Triple Z discusses AEW's dominance and possible expansion ideas, what WWE can do to combat AEW, and ZWrestleTalk's 8th anniversary.
Eight years ago I started writing about pro wrestling. Obviously I don't write as much as I used to. Other projects (like Boardwalk Times take up a majority of my time). But I still love using this blog to occasionally discuss the world of professional wrestling and give predictions for PPV's.
And we got some exciting things in the works behind the scenes here at ZWrestleTalk. So thanks for reading these past eight years.
Now let's blog!
AEW's Dominance and Expansion Ideas
AEW is coming off an incredible hot streak. They had The First Dance which featured CM Punk debuting, that lead to All Out which is arguably their greatest pay-per-view of all time. All Out saw the debuts of Ruby Soho, Adam Cole, and Bryan Danielson. AEW has become the place where talent aspire to be.
Just last night on Dynamite we saw a new chapter begin in AEW. Brian Pillman Jr. is going to get a shot at MJF. Malakai Black continues to be a force and he will face Cody Rhodes at Arthur Ashe Stadium. MJF/Wardlow is going to be a longterm story it seems. CM Punk wants a piece of Team Taz. Britt Baker/Ruby Soho is heating up and so is Anna Jay/Tay Conti verse Allie and Penelope Ford. Adam Cole's arrival feels important as The Elite continue to dominate. The Dark Order is falling apart (more on that later). Bryan Danielson wants to fight Kenny Omega, yet we don't know when that dream match will happen. Jon Moxley is feuding with New Japan. A lot of good stuff is happening in AEW. They clearly have momentum. Hopefully, they won't squander it.
AEW should wait a while before its next "big" signing and I don't think it should be Bray Wyatt. Although it certainly looks like he will be the next big signing as The Dark Order needs a leader and one of Brodie Lee's friends taking up the mantle makes sense. I personally think AEW should hold off on the temptation to sign Bray Wyatt. Yes, I'm not a huge fan of Wyatt. I used to be a bigger fan of his but I just felt like he never could back it up as a in-ring performer. Wyatt was custom made for WWE, I don't really see him fitting in AEW and I think he would flame out super fast.
AEW should wait until they can sign Kevin Owens. Have Tony Khan collect former NXT Champions like Thanos collects Infinity Stones. Because you know more of them will jump ship it's a matter of time.
But now that you have a talented roster assembled in Kenny Omega, Britt Baker, Lucha Brothers, Adam Cole, Hangman Adam Page, Andrade, Bryan Danielson, Chris Jericho, Christian Cage, CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Darby Allin, Jon Moxley, Jungle Boy, Lance Archer, Luchasaurus, The Young Bucks, MJF, Malakai Black, Orange Cassidy, Santana & Ortiz, Ricky Starks, Sammy Guevara, and a stronger women's division than they had a year ago. I know that was a lot of listing but I just wanted to highlight just how good AEW's roster has become.
But now is the time for AEW to focus on expansion of its brand and businesses. I have some ideas. Most of them are probably already in the works because the people behind AEW are smart.
I am excited for AEW's future and it feels good that the product is finally getting its moment. I remember when people scoffed at the idea AEW would ever be able to attract top talent but now they are the destination.
WWE Won't Be Going Anywhere But It Still Needs To Step Up Its Game Against AEW
Although AEW is currently dominating the headlines. I just want to make one thing abundantly clear... And everyone should already know this but...
WWE won't be going anywhere.
They are still that billion dollar, 800 pound gorilla. Have they gotten lazy from a creative standpoint? Of course! They have been on a creative decline for a while. The pandemic didn't help. AEW utilized the pandemic better than WWE. It's also not a good sign that WWE's return to live crowds only gave them short term hype. RAW has been consistently terrible. SmackDown has been fine and even good at times. But the frustration sets in when you realize they have a loaded roster and all the time, production values, and talent to put on a good wrestling show. Yet the company drifts away from what brought them to the dance. Some seem to think WWE sees more value in the "E" than it does in the middle "W."
WWE will always be synonymous with the word wrestling. So why not embrace that? AEW is calling itself the home to professional wrestling. Bah gawd! Do something about it you're World Wrestling Entertainment. You conquered territories and defeated Ted Turner in the 90s while monopolizing the entire industry until AEW arrived.
