Taking A Look At WWE vs. AEW

Once upon a time, WWE looked to have a formidable foe in AEW. When AEW was first announced in January 2019, there was some promise for the future—a future where WWE would not be the only ticket in town and might have competition to be the # 1 promotion in the world.

A billionaire’s son with unlimited funds who can compete with the WWE and afford to hire just about anyone! This was made clear with the signing of Cody Rhodes, Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, & Chris Jericho.

There was even more promise after a TV deal emerged with TNT in May, the same month as their initial pay-per-view Double or Nothing, which included the introduction of Jon Moxley to the company.

AEW’s first episode of Dynamite aired on October 2nd, 2019, bringing in 1.409 million viewers. It was a vastly different look from the usual Vince McMahon scripted and micromanaged WWE that was losing more and more viewers.

Unfortunately, the buzz and popularity of AEW ended rather quickly. AEW saw its first three weeks with over 1 million viewers. A feat that they would only reach two other times up until CM Punk made his debut on April 21st, 2021.

AEW enjoyed 1 million viewers a few more times until the February 23rd, 2023 episode. This episode would be the last time AEW hit the 1 million viewer mark.

While AEW sometimes shows promise, like at events such as the inaugural Grand Slam in Queens, NY, and All In at Wembley Stadium in London, it has failed to deliver in a way that would attract more viewers long-term.

It is not that the company doesn’t have talent. Their World Champion of 2023, MJF, was one of the biggest stars in wrestling, along with rising stars like Swerve Strickland and Kris Statlander. Through the years, they added names like Bryan Danielson, Adam Copeland, Christian Cage, Samoa Joe, and Sting; however, they still struggle to improve in ratings.

Now, let’s give credit where credit is due. AEW opened doors for wrestlers and gave them options where none existed before. They also allow their talent to compete at other wrestling promotions, something that was never allowed by the old regime at WWE, even though wrestlers are considered independent contractors. 

In addition, Khan has also bought and kept Ring Of Honor going, where younger talent and stars have an opportunity to show what they can do. 

However, many are speculating that the lack of leadership and experienced booking has led to AEW’s continued decline. As months go by, the direction AEW is headed is becoming more evident, with no change in site.

AEW had two of the biggest stars in wrestling, Cody Rhodes and CM Punk. Both of them are prospering now in WWE. Is that a coincidence? 

One of the most significant differences between AEW and WWE is how it runs as a business. With Paul “Triple H” Levesque running things, he has managed to engage the entire wrestling audience, no matter the demographics. AEW continues to appeal to one type of wrestling fan.

Despite the horrible accusations and lawsuits against Vince McMahon and some executives, WWE has still managed to sell out arenas and increase their ratings. Something AEW has trouble doing.

Looking at the facts and controversies handled by both organizations in the past few months, it is not hard to see which company is perceived as the top and which one is secondary.

CM Punk talked about his time at AEW on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, which sparked Tony Khan to air a video of the altercation between CM Punk and Jack Perry at AEW All In last year.

Triple H said on the Pat McAfee show that if people do not want to be part of this new revolution and would rather enjoy a more manageable schedule, then WWE doesn’t want them, which caused Will Ospreay to cut a promo, taking a shot at Triple H.

WWE and its talent are trying to maintain a professional way of talking and acting, but AEW reacts entirely differently. AEW’s responses appear to be immediate, emotional, and unthought-out.

The disappointing yet harsh reality is that a contest that seemed very competitive at first, when you break it down and time goes on, doesn’t appear to be a contest at all!

What do you think? Share your thoughts, opinions, feedback, and anything else that was raised on Twitter @PWMania and Facebook.com/PWMania.