Does AEW have the best promos in wrestling?
If Chris Jericho’s promo on the April 7th, 2021, episode of AEW Dynamite goes to prove one thing, it’s this: AEW may have the best collection of talkers at any one time in wrestling history. That’s not hyperbole. Tony Khan hasn’t slipped us a few dollars to say it. It’s just the way it is.
Does AEW have the best in-ring action in the world today? The likes of NJPW and NXT would likely disagree.
Does AEW possess industry-leading production? WWE may take the lead in that regard.
Does AEW know how to build an event with words alone? Undoubtedly, their ability is unparalleled by any promotion today. They could likely build a must-see pay-per-view without ever having an actual match in the lead up, that’s how good they are at it.
So What’s So Good About A Promo?
Crafting a quality promo is an art form. You could put all the money in the world into advertising, yet still, a great set of promos in the lead up to a pay-per-view would put more proverbial ‘butts in seats’ than any ad ever could. Chris Jericho did just that on AEW Dynamite -April 7th, 2021- as he berated each member of The Pinnacle individually. If the likes of MJF can follow up with a similar rebuttal sometime soon then we may have ‘Feud of the Year’ material being written.
A promo can build a feud, weave a story, and engage an audience. While pro wrestling is often considered to be predominantly about, well, wrestling, an impressively delivered promo can still manage to be the highlight of a show -it’s a powerful thing.
From the outside looking in, it seems that AEW doesn’t script their promos -rather letting the talent do what they do best. It could just be that the roster is comprised of incredible actors, making scripted words seem genuine, but that doesn’t seem to be the case; Plus, if you’ve ever watched M. Night. Shyamalan’s The Happening then you know how easily you can make quality actors sound phony.
It can’t be understated how important freedom from a script is to making something feel genuine. It doesn’t matter how good a match ends up being if we don’t care about the outcome, and you can’t be invested if you don’t believe. While half the story is told in the ring, it’s still half a story without the build-up.
The Current Roster
The likes of the aforementioned Chris Jericho, as well as Eddie Kingstone, Christian Cage, Jake Roberts, Taz, Arn, and Tully are all proven talent on a mic, it’s been that way for years. Though it’s not just the veterans leading the way when it comes to AEW and promos. The young company has highlighted how truly good the likes of Cody, Lance Archer, and Jon Moxley are when given free rein. The future is looking especially bright too with MJF, Britt Baker, The Acclaimed, Nyla Rose, Ricky Starks, Sammy Guevara, and many others showing they can more than cut it with the best of the best.
There are countless more, of course. Too many to mention here. The current roster is packed with talent already and they’re going to improve exponentially as AEW continues to fully find its voice.
Why Is AEW Different?
AEW may not be the best in the world at everything, they’re up there in some regards for sure, but the fact that they possibly have many of the best promos around today is what makes them must-see.
While many of you currently reading may look back to the Attitude Era, the Golden Era, or prime WCW and ECW when comparing quality talkers across the board, let’s put nostalgia, excessive charisma, and catchphrases aside and look at storytelling. Some of the best at the craft from then are here in AEW now, and those newer to the sport are being given the chance and the platform to prove they can compete in that regard.
There’s a big difference between being loud and being right, it’s why Jake Roberts stood out so much in his prime. It’s also why AEW stands out now for the same reason. Variety and the freedom to experiment is the key to success today, it’s not enough to just be charismatic. You need freedom and meaning to innovate. As Paul Heyman once said:
“It’s the unbridled passion and the fearlessness to just go into something with reckless abandon that allows you to create something from nothing. That allows you to innovate. That allows you to take things to the extreme”-Paul Heyman