5 Reasons Why AEW Has Brought This Lapsed Wrestling Fan Back To Being A Weekly Watcher (And Why You Should Be Watching, Too)

Darby Allin in AEW
(Image credit: TBS)

I used to LOVE wrestling. Back in the late '90s during the (in)famous Attitude Era when wrestling used to be more exciting, I would always tune in to see what kind of mayhem some of my favorite wrestlers would deliver. Flash forward to the late-2000s, and you’d barely ever catch me watching wrestling. Either it changed, or I did, since I found it too corny to even bother tuning in. But then, CM Punk returned, and all was good with the world. And, it’s all because of AEW, which has completely restored my faith in the squared circle.   

Now, that’s not to say that I never watched wrestling in the late-2000s, since I definitely sampled wrestling outfits like NJPW, IMPACT, and even a smattering of AEW. But it wasn’t until CM Punk returned to wrestling and chose AEW (because listen, even though I wrongly said that I’d prefer if he’d return to the WWE, he never actually intended to sign with them), that I truly got back into wrestling. Now that I’m back, I’m ALL IN, BAY BAY. So, I have five reasons why AEW has gotten me back into wrestling, and why you should be watching it, too.     

CM Punk in AEW

(Image credit: AEW)

Legacy Wrestlers Are Helping Guide The Promotion To New Heights 

CM Punk was the gateway wrestler who got me deeply into AEW, because I was such a big fan of his WWE days, but AEW has a plethora of other wrestlers from the mid-‘90s and early 2000s who are really making a difference in the promotion. Not only that, but these older wrestlers are also getting into feuds with younger talent that really highlight all of their best qualities. This is a far cry from what I used to see in other promotions where wrestlers like Hulk Hogan (who should always be put on blast)  would squash other wrestlers’ pushes just to make themselves look good.

Case in point, just look at Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley, who have formed a tag team with the mission of finding new talent to pull into their ranks. With William Regal as their ring manager, they’re having exciting matches with young talent like Wheeler Yuta or The Varsity Blondes, and they’re putting on a show that makes them all look good. Or, what about Jeff Hardy, who has teamed up with his brother, Matt, again to reform the Hardy Boys? They may be older, but they’re taking sick bumps and proving that they’ve still got it. Man, it’s just so amazing to see these older wrestlers having one last incredible run. But, speaking of the younger talent…     

Private Party in AEW

(Image credit: TBS)

The Young Talent Is Wrestling Their Hearts Out Week After Week 

Look, there’s a lot of great young talent in the WWE, and I’ve seen some of their work. But AEW has just been blowing me away week after week. Like Darby Allin, who at less than 200 lbs, is literally throwing his weight around the ring and flying off the top rope with a speed and intensity that you just don’t see in the WWE. Vinny Mac simply won’t allow his wrestlers to wrestle like they do in AEW. Seriously, I literally cringe watching Allin wrestle, because it looks so dangerous, but he’s pulling it off week-after-week, show-after-show, leaving his heart in the ring, just like the good old WWE days. 

Or what about Sammy Guevara, who has never been in a boring match? Watching him and Darby Allin wrestle together is like poetry in motion. The young tag teams are also incredible, like Private Party, and Top Flight, as their smaller sizes allow them to get major height, making every match enthralling. I’ll tell you, it’s hard to remember when wrestling was actually this exciting, but there’s at least one truly riveting match (and usually more) in every taping of Wednesday’s Dynamite, and Friday’s Rampage. However, it’s not just AEW’s wrestling that I love. 

MJF and Wardlow in AEW

(Image credit: TBS)

Meaningful Storylines And Booking Make Me Actually Look Forward To PPVs Now 

It’s often been joked about that wrestling is a soap opera for men, but I don’t see what’s so funny, since it is. Or at least, it should be. Because while great matches are exciting, what’s even better is the narratives behind those matches, and AEW is ALL ELITE when it comes to its storylines and booking. One thing that keeps me away from WWE during their current PG-era is their inability to create compelling narratives. When they did have compelling figures, like Bray Wyatt, they released him.   

But, I’m so invested in AEW’s storytelling that I’m even watching their Pay-Per-Views, like Revolution and Full Gear, which is insane to me. Never in a million years did I think I would actually PAY to watch wrestling at home, but storylines, like the one between MJF and CM Punk (And now, between MJF and Wardlow), literally have me opening my wallet and ponying up, since I’m so into these characters and stories. And I’m loving it!  

Thunder Rosa in AEW

(Image credit: TBS)

It's Good To Actually Have Wrestling Intended For Adults Again 

I mentioned earlier how I’m not a fan of WWE’s PG-era, and it’s just bizarre to me. Keep in mind, this is a promotion that once had T-shirts that read “Suck it!” They also once had a character literally named Mr. Ass (who’s actually now in AEW with his two sons, by the way). Truth is, WWE is for kids now. Kids and their parents, sure, but that PG-influence goes all the way down from their matches to their storytelling, and it’s just not for me. 

AEW is absolutely not for children. The audience is not bleeped out when they chant "Cowboy shit!" for "Hangman" Adam Page, the storylines, while not sexually crude like the Attitude Era, don't make a point to avoid any sexual references, either, as exhibited by Dan Lambert when he gets on the mic. Plus, the matches are allowed to get bloody, even with the stellar women's division, like the fantastic cage match between Thunder Rosa and Dr. Britt Baker. It's just refreshing to have weekly wrestling for adults again, you know?   

Sting in AEW

(Image credit: TBS)

Finding Fellow Fans Feels Like Being In An Exclusive Club, Just Like The Old ECW Days 

Lastly, it's just really cool to be a fan of AEW in general. I liken it to the Mets and the Yankees. If you're not from around the New Jersey/New York area, then this might not make much sense to you, but let me explain. The Yankees are the popular team with money that everybody knows about. The wrestling equivalent would likely be the WWE, mostly because of the history, but also because of the publicity and the cash. There are some diehard Yankees fans here, but there are also several casual fans of the Yanks as well.

But, the Mets are the scrappier team, and it’s rare to find “casual” Mets fans in the area. What I mean is, if you're a Mets fan, then you likely LOVE the Mets. In fact, I once bought a Mets cap since I needed a hat and it was the only one available, and Mets fans shouted, “LET’S GO, METS!” at me everywhere I went, and that’s what it’s like being an AEW fan. It’s like being a fan of the Mets. 

Now, I’m not saying that people shout at me whenever they see me wear my AEW shirt, but AEW fans REALLY love AEW, and they’ll sometimes say, “All Elite!” when they see me. Or, they’ll just start talking to me about a recent match, like what happened to me the other day at the supermarket. 

In other words, loving AEW is like being in an exclusive club, and it reminds me of the old ECW days, when their wrestling was too hardcore for the mainstream. AEW isn’t “too hardcore for the mainstream,” but it does feel like the cooler underdogs. In that way, AEW is the Mets to the Yankees, or the Jets to the Giants, or the Clippers to the Lakers. You know what I mean. The David to WWE's Goliath.

What do you think? Are you All Elite, too? For more news on other wrestling stories, like what is actually going on in the WWE with wrestlers like Roman Reigns and Brock Lesner, make sure to stop by here often!      

Rich Knight
Content Producer

Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.