There's no denying that AEW, despite having only held one show to date, are the hot thing this summer in professional wrestling.
On Friday, tickets for AEW's upcoming All Out show in Chicago sold out in 15 minutes. Meanwhile, WWE is holding their Stomping Grounds PPV event next Sunday in Tacoma, Washington and thousands of seats are readily available, unsold.
It's not just wrestling fans that are intrigued by the upstart company. According to Dave Meltzer on a recent edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, several talent in WWE "want out" of their current contracts and have unofficially reached out to AEW. According to Meltzer, the amount of WWE performers who have reached out would blow people's minds. These performers are reportedly counting down the days until their WWE deals expire.
Undoubtedly, Jon Moxley's arrival and subsequent success in AEW and NJPW has helped spur on this movement. Moxley wasn't exactly an under-card performer who had never reached his potential in WWE; he was a former WWE Champion who was seen as a top level star by most fans. Though WWE's booking left a lot to be desired over the course of his run with the company, he certainly was an established, main event level star.
This could cause some to reason that it's not just mid-card talent who are interested in jumping ship. Though there are likely many names who would match that description, what has happened with Moxley has got to intrigue even some of the bigger names at WWE.
Meltzer noted that WWE is offering more money now in hopes of keeping people around. However, that apparently isn't enough to keep some around long term as they are so frustrated creatively and just generally miserable.
Plus, it's not like AEW can't offer generous contracts. WWE hasn't had a rival with such deep pockets since the days of WCW. The Khan family who own AEW have wealth that dwarfs that of the McMahon family. Chris Jericho noted that his AEW contract is the biggest money deal he has ever signed in pro wrestling.
One thing is for sure: a new wrestling war has arrived, whether or not WWE and AEW want to admit it. The prospect of a new company with national television starting in the fall that has the momentum that AEW is currently experiencing is good for the business as a whole and will force WWE to improve their shows in the coming months if they want to hold off the rising tide of talent looking to jump ship.
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