How Can AEW Be Fixed?

You may have seen that last week I wrote an article about whether or not AEW is doomed to fail. In this article, I mentioned a few things AEW could do to make the company better and keep it alive and well. Well now, there has been an interview with CM Punk with Ariel Helwani where he talked about some of the things that went on in AEW and it hasn’t put the company in a good light.

So now I have some more thoughts I want to share about the company and how they probably need to improve some things because this interview did them no favours and made them look worse. On top of all of that, AEW just released a number of talents which is never a good sign. AEW is kind of in the mud so let’s talk about it shall we?

This interview revealed many things about how AEW handles things and it raises a lot of concerns about things I mentioned in my previous article. I want to break this down by going over specific points so that’s what we’re going to do, and I want to start with the management of the roster.

So…the Jack Perry incident. If what CM Punk said is to be believed then the way Tony Khan handled this situation is not good. That’s not to say CM Punk handled it well, but it’s a bad look for AEW. To summarize what happened, there was a scuffle between CM Punk and AEW wrestler Jack Perry over how things should be done. Jack Perry wanted to do a spot where he broke real glass on the windshield of a rental car and CM Punk was telling him that he couldn’t do that. It could potentially cause issues for wrestlers to get rental cars and overall was unsafe. At AEW’s pay-per-view, All In at Wembley Stadium, Jack Perry referenced using real glass during his match and said “cry my a river” which was a shot at Punk for not letting him do the real glass spot. This resulted in CM Punk and Jack Perry ended up arguing about it backstage and CM Punk choked him according to himself. Punk had asked AEW president Tony Khan to deal with the incident but he didn’t and he said “what do you want me to do” according to Punk.

CM Punk didn’t handle this situation well, but he is not the only one to blame. One of the main concerns I had about AEW in my last article was Tony Khan running things. He doesn’t do a terrible job but the concern I had was that he doesn’t have the experience of someone who was a wrestler and that’s an issue because wrestlers know how to best deal with other wrestlers. They know exactly how they are because they’ve been around them and are one of them.

When you look at the way Tony Khan handled this situation, you can see exactly why that’s such an issue. CM Punk told him to deal with one of his wrestlers and he did nothing and threw up his arms and basically said: “I don’t know what to do.” You have to be able to manage your roster well and make sure that there are no issues and Tony Khan failed to do that because he completely neglected a concern from one of his employees. In an industry like wrestling, there are a lot of big egos and you need to be able to manage them to avoid causing issues. Tony Khan is not handling these situations like a boss would and try and smooth things over. Or at the very least, hire someone to deal with those kinds of things.

This leads to another criticism of Tony Khan that CM Punk mentioned which is that Tony Khan is not a boss, he’s just a nice guy. Tony Khan is far too friendly for the positions he has in the company and he needs to be more authoritative. This has resulted in his employees walking all over him and doing whatever they want with no consequence. For example, one of their wrestlers named Max Caster has been going off on some dumb rants on Twitter and starting issues for no reason. One of the things he did was say how good of a guy one of their other wrestlers was, Sammy Guevara, on the same day that newly signed wrestler Mercedes Mone joined the company which was a big hire for them. Caster saying this was significant because Guevara and Mone has had issues in the past so this was a clear shot at her. It’s just such an unnecessary thing to do and if Tony Khan was good at his job, he would tell his talent to knock that crap off. It’s little things like this that Khan doesn’t do that cause issues that could be avoided. There’s not precedent and people can do whatever they want.

Something else Punk criticized AEW for is not being a “real business” and just trying to put on five-star matches. I don’t 100% agree with this but I do think he has some points in some sense. It’s great that there is a company that focuses on putting on the best wrestling matches possible because a lot of people want to see that. The problem is the lack of stories to get with the wrestling. Drama helps build intrigue and AEW doesn’t have good enough storylines to bring people in. Good storylines can help make matches better and AEW needs to do this more. Good matches shouldn’t come at the cost of the storyline and AEW needs to improve here if they want to be seen as a “real business.”

The last point I wanted to touch on is something that happened on AEW Dynamite on Wednesday. This is something CM Punk alluded to but I’m not sure if he said directly. On Dynamite, Adam Copeland opened the show talking about how there have been negative things being said about AEW but they want to focus on the positives and that AEW is where the best wrestle. This shows that Tony Khan can’t get over his ego and that could be said for other high-ups in AEW. This whole thing seems pretty childish and if AEW were professional about it, they wouldn’t even acknowledge anything CM Punk said. However, there were multiple references to the CM Punk interview on the show and it just made AEW feel like such a B show.

This is something I mentioned in my last article in how AEW needs to focus on being their own brand and not focus on what WWE is doing or what other people say. Be what you want to be and don’t worry what other influences say. Well, maybe listen to some to fix things, but there are so many instances where they jab at someone for saying something and it’s just not necessary to respond.

So it seems pretty clear that the CM Punk interview did AEW no favours but it does seem like Punk wants to move on and not talk about it anymore, and maybe AEW should do the same. Punk also mentioned how he has more positive than negative things to say about the company so why is AEW focusing on those things?

I really hope AEW can turn things around because I want to see them succeed but it’s not great right now and things need to change. You got to love wrestling drama eh?

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