Ric Flair Comments On AEW, Says He Agrees We Are Entering “Greatest Era Of Wrestling Since Monday Night Wars”
For the first time in nearly 20 years, The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) company might actually have some competition.
Ric Flair, who has been a wrestling staple since the 1970s, told the Houston Chronicle that he agreed with recent statements that we might be entering the” greatest era of wrestling since the Monday Night Wars” that aired from 1995 to 2001. The newly founded federation, All Elite Wrestling (AEW), could have everything to do with that.
The AEW, a wrestling federation formed this year, has picked up momentum in nearly ever facet of wrestling, including a deal with TNT for a two-hour show and getting high praise in the sports community including CBS sports, British and Mexican television stations and multiple people in the television industry. Flair and others spoke of an eventual ratings war between the AEW and the WWE as the heyday of wrestling in the late 90s between WWE and WCW.
During that time, WWE (then WWF) President Vince McMahon started a feud with WCW’s President Ted Turner, who aired their shows simultaneously against each other on Monday nights in hopes of beating one another. This time, this feud was marred by controversy and accusations of foul play, as each company aggressively fought for each other’s wrestlers, story lines and even engaged in fights with a third company, the ECW. Many have stated that this type of competition brought out the best in wrestling. WCW eventually folded due to its inability to pay what it has promised to wrestlers it took from WWE and sold the company to McMahon, thus ending the wars.
Flair, a 40-year wrestling veteran, has been around long enough to see this cycle repeat itself with the AEW and WWE. The difference between this epoch of wrestling — as opposed to other companies hoping to take a piece of the wrestling pie off of WWE — is the funding.
“Tony and the Khan family [Founder of the AEW] have a lot of money,” Flair told the Houston Chronicle after throwing the first pitch at the Astros game, “and they’re going to spend the money to get good. For the young guys coming along, it provides an alternative way. The WWE can pay only so many guys and feature only so many guys. They do a great job of it, but a lot of guys who do have talent never get an opportunity.”
AEW was started after professional wrestlers Cody Rhodes and the tag team Young Bucks working for another promotion company called the ROH responded to a comment made that the ROH could not sell 10,000 tickets. Those three friends recruited fellow wrestlers together and sold out a show in 30 minutes. Due to this, Billionaire investors and owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars Tony and Shahid Khan founded the AEW, with Rhodes and the Young Bucks serving as executive vice presidents. This, Flair explained, is the difference between other competition to the WWE and the AEW.
It’s deja vu for many wrestling fans who remember those golden years of Monday Night Raw. You can watch the two-hour premiere of AEW on Monday, October 2 on TNT and the WWE’s ‘Hell in a Cell’ on Pay-Per-View October 6th.