14th Oct2019

Ten Best: Things That Will Set AEW Apart from WWE Moving Forward

by Chris Cummings

Pro-wrestling is changing. Things are happening. It’s an exciting time to be a fan. With the rise of AEW and it’s debut on TNT as a viable alternative wrestling show, a competitor to WWE when it comes to the wrestling fanbase, there’s something totally new going on. NXT has debuted on network television and upped its runtime to two-hours per week. Live. RAW and SmackDown are changing things up. There’s a lot going on. Hell… NWA just debuted NWA Powerrr, a new program with a traditionalist approach. What a fun time to love pro-wrestling, eh? So, I thought I’d discuss ten things that will set AEW apart from WWE moving forward. These things are things that they’re doing differently to WWE, which is a good thing. Having two promotions who are unique and focused on their own product can only be a good thing for us. So, here we go.


10) The Elite Crew

I mean, we might as well start with an important one. The guys who run the ship are four of the best non-WWE signed performers in the world, in Cody, The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega. These guys will be with AEW for good and that’s a big deal. They’re talented, creative and popular, and it’s obviously not a bad thing that they will forever be a part of this company. We also have Hangman Page as a top talent in the company. Could we see former Elite guys like Marty show up in AEW one day? I reckon so.

9) The TNT Deal

Wrestling back on TNT is something that I still can’t believe. It feels right, it feels like we’re entering a genuinely fresh era for pro-wrestling, and that’s pretty much down to AEW. WWE are the big boys in town, the top dogs, and they do plenty of things right, even if some fans don’t like to admit it. Still, AEW appearing has given a new energy to the business and provided a new place to work for the talent, and a new product to watch, on TNT, each week, for the fans. Cool.

8) The Underdog Mentality

Something can be said for that underdog thought-process. AEW are the smaller group when it comes to this new so-called “war” between them and WWE. WWE are the behemoth that have been doing this thing for decades. AEW are the new kids in town. It’s always interesting to see the underdog fight against the big boy, and that’s what we’re seeing already here. Everyone loves a story like this, and it will be interesting to see where it goes. Hopefully it creates magical wrestling content on both sides for us fans to enjoy.

7) Tag Teams Matter

Something sadly lacking in WWE much of the time is the lack of emphasis on tag team wrestling. This hasn’t always been the case. Remember the days of Edge & Christian vs. The Hardys vs. The Dudleys? Remember The Hart Foundation against The British Bulldogs? There’s been some glorious stuff. WWE, right now, don’t seem enthralled with putting their tag division in a strong place. AEW are different, though. Perhaps that’s down to The Young Bucks, but either way, the tag division is obviously important to AEW and I doubt that will change. We’re already got some great teams in the company, from The Bucks to The Lucha Bros to S.C.U to A Boy and His Dinosaur, and it should result in some great matches.

6) A Brand New World

This is something totally new. It feels new. It looks new. It sounds new. People love new things. When a new wrestler debuts, people love it. When a new entrance theme hits, people love it. When a new gimmick match is booked, people are intrigues. People love new things, and AEW is brand new, brave and brash and ready to put their dukes up and fight. We’ll be watching.

5) Hardcore Fanbase

WWE has a hardcore fan base too, but AEW’s is certainly a good reason for its early successes. I mean, look at how well All In, Double or Nothing and All Out did. Look at how well their debut episode of AEW Dynamite did. It’s all doing well, so far, and the diehard fans are the reason for it. Fans who are adamant that AEW is offering something unique, something fresh and something that they’ve been calling out for for a long while. This fanbase, which will continue to grow, will be the lifeblood of AEW and let’s hope it brings more eyes on this profession that we love to watch, whatever company it is.

4) Creativity & Freedom

The creativity and freedom to express it is important in wrestling. Cutting a promo that was written by guys who don’t really know your character can be awful, and it’s something we see a lot nowadays. AEW seem to be going in the right direction here, wanting their talent to cut promos that are from their own minds. Sure, this can result in some errors in vocalising yourself, but it all creates a more organic and exciting show, and I hope they continue to do this. Creatively, we should see some very interesting things in AEW, considering who is in charge and the roster they have assembled so far.

3) Youth Movement

Sure, Chris Jericho is the champion, so the movement of young guys isn’t exactly made clear by that, but really… most of the men and women in AEW represent the youth of pro-wrestling, from the likes of Jungle Boy, Sonny Kiss and Private Party to women like Riho, the company is packed with young, motivated and exciting talent. That will help push it up even higher. It’s important that while tradition is upheld, with guys like Jericho, SCU, Jim Ross and the like being a big part of that, that we see the young and the restless get a chance to shine as bright as they can too. I think we’ll see plenty of that in AEW.

2) Unique Presentation

What we see on TNT each week will look nothing like WWE or NXT, but it will look like AEW. The ring, the stage, the roster… it will all be unique, and that’s a good thing. No need to emulate anything when you’re making waves as something original. This presentation is vital to the success of AEW too, really, when you consider how much visuals matter in pro-wrestling, and how much fans have become increasingly tired of the “same old, same old”.

1) PG-14

Now, I’m not too bothered about wrestling being PG-14. I think you can do things, if you’re creative enough, without this rating, but AEW has it, and they’ll sure as hell utilise it. Allowing their talent to cut promos using terms that will make the product more edgy, with the ability to have matches that are less toned-down, and to even have the announcers loudly exclaim in a more realistic language will create a vibrant energy and an edgier product for sure. Fans have wanted this for a long time, and it looks like the fans will finally get it here. Very cool, indeed.

I mean, generally this stuff speaks for itself, but I think it’s worth pointing out just what makes AEW different, and what could really push it to being a strong alternative, if it isn’t already, to WWE. Me? I’m a fan of both, and have my feet fully in the WWE pool as a 27 year fan, but I love what AEW are doing, and long may it continue.

Thanks for reading!


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