I must admit for the 2nd time now I’m perplexed why Edge/Adam Copland isn’t not only a draw but seems like repellant almost.
Within the WWE universe he’s a mega star with maybe more titles than anyone. He’s headlined WM and multiple PPVs and has many icoonic rivalries. His career ended tragically and he made a heroic comeback.
Yet, compared to others, his comebacks have just never drawn fans in any meaningful way.
His WWE return should have meant so much - and maybe injuries hurt it- but he didn’t move any needles.
This most recent AEW debut - the PPV isn’t trending great, the Dynamite after did really bad and last nights Collision had such a joke of a crowd that it was laughable. It’s almost like he hurt business which is bizarre.
What’s weird is when you compare him against for instance, CM Punk, he could argue was never as big as star in WWE or even Cody Rhodes or Danielson he has meant so much less than these other people that’s it’s a bit mind-boggling.
Is it just that people don’t care about him or that he’s overplayed or that, in general people just don’t think AEW is a very good/hot product right now and when he debuted for WWE again the same sentiment was present?
As an in-ring performer, I’ve long preferred Christian over Edge. The work he has done as a singles guy especially in TNA, with promos and character development made me more of a fan of him. Nothing against Edge, he’s a legend. Over in recent years, I’ve grown to see him as a Hall of Famer in the Wrestling Observer. I just feel like the amount of charisma Christian pulls off is a huge difference from my perspective.
I think Edge has thrived the most being the B-side. And to a casual audience, it won’t tip the scales. His presence means more to those who already tune in.
It’s kind of ironic, because he’s the “Rated R Superstar”, but I don’t actually think the moniker holds much weight in 2023. He’s was provocative in 2005 coming off the heels of the Lita/Matt Hardy scandal, but it’s not really the case now. I think wrestling fans can’t not tune in to megastars with mainstream appeal (Rock, Cena) or pricks (Punk). He doesn’t fit either category right now.
Geez one bad Collision crowd and a 20+ year career is a failure. Bit of an overreaction isn’t it?
WWE is a data driven marketing company reliant on its top stars. Which is why it’s so hard for wrestlers to break into the top-tier because somebody new is not likely selling T-shirts and action figures like John Cena is.
So when somebody has had years of success at or near the top of the card in WWE you can bet there was data there to back up those decisions. That he drew ratings, PPV buys (since most of his career was in the PPV era), sold tickets and plenty of merch, etc etc.
Edge is great. Happy to see what Adam Copeland is going to do in AEW. Maybe he does underwhelm because he’s 49 years old. But so far so good. A feud with Christian is exactly what I would have done too. WWE never did Edge vs Christian right.
While I’m not ready to fully accept the premise that he can’t be a draw for AEW, I’ll chime in…
Adam Copeland will be 50 years old this month. He is nostalgia act (or an old-timer) for a large portion of the audience. And he was just on TV fairly consistently for WWE for the last few years. What that says to me is that he’s not a draw commensurate with CM Punk, or Sting (initially) or even a Daniel Bryan who was still “current” to WWE fans and not a throwback.
None of this is Edge’s fault, but it’s reality. Put him in a good program (or a fun nostalgia match with the Hardys) and people will watch and enjoy. But he’s not driving “the new era” of AEW, nor is he meant to.
The PPV numbers are way up from expectations. 130K+.
Dynamite’s numbers were actually under reported due to a ton of issues. His numbers across social media platforms have been huge.
Edge worked for plenty of 2-3K / half empty arenas for many years in WWE over the last decade. This isn’t something new.
Jeez the guy debuted a week ago, and people are acting like it’s a failure.
I also think Copeland’s signing is much more important than a short term ratings boost. He, like Jericho, Bryan, and Moxley, have a ton of experience that can help lead a locker room. He’s got all the postives that Punk had, without being an paranoid narcissist. He’s somebody that was seen as a top guy in the biggest company in the world - and treated as such. And, he chose to leave to go to AEW. Symbolically, that’s important.
I think that he will help overall immensely, and has a ton to offer beyond a single week’s rating and gate.
I’m not sure 130K is great. They were doing much more before. It’s not like the PPV business is booming (apart from All in)
And yeah, I heard that crap about dynamite and the DVR messing up but I’m not sure if it’s affecting live viewership that much - unless you’re arguing fans of the show are so incredibly stupid that they don’t know what time it’s on every week and rely on the DVR to tell them. Like it probably has some effect but not a ton on live viewership. Probably greatly hurt DVR.
It certainly doesn’t explain why maybe a quarter of the arena turned up for what was easily one of the worst collision crowds of all time. It was almost embarrassing, watching that on TV. You would think with one of his first appearances people would want to go and watch and be there, for that doesn’t seem to be the case.
I dont think you can blame this on Edge, I attribute this more so to Punk leaving, College Football/shitty timeslot, and the show being treated like Rampage 2.0.
I would have expected him to draw a bigger number on Dynamite, but at the same time AEW doesn’t have as big of a pool to draw from as WWE as WWE just casts a bigger net. If you’re arguing that he didn’t bring WWE fans over with him, then I agree. At the same time, and I can speak to this anecdotally, I have friends who loved Edge in WWE, and they were interested in his debut and his first promo, but they watched it on Youtube (5.1 million views and counting) opposed to actually tuning in.
I think this is one thing people took for granted when it came to Punk, he brought an audience with him, most wrestlers don’t have that ability.
Personally I am a huge Edge fan (sorry, I can’t get behind calling him Adam lol), and I am very interested in this run.
Pro Wrestling will never get me back as an active, live viewer. Ever. There is nothing AEW can do - save for Omega vs Ospreay/Okada/Danielson/Swerve/ZSJ that can get me to tune in live or watch a show. Full Stop. I paid for AEW plus from the jump and purchased the PPVs when I could afford them before stopping watching. There isn’t a debut or many matches that can get me to tune in live. Like, I still haven’t seen Omega vs Vikingo or any of Jay White’s run in AEW (including what was likely the best match in the history of my hometown (vs FTR in Calgary)) - things I would have been very interested in had I still been actively watching, but likely will never see.
To the point: I am one of those 5.1 million views referenced by @kliq for Edge/Adam Copeland’s debut. In WWE, Edge never had the “cult of fandom” that surrounds some wrestlers throughout his career- like Punk or the Bucks - which isn’t going to help his perceived “drawing power” and helping AEW attract new viewers who’ve never given them a chance over WWE. There was nothing AEW could have done to get me to tune in.
It’s also hard to envision AEW being able to counter a big WWE Saturday show and grabbing headlines, even over a B-level PLE.
It’s this. We’re seeing the Post-Punk effect. This isn’t about Edge’s inability to draw but the impact once Punk has left. It’s not about one side winning over the other but the damage it’s done to AEW’s credibility as a whole. Live audiences have suffered, Collision has lost its identity, that trickles down to TV.
If anything, Adam Copeland might be slowing down the bleeding. It could be even worse than it is now.
Curious: What were their reactions? I can’t see the “gee wizz, I’m so excited to have all these new matches with all my friends” promo being enough to entice new viewers to become lifelong fans.
Which is to say, I would add “zero creative direction” to the list of reasons Edge hasn’t been a draw. Matches for the sake of matches is a boring enough concept as it is, even before considering the level of matches we can probably expect from Edge at this point.