All Elite Wrestling is Coming
On January 1, 2019, three of the biggest stars in the independent wrestling scene made a groundbreaking announcement for the wrestling world. The Young Bucks and the “American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes announced the creation of All Elite Wrestling. This had the IWC (Internet Wrestling Community) abuzz. What is AEW? What does this mean for wrestling? Does WWE finally have its first real competition since WCW?
If you are a new wrestling fan, or younger than 30, then you might not know the story of WCW. World Championship Wrestling was the biggest competitor for WWE back in the 90s. WCW worked hard to get an advantage by signing big names from WWE like Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. The signing of Hulk Hogan was the beginning of what are now called the Monday Night Wars, so named because both companies’ flagship shows took place at 7pm on Monday nights.
This war led to one of the most beloved eras in WWE: the Attitude Era, where WWE was edgy with their writing and talent. The Attitude Era held the reign of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Mankind, And Triple H. WCW began to run out of resources, and the war finally ended after WWE bought WCW from Ted Turner. From then on, Vince McMahon, the chairman and owner of WWE, has held a monopoly on the wrestling scene.
There is plenty of wrestling outside of the WWE, but no other organization holds a candle to the success of WWE. The IWC will probably claim to have better matches; but even if that is true, WWE is a worldwide company with fans everywhere, whereas a lot of people who know about WWE probably can’t name another wrestling company. All Elite Wrestling could change that. I say that because of the event last year that was known as ALL IN, which was also run by the Young Bucks and Cody Rhodes.
ALL IN was one of the biggest independent wrestling events ever. Featuring wrestlers from multiple companies, ALL IN had wrestling fans all over the world talking. It was the first game changer for the Bucks and Cody. It showed them that there is a hunger for an alternative to WWE. ALL IN also put a little fear into the minds of the head honchos at WWE, with reports of contracts being offered to both the Young Bucks and Cody. However, they chose to buy in on themselves and turned down the contracts. All three promised that they were going to change the wrestling world.
Enter Shad Khan, the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and his son Tony Khan. Tony, who has talked about his love for wrestling, saw an opportunity to create something that will change the wrestling world. The backing of a billionaire gives AEW a huge leg up on all of WWE’s other competition. They have the privilege of financial security which will make it easier for them to take chances in order to compete.
On Tuesday, January 8, 2019, All Elite Wrestling fired its opening shots, staging a rally in Jacksonville, very close to the location of WWE Smackdown Live. The rally included several major announcements. One of the biggest was about upcoming events. A sequel to ALL IN called Double or Nothing will be held in Las Vegas, followed by a second AEW event in Jacksonville. A majority of the money from ticket sales from that event will go to victims of gun violence.
Another announcement discussed the role of women in the new company. Brandi Rhodes, wife of Cody Rhodes and the Chief Brand Officer of AEW, announced that the women on the roster will receive the same pay as the male wrestlers. That is huge, considering the difference in salaries at WWE. AEW will also offer health insurance to their wrestlers; not even WWE offers that.
Now to the juicy announcements: who will be signing with AEW? The most obvious are the Young Bucks. They will not only be behind the scenes, but they will keep tearing it up in the ring. Other signings are Cody, Adam Page, Frankie Kazerian, Christopher Daniels, Scorpio Sky, Joey Janela, Pac, Britt Baker, Penelope Ford, and Brandi Rhodes, plus a few others. This is a decent roster full of capable workers, but one signing is a real game changer. And his name is…
The Ayatollah of Rock n’ Rolla, the savior, Y2J, Chris Jericho. Wrestling fans young and old know exactly who this guy is. He made his name in WCW, then went to WWE and became one of the greatest of all time. Recently he has made a return to the indies, and it seems like he has renewed his passion for wrestling. This move to sign with AEW is almost a declaration of war on WWE, and you can bet WWE is paying attention. But he might not be the biggest signing. Arguably the best wrestler in the world could be on his way.
Kenny Omega’s contract with New Japan is up on January 31, and he has already let it be known that he will not be returning to New Japan. This decision will make him the hottest free agent in all of wrestling. There have been reports of WWE offering him huge amounts of money, but it looks like he may join his friends in AEW. If that happens, AEW will have completely opened the eyes of WWE, and they’d better be prepared for war.