Should AEW Have Trios Championships?

More recently, particularly with the purchase of Ring Of Honor by Tony Khan, there was more speculation about potential six man or trios tag titles being introduced into All Elite Wrestling. I’m sure some will disagree with me on this, but I find the entire concept to be way more problematic than it’s worth, and any possible payoff of another set of championships will be minimal at best.

Advocates for the lucha-inspired belts claim that it will help feature the more of extensive roster under contract, but I would say the much bigger problem is the roster itself. As I’ve written before, it’s legitimately wonderful when a performer can realize their dream of a national contract, but the harsh reality is that not everyone, even those with the talent, will always have a chance to land that major deal. It’s just not realistic to showcase dozens of extra talents, and that doesn’t take anything away from their ability to perform inside the ring either. Keep in mind, the vast majority of wrestling fans, even those that watch Dynamite every week, have a limited amount of pro wrestling content they are going to watch at any given time. The proof of this is that the ratings for Rampage, by nature the secondary show on the AEW schedule, garners roughly half of the viewership of Dynamite. Granted, there’s a very niche demographic of the fan base that will watch as much pro wrestling as possible, but that’s the most diehard audience, and quite frankly, AEW’s target audience has to be much more broad than that. This is why I mentioned in an article a few weeks ago that the biggest asset from the Ring Of Honor purchase is the video library because in an era when big money is on the table for streaming services, Tony Khan just bought the rights to hundreds of full-length events and episodes of television. The “brand” of ROH in 2022 is minimal at best, which is ultimately why Sinclair Broadcast put the company on hiatus before the sale to Khan. If ROH had effective drawing power, the acquisition of the organization wouldn’t even have been a possibility.

So, yes, theoretically, Tony Khan could book a trios title, but what platform does the company showcase this championship? Clearly, Dynamite and Rampage aren’t enough time for the extensive roster so unless there are the Youtube shows or ROH events, is there really a place for a trios title among the AEW landscape? Instead of using the bloated roster as an excuse to justify the trios belts, the more logical approach would be to trim down the roster to a more realistic number so that very talented athletes aren’t lost in the shuffle. Again, where are Jay Lethal and Miro?

More importantly, by definition, a six man championship dilutes the traditional tag team title belts, especially when you consider that the style of the vast majority of the AEW tag team matches are very similar to the style of the trios matches that have already happened on AEW television so it would become a very repetitive concept.

Furthermore, there are very few times in the history of American pro wrestling that the trios titles as a concept got over with the audience or elevates those that were booked around it. More specific, it was often because the six man title had to be tailored to a certain feud rather than the concept itself. The best example is when the Von Erichs vs. The Free birds rivalry was the peak of the World Class territory, when the six man belts only added to the main event program that drew the best crowds for the organization until it fizzled out in the late-80s.

The simple question is, is there a demand for a trios division?

If a trios division will draw numbers and make bigger stars along the way then it makes sense to introduce the belts, but does the six man tag match have that much notoriety in the United States? Yes, trios matches have an extensive history in Mexico, but realistically, do enough American fans know about that for it to translate to TBS? Ultimately, the six man tag is known for an use to book stars in a filler main event on random episodes of Raw rather than a classic staple of American wrestling. The biggest hurdle for a trios division to matter is that it’s almost too “inside baseball” so to speak for the main stream audience. The records kept in pro wrestling are rather flimsy because there will usually be a portion of the roster that ends up with something near a .500 record so they look mediocre in the process. Would adding a “trios record” to the stats really have a purpose or does it became a minuscule detail that most viewers don’t put much stock into anyway?

Finally, and as I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, I’m not in favor of a six man title, and unless AEW would be able to showcase the division in such a way to differentiate it from the traditional tag division then the concept would only lead to diminishing returns across the board. The lucha enthusiastic might see it as a very cool addition to the product, but I think it’s extremely important to keep in mind that while All Elite focuses on a pro wrestling presentation rather than selling sports entertainment, which is why it found a place among the landscape of the industry, the goal still has to be to draw the main stream audience. National television, a national touring schedule, merchandise in retail stores, and all the potential revenue streams associated with them are only successful if the company is marketed toward the most main stream audience possible.

What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.

Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

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