All Elite Wrestling (AEW), the brainchild of Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks, made an immediate impact on the wrestling scene with its debut event, Double Or Nothing, last weekend. Having filled the capacity of Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Arena within four minutes of tickets going on sale, expectations were high for the near five-hour show. It didn’t disappoint, with almost every match succeeding at having the crowd on the edge of their seats.
Backed financially by billionaire Shahid Khan and his son Tony, AEW is being widely cited as the first wrestling company to have the potential to challenge the might of the WWE in decades. Vince McMahon’s behemoth has reigned supreme over the industry since he bought out his biggest competition (WCW) in 2001, dwarfing competitors such as Total Nonstop Action and Ring Of Honor and only being matched in terms of audience by the likes of NJPW and AAA in their home countries of Japan and Mexico respectively.
Time will tell whether they live up to this potential, but with a forthcoming weekly TV deal and a roster that already boasts 44 wrestlers at the time of writing you wouldn’t be inclined to bet against them. Many of these have a history with WWE, most notably Cody and Dustin Rhodes (Goldust), Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley (Dean Ambrose) and Pac (Neville).
5 other performers from this mix of veterans and up-and-comers have also played far lesser-known roles in WWE. They’ll be profiled here.