The wrestling world was flipped upside down and inside out following All Elite Wrestling’s (AEW) first PPV – Double or Nothing. The show featured a 5-star match between brothers Cody and Dustin Rhodes, a middle finger to the WWE machine, an unveiling of the AEW Championship, a former WWE Champion showing up and a strong case that WWE should worry.
5 Star Match
As it stands in 2019, there have been a grand total of just five 5-star matches in wrestling. In AEW’s first PPV, the Rhodes brothers etched their names into wrestling history. It was a match that featured phenomenal story telling, violence, blood, drama and emotion. The best wrestling is the match that can tell the best story. It is an art. Watching the two of them hug it out after it was so iconic and symbolic for so many reasons. Those reasons include both being fed through the WWE machine and being underutilized and they knew they just helped put AEW at the forefront of wrestling.
Fuck You WWE
The middle finger came to WWE when Cody grabbed a sledgehammer (Triple H’s weapon of choice) and destroyed a Triple H looking throne. If there was any doubt that Rhodes is filled with bad blood toward WWE, all that doubt has been removed.
Jon Moxley formerly known as Dean Ambrose Runs In
After stepping away from WWE once finishing his contract, Moxley shows up to AEW’s first PPV marking the second major talent to be taken (first was Chris Jericho). It wasn’t so much Moxley showing up as it was what he said after that brought fireworks. He went on Jericho’s podcast to talk about his debut. It became the most downloaded episode within 3 hours. He confirmed that Vince McMahon is killing the creative in WWE. The writers will come up with great content and Vince will just axe it. After the episode came out, multiple superstars anonymously confirmed what he was saying.
Let’s Talk About Cody…
I haven’t watched a single episode of Raw or Smackdown since prior to Wrestlemania 34 which was April 2018. For quite some time, it was fast forwarding through all but 1 or 2 segments/matches. I don’t even want to waste that time at this point. Part of that is because of how bored I was with it. Aside from watching Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania, my interest is at an all-time low.
Too many talented guys get lost in the shuffle and get completely underutilized. One of the biggest examples of that is Cody Rhodes, the man behind the direction of AEW.
When I picked up watching wrestling again, Cody Rhodes went from “dashing” Cody Rhodes to the somber poor me version of himself. Rey Mysterio had 619’d him breaking his nose (actually happened) which led to “facial reconstruction surgery” and deforming his dashing smile and face. As a result, he wore a face guard thus losing his mass appeal. I loved both versions of Cody. It lasted for about a year before they repackaged him. They basically threw away a goldmine with the “dashing” gimmick.
He then floats around WWE with some success here and there until he eventually takes on the gimmick of Stardust to team alongside his brother (Dustin) known as Goldust. After turning heel on Goldust, WWE had him floating around once again with no direction for the most part.
After his departure from WWE in 2016, he floated in various brands such as TNA, Ring of Honor and New Japan. He created a ton of popularity for himself which led to him teaming up with the Young Bucks to create the independent wrestling show “All In.” After successfully pulling it off, a new era was born.
The announcement dropped in January 2019 of new promotion AEW. For any Game of Thrones fans, you want to talk about someone trying to break the wheel, that is exactly what Cody is doing. This could be the first time WWE sees real competition since they bought out WCW back in 2001.
AEW has major stars in their corner such as Jericho, Jim Ross, Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks and now Jon Moxley.
The reason WWE has been able to protect themselves for so long is because of their pay grade. They can afford to pay talent to never work a match on live TV more than any other promotion…until now.
They will no longer have the luxury of paying quality talent to sit around. A prime example of this is Dolph Ziggler. The guy is one of the highest paid talents, but he’s rarely working matches now.
Backed by Shahid Khan (Owner of Jacksonville Jaguars) thanks to the influence of his son and wrestling fan Tony Khan, AEW will have money to spend on acquiring talent. They also announced a TV deal with TNT to begin airing weekly in October. This is the first time a promotion has the balls and the money to compete with WWE. They are going to try and break the wheel.
All of this primarily lies on the shoulders of Cody’s vision. He collectively shares the vice presidency of AEW with The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega. However, he is clearly the frontman of the brand. I would say he is the Vince or Triple H, but that would be insulting to him.
I have become such a mark for Cody. My buddy and I were talking about him the other day and everything about his image and gimmick now is just fucking gold. First off, his nickname is “The American Nightmare” which is bad ass. He easily has the best them in wrestling which is a an absolute shot at WWE. Keep swinging.
The theme is “Kingdom” by Downstait (click here to listen). Here is a small sample of the lyrics…
Adrenaline, in my soul
Every thought, out of control
Do it all to get them off their feet
Crowd is here, about to blow
Waitin’ for me to start the show
Out the curtain, lights go up I’m home
And my father said, when I was younger
Hard times breed better men (better men!)
You took it all away, I give it all away
Can’t take my freedom
Here to change the game, a banner made of pain
I built my kingdom
Now you bow to me
You took my dreams but not my name
You’ll follow me until the end
I am my kingdom
The song is incredible and gives me goosebumps because of the meaning behind it. First off, it pays homage to one of the legends of wrestling the late American Dream Dusty Rhodes, Cody’s father.
It is a ballot to him being free from the wheel. He spent all those years flying under the radar when he could have been so much more. Now here he is building his empire, his kingdom using all of the pain from the past.
Build it and they will come. WWE is a shit show and needs to be knocked on their ass. It is time for them to come to the Cross Rhodes. AEW will make that happen. October can’t get here fast enough for it to all unfold. I ache for a better brand of wrestling.