10 Ways AEW Has Made Other Wrestling Unwatchable

It is what it is.

Chris Jericho

AEW was meant to light a fire under WWE and force it from its creatively bankrupt stupor.

This was always a take out of time because Vince McMahon was too far gone to compete. He could only siphon. 2019 wasn't 1996, when Vince just needed to update his product. Withered and arrogant and clueless, that product needs a transplant in 2020.

It's not on your writer to like WWE, or to somehow approach it neutrally, like so much of its rotten, belief-destroying modern history hasn't happened. This is a company obscenely rich in resources. They possess - or should possess - an outrageous advantage. They had an unfair advantage, a monopoly, for decades. Nobody should be "fair" to WWE. They have so much talent and so much money with which to promote them that, if anything, they should be held to a higher standard than any wrestling promotion ever.

Creatively, they are in the mud. AEW is making it incredibly difficult to engage with WWE because mostly, the promotion has articulated every feeling those vanished fans had before they shrugged and dropped off.

The thing about a wrestling buffet is that you're just too full for anything else when you leave the table...

10. Promos

Chris Jericho

Jon Moxley says what he's going to, straddling the glorious edge of b-movie cornball, and he does it. In under two minutes.

Eddie Kingston bleeds his soul in verbal missives radiating with as much pathos as dangerous energy. He makes it feel more real than anybody else. Cody's voice quivers as he unleashes the classic babyface promise. When he needs to help realise the promise of another babyface, he will play it with a heelish edge, demanding they meet his exacting standards. That he possesses these standards, incidentally, allowed Darby Allin's Full Gear win to resonate. Taz chooses the most wonderful phrases - horse sh*t, chicken sh*ts, burns my ass - to best sound aggressive and pissed off in his phonaesthetically marvellous New York accent.

MJF is piss funny with the put-down and reels off his boy-poppers with a sumptuous, confident rhythm. Chris Jericho is an all-timer on the stick, capable of cycling through modes with a near unrivalled panache.

These promos feel alive, and they aren't just authentic. There are good talkers in the WWE system, some capable of transcending the lame, overwritten verbiage, but the key difference is that the promo masters in AEW don't recap the events of the show or the storyline. They sell you on the match. They make the match feel huge.

They promote the matches.


Michael Sidgwick is an editor, writer and podcaster for WhatCulture Wrestling. With over seven years of experience in wrestling analysis, Michael was published in the influential institution that was Power Slam magazine, and specialises in providing insights into All Elite Wrestling - so much so that he wrote a book about the subject. You can order Becoming All Elite: The Rise Of AEW on Amazon. Possessing a deep knowledge also of WWE, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Michael’s work has been publicly praised by former AEW World Champions Kenny Omega and MJF, and surefire Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Cody Rhodes. When he isn’t putting your finger on why things are the way they are in the endlessly fascinating world of professional wrestling, Michael wraps his own around a hand grinder to explore the world of specialty coffee. Follow Michael on X (formerly known as Twitter) @MSidgwick for more!