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What Do AEW Followers Assume In regards to the Product? AEW Fan Survey Outcomes


Welcome to my first-ever AEW Fan Survey outcomes. This humble venture goals to get a glimpse at how AEW followers really feel concerning the present product, study what AEW is doing effectively, and determine issues that AEW can enhance upon or keep away from doing to show off the present fanbase.

The questions within the AEW survey have been stored fairly easy–I requested followers principally how lengthy that they had been watching AEW, what made them first tune in, who their favourite and least favourite wrestlers are, and what are some issues they like concerning the product, and a few issues they dislike concerning the product. From their solutions, we are able to get some related details about what AEW viewers take into consideration the product, and still have information to instruct us on potential future choices made by Tony Khan and the corporate.

I used to be in a position to solicit 1,635 solutions to the survey, with many respondents taking their time to present considerate suggestions to every query. The survey drew responses from 47 states (rattling you, Alaska, Idaho, and Wyoming!) in addition to Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. The survey additionally drew responses from 51 international locations, together with Malta, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria and Chile.

Whereas that is clearly a vastly spectacular whole, it needs to be understood that that is only a tiny portion of AEW’s fanbase. After all, because the survey was primarily shared on wrestling-based social media, the outcomes are clearly going to be skewed in the direction of hardcore AEW followers who’re following wrestling accounts on social media.

I wish to thank everybody who shared the survey hyperlink. With out that type of group effort, we wouldn’t have gotten almost as a lot suggestions as we did get, which actually made this survey course of successful. I wish to significantly thank Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics, John Pollock and Publish Wrestling, Trevor Dame and Josh Nason of F4W/WON who all helped by sharing the hyperlink to the survey on their outstanding social media accounts.

And naturally, I wish to thank each one who took the time to fill out the survey and provides considerate suggestions to the questions I requested. This was an enormous success and I stay up for doing one other survey, with some enhancements, sooner or later.

AEW Followers have been watching because the starting

The survey exhibits that AEW followers have largely been watching the promotion because it first began, including roughly the identical share of followers throughout every subsequent yr. That is possible a symptom of the pattern we’re pulling from, with hardcore followers extra more likely to have been day-one viewers.

The info does observe with what now we have seen from AEW viewership and PPV buying developments–AEW fairly rapidly cultivated a loyal viewers from followers, who by and enormous, have caught by with the product over the previous 5 years. Below 10% of followers reported having began watching AEW after 2021.

AEW Followers acknowledge pre-AEW stars

The survey confirmed that respondents began watching AEW largely as a result of they already acknowledged among the wrestlers earlier than the corporate began. That information tracks with the responses to the primary query–since most followers watched from the very starting, they have been aware of among the Day 1 wrestlers, actually within the case of somebody like Chris Jericho who had been a serious star within the US for 20 years.

14.5% of respondents mentioned that they began watching because of the early hype across the firm. This group of followers may largely be attributed to profitable advertising and marketing and promoting, whether or not that was instantly from the corporate, or from different followers, that satisfied followers who didn’t know a lot concerning the product previous to watching it for the primary time, however have caught round as followers.

Solely 3% of respondents reported that they first began watching AEW as a result of a former WWE wrestler was showing on the present. Whereas now we have seen the debuts of ex-WWE wrestlers pop scores for his or her first look(s) in AEW, that curiosity has typically not been sustained, which can counsel that non-AEW followers pattern the product to see a wrestler they like in AEW, however should not constantly sticking round to see the product on a week-to-week foundation.

AEW Followers Watch 1-2 Reveals per Week

The survey exhibits that about half of all respondents mentioned that they watched each AEW TV present, each week. One other 32% reported that they watch one present every week. Generally, I assume that one present is AEW Dynamite. I’d additionally assume that watching “each TV present, each week” is an possibility some followers selected who watch Dynamite and Collision commonly, however not Rampage. Sooner or later, I’ll add that as an choice to the survey as a number of folks voiced their opinions to me that it ought to have been included as an possibility.

10% of followers mentioned that they watch AEW now and again, 2% mentioned they solely watch the PPV occasions, and 4.5% reported that they hardly ever watch AEW in any respect. For the aim of the remainder of the info on this survey, I believe we are able to say that 16% of respondents are the “informal” followers who responded to the survey.



AEW Followers Like Wrestling

The short-answer questions on the survey give us much less trackable laborious information, however by going by the totally different submissions, apparent developments pop up. When requested what followers take pleasure in concerning the AEW product, by far the most typical reply was the excessive stage of in-ring motion that the corporate produces.

