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AEW - what needs to change?


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At the moment, to me at least, AEW is feeling kind of cold. Don't get me wrong, I generally enjoy Dynamite, but it often feels inconsequential. 

Part of that is probably down to the Owen Hart tournament, but equally, there are a lot of stables and programmes which just aren't connecting. I would also argue that there are bad choices that are being made - for example, the heavy focus on ex-WWE midcard talent. 

So my question is this - what would you change in AEW to help heat it up again, and make it a better product?

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Omega coming back will help with the WWE stink. The inevitable New Japan invasion leading up to Forbidden Door should do same, though I hope its the proper big names this time.

Also, though it pains me a little to say it, they could do with the belt coming off Hangman at this point. For whatever reason he feels pretty one note as champion and they could do with a heel leading the show again pretty soon. Joy of the chase and all that.

Maybe they could combine the above and have Hangman overcome Punk only for Omega to return and take the belt back? Via sneaknanigans that keeps Page strong? Get Page doubting himself again and doing some of the character work he so excelled at the last few years.

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Bin off half the roster that are just 'there' rather than actually doing anything meaningful. 

 

Make the shows more 'joined up' rather than the occasional comment of 'X lost recently on Dark to Y' when I'd imagine rhe majority of viewers don't go looking looking shows that aren't on mainstream TV/broadcasting. 

 

Make the Owen Hart Cup it's own standalone tournament ala King of The Ring and have something meaningful at the end of it such as 'TNT title shot'. Put it on a one-off PPV event with the semi-finals and finals of both men's and womens to a completion. Have the qualifilying matches on a one-off episode of Elevation or similar to boost the ratings of those shows.

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I know it's a common criticism of them but I genuinely think they're leaving money on the table by not doing more with the women wrestlers. I know their live crowds largely sound bored when the women are wrestling and Tiny Tony's algorithms probably say otherwise but they've never really put a sustained emphasis on it. 

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I’m encouraged that they seem to have already addressed their main problem, which is signing every fucker available to a full-time deal.

I like surprises and I think it keeps it fresh to bring new faces in regularly but time has proven that your Tony Neses, your Bobby Fishes and your Jay Lethals do not need the “Is All Elite,” graphics and do not need to be signed to a long-term, full-time deal. It just leads to a bloated roster, where wastes of spaces like Lethal and Mercedes Martinez take up TV time and we have to suffer crap segments because they need something to do. Having so many guys also leads to more of the rubbish A-list vs. D-list exhibition matches that have annoyingly become more and more regular. Dynamite was at its best when they just had top guys wrestling in fun combinations. The increase in guys being taken to the limit~! by scrubs has not been a positive.

Essentially, what I’m saying is that three to six months ago Big Damo, W. Morrisey and John Morrison would have all been signed to deals on the spot. It’s great that more guys are getting one-shot appearances where they don’t hang around like a bad smell if it’s clear they’re not worth it. Morrison being the perfect example. Crap audition. Goodbye.

Other than that, I think the main thing they need to address is this belief that long term storytelling is the be all and end all. Just because Omega vs. Page took two years to tell the most perfect story doesn’t mean that everything has to last forever. Sometimes a feud should just be a tight couple of weeks, followed by the blow-off. It’s fucking mental how long Eddie Kingston and Chris Jericho have been feuding. I should be able to report them to someone over the fact Sammy vs. Scorpio is still ongoing. And I can’t even remember a time when Death Triangle and House of Black weren’t feuding, either. I know Fenix’s injury probably extended it, but still. It’s a storyline that’s been going on over six months and bar PAC being blinded in January and Alex Abrahantes dressing like a dickhead for a few weeks I couldn’t even tell you anything else that’s happened.

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Some weeks it really does feel a little too much like Tony's indie dreamfest vanity project and he forgets that he's fully capable of actually putting on the best wrestling product of the week.. and sometimes some of the best wrestling shows ever.

Too many debuts and surprises and giving people a pay day.

Too many random crossovers and forbidden door stuff that really doesn't benefit anyone in the long run.

Too many people on the roster in general.

I get it. It can't be super hot every single week. No one can maintain that level consistently. Every company will have ups and downs. But it's definitely at the point where he needs to take a step back and refocus a little I think.

