Let’s not let AEW take away our common sense

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I’ve made no secret of my excitement for All Elite Wrestling. Another sizable wrestling promotion with the financial resources to be a player above the “indie level” is a great thing for wrestling.

Competition — remember: competition doesn’t mean head-to-head for #1 — for WWE is great for WWE in forcing creative approaches to the product.

And the financial resources of AEW mean wrestlers are in a more powerful position when it comes to negotiating their worth.

But the excitement for the future of wrestling is slowly being tamped down by the cycle of wild rumors or “reports” devoid of appropriate sourcing.

I know it’s a fool’s game to hold wrestling journalism to a higher standard that what has long been established. This is a game where your sources want to stay off the record because the scoops they give are often matters of convenience and it becomes much less convenient if you’re on record.

I could go into a lengthy ramble here about anonymous sourcing and journalistic ethics here, but instead I’ll point you to the Society of Professional Journalists’ statements on when, where and how they should be used. It’s a tricky subject and one I’ve had to battle with — and battle editorial teams on — with reporting on sexual assault, corruption and many other topics much larger than “who is talking to the new wrestling promotion?”

Back to the point at hand.

With AEW more of an unknown than a known in terms of business modeling and long-term approach … and with a lot of other details still to be worked out (like TV deals) that impact those things, it’s understandable why speculation has run so wild.

We should, however, be realistic about a few things:

  1. Anyone in WWE who is nearing the end of their contract should be open to talk to — or at least say they are open to talk to — AEW. This is simply good positioning to ensure the maximum value on your next contract.
  2. This does not mean the media landscape benefits from running endless hypotheticals about every wrestler whose contract may be ending. Assume they’ll leverage the new possibilities to improve their situation but don’t go too far beyond that.
  3. Don’t be the guy who runs stories about WWE superstars possibly leaving because they were seen hugging The Young Bucks.

Some people may leave the WWE for new opportunities. Major indie stars may decide to ink AEW deals. Things can and will happen and they should be appropriately reacted to and reported on.

A lot of changes are likely coming over the next few months and years. But lets not abandon common sense in the process.


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