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The impact of AEW on WWE’s market dominance

It would have been fair to say that the WWE monopolised professional wrestling for the last couple of decades. The company was synonymous with the industry, and whenever anyone mentioned the sport, the promotion would often be thought of first.

Of course, it helped having some of the biggest wrestlers be part of the roster performing for the promotion, as many of them managed to achieve a global reputation. Names like John Cena, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, The Undertaker, Batista, and so many more all became known worldwide in and out of the ring.

It also helped that there have been many wrestling events that have been known globally, too. WrestleMania is arguably the biggest wrestling show ever, while SummerSlam, Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble are perhaps just behind it, as each of these has built a huge reputation.

However, recent years may have finally seen the WWE have to worry about its dominance of the industry, as a new promotion has looked to try and take a share of the market.

AEW’s arrival and attack on wrestling

All Elite Wrestling (AEW) promised professional wrestling fans with the opportunity to try and enjoy a new product. It is fair to say that the WWE had become a little stale as they had no real challenges beforehand, with promotions like TNA and NJPW both finding it hard to compete. With hardly any competition, the WWE could become a little complacent, as they knew fans and performers did not have anywhere else to go.

The arrival of AEW will have impacted the market share, as it will have lured fans to their product, perhaps out of intrigue more than anything else. It allowed viewers to see something a little different while allowing performers to introduce new things. However, it is safe to say that despite the company’s quick growth since its inception in 2019, it still fails to compete with the figures and ratings that WWE continues to enjoy. The company has struggled to achieve the ratings that were expected, while there have been concerns about attendance at certain shows across the US in the past. In addition, there has often been criticism of the talent that has been attracted, as many have been veterans of the WWE, which is hardly breathing fresh life into the industry.

Has AEW made WWE step up and help transform professional wrestling?

There is no denying that the arrival of a formidable promotion like AEW has directly impacted the state of professional wrestling. The WWE has had to step up and ensure it continues to offer its best product continually, as fans and performers now have more choices.

Although there is a lot of loyalty towards the WWE, the company can no longer just rely on fans to keep watching if they do not produce the types of storylines that make enthusiasts want to watch.

The intense rivalry and the need to outperform have led to an interesting phenomenon: fans are not just passive viewers anymore. With the ability to bet on WWE fights, they’re becoming more actively involved, analyzing storylines and predicting outcomes, turning each event into a more interactive experience.

The arrival of AEW has shifted the focus in pro wrestling across various aspects, which has made the industry more compelling before. We have seen a shift in the way things are done, with promotions arguably focusing on the in-ring product more so than they have in the past.

Progressive moves have been made

The WWE’s recent merger with UFC majority owner Endeavor through the TKO Group Holdings subsidiary has perhaps highlighted the impact that AEW’s emergence has had on the company. They recognize that there is a genuine threat to their status as the No. 1 corporation in sports entertainment and have acted to make sure they do their best to keep their position.

The decision might enable them to create stories featuring UFC crossovers, which could make them more attractive to new viewers and provide older fans with something newer or something they only rarely see. AEW demonstrated that cross-promotion activities can be useful, as they included ROH and NJPW on their cards.

The WWE seemed to make a move in that direction recently during the 2024 Royal Rumble as TNA Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace entered the women’s version with her title on display. This might be a pattern that they seek to adopt more often, a situation that may help them to strengthen their position at the top of the market.

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