All Elite Wrestling is already creating their own identity after just a handful of shows in their short history. Unlike other promotions to fail in having their own identity, like Impact Wrestling in prior years, AEW has won over a fan base that wants to see the promotion for their own merit rather than being a secondary WWE-lite program. The few shows to ready take place for AEW have already added some interesting changes that fans expect from wrestling due to WWE's high standard.
We will look at just what the promotion is doing to differentiate themselves from the WWE world. They range from simple rule changes in the matches to presentation differences to everything in between. The entire team is hoping to stray away from WWE’s style to win over fans frustrated with the product or those that just want something different. These are ten things AEW is already doing differently than WWE.
The WWE tag team division has been struggling since the days of Edge and Christian, the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz. Matt Hardy claims that Vince McMahon is so set on finding the next top singles stars that he has ignored tag team wrestling for decades now.
AEW is already proving to be different in their presentation. There have been multiple tag team matches on the shows so far for the company. Top teams like the Young Bucks, SCU, the Lucha Brothers, Best Friends all provide credibility. They have even introduced new teams like Private Party, the Super Smash Bros and Jack Evans & Angelico for incredible depth.
WWE’s long-term booking has been a huge problem for the product in recent years. Fans can detect the nature of the company putting things together as they go with no vision for months in advance. AEW has made a huge effort to make long-term booking part of their product.
The two biggest matches for All Out in Chicago will have over three months of build. Chris Jericho vs Adam Page was announced at Double or Nothing with each of their wins setting up the bout. Meanwhile, the battles of Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley to end the first two shows will lead to their huge match at All Out.
The finish of a time limit draw can be quite polarizing to wrestling fans. Many will complain about not getting a decisive winner while others will welcome it in the right setting. AEW let fans know that time limit draws are possible after the Fyter Fest show.
Rising young star Darby Allin and Cody Rhodes went to a 20-minute draw in their match and it worked out perfectly. Allin earned the respect of new fans seeing him go the distance with a top name in the company while Cody did not take the loss. Productive time limit draws may occasionally return in AEW.
WWE’s use of their legends has been quite disappointing in recent years. Things like Goldberg vs Undertaker leading to a humiliating match or Shawn Michaels coming out of retirement for a stinker of a match prove that maybe legends shouldn’t be used too much in a promotion.
AEW has made their moments with legends mean a little more. Jim Ross gets a special entrance when coming to call the main show after the pre-show ends. Bret Hart was used as the legend to introduce the AEW Championship in a fun segment. Even full-time wrestlers like Dustin Rhodes and Chris Jericho are shining in AEW.
The Young Bucks, Cody Rhodes and Kenny Omega quickly established that they were going to have a count out count similar to New Japan and Ring of Honor rather than WWE. AEW’s 20-count gives the competitor enough time to get back into the ring before a count out ends the match.
WWE one is the few promotions that commits to the 10-count to keep the audience’s attention. AEW however felt they wanted to go with the more sports-like approach of having a longer count to give the athletes enough time to recover.
AEW is scheduled to start airing live on TNT during the Fall, but they are still trying to get storylines across without television. The YouTube shows of Being the Elite and Road to certain shows have allowed the company to build characters, storylines and matches on the internet.
Tye Dillinger’s anger towards Cody Rhodes started when Cody referred to him as a “good hand” in one of the Road to Fyter Fest shows. Other wrestlers like MJF, Adam Page and Jungle Boy are making their names online leading to their start on television soon.
AEW’s Tony Khan provided a great insight into the future of the company by stating wins and losses will matter unlike most other promotions. Khan’s background in analytics for sports teams means he’s well-versed in the importance of statistics.
The early start to AEW is already showing the wins and losses matter as Chris Jericho and Adam Page winning matches gave them the advancement to their match to crown the first AEW Champion. Wrestlers that win will get bigger opportunities while losing wrestlers must rebound.
WWE has tried to create a diverse wrestler, but talents that don’t speak English like Asuka and Kairi Sane suffer on the main roster. AEW is trying to accept the wrestlers for their strengths without trying to change their presentation for perceived weaknesses.
Japanese wrestlers like Yuka Sakazaki, Hikaru Shida and Riho are already standing out after a few appearances. Talented independent names like Nyla Rose, Kylie Rae and Britt Baker also showcase the importance of the rising stars. AEW has compelling women’s matches while introducing new characters to positive results.
Many wrestling fans have been upset at WWE for the lack of fun set designs in recent years. WWE used to have an elaborate set for every PPV that provided a fun atmosphere for the show. This ended a few years ago with WWE wanting to save money by having similar sets each show.
AEW is already proving to be a bit more unique with the designs. Fyter Fest featured tents and beach items to play into the Fyter Festival parody. Double or Nothing was even better with Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega fighting on top of the casino chips prop to close the show.
A constant complaint about WWE is that most of the same people will always be in the main event picture with few new talents getting the chance. AEW has already set the tone that they are ready to build around young stars that are unproven at a top level.
Adam Page is scheduled to main event the company’s biggest show yet against a legend like Chris Jericho for the AEW Championship. Fyter Fest featured Joey Janela having the biggest match of his career main eventing against Jon Moxley. Young stars will get the opportunity to run with the ball in AEW if the first few shows are a sign of things to come.