So yes I am indeed as they say ‘joining the indies’ rather than be exclusive to one promotion… for now… but I honestly could not think of a better place to start with than a wrestling company who are soon to be putting on the first PPV under the banner of the most realistic alternative wrestling promotion on a worldwide level since World Championship Wrestling (WCW), which has been folded for over 18 years now. On May 25th All Elite Wrestling will hold their very first PPV. It will be emanating from one of the most famous arenas in combat sports history in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in a suburb of Las Vegas, Nevada. The show is going to be called Double or Nothing.
One thing that I should make clear right away is the difference between this show and ALL IN. ALL IN was the show that took place last year put on via a combination of Cody, Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson and a whole host of various staff from all over the industry. But ALL IN was very much an independent wrestling show. A super-indie show sure with a collection of THE very biggest names in the business (Okada, Omega, Jericho, Rey Mysterio amongst others) but one without the name of a huge company attached. Double or Nothing will have every bit of the heart, passion and excitement ALL IN had but with way much more… well OK I’ll be honest Double or Nothing is an AEW show and AEW is funded by Tony Khan. The Khan family have billions of dollars in the bank. So you draw your own conclusions. Imagine ALL IN but even bigger and better.
Another thing you’ll have heard all about is Starrcast 2. This is a convention like event taking place in the 4 days over the same weekend as Double or Nothing. The first of these events took place in conjunction with the ALL IN show and is essentially an incredible gathering of a collection of some of the biggest names in the industry. So many different types of events all happening in one place, and you’ll be able to watch it too. Check out the FITE app for more details. This blog would be twice as long if I explained all about this but I thought it worthy of a mention.
All Elite Wrestling honestly seems like a dream for me. I really got into wrestling outside of the normal setting in 2016 when me and my friend Stefan attended a Ring of Honor house show in Leicester, I was spell-bounded by what I saw. I saw the BROKEN universe change the game once again over in Impact wrestling not long after, I watched Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada put on a series of matches that absolutely changed my entire outlook on wrestling and took in-ring competition to new heights over in New Japan Pro Wrestling. I saw Cody leave the nest and go out on his own, and just keep getting better and better and better. I had the pleasure of meeting Cody and his wife Brandi Rhodes and despite me literally shaking with nerves they both could not have been nicer. I watched these two brothers Matt and Nick Jackson do stuff as a tag team I hadn’t seen since the peak of Matt and Jeff or Edge and Christian or maybe even top that at times. The Young Bucks have a mantra to change the world, and for me they have done just that, and haven’t stopped yet. On the 18th August last year on the day of my 23rd birthday me and Stefan went to our 5th wrestling show together and beforehand we met The Young Bucks in person. Honestly I’m not exaggerating when I say they were so great and just like normal guys, aside from the size of their biceps. Both seemed genuinely grateful that I had spent a part of my birthday meeting them. I know they get paid for this stuff but they are paid the same regardless of how nice and personable they are. All this has taught me that whatever you want to get out of professional wrestling as a fan it IS out there, you just have to look hard enough for it. Don’t be afraid to leave the nest and what you know professional wrestling to be if it just isn’t doing it for you at the moment. I believe AEW’s Double or Nothing show will bring together a variety of all that’s great about professional wrestling today.
OK so you’ve heard the buzz about AEW and the promotion of their Double or Nothing show. But what and more importantly WHO will you be watching on the show. I don’t expect you’ll have heard of everyone on the AEW roster, neither have I to be honest. I would STRONGLY recommend checking out the Nightmare Family YouTube channel and watching their series of videos entitled AEW – The Road to Double or Nothing. The weekly videos so far have done a superb job of promoting the show and giving you an insight to those involved. I’d say they’re essential viewing before you watch Double or Nothing. You also must check out the Being The Elite YouTube series. This is a mostly satirical episodic series starring the performers of AEW and others. It began as a form of video diary following The Young Bucks on their travels around the world as professional wrestlers, and gradually over time more and more people have come and gone and it’s really evolved into a show with storylines of its own. If you saw ALL IN basically all of the build and storylines going into that show all took place on Being The Elite, some of them were told over the course of many many months all culminating at ALL IN. But it also at times over the years led into storylines that played out in promotions that the stars of the show where a part of; The Bullet Club turn on Adam Cole for example was all built up to on BTE as well as what happened on ROH or NJPW Television.
So All Elite Wrestling then. WHAT titles will be in the company is currently not known for sure but I’d say a safe bet would be a world championship, a women’s belt, tag titles and maybe some others. In terms of WHEN they have just announced officially their upcoming TV schedule looks to be kicking off on a weekly basis sometime in the Autumn, on the TNT network in America (the former home of WCW). You can watch Double or Nothing in the UK via ITV Box Office and the BUY IN (pre show) is available on ITV4. Other shows they have announced are Fyter Fest on June 29th and Fight for the Fallen on July 13th. An announcement on AEW’s weekly TV schedule is expected BEFORE Double or Nothing so keep your eyes and ears peeled.
