So….All Elite Wrestling. In case you’ve been living under a structure that doesn’t allow you internet access since the start of the year, you’ve probably heard about All Elite Wrestling (AEW). It’s the new promotion founded by Cody and the Young Bucks (still a great band name) which seems like it might be the next big time place to challenge WWE. Or is it more like Ring of Honor? Or something else entirely? That’s what we’re getting into today: what we know, what we don’t know, and where we’re probably getting ahead of ourselves about a week after the whole thing was announced in the first place.
Here’s what we know right now (as of around 3am EST on January 7): Cody, Adam Page and the Young Bucks are involved, Brandi Rhodes is the Chief Brand Officer, Tony Khan is the financial backer and President, they’ve signed Britt Baker and their first event is going to be called Double Or Nothing. Other than that there’s…uh…hang on a second…I had this written down and…actually….yeah that’s all we’ve got.
Ok so there’s been a minor update:
Over the last week I’ve heard rumor after rumor about AEW being the next big thing and them wanting to run these big arenas with these huge stars like Chris Jericho and Goldberg and all this other stuff. We’re so far away from that being a reality yet that it’s almost unreal. Do you know how many new talents they’ve signed so far? One, and that’s Baker, who isn’t exactly a household name.
My point is at the moment, we don’t know much of anything about this place and that’s going to be the case for awhile. By the time you read this we’re going to have gotten a press conference/rally for Double Or Nothing and that’s going to give us some more information, likely including a date for the event and maybe some talent involved. That’s going to help, but it’s still going to take some time to get there.
Now, let me make it clear that I’m not saying AEW isn’t going to work or that AEW is going to be a failure or anything like that. I’m simply saying it’s WAY too early to know where this is heading. All In took months to set up and wound up being a big success. Is Double Or Nothing going to do that? Yeah probably, but there are a lot more questions to be answered beyond that.
Cody and Brandi had something to say about the whole thing:So what are some of these questions?
The first thing I’m curious about is how high does this promotion want to shoot? Do they want to be the next Ring of Honor or are they trying to contend with WWE? There’s nothing wrong with either and that’s the kind of thing that we’re not going to know about for a long time to come. They might blow the roof off wherever they’re going to hold Double Or Nothing or it might be disappointing. The success of All In, which felt like a one off show at the time, is going to be hard to duplicate.
What’s going to be even harder to duplicate isn’t the second show, but somewhere around the seventeenth. Can you get fans to care that much about them all over again? Are they going to go all over the country? Out of the country? Are they holding a show a month? Or multiple ones per month as a company like Ring of Honor does? These are the things that are going to determine what kind of a future this place has and we don’t know nearly enough to answer that.
Now of course AEW knows or is at least has a plan for all of these things, but we certainly don’t. There’s nothing wrong with speculation (I make my living off of it) but that’s all it is at the moment. More details are going to come in over time, though we’re not exactly a week away from them being the biggest indy promotion in the world or really anything close to that at the moment. That might change in time, but it’s a little early to start speculating about all those things.
So with that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the positive things about this whole shindig.
First and foremost, it’s something new. I don’t know how big of a deal AEW is going to be, but at the time it feels like it’s going to be at least a deal. That alone is the kind of thing that can get some buzz going, which hasn’t been the case in a long time. It’s also somewhere else where the wrestlers can make some money, which is always a good thing. Even if it’s just a glorified independent promotion, there’s nothing wrong with giving the talent another place to show what they can do.
This qualifies as new right:Second, it’s something different. This promotion has hit the ground running and could become something a lot more interesting than what you usually get. So many promotions anymore come off as WWE Lite, be it through similar stories (General Managers, their version of Money in the Bank or whatever else), a similar look and style or ex-WWE talent. While there are going to be some WWE names involved here, there’s a real chance that they’re going to be doing something that actually fees different.
And in this case, different is good. WWE has gotten downright stale in recent years (and in some cases more than recent) and throwing in a fresh promotion with high ambitions could offer them the kind of shakeup that benefits everyone. Just getting in some new ideas is a good idea, even if WWE just rips them off and turns them into something of their own. That’s what got WWE over in the first place: figuring out what other promotions did well and doing them better with flashier presentations. If WWE benefits from a fresh company with new ideas and a new way of doing things, then we as fans benefit as well.
Finally, and this is the big one, there’s reason to believe that this could work. I know I talk about them a lot but Major League Wrestling is a good example of how could work. They had about five stand alone events, with the first one coming on October 5, 2017. Their TV show debuted on April 20, 2018. They’ve since had a weekly television series, several other big shows, and a live special, all featuring good talent and some well enough known names mixed with newer faces. That’s the kind of thing that can be done on what seems to be a small budget and it’s taken about fifteen months. Imagine what could happen with AEW.
I’m very interested in where AEW goes. It’s turned into one of the biggest stories in the alst several years and everything these people have said they would do so far, they’ve pulled off at a higher level than expected. I have no idea if it’s going to work long term or if it’s just going to be something that comes and goes in two years. Either way it’s going to be fun, as long as the fans don’t go completely insane in hyping up something that either isn’t ready to take place or isn’t ever going to happen.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 28 wrestling books. His latest book is the the Complete 1997 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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