Triple H's WWE Vs. Tony Khan's AEW: Which Is Better?

Dynamite or Raw? SmackDown or Rampage? WrestleMania or Double Or Nothing?

Triple H Tony Khan

The hardcore WWE fans will say that WWE is better, while the hardcore AEW fans will say that AEW is better. Or "WWE better/AEW better" if they are particularly f*cking obnoxious. That's just the way it goes.

There's no nuance to their arguments, nor are they worth debating. A good faith debate however has raged across the wrestling fandom since Vince McMahon retired in disgrace: is Triple H's WWE the cooler, perhaps even better promotion?

In the strange way that wrestling often works - it's such a tremendous storytelling medium even when it isn't trying to tell a story - at the exact same time that Triple H's vision of WWE made an impression on enough fans to form a narrative of across-the-board improvement, Tony Khan began to receive flak from the more discerning quarters of his fanbase.

He introduced too many titles. His finishes went to carny, inconclusive sh*t. He halted the momentum of too many acts. He developed a bizarre fascinating with booking reliable if not hugely exciting talents on most television shows while, at the same time, failing to book more compelling talents that he didn't want to win too often lest they intrude on his full upper midcard main event scenes.

WWE still benefits from the atrocious curve that is its own dismal history - but in a fair fight, who actually wins the battle of best mainstream US promotion...?

8. Ratings

Triple H Tony Khan

WWE is the obvious winner of what, ultimately, is the most important battle in the pro wrestling war: the Nielsen ratings. Without TV, both leagues are knackered.

Now, WWE's head-start has much to do with this - but it's a win that can't just be attributed to it being good once upon a time and retaining just enough undiscerning viewers to eke out victory by a small margin. AEW had a chance to overtake Raw amid the incredible hype generated by the awesome, almost impossible dream-like promise of the All Out '22 pay-per-view, and for two weeks, they did.

If the goal was to actually beat the WWE flagship, they f*cked their best opportunity to do it because there'll never again be a situation in which stars the level of CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole become available within months of one another.

AEW books its rotating cast patiently, on slow-burn arcs, as part of which CM Punk worked very close matches with relative unknowns to get the point across that he wasn't yet as sharp as he'd like to be. Because he was inactive for seven years. This, perhaps, is where that momentum was lost. WWE, even if they don't book satisfying finishes, book all-star matches in which the fixed core of name acts known to the audience interact exclusively with one another. AEW thought WWE would run out of matches, but evidently, the instant gratification of WWE booking, in which very little is teased and saved, works as a ratings tactic.

WWE is simply better at giving their fans what they want more of the time than AEW. That is a demonstrable fact proven time and time again.

Winner: WWE

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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: