I think most would agree that AEW is not going anywhere anytime soon and is a solid #2 promotion capable of putting on a great show on any given night. But looking back to a year ago, it felt like the potential was there for so much more. We don't need to rehash it all, but just about everything that could go wrong, went wrong.
TV ratings are flat, ticket sales seem to be declining and WWE is no longer ripe for the picking. At this point we kind of know what we're getting with their roster. Moxley and Jericho are rocks, but they are who they are. The Elite were new and exciting to a lot of people, but we've seen it now. There are younger guys who will get better, but it's hard to imagine someone like Jungle Boy moving the needle anytime soon. And all of the big signings from the last 2 years ended up not amounting to much. Guys hurt, guys suspended, guys wanting out.
I know things change quickly and no one can predict what will pop, but other than MJF maybe catching fire in the next couple of months, did AEW miss their shot at growing their audience beyond their core, at least in the short term? Do they have any big moves to make creatively? Does it even matter as long as the corporate overlords are happy enough to renew their tv deal?
The TV deal is everything now. As long as they have enough money to survive long enough for a bidding war (which they do according to all sources) then they just need to get a WWE-style escalation of their rights fees and they're effectively idiot-proofed from then on. That's what the game-changer for WWE was, once they discovered that the Network and house shows and PPVs were all completely meaningless when they get guaranteed money every year no matter what.