Home AEW Notebook: Why is Tony Khan booking the Young Bucks for Sting’s retirement match?

AEW Notebook: Why is Tony Khan booking the Young Bucks for Sting’s retirement match?

Chris Graham
sting aew
Photo: All Elite Wrestling

It’s being reported today that wrestling legend Sting made it clear that he wanted his retirement match to have him tagging with protégé Darby Allin in a match with The Young Bucks, but, no, I’m not buying it.

We all know that the Bucks, credit to ‘em, have plenty of friends in what passes for our ‘rasslin media, and it’s not hard, because of that, for the Jacksons/Massies to get their versions of stories out the way they want them, to a letter.

Just saying it here, it makes no logical sense for Sting to face the Bucks in his career finale, which will taking place at the AEW “Revolution” pay-per-view, at the historic, for Southern ‘rasslin and ACC Basketball, Greensboro Coliseum on March 3.

If only because, Sting and the Bucks have never crossed paths.

Now, the obvious career-ender for the Stinger, a teacher vs. student match with Allin, yeah, it’s cliché, but that would be the way to go, given that Sting, 64, has outlasted literally all of his contemporaries at this point.

I mean, having Ric Flair as his advisor, manager, second, whatever Flair, 74, is these days, adds some measure of history to the moment.

Maybe Tony Khan could involve Four Horsemen fellow travelers Arn Anderson, 65, and Tully Blanchard, 69, on the Bucks’ side, to give us some more late 1980s nostalgia.

Absent that, just having the Bucks, now with neatly trimmed mustaches, facing Sting in the heart of Crockett Country for the Stinger’s last go-round, already feels flat.

Which, unfortunately, we’ve come to expect from Tony Khan and AEW.

Ratings review: Numbers not looking good

According to Wrestlenomics, this week’s “Dynamite” was another ratings bust, drawing an average of 797,000 viewers, peaking, as usual, in the opening quarter-hour, with an average of 1.011 million watching Adam Page rehabilitate his recent losing skid with a win over Claudio Castagnoli.

The show really trended down in the 9:15-9:30 p.m. ET QH, which featured the eight-woman tag match that drew an average of 689,000 viewers.

The main event, Sting and Allin vs. Powerhouse Hobbs and Konosuke Takeshita, bottomed things out, at an average of 636,000 viewers.

No excuses with this one – no big competition on other networks, no major breaking news.

“Dynamite” hasn’t averaged 900,000 for its two hours since Oct. 18, and has only been over an average of a million twice in the last 52 weeks, the most recent time on Feb. 22.

For reference, WWE’s “Raw” averaged 1.464 million this week, and has been steadily in the 1.4 million to 2 million average viewer range for the past year, while “Smackdown,” which has the advantage of being on network TV, on Fox, averaged 2.465 million viewers for its most recent show, on Jan. 5, and that show hasn’t been below 2 million in the last 52 weeks.

This is all relevant against a backdrop of both “Raw” and AEW’s weekly TV shows, “Dynamite” and “Collision,” being on the market for new TV deals in 2024.

The next contract for Khan and AEW really is make-or-break, given Khan’s substantial investment over the past five years in trying to get AEW up, running and marketable.

Khan’s flagship show, “Dynamite,” unfortunately appears to have peaked at around 800,000 viewers, which is roughly half the audience for “Raw” and a third of the audience for “Smackdown,” which will see its viewer numbers decline when it moves back to cable, on USA, later this year.

“Collision,” which debuted in June with more than 800,000 viewers on average tuning in to the Saturday night show, has been struggling to get out of the 400,000s of late.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].