The landscape of the wrestling world changed dramatically with the launch of All Elite Wrestling on New Year’s day.
With the backing of Tony Khan – co-owner of Fulham and the Jacksonville Jaguars – Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks – Nick and Matt Jackson – have launched a brand new wrestling promotion. Let’s take a look at 10 things we know so far about AEW.
They have vast resources
Tony Khan has been confirmed as the company’s president and the Khan family have a fortune estimated at around $6.3 billion.
They already own Premier League club Fulham and NFL franchise Jacksonville Jaguars, but this is their first venture into professional wrestling. In contrast, WWE boss Vince McMahon is worth around $2.9 billion, so they can certainly compete.
Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks’ roles in AEW
A statement released by Rhodes revealed that all three men would serve as executive vice presidents to the company and the Bucks would be responsible for booking the events.
All three are also, of course, contracted as in-ring talents. It will be interesting to see how The Young Bucks straddle the line of bookers and contenders.
AEW’s first event
As a follow-up to their ultra-successful All-In event, AEW have already announced Double or Nothing. They will be holding a rally for the event in the company’s hometown, Jacksonville, on January 8.
It is expected that they will announce more wrestlers who will compete at the event and details of when and where it will go down. Coincidentally, the WWE are in town taping SmackDown Live that same day.
Their first signees
Hangman Adam Page, alongside the inaugural trio of Rhodes and the Bucks, was the first to put pen to paper.
Since then, Rhodes’ wife, Brandi Rhodes, has signed as a performer and chief brand officer and Britt Baker – partner of Adam Cole – will join her in the women’s division. BJ Whitmer, Dana Massie have officially signed to work with the promotion in backstage roles, too.
Chris Jericho and Goldberg have both been targeted by AEW, according to Rajah.com.
While Jericho would walk the line or in-ring performer and a backstage role, Goldberg would probably be used sparingly if he could agree to a deal.
Jim Ross, the legendary WWE announcer, is said to be AEW’s pick for commentary as well as a backstage advisory role. JR is still under contract with WWE through January.
Why hasn’t Kenny Omega signed with AEW?
The Elite have become big deals in the wrestling world for many reasons, but chief among them has to be their YouTube show Being The Elite.
Omega has been at the forefront of what The Elite has done up until this point and one would think he would have been the poster boy of the original announcement.
He’s certainly conspicuous by his absence and given that he just dropped his IGWP Heavyweight title to Hiroshi Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom 13 and Dave Meltzer said WWE has made him a very good offer, he must be at least considering jumping to Vince McMahon and co. Chances are he’s still deciding.
WWE tried to sign Rhodes and Young Bucks just last month
Meltzer reported in December that Rhodes, The Bucks and indeed Page turned down major money deals from WWE, reported to be multi-year deals that were worth more than seven figures annually.
Whether the WWE saw AEW coming or not is up for debate, but given the buzz that had been created on the independents, they had to try.
Potential TV deal
To truly compete with the WWE, AEW will need a TV deal and a decent one.
While AEW do not have an official deal just yet, it’s rumoured that TNT/TBS are interested and Khan is pulling the strings in that deal. Having filed to trademark Tuesday Night Dynamite. it seems like a Tuesday Night War against SmackDown could be on the horizon.
How much money is Khan investing in AEW?
Initially, Tony Khan is injecting $100m of his own money.
Striking a TV deal and gaining some sponsors will obviously offset much of that in time, if possible. They were also the best merchandise sellers in the business in 2018, so the revenue streams are pretty evident for AEW. Khan’s money should go quite a long way in the first instance.
Tony Khan is a longtime wrestling fan
Old tweets from Khan show us that he has been paying attention to the independents for a long time and this is probably a passion project for him.
He talked about the likes of CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Cesaro before they made it to WWE, so he is likely to be involved with recruitment, too.