All Elite Wrestling is exiting its ‘honeymoon’ phase with fans

AEW, Tony Khan 2019 TM & © Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc. A WarnerMedia Company
AEW, Tony Khan 2019 TM & © Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc. A WarnerMedia Company /

All Elite Wrestling has enjoyed a widely well-received run as a new promotion in North American wrestling. With big signings happening monthly, consistent viewership, and making waves through steps like purchasing Ring of Honor, there’s a lot that AEW has done to build excitement with today’s wrestling fan. However, with its growing success, there are growing questions and complaints about AEW that signify the ending of what has been a successful honeymoon period.

Sifting through the fake outrage and tirades on the internet can be difficult, but there’s something to some of the key points of criticism brewing around some aspects of All Elite Wrestling. Are there individuals and groups that hate anything the promotion does, rather than being open to conversations in good faith? Of course. It’s akin to what sports fans (also known as fanatics) have done since the dawn of time. There’s nothing different about it in professional wrestling. But that doesn’t mean there are valid points of criticism being raised about All Elite Wrestling.

Fans are right to continue to question the direction of AEW’s women’s division. The roster features some exceptionally talented women. Names like Thunder Rosa, Toni Storm, Jamie Hayter, and Kiera Hogan jump to the front, but names like Skye Blue, AQA, and others show a build that can cement the future as well.

Fans want to see these women on television, in matches and segments dedicated to the development of multiple feuds, with the entire roster in mind. Unfortunately, that still isn’t the case. Have there been showings of improvement? Yes, for example increasing the number of women’s matches during PPVs. But that hasn’t translated to the weekly shows, especially AEW Dynamite yet.

There’s a similar discourse brewing around who is featured in the men’s division. The company leans on the same names that fans have come to love, but some are questioning if they are taking the same time to build new stars. Take Darby Allin’s growth into a fan favorite and the consideration that was put into his development. Allowing more names to see that type of opportunity will have long-term value for the company.

Even outside of the ring, AEW is facing multiple situations such as Jeff Hardy’s recent arrest, MJF’s contract debacle turning into a shoot (or not), Jake Atlas, and more. Fans are looking for the same level of transparency that has come with other “positive” news and not getting it. While understandable, it’s a stark reminder to many that AEW is an entity within the world of professional wrestling and perhaps not the “family” that fans have made them up to be in their minds.

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AEW is continuing to find ways to reach success six months into 2022, and it’s working. While there are loud voices failing to have conversations of substance about viable criticisms of the promotion, that doesn’t mean some of those questions from fans and media should go discounted. AEW is now outside of its honeymoon phase and it will be interesting to see how the company responds to some aspects of critique sent its way.