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By Mike Johnson on 2021-08-01 10:00:00

I've seen a story floated around that claims WWE was pushing outlets to write about Domino's being unhappy about the AEW Death Matches.  I thought Vince McMahon said AEW wasn't competition, so why would they even do such a thing?  Do you think this is a case of garbage writers making sh** up?

No, in this case, I absolutely do believe there may be smoke to the fire here.  There's no way to say 100% it's true, but I can say that I'd heard the same stories floating around that day well before that began became a talking point online.  So, at the very least, it's certainly possible for a lot of reasons.

What Vince McMahon said on the earnings call was odd to me, because everyone knows WWE has reacted to the existence of AEW from the second it became known that the Khan family was going to deeply invest in wrestling.  They were the ones who had executives running around at TV tapings pulling talents into rooms offering them big money five year deals to sign new contracts.  The Edge documentary two years ago tells the truth - that WWE decided to put Edge through testing to clear him after he received an offer to go work for AEW.   So, WWE has always acted reactionary towards AEW.

Therefore, I don't think anyone should be shocked if WWE flipped the coin and went on the offensive.  I know that there are those within WWE on the exec level who have never liked that AEW "takes shots" at the company, dating back to Cody Rhodes smashing the throne at the first AEW PPV.  So, if you don't think there are some in the company who feel AEW is owed a receipt, you don't know how prideful and how competitive WWE can be.  I wrote and told everyone that when NXT moved to Tuesday, it would not be the end of the battle between the two, but just that the fight would be waged in a different way.  If you don't think for a second that WWE would leverage every relationship and every bit of power they have, publicly and privately, to push back,  you need to take a step back and look at the horizon.  

The timing of Vince saying AEW isn't competition just one of those strategies.  He downplayed AEW to try and not give them weight and validation before an audience of his own stockholders.  He obviously didn't know he would be asked about AEW but the timing does comes off so weird that the same day he was claiming that to stockholders, some in the company were, at the very least, pointing out the Domino's story as it emerged, at least to see if others would write about it.   Movements like that are how wars are waged behind the scenes, not just in wrestling, but in entertainment, in politics and at times in life.  Look at the Disney vs. Scarlett Johansson story this week.    I am sure this won't be the last time such a thing may have happened.

Vince claimed that he didn't see AEW as a threat at the same level of WCW.  Do you believe him?

I do believe that in his mind, Vince McMahon truly feels that way, and here's why.  When WCW was coming after him, WWE was in dire financial straits and were being pushed against the wall.  They had lost all their legacy talents and didn't have any real direction.  They took out loans just to survive until they turned it around.  Now, they are a multi-billion dollar, publicly traded company getting millions upon millions just for TV rights.  They are in a far healthier position, even if the creative isn't great.  In terms of financial footing, they are on a great foundation now vs. 1994 when they were taking hits from all sides and looking precariously close to falling off a cliff. 

So, from that POV, Vince is right, but whether he should feel that way is another story.  In my mind, they would be well advised not to assume this doesn't mean AEW can't come and take a piece of the market from them.  The best way to battle AEW or anyone else, in my opinion, is to worry about their own product and improve it.  To me, every second they worry about someone else is time wasted when they can't afford to waste it, especially when you look at the current creative.

How can AEW not be competition like Vince McMahon when you reported they sold over 10K tickets in Chicago in a pre-sale?

Well, they can be and they are.  For Vince McMahon to say otherwise was ill-advised (although I just explained why he did it), since  to AEW fans, all he did was spark the audience to want to dig in their heels and rage against the WWE machine.  Nick Khan was very wise to dive in and try to say that "everyone" was their competition.  It was a rare case, in my opinion, of Vince saying something that could come back to bite him in the butt and in my opinion, the energy of everyone else answering questions after that exchange changed, and not for the better, after he commented.

Why did Vince say that perhaps WWE would send AEW more talents?  Was he joking about firing more people?  BRAY?

I wish I knew.  I went back to listen a second time and I still don't know what Vince meant.  I asked WWE for clarification as soon as the call ended as of this writing, have not heard back from anyone.  If he was joking about releasing Bray Wyatt, I don't know how any talent can feel as if they are solid ground, no matter who they are.  I hope he wasn't truly joking like that.

I heard from a friend that we should all send Domino's Pizzas to Titan Tower to show support of AEW.  What do you think?

I think that is really funny, but I'd rather see that money spent on a charity to support someone who could use it.  AEW is doing a charity drive for Wounded Warriors this week in conjunction with their Jacksonville return.  WWE's Titus O'Neil is involved in a ton of charities.  I say let WWE buy their own Pizza and spend money on those charities instead.

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