As Dustin Rhodes of the AEW put it, “Vince Better Watch His Ass”.
In May of 2017, Dave Meltzer, who is notoriously known for being an outspoken wrestling journalist, thought he was making a harmless comment in tweeting out that American Wrestling promotion, Ring Of Honor (ROH). ROH could not sell 10,000 tickets for a wrestling event. That tweet may have turned into a revolution.
Former Ring Of Honor talents, Cody Rhodes and the Jackson brothers (Matt & Nick), who are better known as “The Young Bucks”, took this to heart. They decided to step up to the challenge by putting together an independent wrestling show called, “ALL IN” in September of 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The event was attended by 11,263 wrestling fans. Turns out, Dave Meltzer was wrong.
The event sold out in 30 minutes and had the largest audience in attendance for a professional wrestling show in the United States. To be held and organized by promoters not affiliated with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) or World Championship Wrestling (WCW) since 1993.
With “ALL IN” being so successful, it began many speculations that Rhodes and The Young Bucks, would attempt to expand their ambitions and create their own wrestling promotion or even do a second “ALL IN” event. As even television promotions were impressed by the event. After an apparent trademark had been filed in Jacksonville, Florida in November of 2018, it looked like the speculation was becoming a reality.
On January 1, 2019, All Elite Wrestling was officially made a reality by Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks, as the trio made the announcement on their YouTube channel, “Being The Elite”, which displays Rhodes, The Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega.
On January 8, 2019, All Elite Wrestling held it’s inaugural press conference in Jacksonville, Florida. Announcing not only the dynamic of All Elite Wrestling (AEW), but also the talent that it was going to display. AEW announced the signings of Adam “Hangman” Page, Pac (Formerly known as Neville), Brit Baker, among others, including 6x WWE Champion and former IWGP Intercontinental Champion, Chris Jericho.
Rhodes and company would also announce their first Pay-Per-View event from MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada called, “Double Or Nothing”. It was scheduled to take place on May 25, 2019. If the “ALL IN” event was any indication, this event was gonna sell out fast, as it sold out in four minutes.
On May 15, just 10 days before the big show, AEW and WarnerMedia announced a deal for a new weekly prime-time show that will air on TNT (formerly aired WCW from 1995-2001) starting in October, and is rumored to be called, “Tuesday Night Dynamite.”
The revolution of AEW over the past five months has sent shock waves through the wrestling industry as many fans who have been disgruntled with current storylines and creativeness in WWE have already decided to give AEW a shot, as it promises to bring a fresh dynamic.
Despite the rumored animosity between Cody Rhodes and WWE, AEW has said on record that they would not be “competing” with WWE and that they are offering fans an “alternative”, which will breathe fresh-air in the eyes of wrestling fans. Despite their dominance in the business, Vince McMahon and WWE have not quite gotten the response from their fanbase that they’d like over the past several years.
Ratings for weekly episodic television programs, “Monday Night Raw” and “Smackdown Live!” hit an all-time low in 2018, as it forced the McMahon family (Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Shane McMahon & Triple H) to publicly apologize to the WWE Universe on live television (not good).
Things would not get better from there, as it was announced, following the Royal Rumble event, that Jonathan Good (Dean Ambrose) would not be renewing his contract with WWE and would be leaving the company when his deal expired in April, shocking Vince, as well as the rest of the front office.
Given their success, and lack of competition, WWE has become complacent, for lack of a better term, and has been operating their business around the things Vince wants, and not what the fans or his own talent necessarily wants. With AEW headed by current wrestlers who are as hungry for success as ever, Vince will finally have himself legitimate competition for the first time in nearly two decades, since the “Monday Night Wars.”
On May 25, 2018, in front of a sold-out MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, All Elite Wrestling and “Double Or Nothing” had arrived, with a match card that included Chris Jericho versus Kenny Omega, Cody versus Dustin Rhodes, The Young Bucks versus The Lucha Bros and a triple threat contest between Brit Baker, Nyla Rose and Kylie Rae.
