When AEW was just starting out, there were questions about whether it would compete with WWE. Fast forward to the present, and Tony Khan’s company is thriving with a roster that boasts homegrown talent and even some key WWE alumni. He even managed to retire the legendary CM Punk superstar. AEW has the talent to do great things, but according to Punk, they still have an obstacle to overcome.
CinemaBlend spoke with CM Punk and other AEW superstars at Comic-Con in San Diego and discussed the following challenges for the company now that it has talented people like former WWE superstar Brian Danielson in its ranks. Punk explained that the challenge now is to find time to highlight their deep line-up and make all the members feel important.:
To be honest, for me, the biggest obstacle we’re facing right now is the most talented lineup I’ve ever been a part of. It’s hard to make everyone shine as brightly as they think.
Even though AEW is seemingly in the outsiders with one of its biggest homegrown superstars like MJF (his merchandise has even been recalled), the wrestling organization is hardly lacking in talent. This is thanks to Tony Khan’s observation that he attracted popular free agents from independent wrestling organizations, as well as promising WWE talents who never got the proper push they deserved while Vince McMahon was at the helm.
AEW has a loaded list with a large number of male and female superstars who can support the organization for years to come. The problem is that AEW can devote not so many hours to its television programs every month with AEW: Dynamite, Rampage, pay-per-views, and now the newly acquired Ring of Honor. CM Punk has outlined it all below and how this issue even makes him question his opinion about wrestling shows:
It’s complicated, right? I definitely don’t think a wrestling show should last three hours. I think two hours can sometimes be a little long. But then I’ll watch “Rampage”, and then the hour will seem too tense and hurried. Then Tony acquired Ring of Honor, and now we’re kind of sharing time with Ring of Honor with pay-per-views, which we’re trying to focus on and get attention like this. There’s just a lot of talent out there, and he keeps adding more and more talented people, and I don’t mind that. I just think we need to get better at identifying some of the most talented people we have.
AEW faced criticism from fans, especially because they did not cover the talented women’s division. Only a select few stars get TV time each week, and while it’s not necessarily uncommon in wrestling organizations, having such an extensive list requires spreading the love to highlight more talent. This is especially true if they ever hope that there will be someone like John Cena in the series, as CM Punk and Brian Danielson talked about with CinemaBlend.
And while we may never fully know what led to Cody Rhodes leaving AEW (the organization he helped found) and returning to WWE, it’s obvious that AEW also has issues he needs to deal with. At the moment, however, most fans seem to be much more positive than negative, and while they will need to keep working on spreading TV time, it will probably be a long-term balancing act.
AEW: Dynamite airs on TBS on Wednesdays at 20:00. ET, and Rampage runs on Fridays at 22:00. ET ended on TNT. Be sure to save it on the DVR, especially since new programs appear on television every day so that it does not get lost in the shuffle.