A former WCW wrestler recently did an interview where he was critical of how AEW are using their big name talent such as Kenny Omega, Billy Gunn and Sting. Konnan has a great perspective and a mind for the business when talking wrestling, he’s been a booker for Triple AAA in the past and Konnan also served as a member of Impact Wrestling’s creative team. Another question people may be asking is what’s this all have to do with AEW. Well, I’ll tell you why it’s significant and why it matters.
Both companies have had working relationships with AEW and were seeing more of that cross-promotion with Impact Wrestling and AEW lately. So, Konnan is a man who knows a lot about this topic of promotions mishandling talent. He was even featured on a vignette during the Inner-Circle’s Las Vegas trip which aired on an episode of AEW Dynamite.
Konnan spoke to Lucha Libre Online about the problems he’s been witnessing with the promotion as far as creative and overall presentation. Konnan even brought up the fact that AEW has their roster at ringside. Here’s what Konnan said, “To begin with it, I’m not a big fan of wrestlers being there as fans.” To him they are just missing the cheerleader’s pom-poms. Konnan went on to discuss a match he watched where Billy Gunn and his son Austin were like cheerleaders and they were featured in the main-event of the show. Konnan talked about how that was very strange.
The wrestling legend and veteran further stated it’s beyond presentation, Konnan feels AEW might need to be concerned for their brand’s viewership. When comparing those numbers from when AEW Dynamite premiered to 1.4 million viewers going back to October 2019, how does it compare for last year in 2020, the average viewers were just over 800,000. Konnan made the point that scares me a little, that if we look at the first AEW show and now the last show that they did, their viewers are almost at half.
Konnan believes what is causing such issues goes back to how AEW books their stars. One example he gave, is how heels are not hated for one reason, meaning they’re not authentic enough. “I think they generated their own competition. WWE was not doing what they wanted and as a result of that fans were watching AEW.” Konnan mentioned, “One of the problems I see with them is they are not very good at booking heel heat, they cool them down a lot. Heels are brought in only to be defeated. I mean, it happened when Brodie Lee came in, They made him lose, then they tried to rehabilitate him. AEW gave Lee the championship and then they took it away. Lance Archer is a monster, and later they killed him. Brian Cage also did the same thing he came in, then they killed him. I mean, AEW doesn’t build heels well,” was Konnan’s criticism when referring to AEW.
He feels what wrestling fans are seeing with Kenny Omega and his recent heel turn on TV, should have been done from the beginning. Konnan spoke about how Omega was there for a year doing nothing. To him, if he’s the best wrestler in the world, where was he? “When Kenny Omega wrestled in Mexico we took advantage of it perfectly because he came to Mexico, we put him in his element, by having those long Japan type style matches. He was wrestling good people, the best in the world. Names such as Rey Fenix, Dragon Lee, Laredo Kid. I mean you don’t have to be a genius to do that, but they weren’t doing it. They were putting on six-man tag team matches, that if you don’t know who Kenny Omega was and someone told you he was the best wrestler in the world, you’d say, Him?”
Konnan also believes there are a number of guys who don’t belong on weekly television there. “ lso two things that I always say.” Konnan said. “Number one: Most of the guys who were wrestling on Dynamite, they should be on AEW Dark. Number two: How come you have nothing interesting, nothing important for LAX Santana and Ortiz, Rey Fenix, Pentagon Jr, Jack Evans and Angelico? And I’m not saying this because they were in Mexico, but because they are great and ready for television.” Konnan sees concerns with Sting’s creative in AEW. For AEW to get such a high-profile big star such as Sting, he feels they missed out a big opportunity with him having just come out and get in the ring and all you have Sting do is coming down the entrance way to have a stare down.
“And let me tell you another mistake,” Konnan said. “He gets along with Tony Khan, but they are still making rookie mistakes. I’ll give you a good example, I had this discussion on my podcast, when Sting came out for the first time, there was a guy on my podcast who told me, He just came out and did nothing. And I said. Well he doesn’t have to do anything, he came out and it’s a surprise, and it’s Sting man. Then the second week he told me the same thing and this time I told him he was right. That’s why the ratings drop so much, because the guy has been out there three times and literally they haven’t done anything with him. I mean, they had three chances to make a breaking news bomb with this guy, and you haven’t done anything.”
When it comes to WWE, Konnan praised the Roman Reigns storyline. He said, attention to detail in the whole Tribal Chief angle is what makes Roman Reigns the best thing going today.
“There’s no better character in wrestling than Roman Reigns. Konnan thinks that story is excellent. Paul Heyman is playing his role perfectly. He’s letting it be, Roman talks, he is the attention to detail. Paul is scared when he has to be scared. Look at him the little things Paul Heyman does are amazing. Roman’s excellent, Jey Uso has looked great too. That’s a good story, they can grow from there. There are people like Sami Zayn who are very entertaining. But WWE still has their share of comedy and bad comedy as well.”
Do you agree with Konnan’s criticisms of AEW? You can share your comments below.