The pandemic era was the worst time for wrestling fans, for both AEW and WWE fans. The pandemic era hit AEW really hard in 2020. They just started taping on TNT from 2nd October 2019. Just as they were catching fire they got robbed of their biggest weapon, the hot live crowd.
During the COVID 19 pandemic era they got stuck in Daily’s Place in Jacksonville Florida with no crowd. Matt Hardy and Brodie Lee debuted in silence. It was very difficult to watch the shows, it seemed lifeless without the fans. But as a hardcore AEW fan I kept on watching and did not miss a single AEW Dynamite or PPV in 2020.
It is very difficult to say nice things about the AEW pandemic era. But in my opinion there were blessings in disguise during this awful time.
The fall of XFL and WWE releases
In 2019 Mr McMahon once again tried to revive the XFL. Honestly it was doing fine at the beginning. But once COVID 19 hit everything fell apart. All the games were cancelled. Eventually the XFL ended abruptly. Mr McMahon had to face a huge financial loss. Obviously he secretly invested some WWE resources in XFL. So once XFL fell apart he had to make some changes to fix the issues in WWE. Which led to mass releases.
During 2019 WWE was adamant about not releasing their talents, so they can’t go to AEW to become a star. They refused to release Brodie Lee, FTR. Offered Good Brothers, AJ Styles bigger contracts. But after the huge loss in XFL they released talents like Miro(formerly Rusev), Brodie Lee (formerly Luke Harper) and FTR(formerly Revivals). AEW picked up these great talents immediately. Without Brodie Less the Dark Order wouldn’t have become relevant. FTR helped improve the tag team division. Matt Hardy is helping young talents like Private Party. Miro turned into a monster and taking the TNT championship to new heights.
Without these former WWE stars AEW couldn’t have reached the heights.
Partnerships with NWA, Impact Wrestling and NJPW
The pandemic forced NWA to close their shows. They were almost done. But the partnership of NWA with AEW saved them. Thunder Rosa performed regularly in AEW, she help improved the female talents. Awesome talents like Ricky Starks and Eddie Kingston made their way to AEW. All of them are now very important parts of AEW.
Partnering with Impact wrestling helped both AEW and Impact. Good Brothers can appear in AEW shows. Plus it caused the huge forbidden door to open up.
Finally was the partnership with NJPW. Kenta made his way to AEW to face Moxley. Also had a great NJPW US title match between Moxley and Nagata. Obviously more things are yet to come.
The rise of new talents
In the absence of fans, AEW got the opportunity to try out new stars. This led to them giving rise to so many new stars like Acclaimed, Nick Comorotto, Powerhouse Hobbs, Abadon, Ricky Starks. Guys like Sammy Guevarra, Britt Baker, Jungle Boy, Darby Allin got to shine. Now it’s not only about Cody, Omega, Jericho and Moxley. Now there are lots of new potential talents who can carry AEW to the future.
So these were some of my thoughts regarding the AEW pandemic era. Hope you enjoyed reading this article.