All Elite Wrestling has a world of momentum just three shows with their biggest event yet coming on August 31st with All Out. The promotion provides strong optimism for the fans that want to have a viable product outside of the WWE bubble. AEW has checked the list of things needed for a true top company like a secure owner, strong roster and valuable television deal coming on TNT. However, there are still a few things to fix ahead of the weekly show starting.
The mix of strong positives and a few negatives have been associated with AEW in the first few shows viewed as a test run to get fans into the product before the bigger show starts. We will look at some of pros and cons the company has going for them in the early stages. These are five things AEW is already getting right along with another five things that must be fixed before the television show starts.
10 Getting right: Creating need for titles before titles
All Elite Wrestling is waiting to introduce most of its titles with the AEW World Championship as the only one to be crowned before the television deal starts. The tag team division is already hot creating the need for the titles.
AEW is also building their women’s division with the plans to introduce the physical title itself at All Out. There already appears to be a need for a secondary male title. All the titles already feel necessary before we even have seen a champion crowned.
9 Must fix: Brandi Rhodes as AEW's Stephanie McMahon
The big complaint about Brandi Rhodes’ character as the CBO already feels too similar to Stephanie McMahon’s WWE character. Many fans have been upset at Stephanie’s character having power and making the other wrestlers on the roster look weaker for it when interacting with her.
Allie is already the first victim of Brandi’s manipulation after Awesome Kong made a surprise appearance to help Brandi score her win. The resemblance of such a disliked wrestling trope is creating one of the first negative perceptions for AEW.
8 Getting right: International flavor
The roster of AEW features talent from all over the world. Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix are two of the top luchadors from Mexico making a huge impact already in the tag team division. The Joshi women from Japan are creating an important element of new and unique skills to the women’s division in the early stages.
There are even wrestlers like the Super Smash Brothers working in the United States for the first time in years thanks to AEW getting them work visas after they were blacklisted. The United Kingdom talent is strong as with most promotions today and the roster just keeps growing.
7 Must fix: Time management
AEW found some issues with the recent Fight for the Fallen show suffering from poor time management. The end of the show was rushed with the finishing promo interrupted to present a check to the community since the event was created for charitable reasons.
It did not help that most of the matches on the card were quite long. AEW World Championship contender Adam Page went almost to the time limit against relatively unknown Kip Sabian. The main event matches ran long, and the crowd seemed tired for most of it. AEW can’t risk having matches go too long or rush final segments with a television time slot.
6 Getting right: Extremely deep tag team division
The Young Bucks having Vice President roles in AEW confirmed that the tag team division would have more credibility than WWE. However, it is still surprising to see how many tag teams are looking good already before the show even starts.
Top teams like the Bucks, the Lucha Brothers, SCU and Best Friends made it instantly credible. The division is getting to the next level with new teams like Dark Order, Private Party and Jack Evans & Angelico finding relevance. Singles wrestlers Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy are starting to get over huge thanks to their new roles as a team to showcase the greatness of the division.
5 Must fix: Commentary issues
The three-man commentary team of Jim Ross, Excalibur and Alex Marvez have not connected through the early months of the company. Ross and Excalibur show great chemistry with JR bringing the credibility and Excalibur bringing the knowledge of knowing the talent.
Marvez stands out as the weak link that forces jokes to appeal to JR and often takes away from the matches. The commentary improved at Fyter Fest when video game personality Goldenboy replaced Marvez on the team. There may be a better role for Marvez, but it’s not on commentary.
4 Getting right: Mid-carders feel important
One problem with WWE in recent years is that the talent outside of the main event picture often feels interchangeable with nothing special. AEW is doing a tremendous job at creating reasons to care about the talents that aren’t as the main event level yet.
MJF is looking like the best heel in many years. The hardcore antics of Joey Janela makes him someone fans won’t easily forget. Other talents like Darby Allin, Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, veteran Cima and Sammy Guevara all have been put into the position to succeed for a booming mid-card division.
3 Must fix: Bad comedy not connecting
The comedic elements of Being the Elite played a huge role in AEW finding such early success. That doesn’t make it the right call to continue going with comedy that does not connect. The Librarian gimmicks for Peter Avalon and Leva Bates is one specific disliked act from the crowd that must end before television starts.
There are a few other negative moments of comedy not connecting with the crowd. Fyter Fest featured some rough segments of the Fyre Festival parody not working. AEW must ensure they filter out any of the overly obnoxious comedy ahead of television.
2 Getting right: Important feuds are treated seriously
AEW has done a good job creating importance in their important feuds in the early months. The serious nature of these storylines shows how the company wants to present their important matches. Shawn Spears brutally attacking Cody Rhodes set the tone for their feud in the bloody moment.
The top feud of Chris Jericho and Adam Page for the AEW Championship became serious after the two physical confrontations at Fight for the Fallen. AEW’s best instance of this featured the endings of Double or Nothing and Fyter Fest each having brawls between Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley to set up their major All Out match.
1 Must fix: Entrance themes
The generic entrance themes at AEW shows so far have been one of the negatives. A few wrestlers like Cody and the Young Bucks have strong theme songs that they’ve been using for some time since the songs were originally created for them. Chris Jericho gets to use his Fozzy them to success.
Other top stars like Kenny Omega, Jon Moxley and the Lucha Brothers could use an improved theme song heading into the television debut. The entrance songs are important to help making fans view new performers as a star on the biggest stage.