Tony Khan, President of All Elite Wrestling, had a few tricks up his sleeve right out of the gate, as Brandi Rhodes, Chief Brand Officer (CBO) of AEW, announced the latest signing, as Awesome Kong (Formerly known as Kharma in WWE), made her shocking debut in AEW by laying waist to Baker, Rose, and Rae during their match.
Things would only heat up from there, as Cody Rhodes and Dustin Rhodes put on an instant classic that the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes, would’ve been proud of. The match, had brutality, emotion and a good story, resulting in a Cody victory after both men had helped turn the AEW ring into a blood bath.
One of the biggest spots in the match, happened to be during Cody’s entrance, however, as the former WWE employee and current AEW Executive Vice President took a shot at WWE’s Chief Operating Officer, Triple H, as he would drive The Game’s vintage sledgehammer through his vintage “thrown”, officially “burning the bridge” with World Wrestling Entertainment, as Rhodes would explain after the show.
Things would get even better with Bret “The Hitman” Hart making a shocking appearance at “Double Or Nothing” to unveil the AEW World Championship in front of Adam “Hangman” Page, who will be competing for the title after winning the Buy-In Battle Royal earlier in the night. Page will battle the winner of Jericho/Omega at the next AEW Pay-Per-View, “Fight For The Fallen”.
This would be followed by which can be argued the “match of the night” between The Young Bucks and The Lucha Bros for the AAA Tag Team Championships, in which Matt and Nick Jackson successfully defended their titles in exhilarating fashion. The Young Bucks will now face off against Cody and Dustin Rhodes at “Fight For The Fallen.”
This would then lead to the main event of the evening, the face-off between Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega, as the two squared off for only the second time in their illustrious careers, with the first coming on January 4, 2018, inside the Tokyo Dome at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 12.
AEW fired on all cylinders with the matches, the solid production quality, and the unforgettable moments we got like Jon Moxley closing #DoubeOrNothing— Uchiha Maharaja ♕ (@KingNj90) May 26, 2019
If it wasn’t clear before last night: #AEW is competition.
What a show, what an ending. #AEWDoNpic.twitter.com/FsLGsmqLhF
After an intense back and forth battle, the Ayatollah of Rock n’ Rolla would deliver the “Judas Effect” to pick up the victory over Omega. It wouldn’t be until after the match, however, where the roof would become unglued.
Jonathan Good (formerly known as Dean Ambrose) officially left WWE in late April with his last televised event taking place on April 21, apart of The Shield’s “Final Chapter.” On May 25, Good would make his return to professional wrestling, but this time, as “Jon Moxley”, attacking Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega to close out an exhilarating pay-per-view that made fans scream, laugh, think and cry.
Tony Khan later announced that AEW has signed Jon Moxley to a multi-year deal with the promotion, that will become exclusive when AEW goes love on TNT starting in the fall. Until that time, Moxley has been booked for several independent shows, included a few matches in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
There goes Jon Moxley breaking the internet again. pic.twitter.com/SvzjyHJ9YW— Scott Fishman (@smFISHMAN) May 27, 2019
All Elite Wrestling sent shock waves throughout the wrestling industry when they made their announcement on January 1, however, some fans didn’t believe that the promotion would thrive. Some believe that it will never be able to compete with World Wrestling Entertainment.
AEW’s “Double Or Nothing” showcased what exactly Tony Khan, Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks are capable of. Vince McMahon should be paying close attention. With non-stop action, high-flying tactics, and great story-telling, AEW knocked their first ever PPV event out of the park.
Cody Rhodes went on to say that AEW’s “Fight For The Fallen” will have to be better than “Double Or Nothing” and “All Out”. Which will be held in Chicago on August 31st, will have to be better than “Fight For The Fallen” and so on.
AEW’s drive and ambition have set wrestling souls on fire. Things will be heating up in the very short future for both All Elite Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment. As for the first time in nearly two decades, Vince McMahon has met his match.
Vince, you better “watch your ass.”