All Elite Wrestling
|All Elite Wrestling|
|Founded||January 1, 2019|
|Headquarters||1 TIAA Bank Field Dr, |
All Elite Wrestling, LLC, commonly shortened to AEW, is an American media and entertainment company that specializes in professional wrestling, with the eponymous professional wrestling promotion considered the second largest in the world behind WWE.
AEW is owned by Shahid Khan and his son Tony, who founded the company in 2019; in-ring performers Cody Rhodes, Matt and Nick Jackson, Kenny Omega, and Brandi Rhodes also serve as company executives. Its global headquarters are located at TIAA Bank Field, the home stadium of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars.
Like all professional wrestling promotions, AEW's shows are not legitimate contests but entertainment-based performance theater, with storyline-lead, scripted, partially-choreographed matches; however, matches often include moves that can put performers at risk of serious injury, even death, if not performed correctly.
Background and formation
In May 2017, professional wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer made a comment that the American professional wrestling promotion Ring of Honor (ROH) could not sell 10,000 tickets for a wrestling event. The comment was responded to by professional wrestlers Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks (the tag team of Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson), who were then top stars signed to ROH and good friends both inside and outside of professional wrestling as part of the group Bullet Club (and later part of the sub-Bullet Club faction, The Elite). They promoted and held an independent professional wrestling event called All In in September 2018, featuring wrestlers from ROH as well as other promotions. The event sold out in 30 minutes and had the largest audience in attendance for a professional wrestling show in the United States held and organized by promoters not affiliated with WWE or World Championship Wrestling (WCW) since 1993. The event was attended by 11,263 people. The event was acclaimed, and it led to much online speculation that Cody and The Young Bucks would expand their ambitions and create their own professional wrestling promotion or do a second All In event. People in the television industry were also very impressed with the show.
On November 5, 2018, several trademarks were filed in Jacksonville, Florida, that indicated the launch of All Elite Wrestling. Names filed for trademark included: All Elite Wrestling, AEW All Out, All Out, AEW, Double or Nothing, Tuesday Night Dynamite, AEW Double or Nothing, and several logos. In December 2018, Cody, The Young Bucks, and several other wrestlers left ROH. The official announcement of AEW's creation came at midnight Pacific Time on January 1, 2019, in an episode of Being the Elite, a YouTube web series created by and featuring The Elite. Also announced in the episode was Double or Nothing, AEW's inaugural event and sequel to All In.
On January 2, 2019, Cody and The Young Bucks officially signed with the promotion as competitors as well as serving as AEW's co-Executive Vice Presidents, while entrepreneur, football executive, and longtime wrestling fan Tony Khan was announced as the president of the company. Tony and his father, Shahid, were reportedly backing the promotion as lead investors. The Khans are billionaires and part of the ownership group of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham F.C.
Cody's wife, Brandi Rhodes, was announced as the company's chief brand officer on January 3, 2019. On January 8, 2019, the company held its inaugural press conference on the forecourt of the TIAA Bank Field, where they announced talents that were going to perform as part of the promotion, including former ROH wrestlers the team of SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Scorpio Sky, and Frankie Kazarian), "Hangman" Adam Page; independent wrestlers Dr. Britt Baker, Joey Janela, and former WWE wrestlers Pac, and Chris Jericho. They also announced a working relationship with Chinese professional wrestling promotion Oriental Wrestling Entertainment (OWE).
On February 7, 2019, the group held a press conference where tickets were released for Double or Nothing. Other big announcements included Kenny Omega joining as a competitor and the company's fourth co-Executive Vice President, as well as the signings of Lucha Brothers (Pentagón Jr. and Rey Fénix), Best Friends (Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor), and a partnership with Mexican promotion Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide (AAA).
Early history and TNT debut
On May 15, 2019, AEW and WarnerMedia announced a deal for a weekly prime-time show airing live on TNT, the network that formerly had broadcast WCW's Monday Nitro during the Monday Night Wars (1995–2001). CBS Sports describes AEW as "the first company with major financial backing to take a swing at beginning to compete with WWE on a major level in nearly two decades".
