By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
All Elite Wrestling held a rally on in Jacksonville, Florida at at TIAA Bank Field. The following are the highlights of the rally, which is being broadcast on AEW’s social media accounts. Refresh the page for the latest updates listed below the video.
-Pyro shot off on the stage to kick off the official rally. Conrad Thompson hyped up the crowd and was joined by Alex Marvez. Thompson asked if fans are ready for a revolution. “Wrestling has needed this for a long time, hasn’t it?” Thompson asked.
-Frankie Kazarian, Christopher Daniels, and Scorpio Sky were introduced. Sky complained about some of the towns they have been in such as Nashville and he thinks it’s the worst town ever, but for some reason he doesn’t feel that way today. Daniels pushed the new t-shirts and noted that they have the Jacksonville Jaguars color scheme. Daniels said there’s been a lot of rumor and innuendo about SCU. He said they became one of the most popular trios in pro wrestling in 2018. He said they asked themselves how to follow it up. Daniels said SCU is officially a part of All Elite Wrestling. Kazarian stepped up to the podium and pointed out that Jaguars cheerleaders behind him. Kazarian led the crowd in saying SCU. The trio tossed some t-shirts to the crowd.
-Cody was introduced as the executive vice president of All Elite. Cody entered to his usual entrance theme. Some fans chanted “Dusty’s proud.” Cody responded, “I hope he is, right?” Cody said they have to keep the fire going that started at All In. He said they were putting words down on the new chapter and new book that is AEW. He said “change the world” is a saying in the elite. Cody said pro wrestlers are always the least paid. “At All Elite Wrestling, we’re going to change that,” Cody said. “We’re going to change the wrestling economy. You can offer someone an opportunity, but opportunity doesn’t pay the bills.” Cody said fans come first. Cody said wins and losses will matter in AEW like they have never mattered before. Cody said fans won’t be coached on how to be fans. He said they won’t be asked to cheer or boo certain people. Cody noted that he shares the role of executive vice president with Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson.
-Matt and Nick Jackson took the stage. Fans chanted “All Elite” and “thank you, Young Bucks.” Matt said it was unreal. He noted that they had a goal a few months ago to put 10,000 people and they did it. Matt said they were eventually approached by the Khan family, who asked if they really want to change the world. Matt said they answered yep, and the Khans said they can help. Matt said All Elite welcomes all gifted talent and don’t care about race, gender, sex, or religion. He said their doors are open to all. Matt said he had a little bit of an announcement. “I have some friends in China, these guys are doing some of the most gifted wrestling moves I’ve seen in my life,” Matt said. He said they made an agreement to bring in OWE to give them a spotlight. Matt said fans will love them. He said they call themselves the good hearts. Cody and the Bucks joked about how they were all told they were vice presidents and you can’t have three vice presidents. They announced they will be running Double or Nothing on Saturday, May 25 in Las Vegas at MGM Garden Arena. They said there would more announcements to come.
-Brandi Rhodes as introduced as the chief brand officer. Brandi said she didn’t know if she was more afraid of the amount of people or the fire from the pyro that nearly burned her. She said she liked all of it. Brandi said she keeps saying her title because it sounds really good to her. She said she also likes the nickname of Chief Brandi Officer and played up having a t-shirt made with that name. Brandi said her position will lead to a lot of hard work and a lot of late nights. She guaranteed she will bring the brand to where it needs to be. She said the thing she’s been asked most if whether there will be a women’s division in AEW. “Absolutely, there will be a women’s division,” Brandi said. She said they want it to be a strong female division with the best talent in the world. She said you have to cast a wide net in order to do that. She said she toured the world as a wrestler last year and broke her collarbone in Stardom. She said she also worked in Australia and the UK and worked with some of the best female talent available. She said they were talking to them. She also noted that they talked with some of the Japanese talent over the weekend and said more is to come. Brandi said the women in AEW will be paid equally and there won’t be a sliding scale. Brandi introduced a female signing.
-Dr. Britt Baker was introduced as an AEW signing. Baker thanked the fans, the Khan family, the Jacksons, and Cody and Brandi. She said what they are all doing with AEW is going to elevate pro wrestling to new heights. Baker said she is not only the first female signee, she’s one of the first overall athletes to sign with the company. Baker noted that she is a legitimate dentist in addition to being a wrestler. She said she hopes to showcase her talent while setting an example that you need to pursue anything and everything you have a true passion for. She spoke of getting her degree and announcing her signing with AEW as major achievements. She noted that she didn’t win at All In, but this May in Vegas will be “double or nothing.”
