AEW Live Events VP Rafael Morffi Says WWE Rarely Booked Venues To Hurt Competition

WWE has long tried to use its relationships with arenas and arena management companies to keep competitors out of the best venues in a given market. The most recent example of note would be ROH briefly losing their 2019 date at Madison Square Garden until lawyers at then-parent company Sinclair Broadcast Group intervened, but it's been going on for decades. According to AEW Vice President of Live Events and Touring Rafael Morffi in a new interview on Chris Jericho's "Talk is Jericho" podcast, though, it's not as much of a concern these days.


"There's markets where [WWE is] there either after or a week or two before us, but I think a lot of that is pure coincidence," explained Morffi, who previously worked for WWE and Impact Wrestling. "There may have been one or two times; I think they may have conveniently booked a show before us... [Jericho: 'It's obvious! They did it to is in El Paso  a couple weeks ago, I think it was, or Laredo, didn't they?'] They were there a month before us in Laredo, yeah. But then you have stern conversations with venues; in that case, the venue didn't let me know until they announced it. So you have some strong conversations with venues...I tell every venue: 'Make the most amount of money you can from both of us. Just find some time for us.' And most venues love hearing that." 


Morffi added, though, that it's more difficult in some markets, singling out Detroit as one where it took time for AEW to debut because what had once been a four-arena town had been downsized to having just one appropriate venue, Little Caesar's Arena. Between Red Wings games, Pistons games, and WWE's three stops in Detroit each year, finding an agreeable date took patience. It took an assist from a former Major League Soccer co-worker of Morffi's "who has a lot of pull there" and who "gave [AEW] a chance" last year for the Blood and Guts "Dynamite" special.