It’s fair to say that All Elite Wrestling has made positive strides in defining themselves as the alternative brand of wrestling.
Since officially launching on New Years Day, the promotion has helped create a buzz that industry hasn’t seen in a number of years.
Their debut, Double or Nothing, received critical acclaim and looks set to break a near two decade-long record for an non-WWE PPV.
With their next major event, ALL OUT, selling out in 15 minutes and a weekly TV show on the horizon, things are certainly exciting over at AEW.
Whilst talk of them knocking WWE out of business may be premature, they most certainly will create a brand of wrestling that will give fans of the sport something to look forward to.
As such, they still have the capabilities of pushing Vince McMahon’s promotion to ensure a competitive market.
Here are five things All Elite Wrestling can do to challenge WWE.
Focus on the wrestling
This may seem obvious, but wrestling fans want to see wrestling.
Whilst we know storytelling is equally important, the actual action in the ring is the key to many.
One of the major criticisms of WWE’s weekly TV is there is too much promo time. The opening segment to RAW is almost predictable now.
With the likes of The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley on board, the grappling side of things is never a problem at AEW. It’s important as they move forward that they don’t stray too far away from that ethos as they try to break into the mainstream.
Push younger talent
WWE’s recent ventures into Saudi Arabia has certainly reaffirmed this point. This month’s event, Super Showdown, was headlined by two 50-something year olds in Undertaker and Goldberg.
Whilst both are undoubtedly legends of the game, the match was a botchfest that only showed them to be well past their prime. Over the last decade, WWE has relied too heavily on part-time talent to sell PPVs.
This technique has arguably hit their long-term strategy leading to a lack of major big name stars.
What AEW was smart to do was whilst centring Double or Nothing around the likes of Omega and Chris Jericho, they prominently featured many of their hot young stars.
MJF and Adam Page were two who came out with pass marks from those who tuned in. Whilst AEW’s appeal is centred around the Elite, it’s important fortheir longevity that these new talent get used just as much.
Long term booking
Cody Rhodes has already came out and said he has the next year of stories planned out.
Whilst we know things in wrestling can change in an instant, having this long term thinking is refreshing to hear from a fan.
Recent months watching WWE, you almost get the feeling they are booking it week-by-week on the fly. The creation of the Wild Card rule and rumoured late script changes are prime examples of this.
As fans, we want to be invested. We want to know where a story could lead to to get that maximum reward. PPVs full of rematches and one month feuds won’t do this.
Spread out big shows
The WWE PPV schedule can sure feel hectic at times.
Whilst it can be understood from a financial perspective to run a PPV a month, having big shows two weeks apart doesn’t work.
In that space in time, it’s virtually impossible to build a fresh feud or something the fans haven’t seen before.
The up-coming Stomping Grounds show is a classic example. Not one match on this card is new. It comes across more as filler, so as a result, fans won’t see reason to tune in.
To some, they already know how things will likely turn out, taking the joy out of watching it.
Each PPV should have something big on it, or some form of surprise. Hopefully AEW keeps this in mind.
Stop referencing WWE
Some fans love this, but I personally hate it.
Whilst at their peak, WCW would make reference to WWE on a weekly basis. This led to them neglecting several aspects of their own programming, which was part of the reason they fell so dramatically.
All Elite Wrestling has arguably one of the finest rosters going right now. They need to prioritise it. Strive to be at their best each and every show and not care what goes on elsewhere.
Things like Cody destroying the HHH-style throne on each week will only make them look petty. This will do little to get the hardcore WWE support on side.
Play to your strengths.