If you were to show a complete stranger my social media feeds, YouTube history and the contents of my flat, chances are the first thing they’d say is; “Well he clearly loves his wrestling doesn’t he?”.
It’s glaringly obvious to the masses. Over the years, wrestling has been my only constant. When friends and family let me down, wrestling was there. When the world around me let me down, wrestling was there. When wrestling let me down, there was always other wrestling there.
For years I wanted something like WWE, but nothing came close. I was born in ’96, so my first experiences of televised wrestling was the late attitude era. By this point, WCW & ECW had already been bought out, so there was nothing else. The closest we ever got to an alternative was WWE’s own various attempts at their own ECW, however they were bad and we’ll avoid any mention of those ever again…
My first taste of alternative wrestling was the infamous Wrestling Society X. It was here I first saw the likes of Jack Evans, Matt Sydal, Teddy Hart and more. Unfortunately WSX was, for lack of a better term, a bit shit.
Then came something much better: TNA Impact. This had been around for a few years too, but I hadn’t ever heard of it until later on. Sadly, despite having everything else, Impact still didn’t quite have the production quality that WWE had. It sounds like such a dick thing to say, but nothing about it was pretty.
We unfortunately live in an age where we’re surrounded by big, flashy things and whether we admit it or not, anything less is mostly underwhelming. The point I’m getting at, is that none of it could live up to WWE. Sure they were interesting, but wrestling is wrestling, it’s the same anywhere – WWE could just do it better. They had the story-telling, the athletes, the flashy lights and stages, the big crowds, the commentators, the HD camera quality. Essentially, untouchable.
Then it all went wrong.
The stories started to get worse, our intelligence insulted. Wrestlers were leaving either because the company felt them expendable, or they just felt they’d be better off elsewhere. The dirt sheets were reporting on Lawsuits from wrestlers of the past, tainting the good name of WWE. The fun had started to leave WWE. Sure some talents held it together, creating a somewhat entertaining show for me to watch, but for the longest time I just stopped caring.
In truth, I only stayed with it because there was nothing else on that level.
Towards the end of 2018, I had turned to my girlfriend and told her that I didn’t like wrestling anymore. That WWE had ruined my love for the sport inside and outside of the ring. I couldn’t watch any alternatives as at the time I didn’t have the means to. Even if I did, I just wouldn’t have watched anything. My taste for wrestling had been soured.
This brings us to the new year.
I was sat watching Being The Elite with my girlfriend, and they made the announcement. All Elite Wrestling was real. I have never been so excited for anything in my life. My love for wrestling came straight back.
The thought of Cody following in the footsteps of his father made me mark out. The thought of disgruntled talents that I dearly care about having an alternative made me mark out. The thought of something that could match the production and quality of WWE made me mark out and almost shed a tear.
The rest of the year went a bit mental. Talent signings, PPV’s, world title wins, cross promotional deals with other promotions and even DC Comics. At this time of writing we are only a few days away from AEW’s debut on TNT, something magical and new. I truly can’t wait for this next chapter in professional wrestling to unfold.
Worry not though fellow fans, because this post isn’t all “dicks out for AEW”. In fact you are quite wrong. See, I’m excited for all of wrestling. AEW’s debut on television is huge for everyone. WWE have already this year put on some of their best shows in years. Women are main eventing PPV’s, tag team wrestling is important again. Impact are stepping up their game too, bringing back legends such as Ken Shamrock, showcasing inter-gender wrestling, and not screwing up Sami Callihan (Here’s looking at you NXT).
Because of this one company, everyone is changing their tactics, giving us fresh new content. I really genuinely hope all companies across the world flourish. I hope this is the kick up the arse they need. It truly is a great time to be a wrestling fan, the start of an “Elite” era in professional wrestling.