We as a culture love anticipating special events. We spend months of every year anticipating Christmas. Some of us keep Christmas decorations up year-round. My wife loves anticipating obscure holidays – we even have a special wreath for Mardis Gras.
The wrestling fan’s most anticipated event of the year is WrestleMania. Dedicated WWE fans can spend an entire weekend solely at WWE events such as Axxess, the Hall of Fame, and NXT TakeOver. For hardcore fans of the genre of professional wrestling, the options are overwhelming and become more so every year. Over my three WrestleMania weekend trips (2014, 2016, 2018), I attended 15 shows from 5 different companies – barely scratching the surface.
I’m not going to New York this year, and to be honest, I’m glad. There’s so much to choose from that, as Steve Austin would say, I wouldn’t know whether to shit or wind my watch.
Fans have been wondering on which of these dozens of shows the stars of All Elite Wrestling might appear. After all, The Young Bucks have been on quite the barnstorming campaign, making surprise appearances on independent shows all over the country. Could they show up at NJPW/ROH G1 Supercard in Madison Square Garden, which sold out in the first place partly thanks to their stardom? What about EVOLVE? MLW? DDT? Stardom? There are so many possibilities! Which is why Matt Jackson’s tweet earlier this week left many fans feeling extremely disappointed.
Of course, this is pro wrestling, so this could be a red herring – especially since many of the shows that weekend will take place in New Jersey. The Elite could show up at any of those shows without technically making a lie of Matt’s tweet. Surely the biggest non-WWE wrestling stars in the world will appear somewhere on the biggest wrestling weekend of the year.
But should they?
AEW is the first wrestling company since WCW folded to show real potential for success without piggybacking off of WWE. Every company that runs in the same market on the same weekend as WrestleMania is piggybacking off of WWE – including NJPW and ROH.
AEW has to show that they are not just another ersatz WWE. They have a real opportunity to be a viable pro wrestling company. It would be a mistake to paint themselves as just another secondary company that survives on WWE overflow.
Matt, Nick, Cody, Kenny – stay home that weekend.