In terms of WHO it seems they are signing people on a daily basis but so far they’ve built up an incredible roster of talent. Here’s who is on board so far and what they’re doing, and the most exciting thing about the company is their seemed-willingness to partner up or allow their stars to compete elsewhere and ply their trade… unlike some… so why this is a list of names we know are signed, but it doesn’t mean others may not pop up here and there to wrestle under the AEW banner. So don’t be surprised if you see a few names at Double or Nothing that aren’t listed below. I’m sure though that some of the names will be familiar to you already…
Owner: Shahid Khan (Billionaire owner also of Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team and Fulham Football Club)
President/CEO: Tony Khan (son of Billionaire, works also for family owned Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team and Fulham Football Club, BIG wrestling fan)
Executive Vice Presidents: Cody Rhodes, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, Kenny Omega
Chief Brand(i) Officer: Brandi Rhodes
Head of Talent Relations: Christopher Daniels
Main Eventers: Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho, PAC (fka Neville), “Hangman” Adam Page (legitimately one of the most promising all-rounders in the business right now, currently embarking on his ‘full gear challenge’… check BTE out for the backstory, for me he is a definite future AEW World Champion. For context Page is 27, Omega is 35, Jericho is 48), Cody, Dustin Rhodes (fka Goldust).
Other Male Singles: MJF (going to be a BIG star, plays cocky, self-confident heel), Jimmy Havoc (English, death match specialist, psychopath), Joey Janela (lunatic… unique, laid back guy… I don’t know what more to add), Darby Allin (dark and mysterious character, talented MOFO), Jungle Boy (future star), Jack Evans (great talent), Kip Sabian (good reputation, fun to watch and he’s a Brit), Sonny Kiss (embodies AEW’s mantra of its openness and welcoming of all, but above that a talented individual that oozes charisma and star-power), Sammy Guevara (a VERY talented wrestler, has competed in the AAA promotion in Mexico to let you know the type of performer he is), Michael Nakazawa (largely a comedy guy, but over the YouTube series of BTE seems to have an enemy in Matt Jackson so keep an eye out for that), Peter Avalon (going to be one of ‘The Librarian’ characters… trust me it’ll make sense… it’s a long story…), Cima (experienced Japanese wrestler, actually was key in booking The Young Bucks in Japan back in the day so kind of a full circle story for them all now), Angélico (formerly of Lucha Underground, was much sought after but chose AEW as his home), Brandon Cutler (friend of the Bucks, has a story that really is fascinating and is featured in one of the YouTube episodes that I recommend seeing), Dustin Thomas (has no legs… I’m not kidding you… just an unbelievable human being), Ace Romero (pretty much impossible to miss), Brian Pillman Jr (more than just someone’s son trust me… he has IT), Sunny Daze (has a really emotional backstory, one to look out for).
Tag Teams: The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson), The Lucha Bros (Pentagon and Fenix) – maybe the best tag team in the world, SoCal Uncensored (aka SCU) (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) – you’ll love these guys trust me. Experienced but entertaining as hell, Best Friends (Trent Berretta and Chuck Taylor) – you wont be bored watching these guys. absolutely hilarious, Private Party (Isiah Kassidy & Marq Quen) – I don’t know too much about these guys but I hear that they’re unbelievable in the ring with the stunts they do and their gimmick is basically party-goers and fun-seekers, I imagine them being super popular babyfaces as AEW progresses.
Females: Brandi Rhodes, Allie (formerly of Impact, ultra babyface), Dr Britt Baker (Great in-ring performer and also a dentist – no really she is…, has a famous boyfriend… BAYBAY…), Bea Priestley (Girlfriend of Will Ospreay, via her work in Japan and on the indies has come on leaps and bounds in the ring over the last few years and is the current World of Stardom Champion following in the footsteps of previous champions Io Shirai, Toni Storm and a woman called Kairi… something…), Aja Kong (Japanese veteran), Leva Bates (another potential player of ‘The Librarian’ character… it’s a long story…), Penelope Ford (Joey Janela’s manager, had a tryout in Orlando fairly recently, a breakout star of ALL IN), Hikaru Shida (Japanese star, a Kenny Omega signing), Yuka Sakazaki (another Japanese star), Sadie Gibbs (British, Will Ospreay told her she wasn’t ready to work in Japan, Matt Jackson disagreed, one to keep an eye on), Nyla Rose (the first transgender woman to be signed to a professional wrestling company in the US, a powerhouse), Kylie Rae (nicknamed ‘smiley Kylie’ she is about as ultra and babyface as you could get, but great in the ring, a possible first AEW Women’s Champion).
Commentators: Alex Marvez (sports broadcaster), Excalibur (masked guy and commentator for the PWG promotion), Jim Ross (the GOAT), Hugo Savinovich (Spanish-language commentator, and yes it’s the guy from the attitude era that used to go flying when the Spanish Announce Table was smashed).
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts (showed at ALL IN he really hasn’t lost a step).
Backstage interviewer: Alicia Atout (has her own YouTube channel where she interviews wrestlers, the channel is called AMBY).
AEW also has a partnership with the OWE wrestling organisation in China that will see some of the most amazing Kung Fu/high-flying wrestling hybrid style stars compete for All Elite Wrestling. They are like nothing you have ever seen before trust me. AEW wrestler Cima is the company’s president.
Among a host of familiar names working for the company backstage will be Billy Gunn (producer), Glacier & Jerry Lynn. A host of referees have also been signed including popular indie refs Rick Knox, Paul Turner (formerly of ROH), Aubrey Edwards and finally Earl Hebner (who has refereed in professional wrestling a couple of times before) have also been signed.
So that’s pretty much all you need to know about AEW… I think… so now you know all about the company itself lets now look ahead to their first show. So look out for a future blog that will be out just before the show where I will do a full preview of the very first AEW PPV, Double or Nothing! And as always if anyone has any questions they want to know about AEW, Double or Nothing or anything else to do with the whole thing then please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m always happy to help. 🙂