Tuesday, April 16, 2024
EditorialAEW 2023 New Year Resolutions: Title Reigns, Signings & More

AEW 2023 New Year Resolutions: Title Reigns, Signings & More



Just like the WWE New Year’s Resolutions broke down some of the things I’m hoping the superstars and management work on in 2023, 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 2023.

Without further ado, here are my resolutions I’d suggest Tony Khan and co take into consideration this year.

Nip the Backstage Bickering in the Bud

One of the big lessons learned (hopefully) from 2022 is that people sometimes need to be fired, not everyone can be friends but they should be able to be coworkers, and that Tony Khan needs a firmer foot to put down at times.

The backstage issues with CM Punk and The Elite should have been solved way before they got to the point they did. But no matter what, when Punk started going off on the media scrum the way he did, Khan should have stepped in, told him to shut up and that they would address that later. Sitting there dumbfounded didn’t help the situation. It just made Khan look less competent as Punk’s boss—almost as if Punk was the one truly in charge.

More steps need to continue to be taken to establish a better leadership. It seems that’s been happening over recent months, but we still don’t know how that looks or if that’s the best setup. They might need to work out the kinks; and they should.

On top of that, egos need to be put in check. For a few years, it seemed AEW was operating on this idea that anyone and their buddies could potentially get a job and they’d all have a lot of creative freedom and potentially be high up on the card. Don’t tell me Joey Janela wasn’t booked like a main event talent at start, for instance.

But AEW Creative needs to be a thing. A core group of writers/bookers/producers/whatever you want to call them are responsible for setting up what is on screen and what is to come out of these storylines. They can and should take lots of notes and input from the talent themselves, but it should still be established that those are suggestions, not demands.

No one should think they’re bulletproof, and if there isn’t a strike system in place, there should be. Otherwise, you’re fostering a culture where it’s okay for Sammy Guevara and Eddie Kingston to scuffle after some mood swings. Minor issues are one thing, but you can’t just allow that to happen until something gets out of hand, like All Out.

If a talent is particularly miserable there—seemingly like Andrade might be—let them go if you don’t truly have plans for them to be worthwhile. Hoarding talent for little value is just going to make them bitter and cause more problems.

Here’s hoping AEW rolls into 2023 with a renewed sense of rules in place that prevent all the behavioral problems from 2022 from happening again.

Fully Move on from Interim Championships

2022 was clearly an experimentation year with the idea of having interim champions. It hadn’t been done before in AEW and was housed entirely from the very beginning of this year with Cody Rhodes and Sammy Guevara, carried over into CM Punk and Jon Moxley, following into Thunder Rosa’s transition to Toni Storm and Jamie Hayter.

It doesn’t work. At least, not the same as it does in other sports. Even that is questionable.

Professional wrestling has storylines and is fiction. You can write around injuries, have people vacate championships and come back to regain them, and even stall for time differently than in boxing or MMA.

Having an interim champion, only to position that person as “not the real champion” makes them look worse to the fans. So you have to have them beat the lineal champion, most likely, to undo that. But then, you’ve defeated the purpose of having an interim champion in the first place, as the original champion could have just vacated the belt and made this all much cleaner.

It seems Tony Khan’s learned his lesson and opted not to do this anymore, based on how he retroactively made Storm’s title reign a legitimate one. I’m hoping that in 2023, they’re done experimenting, and if anyone falls victim to an injury that will put them out of action for a long enough time, they just relinquish the title properly.

Disband The Andrade Family Office / Figure That Faction Out Already

I had “Disband The Hardy Family Office” as a resolution for 2022. How is this convoluted garbage still around and even messier than before?!

Even though this seems like it should have been nixed already, there are still lingering teams happening from within the group.

AEW’s roster page on the website is terrible. They don’t update it frequently enough or have some information for some people, so you can’t judge based on that alone to see if a tag team is still unofficially associated with each other or anything.

Private Party and Matt Hardy need to be a trio or completely separate. The Butcher, The Blade and The Bunny shouldn’t have any allies. I don’t see why Preston Vance is tied in with these guys. What’s up with Jora Johl? Angelico should either be solo, find a new teammate now that Jack Evans is gone, or leave AEW entirely.

How can we have a sustainable faction revolving around Andrade when Andrade might not even stick around? But at least if he does, it should just be Andrade, Rush, Jose Garcia and whoever you want to bring in for La Faccion Ingobernable.

Just clean this mess up.

