On January 1st, 2019, the formation of All Elite Wrestling (AEW) was finally announced. Rumours of a new wrestling company spearheaded by The Young Bucks and Cody Rhodes had been circulating for months, with all parties denying any involvement, so when they finally dropped their big reveal on the ‘Being the Elite’ YouTube show it didn’t come as a huge surprise – but it sure as Hell was a welcomed one.
Immediately wrestling pundits all over the internet began to speculate as to what the new company would look like, and who exactly would be involved. Cody and the Jackson brothers were a given, but which other names from their group would make the jump to AEW from New Japan, and which other wrestling superstars would start to take notice?
There isn’t a ton of news out there at press time, however, this is everything we know about AEW so far.
In May 2017 crusty old wrestling journo Dave Meltzer stated that there was no way Ring of Honor could sell 10,000 tickets for a pro-wrestling show. In response, Cody and fellow Bullet Club members Matt and Nick Jackson – who just so happened to be the top acts in ROH at that time – devised a one night only supershow as a bit of an F-you to Meltzer. The show wound up being ‘All In’, which completely sold out all 11,263 tickets in a mind-boggling 30 minutes.
All In went on to be a HUGE success and immediately changed the game as far as independent wrestling shows were seen in the US. It also started speculation that Cody and The Young Bucks were considering setting up their own promotion, with a view to rivalling the mighty WWE. Although the trio denied it – it was inevitable, and thus AEW was born.
THE KHAN FAMILY
The promotion will be funded by father and son team Shahid and Tony Khan, with Tony acting as the president of the company. If you think you’ve heard these names before then it’s because Khan senior and junior are the co-owners of NFL team the Jackson Jaguars and English football club Fulham F.C.
According to a report over at Rajah.com, the Khan family has invested $100 million in AEW – and unlike some other families with ties to the wrestling biz, they are legitimately massive fans of the sport.
On January 8th, Cody, The Young Bucks, and Hangman Page gathered in Jacksonville, Florida to host the ‘AEW Double or Nothing Rally’. Although most people were simply there to see which stars of the world of pro wrestling were going to sign with the promotion, a few of us took notice of other key bits of information as well – largely that wins and losses will matter in AEW like they’ve never mattered before.
But what does that mean exactly? Well, simply put, you’re not going to see someone in a world championship match if they don’t have the right number of ticks in the win column. This isn’t going to be a world of 50/50 booking because 50/50 booking gets you nowhere. It remains to be seen exactly what the group has in mind, but making wrestling feel more like a legitimate sporting contest would be a step in the right direction for the sport as a whole.
Brandi Rhodes – who is the Chief Branding Officer for All Elite Wrestling has advised there will be a women’s division and that male and female wrestlers will be paid the same amount of money, as per their spot on the card.
Tony Khan is currently brokering a deal that will allow all talent signed on to AEW exclusively to receive health care, which is completely unheard of in the cut-throat world of “independent contractors”.
THE ROSTER REVEAL …SORT OF
Whenever a new company launches in wrestling it’s always exciting to see who signs on to help steer the ship, and AEW was no different. With the obvious inclusion of Cody, the Jacksons and Hangman Page, the brand also revealed it had signed the following names:
- Christopher Daniels
- Frankie Kazarian
- Scorpio Sky
- Joey Janela
- Chris Jericho
- Takehiro Yamamura.
- Penelope Ford
- Britt Baker
- and Brandi Rhodes
The most exciting news here was that former multi-time WWE Champion Chris Jericho was signed to a deal, with the former Neville now PAC also causing some real excitement among fans. Billy Gunn was also named as the only Producer for the brand. Conrad Thompson – who MC’d the rally – has not yet been confirmed as having any role beyond his involvement on January 8th.
NO KENNY OMEGA
One name that’s been doing the rounds since the New Year is that of Kenny Omega. If you believe some reports he’s off to feud with AJ Styles in WWE, but if you believe others then he’s joining his chums in AEW once his contract expires. Omega is obviously the prettiest girl at the dance in 2019 and it’s thrilling to see such a bidding war for his services.
THE TV DEAL
Do you honestly believe AEW would attract a top name like Chris Jericho without having a sexy TV deal in place? If AEW was going to be just another indie promotion with no TV outlet then he might as well have dipped his toe in TNA or turned up in the Royal Rumble.
Talking to Busted Open Radio, Jericho had the following to say:
“As far as TV goes, I mean it’s one of those things, I wouldn’t have gone to All Elite if there wasn’t a strong TV deal on the table being worked on, and there’s a couple that I know of, and both of them are like, ‘wow!’ Like if it’s announced, if it’s one of those two, you’ll go ‘welp, that’s what you need,'”
We imagine that with the financial backing of Mr. and Mr. Khan there will be a lot of doors at TV networks opening up to the possibility of a working agreement.
ALL IN 2?
Inbetween the pomp and circumstance of the AEW Rally, it was also announced that the groups first PPV would be called ‘Double or Nothing’, and would emanate from Las Vegas Nevada. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to the victims of gun crime.
All that leaves is to speculate who might be looking to go all in with AEW next. Names currently being thrown around range from Bill Goldberg to Ryback, all of which could bring something to the show even if it’s just eyeballs. However, the biggest question is who in WWE might consider making the jump when their deal ends?
VINCE IS NERVOUS
According to reports online, WWE has made a play to sign Cody, Hangman and The Young Bucks in the hopes they would drop AEW and fall in line with the biggest player in the game.
If the internet is to be believed then Page was offered a seven-figure sum to be the main event player in NXT, while The Young Bucks were promised “AJ Styles money” (believed to be around $5 million each) and a 6-month get out of jail free clause allowing them to leave the company if they’re not happy with their push without any penalties. This is completely unheard of, especially in today’s environment. There’s no way Vince and Triple H would be willing to shell out such ridiculous sums of money if they weren’t a little bit nervous for their own futures in what could be wrestlings next big war.
And there we have it. That’s currently everything we know about All Elite Wrestling. By the time you read this, there will no doubt have been a ton of new news break about the promotion, and we’ll be sure to update you when that happens. For now though just sit back and relax – because there’s never been a more exciting time to be a fan of professional wrestling (outside of the Attitude Era) than right now.
Will you be watching AEW when it finally lands a TV deal? Who would you like to see sign with the promotion in the next 12 months? Tell us in the comments section, or over at Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #TBGAEW