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The Brand Wars: WWE or AEW?

by Kyle Harper

The expansion of professional wrestling into mainstream media continues to grow by the day. With wrestling being readily available on multiple cable channels and streaming services, now is the time to indulge in the wrestling scene.

But with so many options, which is the best to watch? The two chief wrestling businesses currently are World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and today, I’ll tell you what some of the pros and cons to each of them are.

Let’s start with the talent because that’s why you turn on your TV in the first place. WWE prides itself on having some legendary names in the industry such as Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins.

AEW also boasts some pretty entertaining talent such as Jon Moxley, Cody, and Chris Jericho. Additionally, AEW likes to introduce younger, new talent into action with their top talent, and they allow their wrestlers to compete on the local, independent wrestling scene to scout for this new talent.

WWE doesn’t allow their wrestlers to wrestle outside of the WWE, which is a little bogus considering they’re employed as “independent contractors.”

WWE also has fresh faces in the industry like Damian Priest, Io Shirai, and Shotzi Blackheart, but they also have so many performers on their roster that the creative team doesn’t know how to write them into proper storylines.

In fact, WWE generally does this with all of their wrestlers. The company has this talent that is capable of performing five star matches, but they are always given ridiculous storylines that make no sense. This decreases the value of how a wrestler performs on screen, and ultimately leads to fans not being interested in their matches.

On the other hand, AEW has made some pretty decent storylines. However, they are starting to gather a rather large roster themselves, which could lead to similar storyline struggles.

The only story that AEW lacks is their women’s division. While WWE has pushed for equality in male and female matches, AEW hasn’t quite gotten there yet. Their current women’s champion, Hikaru Shida, barely has any screen time and fights the same competitors over and over again when she is on TV. I mean, WWE has had a women’s match main event Wrestlemania, but AEW can’t even put the women’s champion on their weekly TV show? Maybe AEW really stands for “All Except Women.”

Another interesting factor to consider is each company’s response to COVID-19. Both AEW and WWE have been operating since the pandemic began, and both have their own unique plans to adapt to not having live audiences.

WWE has decided to open the “Thunderdome.” This unique building has computer screens for seats, and allows audience members to Zoom into the show. While a pretty great idea, it ends up looking like some strange “1984” gladiator pit.

WWE also never acknowledges when their talent tests positive for COVID-19. In fact, they are usually never mentioned when they are written off of a match. Why doesn’t WWE want to acknowledge that the pandemic affects their stars?

AEW has taken a different approach and has begun to let audience members back into their shows. The audience must wear masks and they only operate at a limited capacity, but it still allows the wrestlers to play off the crowd (something I’m sure they miss). AEW also normally acknowledged when their wrestlers are sick with COVID, which is a big step over WWE.

So, which is better: AEW or WWE? Honestly, I don’t think they are much better than one another. Both of these industries have the world’s top wrestling talent, and both suffer from similar issues. AEW has just been around for a shorter amount of time compared to the decades of history that WWE shares. Give them both a shot and see which stories you connect with most.

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