All Elite Wrestling has been formally announced on Being the Elite. The promotion has been on the tips of everyone’s tongue for months, with rumors circulating at a frequent pace. However, early this morning, the video that confirmed it has finally gone live.
So what exactly is the news around AEW?
What We Know
The promotion will be based in Jacksonville, Florida, where the Jacksonville Jaguars play football. The team is owned by Shadhid Khan, and his son Tony is the primary financial investor for the promotion.
They’ve announced their first show, Double or Nothing, will happen in 2019 and they’ll be throwing a rally in the parking lot of West Club at the TIAA Bank Field, which hosts the Jaguars football games.
The four names who will be throwing the event besides (presumably) Tony Khan are the only four currently under contract; Cody Rhodes, Nick Jackson, Matt Jackson and Hangman Page. It stands to reason that Brandi Rhodes has also been signed as well. As of right now those are the only four names linked in an official capacity but that won’t be all, obviously.
We can assume that they won’t be the only one’s joining the promotion, which is a giant duh. The trio of SoCal Uncensored is on their radar as well. Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky are not only on friends with the Elite, but are also free agents themselves. With the trio being regular contributors to the Being the Elite channel it’s pretty obvious that they’ll sign deals eventually.
Another name, which baffles me, is BJ Whitmer. Whitmer was a long time ROH wrestler and current unemployed producer is associated with the promotions future. Whitmer was serving as the gorilla position producer for Ring of Honor for the better part of the last year or so, and ultimately grew tired with the organization, demanding his release and getting it.
Jim Ross, who’s done with New Japan for now and is almost free of any WWE obligations is also attached to the promotion. it would make sense they’d bring him on, as he’s still considered to be an all time great and would bring huge clout to any t.v. deal the company makes.
Another big name linked to them is Chris Jericho, who was an invited guest just this past weekend in Minnesota for a Vikings NFL game. He also worked with The Bucks and Cody to help put on the Chris Jericho Cruise which was a huge success this past fall. Jericho isn’t expected to sign a formal deal with AEW but is expected to be associated to some degree.
Two other names who might be AEW bound are Kenny Omega and Marty Scurll. Omega is currently NJPW’s IWGP Heavyweight Champion, and their top face (for the moment). He’s good friends The Elite and is an active member of the YouTube group. However, he’s still under a NJPW deal for the time being but it’s expected to be up sometime after Wrestle Kingdom 13.
Marty Scurll however is under a longer deal with Ring of Honor, but is expected to join AEW as well when he’s free to do so. Scurll was just given a new trio in ROH with PCO and Brody King. However the trio isn’t expected to last the year.
*Update: Dave Meltzer has claimed Britt Baker has signed with All Elite Wrestling, but no formal announcement has been made as of yet.*
The promotion will probably have a women’s division, one that Brandi Rhodes will be a vocal point of. However, there is no news or rumors as to who else could be involved. It’s fair to say Britt Baker will be looked at as well to join the promotion. A lot of the talent from All In, male and female included, have deals elsewhere that would prohibit deals with All Elite. Names like Jordynne Grace, Tessa Blanchard, Kazuchika Okada, Pentagon Jr, Jay Lethal and Rey Mysterio have deals elsewhere.
Names in the WWE however are being linked. Zack Ryder and Tye Dillinger are two names that are expected to be free agents eventually and if either man wants to leave, AEW seemingly has slots open for them. Ryder and Cody Rhodes are long time friends, and Dillinger is someone the group apparently are very high on. Another duo could be The Revival who are spinning their wheels on RAW and if they want to take the risk, AEW would scoop them up. The Revival and The Elite have had a long running low-key feud on Twitter and social media as a whole, which prompted The Bucks and Cody to routinely chant “Fuck the Revival!”
Two other names that might be looking for new homes is The Club, of WWE fame. The former Bullet Club members Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows are also expected to leave the promotion after years of being buried. The duo are rumored to be heading back to New Japan with Bullet Club’s OG Tama Tonga trying to actively recruit them to return to the promotion and the stable they helped make famous.
Another rumor that Dave Meltzer is assuming (not reporting) is that All Elite and Ring of Honor probably won’t work together. The two companies will be competing over the same talent, and ROH has altered their position and went in a new direction, re-signing Shane Taylor and acquiring Bandido, PCO, Brody King and Mark Haskins. Several new names are expected as well.
However that’s not the same case for New Japan. NJPW has routinely worked with foreign promotions and with AEW not having a set schedule yet to pay their talents, having a partnership with NJPW and allowing talent to work there, would help negate financial losses.
What I Hope
Now we’re diving into the hoping department, where I’m not going off of news, rumors ore speculation but pure fan desire. This includes signings, titles, t.v. and more.
Firstly, I’d love to see an array of names join the promotion, two which scream to me are the former Darren Young and the indy standout Anthony Bowens. If you know anything about these men, you know they have more in common than just being black. Both men are openly in same-sex relationships. After the WWE’s tour de force of bad publicity, All Elite could easily capitalize on this and sign two of the more prominent wrestlers of the LGBTQ community a a platform to ply their craft. And no, they shouldn’t be in a tag team. Bowens is a future World Champion and should be groomed for that. Young, now known as Fred Rosser (his real name), should be given the chance to showcase he was better than the WWE ever gave him the opportunity to prove.
I’m a sick man, but I need to see some names that make no sense but would fit in perfectly. Firstly, Glacier. Yup. He’s never been given a fair shake, and even though he’s over 50, he can still go as his part time schedule has shown. He’s good friends with Cody and would serve as a good mid card veteran. Also, David Arquette. He may not want to sign a full time deal, as he still wants to work in film and has projects lining up. However, he has shown to be a shocking hit among fans. So why not? Jason David Frank also applies if he has an itch and does well.
The rest of the roster I think should be up of the NWA crew. NWA World Champion Nick Aldis, Tim Storm, Samuel Shaw, Jocephus, Jax Dane, Crimson, Jazz and everyone else I may have forgotten. They aren’t a full fledged promotion, and have several big events under their banner they could lend to AEW. With Corgan not wanting to go on t.v. just yet, sign talent to exclusive deals, or have a regular touring schedule, it would make sense to partner up with AEW. They get a deeper talent pool, four new titles (NWA Worlds, NWA World Tag Team, NWA National and NWA Women’s Championship) and the ability to have a major story line for television. Having the Elite, and The NWA doing the same show together would be huge. Plus, you get the added star power of Billy Corgan; whatever that’s worth in 2018.
Finally, we come to the station. Meltzer reports that there are several options out there at the moment but I’m all for them landing on WGN America. They worked together for All In, and there’s already a relationship there. WGN America is looking for more content and had WWE on their network for a few years, and more recently started airing Ring Warriors Pro Wrestling. The promotion is currently on hiatus on WGN America, so who knows what the future holds. Hopefully WGN America would keep both brands on board ,as AEW would be a prime time show, presumably on Tuesday nights, while Ring Warriors is on Saturday morning.
The future is bright for AEW, and I for one can’t wait to see what they do next. As a big IMPACT Wrestling fan, I’m all for more big promotions to watch.