Some fans see AEW and WWE and don’t know what the difference is – they’re both “the wrestling” after all!
There are a few very obvious differences between AEW and WWE. One is owned by Vince McMahon, the tyrannical leader that has dominated the world of wrestling for nearly 50 years.
Meanwhile, AEW is run by Tony Khan, the son of a billionaire who grew up fantasy booking wrestling cards, before putting together his own promotion in All Elite Wrestling.
WWE Has More Big Events
While they are adding to their canon of events with All In, AEW still has many less big events than the WWE.
They generally do four big Pay Per Views per year (including a fifth joint venture with NJPW with Forbidden Door), which sees the culmination of big feuds and rivalries.
Meanwhile, WWE have been known to have monthly pay per views, more than doubling the amount of big shows than AEW.
This earns them more money and draws more fans than AEW, while also putting on more exciting moments and dream matches on a big stage than AEW can manage.
AEW Lets The Wrestlers Plan Their Own Segments
WWE is known for its very rigid plans and general lack of creative control for the wrestlers involved.
Everything that is done is said to have to run through Triple H and Vince McMahon, creating a stifling working environment.
This caused wrestlers like Jon Moxley to leave the promotion, signing for AEW where he felt more creatively fulfilled.
Tony Khan is known to give wrestlers more input in their matches and promos, which shows in the more interesting characters that are shown on AEW TV.
However, this also leads to some wrestlers, who need a little bit more direction, performing worse than they would in the WWE.
Pro-Wrestling vs Sports Entertainment
The key difference between AEW and WWE is the difference between “pro-wrestling” and “sports entertainment”.
Sports Entertainment is what Vince McMahon used to describe his product. This sees a focus more on big moments than cohesive storytelling, searching for loud pops rather than compelling television.
This also puts more of a focus on outside-of-the-ring segments, with long, drawn out talking promos being a key part of the product.
This can be a bad thing (rambling twenty-minute promos to start the show) or a good thing (the entire Bloodline saga is pure sports entertainment)
Meanwhile, AEW opts for a pro-wrestling style of product. This puts more of a focus on in-ring action, telling their stories through a physical medium.
This does not preclude promos, or other elements of sports entertainment, but it shows a stark opposite to the way Vince McMahon runs his show, offering a true alternative to wrestling fans.
AEW Wrestlers Have Better Work-Life Balance
One of the main reasons wrestlers choose to work for AEW, and not WWE, is the work-life balance offered by the company.
Wrestlers are not tasked with working more than three shows a week (although many only work one of Dynamite, Rampage or Collision), not counting pay per view events (which as we said, are rare).
This allows wrestlers to do things outside of their job, with some even working other jobs while wrestling for AEW.
Some wrestlers work backstage for AEW, while others hold down roles outside the company. Britt Baker is famously also a dentist when she’s not wrestling, and incorporated this into her gimmick superbly.
On the flip side, WWE has their wrestlers on the road much more. They run house shows every week, with some stars only getting one or two days at home before having to return to work.
This can put a big toll on their family life, and many stars have lamented the WWE grind as the reason their families broke apart.
WWE Has More Repetitive Matches
One thing AEW manages to do is keep its matches fresh. They have a similar size roster to WWE, but manage to avoid repeating matches unless the storyline truly calls for it.
It took months before a repeat match happened on AEW Dynamite, and it only came due to a key part of a storyline.
Of course, since then we’ve seen many rematches (Eddie Kingston vs Chris Jericho went on for months), but not at the level of WWE.
Vince McMahon is known to book the same match, week in and week out. Bouts like Randy Orton vs John Cena were seen week after week, with fans soon growing tired of both men in the ring.
While most other points have been a personal preference on which is better, WWE’s repetitive matches is the one difference that you cannot argue AEW does better.
Does WWE Own AEW?
Contrary to popular belief, WWE does not own All Elite Wrestling.
AEW was founded by Tony Khan in late-2018, with the help of The Elite – a group containing Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes and Nick & Matt Jackson (aka The Young Bucks).
Chris Jericho and Jim Ross – two WWE legends – were also important in getting AEW off the ground and becoming true competition for AEW.
The Elite announced the formation of AEW on January 1st, 2019 and later announced stars like Adam Page, PAC and Britt Baker as part of the new promotion.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.