One year on from All Elite Wrestling’s first Pay Per View show, Double or Nothing, the promotion has gone from strength to strength. The WWE alternative was announced on New Years Day in 2019 by “The Elite” – Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega and “The Young Bucks” Nick and Matt Jackson – as a startup promotion backed and booked by Tony Khan, son of Fulham owner Shadid Khan. The billionaire backed promotion began the year filling out the promotion with some of the top wrestlers in the world, such as Chris Jericho, the Elite themselves, PAC, and “The Lucha Bros” Pentagon Jr and Rey Fenix. All wrestlers at the top of their game, these men provided a backbone for great matches and great stories to be told, as some of the best workers not snapped up by WWE. These stars were complimented by some great young talent working the indipendent scenes, like ‘Hangman’ Adam Page,MJF, Jungle Boy and Sammy Guevera, as well as “Indie” stars such as Best Friend’s Chuck Taylor and Trent?, SoCal Uncensored, and many others from all over the world.
The signings of former WWE talent such as Jon Moxley, Brodie Lee and FTR (Formerly the Revival) have helped add extra star power to brand, and the wrestling on offer from AEW is some of the best in world at the moment.
In this post, I’ll be looking at the 5 best things to come from AEW in the year since it’s first show up until now.
1. The Rise of Hangman Page
‘Hangman’ Adam Page wasn’t the same man he is now as he was at Double or Nothing. Talked about a future prospect due to his work in Ring of Honor, the Millenial Cowboy was highly rated by the Elite, being put into the first ever AEW World Championship match vs Chris Jericho at All Out, where he lost the match. Page suffered from a lack of character during this time, but this loss amongst others catapulted him into the fans hearts, turning to alcohol to cope with his losses, and tension with his friends in the Elite.
This endeared Page to the crowd, indentifying with the feelings he felt towards his frends. He felt left out by the Elite’s close knit connetion, and felt like Kenny, his tag partner whom he currently holds the Tag Team Titles with, didn’t respect him enough, or trust him enough compared to the Young Bucks. This came to a head with a Tag Team Title match between Page & Omega vs the Young Bucks, a 30 minute classic that is one of the best tag team matches of all time, where Page won the match for Omega and himself.
Hangman Page is the next big star for All Elite Wrestling, the whiskey drinking Cowboy being one of the best characters going at the moment in all of wrestling. I look forward to seeing what is going to happen next with Page and Omega, and the eventual split within the Elite.
2. Orange Cassidy vs PAC at AEW Revolution
This point could simply be titled “Orange Cassidy”. He is without a doubt my favourite wrestle in AEW right now, and my fourth favourite of all time (Keep your eye out for “My Top Five Wrestlers of all time” when I get bored). His act is so original and hilarious, but the man himself can really go in the ring, and is a really entertaining wrestler. His persona of a wrestler who just doesn’t care and just does whatever is unique in a world of wrestlers who “Just want to have the best matches I’m a wrestler hi im dolph ziggler lol”. His trio with the Best Friends being his mouthpiece adds longevity to his character, and overall if just the best.
His match at Revolution vs PAC is a masterpiece. The juxtaposition between the King of Sloth style vs the hard working, fucking jacked, evil PAC made from an interesting story, with Cassidy finally having to try as PAC started hurting him was brilliant. PAC’s shock of the situation made the match great, with the mix of comedy and seriousness lending itself to a great match in the end. No Spoilers go and watch it and everything OC has ever done.
3. Stadium Stampede – The Elite w/Matt Hardy vs The Inner Circle
The main event of the anniversary show by AEW was this masterpiece of a match. As a big fan of comedy in wrestling, this ticked all the boxes for me (except for the lack of Orange Cassidy).
Both teams shone in this 5 vs 5 match, with Adam Page making a late entrance on a horse, to counteract the Inner Circles very stylish matching jersey’s
Highlights included Jericho attacking the team mascot (Who’s called Jackson De Ville i believe), one of the Young Bucks suplexing Sammy Guevera 100 yards onto the touch line (and superkicking the official for penalising him for over celebrating), and Matt Hardy’s transformation from gimmick to gimmick in the ‘Pool of reincarnation’.
A bar brawl with Jake Hager and Hangman Page ended in Omega and Page sharing a drink together, Omega with milk and Page with his whiskey. This showed a bigger sign of friendship between the duo, furthering their storylines together.
The match ended on a huge ending, Omega hitting Sammy Guevera with a one winged-angel about 20 feet from the seats onto some coincidentally placed cardboard boxes. Lucky they were there, or Guevera would have been a goner.
This match was a really fun match, and they made great match out of this Corona business which I’d rather not talk about.
4. Dustin Rhodes vs Cody Rhodes – The Match
When first announced, with little build up and no TV time to give the story any drama, Cody vs his brother Dustin seemed like a dream match in the making, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Dustin Rhodes had left the WWE, where he made famous the character of Goldust, an androgynys, sex pest of a character who sexually assaulted people and was friends with Booker T. Classic.
He made his return to WWE in 2013 in the best shape of his life, conquering his demons of drugs and alcohol, to team with his brother in a memorable tag team storyline, where they won their jobs back by defeating the Shield, at Battleground 2013. The duo would go on to have multiple tag team title runs, but WWE never pulled the trigger on a potential feud between the two.
Now, years later in AEW, Dustin Rhodes has little name value. Having been granted his release by WWE, he’s joined his brother in AEW as his former gimmick name, and hasn’t had a great match in years.
The build up was good, but consisted of interviews filmed at the homes of both men. They were fine, but didn’t do anything really to sell anyone on the duo. This would be your standard brother vs brother match, nothing special, lets get on to the main event blah blah blah.
Then the match happened.
The match was an instant classic. The emotion poured into the bout by the brothers was immense, with the chants of “Dusty! Dusty!” at the outset of the match adding an extra layer to the proceedings – Dusty was Dusty Rhodes, legendary wrestler and father to the brothers.
The weight of AEW was on the duo’s shoulders and they delivered tenfold.
Go and watch the match.
5. Ending the Nightmare Collective
The Nightmare collective were a team led by Brandi Rhodes (why?) consisting of Awesome Kong, someone called Mel, and a deathmatch guy called Dr Luther or something.
They were terrible and ruined a perfectly good Riho vs Kris Statlander match for literally no reason.
I’m glad they’re gone, please never come back.