The biggest story in the American pro wrestling scene in 2019 so far has been the announcement of All Elite Wrestling. Since the announcement on New Year’s Day of the promotion’s existence and more announcements to come at the Double or Nothing rally on January 8, we learned a little bit more about AEW.
We learned that the roster includes Hangman Page, Brandi Rhodes (who is also Chief Brand Officer), and Cody and the Young Bucks, who are also Executive Vice Presidents (along with unnamed others) of the company. Britt Baker was reported to have signed with AEW, the SCU trio (BTE regulars and on the poster for the rally) was reported to have signed, and it was rumored Goldberg could be involved. With Kenny Omega’s announcement that he was leaving NJPW, which has yet to be confirmed by the company, speculation abounded that he might join AEW.
Earlier on January 8, Tony and Shad Khan released statements about the promotion. Shad confirmed he is the lead investor, and his son Tony will be the president. Tony spoke about his lifelong love of wrestling and encourage people to support he and his father’s business venture by saying, “I urge everyone who believes in what we’re doing, or wants to believe in dreams coming true, to support AEW by spreading the word and passing the wrestling bug onto someone else. My message: Get in on the ground floor with AEW today and help lead our movement to grow the wrestling community and ensure that the voices of the wrestling fans, their creative minds and their remarkable ideas, will always be heard.”
The rally took place at 5 PM Eastern at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. Before the event started, Conrad Thompson, aka Conrad the Mortgage Guy, declared “I haven’t felt like this since the nineties. It’s great to be a wrestling fan again” and “wrestling history is going to made today” and encouraged people to get lapsed fans to tune in. Also before the rally proper, Billy Gunn was revealed as an AEW producer.
Conrad Thompson and Alex Marvez first introduced SCU (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky.) Kazarian showed off their new t-shirt in the Jacksonville Jaguars colors, and Daniels announced that they are “officially part of All Elite Wrestling.” SCU was backed by Jaguars cheerleaders shaking pom-poms as they make their announcements.
Cody was then welcomed to the stage, complete with pyro. A “thank you, Cody” chant went up from the crowd as an “Elite” flag waved before he started to speak. He spoke about keeping “the fire going” from All In. Cody said, “We have a saying in the Elite: change the world. So to do that sometimes you have to change the world that you live in, and since my first breath, I have lived in the world of professional wrestling. It’s all I know. Hell, it’s all I really want to know.”