“I like that it feels actual, additionally I simply love the wrestling man the matches folks get to see on the weekly are insane I used to be by no means a giant “wrestling” fan sadly if that is sensible as a result of I used to be just about brainwashed into considering there was just one type, however after AEW began it took me down this insane rabbit gap of Japanese Type, Lucha, and Joshi stuff hell even typically I’ll hear about nice matches from the 70’s or and outdated period I’ll and return and watch it trigger AEW received me to like the precise “sport” of wrestling that a lot,”  – A Survey Response from California

“They provide the very best wrestling on the planet proper now,” – A Survey Response From Czechia

“The prime quality wrestling, the range of wrestlers and kinds, among the tales are good, and I just like the collaboration with another promotions to introduce us to extra wrestlers and their tales,” – A Survey Response from Illinois.

Followers in-particular expressed a big appreciation for the type of in-ring wrestling, which is totally different from the type introduced in WWE, and an general product that was targeted on in-ring matches and fewer on outside-of-the-ring promos and interactions, in addition to showcasing a more durable, extra violent type of professional wrestling that enables performers to really feel extra genuine and actual, particularly when in comparison with the extra company WWE.

“I had been watching WWE and I by no means knew matches could possibly be a lot edgier or bloody and of top of the range like AEW, together with ideas like Blood and Guts and Anarchy within the Area in order that’s superior,” – A Survey Response from Kenya.

“Emphasis on wrestling, using blood, and that it’s a product geared to enchantment to hardcore followers,” – A Survey Response from Massachusetts.

“The precise wrestling is high tier. It’s slightly tough across the edges manufacturing sensible however I type of prefer it that manner. Doesn’t really feel overly produced and it feels just like the expertise has extra possession of their characters. Plus I believe Tony is a humorous dude and genuinely cares about wrestling as greater than only a enterprise,” – A Survey Response from New Jersey.

“Good high quality wrestling, number of kinds, it’s a wrestling firm that’s not embarrassed to be a wrestling firm. Offers folks a job within the business that wouldn’t at all times get one,” A Survey Response from Canada.

AEW Followers Don’t Like It When AEW Is Like WWE

One other apparent development that comes from the outcomes, and one which is sensible when contemplating what number of followers pointed to AEW not being like WWE is a energy, is followers saying that one thing they didn’t like about AEW was when the product extra intently resembles the everyday WWE-style of sports activities leisure and less critical, conventional professional wrestling.

“These uncommon events the place issues really feel too WWE: dropped storylines, ignoring historical past, boilerplate promos that don’t really feel genuine to the character,” – A Survey Response from Massachusetts

“There are occasions the place I believe they rely closely on sports activities leisure, particularly all of 2023 felt like they have been following lots of the tropes I used to be making an attempt to get away from in my weekly TV wrestling product.,” – A Survey Response from New Jersey

“When it tries to be extra like “sports activities leisure,” I believe it falters. That is primarily a difficulty with guys like The Acclaimed, or MJF within the latter half of his title reign,” – A Survey Response from New Mexico

“After they attempt to emulate WWE and go too far with it.  Not that I would like solely matches on a regular basis however they’ve typically added an excessive amount of “ga ga” to their product, particularly in virtually any storyline involving Chris Jericho,” – A Survey Response from South Dakota

AEW Followers Really feel Storylines Are Missing

By far the most typical critique AEW followers had of the product was the reserving and storylines of the corporate. Many followers expressed that the storylines typically lacked cohesion, and that whereas the in-ring wrestling was typically good, matches typically left followers with one thing to be desired by way of an emotional funding within the product.

“Loads of weak, under-developed storylines that don’t give the matches the burden and surrounding drama they deserve. After they do storylines proper combined with superior in-ring motion – there’s nothing higher. However there have been extra misses than hits as of late,” – A Survey Response from Sweden

“Generally there’s a lack of focus throughout the builds or segments on the exhibits. They current too many concepts without delay throughout angles typically and it takes away from added pleasure,” – A Survey Response from New York

“The storylines on every week to week foundation don’t at all times make a lot sense and the PPVs get thrown collectively constructed on dream matches lots of the time however in some unspecified time in the future the dream matches will run out and it will likely be left to the bookers to make compelling tv as a result of proper now I’m not compelled to look at,” – A Survey Response from Georgia

“The shortage of focus on occasion. I’m not as hung up on “STORYTELLING” and the fixed discourse it creates however typically AEW’s tales and characters might be scattered and barely nonsensical. I’m not watching wrestling for Shakespeare stage storytelling however it’s good to have tales that interlock about make sense and AEW typically struggles with that,” – A Survey Response from Illinois

A significant difficulty recognized by followers was the sensation that wrestlers would acquire some momentum, solely to vanish from tv with out rationalization, or fail to actually climb up the cardboard. This in impact is punishing followers for getting emotionally invested within the product, in the event that they don’t really feel like that funding is being rewarded by reserving.

