Chris Jericho shocks by signing with All Elite Wrestling as AEW rally hits a home run
The upstart pro wrestling promotion got off to a fantastic start on Tuesday
The pro wrestling revolution is indeed very real after the launch of the Cody Rhodes and Young Bucks-led All Elite Wrestling promotion on Tuesday in Jacksonville, Florida. The only thing we still don't know is whether said revolution will be televised -- and whether New Japan Pro Wrestling star Kenny Omega will, indeed, front the promotion when his contract is reportedly up in late January.
Either way, Monday's public rally felt like a success as the new promotion, funded by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan with son Tony Khan playing a prominent role, revealed just a sampling of its future plans and which performers had officially signed on to join what could become WWE's first legitimate competition since the fall of WCW amid "The Attitude Era" nearly 20 years ago.
AEW announced its first show, titled "Double or Nothing," will take place May 25 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena as a sequel to the wildly successful independent supershow "All In" that was funded by Rhodes along with Matt and Nick Jackson last September. Rhodes said a second show will take place in Jacksonville at a date to be determined, and proceeds will benefit victims of gun violence.
With the promotion becoming a reality thanks in large part to the success of their weekly "Being The Elite" series on YouTube, Rhodes and the Young Bucks welcomed an impressive roster of friends that will join AEW including Adam "Hangman" Page, So Cal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky), MJF, Joey Janela and independent women's star Britt Baker. Matt Jackson also announced the signing of wrestlers from the high-flying and innovative China-based group Oriental Wrestling Entertainment (OWE).
In addition, Brandi Rhodes, the wife of Cody, will serve as both a wrestler and AEW's chief branding officer and former WWE star "Bad Ass" Billy Gunn will serve as a producer. Podcast personality Conrad Thompson also hosted the rally alongside Alex Marvez, although their roles in the company were not publicly defined.
The biggest AEW signings, however, were revealed last as former WWE superstar Neville, known as PAC independently, crashed the rally and started what appeared to be a future title feud with Page. PAC willingly walked away from WWE in 2017 sat out until his release last August.
Just when it seemed the press conference was over, WWE legend Chris Jericho made a grand entrance to confirm his involvement, as well, by saying it wasn't about the money.
"I'm here because I believe in doing something different, I believe in doing something new," Jericho said. "It's what I've always done my entire career. I'm a maverick. I'm an outlaw. I'm a pariah. I'm Chris Jericho, baby.
"I'm not here just to change the world. AEW is not here just to change the world. We are going to change the whole universe."
Jericho, who has worked with NJPW for the past year along with financing his own independent pro wrestling cruise, echoed much of the words spoken earlier by Rhodes, who reiterated multiples times AEW's focus on serving fans.
"Opportunity doesn't pay the bills, money does. And happy wrestlers means happy fans and the fans come first," Rhodes said. "Wins and losses will matter like never before. We won't coach you on who to like ... you are fans and you are allowed to be any which way you want to be."
Brandi Rhodes confirmed that AEW will indeed have a women's division but that much of the names, outside of herself and Baker, will be revealed at a later date. She also said women's wrestlers will be paid evenly and that "there is no sliding scale."
Despite reports that AEW is currently talking to a number of television broadcasting entities, no formal announcement was made or even referenced. Should AEW only add to Tuesday's roster reveal by signing Omega, who is considered by many to be the best wrestler in the world, AEW is expected to have a fighting chance at its intention of "changing the world."
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