All Elite Wrestling was founded on the very first day of 2019 to jubilant expectation.
On the very last day of 2019, it faced, if not a crisis, then certainly its biggest challenge ahead of the unopposed Homecoming New Year's Day show.
The moving, massive-feeling spectacle that was Double Or Nothing, with its superb stylistic in-ring range, informed a level of hype that saw AEW Dynamite race ahead in the so-called Wednesday Night War. Those first six weeks of Dynamite were widely and lavishly praised for an instant mastery of episodic television: match quality was high; match selection was purposeful; the angles were white-hot, and several new faces got over within their perfect balance; Cody and Chris Jericho sold the living sh*t out of Full Gear with some of the greatest promo work witnessed on U.S. TV in nearly two decades; the Inner Circle Vs. The Elite feud was a superb umbrella programme that created a sense of cohesion between and across each show.
AEW Dynamite was a vibrant, molten show not without niggling issues - but as a big picture extravaganza, it was an artful blockbuster. And then Full Gear happened.
An incredible pay-per-view, AEW took an age to reset after it. The first glimpses of the next big World Title programme, Chris Jericho Vs. Jon Moxley, materialised as functional, silent show-downs and expositional, long promo segments not unlike that presented by WWE. Cody Vs. MJF spluttered into existence with two botched and mystifying segments, and while it made far more sense in retrospect, the execution of the Butcher and the Blade's debut was worrying, as well as piss-poor. AEW was meant to be the intelligent pro wrestling company with its finger on the pulse. How did they not sense the inevitable anti-climax?
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