January 8, 2019
Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks officially announced All Elite Wrestling. AEW is being touted as an alternative to disenfranchised wrestling fans, a fresh perspective on professional wrestling and judging by the reactions, mostly positive, but I don’t think many of them understand what that really means.
The first announced talents were SCU – Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky. Daniels and Kazarian are established talents, having worked together and apart through various companies, TNA/Impact, and Ring Of Honor. Scorpio Sky, primarily of Championship Wrestling From Hollywood and Ring Of Honor, rounds out the trio, who are one of the hottest independent stars of 2018. The next two announced talents were names a lot may not know out there, but will very soon.
MJF, Maxwell Jacob Friedman, a 23 year old wrestling prodigy from Long Island. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, he was in the opening match at “ALL IN” against Matt Cross (aka Son Of Havoc) in one of the best opening matches a wrestling card has ever seen. He’s ridiculously arrogant and backs every bit of it up in the ring. Throw in the “Bad Boy” Joey Janela – if you haven’t heard of his Spring Break or Lost In New York shows, I suggest hitting the YouTube machine and getting familiar.
Fast forward to Feb 7, 2019 – the formal event announcing tickets for “Double Or Nothing”, from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and even more names announced, and further proof that AEW is an alternative, not just “WWE Lite”, which is what TNA/Impact/whatever their name is now eventually became. “The Concrete Rose” Sonny Kiss (XO Licious from Lucha Underground) and Nyla Rose, who is the first transgender wrestler to be hired by a major American wrestling promotion. This sort of inclusion is unprecedented in professional wrestling, much less a promotion as ambitious as AEW. Also added to the roster is social media superstar and AAA Cruiserweight Champion Sammy Guevara (a name you may not know right off), independent standout Kylie Ray, Japanese star Yuka Sakazaki and one of Japan’s legendary performers in Aja Kong, who made her professional debut in 1986 and still performs at a high level. These are names that many wrestling fans do not know, or may have heard of but aren’t super familiar with, and some out there are deriding AEW as a “high end indie company” or “it needs superstars to be serious”. Guess what: these names are superstars; you just don’t know it yet.
Do not expect to see disgruntled or rumored to be disgruntled WWE talent here. No Dean Ambrose (or Jon Moxley for you special folks out there), no Randy Orton, and no Enzo (which people keep mentioning in AEW comment threads, not sure if trolling, but the mere idea frightens me). They are not needed, nor do I think they are even wanted. A recent tweet by Chris Jericho hinted that across Ring Of Honor, WWE, AND New Japan, AEW is interested in only a FEW of the talents there – like between 6 to 8.
AEW is something new, something fresh, and that scares people. Even people who do nothing but complain about whatever wrestling they are watching – claiming they want change but they really don’t. If you are the type of person who is made uncomfortable by a talent like Sonny Kiss, that is not AEW’s problem; that is entirely yours. The world is changing and in professional wrestling, AEW is looking to lead the charge. To put it in one sentence, and to those who are hoping or praying their favorite unappreciated wrestler ends up in AEW and is given all that you think is due to them, remember…it’s called All ELITE Wrestling, not All The Wrestlers I Like But Don’t Think Get Enough Attention Wrestling.