Cody Rhodes & the Young Bucks Ready to Change the World With All Elite Wrestling (AEW)

All Elite Wrestling

Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks’ (Matt and Nick Jackson) entrepreneurial minds and freethinking spirits were on full display during their self-financed event known as All In last year. This love letter to professional wrestling was a critical and financial success. It exceeded all expectations, drawing more than the 10,000-fan benchmark set in Chicago, with viewers tuning in via traditional and streaming Pay-Per-View.

The historic extravaganza was an eye-opening experience for the three. Clearly, there was a hunger within the industry for something different and an alternative to promotions including the leader WWE. The show in many ways served as the catalyst for what was unveiled on New Year’s Day as All Elite Wrestling (AEW).

The new wrestling promotion had its proverbial coming-out party in the form of an energetic rally in Jacksonville on January 8. The gathering outside TIAA Bank Field was strategically in the vicinity of a SmackDown Live event and the venue of the business venture’s billionaire lead investor Shad Khan’s NFL football team, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Leadership was slowly announced, with Khan’s son Tony Khan, co-owner of the Jags and the Fulham F.C. Premier League, serving as the president of the organization. Joining the lifelong wrestling fan are Rhodes and the Jacksons working in the capacity of executive vice presidents. Rhodes’ wife Brandi signed on for the position of chief branding officer.

AEW created an immediate buzz with a rally filled with pomp and circumstance complete with cheerleaders, NFL mascot Jaxon de Ville, fireworks and real star power. None bigger than Chris Jericho, who was among the major acquisitions for the promotion.

Along with the heavy-hitter, AEW’s roster is bringing in former Ring of Honor talents SoCal Uncensored (Frankie Kazarian, Scorpio Sky and Christopher Daniels), Britt Baker, Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF), “Hangman” Adam Page, Joey Janella, Penelope Ford and former WWE superstar Neville, known as Pac. The budding company is also partnering with Oriental Wrestling Entertainment (OWE) in China by bringing in the Good Hearts.

These stars are expected to be part of the upcoming All In follow-up Double or Nothing from the spacious MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 25. Members of The Elite also revealed a second show in the works from Jacksonville with much of the proceeds benefiting victims of gun violence.

Other aspects of the promotion was that wins and losses will matter like never before. Those signed to deals will be well compensated, with men and women on an even pay scale. No TV deal was formally announced, but one would assume that it’s not far behind as the infrastructure comes together in the coming weeks and months.

The rally streamed online, with terms trending worldwide, drawing excited chatter online from those inside and outside the industry contemplating the possibilities for AEW’s future. Rather than signing big-money contracts with WWE or another promotion, many have decided to help build a company from the ground up. Jericho was a huge get for a number of reasons: It gives an shot of legitimacy, additional brand awareness and might open the door for other established names to explore opportunities to sign on the dotted line.

As speculation and rumors of who is coming in (Kenny Omega? Jim Ross? Bill Goldberg?) swirl, one thing is for sure — there may never be a better time to be a wrestling fan.