There hasn't been a more exciting time for wrestling fans since the late 90s when WWF (now WWE), and WCW went head-to-head in the infamous Monday Night Wars.
Now, we're looking at the Wednesday Night Wars as the upstart wrestling promotion All Elite Wrestling looks to claim its place in the wrestling world. Can AEW actually make waves in the wrestling world, or is WWE too entrenched as the king of predetermined fighting?
We'll start to get a better idea of the landscape after October 2, but for now, it's time to get you ready for the first episode of All Elite Wrestling with some key things you need to know about the company and where we currently are after the special events that have aired so far.
1. When Does All Elite Wrestling Air?
The show will air at from 8-10pm Eastern time (5pm Pacific) on the TNT network every Wednesday. It's a traveling show, which means it will take place in a different city for each episode. The first one takes place in Washington, D.C. at the Capital One Arena. From there, the company is traveling to Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Charleston, Charlotte, Nashville, Indianapolis, and Chicago.
If you're outside of the US, things are a little murky right now. We know it will air on ITV4 in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Switzerland. No TV deal has been announced for Canada as of this writing.
2. When Are the First Show's Matches?
Obviously, if you're going to tune into the first episode of AEW TV, you probably want to see some matches. After all, All Elite Wrestling has been much more focused on good matches than its competition, which tends to focus more on story than actually putting on a quality in-ring product.
So far, these are the matches confirmed for the first episode of AEW on October 2:
- Cody Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara
- Young Bucks and Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho and two mystery partners
- MJF vs. Brandon Cutler
- Nyla Rose vs. Rijo to crown the first AEW Women's Champion
Also, AEW has announced that Hangman Page and Jon Moxley are scheduled to appear on the first episode of TV, though the company hasn't revealed exactly what they'll be doing.
3. All Elite Wrestling Is Rated TV-14
Something that has fans of WWE's Attitude Era rather excited is the fact that AEW TV has been confirmed to be rated TV-14. Currently, WWE is rated TV-PG, which greatly limits the type of product it can put on TV.
While AEW has shown that it has no problem with heavy amounts of blood on its PPV specials (just look at the Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes match) AEW President Tony Khan has made it clear that there won't be such intense bloodbaths on the regular TV show.
In a Q&A after Fyter Fest, Khan said:
No, no, no, no, no defiantly not because this was not TV, this was a streaming show. It was not a — it was effectively a pay-per-view in a lot of the world.
In the US it was presented free, but this was a pay-per-view and so you can expect different rules for pay-per-view and we said going in that these were non-sanctioned hardcore matches and I think that expectation going in and we wouldn't have advertised that kind of violence, you know? We wouldn't have offered it on TNT. 100% no.Tony Khan on cursing, thumbtacks, middle fingers, and blood on TNT
4. Who Are the Key Characters in AEW?
While we presume AEW will do a good job of introducing the key characters to fans as the show progresses, it might be a good idea to go in knowing who some of the biggest names are.
- The Young Bucks: Nick and Matt Jackson (real-life brothers) are one of the all-time great tag teams. Executive Vice Presidents of AEW. In the inaugural tag team tournament.
- Cody Rhodes: Executive Vice President of AEW. Son of legend Dusty Rhodes. Challenging for AEW Championship at a later date.
- Kenny Omega: Executive Vice President of AEW. Regarded as one of the best in-ring wrestlers in the world. Currently playing out a losing streak story.
- Chris Jericho: Wrestling legend who made his name in WCW and WWE. Current and first All Elite Wrestling World Champion.
- Lucha Brothers: Pentagon and Fenix, luchadors known for spectacular in-ring performances. Long-standing feud with Young Bucks. In the inaugural tag team tournament.
- Adam "Hangman" Page: Member of The Elite faction with Omega, Young Bucks, Cody, etc in New Japan before AEW started. Lost match to Chris Jericho for first AEW Championship.
- Jon Moxley: FKA Dean Ambrose in WWE. Currently feuding with Kenny Omega. One of the company's biggest stars in terms of name value.
There are far more members of the AEW roster, which can be found here, but those are some of the most important names, as they are major characters on-screen, and they have a lot of power behind-the-scenes, with many of them serving as VPs of the company.
Some other names to watch out for are Nyla Rose, MJF, Brandi Rhodes, The Dark Order, The Best Friends, Orange Cassidy, and plenty of others. The roster is pretty loaded with talent, so there's a lot to be excited about there.
5. All Elite Wrestling Has Lots of Money
One worry with starting a wrestling promotion with the plans of being more than just your run-of-the-mill independent brand is money. Fortunately, AEW is backed by Tony Kahn and his father Shahid "Shad" Khan, AEW is not short on funding. In fact, according to Wikipedia, Shahid Khan has a net worth of $6.8 billion (compared to Vince McMahon's $3.2 billion).
If you're going to go All In (pun intended) on a wrestling promotion, having Tony and Shahid Khan as the owners of your company is certainly a good place to start.
6. AEW Is Going Head-to-Head With NXT
As soon as the Wednesday night from 8-10pm timeslot was locked down, WWE announced that it was moving its beloved developmental brand NXT from the WWE Network to the USA Network in the same timeslot, thus creating what fans are now calling The Wednesday Night Wars.