WWE and AEW will have a battle on their hands, and the month of June will represent that first challenge. The end of June will feature “B-Level” PPV’s from both promotions. And both cards are already taking shape and leaving us with a wonderful opportunity to have a wrestling debate over the two events and promotions. For the WWE the event is entitled Stomping Grounds. And for AEW the event is entitled Fyter Fest. So for this piece, we will debate four aspects of the two shows and promotions and then pick a winner, WWE or AEW.
The two match cards are close to being fully formed. Both currently have six matches slated for the event. The WWE card will boast five championship matches on the card. While AEW won’t feature any at all. So you would think that WWE would have the upper hand on the actual wrestling side, right? Well, you’d be wrong. Although there are five championship matches schedule they are all rematches from either Wrestlemania 35, Money in the Bank, Super Showdown, or in Bayley versus Alexa Bliss are terrible feud from 2017.
Now obviously the card for All Elite Wrestling is going to feel fresh. They are a new promotion that has only put on one pay-per-view event. However, the edge goes to AEW because the Stomping Grounds card feels like little to no effort was put into making it feel different. And that is symptomatic of WWE’s creative strategy over the last decade (if we’re honest.)
Match Card Edge: AEW
The WWE Network is extremely affordable and would usually edge out any an all competition in this category. But this time that’s not the case. As AEW’s Fyter Fest will be streaming FREE on BRLive on June 29th. However, as we know, the WWE Network is free for thirty days to new subscribers. So for this aspect of the debate, both events could be free from each promotion. Thus leaving us with a draw in terms of price point for both events.
Event Pricing: Push
This aspect of the debate can be a difficult one to quantify depending on your method of gauging interest. However, in this case, it all comes down to perspective. AEW is fresh and new, as we previously stated. WWE is the stalwart in terms of years of domination of a business they don’t claim. (WWE claims to be Sports Entertainment, not Pro Wrestling.) But when it comes to interest in the WWE product (whatever WWE calls it), it is waning. People are losing interest in WWE and their incoherent and inconsistent booking. And that is what gives AEW the nod.
Interest Edge: AEW
I understand the arguments that are going to be made. AEW has yet to put on a weekly episodic television product. Booking and producing five hours of television a week is very difficult. WWE has to keep their sponsors happy. And yes, all of that is fine and well, but it’s all excuses. WWE’s inconsistent and incoherent booking isn’t about any of those excuses. Their lack of interest doesn’t even come from being a “PG” product. (For everyone who’s going to say go back to the Attitude Era. Not everything was gold during that time either.)
But booking pro wrestling for an audience in 2019 has to be something different than it was in the 1980s. Booking wrestling now has to be different than the 1990s or 2000s because it’s a diverse audience that is absorbing it now. Meaning booking of the next generation of pro wrestling cannot be left to a 73-year-old man. Besides, he’s not in pro wrestling; he’s in “Sports Entertainment.” It’s time pro wrestling came back to the fans. And that’s what All Elite Wrestling is doing with their pro wrestling show.
Booking Edge: AEW
Allow me to take a quick detour before we conclude. I am not looking to bash WWE. I have been a WWE fan my entire life. Throughout the Monday Night Wars, I was team WWE all the way. I barely knew what was happening on Monday Nitro. However, the days where WWE put on a coherent and worthwhile product on Raw and Smackdown seem to be behind us. And that is where my issue comes in with WWE.
What has me so excited for All Elite Wrestling even before Double of Nothing was the fact that the people in charge of AEW, seem to be genuine pro wrestling fans still. Vince McMahon has been at the helm of a “Sports Entertainment” empire for decades. And burnout has to be a real thing. There is no doubt in my mind that Vince works his tail off to put on a good product. The issue is what is viewed as good to a 73-year-old sports entertainment promoter isn’t what’s good to a pro wrestling fan today. AEW has a very long way to go to knock WWE off the throne. But until a shift in the mentality atop the WWE changes, AEW will usurp the king with their legion of die-hards.