AEW: An Empowered Wrestling Community

Brandi Rhodes, Chief Brand Officer of All Elite Wrestling Credit: AEW

Just before All Elite Wrestling’s signature PPV, Double Or Nothing, Brandi Rhodes announced the creation of AEW Heels, a new platform directly geared towards women in the AEW community. With a backdrop of stilettos, Brandi spoke about celebrating, inspiring, and empowering female wrestling fans around the world with a space just for women, and it would all kick off the day before Double Or Nothing with an AEW Heels launch party on Zoom.

“I want to know that I matter. My thoughts, my perspective, my ideas, my creativity, my happiness… I want to know that it matters.

I’d like to do more than just watch, I’d like to contribute. I want to be a part of a movement.”
-Brandi Rhodes introducing AEW Heels

This announcement for AEW Heels should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following the company’s illustrious journey. Even before AEW was officially announced, The Elite had built up a groundswell of community support with their Being The Elite series on Youtube, Bullet Club merchandise at Hot Topic and Pro Wrestling Tees, and the hours spent after shows making sure every autograph was signed, every picture taken. Indeed, the historical PPV that preceeded AEW, All In, was made possible based off of the community engagement The Elite had fostered. Fans all around the world looked to a new future of wrestling that they felt a lose connection with, and included in.

The Bullet Club Invades WWE Raw: 2017 Credit: Cody Rhodes

This spirit of community has continued to be a focus for All Elite Wrestling during its first year of operation. One of the very first partnerships announced for AEW was with Kulture City, which would directly benefit fans who may otherwise be unable to experience its shows due to difficulties processing sensory information. With sensory bags that include noise cancelling headphones and stressballs, and additional cool down rooms available for people experiencing a sensory overload, anyone would have a place to feel safe, and welcome to enjoy the show with the comforts they need to make that possible.

Once the AEW Heels launch party kicked off, it quickly became apparent that this was going to be a celebratory adventure. Almost 300 women danced to Beyonce, The Spice Girls, and Britney, and got to know each other in a separate chat room. Many women from the AEW roster were present; Kia Stevens (Awesome Kong), Big Swole, Shanna, Anna Jay, Allie, Hikaru Shida, Nyla Rose, Leva Bates, and Jennifer Decker were dancing and chatting right along with everyone else. Many people were dressed up, lip synching, dancing, and sipping various beverages. It was a Brady Bunch-esque screen, filled with wrestlers and fans alike, in an environment of relaxation, fun, and a good old fashioned ladies night out.

Soon, Brandi Rhodes welcomed everyone into her vision of what AEW Heels represented. A passion project from her, she saw AEW Heels as a way for women to come together to be empowered, represented, and to find community within AEW. Inspired by the wrestling community, Brandi saw a unique opportunity in AEW Heels, to bring fans and the wrestling industry closer together than ever before.

The potential of AEW heels with Brandi’s vision included special events like:

Zoom parties with wrestlers and fans
Special AEW HEELS sections at shows
Makeup tutorial videos from the makeup artists of AEW
Videos from Sandra Gray, AEW gear designer
Special Merchandise for AEW Heels
Talks with the legal team of AEW
Exclusive meet and greets and in-person parties

Brandi Rhodes, Chief Brand Officer, All Elite Wrestling
Photo by Amy Sussman, Getty Images

During a Q&A segment, Brandi spoke candidly about what it’s like to be a woman in the wrestling industry, and a woman of color in a prominent executive position. Brandi calls back to Rosa Parks as a motivating drive for her, “What if Rosa Parks had moved to the back of the bus?”. She spoke about her career in competitive figure skating and entertainment with the challenges she’s faced along the way. Many of these challenges invoked a reminder that women can choose to work against each other or work to empower and elevate each other. Brandi hopes that with AEW Heels, women can be given the tools to elevate and empower each other, no matter their personal and professional pursuits.

By the end of the event, it became clear that for Brandi Rhodes, AEW Heels can be a place where women can share a love of wrestling, find common ground, and build friendships. They can find a unique opportunity to learn from respected women in the industry, within the roster of All Elite Wrestling. Brandi extends her role as Cheif Brand Officer beyond building the brand of a major wrestling promotion, to honor the community that has galvanized around it, and find ways to give back as a measure of gratitude, empowerment, and inclusivity.