In August Sports1 interviewed Roman Reigns and he had some interesting comments about AEW not being competition to WWE, in reference to something Seth Rollins had said about the upstart promotion.
“I think [Rollins] is being generous in calling them a competition,” Reigns said. “I don’t want to get too deep into this […], I said it before: It’s an option and that’s great for professional wrestlers, pretty cool for fans. Before my family was WWE only, we’ve been a territorial family. You had to move, work with different promotions and territorys. I’m always gonna be ‘pro pro-wrestler’, but at the end of the day: WWE is my home, it’s what I represent and we’re so far ahead. You can see it in other shows: It’s not easy to have a clean production, you have to have a lot of experience. Our talent is top-notch, we’ve got main eventers for day, but it also is our crew. They’re busting their asses all night to get the show running. There’s so many people that make this place work. When you see other people out there tryin’ to do it, you see the flaws and it makes you respect what we do even more. It’s easy to complain and to say this and this on paper, but when it’s time to go out there and actually do it: Nobody will do it like WWE. Period.”
In a new interview with Sports1 last week, Cody Rhodes took the opportunity to respond.
“[Roman] is very, very smart, he has WrestleMania main event under his belt, he has incredible talent,” Cody said. “I think at the time, a lot of people were … I don’t wanna say naive. People were turning away from it, but there’s no turning away now.
“WWE’s on a 49 year head start and I tip my hat for that. But what we’re doing is to build upon what fans have been talking about for 20 years, what they want from a wrestling product and what perhaps wasn’t delivered to them,” he added. “We want to be the alternative. If that means stepping into competition, so be it. It’s better to have competition, for me, for Roman, for everybody.”
While AEW started out strong in their head-to-head battle with WWE NXT on cable television, the latter won last week in viewership and in the key 18-49 demographic. We have full viewership data available at this link.