Foley on AEW’s Growing Pains: “… sometimes you can see them learning as they go”

Feb 17, 2020 - by James Walsh

Making an appearance on the ESPR podcast, Mick Foley discussed the growth of AEW and how wrestling has tipped the scales to put the power in talent’s hands much more. Foley discussed what he saw as the initial mistakes that AEW made and how it was understandable as talent grows under the new national TV exposure they have. He also discussed how AEW, NJPW and other companies have made the industry a market where talent is benefiting from having options beyond just WWE to make it to the big time.

The full podcast is below, plus some highlights:

On how closely he follows AEW: “This is where I say I don’t watch it as much as I should, because my son [Dewey] is one of the writers on NXT … I think he’s the head writer on 205 Live. Might be the only writer on 205 Live. So I tend to watch their show. And I’m out on the road a lot. I don’t DVR stuff as much as I used to, but I do keep up with it. I watch clips if there’s a great promo. I don’t watch as many matches.”

On AEW’s ‘growing pains’: “I know there was some growing pains where, when you’re taking guys who have never worked for a major company and the only thing they know is to go full tilt, you know, and ‘get your flip.’ Which, every night you have to get over with a different crowd. So they’re getting their flying in, they’re trying to get all their spots in and that’s not necessarily conducive for the best two-hour TV show. And I think they kind of had to reign some of these guys in, and they’re learning. One of the benefits I had, is that I was in the territories. And I did Memphis, I did World Class, I did Continental before I got my break with WCW. So I’d made a lot of my mistakes in front of the smaller organizations, smaller viewerships. These guys are going on there and the spotlight’s on them. And sometimes you can see them learning as they go.”

“I think the level of talent is exceptional. They know where they want to go. The Khan family is in it for the long haul, they’ve got the funding. And I think it’s been a success, and that TNT is really happy with the ratings. So yeah, I wish everybody the best.

On wrestling being a ‘seller’s market’ right now: “One thing I will – I said this during a Q&A part of my show. I don’t use the word ‘hate’ very much. But I hated the term ‘buyer’s market’ as far as wrestling goes. Bill Watts said it was a ‘buyer’s market,’ like we were commodities. And now it’s a seller’s market. You don’t have to go to WWE. There are guys who’ll say, ‘Thank you, but I’m happy where I am with New Japan,’ or whatever their deals were. And I think that’s good for business, because now WWE is paying even their middle and lower-card talents considerably more than they would have because they realize they’re not the only game in town. And I believe – they’re a billion dollar company. They’re not losing money because they’re paying their talent better. And I think what’s good for the men and the women that do the work is what’s good for WWE.”

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