How Red-Hot AEW Can Keep Momentum Ahead of Fyter Fest, Fight for the FallenJune 3, 2019
The red-hot All Elite Wrestling has dominated the discussion in the pro wrestling world, especially after it delivered on lofty expectations surrounding its first pay-per-view spectacular Double or Nothing.
Now, though, the new company faces the important task of maintaining the momentum it has built for itself.
There are several ways to do so, all based on what AEW is already doing.
Provide 'The Buffet'
AEW Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes has repeatedly used the word "buffet"—a term he admits to stealing from Eric Bischoff—including in a February interview with Bleacher Report.
"You can provide that buffet that can be all over the place," he said. "You can have this emotional long-form narrative and you can attach it to something silly and something that makes you laugh."
It is of the utmost importance the company continues to provide its fans with choice, giving every single fan in the audience something they can invest in.
Whether that involves a hardcore brawl between Joey Janela and Jon Moxley, a balls-to-the-wall tag team match between The Young Bucks and Lucha Bros, or a four-way showcase for the women's division, the company has the pieces in place to provide the alternative, diverse product to WWE's more one-dimensional, creatively devoid show.
When you can appeal to every portion of the audience, the likelihood you leave every fan in the building satisfied and wanting more increases tenfold. It worked for WWE for years during the height of its Golden and Attitude Eras. It worked for WCW during the advent of Monday Nitro and its rise to the top of the Monday Night Wars.
It will work for AEW if it can remain consistent in its commitment to providing a bit of something for everyone.
Lean On Emotion
The most acclaimed match at the Double or Nothing pay-per-view was Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes. It was a masterpiece of storytelling and one of the best matches of the year. It was also highly emotional, eliciting tears from even the most hardcore of wrestling fans.
The Road to Double or Nothing featured its own emotional stories, including that of Brandon Cutler, who returned to wrestling as part of the Casino Battle Royale after seven years away from the sport.
When trying to separate itself from the watered-down product WWE has become, leaning on that emotion and getting fans to genuinely invest in the show is another way AEW can differentiate itself from "that stuff Hulk Hogan does" and create its own name and reputation.
If the company can make its fans genuinely care about its stars and their journeys, it will maximize the potential for maintaining momentum in the months between Double or Nothing and its next enormous extravaganza, All Out on August 31.
Uncover Young Talent
Orange Cassidy, Kylie Rae, Luchasaurus, MJF and Janela are prime examples of young stars who stood out over the course of Double or Nothing weekend, earning praise or creating controversy for their performances and appearances.
That is a rich pool of new talent for AEW to build on and eventually elevate alongside the established stars like Chris Jericho, Cody and The Young Bucks.
In their first opportunity to not only present those young stars but also highlight them in a way WWE often fails to do with the undercard talent on their show, AEW succeeded.
The company ensured those young men and women were presented in such a way that fans would buzz about them as much as they did the aforementioned industry giants.
AEW will continue that trend at Fyter Fest on June 29 as Darby Allin, one of the most creative starlets on the independent scene and the subject of Viceland's The Wrestlers, squares off with Cody in the highest-profile singles match of his career.
There is no denying Cody took a massive shot at Triple H and WWE with the destruction of a throne eerily similar to one The King of Kings might appear on at a WrestleMania.
The new promotion recruited one of the biggest stars in the history of McMahonland, Bret "Hitman" Hart, to unveil the AEW Championship. Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley have each taken turns taking shots at their former employees.
AEW should stay bold and not shy away from controversy. Be edgy, be attitudinal and keep fans talking.
Why? Because the company they are determined to be the alternative to lost its edge a long time ago, and it doesn't appear anywhere close to rediscovering it anytime soon.