Goodbye 2018 and hello 2019. But as the clock struck midnight, it wasn’t just the new year we were ringing in. It was also a new age for professional wrestling.
At 12:00AM PST, Episode 132 of Being the Elite, the YouTube show written and produced by The Young Bucks, was uploaded. The news that we all were speculating but hadn’t yet confirmed was made official. All Elite Wrestling is happening.
What We Know
-Tony Khan, co-owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, will be the President of All Elite Wrestling.
-On Tuesday Jan. 8, there will be a press conference and rally in Jacksonville, Florida regarding Double or Nothing, the supposed sequel to All In. We are expected to get the location and date of Double or Nothing, and judging by some of the promotional materials, it looks like Starrcast will be returning alongside it.
Starrcast was the four-day convention held in conjunction with All In, where fans had the opportunity for meet and greets, panels, karaoke with The Villain Marty Scurll, and even a jam session with the one and only Papa Buck himself (all of which I attended and absolutely loved).
-According to a tweet by Cody Rhodes, he will serve as the Executive Vice President and will be joined by The Young Bucks who are expected to serve as Head Bookers backstage.
All members of The Elite are expected to join the All Elite Wrestling roster as well as those heavily featured on Being the Elite. New T-Shirts were released a few weeks ago that included Kenny Omega, Cody, The Young Bucks, Hangman Adam Page, and Marty Scurll.
A name I am interested to hear more about is Kenny Omega. He is currently the IWGP Heavyweight Champion and one of the top faces of New Japan Pro Wrestling. While his contract is up with them, I would be shocked to see Kenny completely remove himself from New Japan. Yes, he did leave the Bullet Club, but Omega is very loyal to New Japan and seeing him fully leave would be an interesting turn of events.
Other rumored talent includes all three members of SoCal Uncensored.
Aside from those names, we will have to see where the dominoes fall. Bandido was a name that was thrown around, but he recently signed a deal with Ring of Honor. A huge name we are waiting to here about is Chris Jericho.
Y2J was heavily associated with the Elite over the course of the past year including an appearance at All In, as well as the official Chris Jericho Cruise. He was spotted this past Sunday at the Minnesota Vikings game which was the courtesy of none other than Tony Khan. That fueled speculation on Jericho joining AEW, but nothing has been made official yet.
It is possible that AEW could create a relationship with another wrestling promotion similar to how ROH and NJPW have a collaborative working relationship. Unfortunately, individuals with large contracts at major promotions such as WWE, NJPW, ROH, or Impact don’t all have their contracts expiring at the same time, so it will be hard to acquire those types of caliber talent at the moment. Currently, independent wrestlers will probably be the way to go for the time being.
No matter what, AEW will need to find a suitable amount of talent to fill their roster. After all, we can’t have members of the Elite competing against one another or continually have 6-man tag matches between the Elite and SCU. That is not the purpose of All Elite Wrestling nor will that be expected from All Elite Wrestling.
Once AEW builds a deep and respectable roster, how will they be utilized? It is unknown if this promotion will have a weekly television show or not. There were trademarks filed for Tuesday Night Dynamite which could potentially be the name for a suspected television program or possibly even a show streamed online.
If AEW were to have a weekly television program, Cody and The Young Bucks would likely have to wrestle quite a bit to gain a following and viewership, something that would require a lot, especially considering their potential backstage roles. The last thing we want is for them to get overworked having to handle all of their backstage duties as well as performing frequently on their own cards.
Another route could be that AEW would organize several big events throughout the year similarly to how All In was handled. These types of events give exposure to numerous talent that may otherwise not get the opportunity. Take All In for example. Talent such as Jordynne Grace, MJF, Joey Janela, Bandido, and Marko Stunt were all given significant exposure during All In which certainly helped them gain a following.
With this option, Cody and The Young Bucks could wrestle on their shows but with a significantly reduced in-ring schedule. This could be advantageous as they increase in age and have families at home that I’m sure they would like to spend more time with. However, since members of the Elite bid a final farewell to Ring of Honor a few weeks ago, I cannot see them leaving full-time competition for only wrestling a few nights a year.
The majority of the Being the Elite cast has history of traveling back and forth between ROH and NJPW for television tapings, live events, meet and greets, and pay-per-views. This is time on the road and away from home. One would think that AEW would pose an opportunity to change or alter this to better meet the needs for all involved.
Since the Being the Elite members opted not to renew their Ring of Honor contracts, AEW may now be the only way to see these individuals perform. There will be a lot of double duty going on during the first few years if this is going to effectively work out.
Especially when AEW first begins, fans will be expecting to see Cody and The Young Bucks performing as much as possible. Finding a nice balance between working backstage and wrestling will be the key over the next few years to gain and maintain a strong fanbase.
I fully expect talent to look at All Elite Wrestling as a viable option for individuals who have been unhappy or discouraged by their current promotions. It will take a lot for a talent to leave a stable working environment such as WWE or NJPW.
However, Cody provides a great example of what challenging the norm can allow talent to achieve after he left WWE back in 2016. It has been reported over the past few months that some talent in New Japan Pro Wrestling has been unhappy with management and we all know that WWE has a dozen or more talent that are either A) not utilized properly or B) not used at all.
Another option is for up and coming talent to consider AEW as their way into the business. This would serve an alternative to the NJPW Dojo or WWE’s NXT brand. While both have proven to be successful, AEW simply presents another option for younger talent. This may be a great way to not only fill out a roster, but also would allow newer wrestlers to gain exposure and experience.
One thing that concerns me moving forward is that the Elite are giving up solid careers wrestling for ROH and NJPW. At these companies they were given loads of creative freedom and opportunities. While working for these promotions, they have managed to create the empire that is Being the Elite.
They will be their own bosses with AEW, but will the payoff exceed the amount of work and time that is needed to get this new promotion off the ground and running? They did manage to give us All In, so I suppose we can’t be too picky. When you won once and your odds are looking good, why not go “Double or Nothing?”
There is no doubt the Elite will be able to create an alternative and “Change the World.” I for one am excited to see what they have in store.