When 2022 first started, everything was looking up for All Elite Wrestling. CM Punk was involved in an epic rivalry against MJF, free agents were swarming to the promotion, and it appeared that the company was well on its way to becoming must-watch television every week.
Lack of accountability, direction, and leadership has exposed all of AEW’s flaws this year, and hopefully, 2022 will be the company’s reference point as to what not to do moving forward.
Here are the 10 biggest mistakes made by All Elite Wrestling in 2022:
#10. The Unfortunate Debut of Satnam Singh
Samoa Joe captured the ROH TV Championship on the April 13th edition of Dynamite. Joe defeated Minoru Suzuki in a physical match in the main event to capture the title. After the match, Sonjay Dutt and Jay Lethal appeared on the entrance ramp with a present. They opened it and revealed Jay Lethal’s middle finger.
The lights then went out and Satnam Singh made his debut. The giant beat Joe down but his arrival did not generate the reaction AEW was hoping for. Chants of “who are you?!” echoed throughout the arena and AEW fans immediately rejected Satnam. He has become more of a background figure in the faction, as Jay Lethal and Jeff Jarrett appear to be entering a feud with AEW Tag Team Champions The Acclaimed.
#9. Too Many Titles/ Interim Champions
One of the biggest gripes wrestling fans currently have with All Elite Wrestling is the absurd amount of titles in the promotion. Even with the surplus of championships, outside titles like the Regina Di Wave title are randomly defended within the promotion.
AEW set a precedent with CM Punk with Interim Champions that completely undermined Toni Storm’s title reign. The interim label made her seem like a temporary champion for the entire reign and hopefully, she will get another one to rectify that in the future.
The All-Atlantic Championship was the breaking point for many fans. Orange Cassidy has done his best to make the title relevant on Rampage but it still feels like an unnecessary title, as many think of the TNT Championship as the secondary title in the company.
#8. Lack of Transparency Regarding AEW Fight Forever
AEW Fight Forever was advertised to be released in 2022 all year until it became obvious that the video game wasn’t ready to be on shelves.
Fight Forever’s release date was pushed back until February 2023 in November, but there was just a very loud silence surrounding the game for months until finally a trailer was recently posted. Time will tell if the game delivers when it is released, but it is hard to feel confident that it will at the moment.
#7. Too Many Factions
Factions are great in wrestling. The leader of the group is usually a charismatic performer that helps elevate the talent around him. The Jericho Appreciation Society might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s little doubt that Chris has the ability to lead his own group and help other talents.
However, throwing talent together and slapping a name on them doesn’t mean anything. What has Private Party gotten out of being a part of the Hardy Family Office? Is Cole Karter getting more of a reaction now that he is in The Factory with QT Marshall?
The factions have to be interesting themselves for it to equate to fan interest. Otherwise, it is just a collection of wrestlers interacting with each other in segments nobody cares about.
#6. Too Much Ring of Honor
AEW President Tony Khan purchased Ring of Honor in March of this year. Nine months later, there is no TV deal for the promotion and he’s asking fans to sign up for Honor Club for ten bucks a month.
Even with that subscription, fans would still have to shell out $40 for the PPV as it will not appear on Honor Club until 90 days after it airs live. Chris Jericho became the ROH Champion by defeating Claudio Castagnoli and his reign came to an on December 10th at Final Battle.
From the outside looking in, it sure looks like he was made the ROH Champion to try and orchestrate a TV deal for the brand and it didn’t work out. Hopefully, there are big things in the promotion in the future, but there was far too much ROH involvement on Dynamite for asking fans to subscribe to Honor Club to be the end goal.
#5. The William Regal Situation
William Regal played a massive part in MJF becoming AEW World Champion and then left the company. It was a bizarre series of events and left many fans wondering why Regal played such a prominent part in the storyline when management knew he was on his way out.
Tony Khan did the right thing in letting Regal return to WWE after the regime change. It was just bizarre that he became the most prominent he had been as a television character on AEW TV as he was on the way out of the company.
#4. Lack of Focus on the Women’s Division
The women’s division in AEW is very talented but it just hasn’t clicked yet. Toni Storm was a big signing for All Elite Wrestling but her title reign was underwhelming. Jade Cargill is undefeated as TBS Champion but the promotion has struggled to find viable opponents or interesting feuds for her.
Jade’s feud against Nyla Rose for Full Gear was quite forgettable. The match at the PPV was fine, but the build to get us there was not. The talent is there, it remains to be seen if the creative writing will be in 2023.
#3. Lack of Focus on Rampage
AEW Rampage became the most missable wrestling show on television this year. Rarely did anything of note happen in AEW on Friday nights during 2022. The show often features main events with wrestlers that are on the main event level and has a pacing issue.
There’s no time for anything to breathe on Rampage and there often is far too much crammed into an episode. It appears that AEW President Tony Khan has a renewed focus on Rampage following its recent record-low ratings and it will be interesting to see if AEW is relevant on Friday nights next year.
#2. Letting Cody Rhodes Leave
The American Nightmare returned to WWE as former CEO Vince McMahon‘s selection for Seth Rollins‘ opponent at WrestleMania 38. Cody Rhodes got an incredible reaction upon his return to WWE and became even more popular as the weeks went on. His promos connected with the WWE Universe and he seems destined to become champion one day.
Cody’s run in All Elite Wrestling had a bizarre ending. He took himself out of AEW World Championship contention by saying he would never get another title shot while he was in management if he lost to Chris Jericho at Full Gear 2019. Cody lost after MJF threw in the towel for him and hit Rhodes with a low blow after the match.
Rhodes then found himself disconnect from the AEW audience, sometimes booed relentlessly during his promos. A change of scenery was likely what Cody needed, but his presence is still missed in AEW. There aren’t too many that can cut a promo like The American Nightmare and consistently deliver in the ring at the same time.
#1. Lack of Leadership
There have been too many instances of AEW talent burying each other, burying their boss, brawling, and just general dysfunction this year in the company. CM Punk’s rant following AEW All Out was egregious, but it was also allowed to get to that point. There were stories about issues backstage for months but nothing was resolved. Talented wrestlers like Miro and Andrade have become disgruntled and were poorly used in the promotion from the day they signed.
It is a difficult task to manage all of the egos in the locker room but it has to be done by somebody. If everyone is just looking out for themselves in AEW, they will become the alternative to Impact rather than WWE in the years ahead.