All Elite Wrestling (AEW) officially launched on a midnight episode of the Young Bucks YouTube series, “Being the Elite.” The episode ended with a timer counting down on the phones of Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, and Adam Page. They held their phones together to reveal the new AEW logo and the name of their next special, which will be called “Double or Nothing.”
A “Double or Nothing” rally was announced on social media after the Being the Elite episode was released on YouTube. The rally will be held at TIAA Bank Field with a special announcement from The Elite on Jan. 8. The Young Bucks, Cody, Brandi (Cody’s wife), and So Cal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, Scorpio Sky) were shown in the advertisement for the rally posted on their Twitter accounts. It will be streamed, but a platform hasn’t been announced yet. Kenny Omega was not featured in the advertising for the rally nor did he take part in the Being the Elite AEW reveal at the end of the episode.
PWTorch has confirmed that several independent wrestlers have signed holding deals with AEW. These deals convert to full deals once they get the funding of a TV deal. Tony Khan, the son of the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, is going to be running the company. He’s a big wrestling fan and has told people he was a big fan of WCW. PWTorch has confirmed that B.J. Whitmer, who recently left ROH, will be working behind the scenes at AEW. Whitmer posted several AEW related images on his Twitter earlier today.
Once the deals convert to full deals, they are very good deals for independent talent with the floor being a good six figure deal. Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer has reported that Cody has signed with the promotion and The Young Bucks are expected to sign soon. I would also expect SCU and Hangman Page to sign deals in the near future as well.
Talking to PWTorch sources familiar with the TV landscape, AEW is going to need a big TV deal to sustain the contracts they are offering to talent. They don’t currently have a TV deal in place, but the group must be confident in getting one given the announcement today and the money they will be paying out to talent if a deal is landed. As far as running events without a TV deal in place yet, the common thought from sources is that AEW will run “Double or Nothing” sometime in the spring and use Being the Elite to promote it.
Sources have noted that the group is massively popular and is capable of building up to special events, but there is some skepticism as to whether or not the group can sustain a full touring schedule around 50 dates like ROH runs. The key AEW wrestlers weren’t able to boost ROH’s attendance, including after All In when ROH ran the Death Before Dishonor PPV later in September with largely the same roster of talent. ROH ended up running in front of a much smaller crowd when they left Sam’s Town, which holds around 1,000 fans, to put on an event at the much larger Orleans Arena.
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Sources tell PWTorch that AEW wanted to sign Bandido, but they were outbid by ROH. WWE was also interested in signing Bandido as well. The deciding factor for Bandido to sign with ROH was that because there is no TV deal in place with AEW, ROH was able to offer him a set amount of dates at a guaranteed rate right now.
WWE, AEW, and ROH will now be competing for talent going forward and today’s announcement certain changes the landscape of wrestling in 2019. All three companies have money to spend at this time, so it’s a great time to be a free agent in wrestling.
Contact Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @sr_torch