The REAL Reason All Elite Wrestling Could Change The Wrestling World
For weathered wrestling fans - your writer included - it was hard not to be reminded of all the times occasions such as these have happened in the past. We're often told that the industry is cyclical, and whilst that line's often employed mostly as an excuse for financial nadirs, the idea can be applied to non-commercial aspects of the business as well.
In much the same way Vince McMahon led a charges with (admittedly, diametrically opposed) bald mustachioed/bearded megastars in the late-1980s and 90s, his rivals have used grand gestures such as the Jacksonville rally to promise platitudes and - fundamentally - change. WCW announced the signing of Hulk Hogan in 1994 with a ticker-tape parade at Universal Studios in Orlando. Operating out of their once-hot Impact Zone, Total Nonstop Action made so many big deals about so many little moments that the teases themselves became tropes and sticks to beat the company with. They too held a press conference for 'The Hulkster's imminent arrival in late-2009 - the use of the 'Immortal One' himself is perhaps the only comparison point that won't carry over to All Elite.
Jacksonville was a touch alarming in its familiarity. Gone was the D.I.Y warmth of The Young Bucks' travelog-turned-tearaway success Being The Elite, the stars-to-gutter-to-brighter-stars story of Cody Rhodes and the community spirit that underpinned the ethos of ALL IN. Instead, an uncomfortably small (and poorly produced) crowd offered mild chuckles at the trio debating which Executive Vice President would stumble through another announcement. This was WWE bullsh*t masquerading as something revolutionary. Everybody associated with AEW were promising and promoting new ways of making magic, but kicked off their endeavour utilising all the oldest tricks.
Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.