False Facts About AEW You Always Thought Were True

There's a belief that if someone says something enough times, it becomes true. In the case of AEW, there are many rumblings and whisperings around the promotion that have somehow become supposed matter-of-facts among the Internet Wrestling Community. It's yet another example of how cyberspace is the perfect platform to spread fake news and how many people still fail to subscribe to the "don't believe everything you read" mentality. However, these murmurings must have started somewhere, right?

Sometimes, they begin from nothing or a preconceived notion about someone or a situation; other times, they may hold a little malice behind them. Considering the wrestling industry is as bonkers behind the scenes as it is on the surface, it should come as no surprise that it allows rumors to manifest and be accepted as gospel. From the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega only being in the business for themselves to AEW only signing WWE rejects, let's take a look at the false facts about AEW that many people believe to be true.

The EVPs only push themselves and their friends

The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, and Cody Rhodes took a massive risk in starting a company alongside the Khan family. Not only because of the financial risk and effort involved in challenging the monolith known as the WWE, but also because of the negative connotations associated with it. It's all too easy to say they created AEW so that they could cement their own legacies as wrestling legends. As a result, there is a perception that the Bucks and Omega, in particular, went into business for themselves, with the intention of becoming the faces of AEW and holding all the gold.

Yet, here's the thing: It's true that Omega and the Bucks were long recognizable characters in wrestling, so it makes all the business sense in the world to maximize their name value to bring in the fans. However, they haven't gone and created an environment where they're the only ones to win the gold. Yes, Omega and the Bucks have been champions, but they've also lost and helped to elevate other talent such as "Hangman" Adam Page, Jurassic Express, and the Lucha Bros. In Rhodes' case, he immediately took himself out of the World Championship picture by losing in a match with a stipulation where he'd never fight for the gold again. At the same time, the EVPs aren't hogging all the television time on a weekly basis; quite the contrary, actually.

The ranking system works

AEW prides itself on being more sports than sports entertainment. It does this by holding an official ranking system that helps fans keep track of win-loss records and who should be on track for a title shot. While these numbers make for good talking points for the commentators and interesting trivia as the wrestlers come down to the ring, they're also deeply flawed and operate on the same principle as "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" — the points are made up and the rules don't matter.

For fans who are paying attention and keeping track of win-loss records, some of the match-ups scheduled simply don't add up to what the rankings indicate. More importantly, the rankings always go out of the window for storyline purposes and if the AEW decides to bring in someone new. For example, how did Mance Warner secure himself a title shot against Jon Moxley on "Rampage" in his debut match for AEW? Surely, anyone who is in the top five of the men's rankings has a reason to complain about this, especially if they haven't had a chance to compete yet. The ranking system might make sense on paper, but it definitely isn't as important as AEW has led us to believe.

The women's division is thin

There's no disputing that the WWE possesses one of the best women's divisions of all time right now. With names like Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Bayley in a stacked roster, this is the golden era of women's wrestling and the promotion has heavily invested in developing its female performers. In comparison, every other company's women's division does look weaker, since the WWE is practically bursting with future HOFers. That said, the belief that AEW's women's roster is paper-thin is highly inaccurate and an insult to its roster.

While it might not have the sheer numbers of the men's side, the roster does feature nearly 30 female performers at the time of writing. Where the AEW's women's division does fall short, however, is in the experience department. Many of their performers, such as Jade Cargill, are green and in the early stages of their career. This means it's obvious there's a clear distinction in the quality of a match between Toni Storm and Dr. Britt Baker versus one that features Cargill and Anna Jay. At the same time, AEW has added experienced performers, such as Serena Deeb and Madison Rayne, to the mix and they will only help the younger wrestlers to develop quicker and faster.

AEW Dark is a failure

Ah, "Dark" ... Or the "YouTube show," as some people refer to it. There's a belief it's a program that no one watches and is utilized purely as a platform to dump the performers who can't secure television time. However, "Dark" regularly pulls in more than 250,000 views on YouTube, outstripping the numbers of other wrestling shows on YouTube from the likes of NWA and MLW.

