In a recent discussion on "The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy," AEW star Matt Hardy expressed his desire for the company to integrate more entertainment elements into its programming. Hardy's comments come amidst a backdrop of growing sentiments within AEW, suggesting a need for a shift in focus towards more storyline-driven content.
QT Marshall, another prominent figure in AEW, recently announced his resignation, citing significant changes in the company's direction since its inception in 2019. Marshall's departure underscored a brewing undercurrent of dissatisfaction among some talents, particularly regarding the company's current emphasis on match quality, reminiscent of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW).
This focus, as noted by insiders, has seemingly overshadowed the development of engaging storylines and character arcs.
Hardy Advocates Storytelling
Hardy, echoing Marshall's concerns, emphasized the importance of balancing high-quality in-ring action with compelling storytelling.
He believes that such a blend is crucial for attracting a broader audience, extending the appeal of AEW beyond just hardcore wrestling fans. Hardy pointed out that while the wrestling aspect is a constant and a passion of AEW's president, Tony Khan, incorporating more character and story-based elements could significantly enhance viewer engagement.
Furthermore, Hardy highlighted the extraordinary standard of in-ring performance within AEW's locker room, suggesting that the bar for matches is set incredibly high. This standard, while commendable, presents its challenges, as wrestlers strive to continuously outdo previous performances.
Hardy feels that this relentless pursuit of in-ring excellence, though admirable, might benefit from a parallel focus on storytelling. Presently, AEW is hosting the Continental Classic, a round-robin tournament featuring twelve of its top stars vying for the American Triple Crown Championship.
While the tournament predominantly showcases the athletic prowess of its participants, emerging storylines within the event are gradually capturing the interest of fans. These narrative elements offer glimpses into the potential of a more balanced approach, combining AEW's hallmark match quality with engaging character development and plot twists.
This shift in focus, as advocated by Hardy and others within AEW, could mark a pivotal evolution for the company, potentially broadening its appeal and enriching the viewer experience. As AEW continues to grow and evolve, the incorporation of more entertainment-based content might just be the key to capturing a larger, more diverse fan base.