Paul Heyman: ECW And AEW Have An 'Us vs. Them' Mentality, It's Great Marketing

Paul Heyman weighs in on the WWE vs. AEW war.

Since being announced in January 2019, AEW has been looked at as a competitor to WWE. AEW has already won the Wednesday Night War against NXT and has drawn strong demo numbers with Dynamite.

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Speaking to Ariel Helwani on BT Sport, Heyman gave his thoughts on AEW being competition to WWE.

"They are viable. They are a viable entity. God bless them for being there," he said.

Asked for his thoughts on AEW, Heyman replied, "I'm not the audience. My personal opinion on their product, if I were to sit here and go, 'My God, they are great,' who cares what I think? It's just a personal opinion. They are not geared towards me. If I went, 'Oh my God, they suck, they're horrible,' I don't think they should care about that either. When Dana White gave his opinion on WWE and it wasn't flattering, I was asked about it, and I went, 'And?' Who gives a fuck? I don't think AEW should give a fuck what I think about them. They should care what the fans think, what their audience and the potential audience thinks about them. 'Here is who we have, we need to super-serve them and make them continue to be loyal to us and we need to expand that base. We need to take that person and lure them in. We need to find people who love WWE and lure them to our tribe, and we need to find people who have never seen sports entertainment/pro wrestling/combat sports and lure them onto our show for whatever reason we can justify them to pay to see our product.' That should be their mission. What Paul Heyman thinks of them should be of no concern."

During the Monday Night Wars, Heyman led ECW, the third promotion while WWE and WCW battled it out. AEW has drawn more comparisons to WCW, but some have found an ECW vibe.

"Yes and no," replied Heyman if AEW is similar to ECW. "Yes, because of the 'Us vs. Them' mentality. It's a great marketing device. It works. Do I see the comparisons between the two promotions and business? I don't think we could be further apart in what ECW was and who AEW is, which is no knock towards them, probably, overcomplimentary towards them. We're two totally different entities. The similarities are the Us vs. Them tribalism, which is a conscious marketing tool and one that is, in some years, very heart felt, and works on a big level."

On October 15, the final 30-minutes of WWE SmackDown on FS1 went head-to-head with the beginning of AEW Rampage on TNT. AEW was victorious in the demo during the head-to-head, while SmackDown won the overall viewership.

Heyman discussed whether talent pays attention to the other show by saying, "We're not really sitting here going, 'if someone is watching on two television sets, what do you think is going on on the other channel while this pretape airs?' Usually, we're doing stuff live and there is a whole different pressure to do network television when you're live. We're not worrying about what the other guy is doing. That's the trap. Now you're counterprogramming. We're worried about our own programming. Plus, we're the guys to catch. We're the brand. You have to come to us, beat us, take from us, cut into our market share. We're not looking to cut into anybody else's market share, we're looking to defend our own. We're not worried, as talent, what the other guy is doing. Do we watch? Sure. Should we? Absolutely."

Heyman went on to say that he pays attention to everything in sports and entertainment, not just wrestling, because he always wants to know what works and what is connecting.

You can find Becky Lynch's comments on AEW by clicking here.

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