AEW came on the scene in January 1, 2019 and they shot to the moon. With the likes of Omega, Cody, and the Young Bucks, Tony Khan and crew set out to make an alternative place for wrestlers to go outside of the WWE. Everything was going well. They were selling big numbers for their PPVs, they locked in contracts with Turner to get their product on TV and it was off to the races. We fast forward to 3 years later and there are cracks in the foundation creating cause for second guessing.
Losing a VP to the Competition
The first perceived sign of cracks in the foundation is Cody leaving to go back to WWE.As a founding partner in the business, you would think Cody would be in it for the long haul, but he left because he “didn’t want to be a gatekeeper” for the company. He saw a bigger opportunity for his family and his brand.
If I were another talent on the roster, seeing a VP leave after 3 years of launching the company would be a little alarming. Especially seeing Cody go back to WWE after smashing the replica of HHH’s throne. Nonetheless, I imagine the other VPs and connected higher ups would communicate with the talent to keep the morale high.
Fortunately for AEW, this is not their biggest threat to their company.
A Pleathera of Injuries
AEW has set themselves a part from WWE in many ways, one in particular is the more violent style of wrestling. The give their talent the freedom to draw blood and walk the lines of death match style wrestling. The downside the comes with that is having a higher chance for injury. Recently, it has seemed that shortly after seeing a person debut on Dynamite, they have a couple of matches and are out for months afterwards. We saw this with Adam Cloe, Kyle O’Reily, and CM Punk. Most recently, Punk came back from a foot injury to unify the AEW world championship vs. Jon Moxley and it appears that he is out again with another foot injury.
Having people go out right after creating such a huge buzz kills the hype of the debut. All storylines these talents are part of get put on hold and the company has to shift the fans attentions elsewhere until the injured talent can return. We all know as fans that it is harder to capture the lightning in the bottle that is excitement twice.
Injuries come with the industry. The next person steps up while someone is out and the show goes on. This is not the biggest threat to the company either.
The biggest killer to any company is disgruntled employees. Everyday isn’t going to be filled with roses and rainbows, but when you have multiple people at each others throats, it is going to hurt production drastically. When you have CM Punk go rogue in promos, calling out Adam Page because he has personal beef with him isn’t a good look. Especially when there is talk about Punk causing heat backstage with multiple people. Your company takes a hard hit publicly when you have Eddie Kingston get suspended for fighting Sammy Guevara backstage over a promo. Click here for more detail.
In conclusion, having a hostile work environment will push talent away and at a time where the other company has a new team in charge that is known for putting talent first, is not a good look. I’m not saying AEW is going out of business any time soon, but they are giving the off the first signs of failure similar to WCW back in the day.