More importantly, "Dark" is the ideal gateway for someone who might not have heard of AEW before — or doesn't have access to watch "Dynamite" or "Rampage" in their country. Quite often, the show will feature big-name talents like Orange Cassidy and Toni Storm appearing in squash matches, which help to introduce the audience to these personalities and what they're all about. In many ways, "Dark" operates on the same sort of model as "WWF Superstars," which served as a supplement to the programming at the time and as a way to draw more eyeballs to the product. With thousands of people watching the "YouTube show" on a weekly basis, it's safe to say this is far from a failure.

The wrestling style is highly choreographed

Without a shadow of a doubt, AEW is more friendly to indie wrestlers who swear by the more modern choreographed approach to wrestling. That said, it isn't all flips and gymnastics, as certain podcasters might refer to it. In fact, the AEW roster features a host of wrestlers incorporating different styles that should appeal to both longtime and new fans. There are submission specialists like Bryan Danielson and Daniel Garcia, hard hitters like Wardlow and Powerhouse Hobbs, and even all-rounders like CM Punk and Chris Jericho who can do a bit of everything. The point is, there's a variety of wrestling styles and matches on display on a weekly basis.

Whether the highly choreographed approach is someone's cup of tea or not is irrelevant, since AEW promotes more than that. There's something for the different types of fans and not every single performer needs to fit the mold of what every single fan expects. It's the equivalent of saying the WWE only consists of brawlers since the only wrestlers anyone has seen are Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar.

AEW Dynamite is a failure because it draws no more than one million viewers

Pro wrestling fans have a weird obsession with ratings. For some reason, we hang onto the numbers as some indication of overall quality or standard. It's the equivalent of saying "Avengers: Endgame" is the greatest film of all time because it grossed a ridiculous number at the box office. Everyone knows this isn't true, because "Paddington 2" is the best. 

In the case of AEW, the ratings for "Dynamite" are always in the news, with many detractors saying its failure to cross over one million viewers is a disaster and the show is a heartbeat away from being cancelled.

However, this is an inaccurate sentiment. Comparing it to "Raw," which draws in around two million viewers is unfair, since the WWE's flagship show has had a head start of a few decades. More importantly, AEW is in its infancy as a company. Imagine if a brand-new car manufacturer arrived tomorrow — would everyone suddenly switch over in an instant and become loyalists of this new brand? Unlikely. The company would need to earn people's trust over time. Similarly, this is the position that AEW is in, as it grows its fanbase organically. Besides, its numbers for "Dynamite" outstrip those of many scripted primetime shows. In fact, The CW network would compete in any barbed wire match to achieve these sort of ratings on a weekly basis.

AEW signs WWE rejects

Are there a lot of former WWE talents in AEW? Sure. But that doesn't mean they're WWE's rejects. Many of the WWE talents in AEW actually refused new contracts at their former employer to jump ship and start afresh. The reasons for them turning down the offers may differ, but they weren't exactly shown the door in the WWE and wished all the best in their future endeavors.

Take Adam Cole as a prime example. His contract expired in the WWE, but the promotion wanted him to stay on and to elevate him to the main roster. In the end, Cole decided he wanted a change and moved on to be closer to his real-life partner, Dr. Britt Baker. CM Punk is another high-profile example. While Punk's bitter feud with the WWE is highly publicized, even he admitted the WWE reached out to him before he signed with AEW, but he decided against the negotiations.

At the end of the day, wrestling is a business and performers need to do what's right for their career. Rather than stick around in a place where they're unhappy, or feel unchallenged, they should have the ability to seek out new opportunities. Much like in any other industry, leaving a company doesn't mean someone is a reject; it's a choice.

The wrestlers do what they want

At most jobs, the following usually happens: There are a set number of rules that people need to follow and adhere to, which are generally non-negotiables. However, there is wiggle room to how someone does their job and executes their work. AEW operates in much the same manner. While there's more creativity and ad libbing afforded to the talent than perhaps what has been done in the WWE, it isn't quite the free-for-all that everyone thinks it is.

