5 Things AEW Is Currently Doing Better Than WWE
This is awesome!
I’m going to be honest with you. Before AEW, I was a lost wrestling fan. What was being churned out by WWE had not been hitting with me for years, so I pretty much just gave up on being a mega wrestling fan. But, AEW has brought this lapsed wrestling fan back to being a weekly watcher. Not only that, but it even led me back into checking out WWE. And you know what? It wasn’t half bad.
In fact, after Vince McMahon’s “retirement,” Monday Night Raw and SmackDown actually got pretty good. Roman Reigns is now a convincing heel, the Women’s division is substantially better than I remember it being, and Rey Mysterio’s son, Dominik, was wrestling, and he is hilarious.
I have to put McMahon’s “retirement” in quotes, because he is now back to seemingly running things, with some speculating that he might return to WWE’s televised events. Well, if this news is upsetting to you, there’s always AEW to turn to. In fact, I have five reasons why AEW is currently doing better than WWE.
No Vince McMahon
Say all you want about Tony Khan not being able to book his way out of a paper bag, at least he’s not as big a wildcard as McMahon. The rumors that he sold WWE to Saudi Arabia turned out to be false, but at the same time, it didn’t seem too outlandish. Stephanie McMahon, who the locker room apparently loved, recently resigned, with him back in power. And, who knows what the future holds for returned wrestlers who were once fired under his watch, like Bray Wyatt, and Braun Strowman, now that he's seemingly back in charge?
Yes, with AEW, we had that whole CM Punk/The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega fiasco, but it has so much raw talent, that the show went on without them for months just fine. In fact, I might argue that even though I was super stoked for a CM Punk heel turn, before that backstage donnybrook, AEW is arguably better without him, and this is despite Khan’s sometimes poor booking. That’s why I’ll take Khan over McMahon ANY day of the week. The company seems to run just fine with Khan, even with his piss poor handling of Wardlow (Poor Wardlow).
Riveting Shows Every Week
As I recently mentioned, I actually started watching Raw and SmackDown again, and it was pretty good. But, AEW is better than pretty good. In fact, there are some matches on Wednesday’s Dynamite – like the epic best-of-7 rivalry between Death Triangle and The Elite – that legit should have been PPV matches that were just on regular television. Hell, I’d even argue that Friday night’s Rampage, which is only a brisk hour long to SmackDown’s two, even has some banger matches. And, while I don’t watch AEW Dark: Elevation, I do appreciate that the commentary team frequently mentions the events from Elevation on its flagship show, Dynamite.
In fact, I’ve never tuned in to a single Dynamite or Rampage where there weren't at least two great matches. At least two! Sometimes, Dynamite will even be compelling all the way through. Compare this to Monday Night Raw, which is still way too long at three hours, and the fact that heavy hitters like Brock Lesnar or Roman Reigns are only saved for PPV events, and you have a slicker, better production in AEW, week-after-week.
AEW Isn't Afraid To Give Its Midcarders A Major Push
Here’s the thing about WWE and its midcarders. Sure, WWE did right by Austin Theory by making him the WWE United States Champion, but at the same time, I don’t feel like the midcarders there will ever truly be elevated to the big time. Like, there’s no way Theory, Damian Priest, or Shaemus is taking the belt away from Reigns. Like, it’s just not going to happen.
But, AEW is always full of surprises, and willing to push its midcarders and newcomers to the center stage. Take newcomer Action Andretti beating wrestling legend, Chris Jericho. You don’t get a bigger push than that. Or, what about the current tag-team champions, The Acclaimed, who I had as pretty middle of the road on my best two-man tag teams in AEW list.
They’ve since been pushed to the stratosphere, organically, but seemingly out of nowhere. Honestly, aside from a few midcarders who I don’t really see getting a huge push, I would say that AEW is fully willing to push seemingly lesser stars – like “Absolute” Ricky Starks – to the moon with no hesitation, making for a more compelling product.
Better Long-Term Storytelling
Can we talk about WWE’s The Bloodline for a moment? Yes, it's fantastic, and who doesn’t love Sami Zayn, but honestly, when is their reign (pun not intended) going to end? Roman Reigns has been Universal Champion for over 800 days, and the Usos have been champions for over 500 days. Sure, they’re definitely putting on compelling matches (well, whenever Reigns actually wrestles, that is), so I can’t fault them for that, but I also feel like they’re completely carrying the WWE at this point, and have been for quite some time. Is that great long-term storytelling?
Your mileage may vary, but I feel like AEW does a lot more with less. The angles are much shorter, with wrestlers like MJF, the Jericho Appreciation Society (JAS), or the Blackpool Combat Club (BCC), having short, but relevant, spats before moving to the next challenge. In this way, we don’t have champions for literal years going undefeated (we’ll see what happens with Jade Cargill), but rather, ongoing feuds, and better, overall storytelling.
Better, More Enthusiastic Crowds
I grew up with Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior, but I became a true fan in the Attitude Era. I stuck by WWE even when ECW and WCW were also offering pretty compelling content. The crowds were nuts, even getting quite vulgar and doing the “suck it” gesture on TV in the audience. It was magical.
But, the PG Era has put a HUGE damper on crowd interaction. It might be different if you’re actually there, but on TV, you’ll hear the occasional pop and cheers, but never the true vulgarity of a real wrestling crowd.
AEW doesn’t have that problem though. At TV-14, you hear the audience shouting swears, throwing up naughty signs, and often chanting “THIS IS AWESOME!” And, it is awesome. It truly is. The crowds at matches, even on television, feel authentic and potent, and they just make me overjoyed to be a wrestling fan. I can’t say the same for WWE, unfortunately.
Those are just five reasons why AEW is currently better than WWE. But, what do you think? For more wrestling news, make sure to swing by here often.
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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.
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