I’m a fan of AEW. I’m also well aware that the storylines and decisions in WWE of late have been piss-poor. But, when I see a foul, I call it; and, in AEW, I’m seeing a lot of them lately.
The brand started by Tony Khan, Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks wants to be what WWE isn’t. Cool.
The underground wrestling promotion that nobody said could do what they’ve done, wants to prove they can be a success doing their own thing. Right on.
The cool kids want to play by their own rules. Righteous.
But, does that mean all logic should be thrown out the window, decisions should be impossible to understand and AEW should cut off their own nose to spite their face? Of course not.
Yet, that’s exactly what AEW is doing with their officiating, management and storytelling during matches and outside of the ring.
The Officiating Is A Mess
Aubrey Edwards is perhaps the best official AEW has right now. She’s been given big responsibility in big matches and she’s almost always delivered. So, when I say that even her decisions within matches are questionable, I’m well aware, not all of this is on her.
Clearly, AEW has told their officials to do whatever is necessary to allow the wrestlers to get their spots in. And, while the matches and series of moves in certain matches are awesome, there comes a point where AEW needs to understand, there still has to be some reasoning behind the officiating.
Former WWE official Jimmy Korderas said it best while a guest on the Wincly Podcast with Wrestling Inc.. Labeling AEW’s policy of the “referee’s discretion” a new buzz word in wrestling, Korderas said, “In my mind, it just means we have no other way to get out of this so we’ll just fudge the rules so we can get our stuff in.”
The tag team matches, specifically The Young Bucks ones, are perfect examples.
There’s not many matches where The Young Bucks don’t break every known and well-documented rule in wrestling. From ignoring five-counts in place to eliminate double-teaming, to pinning attempts while not actually the legal man, to a 20-count outside the ring that should give wrestlers plenty of time to beat the count, yet they often can’t. All the while, the referees “look the other way.”
Korderas pointed out one specific incident where Moxley came into a match (he was not a participant), attacked Kenny Omega and fought with him to the back, put him through a table and made it so he couldn’t return. In any other match or promotion, that should be a disqualification. Not in AEW, where the match inexplicably continued.
Don’t get me wrong. What The Young Bucks can do in and out of a ring is incredible. But, the rules as set up (and often ignored) by AEW are becoming completely irrelevant.
The “Jon Moxley Warning”
Take for another example, Thursday’s pfficial statement by AEW that Jon Moxley has been “reprimanded” by AEW for attacking an official on Wednesday’s Dynamite TNT program.
#AEW officials have reprimanded Jon Moxley for an unprovoked attack on referee Paul Turner, as this is not the first time Moxley has attacked the Senior Official. Moxley has been warned that another violation of AEW’s sportsmanship policy could result in a fine and/or suspension.
So, the company admits Moxley has done this before, he’s now been caught twice, and not only does AEW not fine or suspend him, but they suggest if he does so again, he “could” be subject to a fine and/or suspension?
I like the whole ‘Moxley is a badass’ gimmick, and I know wrestling isn’t a real sport, but c’mon. The entire premise of AEW’s decision to keep track of wins and losses or present the show in a way that looks and feels more real is so that it comes across as a sport. Yet, when the opportunity arises to do what any and every other sport would do — suspend and fine an athlete for laying their hands on an official — AEW completely drops the ball.
Shoot, for all WWE’s mistakes, even they get this right (even though the fines aren’t always consistent).
Don’t Take It So Seriously
Like I said, I still enjoy watching AEW. But, I have to say, this is a fine line they are choosing to walk.
At some point, this company is going to bend the rules so much, they have no rules at all. At that point, it becomes another ECW or an indy match where the entire idea is to land spot after spot and miss the point of telling a story.
I get people will ignore what’s going on. AEW is fun to watch, it’s not WWE and it’s the cool thing to like. As such, fans are willing to overlook some obvious holes in the delivery of the product.
And, so I don’t sound like all I’m doing is slamming the promotion, I will give them credit for writing the show in a way that almost every segment matters. There is a purpose to their writing that WWE often misses when matches are thrown together.
It would just be nice if AEW would stop making such obviously poor decisions when it comes to certain areas while bashing WWE for being a product that isn’t believable. It’s ironic and not a good look.