Fix the Women’s Division Already

Speaking of cleaning up messes, it’s well past time to silence the critics of the women’s division by putting in more effort.

This is three-fold:

1) You need to have a good enough roster to work with. Far too many women in this division just aren’t all that fantastic enough to hold down the fort. For instance, I don’t think losing someone like Abadon or Yuka Sakazaki for months on end ever was even noticed by most people. You can’t rely on outsiders, nor can you just have everything revolve around Britt Baker all the time. Arguably, maybe you shouldn’t have two women’s titles if you don’t have enough talent to go around for one of them.

2) Put more time into the programs. People are going to time your segments and call you out. Not only should you do more to avoid that, but you can’t expect to build up some of these characters and the division as a whole if you don’t invest in it.

3) It would probably go a long way if you could build up enough steam to have a women’s match main event a pay-per-view. You just need to make sure that isn’t a completely random thing, but something that is actually earned. It would earn you a lot of good will.

Do a Better Job with Forbidden Door 2

I don’t think what we got for Forbidden Door this first time was anything at all close to the original intention. Of course, injuries get in the way of that stuff here and there. Those are unavoidable most of the time.

But I also felt like they didn’t have much of a solid card in mind and were just sort of winging it, not necessarily agreeing with the other side of the booking committee, and figured that it would sell itself no matter what was on the lineup.

What I want to see is for AEW to go at least one, if not two pay-per-views in mind beforehand, to settle on some concrete ideas. Sign the contracts in advance and get your agreements in place before you start teasing stuff. I don’t want to see “maybe The Bullet Club and The Elite will do something?” up until the week of the show.

Give Me a Reason to Care about Ring of Honor

When Tony Khan first announced he was purchasing Ring of Honor, I was excited. I’m not an ROH fan, so I figured this would be a good way to blend those two together and could mean some great talent would come over.

By the end of 2022, we’re looking at a situation where nobody seems to want the ROH show, so Khan is stuck putting it on Honor Club mostly because he already said he wouldn’t put it on YouTube. But it’s effectively the same thing, except you’ll have even less eyes, as YouTube’s free and I’m not paying $10 to watch this.

That’s because most of the talent involved haven’t wowed me unless they’re mostly part of AEW. In that case, I’ll just watch AEW, not ROH. Problem solved, right?

Give me a reason to watch. Make it can’t-miss. And by that, I don’t mean “put AEW guys on the show and call it a day.” I mean do things differently from AEW so it doesn’t feel like AEW Dark, AEW Dark: Elevation and Ring of Honor are the same program, all being filmed out of the same location and featuring the same level of nobodies.

Wrestlers Tony Khan Should Sign to AEW or ROH

  • Pick up Brian Johnson for ROH, at least, if not AEW.
  • If Mandy Rose isn’t charging too high of a price, pick her up. She’s better than most of the AEW women’s division and will bring some more attention to the brand.
  • I don’t know if you need another veteran in this enhancement talent type role, but Trent Seven could be an asset.
  • Sam Gradwell and Kenny Williams are two from NXT UK I thought were super underutilized and have much more to offer. I’d rather see them in AEW than some of the talent that has stuck around and accomplished nothing.
  • Can you get James Storm?
  • Is there any chance you can steal some NJPW or Impact talent like Jeff Cobb?
  • Maybe Kalisto aka Samuray Del Sol?
  • Sasha Banks is the biggest “get” if that’s anywhere near viable. She’s worth the money.

Title Reigns I’d Like to See

  • Jungle Boy for the TNT Championship.
  • Adam Cole for the TNT Championship or the Trios Championship with Kyle O’Reilly and, if you can swing stealing Roderick Strong over from WWE. I don’t know about a third if not Strong, since Bobby Fish seems like a no-go.
  • I’d like to see Eddie Kingston win some gold this year, but I don’t know what could work best for him. Maybe the TNT Championship by default. Maybe the ROH Television Championship.
  • Lance Archer for the All-Atlantic Championship. Maybe Ethan Page, too.
  • Most would say Miro. I actually want him back in WWE.
  • Ricky Starks for ROH Pure champion or maybe even ROH world champion?
  • Powerhouse Hobbs should win something. TNT title could work. Maybe a tag team title run if he’s paired with the right person.
  • Serena Deeb has to win that ROH Women’s World Championship. C’mon.

Those are my suggestions, but what ideas do you have in mind, particularly for the wrestlers who didn’t make my list? Do you have any resolutions for yourself this year? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!

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