“Guys will probably be a focus for every week or two then don’t see them for a month or two once more,” – A Survey Response from Colorado.

“A lot of the roster will get begin/cease pushes. Expertise typically disappears for weeks or months at a time, normally with no rationalization or angle to write down them out. Storylines are sometimes weak and really feel like they’re booked week by week,” – A Survey Response From Canada

“AEW can battle sustaining momentum from one section or present to the subsequent. I don’t really feel like AEW has that clear imaginative and prescient and construction behind its storytelling anymore. As an alternative it appears like Tony Khan is continually making an attempt to appease 12 totally different folks in every section, resulting in uneven and messy television/storytelling.

The extremely bloated roster doesn’t assist right here. Folks get scorching, then get chucked apart and cooled down as a result of it’s another person’s flip now. I’ve reached a degree the place I battle to put money into storylines and characters as a result of there’s no actual room for progress or character growth within the firm. I believe this influences the widespread (typically unhealthy religion) grievance that AEW is nearly nice matches. I don’t assume that is fully true however with so many nice wrestlers and stars who shouldn’t be shedding fairly often however who additionally must be on the present each week, it’s not shocking to me that television matches have turn into more and more boring regardless of having good motion, whereas the PPV’s are nonetheless superior,” – A Survey Response from the UK

“I HATE the start-stop with wrestlers’ pushes.  They received’t commit to creating folks high guys so nobody appears like they’re principal occasion expertise.  Consistency is an issue within the firm,” – A Survey Response from Kansas.

What Can AEW Do To Enhance?

When requested what are some issues AEW can do to enhance the product, the solutions on the whole from the viewers mirrored their emotions on each the strengths and weaknesses of the product. Survey respondents talked about that they want to see the reserving be improved, in addition to a better give attention to in-ring wrestling and on offering a real different to WWE programming.

“Actually, simply proceed to lean into large matches and match/accomplishment primarily based tales. Swerve dragging Hangman down from his perch to rise to the principle occasion scene is essentially primarily based on a official want to be the highest star, and that’s why it labored so effectively. (That and Swerve is fucking nice),” – A Survey Response from Japan

“Simply to maintain targeted on their very own present and being the choice. Actually take some time to raise guys like they’ve performed with Swerve Strickland. Guide fascinating multi man tags. They’ve girls’s roster now, I want to see extra emphasis on that division. Numerous matches of consequence and utilizing the rankings to additional storylines. Much less boring promos and fewer of wrestlers making an attempt to behave,” – A Survey Response from Eire

“Persistently e book expertise for every present, do a greater job following up their angles/applications throughout all three exhibits,” – A Survey Response from Connecticut.

“A bit extra development for the likes of Garcia, Hobbs, and Takeshita who really feel like they’ve been caught in the identical place for some time,” – A Survey Response from Australia

“Put a transparent emphasis on successful and shedding; Each “character” in AEW needs to be motivated by cash, titles and/or respect. Create distinctions between the varied singles titles. No extra crowd pictures or cutaways throughout matches; 99.9% of focus needs to be on what is occurring within the ring,” – A Survey Response from California.

Many followers additionally expressed a shared curiosity in seeing an elevated give attention to AEW’s girls’s division. Poor use of the ladies’s division was a frequent reply for what fan’s didn’t like about AEW, and lots of advised within the survey that higher reserving of that division would enhance their curiosity within the product.

“Higher/ extra girls’s wrestling and intergender wrestling. I imagine the world is prepared for this on a much bigger platform,” – A Survey Response from Arizona.

“Function the ladies on greater than 1 section on Dynamite with the expertise they’ve now. I’m understanding that it is likely to be a community difficulty and never a booker difficulty,” A Survey Response from Nevada

“Ladies’s tag belts with extra girls employees,” – A Survey Response from Oregon

“Extra womens options on the PRIMARY present (Dynamite), extra matches, extra screentime on the whole,” – A Survey Response from Pennsylvania

However What About The Informal Followers?

