Is AEW Under Constant Attack Or Is It Self Sabotage?

By Todd Eastman

“To be AEW is to be under constant attack. You do a great show and the next day somebody’s saying something negative, you do five great shows in a row, somebody says something negative. You break the record for the most tickets ever sold for a wrestling show in the history of the world and somebody has something bad to say about it.” Tony Khan ROH Final Battle post show presser

It’s a nice little narrative to tell and a great way to stir up his base which are vociferous in defending anything with the initials AEW but when you take a 1000 foot look at it are they under constant attack or do they have a strange knack of self sabotaging themselves before every ppv?

So the theme going in the week of a show isn’t the lineup they have but putting out fires someone from the roster has started either on their own or by feeding a story to Dave Meltzer to put over a party’s agenda. Case in point, as i’m writing this we are the go home week for Worlds End and what are the stories floating around dominating the news cycle? An incident dubbed “Brawl Out” from AEWs All Out in 2022… yes, you read that right, 2022 and not from not roster members directly involved as they all have apparently signed NDAs but peripheral people to the situation. 

Here are the two stories just this week that are attempting to derail AEWs momentum – 

Story One – 

2 weeks ago Ace Steel, one of the key participants in the incidents was on a podcast with Rip Rogers where it was brought up and he confirmed that he’d signed a NDA and the only one at the event that hasn’t was his wife Lucy and that if she ever wanted she could tell the story one day. The next week Rip had Steven P New on his show, the lawyer that represented both Punk & Steel confirmed the story and admitted that Lucy, while maybe not being the most unbiased witness, is the only one that could talk about it as everyone else had signed lifetime NDAs. that sets the table for the first sabotage… Chris Jericho someone who nowadays has never missed an opportunity to wedge himself into any story that might give him some clout, shares a link to the story on xmas eve from his own website with a quote “I didn’t sign one” in the biggest “look at me” since he pretended to be Freddie Mercury at All In Wembley, New replied to the link with a playful jab soon after and 8 hours later at 4am Christmas Morning Jericho shared the jab with this quote on X 

“Hey @StephenPNew- I don’t adhere to an employee handbook and have NEVER had one in 4 years of working for @aew. I’ve also never signed an NDA in my life ….ever.  So stop trying to be a bully and making egotistical fantasy brags for your clients, and start doing some research before you make blanket statements about your buddies.  Because I saw EVERYTHING that night…including how Lucy (and her husband and best buddy)  acted and what really went down…and since I was in the room and watching her and everybody else the whole time..I know exactly what really happened.  And considering you weren’t there and I was …maybe you should shut your mark ass up. Because what really went down was disgusting. ….”

While there’s enough holes in his story for Austin to drive a Zamboni through it also went viral, dominating the news cycle. No one is talking about World’s End, AEW diehards are attacking New and other people are also telling Jericho to just shut up. Nevertheless they aren’t talking about their big show that’s for sure. 

Story Two – 

Over the last few weeks several executives have either been let go, resigned for another job or in the case in point decided not to resign. Dana Massie who worked as the Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer since day One at AEW had decided not to resign with AEW choosing just to leave her position when her contract expires. For those of you that dont know Dana is also married to Matt Massie aka Matt Jackson of the Young Bucks/Elite. Now neither Dana or Matt said anything publicly but complimentary things about AEW but the unofficial media wing for the Elite against CM Punk, Dave Meltzer went on his show Wrestling Observer Radio to explain the “real reason” Dana is finishing up with them.  

“The real truth of the thing with Dana is…it’s a funny thing, if you’re a wrestler you kind of go with the flow and you’ll work if you’re unfairly maligned and things like that. I think with her…again she was someone who at some point was expecting to do this forever.

I think what happened is that everything that happened over the past year with her husband, her brother-in-law vilified and never defended and never being allowed to defend themselves and the company never defending them, it made it really difficult.

They re-signed, they didn’t go to WWE. They got a great offer and basically, it was the best thing for the family, the best thing financially to stay. They’d all agreed to stay or they all agreed to the majority vote. That was one of the things they all agreed to so they stayed. With her, I think it just got too tough because of that and I’m sure there were other reasons too but that was a lot of it, the fact that she felt that they were never defended at a time that they should have probably been defended by the company. Punk went after her too and she was never defended at that point.”

Again not something from someone directly involved but either through clout chasing or channels to continue to take shots at either the company or at the man no longer with the company and sadly for AEW these sort of things always come along either the week of or directly after a show so while we should be talking about who the Devil is, will Samoa Joe beat MJF for the world title or who will win the C2 at World’s End they are instead going to have Tony avoiding questions about Jericho, NDAs and Dana Massie about a subject a year old. So to sort of answer or retort to Tony Khan’s statement AEW does seem to be under constant attack but as the phrase goes i think the call is coming from inside the house. 

1 thought on “Is AEW Under Constant Attack Or Is It Self Sabotage?

  1. I think it’s both myself. The self sabotage in my view comes from the fact that AEW is run by amateurs who really don’t know what they are doing. It’s a bit like WCW when Russo was booking. Punk saw the amateur conduct, and saw it get out of hand when Cody Rhodes left. Cody was the glue in the back and kept the egos of Omega and the Bucks in check. The minute he went back to WWE, all hell broke loose. Punk didn’t like it, and the amateurs reacted with the Colton BS knowing that Punk would react. Perry did exactly the same thing seeing that it had worked once. Punk knew he was surrounded by amateurs. Now he’s back in a professional environment – a better one than the one he left in 2014. It all boils down to the amateurs in charge – and Khan is the head honcho of that group.

    On the other hand, the bad press without the other factors is also present. PWN’s reviews of Dynamite have been mixed and I would wager it’s not the only site doing that as the booking – like WCW in Russo’s time – has been haphazard to a concerning level. Some things are working but others are not and we are getting revolving door changes (eg Sammy Guevara’s heel turn and then face turn even if it may have been forced by Omega’s injury).

    The experience with Punk has left AEW wide open and exposed for what they are. A bunch of amateurs. Khan needs to start pulling egos into line and if he needs help doing that he should get it. There is a roster there that is capable of competing with WWE – not so much on demographics but rather general numbers. Competition is good for business – but it needs to be done professionally.

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