All Elite Wrestling has become a viable pro wrestling alternative. However, the Jacksonville-based promotion receives as much adoring praise as it does staunch criticism. AEW booking the newest WWE release, Cole Karter, on Dynamite this week is the latest example of the promotion’s biggest problem.
Karter, aka Troy “Two Dimes” Donovan, was part of The D’Angelo Family in NXT until he was released on June 11 due to a failed drug test. NXT wrote him off the show by killing his character – throwing him off a bridge mafia-style to sleep with the fishes.
Karter wrestled for the first time since his release on Sunday at the AEW Dark tapings in Orlando, FL. Tony Khan was impressed enough to book him against Ricky Starks for the FTW Title three days later on Dynamite.
The problem is not giving Karter an opportunity but doing so at the expense of an overflowing talent roster where many are either relegated to the promotion’s YouTube shows or not booked at all.
Despite the injury bug hitting AEW hard this summer with CM Punk, Adam Cole, Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson, and others on the mend, the promotion could have utilized the abundance of talent at their disposal instead of another new face.
Ethan Page saw his last television match on June 29 and has been absent from the last three episodes of Dynamite and Rampage. The Dark Order’s Evil Uno hasn’t gotten a whiff of TV time since May 18.
Remember the last year’s heartwarming angle when Fuego Del Sol lost to Miro but still earned an AEW contract? While recent rumors suggest he might be done with AEW, Fuego’s only worked three TV matches in 2022, all on the losing end in Six Man Tag Matches.
Booking Fuego in such a good angle made fans care about him. AEW did little to capitalize on the momentum. Why make the audience emotionally invested in Fuego or any wrestler if we’re never going to see them on Wednesday and Friday?
Brock Anderson, the son of Arn Anderson, hasn’t seen Dynamite or Rampage since April, but he gets plenty of time on Dark and Dark Elevation. While the younger Anderson is still developing as a talent, AEW gave him a little push coming out of the gate.
Capt. Shawn Dean, who books local talent for AEW and is revered for his military service, was last seen on Dynamite in April when he beat MJF via count out. Dean’s other televised appearances saw him defeat MJF via DQ and pin Shawn Spears.
While Dean’s wins were designed as a vehicle to enhance the CM Punk/MJF feud as opposed to elevating him, he was trusted enough to fill the role. Giving Dean more exposure would serve AEW well instead of making him look like some rando who got lucky.
What about Frankie Kazarian? Remember how popular SCU (SoCal Uncensored) was before AEW? How about Colt Cabana, or some of the ROH wrestlers signed for this weekend’s Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view?
Unfortunately, I can keep going.
But I’ll stop at the newly crowned All-Atlantic Champion, Pac. He won a tournament held on television, culminated on pay-per-view, and hasn’t seen the light of day on TNT or TBS. Pac’s first title defense occurred on a non-AEW show in England against Shota Umino and aired on Dark.
Another problem that ties into AEW using outside talent over wrestlers on their roster is a lack of consistency. Most television shows have lead characters that appear in every episode.
Every week on Raw, the audience will always see Seth Rollins, Becky Lynch, Riddle, Bianca Belair, Bobby Lashley, and The Miz. The same can be said for Drew McIntyre, Ronda Rousey, The New Day, Sheamus, Happy Corbin, and The Usos on SmackDown.
AEW consistently features Chris Jericho, Orange Cassidy, Christian, Eddie Kingston, Jon Moxley, and Jade Cargill. However, time and time again, the promotion signs a wrestler, makes a big deal about them for a few weeks, and we don’t see them again for months.
It happened to Jay Lethal, Scorpio Sky, Joey Janela, Marko Stunt, Paige VanZant, and more.
Konosuke Takeshita is a blue chip prospect who had a good match with Jon Moxley last week on Dynamite. He lost; however, the match was designed to get Takeshita over in a hard-fought defeat. For the follow-up, he’s wrestling on Dark this week.
Tony Khan obviously sees something in Cole Karter. Looking under the hood, Karter has been wrestling for 18 months, signed by WWE in March, fired in June, and gets a featured match on Dynamite after his no-compete expired.
Karter is young, athletic, and looks good on camera. However, he was released from a developmental contract after six matches in NXT. He was not close to being ready for the main roster.
Dynamite and Rampage are essentially AEW’s main roster. Giving the less experienced Karter a spot on one of the more significant Dynamite episodes (Fyter Fest) against Starks is a disservice to the wrestlers on the roster who would have put on a better match.
AEW, for many, is the way they always wanted pro wrestling to be. However, asking the audience repeatedly to invest their time into a character, make a big deal about that character, and replace them in favor of the following talent released by WWE will cause irreparable harm in the long run.