Five Mistakes WCW Made That AEW Should Avoid
All Elite Wrestling has only been around for two years, and in those two years this wrestling company has changed the landscape of professional wrestling. AEW is the first professional company since WCW to have the financial backing to truly compete with WWE.
Since the inception of AEW, many fans have compared AEW to WCW and ECW. ECW comparisons are from AEW’s loyal fan base, and WCW comparisons are from the TNT TV deal and billionaire owner. WCW made many mistakes back then that led to his demise. In this article, I’ll discuss the five mistakes that AEW should avoid that WCW made.
5. Too many stables
As of this writing, All Elite Wrestling has twelve stables in the business, which is a high number for a business with over 100 signed wrestlers. AEW must be careful not to become a steadfast company like WCW did in the 90s. The original NWO consisted of three members, Hogan, Hall and Nash, but over time more more wrestlers began to join the notorious faction, and WCW scenarios began to focus only on wrestlers joining the NWO because they were afraid to stand up to the stable.
The story of NWO got so ridiculous that WCW thought it was good to create the NW0 Wolfpack and LWO for Latino wrestlers. Fans would eventually lose interest in the group as everything would become based on the group.
4. Push the older stars
The use of older legends has seen WCW hire many wrestlers who have made a name for themselves in WWE. Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Roddy Piper, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Ultimate Warrior were stars WCW decided to push on their own young talents. Passing older stars onto younger stars is a mistake made by WCW, TNA, and WWE. AEW must avoid this mistake as it could turn wrestling fans away.
When the original AEW roster was announced, only four names would have stood out among casual viewers: Chris Jericho, Cody Rhodes, Dustin Rhodes, and Pac. Fast forward to 2021, AEW has signed Mark Henry, Jon Moxley, Sting, Paul Wight, Christian Cage, Matt Hardy, Miro, FTR, Bryan Danielson and CM Punk. Some of the names listed here are wrestlers that many thoughts would be in WWE for life, but things have changed and budget cuts have been made.
The AEW list is stacked from top to bottom. AEW shouldn’t forget the young wrestlers who helped put the company on the map, such as MJF, Darby Allin and Orange Cassidy.
3. Take jabs in competition
During the Attitude era, WCW was known to take pictures of WWE every week. WCW would even do what many fans considered to be one of the most disrespectful characters when WCW created an Oklahoma character to mock Jim Ross. During the Monday Night Wars, WCW would deliver raw results, which would eventually backfire on WCW when Tony Schiavone, who is now with AEW, shot Mick Foley during an episode of Nitro, which would lead many fans to switch to RAW to see Mick win the WWE Championship.
AEW recently took more photos of WWE on radio station interviews and on social media, but it would be wise for AEW to focus on their business and not wake up the giant. AEW has become the most popular wrestling company in the world and won over all professional wrestling fans, but it would be foolish for them to get into a wrestling company that had to compete with WCW and ECW in the height of professional wrestling.
2. Give creative control to the best stars
One of WCW’s biggest problems was that promotion ensured creative control for their top stars. Hulk Hogan had a booking power in WCW that contributed to WCW’s demise because he wouldn’t do what was right for business. For example, the popularity of the NWO in WCW got to a point where everything on WCW television had to involve the NOW, which is why, when it comes to Goldberg’s legendary unbeaten streak, Kevin Nash’s is booked to be the one who beat Goldberg, which was another huge WCW mistake.
Goldberg’s 173-0 record was the hottest scenario in professional wrestling, and because of ego, it was taken away from fans. WCW should have made sure Goldberg remained undefeated until they built another star who could have used that victory to help advance their careers. AEW should never give a wrestler complete creative control, as this could negatively affect the way fans view the company.
1. The wasted PPV quality matches on Nitro
One of WCW’s most confusing booking decisions has been to distribute PPV quality matches on free television. WCW was so focused on beating WWE in the leaderboards that they gave us big prize matches for free. WCW had Starrcade which was their version of WrestleMania, but looking at some of the maps and storylines in Starrcade you wouldn’t be able to tell because WCW focused on Nitro shows rather than PPVs.
One of WCW’s dumbest decisions was to book Goldberg against Hollywood Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Title on an episode of Nitro inside a crowded Georgia Dome. Goldberg had become a WCW star when WCW needed someone new to build the business. Goldberg won the match and became the new heavyweight world champion, but the match should have been Starrcade’s main event and helped make Starrcade feel like it could compete with WrestleMania.
Eric Bischoff’s booking decisions and Vince Russo’s creative writing ideas were not a good mix of what suited WCW. AEW did a great job saving big games for their pay-per-view, but lately they seem to have a problem when it comes to keeping fans waiting for big games.
For example, Bryan Danielson and Kenny Omega faced off in a time-limited draw in the AEW episode of Dynamite’s Grand Slam, but it was a match that could have been the main event of a future AEW PPV. AEW has to be careful when pulling the trigger on big games to get a good grade.