WrestleTalk Presents: The New War: WWE vs AEW

August 22, 2023

The book is not an attempt to give a chronological history of the “war” to date. Instead it’s made up of 10 articles reproduced from the WrestleTalk magazine between May 2021 and August 2022, plus brief linking chapters adding context.

Each article explores a particular topic either relating to one of the two promotions or to the conflict itself. These include the reimagining of NXT, Tony Khan’s Twitter posting habits and the changing nature of TV ratings. As you’d expect from a newsstand magazine, they are all well-written, with Katrina Waters (WWE’s Katie Lee Burchill/TNA’s Winter) giving particular insight into the psychology of WWE-contracted wrestlers considering their alternative employment options.

The main drawback is that some articles have only the lightest of arguments and conclusions, while others haven’t stood the test of time. For example, the question of Vince McMahon’s succession is addressed in several chapters but, to a reader in 2023 has yet to become a meaningful outcome. Another piece heavily speculates that early AEW signings of the likes of Big Show and Christian could be in preparation for a head-to-head TV battle on Monday nights. While it’s at least honest to leave these conclusions unedited from the original piece, it does mean the book sometimes lacks big picture stories on what really did pan out.

Ultimately that’s where the book in this format falls short. It avoids getting bogged down in week-to-week detail and missing the real story, as can happen with some historical accounts. The idea of picking topic-specific articles might have worked in conveying what was really important in the course of the “war” and giving a truly rounded account. In practice, though, the pieces don’t quite fit together to produce an overall narrative. It would never have been possible in this format to tell an overarching story of the WWE-AEW battle (mainly because the period covered was arguably not representative of the four years of ‘conflict’ to date), but even to cover the 15 months in question adequately would have required more explicit scene-setting and context alongside the original articles.

From a historical perspective it’s interesting to read back to see how topics were analysed at the time and what seemed like significant issues to the writers. Even as a volume of a wider series, however, this doesn’t reach its potential in telling a wider story. That’s no criticism of the articles themselves, which were written for a different purpose, but more that the format doesn’t work as well as the concept might have suggested.

Read on Amazon

No Comments

Comments are closed.