AEW x NCAA: College Football Show Isn’t All It Seems

Over the course of their respective histories, most sports have had some crossover with another, whether that’s via one athlete changing disciplines or serving as some kind of celebrity on a different field. Let’s be honest, the MLB practically rents out the honor of throwing the first pitch to celebrities and politicians. In football, though, many of the sport’s main associations are with pro wrestling, whether that’s WWE or the up-and-coming organization AEW.

The rebranding of professional wrestling to sports entertainment in 1983 (largely due to tax reasons) loosened the definition of what could actually go on in a ring. So began the days when people like Drew Carey, Floyd Mayweather, Donald Trump, Snoop Dogg, and Kid Rock could ‘wrestle’ for the WWE and even find themselves inducted into the WWE’s Hall of Fame. Yes, The Rock is on equal footing as Trump as a WWE icon.

Dwayne Johnson obviously started out as a footballer, playing briefly for the Calgary Stampeders, but “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan (Atlanta Falcons), Lawrence “Lex Luger” Pfohl (a journeyman player most recently at Jacksonville Bulls), Bill Goldberg (last at Carolina Panthers), and current fan-favorite Leati “Roman Reigns” Anoa’i can all trace their histories back to the CFL or NFL. This concept of football as a sort of “feeder” organization for wrestling isn’t an uncommon one.

Jim Ross

It works in reverse, too. Former Iowa Hawkeyes defensive lineman and current WWE champion The Big E has worked as a college football commentator recently, covering his own side. The Hawkeyes are 175 to win their West Division where odds can be found. The bookmaker comparison site notes that Betway, bet365, and William Hill are the top places to bet on American football but opportunities to wager on the NCAA can be few at certain times of the year.

In keeping with the theme of college football, AEW hosted a special NCAA-themed introduction to its regular Dynamite show at the end of October. The organization, which now has former Westville Yellowjacket and ex-WWE commentator Jim Ross on its books, had some ulterior motives attached to its college football tribute. Along with episodes about MMA and boxing, AEW is trying to scoop up new wrestling fans from the captive football audience, as it tries to topple WWE.

Unfortunately, for fans of the McMahon-owned company, it seems to be working. AEW narrowly lost out in ratings to WWE on October 15, the first time the two wrestling organizations went up against each other on a Friday night. It’s arguably the only occasion that WWE has had any competition at the top since the 1990s when WWE vs. WCW was a regular fixture in the calendar. Overall, this feels like one that Vince might lose over the coming months and years, though.

As far as a greater friendship between football and wrestling is concerned, don’t get your hopes up.

American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!