ATG Top 10: How AEW is Making Wrestling Better!

So this year, we as wrestling fans, have now received a very early Christmas Present. We have so many different venues for watching professional wrestling nowadays and this year just kicked it up another notch with 2 dark match shows on youtube, 3 shows other than WWE available to stream on channels like Sling as well as what we are going to talk about here. This, of course, is AEW, a brand new company started by some of the best wrestlers in the world today that aren’t from the WWE machine. We also had NXT go mainstream by heading to USA Network but I’m not sure if that’s good or not since that puts it more on Vince’s radar. Anyway, with 2 months of TV in the bag and a few Pay-Per-Views under their belts, I have to admit I have been loving AEW so let’s jump into the top 10 reasons I have been enjoying this new company!

10- Not as Predictable

One of my big problems with WWE recently is whenever Kevin and I go and start talking about the matches on their shows and the PPV’s, we can basically call how the matches will basic turn our and who the winners will be. Sure there are some things that we don’t get right and the stories have some twists to them, but for the most part, we can see what’s coming for wins and losses a mile away. This isn’t the way it is with the matches in AEW. It has been proven with how Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks have mediocre win records so far and how the Best Friends have just beaten the Lucha Bros that things are very hard to predict in this company. And that, in my opinion, is very good for keeping the fans interested and coming back for more!

9- Bosses Don’t Hog the Spotlight

Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, and Cody Rhodes are all the Executive Vice Presidents in AEW. In WWE we see storylines with Triple H and the MacMahon’s always hogging the spotlight. Now while the guys in AEW are in the spotlight they have been using it to bring others into the spotlight with them and to get them over so that one day those guys will be the huge stars. We’ve seen the Young Bucks lose during the tournament to see who the first Tag Team Champs would be. We have seen Cody Rhodes say that if he didn’t beat Jericho at Full Gear that he wouldn’t challenge for the Heavy Weight title again no matter his win/loss record and Cody lost. Now can you imagine if it was a MacMahon in any of those matches? I think it was proven that the WWE leaders would rather they win than put over those that deserve it, after all, look at the Authority or the Best in the World Competition and Shanes wins over the Miz. It’s become such a power show recently and is little more than a bunch of leadership nepotism that it is putting off a lot of long-time WWE fans like Kevin and myself.

8- Bringing in New Indie Stars

One huge problem in the WWE is that they try to build up people in NXT but then when they get to the main roster they are buried mostly by the older more established people. Then you move to TNA and they used to be made up of old WWE people, and I don’t just mean old as in “hey they used to be in WWE” but as in they were old age-wise as well. While TNA has gotten better on that, they still have people like RVD and Rhino and Disco Inferno whose ring name now I don’t remember and while they may still be good at what they do…. I used to watch them over 20 years ago so these aren’t spring chickens we’re talking about. But go to AEW and look at who they have been recruiting as their stars. Young Indie talent like Jungle Boy, Private Party, Darby Allin, Sonny Kiss and so many more. These are Indie darlings that are young and new to most people. And it is this new blood that will keep the AEW brand alive long after the big names the other companies keep pushing have long retired and can no longer wrestle. 

7- Wins and Losses Matter

One of the great things that AEW is doing is taking a more sports-like approach to the company. What this means is they actually are putting out win/loss records that can be seen on Twitter every Friday and can also be seen in the wrestler’s name bar as they enter before their match. In companies like WWE they focus more on storylines it seems to see who will be going against the champions. Sure WWE talks about #1 contendership and such but they never show records of any kind to show how the #1 contender got to be the #1 and a lot of times you can see that it seems completely random. In AEW at least, you get this paper trail a nice visual representation that shows it’s not just some random story BS that gets a title shot but in this case things that happen in matches truly make a difference. Sure the endings of the matches are still planned out, but now you have a little more insight into some of the long term plans that they have and now also you can find some good swerves as people with good rankings can falter and fall and the underdogs can make comebacks in a real and tangible way beyond just “yeah this looks good drama wise.” It kinda makes the matches feel more real than they already are to new fans.

6- Good Focus on Tag Team and Faction Matches

Back in the days before WWE there was a wonderful time for Tag Teams. With teams like the Rockers and the Freebirds and so many others that stayed together never to split and become great. But then Shawn Michaels threw Marty Jannetty through the Butcher Shop window and the WWE changed everything about Tag Teams. They kept the division but it’s common for great teams to just fall apart for no reason other than “drama”. They also throw random people together to take on and face established teams and win over them again and again. The Tag division in WWE is treated as a joke. AEW however, so far, is looking to put a huge focus on Tags and three-man teams. It makes sense too as the company is partially headed by the Young Bucks who are arguably the most famous tag team in the world right now and seeing as the rest of the leaders are from the Bullet Club they know what a good Faction can do for a company. They Realize that Tag Teams don’t need to randomly be destroyed for someone to do singles stuff and they realize that factions can bring great drama and storylines without being made a joke. One would think with the success of the nWo and DX that Vince MacMahon would have realized this but it’s pretty obvious that he has nothing but disdain for Tag Teams and Factions. I think and hope that Triple H is different but who knows how long until he can take over for good. Thankfully if you like team fights AEW has not been shying away from that at all!

