January 8th, 2019, was the rally and genesis of All Elite Wrestling. The promotion’s live 5 pm EST stream was viewed by at least 200,000 people and it was full of excitement, PYRO and reveals that have energized pro wrestling fans hungry for another major league wrestling promotion in America.
The Khans, Cody & The Bucks have altered the landscape of wrestling with plans for healthcare for wrestlers, scaled equal pay for men and women, and the cultivation of their rabid fanbase. The only real remaining dominoes to fall are Kenny Omega (which seems it will happen as soon as it is contractually allowed to) and the TV deal that will legitimize them all the way. As of this writing, multiple deals are on the table, but none of them are signed. That could change shortly.
The equal pay for men and women is drawing some questions. I’m pretty sure Chris Jericho and Britt Baker don’t have the same contract, so how it could work is backgrounds, level of star power and experience will factor into what tier a wrestler is on. Wrestlers on the same tier regardless of gender will be paid equally is how I took it.
During this rally, which was hosted by Conrad Thompson, a number of roster members were revealed, some getting full entrances, and others just appearing with microphones to get over their personalities like Britt Baker, MJF, Joey Janela & Penelope Ford, or shock the audience with their signing and set up a future program like PAC (formerly Neville); his target being Hangman Page. Sign me up for that match.
The biggest of them all was none other than Chris Jericho, fresh off of his excellent match with Tetsuya Naito at Wrestle Kingdom 13. Jericho continues to have the most unique journey for a wrestler possibly ever as he was a star in Canada, Mexico, WAR in Japan, Smoky Mountain, ECW, WCW, WWE, New Japan, and now All Elite Wrestling. Dave Meltzer reported on Observer Radio that his recent WWE talks went nowhere, so Jericho once again finds himself aligned with a surging brand that can be mutually beneficial. He is still open to working in New Japan, so I’m sure special concessions will be made for him.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) January 9, 2019
There were so many other things to get excited about as a fan, and these guys made this feel like a literal pump em up high school football rally. They hard sold ideas about what type of wrestlers they will have, and booking methodologies the promotion will take into account with Cody saying “wins and losses will matter like never before in wrestling.”
CURRENT LIST OF ANNOUNCED AEW WRESTLERS
- The Young Bucks
- Britt Baker
- PAC (Neville)
- Hangman Page
- Chris Jericho
- Joey Janela
- Penelope Ford
- OWE – CIMA
Brandi Rhodes was announced as the Chief “Brandi” Officer, which is essentially equal to Stephanie McMahon’s role in WWE, and she spoke of plans for the women’s division of AEW, hinting at bringing over some of the best women the world has to offer. Brandi recently wrestled for Stardom, and it wouldn’t be out of this realm to think a partnership could be built there.
One of the most striking things that was said by Cody was his announcement of the show after “Double or Nothing” (May 25th) which will emanate from Jacksonville, FL possibly during the summer. He stated proceeds from ticket sales will go to the victims of gun violence which is not a safe issue/charity to address like per se, cancer, which is easy to sell the public on.
Being a Florida resident, I can only think of the shootings in Pulse nightclub which took 50 lives, and the school shooting in Parkland FL, which raised the gun debate to another level. AEW mentioning this in some of their earliest forms of business impressed me because while they could easily have stayed out of something like that, they took action to show love to the local communities their company will have roots in.
All Elite Wrestling feels like a company for the fans, a company that fans can be proud of, and a company with an unlimited ceiling. The greatest thing is that for all the lazy WCW and early TNA comparisons are that we have nothing to compare this to. AEW isn’t beholden to any history. AEW will walk in their own shadows and give options to not only wrestlers but fans, which can do nothing but make things better.
Is there a ton of hype? Yes, of course, there is. But if no one cared, no one would have shown up or watched, and you wouldn’t have read this. This is a movement that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Anyone with a contract that is coming up soon will be in play, and we’ll know much more about AEW once that happens.
Chris Jericho said he was ready to change the universe, which on its head sounds absurd, but who wants to bet against Cody and The Young Bucks anymore, and now The Khans? I don’t.