What is a revolution? A revolution is a time when the typical way of things is shaken up, and the status quo is challenged. The course of history has been altered by them countless times. Perhaps the most interesting thing about revolutions is the one commonality they all share. All revolutions are born from the desire for change. Even the pro wrestling world has experienced revolutions throughout its existence. In 2018 one in particular began taking the industry by storm with the formation of All Elite Wrestling, a promotion born from the willingness to take a chance and the desire to change the world.
It started with a comment made by Dave Meltzer where he said that Ring Of Honor couldn’t sell 10,000 tickets. That challenge was answered by the promotion’s top stars in 2018 when Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks began promoting ALL IN – a show that would feature the top stars of the American and international independent scenes. Tickets to the event sold out within just 30 minutes. ALL IN was held on September 1, 2018 with 11,263 fans in attendance, effectively proving all the naysayers wrong.
The success of ALL IN led to an even bigger announcement on January 1, 2019. With the financial backing of the Khan family, who own the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks would be forming a brand new promotion dubbed All Elite Wrestling. At AEW’s Double Or Nothing press conference on Feb 7, 2019, it was announced that Kenny Omega would be joining the team as both a competitor and co-executive vice president. AEW also pulled off a major coup with the signings of former WWE superstars, Chris Jericho, PAC, and Jon Moxley.
Jericho would go to be instrumental in the rise of up and coming stars like Sammy Guevara, Darby Allin, and Orange Cassidy, and would continue his hugely successful feud with Kenny Omega. PAC and Jon Moxley would also become major rivals for Kenny. Chris Jericho’s signing in particular gave the company a credibility in the eyes of network executives and sponsors that can not be understated. When the first members of the AEW were announced, the promotion’s goal became clear to fans and critics alike, to be a force for change in professional wrestling.
That change would entail creating one of, if not the most diverse and inclusive talent rosters in the industry. In AEW there would be representation for those who couldn’t really find it in other promotions by signing the likes of Sonny Kiss and Nyla Rose. Nyla’s signing to AEW was especially historic as she would be the first transgender wrestler signed to a major company. She and Sonny Kiss would both go on to become integral parts of the AEW roster. AEW would also create one of wrestling’s most unique women’s rosters, bringing in some of the best female competitors from around the world like Penelope Ford, Riho, Hikaru Shida, and Britt Baker.
The premiere of AEW DYNAMITE on TNT on October 2, 2019 would mark the beginning of a ratings war where AEW would go head to head with WWE NXT on Wednesday nights. That war continues to this day with both companies delivering rock solid performances every week. The success of DYNAMITE and AEW DARK has truly helped the company emerge as American wrestling’s best alternative to WWE. The promotion has also made big moves in their efforts to increase both visibility and accessibility for its product and industry at large through the use of YouTube.
YouTube has been especially important to AEW’s success, as it has provided many fun and innovative ways for the company to utilize its talent, most notably through the shows “Being The Elite“, and the recent Women’s Tag Team Cup Tournament. They have found great ways to build talent through mini pay per views and its first secondary title, the AEW TNT championship, but perhaps one of the most unique things about All Elite Wrestling has been the bond it has formed with its fans.
AEW’s goal of being a force for change has expanded to include efforts to create an environment of fun at shows for fans who are neuro divergent and/or have sensory issues. In another groundbreaking move, they have also created the industry’s first major platform for female fans through the launch of AEW Heels. In its own way, AEW has kind of become a voice for professional wrestling’s voiceless.
The formation of All Elite Wrestling came at a time where many fans were looking to the independent scene for that alternative. A major part of the promotion’s appeal is its core message, which has struck a chord with fans and the wrestling community at large. Don’t be afraid to be different. Hold true to your faith in yourself and your friends and family. Taking chances is risky but can pay off in ways you never expected. Be the change you want to see in the world because that’s what you do when there’s a revolution calling.