A group of wrestlers and a billionaire have come together to create a wrestling company.
We are currently in the first month of 2019, and already there's big news in the wrestling industry: a new company has been formed. This new company will be known as All Elite Wrestling and it is being supported financially by Tony Khan, son of Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan.
The others involved so far are Cody Rhodes, wrestler and son of wrestling legend Dusty Rhodes; Matt and Nick Jackson, who are a tag team known as the Young Bucks; and wrestler Adam Page. This foursome calls themselves "The Elite," hence the name of the company. It has also been announced that Brandi Rhodes, wife of Cody Rhodes, has been appointed as the Chief Brand Officer of AEW.
As far as I know, there has never been a black woman in an executive position like this in the history of wrestling, so this would make Brandi the first to do so. The company doesn't even have a full roster or television deal yet and they are already making history.
The idea for this company has been in the works ever since "The Elite," with assistance from independent wrestling company Ring of Honor, put on the biggest independent wrestling show in history known as "All In" back in September 2018. The event sold out with a record-breaking 11,263 people in attendance. Apparently, the success of this show has gained AEW some interest from television networks. Perhaps they will announce a television deal at their next event, "Double or Nothing."
"The Elite" changed wrestling by putting on the biggest independent show in history, and now they plan to do the same with AEW.
One of their objectives is to embrace diversity. Usually, diversity seems to be brushed off as pandering and unnecessary, but in the context of wrestling, diversity of wrestlers is needed. The WWE is what most people think of when they think of wrestling, and they don't have the best track record when it comes to issues of race, sexual orientation, and gender. For every time they've said the phrase "Women's Revolution" or that they are a family company, there have been bra and panties matches, white people calling people the n-word, or just straight up blackface.
AEW seems like they want to avoid things like this. Matt Jackson stated at a press conference, "All Elite...[is] a company that welcomes all gifted talent. We don't care about race or gender or sex or religion. If you're an elite athlete we want you. Our doors are open to all." They also plan on offering equal pay for women.
Another objective of AEW is to offer healthcare and full-time employment to all employees. This right here is the most revolutionary announcement I've heard from this company. WWE classifies its wrestlers as independent contractors, meaning the wrestlers themselves receive no benefits, pensions or insurance. This means WWE wrestlers end up paying for their own travel and lodging, and even their own ring gear. Just the idea of being offered health insurance itself may convince wrestlers to sign with AEW. There has been no word from AEW on unionizing among wrestlers, but with the promises they're making, they might not be necessary.
From what has been officially confirmed, this sounds like a company with the potential to become a decent alternative to WWE. The only issue is: will they be able to get a good television deal and a good roster to go along with it? Only time will tell.