Shortly after Midnight Pacific time, the official launch of the new AEW (All Elite Wrestling) promotion was confirmed on a new episode of “Being The Elite.”
The close of the episode featured Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks and Hangman Page confirming the “Double or Nothing” event – the follow up to last year’s very successful ALL IN event in Chicago – and the now official launch of AEW.
A rally was announced for January 8 (a week from today) in Jacksonville touting more information on the Double or Nothing event and the AEW promotion going forward. The Young Bucks, Cody Rhodes, Brandi Rhodes, Hangman Page, Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky were advertised for the rally.
Join us January 8th in JACKSONVILLE for more information on Double or Nothing…and AEW! pic.twitter.com/72gnO6fqOh
— Double or Nothing (@ALL_IN_2018) January 1, 2019
The rally will take place in front of the West Club at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, home to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. This is key as Tony Khan is being described as the “head of the company” and will likely be officially introduced at the rally. Tony’s family are the owners of the Jaguars and he was rumored to be involved with AEW for months.
It should be noted the rally takes place the same day WWE will be holding a Smackdown Live taping in Jacksonville, just down the road from TIAA Bank Field. It’s very possible fans arriving for the WWE TV taping will see the rally taking place outside, which is scheduled to begin around 5:00 p.m. Eastern local time.
Khan’s involvement and the possibility of AEW being launched went public as early as this past November when trademarks were discovered and made public on Reddit. At the time, trademarks were filed for: All Elite Wrestling, AEW All Out, All Out, AEW, Double or Nothing, Tuesday Night Dynamite and AEW Double Or Nothing.
According to a report by F4WOnline, talent that will be involved with AEW are being signed to multi-year contracts. The Young Bucks, who have been touting the announcement on Twitter, have yet to officially sign but are expected to in the next 24-48 hours. Cody Rhodes is officially signed to the promotion, with the expectation being that his wife Brandi, Hangman Page, Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky are as well.
The promotion has yet to officially agree to terms on any kind of a television deal, but “multiple offers” are said to be currently in discussion according to a report by Dave Meltzer Just a few weeks ago, The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that Cody, The Bucks and Page all turned down offers from WWE. Back in early December while overseas in the UK, Cody said he had passed on an offer to return to WWE weeks prior.
What the launch of this promotion means in regards to a relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling is unknown. A majority of the talent involved in AEW have already finished up contractual obligations with Ring of Honor and were set to become free agents effective January 1, including any current deals with New Japan. Cody, The Bucks and Page are all currently in Japan for the big Wrestle Kingdom 13 event this Friday.
The wrestling landscape going forward in 2019 will become quite interesting, with Dave Meltzer describing a potential “war” for talent for the first time in a long time since the days of WWE and WCW competing. The expectation is that WWE, ROH and AEW will now be competing for talent, with ROH signing talent to exclusive deals. Impact Wrestling appears to almost be a non-factor with Anthem introducing non-exclusive deals in 2018.
You can check out the latest “Being The Elite” episode with the announcement below.