-Thompson hyped up the crowd about this being a great day and a real revolution for wrestling. Maxwell J Friedman interrupted Thompson and mocked him by calling him “tons of fun” and saying he’s happy he does podcasting because he has a face for it. After making other fat jokes, MJF told Thompson to get off his stage. MJF placed the gum from his mouth on the forehead of Thompson, who left the stage. Friedman introduced himself as the youngest and fastest rising star in pro wrestling today. MJF said he was excited when he got the call, but it turned to depression when he found out the press conference would be held in the dumpster fire known as Jacksonville. The Jaguars mascot showed up and was insulted by MJF until Joey Janela showed up and hit MJF with a crutch. Joey Janela introduced himself Penelope Ford as being “all elite.” Janela shot a t-shirt into the crowd using the mascot’s gun.
-Marvez noted that more than 100,000 people are watching the rally via various platforms (54,000 via Youtube currently). Adam Page was introduced. He said he flew into Jacksonville today and it’s his first day on the job and it was his favorite first day on the job. He said he doesn’t have a corporate overload or faceless minions telling him what to do and say or how to play his music. He said his boss is the the fans and he will work harder than he ever has in his life to make it work because the fans deserve it. Page said he doesn’t know what the plans are, but he will be the first All Elite Wrestling Champion.
-PAC (a/k/a Neville) made an unannounced entrance dressed his ring gear and went face to face with Page. PAC told Page that he’s already a champion and held up a title belt. PAC said Page couldn’t even lace his boots. Page removed his jacket, but PAC left the stage. Page said if that was some sort of challenge then he accepts.
-Thompson played up PAC as a surprise and asked the crowd what if it wasn’t the last surprise. Thompson introduced Cody and the Bucks as the founding fathers. Cody and the Bucks came out with the Jaguars cheerleaders. Cody said Nick scooped the announcement earlier. Cody asked Matt if he wanted to do it, then said he didn’t know for a shoot who was supposed to make the next announcement. Cody said the announcement was that their second show would be in Jacksonville, Florida (no date was announced) and said a large portion of the gate would go to benefit victims of gun violence. Cody said that was his last announcement. Matt said that’s it for now.
-Thompson played to the crowd and asked if they were ready for the revolution. Thompson played up the question of who would be the first AEW Champion. Fozzy’s “Judas” played and the cheerleaders left the stage. Chris Jericho walked onto the stage as pyro shot off. Jericho played to the crowd as they chanted his name. “I’m Chris Jericho and I am all in with All Elite Wrestling,” Jericho said. “Surprise.” Jericho said he thinks they just took things to a different level. Jericho said he was with AEW and he wasn’t there just for the money because he already has the money. Jericho said he believes in doing something different and new. Jericho said it’s what he’s always done throughout his entire career. “And it all starts today,” Jericho said. He said he knew it was a free rally, but if the attendees had a ticket stub he would tell them to keep it because this is the day it all starts. Jericho announced that he will be at the Double Or Nothing event in Vegas. Jericho said it starts now and it starts forever. “I’m not here to just change the world,” Jericho said. “AEW is not just here to change the world. We are going to change the whole universe.” Music played and pyro shot off from inside the Jaguars’ stadium.
-Thompson hyped the crowd on Double Or Nothing one more time to close out the rally. SCU showed up and reminded the crowd that the meet and greet would be happening shortly.
Powell’s POV: A well produced event that moved along quickly with no one overstaying their welcome. The only real downer is the lack of an announcement of a television or streaming deal, which presumably means nothing is finalized. And that’s obviously a key to all of this, as they obviously aspire to be more than an occasional pay-per-view company. The message was positive, there were plenty of loud fans in attendance, and they delivered a couple of big names in Jericho and PAC who were not advertised. I was also hoping to hear from Shad Khan or Tony Khan, but they kept the focus on the talent.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Will Pruett reviewing the NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 event.
The Best of The Boom features Jim Ross joining Jason Powell in this May 9, 2018 discussion regarding his relationship with Vince McMahon, why Vince sticks with Roman Reigns, how Triple H has changed over the years, and more. New episodes of the Boom are typically available mid-week...