In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, WWE’s Triple H (Paul Levesque) talked about the motive behind booking the Great American Bash on the same day as AEW’s Fyter Fest.
When asked about why WWE did this, and if there was an ulterior motive behind it, Levesque gave a very calm and simple answer.
“It absolutely is part of healthy competition. Anyone that thinks it isn’t, to a degree, is being naive to the situation,” says Levesque. “You saw that back in the day when Clash of Champions was counter-programming (to WWE’s WrestleMania IV in 1988). At the same point, it can’t drive your booking decisions.”
WWE and AEW would clash for the first time on their big events. Neither company decided to back down and stubbornly locked horns for their events.
It was clear that WWE wanted to remain a monopoly in the business. They were trying to eliminate the competition early. Triple H is right when he says that it was just healthy competition.
Triple H reveals that backing down was not an option
“Obviously there are counter-programming decisions, but I can tell you exactly how this came about. Almost all of these storylines were headed where they are now. There was a gap, timing-wise, between In You House and what will become the SummerSlam TakeOver, and you need a halfway point and a build. This is that halfway point,” says Levesque. “So it doesn’t change our decision-making process. I don’t counter-book, I book what’s right for NXT.”
Triple H claims that the date and time for their event was planned and was crucial for determining the storylines. WWE could not shift to another date for the very same reason.
If you look at it, WWE did what any company would do in the face of competition. Being a founder of NXT, Triple H made the decision and stands by it. He probably doesn’t want to risk it by letting AEW grow in power just like WCW did.
WWE’s Great American Bash managed to get the edge over AEW’s Fyter Fest by a small margin. The victory can be well celebrated but also seen as a caution for AEW’s growth.
Triple H has his mind clear, however, and will probably counter book it all over again if he has the chance.