I always wondered what it was really like during wrestling’s vaunted Monday Night Wars. Were there really battle lines drawn between WWE’s Monday Night Raw and WCW’s Monday Nitro? Were fans actually arguing which was the better product? It’s hard to imagine it now with the WWE being such a dominant force in the world of “sports entertainment” today. There have been comers before like TNA but nothing can seem to touch WWE’s dominance.
Well, there may be a minor contender now with the emergence of All Elite Wrestling. I have been following the product ever since Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks and many more have moved to the brand. I have watched a few of their pay-per-views when I can but it’s very difficult to do while I’m in the Philippines and we don’t have the channel. I have been able to follow their weekly show, AEW Dynamite, but through *ahem* less legal means. I have also seen heir AEW Dark matches on YouTube, which is graciously free for everyone around the world to watch. For the 4 weeks it’s been on, I have liked both Dynamite and Dark.
In fact, I have been enjoying AEW as a whole as it has pretty much everything. The wrestling has always been phenomenal. Maybe a little too exciting at times as there have to be a few jobber-type matches here and there to give people time to breathe. They have really great veterans like the current AEW Champion Christ Jericho, Cody (not Rhodes), Kenny Omega, John Moxley, PAC and Adam Page for someone like me who doesn’t follow the independents.
They also have some guys I would really like to see more of like Joey Janela, Sammy Guevara, Kip Sabian and Adam Page. If the latter group are well-known, sorry. Like I said, I don’t follow the indie scene so they’re new to me! I also enjoy how rather self-aware the entire production is that wrestling is “pre-determined” as they use terms that only wrestling smarks would know once in a while. They don’t overdo it in the actual show all that much but just enough to show that these guys know that wrestling is supposed to be entertaining as well as action-packed.
There are a couple of minor glitches with AEW’s televised product. Maybe they could do a better job with the in-ring music because it’s super-hard to hear the music since they don’t mix it into the broadcast and we only hear it through the arena speakers. The set is also too reminiscent of WWE’s shows. A little more creativity would’ve been appreciated, especially if you want to differentiate yourself from them. These issues are minor and doesn’t really affect how I view AEW’s show. No, those things don’t bother me as much as the one thing that AEW really needs to land as early as now if they want to really make an impact and not go the way of TNA Impact.
All Elite Wrestling needs to focus on giving more storylines.
Right now, AEW is only focused on 2 stories right now. The first one is Kenny Omega’s blood feud with John Moxley. Right now, I think they’re doing an okay job showing how much they hate each other but it’s mostly because of Moxley running his mouth. The other major storyline in AEW right now is Cody challenging Chris Jericho for the AEW Championship. This kind of blends into his war with Jericho’s group, The Inner Circle. I think this is a weaker storyline because I don’t think we needed an entire stable vs. stable war this early on.
These 2 storylines/feuds are fine but what about the rest of the roster? Does anyone else actually have a storyline to follow? I guess you can say that The Librarian Peter Avalon’s search for his first ever win in AEW could be a story but it’s not being told. There’s also PAC’s feud with Hangman Page but that seems more like a one-off kind of deal and should be done with after Full Gear. Besides those two, that’s it! That’s kind of lame!
It’s rather disappointing that AEW, despite having a smaller roster than the WWE, can’t think of stories for everyone to follow. I think it’s a huge mistake that they’re not working out feuds between the other mid-carders. Even though they might be well-known by more hardcore and die-hard wrestling fans, fans like me who have been weaned on the WWE product and have never heard of these guys won’t really get a chance to know them right now. We can see them wrestle, sure, and they’ll put on a fantastic and exciting wrestling match. The problem is I won’t be able to know their character and personality unless you pit them against each other in verbal spats. People who don’t know them won’t get a chance to like them unless we see them work their charisma both in the ring and on the mic as well.
You can say that I can simply go online and do research on the wrestlers I’m unfamiliar with. I have done with a couple, such as Orange Cassidy because I was allured at how the heck he can do all those moves while keeping his hands in his pockets and I thought he has a wonderfully, fourth-wall breaking gimmick. I was glad that I did because the matches that I’ve seen him in are hilarious and I love how the crowd is always in on the joke.
Orange Cassidy and, to some extent, his cohorts The Best Friends do exude enough personality for me to get behind them. The rest of AEW’s roster? Not so much. Once again, this is because they don’t have any storylines to let me know what they’re like.
It seems right now like AEW is focusing on giving fans excellent shows by focusing on the existing few feuds, which are rather good, and putting on superbly athletic matches every week, which I truly appreciate. However, I do think that the lack of mid-card storylines do make for a product that is not living up to its full potential. This is also an issue I have with WWE’s product as well, by the way. I think it’s more egregious over there, especially with WWE’s incredibly deep roster of talent. This is why I thought AEW would not make the same mistake.
I do think AEW is great at the moment. Maybe not as slick as WWE’s production because of budgetary reasons. I don’t really think it can topple the WWE’s dominance, particularly right now because AEW is still finding its footing and trying to grow its audience. I just feel it could be so much better with a little more storylines to follow.
What do you think of All Elite Wrestling’s shows right now? Let me know in the comments section below!