4 Issues AEW Must Fix for All Out PPV
On August 31, All Elite Wrestling will present the biggest show it has ever produced, All Out. The event will work as a preview to the brand's debut on TNT on October 2 and crown the inaugural AEW world champion.
While AEW has largely succeeded in its efforts to date as an upstart promotion, the company has a lot of work to do to be able to compete with WWE. The company is less than a year old and attempting to stand up to the biggest wrestling promotion in history.
The talent is in place. The writing and booking has largely done its job in getting people excited for what is next. However, the company must fix a few key problems to take the next step.
From production mishaps to booking inconsistency, AEW has not clearly shown it is ready for its role in the business going into All Out.
However, that could all change given the right moves. All it will take is four key tweaks to make people look at the company as more than a wannabe contender.
Throw Out The Buy In or Commit to Its Importance
AEW has attempted to establish The Buy In as a better version of WWE's Kickoff show, but it has fallen into the same traps as WWE's preshow experiences. The matches are throwaway bouts, and those that rise above are easily forgotten because of their placement.
At Fyter Fest, The Best Friend vs. Private Party vs. SoCal Uncensored went largely unheralded despite being one of the best matches of the night because it was followed by a pair of comedic matches. Kip Sabian and Sammy Guevara's efforts at Double or Nothing were also forgotten.
Separating an opener from the main card serves the same purpose as a warm-up act at a concert. It makes it clear that those working on the free show do not matter as much as those getting the spotlight, and their efforts go unappreciated as a result.
Unless All Elite Wrestling can shift this perception by developing matches and stories clearly for The Buy In, it would be best to throw it out entirely. Just air a few video packages to convince people to tune in for the main show.
This time around, the women will fight in a Casino Battle Royale to earn a shot at the AEW Women's Championship. The rest of The Buy In needs to hold similar importance to make clear this is not just a warm-up.
Find More Consistency in Camera Work
It is difficult to compete with the top promotions in the business when your cameras miss important moments in matches. Even if it is difficult to capture wrestling action consistently, especially with many people in the ring at once, this is an easy way to come across as amateurs.
After three shows, the company has yet to find the necessary consistency to stand out. Hopefully, in the long term, AEW can find its own style of production. But there's not a cohesive production style at play with the company.
All Out will be the biggest show the company has produced. New eyes will be on the product, judging whether it is worth tuning into the coming TV product. Screw-ups could endanger the brand. Fans will notice bad camera work even more than shoddy booking.
Booking can be forgiven and balance out. AEW cannot take back presenting itself as amateurish. Hopefully the production has tightened up and the cameras will not miss a second of important action.
Begin Establishing the True Top Talent in the Women's Division
No division has been more underdeveloped in AEW than the women's. A lack of strong singles matches has mainly been the culprit, but the company has also repeatedly failed to commit to talent.
Outside of Brandi Rhodes vs. Allie, which was only set up to promote Brandi, who should not be an active competitor, the division has been presented in multi-woman matches. Double or Nothing had a Fatal 4-Way and six-woman tag, Fyter Fest a Triple Threat and Fight for the Fallen a tag team match.
In each case, a different woman emerged victorious despite the overlap in competitors. Britt Baker and Riho may have walked away with wins, but they lost the next time out. Nyla Rose has yet to win a match despite being established as the most recognizable star of the division.
All Out has the potential to change this. The Casino Battle Royale will establish one of the two women challenging for the AEW Women's Championship. Riho is also booked to compete against Hikaru Shida in a match that could steal the show while establishing Riho's status as a worthy title challenger.
New women are debuting for the brand in the Casino Battle Royale, so names will be established. However, a few need to stand out from the pack. It is time to create a title scene fans can invest in.
Establish More Unfamiliar Names Who Can Take on Top Roles
The top of the All Out card will be almost entirely recognizable even to casual WWE fans. Chris Jericho is competing in the main event. Kenny Omega is brawling with Jon Moxley. Shawn Spears has picked a fight with Cody.
Beyond Jericho's opponent, "Hangman" Adam Page, who isn't exactly an obscure name but not as instantly recognizable, this card is all about renowned stars. It would be easy to add The Young Bucks and The Lucha Brothers to that group as well.
AEW does not want to be just known as the place that got the WWE rejects and The Bullet Club. It is its own brand that should be built on the backs of many hardworking exponents. This is the time to tell people about the great wrestlers they have rarely heard about.
The Triple Threat between Darby Allin, Joey Janela and Jimmy Havoc is a start, but that's only the beginning. The women's division has many stars who just need the right spotlight. Trent Barreta may have had a short run in WWE, but his team with Chuck Taylor can break out.
This is the moment to say who is worth watching by giving them the spotlight to steal the show. Fans are tuning for Jericho, Moxley and Cody, but they will return for talent like MJF, Riho and Private Party if they are given the opportunity to shine.