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Rob weighs in on new wave of WWE releases and how that impacts the “wrestlers market”.



So we had another Black Thursday, with a slew of WWE releases.  This time it was mostly NXT people but there were some surprising names like Keith Lee and Nia Jax.  While it has spawned yet another round of twitter going up in flames, I have a different set of observations.  WWE has changed it’s methods of roster management in 2021 so it is what it is.  Now it’s time to look at the bigger picture for the entire industry.  What’s this mean for the whole business, not just WWE?  That’s the question we need to be asking, and I came up with a few anwers.

WWE isn’t worried about AEW

In 2019 when AEW was starting up there were rumors flying everywhere that anyone in WWE not named Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Becky Lynch, or Charlotte Flair was at least thinking about what life may be like on the other side of the street, and the WWE acted accordingly by offering anyone who’s contract was up crazy money to re-sign.  Now almost three years in, it’s pretty obvious that’s not a concern anymore.  While I and others have sworn that ratings are useless as things to pontificate about one thing you can glean from them is patterns of behavior and what it’s shown for AEW is that they spike and then level off again.  The recent spikes have been higher because they were around signings like Bryan Danielson and CM Punk but even those two couldn’t stop the leveling off as we’ve seen the past couple of weeks.  Truth be told there just aren’t that many people left who are plausible signees from WWE who would shake up the world and keep it shaken up.  Roman, Becky, Cena, and Brock aren’t showing up there.  Seth Rollins is unlikely as well.  The biggest names I would say you can’t rule out are Charlotte and Sasha Banks but until AEW books their women’s division better it’s hard to predict anything beyond the customary initial spike upon their arrival.  Look, I thought Bryan and Punk would make for a consistent increase in audience but even they haven’t.  AEW is succeeding, they’re making progress on a video game and building content for a streaming service but they have been deemed to be a manageable threat at most or else some of these folks would have been kept on just because.

Roster churn is here

I’ve written before about the roster turnover of days gone by, and how it isn’t a bad omen should it come back today.  The short version is that a lot of big name WWE legends weren’t there anywhere near as long as you may think they were.  Some of these folks like Nia Jax and Gran Metalik were there for five or six years, longer than a lot of Hall of Famers were.  Roster cuts are going to be a regular thing now and the revolving door is back in effect again, but for different reasons.  A year and a half ago they had 300 wrestlers under contract and they have seen that it isn’t necessary to carry that many.  And the developmental model has changed to one where if they can’t adapt you for main roster use early then they’re not going to keep you around for two or three years.

The market is flooded 

I expect Ember Moon to show up in AEW the first night she’s available, and possibly the same for Mia Yim.  But lots of these folks were NXT roster members who aren’t going to be in demand so I don’t know where they’ll land.  Ring of Honor effectively shutting down means that there’s two floods of talent to world of indie bookings.  Which means there’s going to be domino effect where some current indie wrestlers are going to find themselves fighting for space soon.  Some guys and gals with price themselves out of the business if they’re not careful, and some others are just going to get pushed out.

Big Loser: Women’s Wrestling

Moon, Yim, and Nia Jax are all on the market.  Might they all end up in AEW?  Maybe, but will that change the one match allotment on Dynamite and Rampage?  I doubt it.  This could stand to be a pretty big blow to women’s wrestling; let me explain why.  For all it’s own shortcomings WWE is the only company that books more than one Women’s match on one of it’s TV shows with any regularity.  AEW has a pretty large number of women under some kid of contract (at least 24 by my count), but still rations out their TV time like they’re stuck behind enemy lines somewhere.  ROH closing just as they’ve rebooted their Women’s Division has also stranded lots of talented; AEW won’t sign them all and the ones they do will have to fight for time with the women already there.  With one company closing, the biggest one releasing a lot of women and the one place that could scoop them having some real booking problems this is a precarious time for women in the business.

The Boom was a lie

There was talk a few years ago that we were about to enter another boom period.  WWE was making huge money, smaller companies (ROH, Impact, MLW) were doing better than they had in some time, New Japan looked to be gaining interest in the States and AEW was starting up.  Then reality hit.  There isn’t space for all of these companies like some people thought and AEW has eaten up the market share that those smaller entities were living off of.  Yes there was room for WWE and Not WWE, but Not WWE was only going to work one kind of way.  It was either going to be a number of smaller companies or one big competitor, not both.  AEW being easily accessible on TNT and incorporating the talent and stylistic elements of those other places has largely made those places unnecessary.  Why fish around C tier cable channels for Impact and MLW, syndicated Saturday night television for ROH and wake up at 2 AM to watch New Japan when you can tune in to TNT at 8:00 and get elements of all four in one place?