5- Giving Wrestlers More Creativity

One huge thing in AEW that the wrestlers keep talking about in interviews is how much latitude they have in their own characters. In the WWE, it’s obvious that the writers have the power and even above them, Vince commands it all with reports of time after time him ripping up scripts and rewriting shows hours before the start of a show. It has been obvious in the WWE that many wrestlers just are not allowed to do what they want to do and it hurts the product. Look at the final days of Dean Ambrose and all the stupid shit they had him doing, and he has said he hated every moment of it. In AEW however, he has brought back Jon Moxley and is now someplace in his wrestling career where he can be happy. Darby Allin was recently asked in an interview if the people in charge gave him flak for bringing a body bag to a TV taping and he said they were just like “Go ahead whatever you want”. Do we honestly think we would have seen something like that in WWE without it having to go through the approval of so many people? AEW has realized something WWE has forgotten, the wrestlers are what makes the shows and the fans are what drives the wrestlers. AEW embraces their wrestlers and lets them create the characters fans love and want to see!

4- Bringing in Better Diversity

I know I keep harping on WWE, but really when you talk change you have to show how things have been wrong to show how they have been changing for the good somewhere else. And there’s still no bigger name in professional wrestling today than WWE. So when we look at diversity, let’s look at how WWE has treated the LGBT community in their stories. They had an LGBTQ person in their ranks in Darren Young and never used that in his story but they would make characters like Golddust who, while popular, is not a good picture of an LGBTQ character. They make stories like Billy and Chuck with two straight guys who have an LGBTQ type story that comes to a head in a very cringe-worthy way. WWE is infamous for queerbaiting with their characters and never letting LGBT people truly be themselves. Sometimes they start to let it but then it just tends to fizzle and disappear like the stories I have been hearing about Sonya Deville lately. But let’s look at AEW they have Sonny Kiss who brings so much of himself to the ring. Then look at Nyla Rose, the Native Beast. She is amazing in the women’s division. She is a dominant beast and a beautiful woman who is also known to be Trans. While there are plenty of haters out there I find it inspiring how she is being used in AEW and that she is accepted there in ways that WWE would never even begin to consider.

3- All Matches Feel Like They Could be the Main Event

In the WWE and many other companies, matches that aren’t the main event are obviously not the main event. There is a slow build to the big last matches and the mid-card and such just don’t really feel that important. Look at AEW though, they begin fast-paced and amazing and keep it going through the whole show. They have been known to open shows with SCU and the Young Bucks and many other amazing people and they don’t slow down till the end. Even mid-card acts feel important and are done up as though they are main event matches. Honestly, this is how I think all matches should be treated. Kevin and I both have said after watching basically every AEW show we have seen that it is nearly impossible to pick a favorite match because they all were so good!

2- Better Commentary

One thing that has always bugged me about WWE and some other companies still around today, is how the commentary has to be focused on face/heel mechanics just like the wrestling. I mean honestly, it has always been so annoying that you have a heel commentator who just runs down the good guys and plays up the baddies like they are god’s gift to earth. *cough*JBL*couch* I mean back in the day it worked ok and JR and King were great at it, but nowadays it just doesn’t work nearly as good. It feels forced and honestly sounds more like a Facebook discussion thread of people arguing who the favorite wrestler is. Now, AEW comes along and suddenly the commentary has become like actual sports commentary. It’s a nice change to actually hear about the moves and have a good play by play of what’s happening without some stupid scripted bias. The WWE nowadays barely has any good commentary since you have one guy playing up the good guys and one guy playing up the bad guys and the actual commentary tends to get lost in all the shuffle. It is very refreshing to watch a match without cringing at the commentary being so obviously forced and biased.

1- Less Talk More Action

I saved this for the number 1 slot because, in my eyes, one of the biggest problems with the WWE and many other companies is the promos. I know that they need stories to help tell what’s going on and why one guy hates another and blah blah blah but nowadays the WWE has taken it too far. I mean on RAW and Smackdown, they start shows off with almost a half-hour of talking it seems, and then the video packages that go on and on forever. With AEW, a lot of the stuff tends to happen online. You get Promos in Being the Elite and other Youtube videos and honestly that leaves a lot more time for actual wrestling. Now, of course, they have some promos on TV after all you need it for those that don’t watch social media. But to be honest I think social media is a better way to get a lot of the promo’s done nowadays. It lets the TV be more exciting as you get to see more of the fighting. You still get the drama between characters in AEW but it doesn’t take the bulk of the time. To be quite honest, I watch the wrestling shows for wrestling, not the drama. One thing I love about going to the local WXW events is that they are mostly wrestling. Sure they have storylines and promos and such but they aren’t bogged down by them and that’s how AEW is.

All in all, I think AEW is going to be great for the wrestling fans and the wrestling universe as a whole. I think they are bringing some positive change to a sport that I have loved for most of my life. I had given up on watching wrestling about a year or two ago…Kevin felt the same even canceled his WWE Network subscription too. It had just fallen so far from what we both remembered and enjoyed back in the day. Now though I have a wrestling show that I enjoy again. I see a lot of people that seem to be down on the AEW and it’s because it is new and different and they don’t want to try something new. Personally, I say if you are a fan of wrestling then give it a try. Help AEW through its initial growing pains and support all wrestling

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