As The Inquisitr previously reported, WWE superstar Roman Reigns claimed that All Elite Wrestling isn’t a competition to WWE. According to “The Big Dog,” AEW’s production values don’t compare to WWE’s and noted that his company has “main eventers for days.” One person who disagrees with Reigns’ sentiment, however, is AEW’s executive vice president Cody Rhodes, who told Sport1 that the upstart promotion is providing the type of action that’s lacking in modern WWE.
“WWE’s on a 49 year head start and I tip my hat for that. But what we’re doing is to build upon what fans have been talking about for 20 years, what they want from a wrestling product and what perhaps wasn’t delivered to them. We want to be the alternative. If that means stepping into competition: So be it. It’s better to have competition, for me, for Roman, for everybody.”
AEW’s matches are more hard-hitting than WWE’s, and the overall product is edgier. AEW allows its performers to use profane language on television, and it’s not uncommon for wrestlers to bleed. The shows also focus more on long-form wrestling matches, and wins and losses do matter.
WWE, meanwhile, tends to focus on the sports entertainment aspect of the business. The product has also been criticized for being too micromanaged, as superstars must adhere to scripts and are more restricted with the moves they can perform in the ring.
Of course, it’s not uncommon for WWE and AEW superstars to criticize the opposition. There have been several stories in recent months in which performers from both companies have fired shots at the other brand.
However, despite disagreeing with Reigns over his assessment of AEW, Rhodes was complimentary toward the WWE superstar. The former WWE performer praised Reigns’ intellect and talent, but it’s evident that they have different ideas over what constitutes a good wrestling product.
During the interview, Rhodes also claimed that AEW is trying to balance old school wrestling sensibilities with the climate of today. He noted that there’s a lot to be learned by mining from the past, including how to tell stories between the ropes. At the same time, he also understands that the business has evolved and that the company can’t rely on nostalgia to succeed.
In recent weeks, Rhodes has capitalized on nostalgia by acquiring the trademarks of some old WCW pay-per-view programs. In January, the company will host a special episode of Dynamite that’s dedicated to Bash at the Beach, and it will be interesting to see if they use more WCW trademarks moving forward.