AEW held their second rally this past week, announcing the ticket sales for their Double or Nothing event in Las Vegas and setting up some interesting matches.
Kenny Omega finally announced he had signed with the company, Lucha Libre AAA announced that they were partnering with AEW, and the Lucha Bros. showed up to attack the Young Bucks. Add in Chris Jericho showing up again and this is getting really exciting for fans of professional wrestling.
Here are five things that AEW could do to kickstart their new promotion and hit the ground running.
AEW on The CW
The rumors that AEW has two major TV deals on the table with large networks that are bigger than anything Impact Wrestling ever had is a big deal. AEW needs to get in front of as many eyes as possible.
The rumored networks (if they are bigger than Paramount, the former Spike TV) are TBS and TNT but the idea of going to a network like The CW is tantalizing.
The CW has developed a massive young adult fanbase. With DC superhero shows and sci-fi/fantasy shows like Supernatural, this might be the audience that AEW wants to attract (they already have a spot in Hot Topic stores).
Cody Rhodes has a character on Arrow and Stephen Amell, the star of Arrow, actually wrestled at All In in Chicago. Imagine some of the wrestlers getting spots on some CW shows. Chris Jericho showing up on Supernatural could be the best cross promotion AEW could get.
Limited live TV shows/replays
Look, one of the big things that the Young Bucks mentioned is that they wanted to get off the road so much and spend time with their families. Running a live show every week can be a massive endevour and Impact Wrestling proved it coild lead to disaster.
Taping shows in advance
Look at NXT, who tapes their shows in advance and still has a giant loyal fanbase.
However, NJPW and AXS has a great template for how to do live shows. Have AEW have live shows streamed on the Internet maybe four times a year. Then, have the top matches from those shows air on their weekly TV shows.
Fans who want to see it live will still pay for it and the mainstream fans who discover it on TV can still see the matches that matter as well.
Pattern themselves after NXT
This may not be the best thing for wrestling fans around the world, but AEW should tape all their shows from one location.
Maybe, it would be better to have their tapings where the talent mostly lives — California. Find a place and start to build a loyal following there, just like NXT does at Full Sail. The crowd at NXT tapings really adds to the flavor of the show cause they care about the wrestlers.
Then, for their big live shows, have those take place in big places, like Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, and Miami. Maybe hit places like Dallas or Kansas City to add in that part of the country.
Start small and work their way up. There is no hurry to tour every week no matter what some fans might think.
Sign Brock Lesnar
Hear me out.
Yes, WWE fans have grown to hate Brock Lesnar because he is always a champion and almost never shows up on TV. If AEW has recorded shows and then the limited live shows each year, pay Lesnar but do not — under any circumstance — put a title on him.
Give Brock $5 million over two years with eight matches in his contract. Have all eight of those matches take place at the live shows. That would boost ticket sales tremendously because, as much as Internet WWE fans are tired of Lesnar, he is still a massive draw.
That is also a little more than the WWE pays per match and doesn’t require him to show up at all except for those matches. If AEW really wants to be about the wrestling, have Lesnar face some of their top stars and create some dream matches (Lesnar vs. Jericho, Lesnar vs. Omega)
This would put a ton of butts in the seats and would make AEW even more valuable to networks — especially if the Lesnar matches are also shown on TV in the replays mentioned earlier.
Don’t chase the WWE
If there was one thing that hurt the very first AEW rally, it was them making some comments that were clearly digs at the WWE.
There is no competing with
Impact Wrestling tried to go head-to-head with WWE and failed. Ring of Honor never tried and they are doing just fine. If AEW can get a big TV deal, they can make it on their own. They don’t need people to compare them to WWE.
Now, they should definitely try to sign WWE talent that wants a fresh start. Dean Ambrose is a great example. Try to get guys like The Revival or Dolph Ziggler that are not being used right. Hell, shoot for the stars and try to sign CM Punk.
Just work on developing the brand, getting a great TV deal, and let the chips fall where they may. Don’t let Internet wrestling fans or WWE marks tell them they need to rush things — just be AEW.
That is all real professional wrestling fans should want right now.