So I've been waiting, and waiting, and waiting to post about the upcoming debut of the next big thing in Pro Wrestling, hoping that someone else would take the ball and I could just chime in... But it appears I'm the only obsessed wrestling fan on 11w, and I'm going to assume my mantle and talk about a big happening in the world of pro wrestling.
As of tomorrow night at 8pm EST the WWE is no longer the only "big" name in professional wrestling. Last September a group of the best wrestlers on the Independent wrestling scene pooled their resources and put together their own pay-per-view card called All-In. The event took place in Chicago at the Sears center, there were 11,000 fans in attendance and it sold out in less than an hour.
Fast forward to the beginning of this year, and those wrestlers have partnered with Tony Khan (of the Jacksonville Jaguars fame) and began a new wrestling promotion called All Elite Wrestling. Their debut event is tomorrow on pay-per-view. The event is called Double or Nothing, and it will take place live in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand garden arena.
The event sold out of the initial ticket allotment in 30 minutes when they went on sale, but as of last night they released some last minute "production pending" tickets (tickets that are held until after the stage/rigging/lighting etc are built so they can ensure there are no visual obstructions), so right now there is a small number of seats available.
So, why does this matter? Well, here's the thing... If you're a wrestling fan and can remember what it was like when the WWF (now WWE) was going head to head with WCW, you know that it brought the very best out of the WWF and forced them to work hard to earn the viewership of wrestling fans. In 2001, WWE bought out WCW, shut it down, and essentially became the only wrestling company on the map, and not long after took too phoning it in and the product got horribly watered down.
AEW will compete with WWE, AEW will not overtake WWE, but AEW could bring out the very best in WWE and force WWE to once again try and earn the viewership it is currently getting by default of being the only universally available wrestling company around. AEW has a TV deal with TNT to produce a weekly 2-hour show beginning later this year, they have Saturday's PPV event on the books and two other events booked for later in the year. This could be a revolutionary step in the betterment of professional wrestling.
The wrestlers involved are Cody (wrestled in WWE as Cody Rhodes), the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson, universally believed to be the best tag team in the world), Kenny Omega (some folks believe Omega is pound for pound the best wrestler on the planet), Chris Jericho (yes, you read that right, Y2J is All Elite), Hangman Adam Page, Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Joey Janela, and many more.
AEW has taken a lot of (not all, but a lot) the very best talent in the independent wrestling scene and is going to make an attempt to give fans an alternative to the WWE product. The issue with a lot of obsessed wrestling fans (often referred to as "marks") like myself is that we feel disenfranchised by the WWE product because of Vince McMahon and his inability to cater his product to the entire audience instead of a small subsection of the audience (namely himself and his obsession with big muscled up guys with no personality and very little in-ring ability).
AEW isn't looking to "beat" WWE, but I think there is a large audience in the wrestling world that is looking for an alternative to what the WWE has become in 2019, so they're trying to capitalize. They are backed by a billionaire (the Khan family is all-in with the product), so they may be able to go toe-to-toe with a billionaire, after all, Ted Turner did it in the mid-90's.
Here is the match card for AEW Double or Nothing:
Main event: Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega (winner becomes the #1 contender for the yet to be claimed AEW heavyweight title)
Co-Main: The Young Bucks vs. the Lucha Bros (AAA of Mexico's best tag-team. Penta El Zero and Ray Fenix, two bad dudes... Penta is actually one of my absolute favorite wrestlers in the world)
Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes (Brother vs. brother for those that don't remember, Dustin was a long-time staple in WWE as Goldust, both are sons of The American Dream Dusty Rhodes...RIP)
SCU (Christopher Daniels, Frank Kazarian, Scorpio Skye) vs. Three representatives of a Chinese wrestling promotion known as OWE (I do not know much about them, so I'm looking forward to this match)
The Best Friends tag-team vs. Angelico and Jack Evans
Britt Baker vs. Kylie Rae vs. Nyla Rose (this match should determine who the top female contender is in AEW and will have huge implications onto who becomes their women's champion)
Aja Kong, Yuka Sakazaki, Emi Sakura vs. Hikaru Shida, Ri and Ryu Mizunami (six-woman tag match)
There will also be a Battle Royale to begin the show that will determine who will face the winner of Jericho vs. Omega to become the AEW heavyweight champion
So as you can see there is A LOT of new, some old school, some familiar, some unknown, but the bottom line is, wrestling should be changed forever come Saturday.
Thank you all for indulging me on my quest to spread the gospel of pro-wrestling.
And just for posterity... GO BUCKS!