AEW Roster: The Story (So Far) Of All Its Talent Signings & Releases

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Added: Bobby Fish, Tony Nese, Ariya Daivari & Jay Lethal

With a roster comprising 164 names, and only 3 hours of airtime on Dynamite & Rampage, it feels like AEW will have to think about letting some go soon. It can’t keep signing talent in this way, because eventually, it will have to do what WWE has been doing since April 2020. Although, the difference between AEW & WWE is that it allows wrestlers to work elsewhere, so they can provide for themselves and families.

Conclusion

It’s crazy how the roster has grown. When you think about how it was in 2019 to what it is now, there are many more former WWE Superstars. However, none of them are champions in AEW. Look at the list. We have Hangman Page, Britt Baker, the Lucha Brothers & Sammy Guevara. What most people point out, though, which is perfectly valid, is that Cody, Jericho and others said AEW would not become another TNA by signing so many former superstars. However, could you ever imagine WWE releasing as many talents as they have?

WWE was hoarding all the names it could, so no one could have them. Even if they weren’t planning on using them, it would keep them on because they could afford it. They probably could still pay for that if they really wanted, but it’s not good business sense. It’s not the only game in town, so you can’t play those same games anymore. Talent have an alternative, so they aren’t as desperate to sign, not unless the money is ridiculous. So WWE changed their philosophy, not because they can’t afford it, but because it no longer holds that advantage over every other wrestling company.


However, I’m worried about Tony Khan’s recent comments about profit.


“Anyone who signs a contract (in WWE) these days, is not signing a real contract. It’s a temporary arrangement. People who come wrestle with me, a lot of these people are frankly lifers and they know that. There are some people who are here, who work really hard and there are some people who come in and work more than really hard and I feel like is their actual life and will be with me for the rest of my life. I don’t know if everybody who works for my competition can say that. I think there are people who work there and they aren’t sure they will be there next week.

“There is a lot more security with a contract here. I can’t say I’m going to extend every contract or bring every person back, but I also haven’t been doing mass layoffs. I’m not the most profitable company of all time, I don’t brag about being the most profitable company of all time. I do brag about bringing in a lot of revenue for a start up and being a real success story.

Promotions like WCW & ECW did not try hard enough to focus on profit margins, and where are they now? You should not be admitting to a lack of profits. Fair enough, you have Shahid’s fat pockets to back you up if something goes wrong, but any solid business should provide for itself. AEW should put all of its efforts in to making it as profitable as possible. I don’t think signing hundreds of wrestlers for a show which could be produced with half of that is logical. He says many of the signings are “lifers”, which again, it sounds like he isn’t ruthless enough to cut people for the sake of the company.

There will come a point when the numbers mean more than the individuals. He wants to make this a family affair, but do you think Vince McMahon built WWE on that philosophy? There’s a genuine concern here. While Tony is admirable in the way he wants to take care of everybody, he has the job of ensuring the growth of profit margins. How can it ever challenge WWE if it struggles with that? It never will, when that should be the aim. If you want to be dangerous, you need to do what WCW couldn’t do. You need a business mind which sure, take care of your employees, but don’t overdo it. If the AEW roster continues to grow at this rate, it will be unsustainable. The negative effects will become more apparent.

I’m a big fan of WWE, AEW, and professional wrestling. Having this alternative is super healthy for the fans and talent, and it should remain so for decades to come. As AEW grows, it is important to take the right steps. Don’t overstep your bounds and recognize when you’re taking too much out of an opportunity. WWE handed you all these talents on a plate, which doesn’t mean you should feed too hard on that. There’s already enough homegrown “pillars” AEW could live off for years.


Maybe I’m wrong? Do you think AEW should calm down with its signings? Or should they keep going? Who would you bring in, if anyone? With that said, I hope you enjoyed this, and I thank you very much for reading! See you again soon.


Also Read: Wrestling With Stress, Judgment, Escapism & Mental Health

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