Tony Khan, not Mercedes Mone, is to blame for Dynamite’s disappointing numbers

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Mercedes Monae made her great debut for All Elite Wrestling at their flagship show, gunpowder, last Wednesday. However, Big Business, the show’s theme, failed to deliver big numbers and Monáe was considered a ratings disappointment despite being the latest big-name free agent signed by company owner Tony Khan.

But blaming Mone is making him a scapegoat for Tony Khan, who remains AEW’s biggest problem.

Prior to Monáe’s debut, ratings were very poor for the March 6 episode of AEW Dynamite, which featured Will Ospreay in the main event and the arrival of longtime New Japan Pro Wrestling star Kazuchika Okada. But even before that the ratings gunpowder There had been a steady decline for several months, and it had been over a year since the show had received one million or more viewers. With the exception of a few shows and pay-per-view specials, ticket sales have been extremely low. And the perception of the company has arguably never been worse.

For anyone to think that the arrival of Monae, Ospreay, or Okada will immediately change AEW’s fortunes is tragically wrong and does not understand history.

In 1994, World Championship Wrestling, which at the time was second only to WWE, much like AEW today, spent two months teasing and promoting the arrival of wrestling and entertainment icon Hulk Hogan. Even though Hogan was the most popular attraction in pro wrestling, it took a year for WCW to become competitive with WWE and two years to overtake the sports entertainment giant in the ratings.

In recent years, AEW has signed countless talents that many fans have labeled as game changers, most of whom WWE has ridiculed for releasing or pursuing. Those names include CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Keith Lee, Adam Cole, Saraya, Adam Copeland and Jay White.

If these performers were luxury vehicles, they might be Jaguar’s fleet. However, owning a garage full of Jags is pointless if the owner doesn’t have a driver’s license, let alone drive one. Despite the need for experienced creative minds to run the company, Khan insists on booking AEW himself. Instead of embracing new ideas, he sticks to his beliefs about what wrestling fans, or at least his audience, want.

Additionally, Khan often hypes events and signings as important, only to lose momentum and focus on the next big thing. This pattern was evident in the recent reinstatement of AEW’s ranking system. Rankings introduced at the beginning of the company decided championship matches in each division. However, the system disappeared in late 2022. Khan announced its return in January, and despite being somewhat hidden, the rankings are now available on AEW’s website.

They have been very bad since August 2022.

So much for that initiative.

Although breaking promises is nothing new for Khan, his failure to effectively promote and showcase talent is hurting the company. Relying on leaked information on wrestling websites, such as Mercedes Monáe joining the company, is not an adequate marketing strategy. Instead of investing in creating vignettes and reaching a wide media audience, Khan assumes that everyone shares his level of wrestling knowledge and will automatically tune in based on cues from insider sources.

Recently, I was blessed to have passionate pro wrestling fans in my life, one of whom is an avid AEW enthusiast. The other day, he told me something that almost made me collapse in shock. He said he did not know who Okada was. By this he meant that he was not aware of his work in New Japan.

While I was surprised by how little a regular AEW viewer knew about Okada, this revelation reaffirmed my belief in the importance of educating viewers beforehand about new or upcoming talent. Not all fans follow wrestling news sites for in-depth coverage. Nor do they watch worldwide wrestling every day of the week.

The recent batch of disappointing TV ratings involving Monáe, Okada and Ospreay does not accurately reflect their talent or star appeal, but rather the lack of hype surrounding their debuts and appearances. This is another reminder of Khan’s mismanagement, which remains AEW’s main hindrance.

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