AEW must try a brand split again

All Elite Wrestling needs to take another shot at putting together a solid brand split as the roster continues to swell.

Toni Storm 5.png
Toni Storm 5.png /

All Elite Wrestling touts one of the best rosters seen in wrestling history. The list of people available that already are top stars and could be stars of the future is long, as long as a company of this level would love to have. But is there enough room for everyone in its current format? With new names coming in almost monthly, perhaps it is time for AEW to take another shot at the brand split concept.

The story of AEW’s first attempt at a brand split was something to behold. Thanks to Brawl Out, the company attempted what was called a “soft” brand split where some members of the roster would be available for Dynamite while others were on Collision. The rumors and speculation around who would be “allowed” to perform on what show raged, and that culminated with one CM Punk no longer being with the company. That was a mistake that anyone could see coming from a mile away. However, doing things correct the second time around would make sense at this time.

One look at AEW’s roster and it’s easy to see that a brand split is necessary. As names like Will Ospreay, Kazuchika Okada, and Mercedes Mone come into the company, that cuts into time available for individuals like Ricky Starks, Malaki Black, and Kris Statlander. This roster is deep. Think of talent like Miro or Keith Lee, both of whom have been off television for various reasons, but there’s a consistent push to see them featured in prominent positions. There aren’t enough resources and time to go around to everyone. Especially as it has been made clear that Tony Khan will continue to go after top free agents as they become available.

This is especially true for the women’s division. If Khan is going to dedicate more time to this talented unit, it needs to feature more of the great women’s performers who are on the roster but can’t get on television. A brand split would help open that door.

AEW wouldn’t need to do its brand split the same way WWE has done for years. Both shows wouldn’t need an “equal” number of champions. AEW does a great job of making multiple stories feel like main event stories. On any week, an angle featuring Samoa Joe could headline, or one featuring The Young Bucks, or like this past week, the angle with Mercedes Mone and Willow Nightingale.

Champions could float between both shows as angles and top contenders presented themselves. But the rest of the card would be dedicated to those who aren’t champions, giving them angles and matches to remain relevant on television. For example, the March 7 edition of Collision featured matches with Chris Jericho, The Elite, and Bryan Danielson. None of these performers are champions, so those three acts would remain on Dynamite, while that time could be dedicated to others who are available and would be a part of the Collision “brand.” Too many names jump back and forth between the two shows and that will be more of a problem as this roster continues to swell.

AEW has done several things well since its inception in 2018 and launch in 2019. As Tony Khan continues to put together the top roster in the industry, it’s time to reassess how the organization can embrace a brand split to build more stars for today and the future.