Seth Rollins comments on AEW mentioning WWE are correct


Healthy competition is a wonderful thing across industries. WWE hadn’t experienced strong competition since the days of WCW and the impact on the product is palpable. All Elite Wrestling is a credible competitor, even if the revenue gaps between the two are currently massive. That doesn’t stop AEW from mentioning WWE on their broadcast, much to the chagrin of many for various reasons. WWE standout, Seth Rollins, had some comments about how it’s done and in many ways, he’s correct in his stance.

“To me, it’s one of those things where, if it’s very useful, it’s fine,” Rollins said while speaking to Jimmy Traina of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast. “The other side of that coin is the way that it can be used by those guys. They can do whatever they want. I find it very tacky and low-brow, personally. I think it looks and reeks of desperation.”

The “it” that Rollins is referencing is AEW’s frequent use of WWE or aspects of WWE within its storylines. There are many different examples, both outright and tongue in cheek. For example, much of the feud between MJF and CM Punk is linked to Punk’s disdain and eventual departure from the WWE. That was an understandable part of the story that elevated the stakes heading into the Dog Collar Match at AEW Revolution. This is an example of when the references are useful in making the intricacies of all the promos and in-ring action even more important.

Yet, as Rollins said, there is another side to the coin that is growing tired. Take Chris Jericho’s latest group, the Jericho Appreciation Society. Name aside, the group prides itself on being “sports entertainers” as opposed to “pro wrestlers.” Ok, so it’s a funny way to rile up the AEW base because of the ridiculous terminology edicts used in the WWE, but is it necessary? Does it make those characters and potential storylines more interesting? The answer is leaning toward “no.”

Rollins and any commentary around the topic would be hiding the key point that the WWE has done the same thing. They took several shots at WCW when that promotion was becoming a challenger to their hold on professional wrestling. Even after purchasing the company, many of its top stars were treated as fodder for the rest of the WWE roster. While WWE may not mention AEW directly, they do hint at the company, again through roundabout, and often convoluted means. In the WWE’s often incorrect perception, mentioning other brands’ lessons the value of its own.

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Is there a fine line when it comes to mentioning competitors too much, rather than focusing on your own product? Of course. All Elite Wrestling has done an excellent job setting itself apart from what the WWE offers, and some of that development included taking shots at the bigger promotion. But almost three years into the company’s run, perhaps now is the time to lesson that tactic.