AEW should really change it's packed PPV format

AEW stacks its PPVs with a lot of matches, but is there a point where there's too much on one card?

Feb 22, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Chris Jericho appears during AEW Dynamite at Footprint Center.
Feb 22, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Chris Jericho appears during AEW Dynamite at Footprint Center. / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

AEW Revolution is poised to mark the end of Sting’s historic, 38-year career in pro wrestling. The man deserves all the flowers and it’s excellent to see him get them while he’s still here to celebrate. AEW Revolution is going to be a celebration, but it’s also going to be a long night. With 11 matches scheduled from the pre-show through the main event, AEW should shorten the length of its PLEs.

When AEW started, fans liked the idea of quarterly, Saturday PPVs. They felt like a big turning point for the company as it would use those shows to bring major stories to a close. But as the show has increased its PPV schedule, the number of matches remains 10+ each outing. That’s way too many matches, especially as the shows are now on Sunday leading to a work or school week for the people who love the product.

Take AEW Revolution for example. It’s typical for AEW to announce matches as late as the weekend of the event. And every time those matches are announced, it adds fluff to an already-packed show. Take the 12-man match for the preshow. This is an AEW Rampage quality match if there ever was one. The women’s tag team match has an interesting story behind it, but it was added to the pre-show last minute as if Tony Khan forgot he could have more than one women’s match on the show.

Looking at the PPV portion, the All-Star Scramble is another match that no one would miss if it were booked for weekly television. The Meat Madness match was at least something that was looked forward to for the shenanigans to come, but the multi-man match that replaced it doesn’t move the needle.

FTR versus The Blackpool Combat Club features four men who are stars within AEW. But this match could have been removed as well. Think of giving these two teams 25+ minutes on a Wednesday or Saturday. AEW consistently puts Match of the Year quality contests on free television, and this would have been one of them.

The in-ring action discourse is alive and well in the IWC. Multiple accounts track how many actual matches and minutes of wrestling occur on each show. Some critique the WWE for long events without a lot of action in the ring, while others critique AEW for several minutes of “matches for matches” sake. It’s an interesting problem to solve, and an understandable challenge. Still, AEW should take a moment to look at the number of matches that occur on each PPV and test whether their shows would be better reviewed for more succinct card building.