AEW management is the most wrestler-friendly in the world.
Four of the AEW’s executive vice presidents are wrestlers. Cody, Kenny Omega, and Matt and Nick Jackson. All wrestlers.
There’s AEW President Tony Khan at the top. But a lot of the nitty-gritty is run by wrestlers.
Which is something wrestlers have complained about with WWE. Historically, WWE turns to “non-wrestling guys” for a lot of its infrastructure and production needs.
But last week’s Sammy Guevara incident made something painfully obvious.
AEW management needs a tighter infrastructure.
The Speaking Out movement in general exposed some giant gaps in AEW management.
Consider Justin Roberts. Now, we’re in no position to confirm or invalidate allegations made about the AEW ring announcer.
But ever since the allegations were made public, AEW has remained silent. Roberts hasn’t even been taken off television. No investigation. No discussion of possible consequences.
Not even the standard WWE line promising AEW management was “looking into the matter.”
AEW management was caught completely unaware. When AEW needed to respond something the most? Crickets.
The Sammy Guevara Incident
Then there was Sammy Guevara’s comments. Guevara made an inappropriate reference to WWE star Sasha Banks in a 2016 podcast. The story broke last Monday morning. And AEW management didn’t have an answer until that evening.
Now Cody, the Bucks, and Omega know how to manage wrestlers on the job. They know how to format a show.
But if the company is going to be a global promotion, AEW management needs real executives. The Elite aren’t equipped to manage a global PR crisis.
Guevara did eventually issue a public apology to Banks. And AEW finally went public with how they’ll manage the situation. But again. These are not things AEW management can afford to figure out on the fly.
The Guy In Charge
Tony Khan is a big picture guy. Which is good. The guy at the top should have a vision.
He approves the weekly television. And he even sits at the ‘Go Position’ and times the show. Khan is the guy who knows how this episode leads to the next leads to the PPV.
But as AEW grows, Khan needs lieutenants in AEW management to keep the train running on time. There’s gonna be a time when Khan needs to be on top of the little things behind the scenes.
And, more importantly, in the locker room.
There’s no excuse for the president of the company not to have a mental dossier on his roster.
First, the roster has a responsibility not to be bad people. But AEW management is responsible for knowing what hurdles are waiting. “Is there anything we need to get ahead of?” That should be the first question asked of every talent to walk through the door.
AEW management dropped the ball with both Roberts and Guevara. If only there was someone already in the company with that kind of experience.
Despite being good on the mic, Jim Ross’s best announcing days are over. But nearly 20 years as Vince McMahon’s right hand man can be invaluable to AEW management.
Whether he wants to be back in the office is something only Ross knows. But his podcast shows that JR still knows how to run a locker room. And his Twitter feed shows a man who’s grown to understand you can’t run a 2020 locker room the same as a 1998 locker room.
Jim Ross is the answer to the AEW management problem. He’s worked in every aspect of the wrestling business. Which is a fit with the Elite Vice Presidents. And he’s been an EVP himself.
JR spent a career with a foot on either side of the line in pro wrestling.
AEW management does all the basics right.
They made the TV deal with TNT. AEW set up PPV streaming with B/R Live. And they have a UK deal through Fite. Nobody can question AEW assembled a great roster. Or whether they know how to format a great wrestling show.
But there are the little things. The devil’s in the details.
And the lack of corporate structure leaves AEW management in purgatory.
AEW: Dynamite airs Wednesdays at 8 PM/ET on TNT.
Feature image provided by All Elite Wrestling.