After this year’s All Out, CM Punk went ballistic during a media scrum, bashing a lot of people on the roster, including the company’s Executive Vice Presidents, better known as the Elite (for the sake of clarification, I’ll only be referring to Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks when I mention the Elite). Following the media scrum, there was a huge fight between Punk, Ace Steel and the Elite which has resulted in pretty much everyone involved being suspended. It isn’t clear when those people are going to be back and that is what we are looking at this time around.

Now before you panic, no, we aren’t talking about the media scrum comments or the brawl, because those topics have been driven so hard into the ground that I’m expecting them to wind up on Impact Wrestling sooner than later. Everything that we know or have speculated about those incidents has been covered to death so we’ll move on to something a little more practical.

This week saw AEW’s Grand Slam events, held in Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City. As a result, the shows had some of the biggest audiences AEW will ever see, making them feel as important as anything else. This included a great Dynamite and one of the better Rampages in recent memory. They were both good to excellent shows, but they were missing something: the Elite.

The more I think about that, the happier I am that the Elite is gone, at least for the time being. After so much of AEW’s history has been spent on the Elite’s never ending stories/drama, it has been rather nice to have not have them around and taking over so much of the attention on any given show. Knowing that they weren’t going to be there with their awkward, inside references filled conversations and high profile matches helped so much and it has me wondering about some things.

Now before anyone gets any ideas otherwise, let me get this out of the way: I don’t want Omega and the Young Bucks gone from AEW. They are all very talented stars and play a big role in AEW. You know you are going to get something exciting anytime they are in the ring and the core AEW fans adore them. There is absolutely a place for them in AEW and it would be ridiculous to get rid of them.

That being said, the last few shows have proven to me that AEW could use a long break from the three of them and that things have been better, at least temporarily, without having the team around. The Elite has dominated so much of AEW’s history and it is pretty nice to have them gone for a little while. But what is it about the idea of not having them around that has made things easier?

The biggest thing that the absence has shown me is how out of sync so much of what the trio does is with the rest of AEW. The company has turned into a much more standard wrestling promotion and that is a good thing. You see a focus on more traditional wrestling stories and angles but with the talent being able to showcase everything that they can do. It is such a world of difference and it has made AEW TV a lot better to watch. If nothing else, the show seems more serious and mainstream than being centered around a core group of people.

That is where the Elite takes things into such a different direction. While you get good action and some otherworldly athleticism from them, you also get the feeling that what they are doing is being set up by them and for them. There are so many situations that have felt like I’m watching their own fantasy booking to make themselves happy rather than what could make for a much better story otherwise.

Case in point, the Trios Titles. These things have been teased for the better part of ever in AEW and you knew that they would be coming one day sooner or later (whether you wanted them to or not). I’m not wild on the Trios Titles, but they did at least have a value to them that fit in well for AEW, where trios have been so much of a feature that you forget how annoying it is to hear Excalibur say TRIOS every chance he can (Remember kids: Excalibur isn’t good at commentary. Never forget that.).

While we did get some fun matches and good action from the tournament, what else did we get quite a bit of throughout? The Elite, mainly talking to Hangman Page and trying to recruit him with the latest variety of their “why can’t we be friends/won’t you please be my friend/are we like friends or something else” theater. This is what you get from the Elite no matter what they are doing and it has long since passed the point of being old. As you might have guessed, this doesn’t seem to have slowed them down one bit.

Indeed, we had the Bucks talking to Hangman Page about joining the team and the awkward responses and stares when Page turned them down. Then Omega comes back because he’s REALLY the Bucks’ friend but hey look it’s Page in the tournament anyway, making it ALL ABOUT THESE PEOPLE one more time. They did it with the Tag Team Titles, then they did it with the World Title and now they are doing it with the Trios Titles as well, because that is how the Elite operates. I’m almost scared to know how much longer the story would have gone without the suspensions, but I’d bet on at least several months at minimum.

Now flash forward with me to Grand Slam. What did we get instead? A bunch of good wrestling, some wrestling style angles, and a lot of stuff that doesn’t tie back to New Japan/Ring Of Honor/PWG/Being The Elite/Aunt Gertie’s Ice Cream Social, all of which need to be regularly watched to get the full story of what these people are talking about. The lack of wondering whose side Page/Omega/the Bucks were REALLY on with clues dating back to that time one of them looked at each other on a web series a year and a half ago was rather nice and it picked the show up.

What did we get instead? A (to be fair not very good) battle royal with Page winning to earn a World Title shot against Jon Moxley on October 18. We also got a heck of a Tag Team Title match as the Acclaimed picked up the tiles, plus all kinds of other good stuff which made this a great week for AEW. It was easier to take the show more seriously this time and that was such a nice change of pace. There was more to it than just not having Omega and the Bucks around, but it did feel like a case of addition by subtraction. Not worrying about what they were going to do or rolling my eyes at something stupid was quite the upgrade.

Omega and the Young Bucks are very talented wrestlers but there is only so much that they can do with the same material. They have covered the same stories with similar matches for years now and it has been really nice to not have them around. The team certainly has a place in AEW and they will probably be around for a long time to come (suspensions aside of course). The Elite still has a lot to offer AEW, but their absence has shown what the company can do without having them around every week. The absence has not shown how great they are but that they dominate the show, making it all Elite, rather than All Elite.

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You can find more from Thomas Hall at, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.

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