AEW promised to value diversity when constructing its roster and some people believe their efforts have fallen flat. Former GCW World Champion AJ Gray even called them out on social media for preaching diversity but not hiring more black wrestlers.
Gray discussed how the wrestling business is grappling with diversity when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
"With WWE I don't get time to watch as I've got to work every day. AEW – they preached – when they started their company how different everything would be, how diverse it would be and all of this stuff," said Gray. "I even talked about it on Twitter – if you look at them – one singles wrestler that's a black male. Now with their women's division, they're actually doing something decent with that as they have quite a few with different backgrounds in their division. They have quite a few women with a different ethnic background but when you look at the males, it's almost like it's no one.
"It's Scorpio Sky and the African Americans they did use, they get about 2 minutes and 50 seconds on Dark. They get beat up really fast and that's it. Is that all you think of that talent? Come on now, give them a legitimate chance. You gave Alan Angels a legitimate chance against Kenny Omega and now you signed him. What's stopping you from doing that with Suge D or someone else?"
Suge D has been working with AEW for months now and is even involved in storylines, but he's not under contract and Gray was asked more about him.
"It's not really a one particular person thing. It's just a fact of the matter that it's so little," stated Gray who was then asked if WWE is doing a better job with diversity than AEW.
"I don't wanna sound like I'm picking a side right now. WWE has been guilty of doing really messed up things to African Americans. But they also have been ahead of the curve a little bit when it comes to using African Americans. MVP and Lashley aren't new names. They were there 10+ years ago? They were doing great things and now they're actually getting a chance to run with stuff. Mark Henry getting a chance to run with stuff. A lot of people getting a chance to run with stuff.
"Then you have to still think about the ACH situation. It's like, yes, they are doing good but they can be better. It's just stuff like that."
Just having more black wrestlers likely won't affect the root cause of the issue and Gray was asked what more action needs to be done.
"To be honest, if you wanted to change things completely you need black people in power. You need more than just black wrestlers as you need black producers and black executives," stated Gray. "People that actually know how it feels so they know what to and what not to do. Black writers – you'll see these weird gimmicks and you're like, 'What are you trying to do?' We know that's not what we do. That's the way we look at it as the black community. But if you have a black writer with an actual background in that situation, he knows what to do.
"You can't sit here and tell me – and I hate to say it like this – 20 to 40 year old white males or females can tell us about how to be black. They've never been black a day in their life so how are you gonna write that. You don't know."
Gray then compared the situation to if there are women producers and writers.
"Women can tell women problems better than anybody else because they're women! They live it," exclaimed Gray.
AJ Gray will compete in Paradigm Pro Wrestling and IndependentWrestling.TV "Heavy Hitters 2" tournament on Friday, July 24th. For more info please visit ParadigmProWrestling.com. AJ's full interview aired as part of today's episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.