Ah sure, the informal followers, that typically hypothetical blob of followers whose opinions we’re informed ACTUALLY matter, since they make the distinction between an organization like AEW being an awesome success, or a failure that solely appeals to hardcore, Meltzer-reading fanboys.

Clearly that isn’t true in any respect, and the truth is that AEW’s capacity to fulfill its loyal buyer base is the important thing facet of its survival and skill to thrive to date, 5 years into its existence. I did nonetheless wish to take a look at what among the extra informal followers needed to say concerning the product, and if it differed largely from what the general consensus had acknowledged within the survey.

Let’s give attention to the 168 followers who responded to the survey that mentioned they watch AEW “now and again” since that may be a group of followers who seem like they aren’t common viewers, however might be swayed to tune in if one thing perks their curiosity.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of this group of followers mentioned that one of many principal issues they loved about AEW was the high-quality of in-ring wrestling, the give attention to precise wrestling as the principle facet of the promotion, and the standard of the wrestlers. On this manner, they didn’t noticeably differ from any of the extra hardcore fan teams and what they mentioned they loved about AEW. If something, this group of followers appeared to care extra concerning the in-ring than different teams, out of 168 respondents, 132 of them explicitly talked about in-ring high quality as of the issues they appreciated about AEW.

“I just like the number of kinds that I can see in a present, I just like the artistic freedom that wrestlers have, I like lots of the wrestlers themselves, I like that they typically collaborate with different promotions, I like that they typically focus extra on match high quality than anything. I like that they’re inclusive,” – A Survey Response from Pennsylvania.

“Its give attention to wrestling, and for higher and worse, seems to principally let the expertise dictate the path of title reigns, and story instructions. At finest it appears like actual wrestling versus the plasticity of the Fed,” – A Survey Response from Oklahoma.

“The unbelievable in-ring work, the likable characters, and variety of kinds, with hardcore, lucha high-fliers, large hosses, technical grapplers, and comedy acts all bouncing off one another. Plus it’s good that they’re keen to interact with different wrestling firms, that’s at all times enjoyable,” – A Survey Response from Massachusetts.

Regardless of common-held beliefs that the easiest way to seize the inconsistent-viewing viewers is to current the product extra like WWE, lots of the followers on this group identified that what they didn’t like concerning the AEW product was when it tends to be extra just like WWE.

“The issues they do which can be stolen from WWE tropes. Examples: each backstage interview ever, wrestlers being proven within the again watching a television of a match at a dumb angle, run ins with entrance music, no DQ’s in a triple risk match, pulling out the ref throughout a 3 rely(if it’s not a no DQ match that needs to be a DQ each time,” – A Survey Response from Illinois

“Present making an attempt to be extra sports activities leisure, I really feel AEW works higher as a sports activities primarily based presentation,” – A Survey Response from England.

“The little brother complicated. AEW presents significantly better wrestling than WWE, that’s their area of interest. Keep in that area of interest, cater to a selected viewers and ignore the “competitors” since you’re not competing for a similar viewers,” – A Survey Response from Ohio.

Lastly, very like the extra energetic viewers of the product, the group of 168 identified points with the storylines in AEW as a criticism of the product, and a manner that AEW may enhance. When requested what AEW may do to boost their curiosity within the firm, the group steadily pointed to artistic modifications and a extra condensed give attention to the product.

“Make the World title and World Champion a central focus. Character motivations might be totally different, however successful the World title needs to be a very powerful factor,” – A Survey Response from Arizona

“Much less stop-start reserving that slows the momentum of younger skills, have wrestlers, storylines play out as an alternative of randomly booked out and in of the lineup. Have youthful expertise despatched on tour if attainable. Much less lengthy reigns extra fascinating modifications, don’t let belts (just like the trios) get chilly,” – A Survey Response from Oklahoma

“Proportional shift again to extra precise wrestling. Fewer prolonged skits and extra backstage/match-adjacent promos. Extra construction in place general – the Continental Basic appeared to assist with constructing particular person curiosity and storytelling. Maybe with extra PPVs they’ll set up a greater rhythm of specializing in particular storylines main as much as these occasions, with extra readability about what the essential narratives are (vs the present ‘the whole lot and nothing all of sudden’ feeling). Extra matches that really feel significant. Let wrestlers give promos of their first language,” – A Survey Response from the UK.



