10 Ways AEW Is Dangerously Close To Following In WCW's Footsteps
And no, not the good years.
It's utterly nuts to realise it's 21 years since World Champion Wrestling closed its doors as it was assimilated by WWE.
Ted Turner's rasslin' promotion is missed for so many reasons; whether that's those formative days as Jim Crockett Promotions transformed into WCW; whether it's the early '90s years of Sting, Vader, the Dangerous Alliance, Cactus Jack and Ron Simmons; or whether, obviously, that was the glorious heyday of the New World Order.
Still, WCW infamously imploded, with the promotion tumbling from industry leader to a laughing stock that was purchased on the cheap by its greatest rival. For AEW, they've started to show the smallest of signs of repeating some of those fatal mistakes made by WCW.
Added to this, there have been plentiful comments from WCW mainstays comparing the goings-on in AEW to the dark days of World Championship Wrestling. For example, Diamond Dallas Page recently discussed on his Snake Pit podcast how the "politics and egos, and people getting their feelings hurt and guys saying sh*t and going into business for themselves" is something he sees in AEW and obviously something he saw back in WCW.
Of course, AEW is far, far away from having the near-unfixable problems that WCW ultimately had during its final years, but there are some clear warning signs that Tony Khan needs to keep an eye on right now.
Here, then, are ten ways AEW risks - or, in some cases, already is - mirroring the lesser points of WCW.
10. AEW Rampage = WCW Thunder
Right now, AEW Rampage feels like completely unessential viewing.
Sure, the company's Friday night show will usually offer up solid matches and the occasional classic - see: Andrade vs. Rey Fenix, Eddie Kingston vs. Konosuke Takeshita, or Wheeler Yuta vs. Jon Moxley as prime examples - but in a wrestling world brimming with so much content, Rampage often seems easy to skip.
Even when there's a match with significant stakes - such as Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin in the ongoing tournament to crown a new AEW World Champion - the natural thought process of some is just to catch up with Rampage at some point down the line. More often than not, by sheer habit of missing those other nonconsequential Rampages, that "some point" never comes.
Given the age we're in, it doesn't help matters that most episodes of Rampage are taped on the Wednesday night directly after Dynamite, and thus spoilers often loiter out in the online ether.
For WCW, when it launched Thunder in 1998, there was an initial buzz about this second major weekly show. Unfortunately, that buzz soon dwindled down, ratings tanked, and Thunder was largely a mere afterthought as WCW filled it with matches and angles that would soon be reversed or have little impact on the larger storytelling for the company's biggest acts.
Still, the one thing Rampage has going for it that Thunder never did, is that the AEW show is only one hour as opposed to the two painful hours of WCW Thunder.