Just like the WWE New Year’s Resolutions broke down some of the things I’m hoping the superstars and management work on in 2021, it’s time to turn our attention to the All Elite Wrestling brand.
Typically, I try to pass off some of these as just humorous and not all that serious. However, this year, I only have legitimate ideas of what I’m hoping AEW will consider working on to fix in 2021.
Without further ado, here are my resolutions I’d suggest Tony Khan and co take into consideration this year.
Listen to Jim Ross Sometimes
I’m not the type of person who subscribes to the idea that you can only criticize if you’ve done something. “What the hell do you know about wrestling? How many matches have you had?” – Well, I’m not a professional chef, but I have every right to criticize a restaurant that gives me an overcooked steak, don’t I?
Jim Ross is not a 10x world champion, but he’s been around the business forever. He has some opinions I disagree with, but he does have some insights I think are being lost in the shuffle just because people don’t want to take his constructive criticism to heart as it pertains to them. Suddenly, he goes from “one of the best minds for the business” to “some old coot who doesn’t know what he’s talking about” when he’s telling you that you’re doing something wrong.
I fully agree with him the superkick parties and the spots of everyone standing around waiting to catch someone need to stop. They’re not fun anymore. I don’t even react to a suicide dive because I’ve already seen it 4 other times in the same night. So why bother doing it and risking your safety if it doesn’t get a pop worthy of it?
AEW can stay with the more work-rate-based wrestling style in comparison to WWE, but that doesn’t mean everything should get progressively more and more choreographed with no-selling and setting up for maneuvers taking priority over storytelling. Cody Rhodes has it down the best, in my opinion, where his matches feel like more than just a series of stunts. I’d like to see more effort put into finding reasons to do moves, rather than just “it will look cool to do X and then Y and then Z.”
No More Immediate Main Event Pushes
AEW has quickly developed a habit of bringing someone into the company, immediately pushing them toward the top, having them fight for the world title and then having no idea what to do with them when they lose.
Brian Cage is a perfect example. He came in, won a title shot, lost to Jon Moxley and has limped on with nothing substantial ever since. He just carries around the FTW Championship as if that means anything, but doesn’t have a true feud that can last more than a few weeks outside of Darby Allin.
Miro was an exception to this. However, he fell victim to a dumb gimmick, so it’s not as though he’s in a better spot.
With the next big names they sign, I’d like to see AEW take it slow. Start that person off in a noteworthy enough feud, but not with the world champion. Then, over the course of at least 4 months, you can build them up to that point if they’re ready and it makes sense.
Most importantly, don’t pull that trigger on the main event shot until you have an idea of what to do with them afterward. They need a means to bounce back and not just fade into obscurity.
Leave WCW in the past
Cody Rhodes obviously has a certain reverence for WCW based on his father’s history with the company. However, AEW is an entirely different company, rather than the entity picking up the scraps.
WWE owns most of WCW. The little bits that have fallen through the cracks aren’t things AEW should try to grab because this company should not be WCW 2.0 by any means. It has to be its own thing.
Trying to take Bash at the Beach, for instance, wasn’t necessary. There isn’t that much notoriety to the name for casual fans right now that would give it significant enough value. At the very least, a worthwhile comparison to make is whether you’d rather convince fans you’re picking up where WCW left off or if you’d rather create your own thing and own the trademark outright.
You’ll never own the footage to the WCW events from the past, so why bother?
I don’t like the Blood & Guts name, but it’s basically WarGames. That’s the way to go about it. Do similar ideas, but brand it something new and potentially give it its own twist. Don’t just get the WCW announcers, old WCW stars, use the WCW event names and so on and then expect people not to think this promotion is starting to remind them of the old one that failed.
Also, side note: cool it on the gambling motif. Not everything needs to be named Casino Battle Royal, Casino Ladder Match, Double or Nothing, Deadly Draw, etc. We don’t need “AEW All Bets Are Off” and “AEW Roll the Dice” and “AEW Jackpot” and so on.
Trim Down on AEW Dark / Sort Out AEW Elevation
I already spoke about this in a Quick Takes post, but I so desperately want AEW Dark to stop being 2.5 hours long with matches that have blatantly obvious outcomes.
It carries no interest for me to see Jack Evans against Guy Who Will Clearly Lose wrestle for 15 minutes. Just skip to the jobber taking the loss. Don’t do that for 16 matches per show, either. It’s only really interesting when there’s a chance it could go either way.
The only way to pull that off is to make AEW Elevation the show where the younger talent who are all on the same level compete, where either man/woman/team can be victorious, and then have AEW Dark as the type of show where it features the leftover matches they didn’t have room for on Dynamite. That way, the bigger names can be on that program for just a few matches (ideally 2-3) and the other stars can get their reps in on Elevation.
Penta El Cero Originalidad
Okay, this one isn’t as serious as the others, but it needs to be said. Penta needs to get a new catchphrase or at the very least, stop saying the same damn one a million times.
By the time the entrance theme plays, I’ve heard “cero miedo” about 15 times. Then, he does it multiple times per match. And it’s his ring name. I GET IT, ALREADY. It’s time for some new material to freshen things up a bit.