Tonight, All Elite Wrestling held their second press event, the Double or Nothing ticket announcement party/rally at the MGM Grand. As promised the event was full of big reveals, surprises and huge announcements including talent and partnership agreements.
But before getting to how the presser unfolded, let’s recap everything that has developed over the past month with the promotion as a lot has happened since the first Double or Nothing rally held on January 8th.
AEW’s Working Relationship with OWE: As was announced at the Double or Nothing press conference, in perhaps the most surprising news of the night, AEW revealed their partnership to work with Cima, #Stronghearts and China’s Oriental Wrestling Entertainment. In late January, Nuclear Convoy got the details from one of AEW’s co-executive vice presidents as Matt Jackson provided an exclusive interview as to how the two companies came to work together as well as what the partnership would mean going forward. Jackson revealed that as soon as he learned more about the promotion, he knew he wanted to work with them one day and AEW gave him the opportunity. Jackson also said OWE will be represented at Double or Nothing as they will be featured as “one of the first things on our show,” his hopes to have their wrestlers and AEW wrestlers participate in excursions in China and the plan for AEW to expand into China’s “untapped market with tons of potential.” On Thursday, several of OWE’s top brass were in the house to share their excitement about bringing kung fu and something that has never before been seen in pro wrestling, to AEW.
Christopher Daniels, QT Marshall and Billy Gunn Get Job Titles: On a recent episode of Being the Elite, which was further confirmed on episode two of Road to Double or Nothing, both Billy Gunn and Christopher Daniels were identified by specific job titles. Gunn, who was announced as a producer during the first AEW rally was referred to by Rhodes as AEW’s head coach and Daniels, the head of talent relations. QT Marshall, a 14-year pro who was trained by the Dudley Boys, Larry Sharpe, Scott Hall and Larry Zbyszko, received his job title on Road to Double or Nothing as he was announced as a coordinator, presumably from a talent/training side of things.
The Elite Have Been Crashing Indie Promotions On Recruitment Missions: It all started at Bar Wrestling as Cody Rhodes, Hangman Page and the Young Bucks made a surprise appearance to help save SCU (Frankie Kazarian, Christopher Daniels and Scorpio Sky) and Joey Ryan from a post-match beatdown. It continued a few days later at DEFY Wrestling as the Young Bucks, after posting Seattle-themed tweets on their Twitter pages, crashed DEFY Never Dies, once again to aid Ryan from a beatdown. The crew then headed to Northeast Wrestling, where SCU was booked in several matches, to invade yet again, their third time in two weeks. Finally, at McAloon Productions Come Hell or High Water over Super Bowl weekend, Ryan was saved yet again, prompting the famous dick wrestler to tweet, “Listen, I’m not saying if you book me that AEW will show up to save me. I’m just saying that it happened last night for the third week in a row.” But the biggest news of the night came when the Young Bucks showed up to present verbal, handshake deals to the Lucha Brothers (Pentagon and Fenix), who accepted.
Jungle Boy is ALL ELITE: Cody Rhodes promised a big announcement on his Twitter and a few hours later, on the debut episode of The Road to Double or Nothing, AEW revealed its most recent signing, 21-year-old emerging West Coast indie star, Jungle Boy. The son of Luke Perry of 90210 fame, Jungle Boy wrestled his first match in 2009 for Alternative Wrestling Show. He wrestled just two matches that year and didn’t return to the ring until 2015 for Underground Empire Wrestling. In 2016, Jungle Boy wrestled his first real full year on the scene as slowly but surely he was developing a name for himself. In 2018, after an appearance at Joey Janela’s LA Confidential, Jungle Boy’s star was born. Exposed to an iPPV audience for the first time, he went from relatively obscure to booming star. Jungle Boy now wrestles for Bar Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla but the biggest feather in his cap is no doubt his AEW contract
Jimmy Havoc is ALL ELITE: While many announcements and talent signings happened live on stage, there was one that AEW decided to reveal the night prior to the press rally. After Road to Double or Nothing suggested AEW’s strong interest in the King of Goths himself, the company posted on their Twitter page that they had, in fact, signed 34-year-old Jimmy Havoc to a contract. A wrestler of 15 years, Havoc is most for his role in helping to revitalize and redefine the Britwres scene. Starting with NWA UK Hammerlock in 2005, Havoc became a fixture for International Pro Wrestling UK in 2009 while also wrestling for Westside Xtreme Wrestling in Germany. In 2012, Havoc, a rising star, joined the brand new PROGRESS Wrestling where he was quickly elevated as one of its top draws.
