All Elite Wrestling live on national TV premieres in Phoenix on Wednesday

Feb 20, 2023, 7:15 AM
Marq Quen leaps off the top rope and on to Jungle Boy during the AEW Dynamite - Beach Break taping ...
Marq Quen leaps off the top rope and on to Jungle Boy during the AEW Dynamite - Beach Break taping on January 26, 2022, at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

PHOENIX — If you don’t have plans on Wednesday night, allow me to make them for you.

All Elite Wrestling will be premiering in Phoenix for the first time with a show at Footprint Center that will be broadcasted live on TBS for the weekly AEW Dynamite. AEW Rampage, a weekly Friday night broadcast on TNT, will also be filmed.

For wrestling fans like myself, it’s a long time coming for one of the most exciting developments in the last five years, which was the formation of AEW. More on that later, though, and a bit on the majority of you reading this as non-wrestling fans.

Unless you are some type of curmudgeon, AEW (and live wrestling in general) will provide a great night of fun. There are some wild athletic feats that rival any of the top highlights from an NFL Sunday and there is some storytelling that bests most scripted shows and movies you’ll peruse.

“I think what you get when you go to a pro wrestling show is a bit of the best of sports and the kind of entertainment that you get in TV and movies,” AEW founder and CEO Tony Khan told KTAR News. “There’s great stories, there’s rivalries and they pay off in these great matches.”

It is a beautifully simple form of entertainment.

The night will feature a number of matches in a ring, where combatants will compete, usually a good guy and a bad guy. Through that, the performers will put on a story anyone can understand of foes doing everything possible to win. For the good guy, this will be digging deep to find that extra source of courage and energy to put them over the top. For the bad guy, this will be distracting the referee to use a foreign object or utilize any other illegal maneuver.

Through that and the characters you get to know on a week-to-week basis, epic clashes emerge that will have you on the edge of your seat (or jumping around on your feet).

“This is going to be a big TV wrestling spectacle,” Khan described the show as. “There’s going to be a lot of great matches, it’s a stacked card and I’m really excited for the fans to see AEW action and a lot of the top stars in person for the first time.”

Khan, who also serves as the chief football strategy officer for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and director of football operations for the Premier League’s Fulham, can speak on how high caliber these performers are as athletes.

“The athletes are every bit as hard working and they are every bit as dedicated to their craft,” he said. “It’s a very different kind of athletic skill but it’s something that takes a lot of training, it’s something that takes a lot of dedication and the pro wrestling business is something that has got fans in every corner of the planet.”

AEW, founded in 2019, first started really making the rounds touring the West coast this year. Because of the pandemic and lockdown, that slowed down a lot of its launching efforts in terms of going across the United States and they were primarily at a time based in Florida and the East coast for the weekly television.

The company has had a handful of shows in Las Vegas but just recently in 2023 has reached out beyond that to the Pacific Northwest, a few new cities in California and now Arizona.

Diehards for Khan’s product have been eager for this.

“These West coast shows have been some of the best shows we’ve done,” Khan said. “We made our debut in some of the best markets in the country already this year. It’s been great launching AEW in cities like Seattle and Portland but I’m very excited now to come to Phoenix and finally debut in Arizona.

“Phoenix is such a great town for pro wrestling. A lot of great events that have been in the city and AEW has a lot of fans around the Phoenix area that watch the shows every week.”

AEW is now watched in over 150 countries, and the show on Wednesday in Phoenix is part of the build to a PPV event on Sunday, March 5, entitled AEW Revolution live from San Francisco. Essentially, AEW runs four PPV events a year, and the weekly television helps build and progress the stories up to the big matches at the PPV.

The main event for AEW Revolution involves AEW’s world heavyweight champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF), an incredibly gifted 26-year-old who has been the talk of wrestling the last few years because of how much of a natural he is (at being a scumbag).

“He’s so charismatic, he drives the fans crazy,” Khan said of MJF. “He’s one of the biggest villains in pro wrestling but certainly captivates the attention of the fans.”

MJF will defend his title at AEW Revolution in a 60-minute ironman match against Bryan Danielson, who Phoenicians may be familiar with as Daniel Bryan in WWE and a local resident who went viral after chasing down burglars of his home.

Danielson, the good guy, is someone who Khan says AEW fans are attached to. That’s because they are loyal, hardcore fans for pure wrestlers and that Danielson is “the wrestler.”

“One of the most intense, one of the most capable, one of the most beloved technical wrestlers of all time,” Khan said of Danielson.

Those two will both be in the Valley Wednesday and I encourage you to join me in attending to boo MJF out of the building.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

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All Elite Wrestling live on national TV premieres in Phoenix on Wednesday