Why AEW is the perfect wrestling promotion for old school wrestling fans
In the immortal words of the Exalted, “It’s Wednesday night, and you know what that means!” This means the hottest wrestling promotion is on the air – AEW Dynamite. The moment Tony Khan first announced the promotion, it instantly became the world’s number two promotion by default (thanks to Impact and ROH constantly floundering).
But what started out as a bunch of Indieriffic stars surrounded by Chris Jericho and paid for by a money-branded mega-fan hasn’t just turned into a truly viable alternative for pro wrestling fans everywhere. AEW had become a viewing destination for old-school wrestling fans tired of WWE’s mundane weekly style.
The mega fan gets it
If you strike up a conversation about wrestling with a hardcore fan, you better be prepared for an uncontrollable response detailing the history of the sport since George Hackenschmidt or what they think is wrong with the product. It doesn’t always work out at parties, but big fans have a language of their own and even though it’s just the struggle that binds them together, they all understand each other on that one premise. Tony Khan is one of us. Ask any fan what they would do if they could book the territory, and they’ll all give you a ton of creative ideas. TK just has the means to materialize its booking ideas. He’s not infallible and there are plenty of holes in his game, but for comparison look at Eric Bischoff or Vince McMahon three years into their respective terms. Khan is currently doing a great job of attracting all kinds of talent and telling decent stories.
Faces, new and familiar
Every promoter that has come out of the pipeline since McMahon has done the same thing Tony Khan has done on one level or another and with varying degrees of success. Using a proven name that fans would instantly recognize from WWE and using them to help showcase new talent they’ve never or rarely seen before and help make new stars. It started with the likes of Jericho and Mox and has grown since then, thanks in part to Vince McMahon’s bobsledding skills on his bloated roster.
Khan and AEW are doing something previous promotions haven’t. Instead of pushing all the old names through the roof with endless title reigns and never letting your youngsters and newcomers come, everyone is matched. It helped a lot of young stars grow up fast. The Inner Circle, Jurassic Express, The Pinnacle, Hangman and more have all improved a lot since their debut, thanks in part to the veterans they work with who understand how to put on a wrestling show. Plus, look at all the AEW champions right now – not one of them is a WWE name; they are all local talents.
The product is a new attitude
Without being raunchy or over the top to get attention, AEW just feels like something unpredictable. Jim Ross always said fans would always love something new and that’s what AEW is, even if you tune in and see a guy like Jericho. Thanks to the unremarkable WWE style similarity, The Demo God had been stagnating for years. But he’s back to wild and unruly days just with the knowledge he’s picked up from around the world for years. Many WWE fans turned off the product in the early to mid 2000s due to the company’s formula (re: Super Cena, Triple H’s Reign of Terror) and it’s okay to have a similarity but at least to make it convincing. You, Austin and McMahon, were going to fight each other’s throats every week, but you still wanted to watch. AEW has honed this art form to perfection. Old-school fans watch Mox and Danielson kick each other in Revolution and early William Regal; which made everyone want to tune into Dynamite to see what happens next. Jeffrey Nero Hardy has returned, and the brothers have come together in a new society, and they haven’t been let go for years and can now have new clashes against the likes of ReDragon.
And that was just last week’s AEW lineup! In many ways, Triple H and NXT had a wrestling fandom in lockdown for years. Many diehard fans knew NXT was where the big action was, but old school fans got the same kick as The Game and most of its hires headed to AEW and are thriving.
AEW product right now, warts and all is still currently much more exciting than WWE AND they are in their hottest time right now – WrestleMania season. It’s just a shame that the most anticipated match of both nights isn’t even a match, it’s going to be a talk show segment. Meanwhile, AEW’s most anticipated matches in this latest revolution were a vicious dog collar match and The Hangman continuing his rise against Adam Cole – two groups of former WWE guys helping to raise two guys from ‘AEW in what has become a revamped version of a trial and true formula.
Eddie Kingston should be AEW’s number one babyface
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