One lifetime ago, WWE was the only game in town. Everyone wanted to work with the company, both in and out of the ring because of that. In fairness, World Wrestling Entertainment did its best to entertain the masses for days on end for the longest time.
But reality set in once one die-hard embraced the motto: For the fans, by the fans.
When Tony Khan was a child, he was like me. He was writing his own storylines, creating matches and thinking of multiple shows in his head. As an adult, he created All Elite Wrestling. Once the idea of AEW became more than just a pipe dream, he needed the help of a superstar or two to get the ball rolling. Like fans of pro wrestling, he kept his ear to the ground and his nose to the grindstone. Upon doing that, he managed to crossed paths with a group of men from overseas who helped realize his dream in every sense of the word.
From the humble eras of New Japan Pro Wrestling to the main stage of Madison Square Garden, Kenny Omega, Matt & Nick Jackson, Cody Rhodes and Chris Jericho unveiled the ultimate Superkick Party. But there were those who thought and felt that this young upstart company would be gone in a year, maybe less.
That was on January 1, 2019. The date this piece is written is April 14-15, 2023, and All Elite Wrestling is still going strong.
Since its debut pay per view, Double or Nothing in Las Vegas on May 25, 2019, the company has only continued to push the envelope. Also during that time frame, they have saw the resurrection of several careers. In an interview during the pandemic, Vince McMahon was asked about the string of future endeavor notices that were flying out of the main office in Connecticut. McMahon was quoted as saying that the released wrestlers were in an effort to “cut the dead weight.” What this did for him was light a fire under the backside of Tony Khan and possibly initiate what one calls the arrival of the initial Genesis of AEW.
Following Double or Nothing, and after Chris Jericho had defeated Kenny Omega in the main event, the crowd got their first taste of things to come as Jon Moxley (formerly WWE’s Dean Ambrose) arrived through the crowd (remnants of his old Shield days) to a massive pop from the crowd in Vegas. From this initial shock came a slew of more shocks to come as wrestlers that were considered dead weight by McMahon sought solitude and refuge under the Khan Banner.
From Moxley came several wrestlers who were able to have that freedom to carve their own paths to the top. We saw the true arrival of FTR (formerly The Revival), the true Limitless of Keith Lee, the true savagery of Samoa Joe, the true continuation of the Pipe Bombs of CM Punk and the Truly Broken Brilliance of The Hardy Brothers. But that was just the tip of the iceberg.
AEW also introduced the United States to something that was believed to have been gone courtesy of McMahon’s poaching of talent in the 80s. AEW brought back to promotional peace so to speak as the company started working with other promotions as well. From this, Impact and NWA got to bring some of its greatest moments to light, and Khan took it up a notch with the acquisition of Ring of Honor Wrestling, a major mainstay for wrestling fans and wrestlers alike as it was a catapult for various WWE and AEW talent.
But as good as AEW has been, they have seen their shares of madness behind the scenes. Forget the fact that AEW brought and introduced Bullet Club (yes, THAT Bullet Club) to the mainland and the main stream. What makes AEW such an impactful company is that it is giving fans options. Tired of hearing about Joe on RAW and SmackDown on USA and Fox? Tune in to Rampage and Dynamite on TNT and TBS. Their champion is giving you a headache? Try hearing about “The Great Bidding War of 2024” from AEW’s champion? AEW introduced us to talent like Darby Allin and Orange Cassidy, and both men have proven that they are just as tough as muscle swollen meatheads of WWE.
AEW gives fans hope that professional wrestling is not dead, whereas WWE does not care if it is.
Over the next several months, we will be examining the landscape of pro wrestling. Today, we just make it crystal clear that as good as WWE thinks it has been, it has indeed been shit, fans are tired of the SOS (Same Old Shit), writers cannot save the company from the BS they have provided the landscape and above all else, it is time to expose them for what they truly are: Glory Hounds living off their name and reputation…or whatever is left of both.