Most wrestling fans can’t stop talking about AEW right now. With their first PPV coming this weekend, and their arrival on TNT this fall, the effect of All Elite Wrestling on the business is the hottest of hot topics. Whether you’re a fan of the Elite who’s ready for them to conquer, a WWE stan who’s already dismissed the potential of “a T-shirt company” to make an impression on the national stage, or just somebody who’s curious about the new wrestling, you’ve definitely had conversations about it. As for WWE, though, they don’t usually like to acknowledge that competition exists, let alone say the name of other national wrestling companies. Even still, it’s getting harder and harder to deny.
According to the Wrestling Observer, Stephanie McMahon gave a speech to the roster before Money in the Bank. It was apparently a pretty standard speech in which she talked about social media stats and all of that, but at the end she said that WWE not only has to compete with TV shows and movies and all the usual stuff, they now have to compete with AEW.
Booker T, as a Hall-Of-Famer who really only shows up for Kickoff Panels these days, has a lot more freedom to say whatever he wants on his podcast The Hall Of Fame, despite continuing to have a close relationship with WWE. On last week’s episode, he talked at length about AEW and the idea of competition. As a WCW star who was on the other side of the Monday Night Wars and then moved to WWE after WCW went out of business, Booker obviously has his own perspective on competition in wrestling. He pointed out how risky it is for any company to choose to compete directly with a company that has as much talent signed as WWE.
One thing about companies out there right now is they can bring it if they want to go that route. I don’t think they want to go that route. I think they want to carve their own niche and stay in their own lane and do their own thing. That would be the smart thing to do because — because WWE got the most talent in the world. We got everybody on the roster and it wouldn’t be that hard to flip the script and go a different route. The Ricochets on the roster, those guys can go man. The Roman Reigns on that roster, Seth Rollins, man. Those guys can really flat out go. They really can. [Aleister] Black, the [Kofi] Kingstons off — these can actually really, really go. And you say, ‘Do we really want to let them loose?’ That is the question.
He goes on to say that he’s in favor of competition, and is all in favor of seeing the “war” come back.
I was a part of that happening back when WCW… I was a part the 83-week run, and it was good. But I’m going to tell you, those horses back in WWE — WWF back then — they started running and you, I must say man, I give to Triple H and those guys man then man because I was on the other side of it. I was in WCW locker room because they had it on monitor, and we had to actually watch it. Man, those guys would be in blood, sweat, and tears, man. They would be going all out. So me personally, I welcome the war. I would love to see the war come back, and if that’s what we gotta do, then that’s what we gotta do man.
Personally I don’t know that all-out war is what’s coming, but at this point I’m in favor of anything that lights a fire under WWE. As Booker T knows as well as anyone, competition really can bring out the best in people.