Known for his hardcore/deathmatch style of wrestling as well as incredible character work, Havoc helped PROGRESS ascend as arguably Britain’s number one promotion. It was in PROGRESS where Havoc won his first top singles title and he held it for 609 days in one of the best-told stories in all of pro wrestling. A dominating force, Havoc put on classics and clinics with everyone he stepped in the ring with, ultimately helping both himself and PROGRESS become household names. In his career, Havoc is also a former Future Pro Wrestling, All England, Southside Wrestling Entertainment Speed King, Defiant Hardcore and IPW:UK World Champion as well as a two-time Defiant and one-time PROGRESS tag team champion. When PROGRESS allied with WWE for NXT UK, Havoc was one of few roster members who didn’t make the jump. Instead, Havoc joined Major League Wrestling‘s revival in 2017 and continued to ply his trade up and down the indies both in the UK and U.S. And in 2017, cementing his status as one of the top hardcore wrestlers in the world, Havoc won Combat Zone Wrestling‘s Tournament of Death 16.
AEW Partners with AAA Lucha Libre: Another piece of news AEW dropped, just hours before going live with the ticket announcement party, was that they would officially be partnering with AAA Lucha Libre and Dorian Roldan. One of Mexico’s premier wrestling organizations, AAA was founded in 1992 when Antonio Pena broke away from Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre in pursuit of more creative freedom. In its 27 years, AAA has worked with all kinds of promotion, notably WWE and WCW. Currently, they are partners with IMPACT Wrestling and El Rey Network, as AAA provides much of the talent for El Rey’s Lucha Underground which includes wrestlers like Brian Cage, Joey Ryan, Matt Cross (LU’s Son of Havoc), Pentagon and Fenix, all of whom worked All In this past September. A partnership with AAA would likely mean that AEW would join IMPACT Wrestling as television promotions in the U.S./Canada for which LU contracted wrestlers can work. This is huge given guys like Ryan and the Lucha Brothers are still under contract with Lucha Underground and are in effect unable to sign elsewhere as long as those contracts are active.
News from the Ticket Announcement Party
When Tickets Go On Sale: AEW announced a pre-sale ticket opportunity at AllEliteWrestling.com with general public tickets going on sale, Wednesday, February 13 at noon. To sign up for the pre-sale, visit AEW’s website, enter your email and on Monday, you’ll receive a unique code to buy your tickets. UPDATE: While writing this, the pre-sale website was flooded with requests and the system crashed. Due to the crash, it was announced the pre-sale site would be accessible until this Sunday night.
PAC and Hangman Page Continued their Rivalry with Double or Nothing’s First Announced Match: Last month, PAC shocked the world when he announced he was joining AEW, doing so interrupting a promo by Hangman Page. Page had been staking his claim to the top spot in AEW but PAC had other plans. Tonight, the rivalry continued as PAC appeared via video to remind Page he’s the bastard of professional wrestling and Page doesn’t even compare. Making it official, Page challenged PAC to a match.
Christopher Daniels and SCU Challenge CIMA to a Match: Following Page’s challenge to PAC, Christopher Daniels opted to make one of his own. Talking about his relationship with CIMA and it going all the way back to their Michinoku Pro days, Daniels told CIMA to get his two best guys and have them go against SCU at Double or Nothing.
Double or Nothing After Party (SCU All Night): Much like how All In was more than just one event, it looks like Double or Nothing will have it’s own extra activities. The first to be announced was the after party, which will be hosted by SCU.
Sonny Kiss is ALL ELITE: The first talent announcement of the night came just minutes into the broadcast as Sonny Kiss announced he would be shaking ass and kicking ass at Double or Nothing. An extremely charismatic wrestler, the “Concrete Rose” began wrestling in 2013 in New York and in his home state of New Jersey. Trained by Gino Caruso, Warriors of Wrestling Training Center and the ROH Dojo, Kiss began to expand into the rest of the East Coast shortly after, working for Full Impact Pro and EVOLVE in his first year on the scene as well. Kiss continued to make a name for himself and build up his brand, ultimately landing with Lucha Underground in 2018. In his career, Kiss has won four titles including the Warriors of Wrestling Heavyweight Championship, which he still holds today. Of note, Cody mentioned that Kiss was one of Brandi’s acquisitions perhaps suggesting that he could be in the women’s division when AEW launches.
