When Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson), Kenny Omega, Adam Page and Brandi Rhodes announced they were officially starting All Elite Wrestling it certainly got my attention. Even though you could call me a WWE guy, I still dabbled in New Japan and Ring of Honor (ROH) so I knew who all of the players were. Their ALL IN event was one of my favorite wrestling shows in a long time but I still had my doubts.
Since the close of WCW in 2001 itʼs been WWE or nothing. Weʼve seen companies try to TRULY compete before like TNA wrestling (thatʼs a whole different article) but long story short they were not successful.
So what makes this any different?
Thereʼs a myriad of reasons.
For starters, they have a name casual wrestling fans have heard before and that name is Chris Jericho. Outside of Vince McMahonʼs house of cards, Jericho has reinvented himself to become one of the hottest names in wrestling. He showed up in New Japan and tore the house down with guys like Kenny Omega and Tetsuya Naito, to name a few. Signing Chris Jericho immediately catapults AEW to a different level. TNA had big names but Jericho is different. This is a name that casual fans know the world over. An immediate bump in eyeballs comes along with the artist formerly known as Y2J.
AEW also has money... lots of money. The Kahn family owns and operates the The NFLʼs Jacksonville Jaguars and the UKʼs Fulham football club. If you actually want to have a chance to compete with a billionaire then you need a billionaire yourself. Shahid and Tony Kahn have decided to go all in (there it is again) on All Elite Wrestling.
The Rhodes family name is another important aspect to this whole thing. Just about every generation of wrestling fan has been touched by the American Dream Dusty Rhodes. Well guess what? This organization has both of his sons. Cody left the WWE and made an even bigger name for himself outside of it which is extremely challenging to do.
Dustin (Goldust for the casuals) had been a long time WWE employee himself and is on his self proclaimed last ride. Theyʼll be wrestling each other this Saturday.
International stars and strong Womenʼs division will also play a huge role in their success.
Performers like Kenny Omega, the Young Bucks, Pentagon and Fenix, Adam ‘Hangmanʼ Page, Dr. Britt Baker and many others are big names in the wrestling world and top notch performers. They are the backbone of AEW and with Saturdayʼs Double Or Nothing pay per view (weʼre about to get there I promise) this will lead to more eyeballs than ever before watching them.
Theyʼll draw your hardcore audience and will hopefully make new fans out of first timers. Trust me on this, you will love all the names mentioned here.
AEW on TNT is the one thing that other competitors didnʼt have. A television time slot on a network that everyone knows. Not only do people know TNT but older lapsed fans know it for RASSLIN.
You couldnʼt have asked for a better place to call home than Turner. Iʼm sure old Ted is more than proud to see wrestling back on the network that once was the battleground for the most successful period in wrestling history. Will it Monday Night Wars part deux? Probably not but itʼs the perfect place to house a WWE competitor.
Finally.... letʼs talk about Double Or Nothing. Taking place in Las Vegas inside the MGM Grand arena and sold out! Itʼs become one of the hottest tickets in wrestling in decades and rightfully so. You donʼt get a second chance to make a first impression. All future success hinges on this show. Sat., May 25 is a make or break and that’s not hyperbole.
The card is stacked with matches that will draw both hardcore and casual fans alike. Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks vs. Lucha Brothers, Cody Rhodes vs. Dustin Rhodes and so much more. Also it will have a voice everyone recognizes. Good olʼ JR, Jim Ross will be calling the event. The voice of many of our childhoods will make viewers feel like theyʼre listening to an old friend. The product should look different, feel different and have a different approach to the industry. With a more sports-centered than entertainment-heavy approach.
I am more than excited and you should be too.
In the past WWE has thrived when itʼs being challenged. Itʼs no secret that creatively the company is spinning its wheels. They have a loaded and talented roster and even some of them are frustrated. If you want stars like Becky Lynch, Seth Rollins, Kofi Kingston, Kevin Owens, etc. to be legitimate pop culture superstars?
Thereʼs no better way to accomplish this than putting them in a white hot wrestling environment. You know how you get that? Another wrestling company breathing down your neck.
AEW has even managed to get some primetime advertising during last night’s NBA playoff game! Check it out!
Here is your chance to get in on the ground level and say you were a part of something new, something different. Professional wrestling doesnʼt just need an alternative, it needs competition. And while that may be in the distant future I have no doubt that All Elite Wrestling will put its best foot forward to give us just that.