When all is said and done, Tony Khan is still the one who yays or nays any idea. The buck stops at him, despite contrary belief, and the talent can't just do what they want since there are consequences for it. After Max Caster's controversial rap on "Dark," for example, Khan revealed that he doesn't script promos but provides bullet points of what he wants to see in the segments. He also discussed how editors are meant to check and flag inappropriate content, which they failed to do with this incident. That's certainly a far cry from the inmates taking over the asylum.

AEW has too many factions

In the late '90s, WCW was all about the factions. Heck, the factions even had their own factions à la the nWo and the nWo Wolfpac. In the early days of AEW, the same could be said of the promotion. It appeared as if everyone was part of a faction — whether it be the Inner Circle, the Dark Order, the Elite, or the Pinnacle. However, there has been a noticeable change in the air, as the company must have realized too many factions complicate the programming.

The focus on factions has slowed down, with many of them being quietly dismantled in the background or falling down the wayside. Yes, there are alliances between several wrestlers who may team up on occasion, but the gang wars of the past seem to have largely cooled down — apart from the Jericho Appreciation Society's endless beef with the Blackpool Combat Club that seems to have no end in sight.

AEW fans love everything

AEW certainly has a passionate fanbase — and like all fanbases, there are good and bad elements to it. There are people who have a good time and behave themselves in the fandom, while there are others who spend their lives locked in a battle to the finish in comments sections. Again, nothing out of the ordinary here. However, to say the AEW fans love absolutely everything and would pop if two balloons wrestled each other simply ... Yeah, that is straight-up false.

While the crowd always appears to be invested in the action during the live shows and singing along to the entrance themes, there have been moments when they have gone completely quiet and not gotten into matches. Scrolling through Twitter during any event, we'll also find many AEW fans openly call out botches or subpar performances that haven't lived up to expectations. This doesn't mean they've turned their backs on the product, but that they also know how to acknowledge when something didn't deliver as promised.

There are too many announcements

For wrestling fans, there are three constants in life: Brock Lesnar will always get paid more than anyone else, there will be a DQ finish on "Raw," and Tony Khan will have an important upcoming announcement on the next show. While all three points might provoke a chuckle, they also aren't always true. In the case of the latter, Khan's big announcements have slowed down since the influx of talent signings in 2021.

While Khan does like to use his Twitter account to tease news and announcements for future shows and cards, this is no different from WWE announcers discussing upcoming matches for the next episode of "Raw." Khan's approach is merely packaged in a different presentation.

Ultimately, Khan is a promoter who needs to hype up his shows and encourage people to check it out. Much like a marketer, it's his job to drum up excitement for AEW and give the audience a reason to buy tickets or tune in. Sharing news about an upcoming match is what he should be doing. So no, this isn't anything out of the ordinary or different from what other companies are doing.

Everyone gets along

Think of any company in the world. Some people get along, others ignore each other, and then there are a few who can't stand the mere sight of their mortal nemesis. AEW is no different. Forget about the "we're like a family around here" shtick, since there is bad blood between select individuals behind the scenes. In fact, these people would rather go for root canals or watch weekend marathons of "The Big Bang Theory" instead of being in the same room as each other.

Case in point: CM Punk and "Hangman" Adam Page. Reportedly, their beef was so chewy after Page touched a nerve during a promo that Punk remembered it for months afterwards. Even while getting surgery and rehabbing his injury, he kept it in the back of his mind. When he eventually reappeared on "Dynamite," he went off script, making sure to collect his "receipt" and ensure that Page looked like a fool on national television. Judging by some other reports, this tension could also stem from the real-life issues Punk has with his former best friend, Colt Cabana, who is now one of Page's pals. In addition, there is no love lost between many other members of the AEW roster, such as Claudio Castagnoli and Eddie Kingston. Seems like Tony Khan may need to dish out more hugs and spread the love around.