AEW might someday compete with WWE directly, but it is just hoping for a slice of the pie right now. CM Punk talks about wrestling’s landscape.
AEW might like to compete with WWE eventually more directly, but CM Punk seems to know that, right now, All Elite is simply a viable alternative product. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. Even mild competition tends to breed excellence in the land of professional wrestling, especially now that the ultra-competitive and driven Triple H is in charge of WWE’s creative process.
WWE has changed noticeably since Vince McMahon abruptly retired, and the behind-the-scenes shifts will continue to have a lasting effect on the landscape of this business. CM Punk has been on both sides of this equation, so when he speaks, it’s from a place of experience and knowledge. Still, even Tony Khan has admitted that trying to compete with Triple H’s WWE will be different than it has been for All Elite up to this point.
In a recent interview with That Hashtag Show, Punk opened up on the current state of professional wrestling. “The landscape… it depends on your perspective. It depends on, I think, how grumpy I am that day, you know? You can go either way. You can say that ‘Oh man, wrestling’s dying.’ Or you can say ‘Well, look at it, it’s thriving.’ For the first time, there’s a second company that’s viable — and I’m not gonna say it’s a viable threat, it’s just a viable, healthy company and a second place where men and women can get paid to wrestle in a ring on television.” It’s interesting to note that Punk wouldn’t go so far as to say that All Elite is a threat to WWE at this time. “I know there’s people that think Dynamite is the greatest thing in the world. There’s people that think Dynamite isn’t good. There’s people that think it’s somewhere in the middle, it could be better. But because we’re having that conversation, I suppose pro wrestling is thriving.” (h/t to CagesideSeats.com for the transcription)
It’s worth taking the time to listen to how Punk said these things, as the tone of his voice is essential. He’s not shooting down the idea of AEW competing with WWE. Instead, he seems to be stressing that it’s a place where more wrestlers can ply their craft working for a different company. That isn’t such a bad thing.
The last time WWE felt any pressure from the competition, fans were treated to the Monday Night Wars. AEW isn’t WCW (not by a long shot), but fans can bet that Triple H won’t be as oblivious to what’s going on there as Vince McMahon seemed. He will be aggressive in reshaping WWE in his image and will once again seek out the best independent talent money can buy. It’s going to be an interesting several months for AEW.