Also old school NXT (pre-let's try to destory AE NXT) was some of WWE's best work in years. Fans got to see the future now and they were thrilled with incredible matches and the potential storylines when their favorites got to the main roster. WWE can still do pro wrestling. Instead of spending money on Riddle's goofy bird CGI use that money to create a set that can be used in a brawl or on things to make cool moments. WWE's goal is to make stuff memorable, and things can't be memorable when everything feels the same. Maybe WWE plays it too safe because of the family audience but the lack of unpredictability hurts the product.
WWE is struggling creatively (outside of Roman Reigns). Mightly, I may add but there is one aspect they aren't struggling and that is business! And some may say well that's all that matters. Well, not when you're a fan of the actual product they put out.
Love him or hate him, Nick Khan has done an incredible job in his role. He's the Chief Revenue Officer and he has found ways to clear cap space and let go of talent that would never be used. Sure it's an unpopular decision to release a dozen from NXT, Braun Strowman, and Bray Wyatt but in reality WWE and Khan saw people they no longer needed and true businesses don't keep around people just to keep them around. Years of roster hoarding came to an end, and Nick Khan clearly isn't afraid of competition.
Khan constantly is finding new ways for WWE's brand and revenue to expand. Khan also seems to have a grasp on localization and content creation for WWE. Nick Khan still has to bring back the 7/11 Slurpee cups though!
Khan's new approach has seen the announcement of Money in the Bank coming to Allegiant Stadium over July 4 weekend in 2022. Imagine telling someone a couple years ago WWE's 5th major PPV would perform in a stadium just like WrestleMania? WWE also launched an audio network with The Ringer. The benefit of that still remains to be seen. Nick Khan has also seen WWE get more invested in the worlds of sports betting, NFT's, and scripted content like The United States of America vs. Vince McMahon. WWE despite lacking creative in its actual wrestling product is clicking on all cylinders outside the ring. Nick Khan and WWE also are seeking big paydays for international rights but it looks like they are running into some competition from AEW.
The above is just another reason why you can't be complacent. Back when WWE got its major U.S. TV deals was pre-AEW. Actually WWE's massive TV deals was one of the reasons why Kevin Reilly of WarnerMedia at the time listened to Tony Khan's pitch on AEW.
WWE's complacency and "smartest people in the room" mentality has caused Jeff Hardy to become a bottom of the card talent which is INEXCUSABLE especially when you consider a lot of casual fans and mainstream people know and respect him, Keith Lee to lose all momentum, Karrion Kross to be exposed, Samoa Joe to be fired and awkwardly re-hired, Adam Cole up and leaving, Bryan Danielson up and leaving, and mismanaging talent left and right.
But the good thing. This is all fixable for the most part. WWE still has a good roster. Now it's time they tell good stories and are allowed to put on good matches.
ZWrestleTalk at 8
It's still weird to me that eight years ago I (dare I say poorly) wrote a blog about Cody Rhodes in WWE and it launched my wrestling website ZWrestleTalk. Eight years later, Cody Rhodes is the EVP of AEW. A promotion that is currently dominating the pro wrestling landscape.
It's just crazy to think about. Now, I can't promise ZWrestleTalk will make it another eight years and I know posts on here have been far and few between. But I'll keep doing this even if it's not a lot until it's time to move on. Let's just make it to 10 years on September 9, 2023. That would be a cool milestone right? And hey maybe between now and September 9, 2023, I'll write a few more non-PPV prediction posts? Cool? Cool.
As always thanks for reading.
Well once again thanks for reading my eighth anniversary post for ZWrestleTalk. It's been fun and it is still fun. Be sure to check out our archives and stay tuned for our PPV predictions throughout the rest of the year. We are also working on a couple things behind the scenes here at ZWrestleTalk. Feel free to comment below or tweet at us @ZWrestleTalk on what you want to see from us in the future.
Creator of ZWrestleTalk. This page I give you my thoughts on the current state of the WWE product. I look back at the history of WWE. Sometimes even predict the future. If your lucky you get comedic articles too.