As both WWE and AEW come under and more scrutiny for continuing on with their programming amid a pandemic that’s never been seen in the world before, talents, on-air personalities and executives are weighing in, agreeing and disagreeing with the decision to forge ahead.
The latest is announcer and AEW personality Jim Ross who spoke with 411Mania.com about the topic. Ross said it was as simple as both companies filling their obligations.
“I think it’s a matter of fulfilling your commitments. They [both WWE and AEW] have a commitment to their various broadcast partners that they’re gonna provide programming, first-run programming, so that’s something we’re both doing. I look at it as they’re honoring their commitments and keeping their hand of the bargain up. They’re having to do it in a very unique way, but as long as they can find sound studios or somewhere that it’s legal to do a controlled taping, I perceive that both of them are gonna continue to do exactly what they’re doing until this thing has been eradicated or at least relieved in some degree.”
On the idea that these programs are essential or provide an escape for people who are going through an extremely tough time, Ross says:
“Fans need entertainment. I need it, I found myself watching new shows. I’m binge watching things I normally wouldn’t binge watch. And I know that next week, I’m gonna have the opportunity to call the Jon Moxley-Jake Hager No Holds Barred Empty Arena match by myself that will air on TNT next Wednesday night at 8/7 Central. So I’m jacked about that. That’s a big deal for me. And so I get out of the house, I get to do a little voiceover, it’s gonna be great. So I’m looking forward to seeing how that turns out. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve got high hopes.”
How WWE is Different from AEW
One thing Ross did seem to note was that, while comparisons can be made between both companies and he understands why both are doing what they’re doing, he seemed to hint that there are fewer risks with the AEW product.
“And in our state or situation, we don’t have any writers. We don’t have any producers. We have coaches, and we have talents that are motivated to create their own content. Just like Chris Jericho did when he did the drone thing from his hot tub a few weeks ago from his backyard. That was Chris’ idea, Chris shot it. Maybe had a family member shoot it, hell I don’t know. And it may have been shot on an iPhone, I don’t know that either. Wouldn’t doubt it. But our talents are being encouraged to create their own content and send it in. And if it’s good and it fits the storyline, et cetera, et cetera then they’re gonna air it. So I think that’s a great development for us, and I can’t see it stopping as long as we’re in this empty arena environment.”
Both AEW and WWE will take some heat for their respective decisions to keep going but WWE is certainly taking the brunt of the criticism. Mostly, it’s because WWE has so much content to produce and their multiple live shows are on networks that have over a billion dollars invested into their respective programs. It’s clearly about money for WWE.
** Thanks to nodq.com for the transcription