In professional wrestling, a “first time” match up is one of the most effective forms of storytelling there is. One of the best ways to build up a match is just to state a simple fact. The fact that wrestler A has never fought wrestler B, and they will be fighting this week live on TV! Fans are always excited to see something new, and a first time matchup fills that itch tremendously. But in this regard is AEW better than WWE?
AEW since it’s beginning has made it a point to avoid rematches of TV when possible. They make it a point to not have wrestlers have pointless rematches after a PPV match, like WWE seem to do so often. For example, Apollo Crews fought Big E around 4000 times this year alone for the Intercontinental Championship, whilst in AEW the most rematches were between Cody Rhodes and Malakai Black with three.
AEW’s large roster allows them to produce first time matches almost every week. Just this week on Dynamite, for the first time in singles matches Adam Page faced Bryan Danielson, Wardlow faced Matt Sydal and MJF faced Dante Martin. The only rematch was Hikaru Shida vs Serena Deeb, with the pairs rematches having been a crucial part of their story, and a part of the TBS Championship tournament.
Tony Khan’s Opinion
AEW President, Head Booker and general wrestling superfan Tony Khan weighed in with his opinion on the idea of rematches. Khan appeared on the Wrestling Perspective Podcast this past week, discussing all things wrestling including scripting wrestlers promos and overusing rematches. He referenced “Other shows”, clearly referencing Vince McMahon’s practises with the WWE.
“The flip side of that is you also sometimes see when you’re watching not AEW but other shows like it goes on forever,” Khan said, referencing shows like WWE, “It’s like 17 rematches with the same two people. So, there’s no happy medium between what you’re saying.”
The use of constant rematches is one of the worst things about WWE. Despite having released nearly 100 wrestlers this year, they still managed to field rematch after rematch for seemingly no reason. More times than I can count, they have booked rematches from the pay per views a night prior. This waters down the matches and the shows themselves, making them inconsequential to watch.
While AEW does have some rematches, like the aformentioned Cody Rhodes feud with Malakai Black which had two matches too many, they are few and far between. Tony Khan does a much better job than Vince McMahon in this regard, and AEW is better at WWE in this way (and many others).