While just a few years old, and by most accounts doing quite well…the next 12 months could be make or break for AEW. Let’s see some reasons why…
Next 12 Months Could Be Make Or Break For AEW
It is an admittedly bold statement, but it may actually be quiet true.
Now, before you read this and think this is a doom and gloom piece…it is not.
I am not the most avid of AEW viewers, I will admit right here. However, I am aware of the product and have watched it at times.
It is definitely it’s own form of wrestling, and that’s a good thing.
The first few years have been good, not only for AEW, but for wrestling fans in general.
Competition breeds creativity. It makes promoters work harder…usually.
While we aren’t there yet…and might not get there again…the next 12 months could be make or break for AEW.
Make it, and who knows, maybe AEW does bring back the Monday Night Wars.
Break it, and AEW could be but a footnote in wrestling history. That ending seems unlikely…but at one point in time I would imagine people didn’t think WCW was going away either.
And at least some in WWE feel there are similarities to Tony Khan’s habits, and those of WCW leading up to it’s demise.
So why could it be a make it kind of 12 months?
Well, for one thing, AEW has been said to be working on a new streaming TV deal. Their initial deal was not as lucrative, because while it was intriguing, it was an unknown.
Now, it is not an unknown. And, while the AEW core library covers a limited number of years, they’ve recently entered into partnerships…and of course, purchased ROH.
While that is not a library set to rival WWE’s…yet…it’s still putting AEW in a stronger spot now. There has been chatter that AEW could team up with HBO, which could be quite the move.
And the right next TV deal could help fund the company for years to come. There has been whispers that AEW is working on a bit of a budget until the new deal is worked out.
If that is true, then the sooner the deal is done, the better. And the more lucrative, same idea.
But why could it be a breaking point?
To state the obvious, AEW contracts are coming to an end.
Some talent-like the Young Bucks-have already had their original contracts end, and they’ve inked new deals.
Others have seen their contracts not be renewed, or have chosen to have them expire and become free agents.
This is a reality we are used to in WWE…but it is new territory for AEW.
The company has signed a slew of talent in recent months, and the AEW locker room is getting a bit crowded.
Some have complained that the young talent are not getting the time they need or deserve. Or, that too many older and former WWE talents are pushing the home-grown AEW stars out of the way.
Whether that is true or not is a different debate. But at the end, there is only so much TV time to go around…and AEW might have some decisions to make.
The biggest one of all? MJF and his looming free agency.
He has become one of the hottest young talents in the wrestling business, and while his contract doesn’t expire for a little bit…he has already indicated he plans to test free agency.
Meaning he knows what he wants, and he wants to see how much money AEW and WWE will toss at him. Losing MJF to WWE would not likely be a death blow…but it would certainly hurt.
On top of MJF, other talents could opt to exit or just retire.
Chris Jericho, for example, is still a draw…but one never knows how long he wants to keep going.
Sting fits well with Darby…but he’s also no spring chicken.
Talent could retire, they could move on, or worse, any of them could suffer career-altering injuries. I mean, a year ago, fans were debating whether or not Big E was a possible main event guy for WrestleMania 38.
Now, he did not even work the card, and it is unclear if he will be able to get back in the ring.
There are a lot of other decisions that factor into it, of course. But AEW has a few key factors that make the next 12 months truly make or break for the company.
Sign a great new TV deal, and AEW could really build off of the early momentum.
But a bad one could be a speed bump (honestly, I don’t expect them to sign a bad one).
Whether they can retain all the key talents…while still attracting new blood (and, producing home grown ones)? That is likely the bigger concern.
It’s going to be a year where a lot of critical decisions get made, and all of those could combine to make it a make or break 12 months for AEW.