Best Friends are ALL ELITE: A week or so ago, Dave Meltzer reported on Wrestling Observer Radio, that Best Friends (Trent Baretta and Chuck Taylor) had finished up their commitments with Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling and would instead be joining AEW. On Thursday night, AEW confirmed exactly that as Best Friends were announced as having joined All Elite. Originally formed in 2013 in PWG, Best Friends consists of 16-year-veteran Chuck Taylor and 15-year veteran Trent Baretta. Often jovial and always entertaining, Best Friends’ main shtick was that of comedy wrestlers, though technically, both Taylor and Baretta could compete in the ring and did compete in the ring with some of the best tag teams in the world. After wrestling only sporadically for the first few years of their pairing, Best Friends started to tag regularly in NJPW and ROH in 2017. Over the next two years, the duo, who was aligned with the CHAOS faction, took part in World Tag League and competed for the tag titles in both promotions.
Kylie Rae is ALL ELITE: Another signing that came by way of a report from Dave Meltzer that was confirmed at the ticket party was that of rising indie star Kylie Rae. A background in softball and soccer, the Chicago native began her wrestling career in 2016 with Booker T‘s Reality of Wrestling in Houston, Texas. Trained by Booker, Rae quickly became a focal point of ROW’s women’s division, winning the Diamonds title three times. Her first reign came just months into her in-ring debut, a reign that was also her longest with ROW, at 238 days. In 2017, just a year into her career, Rae began to break out, wrestling 45 matches for promotions including RISE, AAW: Professional Wrestling Redefined, SHIMMER, Queens of Combat and CZW. In 2018, she hit 69 matches as she became a regular for AAW as well as added Beyond, IWA: Mid South, GCW, IMPACT, International Wrestling Cartel and Stardom to her resume. Rae is also the current Capital Wrestling Alliance, Zelo Pro and Freelance Wrestling champion, and in all has won seven titles in her just three-year career.
Sammy Guevara is ALL ELITE: Meltzer’s track record of AEW signings has been spot on and that continued as he went three-for-three, having correctly identified that the company had signed Best Friends, Kylie Rae and 25-year-old Lucha Libre AAA World Cruiserweight Champion, Sammy Guevara, to contracts. Much like the other three, Guevara was one of the names who was announced at Thursday night’s rally. A pro of just over six years, the Texas native’s career began at NWA Wrestling Revolution: NWA Invasion in 2013. Wrestling primarily for Texas-based Inspire Pro Wrestling over his first few years on the scene, Guevara was someone who certainly had eyes on him, including WWE as he wrestled in a dark match for Main Event in 2015. Guevara, known for his athleticism and cocky heel persona, really started to make a name for himself in 2017, landing with Konnan‘s The Crash as well as making his PWG debut in Battle of Los Angeles. In 2018, Guevara made his first excursion to Japan, wrestling for Dramatic Dream Team as well as debuting for Mexico’s AAA. In addition, Guevara joined the cast of Lucha Underground, where he wrestled in three episodes. In his career, Guevara has won seven titles, two of which, the AAA cruiserweight championship and Wrestling Association of Reynosa City City Heavyweight Championship, he still holds today.
Lucha Bros are ALL ELITE: While nothing has been signed pen to paper (that we know of) due to the Lucha Brothers still being under contract with Lucha Underground, the Young Bucks secured the two to handshake deals just a few days ago. Tonight, Pentagon and Fenix made their presence known, superkicking and package piledriving the Young Bucks before announcing they were in fact coming to AEW to prove they were the best tag team in the universe.
Known as the Lucha Brothers, real-life brothers Pentagon and Fenix have both been wrestling since 2010, though they didn’t really begin to team until 2015 and didn’t begin to do it on a regular basis until two years later. In 2017, the brothers went from five matches as a team to 43, wrestling extensively in the Crash, PWG, where they won their first tag titles, Fight Club: PRO and more. Thanks in large part to their roles on Lucha Underground, where both Fenix and Pentagon are both former Lucha Underground champions, the two became household names. As a tag team, they began to separate themselves from the pack, winning titles in the Crash, MLW and IMPACT over the past two years, and becoming top draws in those and many other promotions as well.
