bloomberg Today he published an article covering Tony Khan’s rise in the world of professional wrestling and the ongoing battle between WWE and AEW.
A certain story in the article stood out to me, and so I wanted to share it with you, dear reader.
AEW was the hot new wrestling product on the scene in late 2019, crushing WWE’s NXT TV show in the ratings almost every week on Wednesday nights. WWE hadn’t faced any kind of serious competition in nearly two decades, so Vince McMahon didn’t know what to make of AEW’s momentum.
Daniel Bryan was one of the most popular stars on the WWE roster at the time, and Vince McMahon decided to ask him a question about AEW:
At WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, executives watched their new rival’s progress and wondered aloud what to do. One of WWE’s top superstars, Bryan Danielson, said McMahon called him in early 2020 with a question that shocked the wrestler: “Do you see anything AEW does better than us?” Danielson, who was home on paternity leave, spent the next two weeks watching every morsel of AEW programming and came to a conclusion: AEW put more time in and placed more value on the craft of fighting in the ring. WWE shows often featured long segments of the characters on the microphone and short matches. “It’s like you’re watching a wrestling show without any wrestling,” Danielson told McMahon.
Bryan’s quote reminds me of one specific week in early 2017 when less than 25% of WWE Raw and SmackDown was devoted to actual wrestling matches. Over the course of a year, those percentages have been closer to the 30% range, so this week wasn’t necessarily a big deal.
I stopped tracking week-to-week data shortly after that, and I never tracked match times on AEW dynamitebut this is one of those cases where I think it’s safe to assume AEW is dynamite And frenzy They are definitely more focused on ring action than WWE. The pay-per-view data makes a clear difference in favor of AEW, to say the least.
The point is, Danielson just messed his head up about the biggest difference between an AEW product compared to Vince McMahon’s creative vision for WWE. In Vince McMahon’s world, being good at wrestling is an insult, so I wonder if Danielson’s answer made him feel better about how things were shaping up in the long run between WWE and AEW.
Do you agree with Bryan Danielson that WWE Producer Vince McMahon felt like watching a wrestling show without any wrestling? Did Triple H manage to find a better balance between McMahon and Tony Khan’s wildly different approaches when it came to booking a pro wrestling show?
Let us hear your thoughts on this topic in the comments below, Cagesiders.