WWE and AEW Overreactions: Drew McIntyre's Title Win, Retribution and More
This week in wrestling overreactions centers on championship matches being given away on free television, robbing pay-per-views of high-profile attractions.
Both WWE and AEW either already have, or are set to, deliver major title bouts on their weekly shows. While they are certain to attract a crowd and leave fans excited, do the companies risk hurting their pay-per-view business in the process?
Why even take the risk in the first place?
As it turns out, the reasoning isn't so far-fetched.
Throw in a little bit of the fledgling Retribution faction and you have a jam-packed week of overreactive hype in both WWE and AEW.
Overreaction No. 1: McIntyre Never Should Have Lost the WWE Title To Begin With
To insist that Drew McIntyre never should have lost the WWE Championship when he was going to win it back three weeks later on Raw is a failure to recognize the bigger picture.
WWE had booked itself into a corner, through no fault of anyone but itself. Had Randy Orton not defeated McIntyre at Hell in a Cell to win the WWE Championship, his credibility would have gone out the window. Everything the company did to build him into one of the best and most entertaining villains in the company would have disintegrated before our very eyes as he lost a third, consecutive pay-per-view bout to The Scottish Psychopath.
By executing things the way it did, WWE Creative accomplished three goals: it protected Orton's credibility, padded his resume with yet another title victory, and set up a high-profile title match to take place on the fledgling flagship show.
The WWE title had not changed hands on the red brand since December 14, 2015, making McIntyre's victory a rarity and piquing interest in the product just six days from the Survivor Series pay-per-view.
You do not have to like the booking decision, or how WWE Creative went about it, but the result was beneficial to all involved, including the now two-time world champion McIntyre.
Overreaction No. 2: Everything Is Fine Now That Retribution Won a Match
Retribution won a meaningful match Monday on Raw.
That is a sentence that had yet to be uttered in the faction's relatively short existence, thanks to questionable booking decisions that left them little more than a glorified midcard faction for more prominent acts to bump around the ring.
In the wake of their victory over Keith Lee, Braun Strowman, Sheamus and Riddle Monday, some suggested it was the start of bigger and better things for Mustafa Ali and Co. Especially since they knocked off three "top" Raw stars.
First, a single win via rollup because the opponents were too busy fighting amongst themselves is hardly a convincing win and should not warrant any sort of positive feelings about a certain act's trajectory. Second, to suggest that Lee, Sheamus and Riddle are "top" guys on Raw is insulting to the actual top guys on the brand.
WWE Creative has not yet done anything to convince us that Lee, Riddle or Sheamus are going to be significant players on the brand. As for Strowman, his stock has fallen off so mightily since his Universal Championship loss that the company cannot tell whether he is a babyface or heel from week to week.
None of that is indicative of some make-right booking decision or the start of something huge for Retribution. All it represents is more creative inconsistency and WWE's overuse of distraction finishes.
Overreaction: Hell yes, and a silly one at that
Overreaction No. 3: AEW Is Wasting a Big-Money PPV Main Event on Free TV
You could absolutely state with certainty that AEW is wasting a big-money main event on free television December 2 when Jon Moxley defends his AEW World Championship against longtime foe Kenny Omega.
They have an incredible backstory and were featured in one of the company's most intense, violent rivalries. Such a high-profile match is the sort of thing fans will flock to see.
Why it isn't necessarily a bad decision, though, comes down to scheduling.
AEW's next big pay-per-view, Revolution, is not until February 27, 2021. The likelihood that the company could realistically stretch an already-established storyline out for another three months without some sort of match in between is low, regardless of who is booking.
Omega vs. Moxley should be a pay-per-view headliner but much like the McIntyre-Orton match from Raw, a huge title match will give fans a reason to tune into Dynamite at a time of the year when the hustle and bustle of the holiday season makes television watching less of a priority.
It will help give that particular episode of Dynamite more meaning and put more eyes on either the title retention or change than would have seen it on pay-per-view.
While there is very much a reactionary argument to be made against giving the match away on free TV, the reasoning for going about things the way AEW has decided to is logical.
Overreaction: Yes, but understandably so