In the wake of a week that saw Brodie Lee and Broken Matt Hardy make their AEW debuts, a familiar, toxic - and incredibly dumb - criticism has resurfaced.
Perhaps its such a tiny sub-swamp on Twitter and in comments sections, magnified by the loudest and most obnoxious, that it isn't worth addressing. Perhaps those who curl it out are resistant to changing their mind, and of course, the thing about people with sh*t for brains is that they don't know they have sh*t for brains, because they have sh*t for brains. The criticism is so loud, if not pervasive, that the urge to correct it is intense.
It's both a criticism and accusation: AEW is bad or uninspired or pathetic or all of that because it books talent formerly contracted by WWE in key positions.
There's a certain dissonance between AEW's recruitment model and messaging, and this perhaps strengthens the resolve of the troll. That will be covered imminently, but first consider a simple core principle: AEW is a pro wrestling promotion that it is legally free to - and in order to make sure it succeeds, probably should - use the best available talent.
WWE monopolises professional wrestling, but WWE doesn't own professional wrestling. WWE did not create professional wrestling. AEW is free to recruit any pro wrestler and market them as an AEW talent, much like WWE is free to recruit wrestlers from the independent scene and change barely a thing about their persona beyond their copyrighted theme.