Who’re the preferred wrestlers in AEW?

Regardless of solely formally beginning within the firm two months in the past, Will Ospreay has already emerged as maybe the preferred wrestler in the whole firm. When requested to call their favourite wrestlers or acts in AEW, 660, or 40% of all respondents, listed Ospreay (respondents got a limiteless variety of names they may listing).

Ospreay was the largest single title listed, adopted by Swerve Strickland, who simply received the AEW World Championship (the survey was closed earlier than AEW Dynasty came about). Swerve appeared on 627 surveys, or 38% of all ballots submitted. That will appear to be a optimistic signal for AEW, on condition that Ospreay and Swerve to date have been the hardest-pushed names within the firm in 2024 and appear destined to wrestle a serious PPV match later this yr, maybe in the principle occasion of Wembley Stadium.

Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson even have a declare to being the preferred wrestler within the firm. Moxley appeared on 462, or 28% of all surveys, and Danielson appeared on 511, or 31% of all surveys. Nonetheless, because the survey allowed respondents to additionally listing acts, the Blackpool Fight Membership as a gaggle was listed on 252, or 15% of all surveys, which clearly could possibly be accredited primarily to Moxley and Danielson’s position within the group.

A extra sophisticated model of these outcomes might be seen with members of The Elite. The Younger Bucks have been on 288, or 17.5% of returned ballots, whereas The Elite as a gaggle appeared on an extra 177, or 11% of ballots. Kenny Omega, who technically is not part of The Elite in accordance with current storylines, appeared on 495, or 30% of all responses, though one must assume that a few of The Elite voters have been nonetheless contemplating Omega as a part of The Elite.

The identical might be mentioned for official Elite member Kazuchika Okada, who was listed on 318, or 19.5% of all ballots, in addition to Adam Web page, who canonically is taken into account a part of The Elite, and appeared on 239, or 14% of all ballots.

Since most respondents interpreted the query as asking who their favourite AEW wrestlers have been at this very second, some recency bias could also be influencing the outcomes. Ospreay and Swerve are at present the apparent toast of AEW and are being pushed as the most popular new acts within the firm. Different acts which can be well-liked however haven’t been on TV recently, together with Web page and MJF (260 ballots, or 15%) didn’t fare almost in addition to one may anticipate.

Willow Nightengale was by far the preferred girl on the survey, showing on 311, or 19% of all ballots. Toni Storm was second amongst feminine performers, with 206 appearances, or 12.6% of all ballots. Current mega-signing Mercedes Mone appeared on simply 36 of all ballots.

AEW Has A Chris Jericho Downside

Maybe essentially the most notable outcome I observed within the survey was simply how a lot disdain there was within the AEW fanbase for Chris Jericho, who was named as by far the most typical reply when followers have been requested who their least favourite wrestler in AEW was. Out of 1,631 surveys that have been returned, Jericho appeared on a whopping 846 of them, or 52% of all ballots. That was greater than 3.5 instances the subsequent commonest reply was for Billy Gunn and The Acclaimed, which appeared on 224, or 14% of all ballots. Sammy Guevara was third, showing on 159, or 10% of all responses.

Lots of the respondents famous that they even appreciated Chris Jericho however discovered the growing older veteran to be a stale act that’s at present occupying an excessive amount of TV time.

“Saraya, Chris Jericho (I was a giant fan however he’s been round too lengthy, it’s time to take a break), Adam Copeland, Brian Cage, Jay Deadly, Jeff Jarrett, Satnam Singh,” – A Survey Response from The UK

“I’ve at all times loved Jericho however proper now he’s taking on an excessive amount of house,” – A Survey Response from New Jersey

“Jericho(who I nonetheless assume can flip it round however god he wants to simply go away for like 2 months minimal),” – A Survey Response from Illinois

“Personally, Chris Jericho has dwindled for me. He simply appears to do the identical factor over and over and typically I believe that he simply doesn’t have the identical aptitude as he as soon as did,” – A Survey Response from Tennessee

Maybe much more damaging for Jericho is regardless of being arguably essentially the most well-known wrestler on the AEW roster, and one of the vital closely pushed wrestlers within the firm since its inception, he managed to seem on solely 12 ballots when followers have been requested to call their favourite wrestlers in AEW. By comparability, Lance Archer, who barely seems on AEW tv, was on 13 ballots.

Hearken to Jesse Collings’ podcast: The Gents’s Wrestling Podcast!

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