It’s finally happening. Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks officially announced they were launching their own wrestling company–All Elite Wrestling–on January 1. Now, after an AEW rally held in Jacksonville, Florida, those involved with the new company have shared many more details, including several names that will make up the roster of the show.
The biggest announcement was the signing of four-time WWE World Champion Chris Jericho, who proclaimed he’s “all in on All Elite Wrestling.” Jericho, who most recently appeared at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 13 on January 4, was last seen on WWE programming in April 2018 during the Greatest Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
Joining Jericho on the AEW is another former WWE superstar, Pac, who wrestled for the company as Neville. The two-time WWE Cruiserweight Champion interrupted “Hangman” Adam Page during the rally, leading to the two arguing over who will be the first All Elite Wrestling World Champion. Pac was with WWE between 2012 and 2017.
The rest of the roster is made up of some of the biggest names in independent wrestling. Beyond Cody, Page, and the Young Bucks, All Elite has signed “The Bad Boy” Joey Janela, Penelope Ford, Frankie Kazarian, Scorpio Sky, Christopher Daniels, Dr. Britt Baker DMD, and Maxwell Jacob Friedman. Interestingly, it was announced that not only would AEW have a women’s division when it launched, but that female talent would be paid on a scale equal to what male talent is paid.
At this point, there’s no word on whether Kenny Omega will join his friends in The Elite as part of AEW. He and “The Villain” Marty Scurll are the only two members of The Elite that, as of now, are not officially tied to the new company.
As for the AEW’s first show, it was announced by Cody and The Bucks that the sequel to their All In event–Double or Nothing–will take place on May 25 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. That particular venue has a history of hosting professional wrestling as the home of WCW’s Halloween Havoc pay-per-view between 1996 and 2000, as well as many episodes of WCW Monday Nitro.
The arrival of AW comes at a very interesting time for professional wrestling. While WWE remains the undeniable leader in sports entertainment, independent wrestling is perhaps more popular than it’s ever been, with many indie wrestlers stating that it’s now possible to make a good living without signing to WWE–something that was unthinkable at one point. Now with Ring of Honor and NJPW running a show together at Madison Square Garden, the longtime “home arena” of WWE, and AEW heading to the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the wrestling landscape is definitely changing.