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| Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Joseph Han

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has been a staple in sports entertainment for nearly 70 years. In fact, most people immediately think of this organization when they hear the word “wrestling.” However, the group has recently been under a lot of scrutiny from fans and personnel alike.

Because of this, many WWE personnel have turned to different wrestling promotions around the world. The one promotion to which many have flocked is All Elite Wrestling (AEW). Ever since then, WWE and AEW have been at war. 

One of the reasons why WWE is losing a lot of revenue and personnel involves problems with the creative writing process (or a lack thereof).

WWE has always had very interesting storylines since its founding in 1952. One such storyline is centered around Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, covering his debut as Rocky Miavia, during which he was booed out of the arena. Despite disrespect from the fans, he waited for his opportunity to shock the world. That time came when he joined the Nation of Domination, which took many African American wrestlers and gave them a platform to show off their skills. 

Since then, WWE storylines have gone downhill, especially those concerning wrestlers who have been with the WWE for many years.

One wrestler in this category is Jon Moxley, formerly known as Dean Ambrose. After coming back from a torn tricep injury, Moxley began to have issues with WWE due to goofy storylines, especially with one where he got a ton of inoculations in preparation for the 2018 pay-per-view event Tables, Ladders and Chairs.

Because of this, Moxley left the WWE at the end of April 2019 and made his debut at AEW’s pay-per-view debut, Double or Nothing, the following month, attacking former WWE superstar Chris Jericho and former New Japan Pro Wrestling superstar and executive vice president of AEW Kenny Omega. Since his move to Double or Nothing, Moxley’s storylines have improved immensely.

Another problem with WWE is the fact that many wrestlers are being underused, causing them to ”disappear” from TV. Due to WWE’s massive main roster, it is understandable that not all stars will be used a lot. Even so, many big name wrestlers have not even scratched the surface of what might be deemed an appropriate amount of screen time. In addition, the women’s division is poorly booked because of frequent absences.

On the contrary, AEW make a positive effort to book many big name stars like Moxley, Jericho and Omega. At the same time, they give the women’s division a prominent role in the spotlight, especially with the AEW Women’s World Championship.

The biggest issue that WWE has had (and, conversely, that AEW has not yet experienced) is the fact that WWE is juggling too many brand extensions and individual wrestling programs. WWE airs Monday Night Raw, Friday Night Smackdown, 205 Live, WWE NXT and WWE NXT UK. WWE gives a prominent booking to the developmental brand NXT and does not pay very much attention to Monday Night Raw or Friday Night Smackdown. That is partly due to the fact that producer Paul Levisque, also known as Triple H, is pushing for more brand supremacy, an issue that became clear in the 2019 PPV Survivor Series when NXT defeated Raw and Smackdown on November 24. Across the five brands, there are a staggering 18 championship titles currently used in the WWE — it can be hard to even keep track of them all!

Thus far, AEW has clearly been avoiding such a program overload. With only three titles recognized, it is much more organized and more enjoyable to watch.

While WWE is a dominant force to be reckoned with, there is no doubt that the organization is in decline. Indeed, its future is looking very bleak. But as WWE’s star falls, so to speak, AEW has continued to rise up as the number one wrestling brand to watch.

This story is dedicated to Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson, who passed away on January 15, 2020.

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