When AEW was launched, Cody Rhodes mentioned that the company would not be competing with WWE. Last week Shad Khan said that All Elite Wrestling isn’t competing with the WWE. Earlier this week, AEW World Heavyweight Champion, Chris Jericho also stated that AEW isn’t competing with the biggest promotion in the world.
As we all know, even though people inside the company say there is no competition fans are going to say it’s a competition. We’ve been conditioned to that since the Monday Night Wars and even when WWE had no competition and the product stagnated, we were still saying WWE was competing.
At one point, Impact Wrestling took the floaties off and ran head to head with WWE on Mondays. Before that, the company actively prodded McMahon’s Massive Machine when they were still on Fox Sports. This isn’t about Impact Wrestling/TNA. I mean, they will pop up again but this is about NXT against AEW Dynamite.
Location, Location, Location
Beyond that, there are a few things point that point to AEW and WWE competing. One of these could just be…happenstance. Salty joke, I’m sorry. But being based in Florida is just poking the bear a bit. I mean, yes, the Khan family was already based in Florida and they own a whole NFL franchise. So being based in Florida where WWE’s NXT brand and their training center are based isn’t exactly insidious.
Just look at WWE itself. The McMahons are based in Stamford so they established their corporate base there. That is, they did this after decades of being based in New York under Vincent J. McMahon. Then again, it’s in a good location in case any NXT wrestlers, call ups in the area or wrestlers who just aren’t pleased decide to make a career move.
Let’s try this again.
There we go. Running on the same night that WWE gave—let’s face it, NXT is the hottest, most consistent thing in the company—its third brand a show? That’s pretty bold. NXT has been an established product for seven years and as a brand name for almost a decade.
All of the infrastructure was in place from the jump and NXT had built up a reputation as something worthy of being on national television. Because let’s face it, being broadcast on the Network is pretty safe. No broadcast sponsors to really worry about means no commercial breaks.
As fans, we’re getting an uninterrupted block of wrestling. NXT didn’t have to worry about ratings or an outside entity breathing down its neck to pull ratings up. It was a safe environment for NXT.
Then here comes AEW look brand new, pockets fat with cash, and sporting a new way of doing things. Look at that, AEW was able to pitch their new way of doing things and slick look to a national broadcast company.
Not only did they get a TV show on a strong cable channel, but they also got it on a former competitor’s main channel, during prime time, on a day and time your product is on. Unbelievable! The audacity!
It’s Competition Regardless
Now, it’s good that everyone is saying “We’re not competing with WWE.” Competing with WWE is pretty much the kiss of death. Even when running on its B-game effort, McMahon’s promotion will put the clamps on a competitor’s efforts.
When Impact Wrestling decided to run against WWE, the company basically didn’t acknowledge anything was going on. No evasive maneuvers were made, they weren’t aggressive and Impact eventually settled down when its Monday ratings weren’t comparable.
AEW is a different beast. Yes, there’s money behind it but there’s also a strong interest in the company and the talents’ success. AEW and TNT are working together on presentation with the picture-in-picture aspect to matches, their social media game is solid, and each show is better than the debut. On top of that, AEW Dynamite has been taking it to the established NXT each week lately.
The question was “Is this a war?” Really, it’s a battle. There’s been a few weeks of TV and the two shows aren’t haven’t been exchanging ratings wins for weeks. If AEW Dynamite moves to Mondays next year, that’s an obvious war. NXT is one front of WWE and it’s not even the flagship show. Wednesday Night Wars sounds good and no one’s going to say “It’s the Wednesday Night Battle” but this hasn’t become a full-blown war yet.