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The All Elite Wrestling Presscon: Chris Jericho Signed, PAC Versus Page for AEW Title, And More


The Young Bucks and Cody-led All Elite Wrestling threw their opening salvo to the world of wrestling at the rally for their first event, Double or Nothing, on May 25 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Wednesday (Tuesday U.S. time). Some of them were foregone conclusions, while others were genuine surprises.

If you missed it, here's the VOD of the livestream:



Here are the highlights, if you don't care to watch it:
  • Chris Jericho is now All Elite! 

Jericho calls himself the Man of 1,000 Holds, but he might as well be called the Man of  1,000 Promotions! Just days after losing the IWGP Intercontinental Championship in the culmination of a year-long feud with Los Ingobernables de Japon leader Tetsuya Naito, Jericho shocked the wrestling world again by showing up at AEW's rally with a new contract.

Perhaps the only fans who weren't fazed by his appearance were those who keenly followed his association with The Elite over the last year, spanning from his booking of the lot on the Jericho Cruise to his appearances on Being The Elite.

He's not the only veteran who has previously been on BTE to show up at AEW. Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky—collectively known as SoCal Uncensored—signed on as talents while Billy Gunn was announced as AEW's first backstage producer.
  • Hangman Page is AEW's big babyface, and PAC is their king shitheel. 
Suffice it to say, nobody really thought PAC would show up at the rally after a tight schedule of wrestling around the U.K. Hangman Page, who was interrupted mid-speech about how he was going to be the first AEW Champion, certainly wasn't.

Another surprise appearance was that of Joey Janela and Penelope Ford of Spring Break fame (a.k.a. Where PCO owned balls with WALTER and The Great Sasuke busted a fuckton of barrels). Janela emerged from a Jacksonville Jaguars mascot costume after attacking MJF, like a beautiful butterfly, and announced that he and Ford were "All Elite" in 2019.
  • Equal pay reigns at AEW as female wrestlers will receive the same pay as their male counterparts.
AEW received early criticism for their lack of news regarding their female roster. So far, only Dr. Britt Baker (dentist AND professional wrestler) has been signed for the women's division, aside from Chief Brand Officer Brandi Rhodes.

As for concerns regarding POC and LGBT wrestlers, Matt Jackson has said that they don't care about people's race, gender, sex, or religion and will sign talent as long as they are an "elite athlete."
  • CIMA and the Oriental Wrestling Entertainment boys are crossing the pond. AEW announced their partnership with the boys from China, a deal which could propel Chinese wrestling to the world stage.
If you haven't heard of OWE, Nuclear Convoy has a great primer for OWE that does a great job explaining the promotion and its cultural roots to outsiders. TLDR: Imagine actual Shaolin Temple Kung Fu students throwing down after receiving training from a high-flying Dragon Gate veteran, with gimmicks drawing from 70's kung-fu movies, Chinese lore, and action movies.

Their high-flying antics will still raise the hackles of anti-flippydo-ers, but at least they might get...
  • Healthcare and full-time employment (?). Financier and co-founder Tony Khan, co-owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, told Pro Wrestling Sheet's on-site correspondent that they "hope to iron out" healthcare and full-time employment benefits for talents soon. Aside from AEW and Jaguars, Khan also serves as chairman and director of football operations of Fulham F.C., and owner and chairman of TruMedia Networks.
Wrestling companies, including the WWE, have always classified their talents as independent contractors to avoid paying for health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, and other compensations provided by the law (Voices of Wrestling has a good article on this). If AEW can guarantee that they will take care of their talents like this, WWE—even with their billion dollar deal with FOX—may finally have true competition for U.S. airtime for the first time since the '90s.

Lastly, Cody and The Young Bucks announced that their second show will be held at Jacksonville, Florida and that a portion of the gate will go to victims of gun violence. No other details for the show were announced.

Need a full list of signings to AEW? Here's the full list by Gene Mrosko over at Cageside Seats:
  • Cody Rhodes
  • Brandi Rhodes
  • The Young Bucks
  • Hangman Page
  • Chris Jericho
  • PAC
  • Joey Janela
  • Penelope Ford
  • MJF
  • Britt Baker
  • Christopher Daniels
  • Frankie Kazarian
  • Scorpio Sky
Other talents rumored to be on the plate are Kenny Omega, who announced that he might take a break from New Japan after his loss to Hiroshi Tanahashi, and the lucha bros Pentagón and ‎Fénix, whose rumored courtship with AEW prompted MLW to repeat that they were still signed to them 'til the end of the year and Impact to reported offer low six-figures for their retention.

Do you think AEW will be the healthy competition WWE and ROH need in the U.S.? Sound off in the comments below or share this on social media!

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