On May 25, 2019, AEW produced their first ever pay-per-view (PPV), Double or Nothing. It took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, and saw the debut of Jon Moxley. Also during Double or Nothing, pro wrestling veteran Bret Hart unveiled the AEW World Championship belt. During the summer, AEW produced two more events, Fyter Fest in June and Fight for the Fallen in July.
On August 31, 2019 AEW produced their second pay-per-view event, All Out. At the event, the AEW Women's World Championship belt was unveiled and in the main event, Chris Jericho defeated Adam Page to become the inaugural AEW World Champion. On September 19, TNT's website listed AEW show's as AEW Dynamite, a one-hour preview show was also scheduled for October 1 at 8 PM. On October 2, Dynamite debuted on TNT which averaged 1.409 million viewers, which made it the largest television debut on TNT in five years. Also on October 2, WWE 's NXT would make their two-hour debut on USA Network (the previous two episodes featured the first hour on USA with the second hour on the WWE Network), and they averaged 891,000 viewers. Dynamite beat out NXT in viewership and more than doubled its competition in the key adults 18-49 demographic, scoring 878,000 viewers compared to NXT's 414,000. This would also mark the beginning of the "Wednesday Night Wars". Prior to and after the episodes, untelevised matches were filmed to air on AEW Dark on the following Tuesdays (except before pay-per-view events, where the episodes air Fridays) on AEW's YouTube channel. On November 9, AEW produced their third pay-per-view event, Full Gear. In the main event, Jon Moxley defeated Kenny Omega in an unsanctioned Lights Out match.
On January 15, 2020, WarnerMedia and AEW announced a $175 million contract extension for Dynamite on TNT through 2023 and that AEW would be launching an upcoming second television weekly show, later revealed as AEW Rampage. On Fe bruary 19, AEW reached a new media rights deal with German media company Sky Deutschland (which previously broadcast WWE and Impact Wrestling shows) to broadcast AEW pay-per-views on Sky Select Event.
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
As other sports cancellations and postponements were being announced in March 2020, AEW began to be impacted by the American onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Following the suspension of the 2019-20 NBA season after two players tested positive from the virus, the March 18 episode of Dynamite was held without spectators from Daily's Place in Jacksonville, Florida. Double or Nothing was supposed to take place on May 23, but on April 8, the MGM Grand Garden Arena announced that they had canceled all events up through May 31 due to the virus. At that point, Nevada had been in a state of emergency since March 12, banning all public gatherings indefinitely. In response, AEW announced that Double or Nothing would still proceed as planned but from Daily's Place, as well as TIAA Bank Field stadium for the main event match.
On April 13, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had deemed AEW, like WWE, an essential business critical to the state's economy, and had added an exception under the state's stay-at-home order for employees of a "professional sports and media production" that is closed to the public and has a national audience. In an interview on the AEW Unrestricted podcast, Tony Khan stated the pandemic has deprived AEW millions of dollars in revenue from live events.
AEW announced the return of ticketed fans to live events on August 20, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines including wearing masks, physical distancing, and temperature checks. Beginning with their August 27 episode of Dynamite, they allowed up to 10 percent capacity at Daily's Place and up to 15 percent capacity starting at All Out.
Return to touring
In May 2021, AEW announced that they would be returning to live touring, beginning with a special episode of Dynamite titled Road Rager on July 7 in Miami, Florida, in turn becoming the first major professional wrestling promotion to resume live touring during the COVID-19 pandemic. Road Rager was also the first in a four-week span of special Dynamite episodes called the "Welcome Back" tour, which continued with the two-part Fyter Fest on July 14 and 21 in Cedar Park, Texas and Garland, Texas, respectively, and then concluded with Fight for the Fallen on July 28 in Charlotte, North Carolina. In June, AEW announced that the September 22 episode of Dynamite would be another special episode titled Grand Slam and would be AEW's New York City debut, a city primarily known as home territory for WWE, as well as their first full event held in a stadium.
On August 27, 2021, it was revealed that Dark would begin being taped at its own set within Universal Studios Florida in Orlando at Soundstage 21. The inaugural set of tapings for Dark at Universal Studios were held on September 11.
