AEW Stars Fire Back at WWE's Comments About 'Gory Self-Mutilation'

The Street Fight between Tay Conti, Anna Jay, Penelope Ford and The Bunny from AEW's New Year's Smash edition of AEW Rampage wound up being shockingly violent as the four battled their way to a bloody 10-minute contest. The match was suddenly back in the conversation over the weekend when WWE released a statement to the Toronto Star referring to the match as "gory self-mutilation." The statement read, "If you look at the gory self-mutilation that bloodied several women in the December 31 event on TNT, it quickly becomes clear that these are very different businesses. We had an edgier product in the 'Attitude' era and in a 2022 world, we don't believe that type of dangerous and brutal display is appealing to network partners, sponsors, venues, children, or the general public as a whole."

This isn't the first time WWE has tried to dismiss AEW because of its willingness to have bloody matches on TV. Vince McMahon once referred to the product as "blood and guts," which AEW turned around and named its version of a WarGames match as Blood & Guts. 

"There will be something we do in terms of a direction of content -- more controversy, better storylines, etcetera," McMahon said in an investor's conference call in early 2020. "But at the same time, we're not gonna go back to the quote 'Attitude Era,' and we're not gonna do blood and guts and things of that nature, such as being done on perhaps a new potential competitor."

The four women in the match didn't directly respond to WWE's comments, though three of the four all decided to post bloody photos of themselves from that night on Twitter on Saturday as a unified message.

But while WWE officials have made a few negative comments about AEW in the past, active WWE wrestlers have often embraced the competition. Even John Cena, while noting he had never seen AEW, talked about the value of it in an interview last week. 

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"Competition brings out the best in us," Cena said in Pardon My Take. "For all time, going out there as a performer, I wanted to be the best I could possibly do and set the tone for wanting to be the best show between Raw and SmackDown and certainly have eyes on the segments I was on. I was fueled by a sense of internal competition. Not knowing what it's like now to be in a market with a lot of different options, there are a lot of places to watch sports entertainment. That would only, for me, fuel me even more to be the best I can be."