After the clock struck midnight and we entered the year 2019, All Elite Wrestling was announced officially. Shortly after that we got the announcement of an AEW Rally that would take place just outside TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. Rumors circulated about what would be announced, and who would sign on. Did it live up to the hype? Let’s rundown what was revealed today.
Behind the Scenes:
Just a couple of minutes before the event started, Cody Rhodes posted a video of himself backstage with Billy Gunn. The two jointly announced that Gunn will be joining the AEW family as a producer. The former WWE superstar will bring his thirty-three years of ring experience to help put together some of All Elite Wrestling’s upcoming events.
This was pretty much common knowledge, as they were announced for the rally. With sixty-four years of combined wrestling experience, So-Cal Uncensored is a great collective get for AEW. I could see them either competing in singles, or going after tag team championships(at some point).
Well this is a bit of a surprise,mainly because Joey is currently rehabbing from a very serious injury. Before the injury Janela wrestled at ALL IN in a Chicago Street Fight against AEW’s Hangman Page. Janela can do it all in the wrestling ring, and will look to make an even bigger name for himself upon his return to the ring.
Before he was attacked at the AEW Rally by the aforementioned Joey Janela, Maxwell Jacob Friedman was running down the crowd pretty harshly. MJF, to put it bluntly, is the heel that All Elite Wrestling needed. The twenty-two year old has taken the wrestling world by storm, and has even made an appearance on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s podcast (which I would highly recommend listening to). This man knows how to get heat with a crowd. In what looks like a roster full of fan favorites, MJF looks to take the top spot in AEW sooner than later.
After Hangman Page declared he would be the first ever AEW Champion, the current Open the Dream Gate Champion hit the stage. PAC left WWE at the beginning of 2018, and in the process had his contract frozen. He made his return to Dragon Gate in late 2018, and has been terrorizing the promotion ever since. He was rumored to appear at ALL IN, but he so badly wanted to return to Dragon Gate. PAC looks to regain the exposure in the states he once had with WWE, but under his own terms. I, for one, am very excited for a Page/PAC match.
Brandi Rhodes made sure to let the crowd know at the rally that AEW would have “a strong women’s division with the best female wrestlers in the entire world.” She went on to introduce the first addition to that roster: Britt Baker. In 2018 Baker wrestled for such promotions as Rise, SHIMMER, Ring Of Honor, Impact Wrestling, and even the WWE. She was part of the four corner survival match at ALL IN. She is also a licensed dentist, and hopes “not only to showcase my talents, but also I want to set an example for everybody.”
Along with “The Bad Boy” Joey Janela came “The Bad Girl” Penelope Ford. Ford recently had a tryout at the WWE Performance Center, but ultimately decided to sign with AEW. Ford has been wrestling for a little over four years, and made an impact during the Page/Janela match at ALL IN. Penelope, along with Baker, is a good starting point for AEW’s Women’s Division.
One of the all time greats. Jericho goes with the trend, and the trend is pointing towards All Elite Wrestling. He signed his contract shortly after the stream went off the air. “I believe in doing something new. It’s what I’ve always done my entire career.” Jericho gives AEW that big name recognition. A household name that every wrestling fan old and new knows.
ALL IN 2: DOUBLE OR NOTHING
Not much was revealed besides the location and the date. May 25th in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. A venue which can hold a little over 17,000. Which, if you’re keeping count, is about 6,000 more than the Sears Centre Arena holds (which is where ALL IN was).
Truthfully, I do not know much about OWE. I know that it has been called the “future of pro-wrestling”, and that CIMA is involved. Matt Jackson announced that AEW would be giving OWE a spotlight and said, “I swear to god you guys are going to love these guys.” . Their debut show has over four million plays. Yes, FOUR MILLION. So you can see why AEW is getting in on the ground floor with this promotion.
EQUAL PAY, THIRD SHOW, & WINS AND LOSSES
Brandi Rhodes announced that along with the women’s division, that women will be paid equally and there will be no sliding scale. This is a fantastic move on AEW’s part.
Along with this, they announced that their third show (taking place in Jacksonville) will have a “large portion” of the gate going to benefit the victims of gun violence.
Cody started off the event by letting the crowd know that wins and losses are going to matter. “More than they’ve ever mattered before.” I’m not entirely sure what that means. Will we see the return of the WCW TOP TEN? Probably not, but a guy can hope.
Personally, I think they did a pretty good job with this first round of announcements. They gave us some surprises with PAC and a “big name” in Chris Jericho. It wasn’t the huge splash that I was expecting (where’s that rumored television deal?) but it was an amazing start, and I am very excited for the future of this company.