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Page as champion hasn't worked on TV. Part of it is because he was a great thrill of the chase guy, part of it is because he's been on top during this weird mini era of Tony Montana buying ROH and trying to juggle the world on his wrestling show every week. The heavyweight champion has become one of the least invested in guys over the last few months, and as a result that belt right now simply means less. 

Beneath that, you have this jobs-for-the-boys atmosphere creeping into the undercard where you feel like a quick word in Tony's ear and you can run your YouTube vlog spots on Dynamite every week. AEW's always had that going on to a certain extent with the Elite but that all at least felt quintessentially AEW. The NXT influx is watering that down, and for the first time with guys like Kyle O'Reilly, Bobby Fish and Adam Cole the promotion has its own "For fuck sake" acts. Moveset Mideon & Viscera, basically. I'm not sure how well I'm reading the room on that one though because certainly Adam Cole seems to be over like rover still with the live audiences. You could argue he's popular up to a certain ceiling though, the exact ceiling you know they want to break through, even though right now the kind of numbers they're getting are perfectly fine. 

AEW's main priority right now seems to just be to machine gun through possible new matchups that have not happened yet, where the actual match is the draw rather than the end result of a compelling narrative. The Owen Hart tournament's obviously played hugely into that. But it was a nice idea and it's ending soon so I'm not going to get hung up on that. 

They really need to just go back to having clear narrative touchstones and a proper line of ascendancy. Part of it is being spoiled for choice but that becomes a problem as well when your current top guy's already getting lost in the shuffle with guys like Cole getting dangerously near to him. 

MJF and Wardlow will get their runs some day - as they should - but right now guys like Punk, Mox, Danielson and Omega are too special to ignore. I'd even throw Jericho back in there if you have an injury crisis and need a compelling heel for someone to chase for a few months. 

This is pre-emptive because they've not quite done it yet, but I hope it doesn't become a scenario where everyone gets the strap for a bit so we can do the hometown moments. I loved how even when WWE was the pits during the New Gen era the actual booking of the title - Mabel & Backlund aside - was still excellent. That was an elite clubhouse and there was only 2-3 people allowed in it at any one time. 

They have years of success ahead, I just hope they keep that in mind. Stretch things out. Wrestling fans actually love a slow burn. 

I still enjoy it week to week and it's just the drop off of one of the best years in any promotion ever, and going full WCW 1998 with the roster. They'll be fine. 

Edited by Gay as FOOK
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Less ladder matches. A couple a year would be fine.

As much as I love stables, not everyone has to be in one. Malakai Black was much better as a solo guy before he started recruiting. 

No more “lights out” debuts. Maybe build someone up with some vignettes for a few weeks instead. 


 

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Cut 25% of the roster.

Choose a core group of guys to focus on instead of trying to give everyone screen time.

Ditch all the pointless belts and rebuild the ones that matter. Put the titles on acts you're actually invested in.

Stop doing WWE shite (promo trains, backstage beatdowns etc) and try for a more unique presentation style. 

The women's division. WWE is going backwards and actively driving away top stars and instead of capitalising on it TK is somehow doing an even worse job than they are. I really don't know what can be done at this point. Maybe get Maria Kanellis in to help book it?

Get Bryan Danielson back to wrestling banger singles matches again every week.

World Champion CM Punk needs to be the centrepiece of the promotion.

 

Edited by Mr Butternut Squash
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My thoughts are similar to what has already been said. Too many stables, too many wrestlers in general. Pointless titles, an afterthought of a women's division. 

This forbidden door stuff only appeals to a certain demographic and will struggle to bring in any new viewers. Also the wrestlers need to slow down in there matches. Less kicking out of finishers. Wrestling is at it's best when there's a simple storyline to follow and the fans are invested in the result of the match because of the storyline and characters. That spot where someone gets superkicked/clotheslined/suplexed then they get right back up and hit there opponent with a move takes me out of a match straight away. 

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The roster needs to get back to some kinda pecking order. The midcard is now massively bloated and the lower card emptied out. They are Everton the summer they signed about six number 10s. You need a few left backs and a sub keeper to actually win things. 

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