf have their own professional circuit for older golfers so they aren’t seen as has-beens once they reach 50.

 

Double or Nothing will be here on May 25th faster than we all expect so until then we will wait and see what Cody and the Young Bucks have up their sleeves for the future of pro wrestling.

PHOTOS: Devin Chen