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Annual stock check: assessing AEW’s year-over-year performance

This year, AEW Dynamite renewed its contract with TNT through 2023.
This year, AEW Dynamite renewed its contract with TNT through 2023.
Lorcan Byrne
CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 26 Dec 2020, 20:17 IST
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All Elite Wrestling, or AEW, has grown immeasurably in the past 12 months. The company has continued to deal with the challenges of producing weekly television. Looking back at where AEW stood a year ago, the growth is stunning.

Heading into the fall of 2019, questions remained over the viability of a weekly AEW television show. Undoubtedly, there have been some peaks and valleys for AEW along the way. But aside from some of the obstacles caused by the pandemic, Tony Khan and the company have a lot to smile about.

To illustrate this significant arc of growth AEW has enjoyed since last year, it'd be fruitful to take a look at how the company has fared from a booking standpoint.

General state of play in AEW

At the end of the December 18, 2019 episode of AEW Dynamite, the company shot an angle in which the Dark Order ambushed The Young Bucks. At this stage, the Dark Order was being led by Evil Uno and Stu Grayson, a pairing that lacked the credibility required for a main event angle.

As a result, the stable simply didn’t belong in the final segment of AEW Dynamite. In fact, the group’s positioning was deemed an embarrassment by Dave Meltzer, who said:

“The last 5 mintues of AEW epitomized every misstep...this felt like a tipping point. It felt like I was watching Nitro, and not in a good way… the booking hasn’t been WCW-level but as far as that last segment...the problem here is the top guys are too much team players. They have to find that happy medium.”

The Dark Order ending a December 2019 episode of AEW Dynamite.
The Dark Order ending a December 2019 episode of AEW Dynamite.

What a difference a year makes. 12 months later, AEW has assembled a stacked roster that's renowned for its diversity. The company has displayed its ability to tell compelling long-term stories. AEW Dynamite's weekly audience has steadily grown, so the company is riding high as 2020 draws to a close.

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AEW has also established a healthy rhythm for its weekly Dynamite shows. A genuine sense of big-picture thinking is apparent with every episode. Each one of them often feels like it has been mapped out weeks in advance. Plus, there has been a pronounced effort to nurture young talent. This pattern could prove to be vital to the company's success.

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Published 26 Dec 2020, 20:17 IST
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