How AEW Saved (And RUINED) Wrestling

Kenny Omega El Hijo del Vikingo

Writing now, in March 2023, it has - subjectively - evolved into the best wrestling TV show ever. The match quality and range are out-of-this-world phenomenal. If you somehow weren't blown away by Kenny Omega Vs. El Hijo del Vikingo's physically impossible head drop festival, you must have loved Bryan Danielson and Bandido's tactical chess game. The promos are expressive, organic, outstanding. If personal issues draw money, a lot of people paid to watch CM Punk get his bloody revenge over MJF. If you prefer a more intricate, overlapping saga, the most recent chapter of the Elite "saga" is packed with mystery. Where does Konosuke Takeshita fit into it? Who's plotting against whom? Who's in on whatever Don Callis is scheming to do?

At its best, AEW isn't merely everything a disillusioned millennial fanbase asked for: it is a masterpiece factory. That should be an oxymoron. It isn't.

At Revolution 2023, yet another stellar, near-perfect four hours of pro wrestling that peaked to seminal tier, Excalibur put his promotion over as the destination of professional wrestling. It wasn't the first time AEW designated itself this way.

But is there a sense of... entitlement at play here?

Tony Khan was and is a hardcore wrestling fan with eclectic tastes. In some ways, he's the perfect booker, even if he doesn't always get the story right (and sometimes takes far too long when he does). He isn't Vince McMahon, who would only push a body guy if he could help it. He isn't Bill Watts, who valued toughness above all else. He isn't Antonio Inoki, who revered and demanded immaculate technique. He isn't Gabe Sapolsky, who at times was allergic to fun. He isn't Triple H, whose basics-first approach can often scan as very dry.

Khan is not doing what does to spitefully control pro wrestling with his own self-indulgent perception of it, but he is... hogging wrestling, if that makes any sense. AEW's USP is that it is a hub world for all of the industry.

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Writer, podcaster and editor. Deft Punk. Author of Becoming All Elite: The Rise of AEW, which is available to purchase at the following link: