When AEW first formed, the promotion made several, bold promises in a bid to both compete with and differentiate itself from WWE.
This blustering conviction – we’re going to change the world! -was necessary. AEW couldn’t just say something alone the lines of “Well, the rights feeds paid to WWE have led us to believe there’s an elusive gap in the market, and we think the success of Being The Elite and All In might allow us to fill Item”. It’s wrestling, an industry built on the hard sell, and AEW went big on the hard sell.
Across the early rallies, various media interviews and the press release heralding the TV deal with WarnerMedia, AEW all but promised multiple solutions to the problems felt by the lapsed or miserable WWE fan. All Elite Wrestling promised less soapy drama. Tag team wrestling was coming back. There’d be no one style dictated by one man. The wrestlers would book the product without hack writers. They wouldn’t run house shows in a schedule that would allow the talent to leave everything in the ring when working live TV matches. Statistics would even be used to track the effectiveness of certain moves.
That last one never did end up happening, and the heavily hyped “sports-oriented” feel was ultimately abandoned when Dynamite premiered. It was evidently felt that a more energetic traditional episodic TV style was the best approach, and it was. Ultimately, wins and losses had to matter. That was the key strategic aim in response to the most pressing criticism of modern WWE.
Increasingly, AEW is dangerously close to going 50/50 with its booking.
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