On May 8, 2019, AEW reached a media rights deal with British media company ITV plc to broadcast AEW shows on ITV4 with pay-per-views being broadcast on ITV Box Office starting with Double or Nothing on May 25, 2019. However, after ITV Box Office ceased operations in January 2020, ITV no longer broadcasts AEW pay-per-views in the UK.
AEW releases a "Road to..." and "Countdown to..." series of videos on its official YouTube channel prior to Dynamite and pay-per-view events. The videos consist of interviews, video packages, and backstage segments. The series is used to hype pre-existing matches, as well as create new rivalries.
In November 2019, AEW announced Bash at the Beach, a nine-day series of events, featuring two episodes of Dynamite, including one aboard Chris Jericho's Rock 'N' Wrestling Rager at Sea. On February 19, 2020, AEW reached a media rights deal with German media company Sky Deutschland (owned by Comcast, WWE's United States broadcast partner, which previously broadcast WWE and Impact Wrestling shows) to broadcast AEW pay-per-views on Sky Select Event.
On January 22, 2021, TNT Africa announced that the channel would begin airing Dynamite on Friday nights in Sub-Saharan Africa. The show premiered on February 5, 2021. In February, AEW announced their newest show AEW Dark: Elevation, which began airing on March 15. The show airs on Mondays on their YouTube channel as a complement to AEW Dark.
On May 19, 2021, AEW announced that Dynamite would be moving to TBS in January 2022. In addition, AEW also announced that they would be launching a second weekly TV show called AEW Rampage, which would air on Fridays at 10 P.M. on TNT, beginning August 13, before moving to TBS in January along with Dynamite. On August 2, AEW announced a deal with Discovery Inc. to air Dynamite and Rampage on Eurosport starting on August 15, 2021 in India.
|Program||Original release||Original network||Notes|
|AEW Dynamite||October 2, 2019–present||TNT||Flagship television program.|
|AEW Dark||October 8, 2019–present||YouTube||Features matches taped at Universal Studios Florida.|
|AEW Dark: Elevation||March 15, 2021–present||YouTube||Features untelevised matches from Dynamite tapings which involve members of AEW's roster and independent wrestlers.|
|AEW Rampage||August 13, 2021–present||TNT||Secondary television program.|
AEW pay-per-view events are available via B/R Live in the United States and Canada, and via FITE TV internationally. Additionally, AEW PPVs are also available via traditional PPV outlets in the United States and Canada and are carried by all major satellite providers.
"The Forbidden Door"
In late 2020 and going into 2021, AEW formed partnerships with other wrestling promotions, a concept dubbed by Tony Khan as going through "The Forbidden Door". On December 8, 2020 AEW started a partnership with Impact Wrestling, which AEW saw AEW World Champion, Kenny Omega making appearances on Impact!. Omega would later make his in ring debut for Impact at Hard to Kill, and from April 25 to August 13, 2021 Omega would simultaneously hold the AEW World, Impact World, and AAA Mega Championship (from Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide - another AEW partner promotion)
On February 3, 2021, at Beach Break television special AEW started a partnership with New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW). After the main event, Kenta made his AEW debut and hit Jon Moxley with his finishing strike, the Go 2 Sleep. Kenta would later make his AEW in ring debut at the following Dynamite.
As a result of these partnerships, other companies' championships have been defended on AEW programming, such as the AAA Mega and AAA World Tag Team Championship, NJPW's IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship, and the Impact World Championship, where AEW star Christian Cage would defeat Omega and win the title on the debut episode of AEW Rampage.
In October 2021, following Impact's Bound for Glory event, the relationship between AEW and Impact ended.
On November 10, 2020, the promotion announced AEW Games, the company's video game brand. AEW revealed that three games are in development; AEW Casino: Double or Nothing and AEW Elite GM for mobile devices, and a untitled console game developed by former WWE 2K developer Yuke's.
AEW signs most of its talent to exclusive contracts, meaning talent can appear or perform only on AEW programming and events though it has partnerships with the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), Japan's New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), DDT Pro-Wrestling (DDT), Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling (TJPW), and Mexico's Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide (AAA), wrestlers and other personalities from those promotions may also make periodic appearances at AEW events.
Championships and accomplishments
As of November 29, 2021.
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