When AEW first emerged on the pro wrestling scene, WWE execs openly noted they weren't too worried about competing with the budding organization. Now, nearly 2 years later, AEW has signed on some of the WWE's biggest free agents in Daniel Bryan and Adam Cole, and even pulled CM Punk out of retirement. There's no denying the elder federation has struggled with recent roster cuts and shifts in priorities, and not only have fans noticed, but WWE legend Mick Foley added his current two cents didn't mince words when he explained how he thinks the WWE is failing in the rivalry with AEW.
Mick Foley shared a short video across his various social media channels in which he shares some blunt criticisms about the modern era of the WWE, and the ways in which it's failing. Foley plainly stated his thoughts about how the WWE is failing its budding superstars in ways the AEW isn't, saying:
Quoth the Mankind, nevermore. Mick Foley's mention of Karrion Kross is definitely a valid and specific point, as one of NXT's most aggressive and fearsome superstars became a jokey tough-guy caricature in gladiator clothes when he debuted on Monday Night Raw. It's similar to what happened with Baron Corbin when he transitioned from NXT as an unbeatable superstar and faced similar struggles. Corbin's current gimmick has him as a down-on-his-luck slob, and he's a middling talent at best, and far removed from the title picture.
Mick Foley's video came days after former WWE wrestler Adam Cole publicly appeared on AEW's All Out pay-per-view as its latest fan-favorite addition. Following a monumental run with NXT, Cole was in negotiations as recently as August regarding a transition to the main roster and finding better ways for the WWE to utilize his talents. Perhaps Cole saw signs of what Mick Foley was talking about, and decided that AEW was the better place to continue his career.
If WWE couldn't keep one of its most promising developmental prospects and continues to shed other superstars, then Mick Foley is probably right on the money in saying there's a big problem. Vince McMahon's globally embraced brand can do well in the short term by bringing in part-timers like John Cena, Brock Lesnar, or even The Rock back for short periods of time, but without young and promising full-time talent to set up the company's future, there's reason to be concerned. It will be interesting to see if anyone from the WWE side will respond to Foley's criticisms, or if the organization will take the note and start to re-evaluate what it's doing with budding talent.
Regardless of who's losing in the rivalry between WWE and AEW, there's no denying that wrestling fans are winning out in more ways than not. Catch up on all the juicy behind-the-scenes details behind the rivalry, such as Daniel Bryan's reason he chose to leave the WWE for AEW.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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