In the dynamic sphere of professional wrestling, changes in rosters are common, but the recent departure of Jeeves Kay from All Elite Wrestling (AEW) has prompted a closer examination of the promotion’s trajectory and decisions.
Jeeves Kay, known earlier in his career as VSK, has had a diverse professional journey. Beginning his association with AEW in 2020, Kay’s contributions spanned other notable wrestling organizations, including IMPACT Wrestling and ROH. Additionally, his brief tenure in WWE, where he served as an enhancement talent for the tag teams division, showcases his diverse capabilities in the wrestling industry.
It was via Twitter that Jeeves Kay made the formal announcement about the expiration of his contract with AEW, a move that elicited varied responses from the wrestling community and fans. While a segment of fans expressed their dissatisfaction, opining that Tony Khan, AEW’s president, might have missed an opportunity with Kay, others hoped for Kay’s potential future association with WWE. It’s pertinent to note, however, that a section of the audience wasn’t entirely familiar with Kay’s tenure in AEW, revealing gaps in the promotion’s talent spotlighting.
This recent development was not an isolated incident. Earlier in the week, information regarding Zack Clayton’s departure from AEW came to the forefront. Clayton, who had an association with popular television personality Jwoww from ‘Jersey Shore’, had his AEW journey cut short in July, shortly after signing with the company. These recent exits add to the growing list of AEW departures, which includes renowned names like Cody Rhodes and Jade Cargill.
A significant facet of Jeeves Kay’s AEW career was his membership with the Trustbusters. This group, comprising Ari Daivari, Slim J, Sonny Kiss, and Parker Boudreaux, featured prominently on AEW’s Dark/Dark Elevation YouTube series. However, the series has since been discontinued. Furthermore, AEW’s decision to not renew Sonny Kiss’s contract earlier this year remains a topic of discussion. While departures are a natural evolution in any organization, it remains crucial for AEW to balance its roster shifts with adequate talent acquisition.
AEW’s current landscape extends beyond just roster changes. Recent comments by Dave Meltzer from Wrestling Observer underscored what he perceived as a decrease in AEW’s momentum, describing the promotion as “cold”. This observation necessitated a response from the AEW leadership.
Addressing the comments on The Dan Le Batard Show, Tony Khan, the president of AEW, presented a counter-narrative. He highlighted the promotion’s recent achievements, particularly emphasizing their record-setting ticket sales for a wrestling event. While Khan presented an optimistic outlook, citing impressive pay-per-view numbers and positive feedback, challenges for AEW remain evident.
“We’ve really begun to change it. The perception is very strong for AEW worldwide. 44 days ago, we set the all-time record for ticket sales for any wrestling show ever in the history of the planet. We’re having a very good year, our pay-per-view numbers are through the roof, and we’re going to have a great show tonight on TBS. The fans are behind what we’re doing, people are mobilized behind this lineup, I’ve seen more positive momentum and positive feedback about AEW in the last 24 hours than I have in several weeks and that’s saying a lot because we’ve had a lot of huge shows in the last several weeks.”
AEW has been facing concerns regarding declining attendance in arenas and struggles with television ratings for its prominent shows, including Dynamite, Rampage, and Collision. These challenges indicate that while AEW has had moments of unparalleled success, there is a pressing need for introspection and strategy revision.
The departure of Jeeves Kay from AEW is emblematic of the larger shifts and challenges the promotion is currently navigating. While roster changes are par for the course in professional wrestling, they present an opportunity for organizations to reflect on their strategies, talent management, and overall direction. As AEW moves forward, it will be instrumental for the leadership to address existing challenges, ensuring the promotion’s growth and sustainability in the competitive world of professional wrestling.