On social media recently, Taz flirted with the idea of going back to wrestling commentary and he couldn't have picked a better time to return if he does. The pro wrestling scene is the hottest it's been in decades with new companies sprouting up and new TV deals for other companies.
In regards to the latter, NXT recently made its USA Network debut and Taz talked about that when he spoke to Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast.
"I thought it was really cool. I didn't watch it live but I know a lot of people that watched it live and they said the energy was unbelievable," said Taz. "The product they have there that Triple H built, he's allowed the talent to capture their energy and bring that youthful feel combined with intensity and physicality. That's what I saw in that show. Being that they are gonna be live every week on USA, that's a huge deal."
Tonight, NXT will go head-to-head with AEW, which premieres on TNT. While some see NXT vs. AEW on Wednesdays as the dawning of the second coming of the Monday Night Wars, Taz says competing with NXT shouldn't be AEW's goal to start.
"Truth be told, I don't feel like it's a competition," revealed Taz. "It's almost unfair, and this is what I've talked about on my podcast, because you have the WWE which has ingrained the audience that wrestling is on the USA Network. I'm not talking about the hardcore fan, I'm talking about the casual fan – they know when they put the TV on USA Network on Monday, they're gonna get wrestling. On [Friday], they're gonna get SmackDown. They know that.
"That's already ingrained in a lot of people. The ambitious task for AEW is to re-educate the audience that wrestling is back on Turner. I think they are starting to do that already which is smart. They've gotta compete with one thing, in my opinion, they've gotta compete against themselves. If I worked in AEW, that's what I would say. We've gotta compete against ourselves. We don't have to compete against Vince McMahon or Triple H or NXT; we've gotta compete against us."
Despite Taz not thinking AEW should compete with WWE, he did note the back-and-forth between the two companies in recent months.
"Was the bear poked with Triple H with Cody busting up the [throne]? Yeah, definitely. But let's be honest: the first punch was thrown by Triple H at the HOF when he was cutting his promo. He took a shot at Billy Gunn about AEW. I'm still shocked that he did that and Vince McMahon's head didn't blow off backstage. But that was the first shot," said Taz.
"Then Sami Zayn going on the next day on Raw and mentioning AEW, from my understanding he did that on his own. The point is, AEW has to compete with AEW. It's unfair to compete…just think of it from a TV perspective from someone who has been on that network for so many years and has been around for decades. It's tough to go, 'We're competing against you' with your two hours of programming when WWE has six hours a week of programming. It's almost unfair."
Compete against yourself and be the best AEW you can be every week. I do believe they will compete against themselves and I think they will do very well."
Taz then relayed advice that Vince McMahon once told him that could also be applied to AEW today.
"The key to this industry is having TV and talent, and it doesn't matter what order," Taz recalled. "AEW has that and they have money. The other thing I would add in there: passion. They have passion. Those people from Tony Khan to Cody to The Bucks to Omega, they have a passion to succeed and have this chip on their shoulder."
He then talked about how when he was in ECW they had a legitimate chip on their shoulder even without the resources of AEW.
"We had the same passion and drive that I can see in AEW. That to me is what's refreshing and cool," stated Taz.
Taz's "The Taz Show" can be heard 2-3 times a week and is available at https://www.radio.com/taz-show. Taz's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post. In it Taz discusses his potential return to pro wrestling commentary, what he's looking for in a promotion, working with Vince McMahon in his ear, two-man versus three-man commentary teams, AEW vs NXT, NXT's debut episode on USA and more.