Vince McMahon claims that he doesn’t see AEW as competition, at least how WCW was back in the day. McMahon made that statement in the quarterly earnings call for WWE as reported by multiple outlets. Since March 26th 2001 there has only been one big game in town when it came to professional wrestling in the United States. That day is the day the last WCW Monday Nitro aired, the last “real” competition for WWE. WCW closed their doors and the Monday Night Wars concluded in victory for WWE.
A part of what Vince McMahon said is true. It’s not like WCW was and for a few reasons. One big one is that AEW isn’t directly competing with WWE’s top show on the same day within the same time slot. If they were I’m sure RAW ratings would definitely take a dip even more so than it currently is. Also WWE considers themselves in the sports entertainment business where AEW is in the professional wrestling business. Honestly in my opinion you can’t be one without the other because sports entertainment requires professional wrestling and professional wrestling requires sports entertainment. Even with that they are both competing for the same type of viewers.
While AEW may not be directly competing with RAW or Smackdown they did at one time compete directly with what some say is the best brand under the WWE umbrella, NXT. The outcome of that was AEW beating out NXT in the ratings most weeks with NXT edging them out a few times. Ultimately NXT ended up moving nights to Tuesday and depending on who you ask AEW may or may not have had something to do with that.
With both companies competing to be the best option for pro wrestling. Both competing to have the best top to bottom roster, in WWE’s case that could be questioned with the recent releases over the last year or so. Both competing to have the highest viewed wrestling show. So regardless if Vince views AEW as competition or not, the reality of it is they very much are.
But people tend to look at someone having competition as a negative when in reality it’s great for everyone involved. Competition should drive each company to be better and a better product results in happier fans which is the ultimate goal right? Competition is also great for the talent as well. Having another major company in the US gives talent options. Whether it’s someone that has been released or just unhappy with their current situation they don’t have to feel obligated to resign with WWE cause it’s the only major option stateside. That is by no means a knock at the other promotions in the states but AEW is the only one who can be true competition to the juggernaut that is WWE.
AEW is just in its infancy as a company especially when compared to WWE a company that has been around for almost 70 years. But in just the short amount time that AEW has been around they have shown that they are primed and ready to compete for that top spot against WWE.