Report: AEW Plagued With Widespread Backstage Negativity

New report sheds light on the complex backstage situation in AEW.

Sleepy Tony Khan

AEW is reportedly fraught with backstage negativity at the moment, with low ticket sales, a high-profile departure, and growing AEW vs. WWE sentimental among the potential causes.

Dave Meltzer stated as much on Wrestling Observer Radio, claiming to have heard "a lot of negativity" from people within AEW. Ticket sales were cited as one of the reasons, with last week's Collision (drawing just 2,258 fans in Eerie, PA) mentioned specifically. Generally, AEW's live event business in 2023 has been characterised by marked year-over-year declines in the majority of markets it has visited.

Kevin Sullivan's sudden dismissal as Vice President of Post Production has caused problems. Meltzer states that people within AEW were surprised and unhappy, with the situation contributing to the feeling that AEW is changing.


Former WWE executive, Michael Mansury, made the call to let Sullivan go. Now, there is a sentiment that AEW brought Mansury in from AEW and gave him the ability to get rid of Sullivan, fuelling existing WWE-related tension. Within AEW, there is a feeling of ex-WWE names coming in and taking spots from existing AEW personnel. Meltzer likened the situation to the recent Outsiders vs. AEW originals program, but played out in real life, behind the scenes.

AEW's large talent roster has created a shortage of available television time, leading to those missing out on exposure getting frustrated. Britt Baker is amongst the names to publically call this situation out recently; Meltzer said that while he wasn't directly referencing Baker, she would fall into this category.


AEW's economic future was described as "worrisome." While the company is bringing in strong revenue figures at the moment, ratings and attendances (particularly when compared with WWE) have dipped over the past 18 months. Currently, this month's Worlds End pay-per-view is the only AEW show with high ticket advances, along with August's Wembley Stadium return with All In. The rest of AEW's shows are struggling to shift tickets in advance, though the promotion's ability to sell seats through late deals means there isn't yet a sense of panic.

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Andy has been with WhatCulture for six years and is currently WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A writer, presenter, and editor with 10+ years of experience in online media, he has been a sponge for all wrestling knowledge since playing an old Royal Rumble 1992 VHS to ruin in his childhood. Having previously worked for Bleacher Report, Andy specialises in short and long-form writing, video presenting, voiceover acting, and editing, all characterised by expert wrestling knowledge and commentary. Andy is as much a fan of 1985 Jim Crockett Promotions as he is present-day AEW and WWE - just don't make him choose between the two.