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Jim Cornette Discusses Why WWE Should Be Worried About AEW

Jim Cornette

Wrestling legend Jim Cornette has explained in great detail why he believes WWE should be concerned about the rise and rise of AEW.

All Elite Wrestling changed the wrestling business forever when it was announced on New Year’s Day in 2019. In less than three years the company now boasts a stacked roster that includes Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, and Adam Cole in addition to many of the AEW originals such as Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes, and The Young Bucks.

WWE initially seemed cautious in regard to a potential competitor and looked to lock in talent to huge deals as well as get NXT on to television from the WWE Network as the black and gold brand was going head to head with AEW Dynamite when the latter debuted in October 2019.

Since then, the short-lived Wednesday Night Wars have ended but AEW has grown into the recognised number two promotion in the United States and proved again that they are an attractive destination as former NXT tag Team Champion Kyle O’Reilly debuted on AEW Dynamite.

Speaking on his Jim Cornette Experience podcast, the former manager of The Midnight Express explained why he feels WWE paying no heed to AEW would be an error:

“Instead of saying ‘NXT 2.0,’ They might as well say ‘The promotion formerly known as NXT.’ They’ve run off everyone’s favourites from there. They’ve run off Danielson, they couldn’t entice Punk to come back into the fold, and now they need to worry about AEW.”

“They’ve not just let talent go from the WWE roster that the WWE didn’t want to use, they have let a number go that are very valuable to AEW. Now we are in a promotional war again apparently. Now they have let so many difference-makers go or be free to go, now we are back in a promotional war.”

Cornette then uses the recent news that Kevin Owens has signed a new multi-year deal with WWE that is reportedly worth $2-3 million to the former Universal Champion:

“I’m not trying to knock him here, I’ve always said that Kevin Steen [Owens] could work and he could talk, it’s how he has been booked, which is not his fault. Kevin Steen is getting $2-3 million a year and that indicates 2 things. 1) There is a shortage of talent to begin with. 2) The WWE is embarrassed by just having difference-makers handed over on a silver platter to the other side. 3) We are back in a promotional war.”

“If Kevin Steen is worth $2-3 million a year then what are they giving Roman Reigns? 15-20? They are doing what they started doing 2 years ago, which was upsetting their salary structure, but now they are really upsetting their salary structure because they have to offer more money than they did before to get people to stay.”

Jim Cornette closes by indicating he believes WWE are trying to see if Tony Khan will be happy to spend the same way WCW did in the mid-nineties and that the perception that its all one-way traffic in terms of talent movement could hurt WWE:

“If Tony Khan was in this bidding war, then for once he did the smart thing. When it got to $2 million for Kevin Steen, Khan said ‘Keep him.’ That may be a tactic they are trying and see if they can bid these guys up so that he [Khan] would be the modern-day Eric Bischoff, spend money like a drunken sailor to sign up all the stars and have an unsustainable payroll.”

“They ain’t doing the revenue that WCW did in 1999 at AEW, and WCW still went broke. But maybe they have realised the battle of perception is being lost quickly with the number of people going from WWE to AEW, especially when they were in high-profile positions with their previous employers. This is all a one-sided thing, is there anybody in AEW that WWE could sign and capitalise on, not f*ck up and be a top guy for the WWE? I don’t know about that.”

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