There’s Something Missing In AEW’s PPV Posters.

2019, the year that introduced us to Baby Yoda which is in the God tier of adorableness but it also introduced us to the wildcard rule so take your pick, I guess.

However, it’s also the year that all elite wrestling aka AEW was born and the fans (including myself) were finally excited to witness a company that can not only rival Titan Towers in terms of the roster, the TV deal and the overall budget but as well as establishing a viable alternative to the distractions finishes of the world.

AEW’s first rodeo into the PPV business was in May 2019, where they knocked it out of the park.

The Young Bucks and The Lucha Brothers had one of the greatest tag team matches of all time, MJF was being a dick in a promo (in other words, another day), Cody Rhodes as well as his older face-painted brother Dustin Rhodes delivered an emotional bout that felt dare I say (it)………….natural, and who can’t forget, the first appearance of my fellow receding hairline brother, Jon Moxley.

Hell, even Bret Hart’s appearance and the theme song that he came with were a highlight (and yes, his last WCW theme song was actually good).

The shows that followed it were equally as enjoyable.

Cody had his first (and several) great in-ring encounter with Darby Allin that ended in a draw at Fyter Fest, Kenny Omega had an underrated match with Cima at Fight For The Fallen and who can’t forget the inaugural All Out PPV where among other great things, Chris Jericho drank a little bit of the bubbly after becoming the first ever AEW world champion, clearly not blaming on the alcohol, to quote Jamie Foxx.

BUUUUUUUUUUUUT. There’s one lingering problem I have with the elite brand and if you can’t tell from the title, it’s their PPV posters.

With one great poster of AEW Fyter Fest 2020 featuring Jonny Mox and Brian “kind of not really maybe who knows a machine” Cage, there are at least 7 of them that legit don’t bring any emotion towards the show that they’re promoting in my humble opinion.

Now, you’re probably asking, “why does that matter? It’s just a poster and it has no bearing on how good the shows are” and to that I say, you’re right.

But, I also believe that a poster is more than just a tactic to sell PPVs. It’s a great piece of raconteur (fancy word for storytelling) that creates the visual setting of what the show is all about to the audience.

Let me give you one example of how a poster can tell a simple story (aka a picture worth a 1000-words talk).

Spiderman 2.

Aka the best Spiderman movie until the spider verse came out 14 years later, this poster personifies the “great power comes great responsibility” line.

What do I mean by that? Spiderman is more than just a hero that shoots webs like Robert Horry, he’s also an everyday man who in one instance, he’s fighting a suited-up Rhino (no not the Paul Giamatti version, fortunately) while also trying to pay the rent that is due in a few days, attend his college lectures and his friend’s theatre play, visit his aunt and managing his job as a photographer.

All of these significant factors have taken a toll on him which is why the person behind the web-slinger, Peter Parker takes a moment for himself to just relax.

In life, we all have things to do and those things, depending on who you are, will be too much for your mental and physical well-being.

Which is why taking the time to simply unwind for a bit can be a huge relief so that you can manage those responsibilities better than yesterday.

Now let me give you a few wrestling examples.

Royal Rumble 2008.

This poster symbolizes the concept of the Royal Rumble match itself and how chaotic it is since everyone is fighting for the top guaranteed main event spot at Wrestlemania (unless your name is Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Big John Stud, Lex Luger, Vince McMahon, Rey Mysterio, Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus and Shinsuke Nakamura of course).

Can’t think of a statement on this other than public transportation like trains rules harder than the Mongolian empire.

No Mercy 2007.

Randy Orton may or may not be a wrestling fan’s least favourite wrestler but there’s a reason why that poster was every fan’s profile picture in the late 00s. It just looks cool.

To go deeper than “just looks cool”, the poster primarily describes how conniving, sadistic, diabolical and in the case of a punt kick to Vince McMahon, based as hell Randy Orton is as a character and the fact that his character shows no remorse after every act of his which makes a poster with the name “No Mercy” equally fitting.

In fact, the legend killer was so vicious and callous, he once grabbed John Cena’s dad out of the front seat and kicked the old man the same year that poster came out.

I bet John Cena Sr came out of that like 50 Cent’s voice, “why did he say f**k me for”.

With that all of the way, the question is, why are AEW’s PPV posters lacking some seasoning?

My main problem with AEW’s PPV posters is that they’re all structured the same but with different characters and colour grading, giving this samey feel to them.

I like to call this the “MCU effect”. I can tell that AEW is going for efficiency since they want to pump out these posters as fast as possible.

In our current economic system, efficiency is everything and that efficiency has sacrificed some great storytelling within those posters.

AEW has produced some of the most enjoyable, heartfelt, engaging and satisfying shows in recent memory.

I just wish they could translate that into their PPV posters because, to me, posters are an art form to express the simplest of stories that professional wrestling has not only been known for but in some instances, has perfected that narrative-driven model.

And yes, while they’re basically a marketing tool to promote a show, there’s a reason why some folks collect posters and frame them on their walls. It reminds them of where they were in life when watching a show, the sense of “holy crap” while witnessing multiple Sheamus and Gunther level bangers and what makes them special in their eyes.

Movie trailers have proven over the years that a marketing tool can be a great storytelling device to promote a film and posters, especially wrestling ones are no exception.