If you’ve been following wrestling over the past three years, you know that AEW is the hottest thing right now. It has become an alternative to WWE programming, and the still mildly popular Impact Wrestling. With Tony Khan’s recent purchase of ROH, AEW keeps building momentum, and fuels fan excitement. The support is understandable, to a degree. But, a good portion of the fan base has taken support to a different level.
The hardcore AEW fan base has become so toxic that no one wants to be remotely associated with them. It gives the Dallas Cowboys and Real Madrid fans competition, in intolerability.
As far as those AEW fans are concerned, they ARE the experts of the professional wrestling industry. The matches, promos, and articles consumed, puts them ahead of the game. Ironically, this phenomenon is an example of the Dunning-Kruger effect. They overestimate their knowledge, in professional wrestling, and will only see things from a fan perspective, not the business’. They are capable of driving away casual fans, simply for over glorifying AEW as a holy entity; making others less inclined to watch wrestling as a whole.
For those fans, AEW can do no wrong, because it’s not WWE and Vince McMahon behind the wheel. If you think otherwise, by default you’re wrong and likely a WWE fan. A perfect example of in-group bias. To be fair, no one is craving to be part of the AEW fan base. How many times haven’t there been “AEW!”, “boring”, “CM Punk!” chants at WWE shows. Even if a show is pretty solid, fans will claim that it’s boring. If the same matches could be identically reproduced under the AEW banner, the reaction would likely be positive.
AEW fans often cite Dynamite’s success over NXT as a valid point, in the ‘AEW is better than WWE’ view. What has failed to be mentioned is that Dynamite beat WWE’s third show. It’s like Barcelona defeating a mid-tier team, and Barca fans bragging about it. Exactly how well would Dynamite fare against flagship show, Raw, head-to-head? That’s a what-if scenario, and a whole different story.
For conversation’s sake, let’s say the statement, “AEW is better than WWE ”, is empirically true. Now what? Is that the end-goal AEW fans want to see? It’s not like the Super Bowl or UCL Final, with the winner enjoying the spoils, then we wait for the next season. Or over emphasizing one’s dislike towards WWE is a thing? Do they legitimately believe WWE loses sleep because of AEW’s existence? Herein lies something else worth noting. For a product they consistently appear to mock and claim to not watch, they do a great job in keeping up with it.
The WWE Universe isn’t exempt, because they are guilty of similar qualities. And, there is much more to dig up.
There’s nothing wrong with being an AEW, WWE, or a fan of anything in sports. The writer of this isn’t claiming to be an industry expert either, or that all AEW fans are bad. Nor does he want AEW to fail. Admittedly he is guilty of being bias, like any other person. After years of watching the sport, he can formulate steady opinions, makes room to learn more, and recognizes it as a solid form of entertainment.
What are your honest opinions about other fan bases?