Emphasis On All Elite Wrestling: By Southern Joe

All Elite Wrestling has the opportunity that few professional wrestling companies could ever give themselves a chance to do. That is to become the number 1 pro wrestling company on the planet. All Elite has immense financial backing, they have many proven as well as rising talents on their roster, and they have a national TV deal that they seem to be holding firm with, even if their ratings have taken a dip in recent times. No other company since the demise of WCW has been in such an enviable position to usurp the dominance of the WWE.

I have previously addressed the All Elite Wrestling situation on my modest YouTube channel, If You See Kayfabe under its former name. The Southern Joe Wrestling Show.
I’m known to some folk on the internet as Southern Joe. I have been a wrestling fan for more than 50 years. I recently joined the 60 club , but still enjoy the grappling game. I will admit that I don’t watch All Elite Wrestling or even WWE as much as I would like to, and there are various factors that go into that decision.

For All Elite to have any hope of overtaking the WWE will be an incremental climb. People need to remember that All Elite is a 5 year old company. The fairest comparison for that 5 year marker is to compare where WWF(now WWE) was at the 5 year stage of Vince Jr’s ownership. This is because that’s when Vince bought the company from his Dad, who had run the company since the 1950s, clearly a different era & clearly not looking to expand nationally like Vince Jr eventually would do. Once Vince Jr bought the WWF, he looked to innovate and expand the WWF. He created Wrestlemania & started doing TV tapings in larger arenas. But up until then, TV tapings were still in Tv studios in front of a couple of hundred people & featuring predominantly squash matches. TNA, WWE, & most certainly AEW all show mainly competitive matches on their TV shows(which are mainly live, not taped).

But to build a solid house, it needs a solid foundation. It seems that All Elite owner Tony Khan is not building a solid foundation by seemingly ignoring the wealth of talent he has behind the scenes that he could delegate more responsibility to. This is especially for front of house stuff like storylines & match making. I think Tony should let an experienced wrestling mind like Dean Malenko, Jeff Jarrett or Jerry Lynn take over creative. They can still get the final say from Tony, but also Tony can learn from them what makes a fan buy product from his company, even if we are no longer in the “protected” era of wrestling.

Here in Australia we have what’s known as the Pub Test. Even though it was originally meant as a way to try and see if a political policy was deemed understandable and reasonable to even the average person( such as someone you’d find in a pub), it can be applied to any mode of thinking.
In this sense I always thought that Jeff Jarrett could run any story by someone like Eric Bischoff, who has spent many years pitching stories to TV executives. Eric could easily do this from home, & make sure that any proposed story couldn’t have holes poked in it. Also, no-one need know about this arrangement.

If the rumours about Shane McMahon looking to get involved with All Elite are true, then Tony Khan should welcome Shane with open arms. Shane should be made chief strategic officer IMMEDIATELY because outside of Vince & Stephanie(Vince’s daughter) , there is not a McMahon that knows the inner workings of WWE better. Hell, there would be few people on the planet that would have as much insight.

This is not just for insight into how to try and catch up to them in the race to be number 1, but an insight into how the WWE became the multi billion dollar juggernaut it is today.

As for presentation and production, the lighting needs to be better, more appealing to the viewer, and camera angles need to be improved. Perhaps there is not enough communication between production people & the wrestling people. I’ve heard experts mention how the “magic” of certain segments have been unwittingly exposed because of the wrong camera angle capturing what they shouldn’t. It would be like an illusionist having his trick exposed because the cameraman shooted from the wrong angle.

I also believe there should be more emphasis on calling the brand ALL ELITE WRESTLING, rather than AEW. AEW by itself sounds like someone making a mess of calling something WWE. The best thing they do now is when they sign a new talent they say that that star is now “All Elite” and it has gravitas. They also need to live up to the billing of where the best wrestle. At the moment, there is too much emphasis on silly skits and stories that don’t make sense. In this regard they are somewhere between WWE2.0 & a poor man’s WCW 2000. Make the feuds count, make the matches count, but the reasons why for the matches count, & not just because it’s some sort of dream match.

The stars of All Elite such as MJF, Samoa Joe & Jeff Jarrett and some others should all regularly do TV spots , especially in cities where they are about to have a show. TV shows are always looking for different content & some ex WWE stars that are now with All Elite will be recognised by some. This mainstream exposure will pay off because it is a chance for new fans.

There is a lot more to this, but let’s finish off by addressing one of the biggest failings of this company. That is the “indy” mindset.

Independent wrestling is a great place to see up and coming stars as well as those that are on their way to finishing their career. It can be a proving ground for any wrestler because of the intimate setting. The workers generally have the freedom to do the kind of matches they wish to perform. However, if you want sustained and improved growth, you must give the audience storylines and characters they can talk about and relate to.

If you think about the sports you follow, when you are discussing that sport you don’t say things like, “ Oh, that navy blue team really did beat the black and white mob by heaps of points.” You will talk about stats, players and the things they did. How many weeks will you watch a product if all you see is this guy against this guy and you aren’t told why they are in combat?

Yes, we all now know that everything is worked, but to still watch any show we have to suspend our belief and be invested in what’s on the screen.

If All Elite can start achieving that investment, their numbers will go up.

Thank you for taking the time to read my first article with PWdownunder.com .

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