Where AEW started to go wrong
By Scott Keith on 14th May 2021
I was a weekly Dynamite viewer right up until Revolution, a PPV which I thought had a terrific build and the greatest tag match I've ever seen. Maybe the following are just me, but these patterns that emerged with post-Revolution/COVID era AEW are what have kept me away since then:
1. The World Champion taking a backseat
This is straight out of WWE – the dreaded “World Champion midcarder” pattern where the champ isn't in the most focal angle or feud on the shows. It started with Moxley having fairly cold matches with guys like Cage and Kingston while the focus was still on Jericho as the top star vs. The Elite. Now it's Omega who doesn't even get a real angle going into the biggest PPV of the year. The real main event is still more gang wars with Jericho.
2. More of a tonal shift toward silliness
Omega's problems with Hangman were great because it felt like genuine drama and intrigue without devolving into melodrama or using comedy. Cody's programs with Jericho and MJF had real emotion behind them. This seemed to slowly give way to things like Miro being upset over a video game arcade, and champagne hose baths. The tone just feels increasingly hokey.
3. Even more factions
AEW had too many factions as it was leading up to Revolution, and now they have even more. Who can possibly care about all of these groups? It's almost a parody of factions at this point – they might as well create one more faction of wrestlers who are united by being sick and tired of factions.
4. Lazy match set-ups that ignore wins and losses
Why is a tag team getting a title shot off of a loss? Why is AEW copying the laziest booking trope of a random match for a World title shot for two guys who haven't done much of anything lately? It's just lazy writing.
Just to disagree a bit on one of the points, because the first three are absolutely valid, but I don't think it's lazy writing to book the #1 and #2 contenders against each other. I think the lazy writing is that they don't make any particular effort to explain what occurs on Dark or Elevation and just assume that everyone watching Dynamite is a hardcore fan who devours all 6 hours of content per week. If they'd take five minutes per show again, like they did at the beginning, to show the rankings and explain that Orange Cassidy beat Dolph Ziggler's useless little brother 17 times in a row and so he's got the best record, it would help the booking make sense on the main show.