Aja Kong and Yuka Sakazaki are ALL ELITE: Last month, Brandi Rhodes announced that she was scouting for the AEW women’s division and one of the areas she was heavily looking into, was that of Joshi. On Thursday night, Brandi announced a seeming partnership with AEW and Tokyo Joshi Pro, introducing the crowd to Yuka Sakazaki and Japanese legend Aja Kong.
Yuka Sakazaki is one of the top wrestlers in Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling and the current Princess Tag Team Champion. After TJPW’s tag team titles were vacated, Sakazaki and fellow TJPW top contender Mizuki teamed up to win a tournament to crown new champions. The two have had held the titles ever since, with several impressive defenses. Sakazaki’s style is based on speed, reversals, and high-flying moves, with her signature finishing maneuver being a springboard rounding moonsault. She has been wrestling with TJPW since 2013 and has been both a tag team champion and a singles champion. Though one of the top ring technicians in the promotion, she also keeps with the colorful style and zaniness of DDT.
Aja Kong is a joshi legend and one of the most important and influential joshi stars in the history of Japanese women’s wrestling. The 48-year-old Kong was trained by Jaguar Yokota and made her All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling debut in 1989. Kong was with AJW for almost 10 years before leaving to join GAEA in 1997. A 32-year-pro and 31-time champion, Kong’s reputation precedes her. In 2007, she began to work primarily for OZ Academy as well as for Sendai Girls, ZERO1, Diana, DDT Pro and more. She also worked internationally for SHIMMER, Pro Wrestling EVE, RISE, and CHIKARA over her absolutely historic and still continuing career.
Nyla Rose is ALL ELITE: A 6-year pro, Nyla Rose is a full-blooded Native American (Oneida tribe) by way of Japan. The Washington, DC native started off in the Mid Atlantics, but in 2016 began working with Meiko Satomura‘s Sendai Girls and Marvelous, and will now return to the US to compete for AEW. In her career, Rose has won six titles including the Warriors of Wrestling women’s championship twice, of which she is currently in her second reign. It’s also worth noting that Rose is a transgender athlete, making her the first to compete for a major promotion. With Kiss also likely joining the women’s division, AEW is proving it was not just lip service when they said this promotion was for everyone.
Kenny Omega is ALL ELITE: Last but certainly not least, in perhaps the least surprising signing AEW has made over the past two months, Elite member Kenny Omega officially joined the promotion. Ever since AEW was made official, Being the Elite has teased Omega’s free agency in a story that perhaps saw art imitating life. Everyone knew WWE was interested in Omega and that it was rumored they had offered him a tremendous sum and perks to sign there. But the pull to join his friends was strong and as many believed, Omega ended up choosing AEW ending the short-lived week of his free agency.
Omega’s career began in the early 2000s but it wasn’t until 2005, when he came stateside from his native Canada, that things began to take a turn. Omega joined Deep South Wrestling, a developmental territory with WWE and spent a few years there before leaving and citing the experience as pretty negative. Omega even almost quit wrestling after that but instead, he returned to the indie scene, began to work more in the U.S., including with PWG where he is former champion and BOLA winner. It was the move to DDT and Japan however, that changed everything for the man who would go onto become the Best Bout Machine and one of the best wrestlers in the world.
In Japan, Omega won no shortage of titles, working for all the top promotions and finally making his NJPW debut in 2010. He joined the company fulltime in 2014 and aligned with Bullet Club then as well. Omega soon ascended to a leadership role within the faction, continuing to build his resume. He participated in NJPW’s first-ever ladder match, winning the IWGP Intercontinental Championship in his first attempt and was the first non-Japanese wrestler to win the prestigious G1 Climax. In all, Omega has won 33 titles in his career and has recorded 26 4.75 and 13 five-star or better matches. A 19-year-pro, Omega is one of the biggest stars in professional wrestling and at 35, he’s still in the prime of his career.
Cody Rhodes, Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson), Hangman Page, PAC, Chris Jericho, Britt Baker, SCU (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky), Kenny Omega, Aja Kong, Britt Baker, Yuka Sakazaki, Nyla Rose, Kylie Rae, Brandi Rhodes, MJF, Janelope (Joey Janela and Penelope Ford)
Partnerships: AAA and OWE
Staff: Billy Gunn, BJ Whitmer, QT Marshall, Excalibur (role unknown)
Keep following Last Word on Pro Wrestling for all of the up-to-date news on All Elite Wrestling. Read our recap of the first press conference, with bios of the first set of talent announced, here.