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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

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Eyes On AEW: The Potential For The Future

By @TrueGodImmortal


So, it's been a long time, I shouldn't have left you. Well, honestly, I had no choice. Wrestling has lost most of its luster for me the last few years and while I'm still pretty apathetic about it and I haven't watched a full episode of RAW or Smackdown in about 2 years, I did find myself mildly excited for the announcement of AEW and while I'm still on the fence about just how successful the company can be, I am very intrigued by their potential and what may come down the line. Today, that's why I'm here. To talk about the potential of AEW and what they could end up becoming in the wrestling world. With their free Fyter Fest event coming this weekend, their second event in the last month and some change, along with a TV deal beginning in October, could AEW be on the verge of something huge in the wrestling world? Let's look at their potential.


*The CM Punk Factor
-The current rumor that is buzzing is that CM Punk may have privately set up a deal to work with AEW in the near future. If that was the case, then Punk has done just about everything he can to throw people off, denying it in a troll manner several times. He has spoken highly of AEW in his own way, so if he ends up returning to wrestling, I truly doubt he would make his return to WWE. For someone who grew up loving and worshipping professional wrestling, it does seem strange that Punk wouldn't jump at the opportunity to collect a big payday to work for a rival company to WWE alongside some of his friends. Punk was once quoted as saying that if he did return, it would likely only be against the Young Bucks, but that doesn't mean that Punk couldn't end up working for AEW in another capacity outside the squared circle. Imagine good ol' JR next to CM Punk on commentary. That alone would make people tune into AEW's programming. If Punk does decide to wrestle, AEW has a ton of stars he hasn't faced or went up against, as well as an entirely new roster of formidable opponents. When its all said and done, CM Punk could appear at All Out, surprising the world, or he could just stay away from the wrestling business forever and pass up one of the most intriguing opportunities ever. What will he choose? I guess time will tell.



*AEW Video Game
-So, WWE 2K hasn't hit nearly as hard as it should the last few years. Have wrestling video games lost their luster? Perhaps so. I would think that something new and different like an AEW game could possibly change everyone's perspective? I mean, in terms of the developers, the only developer with a truly built in promo buzz is EA Sports. However, EA Sports messed up their WCW video game foray, and the UFC series was decent, but at times underwhelming. I'd say that if the dollars made sense that EA Sports and AEW could work together to make a game that would be good enough to entice the average fan and beyond. A cover with Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley, the Young Bucks, Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, and perhaps a surprise star (the aforementioned Punk would be huge) would garner a lot of attention. Set the release date for April or May to get a nice Spring and Summer rush and entice the younger gamers who have a few months free from school. While there is no telling if AEW will have a video game, I think this could possibly be a great idea and the potential for success is moderate to high on this idea.


*Mainstream Acclaim
-So, one thing about the WWE is that they have the mainstream game on lock. WWE has almost every major outlet in their backpocket to an extent, but could AEW provide something for a crowd that has tuned out wrestling since post Attitude Era? Or post Ruthless Aggression Era? Honestly, it is up in the air, but I can remember WCW having a lot of mainstream attention through the late 90's, even as WWF would bring in celebrities every Wrestlemania and even had the controversial Mike Tyson as the special guest enforcer of their main event once. If AEW starts to pick up steam, those athletes and actors who have been with WWE replica belts might soon be holding AEW replica belts. If this ends up happening, look out for some celebrity inclusion at some of the events down the line, which hopefully gets done correctly. Either way, AEW's mainstream appeal will be tested truly once they hit TV in October.


*The WWE Hostages Set Free
-I know this is a horrible way to make this point, but we should be honest. The WWE is keeping some of their stars captive in a way for obvious reasons. Long ago, if you asked for your release, you were granted it. If you were unhappy and wanted to try your hand somewhere else or just bet on yourself, WWE would end letting you go. For Sasha Banks, that was not the case. For Luke Harper, that was not the case. For a few others, that was not the case. This begs the question of whether or not the WWE is feeling the pressure of competition from a promotion that has only had a few press conferences and one actual event so far. However, no one is fully aware of how long these contracts are, and with Sasha, she oddly signed an extension just a year ago, so she's essentially trapped. Could WWE cut their losses and let Sasha go be Mercedes in the indies or in AEW while they force Lacey Evans and Charlotte as formidable stars? Sure they could. With the rise of Shayna Baszler, the resurgence of Bayley (convenient), and of course, the power of Becky Lynch, where does someone like Sasha fit now? Could her return be saved for Summerslam? Or should WWE just let her go? I think they should have just let her go, and I think the same with Luke Harper. Gallows and Anderson spoke about being unhappy with their roles according to some reports, along with rumors of The Revival wanting to leave the company. Since those reports, The Revival have won the tag titles and Gallows and Anderson have seen more TV time next to AJ Styles, who also signed an extension instead of letting his contract expire and moving on. AJ seems to be a WWE favorite and solidified, so his decision isn't entirely shocking, but what if The Revival decide to leave? What if the Good Brothers decide to leave? We could end up seeing the AEW tag division getting a big boost in the coming months to a year. Regardless, a number of contracts are coming up and if the wrestlers decide NOT to sign, then I'm sure they can find a new home, whether in AEW or just the indies in general. Hey Cedric, you hear that?



*Wednesday Night Dynamite?
-So, what will the AEW TV Show be called? There are rumors, with Tuesday Night and Wednesday Night Dynamite being the most popular names thrown around. I find it hard to believe to an extent that AEW would choose such an awful name especially since Monday Night Nitro reminds everyone of the failure that WCW ended with. However, a consistent weekly program showcasing their regular stars and newer names could be just what the doctor ordered. A 2 hour time slot every week that showcases great wrestling and hopefully solid promos and decent storylines? It sounds like everything fans have been clamoring for, so if AEW can pull it off, we might have something special. AEW isn't going to wipe WWE off the face of the earth or even replace it as the no. 1 company in wrestling in terms of money or appeal, because WWE has so much loyalty in it from shee... err....fans, but what they can do is provide the proper alternative and add more wrestling to even the most dedicated wrestling fan's weekly plate. Could their TV show find a way to rival the ratings of the WWE's two biggest and long running shows? Time will tell. What I do know is that the success of AEW hinges a lot more on their TV show than anything else. If the TV show succeeds or exceeds expectations, we might be in for the most special era of wrestling. Ever.

-True