In conclusion, the business has indeed changed over the past two years.  AEW did indeed engender a response from them but it is not what people thought it would be.  The hope was that it was spur some vague idea of ‘better creative’ but it’s done something different instead. The WWE has gone to a maximum efficiency, expand the margins model in response and that has in turn has had ramifications across the business.  Some people are going to have to re-imagine their business model or risk falling by the wayside, and we’ll see who’s able to.

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AEW Coverage

Mitchell’s AEW Continental Classic Update! (11/27/23)

What a start to the tournament!



Did your picks win points?

The AEW Continental Classic is underway, with almost everyone competing. Check in here if you haven’t seen the winners and losers of week 1!

Here are your Gold League standings!

  • Jon Moxley: 1-0, 3 points
  • Swerve Strickland: 1-0, 3 points
  • Jay White: 1-0, 3 points
  • Rush: 0-1, 0 points
  • Mark Briscoe: 0-1, 0 points.
  • Jay Lethal: 0-1, 0 points


Here are your Blue League standings!

  • Brody King: 1-0, 3 points
  • Claudio Castagnoli: 1-0, 3 points
  • Daniel Garcia: 0-1, 0 points
  • Eddie Kingston: 0-1, 0 points
  • Bryan Danielson: Yet to Compete
  • Andrade El Idolo: Yet to Compete


My Thoughts:

Nothing too crazy, nothing too wild, this tournament only just got started. The only disappointing point is that they could not get Bryan “cleared to compete” Saturday night. Not sure how much of that is shoot given the bad eye, but this was kinda the problem of wanting him in the tournament over tons of other choices. Bryan wants to face Okada for WrestleKingdom 18, how is Bryan supposed to do that at his best if he’s also gonna be in a round robin, doing five top level matches in about as many weeks? And it takes away from Andrade being able to do something. Also a little surprised we didn’t even hear from Andrade on Saturday.

Now as we heard on Saturday, round two’s matches are set. Gold League will see Mark Briscoe VS Rush, White VS Swerve, and of course, Moxley VS Lethal. Nice variety there, a couple 0-1 guys facing off, as well as two 1-0 guys, and then 1-0 VS 0-1. No offense to Lethal, but he feels like an 0-2 going up against Moxley. Hard to call the other ones but that’s the fun of it. Meanwhile, Blue League sees Brody VS Claudio in a showdown to be 2-0, then Bryan and Andrade finally jump in, Bryan against Eddie and Andrade against Garcia. Sadly, feels like Eddie and Garcia are going 0-2, no way Tony Khan is booking Bryan and Andrade to lose their first shots.

In fact, that could be half the reason they did wait on those two, that’s almost too good for just a first round opener. But I still would’ve done it, same as NJPW does stuff like that for round robins, which this is all modeled after anyway.

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AEW Coverage

AEW announces Continental Classic entrants

The C2 is set!



Tony Khan Reveals the Blue and Gold “Leagues!”

Originally livestreamed, Tony Khan and Tony Schiavone officially announced the twelve total entrants and divided them into the two round robin blocks known as the “Blue League” and “Gold League.” If you don’t feel like sifting through the almost 30 minute video, the groups are:

Blue League

  • Bryan Danielson
  • Andrade El Idolo
  • Brody King
  • Claudio Castagnoli
  • Daniel Garcia
  • Eddie Kingston

Gold League

  • Jon Moxley
  • Swerve Strickland
  • Rush
  • Mark Briscoe
  • Jay Lethal
  • Jay White


Tony Khan also explains the rules for the Continental Classic:

  • Every match has a 20 minute time limit
  • The winner of each match earns 3 points, losers earn 0, 1 point for a draw
  • EVERYONE ELSE is banned from ringside for true 1v1 action


Eddie Kingston also joined the selection special as his “life’s work” is on the line in this tournament, both the ROH World Championship and NJPW Strong Openweight Championship on the line as part of the modern day North American Triple Crown Eddie, Tony Khan, AEW, ROH and NJPW are looking to create together. Gold League competes tonight on Dynamite while Blue League will have their start this Saturday on Collision. Look for more articles like this one to keep up with the Continental Classic standings over the next six weeks of tournament action!

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