Due to the nature of how AEW is structured, fans will always wonder who is leveraging their backstage pull with Tony Khan during booking decisions.
The Elite—Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks—will always be under increased scrutiny in All Elite Wrestling due to the nature of their deals with Tony Khan. Unlike most contracted talent, these three maintain Executive Vice President roles within the company, meaning they wield more power than other wrestlers. That’s a big part of what made the events following CM Punk’s All Out tirade such a massive deal. That wasn’t a matter of a handful of wrestlers getting into a scrap backstage and requiring a pull-apart. It was a matter of members of AEW’s actual business structure allegedly getting into a fight with a performer. As such, fans always wonder who holds how much power backstage in All Elite Wrestling.
During a recent exchange on Twitter, longtime wrestling insider Dave Meltzer responded to a fan (@BlackModred) who wrote, “This company will exist but never become GREAT as long as the Bucks and Chris are making long term talent decisions based on their feeling.” Chris, in this instance, seems to be referencing Chris Jericho. Via his @davemeltzerWON handle, Meltzer replied by stating the following: “Tony Khan is the booker. Nobody makes long-term talent decisions but him. The key creative side guys are Sonjay, Schiavone, QT, Pat Buck and others. All the top guys are listened to but Tony makes every short and long-term call.“
The Elite’s Perceived Power Continues To Be An Issue for AEW
Fair or not, The Elite’s EVP titles and the perception that they hold a lot of power backstage continue to haunt AEW. Even if everything that happens on television is strictly coming from Tony Khan, fans believing that Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks can put themselves into advantageous spots in storylines is an issue. It deflates what would otherwise be stellar matches and removes a massive chunk of the willing suspension of disbelief it takes to be a professional wrestling fan.
Omega and The Young Buck’s seven-match series against Death Triangle is a perfect example. As soon as that gauntlet was announced, fans predicted how things would go, and so far, they’ve hit the nail on the head. Most assumed that Death Triangle would take an early lead, only for Omega and The Young Bucks to storm back and win match seven. That’s precisely how things have played out. The fact that Death Triangle needed to cheat while The Elite has won all of their matches clean doesn’t help this perception.
In general, how they handled their issues with CM Punk after their reinstatement rubbed some audience members the wrong way. Their behavior in Chicago was a needless poking of the bear and takes away from what AEW is trying to build up as it enters 2023. As long as fans like the one who reached out to Meltzer believe that Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks wield an unfair amount of power, it’ll continue to hold their matches and All Elite Wrestling back on the whole.
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